Day Old Bread

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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

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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

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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. 

video
 
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
 
Love,
 
Mom
 

Death of a laptop

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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. 



Shark

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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)

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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

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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 Match.com, 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

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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.

Run. 

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

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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

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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 MyFitnessPal.com and ExBoyfriendCyberstalk.com - 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

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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.     

To Lillian on her second birthday (two days late... sorry)

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Dear Lila,

The moment the delivery room nurse placed you gently in my arms I knew you were God's perfect angel sent down to me straight from heaven. 

But it was only a matter of minutes until, like every other delusional and eventually abandoned parental fantasy, that romantic day dream crumbled before my very eyes and you launched directly into a two-year nonstop poop fest interrupted only briefly by you screaming and running away when I suggest it might be time for a diaper change. 

Only fourteen months older than your younger sister, I thought you would welcome her with open arms into our family after the year of hazing you received from Ellie.  But your pledge of allegiance to Ellie was unwavering, and from day one you decided if you can't have me no one will.  Every night I pray that one day my sanity will return along with my hearing. 

You are the spitting image of your father, not only in looks but also in temperament. The good part about that is that I know I will never have to worry if we happen to accidentally wander into the middle of a knife fight.  The bad part about that is that you'll probably be in jail about four times by the time you graduate from high school.  But, like your father, you'll be too smart for me to ever be the wiser.

Last week you asked me for a pen and paper and a few minutes later when I came by and peeked over your shoulder expecting to see a bunch of uncoordinated scribbles, I saw you had hammered out a few letters.

W.  T.  F. 
It was a very Shelley Duvall flipping through Jack Nicholson's masterpiece moment in The Shining.  As I gasped you looked at me with an expression that said, "What?  It's a few letters.  No big d.  Now get me a pudding cup."

I just slowly backed away and went to play dolls with Ellie. 

The one thing you did inherit from me is the ability to problem solve with a dance break, and I would put your moves up against any 2-year-old on the planet. 

You embrace life with enthusiastic vigor, and sometimes as you race around the back yard I wonder if you might actually spread wings and take flight.  But then I take another sip of my wine, close my eyes real tight and remind myself that humans can't fly. 

Everyone is continually asking me where you get all your energy, and I think it has something to do with the fact that your first words each morning are, "I eat?" and the last ones before you fall asleep are, "still hungry."    

You are beautiful, vivacious, passionate, lovable, loyal, kind, determined, and hilarious. 

So... how's this play on camera?  Good?  Cool. 


You are a sparkle in my eye, and a skip in my step. 
I know whatever you decide to put your talents toward will be successful, if not completely "legal". 

In the words of your favorite song:

When you're sad, you know I wish I could be there
To make your sorrows disappear and set your troubles free
It's not fair for me to be this far from you
But I promise to stay true wherever I might be
Time keeps burning
The wheels keep on turning
Sometimes I feel I'm wasting my day
How I miss you and I just wanna kiss you
And I'm gonna love you till my dying day

Love,

Mom




Cheese dip and a pedicure

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Recently my college friends and I had a discussion about the moment we knew we were done having kids.  For one it came to her as a random Epiphany as she was driving down the street; for another it was when her husband came home holding a bag of frozen peas on his nuts and said, "Hey guess what." 

I was 99% sure our magic number was three the entire time I was pregnant with Hadley but that pesky 1% kept me from doing anything permanent when I got my c-section.  This was despite Nick's 24/7 hard sell for me to get my tubes tied because, in his words, "J.T.the Trusty O.B. is already going to be deep in them guts." 

The 1% finally came to me when Hadley was about a month old and I hung her newborn picture in our hallway next to the other two girls'.  I stepped back, looked at the three pictures hanging there and something inside me said, "This is your family." 

Then it said, "Please God just let them get through high school without getting pregnant."

Then it said, "Hey, you know what sounds good?  Taco Bell."

Today was Ellie and Lila's first days of pre-school.  Yes, I know.  Two kids in pre-school.  I bet you didn't even think that was mathematically possible. 

This morning, for the first time in three years, I saw a speck of light at the end of the tunnel.  The long, dark, pajama all day wearing poop wiping barfing where is that smell coming from tunnel.  For two hours, two days a week it's going to be just Hadley and me.  As the other Moms lingered on the playground tearfully snapping photos, I jumped the fence and ran to my car which was still running double parked in the street so as not to waste a precious second. 

All morning all I've been able to think about is next year when all three will be in pre-school (did that just blow your mind?) and I will have TWO hours TWO days a week ALL TO MYSELF.  I've been giddy all day.  Like, skipping around with that I Just Started Dating Someone Awesome and I Think I'm Going to Try to Baby Trap Him smile that I can't wipe off my face.  I just keep thinking about all of the things I'll be able to do with my glorious free time. 

And you know what I'm going to do?  Not a god.  damned.  thing.  I'm going to sit on my ass and eat cheese dip on the patio and stare at the trees for two hours. 

I know what you're thinking.  Because I hear it a million times a day from people standing in the grocery store line.  "Ooooh, I know it's hard, but it goes so fast.  Try to enjoy it and not wish it away because one day they'll be gone and you'll want this time back." 

And I'm desperately trying to act interested and maintain eye contact as someone AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH TOUCHED MY SIDE OF THE GROCERY CART!!!  Mom.  MOM.  MOM!!  MOM!!   MOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM SHE'S ON MY SIDE MAKE HER GET OFF MY SIDE!!!

And yes, there may come a day when I will miss these times.  I will actually be able to finish a meal without getting up 20 times, pee without an audience, go to dinner without packing for a camping trip, go to the gym, plant a vegetable garden without someone screaming to high heaven through a baby monitor when I'll wish for this time back. 

Wait.  Never mind.  The opposite of all that.  I don't think that time will ever come.  In fact, I know it won't. 

Only 364 more days.  And I'm going to wish every single one of them away until I have my four hours a week to eat unlimited amounts of cheese dip on the patio.  And maybe get a pedicure.     
   

Madagascar

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Last night at dinner:

Me:  So Ellie, what was the best part of your day today?

Ellie:  Watching Madagascar.

Me:  Watching a movie was your favorite part of the ENTIRE day? 

Ellie:  Yep.

Me:  Even better than driving to that park where we saw all the bison?

 
Ellie:  Yep.
 
Me:  And then that big one came all the way up to the car?


Ellie:  Yep.

Me:  And then we saw that majestic deer eating grass in the beautiful field?


Ellie:  Yep.

Me:  And then we drove to the bird park and saw all those birds?  And we all had so much fun and you guys ran around laughing and saying how this was the best day ever and it was an awesome family bonding experience?  Better than that?


Ellie:  Yep.

Me:  You saw a BALD EAGLE today.  Do you know what a rare and beautiful experience that is?  You saw an actual BALD EAGLE, and you're telling me that the best part of your day was watching a cartoon?

Ellie.  Yep. 

Me:  Huh.

Ellie:  So what was the best part of your day?

Me:  Ummm...


...probably when you were watching Madagascar. 

Run for your lives! No really, run. You are in actual danger of dying.

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Last Saturday started out like any other Saturday.  Woke up at 6am to a crying baby, drove through McDonald's for a bacon egg cheese biscuit and large Diet Dr. Pepper, headed out to the middle of nowhere with my friend Christina and got chased by zombies through the woods for three miles

No big d. 

I was super nervous before the race, not because of the possibility of getting eaten by the undead but because of the possibility there might be an obstacle I couldn't do and everyone would be laughing and pointing as I cried at the bottom of a rope swing.  Not that that's ever happened before.   

But thanks to my twice weekly 5:45am boot camp sessions with my Sweaty Friends and some pent up gym class bully hostility I totally dominated the zombies like a fat kid dominates cake.  Well, except for that one part where they took all my flags and I "died".   

The scariest part of the run actually came about ten minutes in when a deer all hopped up on go-go juice had juuust about enough of a bunch of hippies running through her bathroom and went completely bitch cakes on the runners right behind me. 

At first I thought it was a zombie actor dressed up like a deer but as it got closer I saw the crazy look in her eye and I realized she was a legitimate undead woodland creature. 

Sorry I didn't get any pics - I was too busy shitting myself whilst trying to flap my arms fast enough to fly to safety.  I don't really remember much after that, probably because I was running through my real life nightmare of a deer touching me with its creepy face. 

But here's an artist's rendering:

P.S. Those are actual fangs on that bastard.  It's some deer in China or Australia or something.  I would LOVE to introduce that species here in the Ozarks so they would have a fighting chance come November. 

Luckily I brought along my waterproof camera to share some of the race action with you.


 
 
 
Although not ideal, the mental image of a deer zombie pushed me to keep running up all the hills, sprint past the finish, straight to my car, up to my bedroom and under my covers where I will stay for all eternity. 
 
 
1,211 out of 4,287.  As you can see, deer zombie was hot on my trail the entire time.  And I'm not positive but I think she followed me home Cape Fear style and may be hiding out in the basement.   


Big perm big worm

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I'm pretty sure they put something in state fair beer that makes you want to go out and buy a gun. 
This beer tastes like it was roofied by Smith and Wesson. 
Because every time I walk in there I'm all, "Hey look at me with my college education and all my teeth" and after five minutes I'm asking my sisters to co-sign on the loan for my underground camo bunker while my toddler gets a tattoo. 
Dude this tat is gonna be so tight.   

Hey gimme a hit of that to dull the pain. 
We made a last-minute decision to head to my home town and take Ellie to the state fair this year, mainly because it was the first time in fourteen years that I didn't go to the St. Charles County fair and I needed my corn dog fix.

"Mommy I can feel my heart struggling to beat." 
"That means it's working, honey."

Because seriously, St. Charles County fair people, $20 bucks per person?  To see a bunch of pregnant teenagers compete in a pageant and couple of pigs?  Really?  In the past we've piled all of our friends into the back of the mini van and made them crouch under the seats like a bunch of illegal immigrants crossing the border to avoid the $15 cover charge but this year we didn't go on principle.

So please enjoy a few shots of our day at the state fair.

Here's Nick taking Ellie onto the giant Ferris wheel.  You could get a real good view of the lightning from up there. 
    
Pee wee four wheeler competition.  Followed by the after party in the pee wee beer tent. 
Ellie really enjoyed the super slide.
See how much fun she's having?

Because why not.
Red velvet funnel cake.  With cream cheese icing.  Isn't she pretty?  Now stop looking at her.  Seriously... you... back the eff off.  She's too good for you. 

I got mind control over Deebo. He be like "shut the fuck up." I be quiet. But when he leave, I be talking again.