This week Nick took a few days of vacation to hang with the girls while I attended a blogger conference in Nashville. I told him that I was going to the conference to learn how to become a better blogger but in reality I actually went to make him appreciate everything I do around here and understand why I burn through a bottle of grain alcohol every day.

He was really excited about getting to spend some quality time with them because he has been working some unbelievably long hours lately. In fact, he has spent so little time at home that an hour after I left I was on the phone with him explaining that the smell coming from upstairs was a second baby and that Elliot was actually a girl.

I went with my three St. Louis blogger friends Melody, Lisa and Kelli from St. Louis Family Life. And I know what you're thinking - four girls, one hotel room? And yes, we've all perfected the art of the ninja poop. This isn't our first rodeo, people.

The highlight of the trip came on Thursday night at a networking event at a club in the hotel. I got to change out of my usual uniform of a Snuggie and Nick's tighty whiteys and slipped on the iron maidens.

The club was closed to the general public and we got to enjoy a private concert with Michelle Branch and Matt Kearney. Even better than that was that Tide provided all the red wine I could drink. It was almost like I was back at home, minus the feelings of extreme isolation and the Snuggie.

After the concert the club was re-opened to the public. And by public I mean about three dozen farm boys from the tractor conference also taking place at the hotel. I guess they don't see much in their neck of the woods besides corn and sheep because they immediately began to circle the dance floor, licking their chops at the drunk and vulnerable mommy bloggers enjoying a night of child-free bliss.

I tried to fight it but after four hours of dancing my feet actually detached themselves from my legs, flipped me the middle finger and went back up to the hotel room. I was not even close to being ready to leave so I hobbled into the wolf pack in search of a bar stool.

Smeric*: Can I buy you a drink?

Me: No, thanks. But do you wanna see a picture of my kids?

Smeric: How did you fit that huge photo album under your shirt?

Me: I believe the technical medical term is a pannus, but I just like to call it my secret pocket book. Now see in this picture here, the big one, how she looks all consternated? That's because she's in the middle of taking a huge dump. And here's the little one. She's only four months old and I'm still REAL tore up from her. She... you know what? On second thought, I WILL take that drink. BARTENDER! Give me one of those martinis. And don't try to slip any of that cheap shit in there either. Ok, so now where were we? Oh yeah, I mean, I have to pull out a little hand drawn map to show my husband what used to be where. In fact... I bet you've never even seen a stretchmark.

*takes drink, pulls up shirt*

Ok, so see this one? I like to call it Herbert, or sometimes Mr. Hoover, because it's the worst one of the bunch. See how it has its own pulse? And this one here... I call her Lady because if you cock your head to the side and push the skin together like this she looks like one of those naked ladies on the back of a big rig tire flap. Oh gosh... why are you vomiting? You know, some people really can't hold their liquor.


Well, the good news is that I met a lot of awesome people and learned that I'm not the only one who prefers to snort their Xanax off of a cutting board. The bad news is that the Freshetta photo booth revealed that my head is actually a Jack-O-Lantern.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

The best post ever in the history of the entire world

All I have to say is make sure your volume is up. Way up.

Big hot mess

Nick: My family is going on vacation to Florida this summer, do you want to go?

Me: Oh yeah! That sounds like a lot of fun. Plus it will give me a little extra motivation to get back in shape.

Nick: You just had two babies! You look great. You're always so hard on your...

Me: STOP! Please. Just let me say this. I'm not fishing for compliments. Just let me say this and don't say anything, ok?

Nick: Ok.

Me: I look at myself in the mirror and my body is a disaster. I don't even recognize it. There are so many things going on that I don't know where to start. I'm a big hot mess.

Nick: (silence)

Me: I knew it. You think I'm fat.


Fortunately for us (ok, let's be honest... fortunately for ME) both of our girls have been good sleepers. At three weeks Ellie was up just one time a night for a quick feeding, then right back to sleep.

Unfortunately, that one time a night persisted well into her sixth month until one fateful night when we decided to just let her cry it out.

AKA the night 'o horrible unspeakable tortourous mind numbing oh God please put it out of its misery hell.

There is no worse psychological torture on a mother than her baby screaming like someone just cut off its limb in the next room. The urge to just go in and make it stop using whatever means necessary is completely overwhelming. As she wailed I just rocked back and forth in my bed in the fetal position while I distracted myself from the noise by slowly peeling off my toenails one by one.

But that was all it took - after that night she has slept like a rock for at least 12 or 13 hours every night. But did I mention the psychological torture hell night?

I haven't quite fully recovered from that and my toenails have barely begun to grow back so Lila is still up once a night. And of course the middle of the night feeding is all me.

The rocker in their nursery is placed next to a low window, and this window is the reason I decided to keep them both in the smaller of the bedrooms vs. moving them into the more spacious room with higher windows.

The first few weeks of Ellie's life I hated the middle of the night feedings, for obvious reasons. Bleary eyed, I would sit in the rocker by the window looking out onto the dark, lifeless neighborhood illuminated only by fuzzy halos surrounding forgotten porch lights, feeling like I was the only person in the world who wasn't fast asleep.

But one night as I was rocking, trying to get a good look into my neighbor's living room window it occurred to me that there are thousands - tens of thousands - of people doing exactly what I'm doing right now.

So now I kind-of enjoy this time of night. I think of it as my secret society middle of the night meeting with all the other parents out there who are also rocking their beloved, looking out onto a lonely, sleepy world, feeling like the only person on Earth who is still awake.

Cheers to us.

The invisible moustache

Well, that's the last time I ever do THAT.

35 likes in one day? It's like you people have never read anything funny before. If I hear or read one more thing about how my friend Jen is SO hilarious or how she should start her own blog I'm going to barf.


I won a major award, damn it!

She is dead to me.

And to make my day even better, apparently my beautiful girl has some sort of moustache invisible only to me. I took her with me to Ellie's music class this morning where THREE people asked me what HIS name was. It would be different if I had dressed her in a pair of cargo pants and a KD Lang concert t-shirt.

But she wasn't. She had a pink hat and I was carrying her in this.

One person even, after I answered that HER name was Lillian asked me how old he was.


I had the same problem with Ellie, though, and luckily she turned out to look relatively normal.

Though she has shown an unusual interest in watching college softball on TV.

And now to the stage... Jen!

So I know you people get tired of hearing me drone on and on about the same old stories day after day. Kids pooped all over the place... I drink the pain away... blah blah blah.

So I asked my good friend Jen to regale us with a recount of her recent adventure with her son, a vending machine and a crowd of judgemental eyes.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to get back to watching Teen Wolf Too.

*When contacted by Hannah to guest blog for Skidmarking, I was both honored and surprised. After all, how could I have ever guessed that those classic college days we spent exploiting our livers and dancing like we belonged on a pole would lead to this: bonding over maternal shortcomings and sharing parenting debacles with the Internet sect? Oh, the places you'll go. Preach it, Seuss.

Channeling my best Sophia Petrillo, I ask you to picture it: Vetta Soccerdome, Saint Louis, Missouri. Much like other upwardly mobile parents desperate for their yuppie children to excel in the fabric of suburban life, we enrolled our 4-year-old son in soccer lessons. What this means for Logan is he gets to run around and disobey someone else for 50 minutes per week. What this means for me is I get to gossip with my friend Nancy and take a much needed break from my constant vigil against kidnappers and child molesters. Everyone wins....well, except the child molesters.

Of the many things I envisioned stemming from soccer lessons (free college tuition at some fancy school, Nike commercials extolling Logan's talent and agility, David Beckham begging for his autograph), I never would have imagined this:

My son stuck in a vending machine.

It's not that I wasn't watching him. It's more like I was watching but didn't particularly care what he was doing. There, I said it. In the blink of an eye he went from reaching an arm into the prize door, to ducking his head in and, just as quickly, slipping the second arm inside. And there he was: a child buried to his waist in a 7” x 9” hole. Legs flailing, arms pinned, and with a nonbreakable (I tried) plexiglass door clamping down on his neck each time he tried to pull himself out. Horrifying. Humiliating. And yet, kind of charming in its own “just wait until your rehearsal dinner” kind of way.

It's amazing the things you think of when you find yourself prostrate in front of a vending machine. If you're wondering what, here's a hint: you're thinking about the 45 parents who just formed a crowd around you to gawk at your screaming child. You're mourning the soccer lessons your son used to take before you had to reallocate the money towards his therapy. And you're wondering if you can get him out of the machine and drive off before Child Protective Services comes to take your child.

So, draped in the warm glow of scathing judgment, I extracted Logan. First I had to staunch the raccoon-tossed-on-a-fire screams emanating from my firstborn. If there is ever something that will keep me up at night, aside from wondering how Mariah Carey's Glitter was green lit, it will be those screams. Next I had to run about 800 algebraic permutations to find the best angle to lift him out without, say, decapitating him.

In the end, it was nature that saved the day. Logan was so scared, so hysterical that he soaked his entire head and shirt with sweat. I was able to use that to first slip his arms out and, with the help of a stranger who held the door off his neck, turn him on his side, press his head against the floor of the machine, and lift him up and out. Blessed freedom! As my friend Kate so eloquently said, it's like a vending machine gave birth to my son.

In the end I was left with one very sad little boy who learned his lesson for about 3 seconds before, I kid you not, stuck an arm up into the air hockey table. Much like his mother and rail vodka, he never learns.

And what became of the death trap vending machine? Well, check out its newest accessory, which we have affectionately named “The Logan Bar / Anti-Lawsuit Device.”

Thank you sir may I have another

Right now all I want to do is hang myself from a tree limb by my ankles, take my shirt off and let midgets take turns flogging me with baseball bats like a human pinata.

Why, you ask?

Because I am the worst mother ever. The worst mother who has ever walked the Earth. I want to hide under a rock. Oh God I suck so bad.

Today was Ellie's second day of pre-school. I decided to schedule Lila's 4-month check-up while Ellie was in school because to be honest I would rather be locked in a closet with a starving lion while wearing t-bone ear muffs than sit in a doctor's waiting room with her.

We arrived at the appointment 1/2 hour early because I wanted to make sure to have plenty of time to pick Ellie up from pre-school. Again, just to drive the point home... it was her SECOND day.

Fast forward an hour and a half to the doctor just walking in the room. I tell him I only have 10 minutes because I have to pick Ellie up from her SECOND day of pre-school.

Ok, no problem.

20 minutes later I'm in my car en route. I decided to take a shortcut because I'm supposed to be picking her up in 10 minutes.

You can see where this is going.

I went THE WRONG WAY on the shortcut road.

Which I realized 20 mintues later.

I got so turned around, mixed up and confused that I just decided to drive to my house and start over. 25 minutes after I was supposed to pick her up I'm finally pulling up to the front door where my poor little baby was standing there holding the teacher's hand.

All alone.

The last one to be picked up.

By 25 minutes.

On her SECOND day.

I am skipping the part of the story about how I literally had a nervous breakdown in my car. Screaming at other drivers to get out of my way, sobbing hysterically, clenching the steering wheel so tight that my fingers are still crooked and cramped. Of course every light was red. At one point I just considered grabbing Lila out of the back seat and ditching the car becuase I was sure I could run there faster than my car could drive.

Oh yeah, and frantic calls to the school every five minutes to try to convince them that I really don't suck.

But I do.

If anyone has any ideas for a "sorry I suck and had to make you wait 25 minutes with my kid" apology gift to the teacher, I'm open.

Assuming I'm down from the tree limb in time for next week's class.

Pillow talk: Part 3

Alarm: Beep Beep Beep

Me: (shutting off alarm) Well I wasn't expecting THAT last night.

Nick: That we would sleep peacefully through the entire night, completely undisturbed?

Me: What?

Nick: (stretching) I feel so rested.

Me: Ummm, no, I was talking about that one time when Ellie was up all night, bouncing around in her crib and whooping at the top of her lungs for hours because all you fed her for dinner was chocolate chip cookies. I've been up with her since 2:30. Didn't you hear any of that?

Nick: Like a rock.

Me: I want a raise.

The lesser of all evils

Yesterday Ellie was coloring in her new coloring book titled "Barbie - A Fashion Fairytale Sparkling Style" that her aunt Elizabeth gave her for Christmas.

She was in the middle of coloring a page across the room and she kept stopping and pointing to it and saying "mommy daddy mommy daddy". Of course I thought when I walked over to look it would be a nice picture of a glammed up Barbie, ready for a big fashion event with a dapper Ken on her side.


The best I can hope for in this scenario is to be the particularly effeminate Ken. Which leaves Nick as the obese fat ass backwoods trucker or the girl swine.

Maybe I need to change out of my pajamas more often.

My purse

A few years ago I took a second job as an adjunct professor at a local university teaching marketing to working adults going back to school to get their bachelor's degree. I loved it - even after working a full 9 (or 12) hour day I always looked forward to teaching a 4-hour class.

One semester I had a mentally disturbed student in my class. Aggressive, intimidating and rude. The other students told me they were afraid as well so I decided to go to the Dean.

And I was completely blown off.

I taught at a satellite campus that was an office building by day and I was usually the last one to leave the building at 10:00 at night. After I dropped off my projector in an empty, dark office I walked down a series of empty, dark hallways out to my lone car in an empty, dark parking lot. I asked the Dean if, at the very least, he would consider hiring a security guard to be on the premises for a couple of hours at night.

He said no.

So I quit.

F that s.

I had recently gotten married and had spent the last ten months starving the shit out of myself to look fabulous in my wedding dress and I wasn't about to go down now.

Hells no.

For some reason Saturday's tragedy in Arizona is hitting me very hard. I can't stop thinking about it. I read a series of emails written by Jared Loughner's classmate that said she sat next to the door with her purse in her lap because she thought he was the kind of person who might one day come in with a gun and unleash on the class. Apparently the teacher had tried to have him removed but the administration blew him off.

This tragedy has disturbed me more than Columbine. More than a massacre that happened less than two miles away from my house in 2008.

I laid awake in bed last night for most of the night thinking about the 9-year-old girl who will never get to experience butterflies in her stomach as she sits on the couch waiting for her date to pick her up. I thought about her mother who will never get to tell her daughter to get off the couch and wipe that crap off her face before her date picks her up.

I thought about the 76-year-old man, his life a winding path paved with stories of heartache and triumph (as we all have) that led him to that sidewalk on that day at that time, only to have his story end in an instant. I thought about all the people he had in his life and what he never got to tell them.

But most of all I thought about Jared Loughner's parents. They now have to live every second of every minute of every hour of every day with the knowledge that they created a monster capable of taking innocent human lives. And that to me is the worst hell imaginable.

And thinking about that is when it occurred to me - my kids. Having kids makes me see the world through a completely different lens.

I don't want them scared to go to school. I don't want them looking over their shoulders as they walk through the mall. I don't want them wondering if the guy sitting next to them on the plane got through security with a bomb strapped to his boot.

And I don't know what to do about it. You can't arrest someone on suspicion of crazy. You can't even prohibit them from walking into a Sportsman's Warehouse and buying a semi-automatic weapon in the same amount of time it takes to buy a loaf of bread from the grocery store.

And as long as that's possible then things like what happened on Saturday are possible.

All I know is that from now on I'm sitting by the door with my purse in my hand.

And I'm telling my kids to do the same.


Me: Um, I just went to get my daughter out of her car seat and saw she was sucking on a Wet Wipe.

Poison Control: Ok, let me just look that up. (silence) I think she should be ok, it doesn't look like there's enough alcohol in those to get her drunk. What is she doing right now?

Me: Well, she's banging on her keyboard and jumping around in what appears to be an imaginary mosh pit.

Poison Control: (silence)

Me: I'm going to jail, aren't I.

As of this morning I'm officially on the map. Listed in some government data base that slowly over time compiles evidence against inept parents. You get a little tick next to your name every time you take your child to the ER, contact poison control or call the child abuse hotline on yourself.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to get back to my daughter. She got my cell phone out of my purse and is trying to call that cute little 2-year-old boy she met in the gym nursery this morning.

Whoop, there goes her shirt.

Run for the border


I've been saving up for a new fancy camera but I wanted to share this picture I took on Christmas Eve with my old crappy camera.

Speaking of saving up, this would be the perfect time to mention my new partnership with a website called Her Channel.

You may have noticed a new media bar at the top of my page. Well don't just look at it - click on it you fool! In addition to having access to lots and lots of awesome videos about food and kids and stuff you will be contributing to my camera fund. I get paid like $28 for every 100,000 page views. To-date I've had 3,702 people visit my blog... so let's see here... carry the one... I before E except after C... it puts the lotion in the basket... ok. So if each of you could please watch 4,356 videos then I'll be 1/9 of the way closer to a new Canon Rebel.


Now back to my story.

Lila had just finished signing autographs following her Oscar worthy performance as baby Jesus and the three of us (Ellie, Lila and me - Nick had to work all weekend) were all soaking wet from walking to the car in the driving snow.

Now would probably be a good time to mention that I am probably the world's worst snow driver. Some have called it "dangerous", "irresponsible" and "life threatening" for me to be on the road when it's snowing. I've also heard the words "path of destruction" uttered from time to time. But the show must go on and a Mom's gotta do what a Mom's gotta do. Lives of her children and others on the road be damned.

We made it there ok but the drive home was a whole different story.

You know that person driving about 3 miles per hour down the middle of the road, wipers blasting full throttle, one foot on the gas and one on the break, driver's seat pushed up against the steering wheel, squinting eyes about two inches from the windshield so she can get a better look?

Well that's me - nice to meet you. Next time if you could just please wave instead of honking and yelling about how much I suck out your window that would be great.

We were slipping this way and sliding that, and by some stroke of luck we slid right through the Taco Bell drive through so I could get a little Christmas Eve snack.

We live at the top of a hill and my poor little Accord was making these straining noises like 8 tiny reindeer pulling a big ole Santa as the tires tried to spin their way to find asphalt to get some traction. I just remember thinking that every foot we made it was a foot that I didn't have to carry two kids and a bag full of Taco Bell up a hill in ankle deep snow.

In high heels.

With no socks.

I know, I know... I've already gotten the "you need to carry a pair of boots, hat, scarf, blanket, emergency flares and Saint Bernard in your trunk for situations such as this" from my Mom.

By some miracle we made it home and in between putting the girls to bed and digging into my grilled stuft burrito I put on my boots and stood in the back yard for a few minutes, watching the falling snow and counting my blessings.

And by blessings I mean dollops of sour cream on my Nacho Bell Grande. And my blessings abound, my friends. My blessings abound.

The change

As Boyz 2 Men would say, I'll make love to you. Oh wait, wrong song.

Another thing they might say is that I've just about come to the end of the road with this whole breastfeeding thing. I'm down to two or three times a day and I always have to supplement with a bottle anyway because who knows what, if anything, is actually coming out of those things. And as much as I like having things suck on my nipples willy nilly it's time to bring this train into the station.

Which means my hormones are going bat shit crazy again.

From taking enough fertility drugs to require the use of Nair on my back to being pregnant to suddenly not being pregnant to breastfeeding to not breastfeeding (repeat), hormones have become a standard part of the apology speech I deliver to Nick on an hourly basis.

They've been my scapegoat for over two years and I don't know what I'm going to do once I can only justify titanic sized mood swings once a month. I'm going to have to save up all the crazy stuff that I want to do or say and blow it all in a very well timed 48 hour period.

The past few weeks have been really bad, though. I was recently shopping at The Limited and started crying at the song Frosty the Snowman that was playing on the overhead speakers. The sun WAS hot that day! Poor snowman! He was a trooper 'til the end, that Frosty.

Then a few days ago I started crying in the grocery store because someday Ellie won't be able to fit in the front of the cart.

And then... THEN... some bitch had the audacity to post a video on her Facebook page of a montage of military men and women's family homecomings. I was crying before I even hit play and about seven seconds in a group of neighborhood farel cats had gathered around my front window to try to peek in and get a look at the new guy.

Seriously people - what am I going to do once I have nothing to blame for my uncontrollable sobbing? And what about the bitchiness? Without hormones I'll just be a regular ole bitch!

I should probably just get pregnant again.


On Saturday night we attended the graduation party of one of our friends who recently got her master's degree. The Evite stated the party began at 5:00. We were there at 5:01.

We weren't able to find a babysitter for New Year's Eve so we spent the night watching about fifty episodes of The Twilight Zone and fighting back tears as we read texts from our friends about the crazy times they were having getting sick in flower pots and avoiding sobriety checkpoints. So on Saturday we had a lot of making up for our lamehood to do.

The party was held in a private room at a bar and when we walked in at 5:01 we were greeted by no one but a lone balloon floating in the middle of the room.

We were there before the host.

We were there before the music.

But more importantly we were there before the bartenders.

We were what some might call "huge dorks".

Forty minutes later, as we sat at the bar ordering our second round of drinks, still the only ones in the place...

Me: Wait a minute... is this all really a big surprise party for me? Are all of my friends and family going to jump out from underneath the pool table at any moment to celebrate my fabulousness?

Nick: For you it would be more like a surprise intervention.

Me: Bartender! I said TWO limes in my double Jack and Coke! Now what were you saying? Hey do you think they would mind if I tied this balloon in my hair?