New Shoes

So, you know how when you go shopping for new tennis shoes, and you try on all those new, super white springy shoes and then when you go back to put your old pair on they look about a million times grosser than you initially thought?

That's how I feel right now about this blog. 

For the past few months I've (well, technically someone who knows what they're doing has) been working, working, WORKING on a new design with new navigation on a new platform and it is going to knock your socks off. 

It will be easier to comment, easier to connect and easier to read.  I also have some awesome partners and will be doing deals and give-a-ways galore to celebrate the launch. 

It's close to being ready, but I'm going to have radio silence here for a couple of weeks while the team and I get the final details put into place. 

So stay tuned, and try to ignore the stinky feet smell here. 

Seeing eye kids

Like many of my hormone riddled homies, I get migraines from time to time.  The auras, the nausea, the skull crushing headaches... the works.  I've always been lucky, though, in that I've always gotten them at home or while I'm out with Nick. 

Until Monday morning at 7:30am, when I got one as I was walking into the grocery store.  I had about thirty seconds to get the three kids in the cart, run to the soda cooler and take my medicine before my last speck of clear vision was replaced with a big bright dot and I turned into Stevie Wonder minus the talent. 

It takes about twenty five minutes for my medicine to kick in, and since Helen Keller would have a better chance of getting the kids home alive behind the wheel of a mini van I decided to just play it cool and proceed with my shopping the best I could.

"Excuse me, sir, can you please tell me which aisle your lemon zest is in?"  I asked a giant Peeps display.

Things weren't going well, so I called Nick at work to see if there was anything I could do to make the medicine work faster.

"This is Ron."

Ron is not Nick. 

Ron is our mortgage guy. 

Did I mention I was almost completely blind?  I had just sort of hit some buttons on my phone and hoped Jesus would take the wheel.

"Oh, hi... Ron.  Ummm, er... I was just wondering if the mortgage rate has gone down at all."

"Not since last night."

"Right.  Thanks bye."

I was on my own.  Relying on instinct and pure skill, I tried to remember what was on my grocery list and aimed the cart for the pasta sauce aisle. 

"Ellie... I need you to think back to all those hours I made you watch Sesame Street so Mommy could play her Words With Friends.  What letters are on this can of spaghetti sauce?"


Close enough.  I tossed it in the direction of the cart and hoped it landed. 

I continued to inch forward, praying I didn't run into one of those gigantic wine towers at the end of the frosting aisle.   

"We're going to run into Mommy's medicine!"  Ellie shouted.

I veered right and missed the wine tower by inches. 

Then, like clockwork, the girls began to fight.  They're crammed together in that little car attached to the front of the cart, and I would have better luck putting two cats in a shoebox and asking them not to fight after I poured a pitcher of water on them than putting a 3 and 2-year old in that little car.

I felt my way to the front of the cart, stuck my arm through the windshield and began swiping wildly at the air, hoping to connect with something.  "Stop FIGHTING!  Mommy is SICK!"  I hissed. 

"Actually, on second thought... keep screaming.  That way I know you haven't been kidnapped or run away."

For nearly a half hour I slowly navigated my way through the aisles, walking fast when I heard something fall, faster when I heard something break.  By the time I headed for the checkout, I had left a path of destruction like an F-5 in Oklahoma. 

I could finally see again and it was time for me, my three kids and my twenty cans of frosting to head home. 

The Slippery Slope

Now... I'll be the first to admit that I'm no County Fair beauty pageant queen.  But Imma just say that if you need a quick shot of self esteem the best way to find it is by spending the day at an indoor water park in the Ozarks.  The only way to tell the men from the women was that (most of) the women had the decency to cover their boobs.   

Wee doggies. 

And while I went to bed Saturday night feeling a little more confident in my unfortunate body type than when I had woken up that morning, water parks are far from my idea of the most perfect day ever. 

It may have something to do with the fact that I technically lost my virginity when I was fourteen as the result of a scissor kick gone wrong off of the high dive at Peony Park.  That, and I'm just not really a huge fan of anything 'extreme'.  Especially extreme things involving bathing suits, community water, things squirting me in the face, amped up children running around or a slide that causes me to hit the water with enough force to send my tampon rocketing into my throat. 

No, my idea of the most perfect day ever involves me by myself at a quiet little winery somewhere in Spain with a notebook, a pencil, a good idea, a fresh crock pot full of Rotel and some taco meat.

I would also accept a bar with the words 'Thirsty ______ (insert name of farm animal here)' in the title as a substitute for the winery in Spain.

Anyhoo, my family wasn't really supportive of my idea of me going to a winery in Spain by myself so Ozarkian water park it was. 

Ellie is a huge weenie when it comes to anything involving risk so I anticipated a nice quiet day in the hot tub.  This is by design; I'm Queen Weenie.  But five minutes in she grew a pair and the next thing I knew we were hand in (my) sweaty hand waiting in line to slide down some really tall tube thing.

By the time we finally made it to the top my knees were shaking so hard I could barely stand.  The only thing keeping me going was the fact that she would be on my lap and if things went south I could use her little body as a buffer. 

"Mom goes down first and she'll catch you at the bottom,"  I heard the lifeguard say.


"You can't go down together; you go first and catch her at the bottom."


"Ma'am?  You ready?  You're holding up the line."


"Ma'am, you need to let go of my waist."

"Ellie, we can't go down together.  You have to go down by yourself."

"That's fine."

"What did you say?  You're too scared?  Okay, we can just go back down.  No problem."

"No, it's okay Mom - just catch me at the bottom."

"Well I don't want to force you to do something you don't want to do..."

"Mom.  Go.  You're embarrassing me."

So I had to put on my big girl pants and act like I wasn't terrified.  I flew through pitch black darkness, bracing my vulva for impact the entire time.  My efforts were futile; I hit the water with all the force of a prison rape.

And guess what?  It was all she wanted to do all day.  After roughly time number six I overheard my sister complaining all my nephew wanted to do was sit in the hot tub. 

So, I did the noble thing and offered to switch with her. 

"Hay-Nay-Nay (he calls me Hay Nay Nay), I gotta go pee,"  he said, two minutes into our time in the hot tub. 

"Yeah no shit... that's why I got into the hot tub,"  I said.  "Let her rip."

"Hay-Nay-Nay, I gotta go pee,"  He said, his lower lip quivering. 

"Ugggg fine."

As we walked into the bathroom I realized I know nothing about a 2-year-old boy's anatomy.  I stood him in front of the toilet, that came roughly to his shoulder. 

"Here you go.  You good?  Ship shape.  Welp... I'm freezing.  I'll meet you back at the hot tub; just walk back through the locker room the way we came."

I retreated to the hot tub, closed my eyes, and finally relaxed.  It was the next best thing to being at the Thirsty Duckling. 

Damn you Pinterest! Damn you to hell! Oh, and happy Valentines Day!

So I saw this really cute idea on Pinterest for Valentines Day cards, which I tried to replicate. 

Cute, right? 

Yes, cute until you have to make 29. 



That's cutting out and taping 87 hand prints, cutting out and taping 87 faces, and addressing 29 envelopes. 

I had my own little sweat shop set up in the dining room.  Ellie kept complaining that her hand was hurting from drawing pictures on the covers. 

So I tried to psyche her out by saying, "Only one more!  Only one more!  You can do it!  This one's for Nana!"  In reality there were like 200 more. 

I thought I was free of permanent psychological damage until I inspected her work and saw what was supposed to be her "Happy Valentines Day faces."
Happy Valentines Day everyone!


I've often wondered if I would want to know if something bad was about to happen to me.  You know, like, would I want a little heads up if I were going to break an ankle on Thursday, or -NO GOD NO- Kourtney and Kim Take Miami wasn't renewed for a sixth season? 

And I had come to the conclusion that - no - worrying about something is almost worse than it actually happening, so blind side me away. 

But that was before.  Before the Vomapocalypse 2013.  So much has changed.  The way I look at my kids, at Nick, at myself, at my toilet.  I've seen things, man.  Bad things.  Things that can't be unseen.  Unclean.   

It all started Friday night when Nick's car broke down in a north county Quick Trip parking lot while he was making his 54th Big Gulp stop of the day.  We were supposed to meet some friends for dinner, but instead the girls and I had to make a road trip to the hood to pick him up and drop him off at the rent-a-car place before he spent their college funds on Diet Dr. Pepper. 

We abandoned ship on the dinner, and the girls and I


drove through Taco Bell.  I got my favorite, a


Doritos Locos Taco Supreme with


extra lava sauce and


three packets of fire sauce, and oh well might as well throw in a


Grilled Stuffed Burrito while you're at it. 

Then the girls and I came home and


I spread a blanket on the playroom floor and we had a little Taco Bell picnic


with all of their toys and stuffed animals while we waited for Nick to get home from work in his rent-a-car.

After my Doritos Locos Taco with extra Lava Sauce, and mid-way through my burrito soaked in fire sauce, it happened.  No warning.  No heads up.  Just three girls not interested in their cheese roll-up as their Mom went HAM on some faux Mexican.  Out of nowhere, a forceful spray of vomit flew out of Ellie's mouth and onto every surface within a 3-foot radius.  Which was almost every stuffed animal she owns. 

Then... we had one of those moments

You know, those moments where you just sit, perfectly still, and stare deep into each others eyes because neither of you have any idea where to begin and you pray so hard that it will just magically go away.  Her eyes are looking at you all, "What the heck just happened?"  And your eyes are looking at her all, "I wonder if I can finish this burrito before I have to clean up this shit."

Then, in an effort of self-preservation, I blacked out.  The next thing I knew I was picking chunks out of her hair as the other two kids screamed bloody murder downstairs because I had locked them in something to keep them out of the vomitorium. 

"Maybe this is a one and done,"  I thought to myself, three seconds before she leaned out of the tub and barfed all over my socks. 

Then we went down like a stack of dominoes.  First Ellie, then me, then Nick, then Lila.  The only one left standing was Hadley, which confirms my suspicions that she's a witch.  Nobody is that cute. NOBODY.   

I'll spare you the gory details, but lava sauce is just as spicy coming up as it is going down.  Oh, and did you know that it's possible to dry heave out of your butt?  That's only 30% of the goriest thing that happened Friday night. 

At one point round 2am I was pants down on the toilet, barfing into a trash can, holding a bowl for Ellie to barf into, while Lila was barfing in the bathtub and Nick was barfing in the other bathroom.  And you know what I was thinking?  "That ass hole better get in here and clean up after at least one of these girls."

I woke up the next morning feeling better but a little disoriented, trying to piece together what had happened the night before. 

I was in the guest bed with Ellie and Lila; Supernanny was on the TV.  There were two trash bags filled with unspeakable things at the top of the stairs.  A bucket filled with stuffed animals covered in vomit, begging me to shoot them in the face, was in the garage.  My underwear was on the deck.

My uneaten half burrito on the kitchen counter.  I took one bite before I threw it away because, well, you know, burrito. 

On a positive note, we all look fabulous.  I'm almost down to my pre-wedding weight. 


In six months, Hadley will start pre-school.  Which means that, for TWO WHOLE glorious days a week, I will have two hours and ten minutes all to myself.  I know what you're thinking, and considering that I think of taking my kids to Parents Day Out so I can go get a pap smear a vacation, you bet your ass I'm counting those ten minutes.

That means that for the next two years after that I'll have three mornings a week to myself, and in 2016... five. 

Hang on.  I need to go change my underwear.

I actually had to sketch that out to make it work in my brain, by the way.

I feel like we're on the uphill swing; the fog is starting to lift.  I knew eventually the day would come when I would have some time to myself; it just always seemed so far away.  And the question on everyone's (Nick's) mind is, "What are you going to do?" 

I'm a planner, so I've really started to give this some serious thought.  Go back to working at an ad agency?  Teach a couple of days a week?  Volunteer?  Finish my (now dusty and probably irrelevant) novel?  Take the day shift over at Diamond Cabaret? 

And the answer is:  I don't know yet what the long term will hold.  However, according to my calculations, if the average employee gets four weeks of vacation for working 40 hours a week, and I've been working 24/7 for four years, then I'll be entitled to roughly fifty years of vacation.  But I'll settle for six months off before I have to make a decision about my life's direction. 

In excited anticipation, I've started making a list of things I'm going to do in 2016, on my six month sabbatical from reality. 

So far I've got:

1.  Take banjo lessons
2.  Learn how to do a back spin

It's really a work in progress. 

Snow, man!

For me, snow is one of those things like vegetables or Taylor Swift.  I understand the appeal, and it's tolerable from a distance, but I don't want it anywhere near me or touching my skin.

I'm just not a cold weather person.  I think snow skiing would be way more enjoyable if I could do it while relaxing on a lounge chair on a beach in Mexico somewhere. 

Unfortunately, my kids don't feel the same way.  And not only do I have to go outside and play with them, but getting three little kids (and myself) snow ready is a bitch.  On Sunday I tried to placate them by opening the living room window while I retired to my easy chair by the fire with some mulled wine and a book, but that only worked until they saw the neighbor kids out playing. 

"Hey, you said snow was poison and would burn our faces off if we touched it,"  they said, pointing to their friends making snow angels. 

"Well, I think it's time I told you... parents lie about a lot of stuff,"  I said. 

"Like what?"

"Well, ya know, about stuff like Santa Claus, there really is a place called Disney Land and I'm fairly certain the boogie man actually lives in your closet."

They stared at me blankly and I knew it was time to begin the snow prep.  Four pairs of snow pants.  Four heavy coats.  Four boots.  Four hats.  Four pairs of mittens.  Four tantrums because we all had massive unfixable wedgies.  Four de-robings because what is it about putting on layers that immediately makes your bladder scream for attention? 

I put on each layer slowly, searching for any hint of an urge to pee.  But, like clockwork, the minute I strap on those gloves I'm holding my crotch and hopping on one leg trying to undress in the bathroom. 

Eventually we made it out, made a snowman (sort of) -

- and I taught the girls a little game I like to call "snow smash in face." 

Turns out I'm pretty good at it, and surprisingly they were ready to come inside sooner than I thought. 



There is at least one point in my day when, if Nick were to walk in the house unexpectedly, he would promptly turn right around and never come back. 

Just picture something on the stove boiling over, the kitchen counter covered with random jars, containers, sippy cups and probably some sort of human excrement, kids organizing dog fights in the living room, a goat in the bathroom and me in a corner somewhere reciting the lord's prayer in the fetal position. 

I do my best to shield him from the insanity because I don't want him to think I'm totally incompetent.  I mean, I'm not serving up a steaming pot roast in pearls and heels every night, but I figure the less he knows about what actually goes on here while he's at work, the better.  I just try to have the house back in one piece by the time he gets home.   

He only gets between 2-4 days off a month, and usually we have a bunch of stuff planned on his weekends off.  This past weekend, however, we were both super tired and just decided to take it easy around the house. 

Which sort of gave me the same feeling I got when I was in sales and a big district manager would come to town for a couple of days and I had to pretend like I was actually working.  I had the urge to narrate my every move, every thought, so he would truly appreciate the job I do for 13 hours a day, often 7 days a week.   

It was really interesting to hear some of his observations and comments throughout the weekend, because I realized how far removed he is from the trenches.  Sure, he'll frequently take the kids to the park or the mall for a few hours to give me a break, but it's a whole different ball game when you're attached to them at the hip. 
I made some mental notes of his commentary as a relative outsider, which gave me some perspective on my own life.  I thought many of you could relate.

"Why are they up so early on a Saturday?  Is it even 6:00 yet?  How do we get them to sleep in?"

"Do you think the kids just want to lay around and watch house flipping shows all morning?" 

"Why don't the kids just want to lay around and watch house flipping shows all morning?"

"You let them paint right there?  With their hands?  Right there on the dining room table?  It would probably be better if I went into the other room for this."

"So basically a day with the kids is like one long, continuous feeding."

 "No, I don't want to go to a story hour at the history museum.  That sounds awful."

"When is this story hour over?  It's awful."

"Are all those ingredients for the same dinner?  You just throw them all in the crock pot together and it's edible?  Interesting.  No no... it sounds delicious."

"Hey, want to call the Rodemanns and see if they want to go out to dinner?"

"I can see why someone needs a hobby like blogging.  This is one of the longest days of my life."

Given the urgency Nick left for work on Monday morning, I don't think I have to worry about my job security any time soon. 

10 Things You Need To Know Before You Potty Train Your Child


Chances are, you're reading this because you feel like a complete failure as a parent.  A loser, a deadbeat, a complete waste of space.  Or, you're here because you Googled "pictures of old man's balls" or "fat men in Speedos"  and are now furiously trying to hit the 'back' button. I see you out there.  Stop being creepy.

Anyhoo, I don't mean to brag but after successfully potty training two little kids I consider myself the unparallelled expert of the world.  When I tell people my middle daughter is now potty trained (a year before my eldest was) the first thing people say is, "Oh!  It's always easier with the second one because they learn by watching the older one!" 

And I call bullshit.  If left to their own devices I promise you kids would still be wearing diapers to job interviews.  And I can't say I blame them.  But my daughter is now potty trained because of my mad, piping hot, bad ass Mom skills.  Because of the thirteen months I spent trying to learn how to potty train her sister when I read every single book, every single internet article, and asked every person I saw in the grocery store with kids for potty training advice.  All of that combined with my own superior intellect, obviously.

Which I will share with you now. 

1. Before you even think about beginning... if you take mood altering medications (and who doesn't these days), make sure you have enough on hand to take about five times your normal amount for a few weeks.  If you drink, stock way up on your alcohol of choice. 

2.  If you don't drink, start. 

3.  Look for signs that they are ready.  Do they understand the value of a dollar?  Know what the word 'bribe' means?  And, if things start going south and you have to use negative reinforcement, do they understand what it's really like to live in an orphanage?

4.  Come to peace with the knowledge that everything in your house will be covered in what was previously safely contained in a diaper.  Your stuff's gonna get gross.  REAL GROSS.  And sometimes it's going to touch your fingers or your arm.  Once I walked downstairs to find my 3-year-old stranded on the kitchen counter, unable to move, crouched in a pool of her own urine.  Did I mention it was ON MY KITCHEN COUNTER?  You know, the place where I prepare food, ON MY KITCHEN COUNTER? 

5. Incentives like M&Ms are really helpful in getting your toddler to sit on the toilet.  So are handcuffs. 

6.  Don't get discouraged if, after sitting on the toilet long enough to have a permanent rainbow indentation across her butt cheeks, your child immediately pees and/or poops on the floor outside the bathroom.  Don't worry - she has actually been possessed by a demon.  It's totally normal.  Remember as you strap her to her potty chair and throw holy water on her that it's not your child - it's the dark lord.  Cast it out, and cast it out good.

7.  Abandon all dignity and put a toilet in your mini van.  Actually, I wish I would have thought of this years ago.  Gas station bathrooms are nasty.  Rest stops are filled with kidnappers.  Go on your own terms, in your own mini van.  Then toss it out the window and let it be someone else's problem. 

8.  I read several articles where people suggested putting Cheerios in the toilet and making a game out of trying to hit them with urine.  But after a few attempts on my own I realized this only works for boys.  Or girls who have a tough road ahead of them in the junior high locker room. 

9.  Screaming, "For the love of god!  What is your problem?  Just pee in the toilet.  Please.  I'm begging you.  From the bottom of my soul.  Just once.  It's been seven days and I die a little on the inside every time I scrub urine out of the carpet.  Please.  Please."  does not help. 

10.  If all else fails, send her to school and let her teachers deal with it.  That's why they get paid the big bucks. 

Good luck to you and just remember - if you screw this up, they'll probably be scarred for life. 

The end of days

Don't let the halo fool you. 
A few weeks ago my 3-year-old dropped her nap.  It sounds so nonchalant when I say it that way; like it's just part of life.  It's Thursday, it's sunny outside and my 3-year-old dropped her nap.  What you can't see is that I'm actually hiding out in the back of my coat closet sobbing on my laptop as I type this post.

Honestly, I never thought this day would come.  I'm still in denial.  The first day she never fell asleep I thought maybe she was sick or something so I gave her a dose of Benadryl and a few Ambien.  But when she woke up a few days later it was the same thing ole thing come nap time.  Jumping, running, squealing, singing some song at the top of her lungs that goes something like, "if I don't sleep... nobody will...scorch the earth..."

Nap time was my salvation.  A thin little thread keeping me tethered to the world of sanity.  Three hours a day where I could write, pay bills, clean the house, get dinner started, do my Insanity DVD... sorry... I can't even type that with a straight face. 

Three hours a day I could zone out and watch Kardashians while I surfed the web for videos of real ghosts caught on tape.  

A friend suggested I give her a mandatory "quiet time" in her bedroom.  It sounded like a great idea but after I would juuuust get all settled on the couch with my jar of peanut butter she would open the door and yell from the top of the stairs, "MAAAAAAWWWWWM CAN I COME DOWNSTAIRS YEEEEEEET!"

And the only thing worse than one kid awake is three kids awake.

I've tried everything.  Pleading with her.  Negotiating with her.  Threatening her.  Locking the door.  Putting a child lock on the inside of the door.  Taking the knob off of the door.  Hiring a werewolf to hide outside the door. 

She remains unfazed as she escapes.

And the thing is, she NEEDS a nap.  She has this creepy lazy eye thing going on when she's tired so she spends the entire afternoon with her eyes going every which way and it totally creeps me out.  She looks like a chameleon.  Not to mention the titanic tantrums she throws if Lila looks at her funny.         

I can't wait to rub this in her face when she has kids of her own and would give her left arm for twenty minutes of sleep. 

Dear god, make me a bird, so I can run far far away

Saturday morning was one of those mornings where you try to piece together what happened the night before in between head throbs that feel like they're actively trying to push something through your large intestine.  The night before we celebrated Nick's brother getting engaged at a fancy dinner, then brought the party back to our house so we didn't have to take out a personal loan to pay the babysitter. 

I mustered up enough courage to open my eyes.  The first thing I saw was an empty container of ice cream.  Strapped around my head like a feed bag. 

"Please let that be the only thing,"  I said as I realized I was wearing an empty box of snickerdoodle cookies as a hat. 

I scanned the room and then I saw it.  My laptop.  Still open.  I ran over to see my credit card, steaming, lying next to it. 

Oh please don't be what I think. 

Please god no. 

But it was. 

I couldn't believe how irresponsible I had been.  Had I learned nothing from the previous pain I had put myself through?  All the torture and humiliation? 

I signed myself up for the St. Patty's Day five mile run. 

Stop smiling.  You have no idea what's about to happen to you.

That's 6,628th place, for those of you keeping score.
Maybe there was some hope.  I ran to my cell phone, praying no one else knew about this. 

It was too late.  It was all over.  I had been texting up a storm, bragging to my friends about how bad I am going to kick their asses and what huge pussies they are.  Actually, because my fine motor skills were a bit sketchy only about half actually made it to my running friends.  The others went to old clients and my grandma. 

In between slugs of ibeuprofin and McGriddles on Saturday I tried to think of a way out of it.  Fake my own death and hide out in Mexico until late March?  That one sounded pretty good - a little vacation and then see who my true friends are who show up at my funeral all rolled into one brilliant little scheme.  But then I feared Nick would take the life insurance money and buy some Taiwainese child bride or something and I didn't want to risk it. 

There's no way I can back out now. 

I am never drinking again.  Well, until about an hour before the race, so I can forget what an awful experience it is going to be. 

Throw the ball. Throw it or I swear to god I will make the rest of your life a living hell.


In an effort to take advantage of the many, many, MANY tax dollars we pay to the city each month, I signed my kids up for Parents as Teachers. 

Also on my list:  play on local elementary school playground, drive up and down Manchester and set fire to front yard.

Anyhoo, I was super excited for them to show up because I need some major help around here.

"Hi, how are you this morning?"  She asked as I let her in.

"Awesome,"  I said, putting on my coat and scarf.  I didn't want to waste time with small talk.  I was on my way to meet up with some of the third shifters at an early morning happy hour. 

"Where are you going?"

"Oh, right,"  I said.  "If the baby gets the shits, just put her in the tub, and the big one has started this thing where she bites the middle one when they get to wrastlin' over toys.  I usually just let 'em fight it out."

"Wait... you actually have to be here."

"Well what was all this 'Parents as Teachers' crap?"

"WE give YOU the tools to promote school readiness and the healthy development of your children.  We're not babysitters."

Eew, gross.  It was too late to fake not speaking English.

For two hours we sat on the playroom floor and I prayed to god that my kids didn't make me look like a douche.  This lady had a very official looking clip board and I wanted to win at being Mom. 

I found myself mentally willing them to do each of the developmental tasks on her list so hard I thought my brain might explode.

"Can you throw this ball to me?"  She asked Lila. 

I tell you, the invisible lightning bolts coming out of my head trying to telepathically control her hand to throw that ball in a perfectly straight line were intense. 

"Throw it, god dammit.  Throw the ball the best she's ever seen,"  I silently screamed in my head as I directed my brain waves toward her. 

"Well, maybe we'll try that one a little later,"  She laughed. 

"Oh yeah, no problem,"  I laughed breezily.

"Don't you screw this up for me, you little turd,"  I thought. 

As it turns out, my kids are all normal.  Pretty much.  Though I still think for the amount of money we shell out every month the city should send over a babysitter every once in a while.  Or at least a bottle of wine and some Xanax. 

Which are actually sort of the same thing. 

Dropping the Ball


Unlike many people, I am a big fan of new year's resolutions.  Yes, it's true that most will be broken before the previous night's hangover fades into oblivion, but I figure the happiness that a few hours of thinking you'll soon be 50 pounds lighter provides is better than nothing. 

Last year I had two resolutions:  1.  Shower every day, preferably in the morning, and 2.  Make dinner at least three nights per week. 

Which might not seem like much to you, but when you're sitting on the couch smelling like ass eating Chinese take-out for the third night in a row it starts to wear on your self image. 

And, I can happily report that both have been a success.  A few small changes to my daily routine and I'm fresh as a rose dropping a hunk of something into the crock pot almost every day. 

But this year, there I was - almost a week into the new year and I was stuck.  I spent the last two weeks racking my brain.

Drink less wine?  Well, yeah but I'd also like my family to live to see another day.

Exercise more?  Gross.  Besides, I already work out two hours a week. 

Have more patience with my kids?  I mean, sure - but what do I look like?  A miracle worker?

Cut back on the time I spend playing Words With Friends online?  No more peanut butter out of the jar?  Floss?  Lose 10 pounds?  Stop cheating at Candy Land?  Start a random acts of kindness initiative?  Learn a cool parlor trick?  Stop parking in handicap spots?

None of those things sounded even remotely appealing to me.        

A friend of mine told me her resolution was to stop worrying about things she can't control.  And that's just about the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life. Things you can't control are the only things you should worry about.  Why would you worry about things you can control, like whether to have fried Twinkies or a salad for lunch?  You make the decision you want and move on - no worrying necessary. 

So after much consideration I came up with two things:

Wait.  You're probably expecting something funny, or sarcastic, but I'm just warning you these are just regular old things so don't be disappointed. 

So after much consideration I came up with two things:

1.  Make a daily journal for each of my three girls and write down one thing every day that I'll want to remember in 50 years, and

2.  Remember my friends' and family's birthdays and send hand written cards.

I wanted things that didn't require too much of a daily time investment, and things that I always wished I did after the moment had passed. 

Also, things that when other people see, make me look like a Mom who "has her shit together", or "isn't on the verge of a nervous breakdown."

Which is pretty much the motivation behind every decision I make anyway. 

Plan B


Knock knock!

Who's there?

Not my will to live!

This morning I (finally!  oh thank god finally!) dropped two of my kids back at pre-school.  They don't technically open until next week, but I figured they both have good playgrounds and aren't too close to busy traffic so I was okay with it. 

Speaking of which, I'm getting really sick of all these "laws" telling me what I can and can't do to my kids.  I can hit them, but I can't leave them in the car for five minutes while I run into the gas station to buy a bottle of bourbon and some scratchers?  Did you ever think that maybe if it were legal to leave your kids in the car we wouldn't need to hit them?  Come on people.  It's simple math.

Anyhoo... where was I?  Oh yeah.  About to tell you how I almost snuck to the airport in the middle of the night last week to implement "Plan B."

Don't get me wrong.  I love my kids.  But two weeks straight holed up in a house with anyone whose name isn't Chocolate Cake would drive anyone to the brink of insanity.  And, as an added bonus, throw in three snotty noses and the occasional spontaneous puke that comes COMPLETELY without warning and you've got yourself some good ole fashioned holiday cheer right there folks. 

All four of us did venture outside - once - to play in the snow.  It took 35 minutes to outfit everyone in snow pants, coats, hats, mittens and scarves, then two of them had to pee.  I pretended like I had gone deaf and pushed them out the door.  Of course, because I was holding the baby, all I could do was stand there and slowly freeze while I watched Ellie and Lila frolic around.  After we were outside for 15 minutes the baby's fingers felt like ice cubes because god forbid she keep her mittens on and my right ass cheek was completely numb. 

Everyone reluctantly shuffled back inside and the feeling didn't come back in my butt until half way through Shrek 2.  I vowed, as God as my witness, never to try anything so stupid again.

We went to the science center.  We went to Lone Elk Park.  We went to the Faust Park puppet show.  We went to the grand opening of Little Fishes swim school.  We went crazy. 

But this morning, for two hours and ten minutes, my salvation came.  No Sesame Street.  No Play Doh.  No sounds of two little girls fighting to the death over a spoon. 

It's all uphill from here. 

Until summer.  Awful horrible summer.  And maybe Plan B.       

Day Old Bread


Ten years ago when I would pick up my friends for girls night out the first thing they would say upon entering my car was something like, "this party is going to be so crazy!" or "do you know what crabs looks like?"

Last night, as I tried to look as cool as possible rolling up in my mini van to pick up my three single friends, I was painfully reminded of my station in life when the first words out of their mouths as they piled in were, "is that a portable toilet?"  Oh, which P.S. was followed by "I don't think I can fit in between these two car seats." 

My transition into an actual adult is nearly complete.  Which would be a lot easier to swallow if everyone in the world was on the same page.  Last week, my brother-in-law announced he had proposed to his girlfriend on the same day that I had dinner with one of my best friends and she dropped the bomb that she and her husband are going to try to have another baby. 

It was pretty much the worst day ever. 

Don't get me wrong - I love love LOVE my soon-to-be new sister-in-law and my friend having a third means more playmates for my girls.  But it also means that I'm officially day old bread.  Now that I'm married, and my child bearing days are behind me, I'm not going to be everyone's focus anymore.  Other people will get all the attention and all I can do is idly stand by and watch and maybe spread nasty rumors every once in a while about my friends in a jealous revenge.

And it's not just my friends.  I see pregnant people everywhere I look.  Happy wedding parties taking pictures by fountains galore.  And I just keep getting older, less interesting, and completely ridiculous when I try to wear the latest fashions.  I don't know about you, but when I wear those leggings it reminds me of one time I got really drunk at my sorority formal and walked around with my skirt tucked into my pantyhose all night. 

However, I will say that I decided this morning that my new year's resolution will be to focus on the positive and embrace my new elderly status.

That and also get a chin lift by the beginning of the summer.   

Happy Holidays From The Mayers

Dear Friends, Family and Random Blog Reader Strangers I pray every night aren't pedophiles going to steal my kids,

Happy holidays! I thought I'd take a quick moment to share our many blessings and let everyone know what the Mayer family has been up to this year.

2012 kicked off my with OB prescribing me a healthy dose of Zoloft to deal with a bitch of a post partum hormonal mood disorder. I spent a lot of time wondering how many Big Macs I could eat before my stomach exploded.  Yowza! 

In February we hit a bit of a rough patch with recurring illnesses with the girls. There wasn't a single day in all of February that someone didn't have a dangerously high fever, pink eye or play musical projectile vomiting.

Wakka wakka!

In March Ellie hit a major milestone – potty training! Have you ever chased something through your house that is actively shitting all over your floor with every step it takes? And you try to run faster to catch it but you can't because there's something feverishly trying to suck your sore, tender nipples clean off your boobs?

Some days I would just take a little “me time” and decompress by firing up some Enya on my iPod, locking myself in the bathroom, putting my head between my knees and screaming into a bath towel as loud as I could until I was on the verge of passing out. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By April the money we had saved for a three day a week nanny ran out and that's when I started hitting the hooch like a boss. The entire summer is a bit sketchy but I'm pretty sure at one point we had a monkey named Mr. Vittles living in our dryer.

Lila started pre-school in August and has been busy making some great new friends! One of the little boys taught her how to smack people in the face and now I can barely make it through an entire day without getting surprised bitch slapped with both hands. What a rascal!

Hadley turned one in November – where does the time go?! Nick and I actually blew off her birthday to go to one of his six work-related holiday parties that had an open bar. We were going to get her a gift but we never did.

Speaking of Nick, his work has been really successful and busy. The two days a month he gets off we've had some great adventures. Like one time we went to Hardee's.

I've been spending the past few months working on perfecting our family routine and maximizing some domestic logistical efficiencies around the house. For instance, did you know you can save a ton of time on laundry if everyone wears the same clothes every day? Same with the dishes – there's really no reason you can't use the same plate and silverware for a week or two before it really needs a run through the old dishwasher. Actually, that rule pretty much applies to anything that needs washing.

And did you know that meatloaf only needs like three ingredients, most of which are optional?  Sometimes I just throw some hamburger in the crockpot and viola!  Dinner is served. 

From our house to yours, Merry Christmas and happy new year!

To Hadley on her first birthday


When I first found out that I was pregnant with you I knew for a fact that out of all the families in the world you had chosen us. 

After I took six pregnancy tests and picked my jaw up off the floor and had a panic attack and ripped the calendar off the wall and stared at it for two hours wondering when in the hell this happened, I knew out of all the families in the world you had chosen us. 

You saw things were hectic and hurried and overwhelming at the Mayer house and if you didn't take matters into your own hands and jump right in it might never happen. 

My goal every day is to give you the attention you deserve, and every day I fall short.  I have yet to read you an entire book without being interrupted multiple times, rock you to sleep at bedtime or enroll you in some sort of enrichment class that I used to think was oh-so-crucial to every child's development. 

But none of that seems to phase you.  You know a billion words, can almost hold a conversation and can count to five.  In Portuguese.  Besides, at this point you consider yourself lucky that I haven't forgotten you in a shopping cart in the parking lot and (usually) remember to feed you. 

I was so happy you were a girl to complete our family's female trifecta, contrary to what everyone seems to believe.  Sharing a room with two older sisters so close in age you haven't known a lonely moment in your life and I pray that never changes.

Other things you haven't known:  a clean house, a meal that doesn't involve a crockpot or meatloaf (usually simultaneously) and Christmas decorations. 

I promise to get my shit together soon after you leave for college. 

You are my last baby and, though I promised myself I wouldn't, I treat you differently.  I try my best to prolong every milestone, every outfit, every expression, every day.  I consciously soak up every memory because I know how quickly it will disappear, like it never happened. 

In a year I'll look back on today and it will seem like a crazy dream with all the beautiful details all fuzzy and blurred out. 

You are cute as a button and with those eyes and that hair you're going to be able to charm your way right though life.  If with no one else but your Dad. 

You are smart, determined and fearless.  You are loving and lovable, so much fun, extremely perceptive and your timing is impeccable. 

You are the exclamation point at the end of our sentence. 

And, most importantly, you are an awesome dancer. 

In the words of your favorite song:
You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are gray
You'll never know dear
How much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

Death of a laptop

I don't know if you've ever experienced the death of a laptop, but it's not unlike the death of a loved one.  Well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration.  It's more like the death of a distant relative you didn't know existed, or someone who used to work in your building but you didn't care all that much about. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is all we are is dust in the wind. 

Anyhoo, I haven't written in a while because my laptop died.  I went to turn it on one night, all settled in with a nice glass of wine ready to spend some serious time on Block Shopper to see how much my neighbors paid for their houses, when the screen turned yellow with black dots and started flashing on and off really fast, like a Mexican disco tech.  I wasn't sure if it was the wine or my computer but either way I knew it wasn't good. 

I was in denial for a few weeks and just pretended like everything was like it was back when my computer was still of this earth.  With the exception of the occasional Facebook check in on my Blackberry, I was completely cut off from cyberspace.  And, believe it or not, after the initial panic wore off I actually found it quite liberating.  Time that used to be sucked into a Pinterest vortex was now being spent reading books, making Christmas gifts for our neighbors:

and changing my kids' diapers.  Apparently you're supposed to do that more than once a day.

But then funny things started happening, like my bills didn't get paid.  I also started developing a warped sense of self because I was watching a lot of Real Housewives of New Jersey. 

It was time to pay the piper.  And by piper I mean Amazon. 

I started my new laptop research which, when you are relegated to a 2" screen to research and buy a laptop, takes about two minutes before you say screw it and buy the first thing you see with more than two stars. 

So you'll be happy to know that my new laptop has arrived, I'm back to writing and, more importantly, spending hours and hours on Pinterest searching things like really classy felt Christmas trees. 



I've never been a big fan of imaginary friends. Probably because they are freaking terrifying. I've seen The Shining, The Exorcist, and The Amityville Horror enough times to know that if your kid starts talking to the empty seat at the breakfast table you should probably just buy your family all one-way tickets to Tijuana and throw a match on your house as you pull out of the driveway.

Much to my dismay, Ellie introduced me to her imaginary friend a few days ago. He is a shark. His name is Shark. I told Nick it was creeping me out and he said we only have to worry if she starts talking to someone named Mr. Peepers or Stabby. I'm mainly scared of waking up in the middle of the night to some creepy pervy ghost licking my toes or spying on me while I get dressed or something. Though truth be told that would be way scarier for the ghost.

Anyway, I've read that imaginary friends are a safe way for kids to express their true feelings. If that is true we're screwed because Shark is a selfish jerk. He carries a purse, prefers the best seat on the couch and comments regularly on Mommy's belly fat.

I mean, I get that this is all a normal, healthy stage of development. Or Schizophrenia. Either way I don't like it one bit. I'm a big weenie when it comes to scary things. I have to turn my head away for 60% of The Wizard of Oz. I always run up the basement steps like the wind because I'm sure there's a werewolf hot on my tail. And my daughter telling me an invisible Shark is watching me while I'm reading gives me the heebies big time.

Part of me just wants to make a big plate of fish for dinner one night and, as she's eating, tell her that Shark was in the wrong place at the wrong time and he's never coming back so stop talking to him. But I don't know what can really screw her up mentally at this age and I don't want to play with fire.

Plus I can't cook fish for shit.

Hurricane Sandy made landfall in my belly (and also a fun give a way)


The past 48 hours have taken 3 years off the life of my lower intestine.

It started yesterday when I ate all the kids' Halloween candy. What began as an innocent breakfast dessert turned into me behind a locked bathroom door dumping candy corn crumbs into my mouth like a starving baby bird swallowing a worm.

As a kid I always wondered why the adults thought it was so dang funny to act like they were taking my candy.  It's because they were testing me to see how much of a fuss I was going to make when it actually happened. 

After I ate all the candy I went to Chick-Fil-A. I know, I know. I don't agree with the organizations they've given money to and I told you I swore them off forever but I have an addiction people! I can't just quit cold turkey. Or at all.

Then I had a big bowl of white chicken chili for a mid-afternoon snack.  Then as I was taking the empty candy wrappers from the morning to the neighbor's trash can still out on their curb I found a full sized Hershey bar in the street that must have fallen out of someone's Halloween bag and obviously I ate it. 

Then last night I took Ellie on a date night to AMC West Olive's new dine-in theater to see Madagascar 3.  Where, in true date night with a 3-year-old fashion, we ordered Parmesan fries, an Asian steak and shrimp bowl as big as my head, grilled cheese, and... well, this:

I don't know what it was.  It had ice cream, waffles covered in some sort of carmel crunchy stuff, was covered in bacon and called me this morning asking for child support. 

Two hours later, as I was gripping the sides of the toilet wishing I was dead, I remembered I had a doctor's appointment this morning.  An annual physical where they weigh you and take blood work and stuff.  I'm already preparing myself for the call from my insurance company telling me I'm fired because I only have 4 hours left to live.

But in those 4 hours I will tell you that the new movie theater was really fun.  You get your own personal server and get to eat dinner right there in the theater, without having to get up to get refills or anything. 

They're having a grand opening event on Monday, November 5 at 9am and the first 100 people in line will get free movies and appetizers for a year!

Get more info here, and if you go and happen to run into that bacon waffle ice cream thingie tell him the check's in the mail.

Disclosure:  I was provided goods, services and/or compensation for promoting this product or event.  All thoughts are my own.   

Da 'hoe

Last Monday I woke up to this sweet bitch outside my house...

...(the Tahoe, not my daughter) with strict instructions to hit the town and unlock the keys to St. Louis for a week. 

Don't mind if I do!

Reluctantly, I said goodbye to my righteous mini van

cranked the tunes

and saddled up. 

First we went in search of the lone elk at Lone Elk Park

When we found him I was slightly afraid but he turned out to be ever the gentleman.

We also ran into a gang of bison. 

And made a Ted Drewes stop on the way home.

Later that week it was on to Grant's Farm, which I think permanently scarred my kids for life.  I wasn't about to abandon ship because... well... free beer. 

And finally, we ended our week at the Purina Farms haunted hayloft. 

I think the man who modeled for this statue was the first and only date I've ever had on, by the way.

You know how you go shoe shopping and you try on all those shiny new shoes, then you put your old tennis shoes back on and they suddenly seem a lot more disgusting and smelly and you notice there are dried boogers on the back of your headrest?

Yeah, that. 

The Progressive Dinner

Nick and I decided that it is high time for us to start going to church on a regular basis.  Because, well, only a sucker would pass up wine, crackers and free babysitting while they can zone out for an hour and a half. 

As part of our church's 100 year anniversary celebration, there was a progressive dinner on Saturday night.  The invitation encouraged guests to "dress up in clothing from their favorite decade." 

Pay close attention to that last part.  It's key to the story later. 

Anyhoo, for obvious reasons, Nick and I chose the '90s.  Because they were awesome.  And easiest to find costume material.  We spent the better part of Saturday afternoon combing thrift stores for the perfect shoulder padded silk shirt and Mom jeans.  Once we found it we moved on to searching for my costume. 

"How do you know when you've put on enough hair spray?"  Nick asked later as my hair fused to the sizzling curling iron. 

"Once your forehead makes a sound like crinkling paper when you wrinkle it you know you're off to a good start."

I'm pretty sure I'm personally responsible for destroying at least part of the ozone layer.  To this day there's a spot in mid-Missouri where, if you stand in just the right spot on a clear night, you can see straight up into God's bathroom. 

Classical music floated down the hallway and greeted us as we opened the heavy church door.  As we walked toward the fellowship hall, the music and conversation became louder, and my excitement grew as I thought about how awesome our costumes were.

I patted my bangs and gave them an extra spray.  

My first clue something was wrong was the look on the cleaning lady's face as we passed her in the hallway.  It was the same look that my kids give me when I step out of the shower. 

We rounded the corner and my jaw dropped as we stood in the doorway of the fellowship hall. 

Before me stood a sea of dinner jackets and nice dresses.  And gray hair.  Probably a hundred people - OLD people - there and not one dressed up.  NOT ONE.  It looked like we were crashing Betty White's wedding reception. 

I made eye contact with the pianist and it felt like the notes coming from the piano were choking me as Nick and I both stood there, staring silently at the room full of well dressed, well groomed, old people. 

He slowly leaned over to me, and, barely moving his lips to as not to attract attention, whispered one word.


We slowly, !EVER SO SLOWLY!, took a few steps backward and then turned and sprinted away, past the confused cleaning lady, down the stairs, to a back door in the basement. 

Which was locked. 

"NO!"  Screamed Nick, rearing back to kick it down. 

"We have to go back upstairs,"  I said. 

The longer we waited the worse it was going to get.  Like a band aid.  Just get out quick.  Don't make eye contact.  If anyone sees us we just pretend like we're deaf.  And blind.  And then punch them in the throat. 

We ran up the stairs two at a time, again past the cleaning lady, out the door, past three people all looking like they were in an ad for Coldwater Creek, to the safety of Nick's car.

It was difficult to run due to the wind resistance against my bangs.  But I looked to the east and created a sail, allowing the jet stream to do the work for me. 

We just sat in silence for a moment and caught our breath. 

"You think anyone saw us?"  I said.

"I don't care,"  He said, starting the car and peeling away. 

"We have to make a promise to each other here and now.  We will never, NEVER go to one of these things unless we know at least five other people who are going."

"Promise,"  I said.  "Now let's go hit the town.  I don't want to waste this hair."   

Rags to britches


I'm going to just come out and say it. 
I'm cheap. 
Not cheap in a maybe I shouldn't buy that expensive bottle of wine cheap, or I'm not sure if I should indulge in a day at the spa cheap, but more in a hey why would someone leave a perfectly good pacifier on the bathroom floor of Six Flags oh bonus it matches Lila's outfit cheap.  
Basically the kind of cheap that involves spending money on other people that are not me.  Namely my kids.  Hey, those little suckers are a major drain on my beauty resources!  And they burn through clothes so fast... I look at duck taping beer boxes around their feet as a practical yet stylish solution to shoes.
When Ellie was born someone gave me the advice, "Take care of yourself and everything else will fall into place."  Don't mind if I do!
Last week I received an invitation to attend the grand opening of the Hanna Andersson store in the Galleria.  What?  You sell new clothes for kids?  Like, Goodwill new or box of outgrown clothes from the neighbors new? 
I could invite a few friends. 
"Hey, want to come with me to the grand opening of a kids clothes store at the mall?"
"What store is it?"
"Umm, it's called Hanna something."
(silence, then slowly whispered)"... Andersson?"
"Yeah I think..."
*friend's head explodes*
Next friend:
"Hey, want to come with me to the grand opening of a kids clothes store?"
"Not really."
"It's supposed to be good.  Like, head exploding good."
"Wait wait wait." (pause)  "What store are we talking about here?"
"Hanna Ander..."
*friends head explodes*
And so it went until every one of my Mom friends was completely headless, sketching erratic pictures of pajamas and leggings and dresses on their kitchen counters.

I was intrigued.
Finally Thursday came.  I barely had a chance to stop the car before my friends made a mad dash for the store, where we weren't the only ones who had been looking forward to this night.
And OMG... the cuteness was overwhelming.  Three little girls... this is going to be dangerous for me. 
Thank you Hanna Andersson - for the first time in her life Ellie has a new coat:
And I went ahead and got her a dress while I was at it:
She better not get used to this... the beer box shoes have AT LEAST another two weeks of life left in them.
DISCLOSURE:  I received promotional products and/or services from Hanna Andersson; opinions expressed are my own. 

One man's treasure


First of all, thanks to a virus which has landed my beloved laptop in the computer hospital for 4-7 more days, I am hunched over, head lamp on, magnifying glass in hand, typing this on my Blackberry.  I've narrowed the potentially sinister virus-giving sites down to and - until I determine which is to blame I recommend avoiding both. I can't find the spell check button on the mobile version of Blogger so you're about to see my public school education shining through right here.

The things I do for you.

Anyhoo, over the weekend we hosted a garage sale. I say that like it's no big d, like I didn't spend three weeks of my life alone in the garage strategically placing hundreds of tiny pricing stickers over the barf and poop stains on my children's outgrown clothing.

My emotions ran an the gamut from nostalgic and choked up when I began sifting through onesies to angry and personally offended when someone would look at something and put it back.

One thing is for certain - I've haven't worked that hard for fifty cents since that one time in college when I won a bet about whether or not I could chug a glass of ketchup without puking.

 There are two types of people who come to garage sales:

 1. Normal people

 2. Crazy people

Normal people show up, say good morning, buy something, and don't give you any reason to believe they're going to show up in a few hours and watch you sleep.

Crazy people show up smelling like cheese and have hair growing in places the good lord didn't intend. They will buy the most random thing in your driveway and then ask if you have any lighters you want to get rid of.

Just when you think they're gone they'll walk out of your front door and tell you you're gonna need to put toilet paper on your shopping list and ask how much you'd take for your wedding album.

Any pride in my cherished things completely vanished by noon, when I was literally chasing people down my driveway and shoving arm loads of stuff into their cars because the thought of bringing anything back into the house made me physically ill. After all was said and done, we made just about enough to cover the cost of fixing the virus that landed on my computer the next morning.

Vacation all I ever wanted

Last week was kind of a big deal around here.  I hate to brag, but Nick and I just got back from a 6-day vacation to the Ozarks.  Beautiful rolling hills overpopulated with deer crazier than a motherfucker,

stunning golf courses conveniently situated in between a high school football stadium and an interstate,

and Sundays are all you can smoke meth night down at the Painted Pony.

Try not to be too jealous. 

The vacation kicked off with us slowing the van down just enough to safely toss the girls onto my parents' driveway and speed away before anybody had a change of heart. 

Wait, that's not true. 

The vacation actually kicked off with me running around the house like a yahoo, sweat pouring down my back, as I frantically packed 6 days' worth of clothes and diapers and bottles and baby food and coolers and lots and lots and lots of other stuff for myself and three little girls. 

But I would like to take this opportunity to give some major props to my Husband The Helper - as he walked out the door that morning he said, "You can just leave the suitcase on the bed and I'll throw my stuff in before we go.  Oh and can you pick me up some Boulevard beer?" 

That darn rascal. 

Anyhoo, some highlights from our first vacation not involving someone having a baby include:
  • Going to the movies twice
  • Ordering the big popcorn at the movies
  • Mentally working through a Family Exit/Lake House Mansion Entry Strategy as I stared catatonically at the lake
  • Trying on some of the latest fall fashions at the outlet mall
  • And finally, discovering two of my friends are actually robots disguised as people
In case you are too distracted from the snack cake avalanche on the table in front of us:

It was also Lila's birthday last week, which was good timing because box cake eased a bit of the sting associated with picking up the kids. 

Now we're just left with the problem of every future vacation being a huge disappointment because wee doggies let me tell ya it was a party a minute.  Vegas has nothing on the chicken noodle soup and red wine offered at the Columbia Residence Inn complimentary happy hour. 

Maybe next year we'll get super freaky and go to Branson.