The fanciest thing in our house is now gone

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Last weekend my sister and nephews got the heck out of cow town and came up for a visit in search of some big city action.  I invited them up under the guise of a fun weekend but it was really a trap to get my sister to help me install a cute wall decal in the girls' room. 

She had installed the same ones in her room a few weeks before and I was excited to fancy up our house a little bit. 



"No - you don't understand!  It's the devil's decal!"  She cried.  "They're horrible!  It takes forever and it will take over your soul!"

"But they're so cute and fancy!  Please help me - it will go so much faster!"

After we got into a secret fight for a few hours, she realized my passive aggressive skills are far superior and we locked the kids in the bedroom with us and we began. 

After five seconds I realized she was right.  We had made a huge mistake.  There were 105 pieces to this bitch.  One.  Hundred.  And.  Five.  Pieces.  First, we had to locate the correct sticker on a two foot sheet of one hundred and five stickers arranged in a completely random and chaotic order.  Then, we had to match the sticker with the map which was provided in the box.  We had to backtrack several times because if even one little branch or flower or leaf was a quarter of an inch off it threw everything off. 

Of course almost immediately the kids all started playing the game "let's violently open and shut the closet doors and see how many fingers and toes we can smash and subsequently scream balls while our Moms are in tears looking for number 43."

It took us two hours.  TWO HOURS, YOU HEAR ME!  YOU THINK YOU KNOW TWO HOURS BUT YOU DON'T KNOW!  By the time we finished, every piece of clothing had been thrown out of the hamper and dressers, someone fell off the bed, each of the children had broken at least one finger and one child was just gone.

But it looked adorable.  It was one of those things where you keep walking into the room just to admire your work and pat yourself on the back because you don't care what anybody says - you're crafty.  For once in your life a project actually turned out the way it was supposed to.   

I bet you want to see a picture, huh?  Well, this is where the story gets stabby. 

The next night I walked into the girls' room to just give them one final check before I went to bed and also admire my new found artistic skills.  We'd been having a problem with Ellie running around the room for a couple of hours after we put her down but tonight it sounded like she had gone right to sleep.  Not a peep out of the room the entire night.  What an awesome Mom I am to have such an obedient kid!

I walked in and stopped in my tracks.  I thought maybe my eyes just needed to adjust to the dark.  I rubbed them.  The tree was gone. 

Well, not all of it.  Just the pieces that can be reached in the wing span of a 37-inch little person. 


I felt a lump form in my throat.  That decal was by far the fanciest thing in our house and it was gone.  She had stuck all of the flowers on Lila's crib and balled up all of the branches together and threw them on the floor.

Immediately I began to hallucinate.

"Mom?  Where's my flowers?"

-silence-

"Mom?  What happened to my flowers?"

-inaudible choking noises-

"Mom?"

"Ellie.  I love you but I have to walk away from you right now."

After some internal debate I've decided to leave it like that.  Because a little fancy is better than no fancy at all.     

That's a wrap

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It takes a special kind of friend to call you up and ask if you'd be interested in trying out her new fat wraps. 

I'm sure the conversation went something like:

My Friend Carrie:  Hey, I started selling these new wraps.  They're especially good for postpartum women trying to firm up their bellies.  Want to give them a whirl?  I'll hook you up with a few and if you like them you can talk about them on your blog.

What I heard:

My Friend Carrie:  You so fat you gotta go to Sea World to get baptized! 

Obviously I would never say no to something that might help out my stomach, which, after three kids in 30 months, is TOTALLY thrashed. 

Ellie got the ball rolling nicely:


Lila picked it up and kicked it over the fence:


And then Hadley grabbed it and repeatedly bludegoned me in the gut until every inch was shredded and there was no way in hell I would ever come close to flashing anybody at Mardi Gras ever again:


So Carrie came over and gave me the demo.  Which meant she would actually see my stomach.  In person.  I asked her to do it with her eyes closed but she kept jacking me in the face so I finally had to do the big reveal.  Soon Carrie, all three of my kids and my niece Rikki were gathered around it, mouths gaping open, watching her apply the wrap. 

We let it marinate under a layer of saran wrap for just under an hour and when we took it off... viola!  By some miracle from god my stomach had shrunk.  Not anything totally drastic, because let's face it - if you want liposuction results you're gonna have to do some lipo suction.  But enough that I could notice a difference. 

I took a picture because I considered showing you all the before and after.  And you know I'm not shy about showing you stuff here.  I mean - I'll show the scale when I step ongive you the gory details about having a mole removed from special places... I even showed you a picture of me wearing a freaking catheter.  Really there's been no limit.  Until now.  I just couldn't do it.  I'd be kicked off the internet for posting vulgar photos.  And I would be totally wrecking your unborn childrens' dreams of someday becoming a real human being. 

But I found some close pics on the internet:

Before:

After:
*

*Actual results may vary. 

I've done three wraps so far and I do really like them.  I strap one on, pop in my Walk The Line DVD and shout encouraging words at my belly button.  And I won't share pictures but I WILL share my measurements (does anyone else simply detest the feel of a measuring tape against their belly, by the way?):

Bust:  33 to a 31
Waist:  35 3/4 to a 34
Hips:  39 1/2 to a 36

I've also been doing boot camp two mornings a week which hasn't hurt.  But in addition to the inches I've noticed my stomach is less hangy and the skin is less bumpy.

So here's some of the details about the It Works! wraps from Carrie:

-Botanically based formula that delivers maximum tightening, toning and firming results where applied to the skin. Skin will look hydrated, more youthful, with improved appearancce of body contours and cellulite.
-Ultimate body app is successful for the majority of users the very first time it is used
-Along with applicator, sensible eating habits and a regular exercise are recommended for optimum results
-Average inch loss is 1-3 inches per application
-Immediate results in 45 minutes
-Continues to work for 72 hours after removing applicator
-Results last 2-6 months
-Natural herbs metabolize fat to energy (paraben free)
-Non diuretic- it actually needs water to flush fat and toxins (drink lots of water before and after wrap) - not water weight lost - actual inches and pounds loss
-Works for men and women
-Firms, tones and smoothes in cellulite-prone areas
-Minimizes "spongy" appearance
-Use one applicator every 72 hours until desired results. Use applicator one time per month and continue sensible eating and exercise to maintain results.
-Perfect for postpartum women (but don't use if you're pregnant)

So... here's how you can win some free stuff. 

For all of my Facebook friends who sign up for the loyalty program with Carrie between June 26 and July 6 (you commit to three months of four wraps/month) you'll be entered to win a free four pack of wraps.

Or, if you don't want to commit to three months and just want to give it a whirl, you have two options:

Order one at a time directly from her website, or
Host a party.  You'll need a minimum of four people and you and your friends can try a wrap for $30 each. 

You can email Carrie with questions or to set up a party.  I've already made her promise not to show anyone the pics she took of me though, so don't even try. 

Contest rules:  One winner will be randomly selected on July 7 and notified via Facebook email.  Winner will have 48 hours to claim prize.  Must be legal resident of the United States.  Prize has no cash value.  Winner holds contest administrators harmless. 

The crock

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Before I got my cooking skills

I never ever ever thought I'd be writing this post.  Ever.  Ever.

Ever. 

Before I started my weight loss journey in January I had LITERALLY used an oven a handful of times.  Three times to make my kids' birthday cakes, twice for a frozen pizza and once for frozen taquitos for my housewarming party in 2004. 

My New Years resolution was to cook three nights a week, and so far I've stuck to it.  I credit cooking at home with a large part of my weight loss.  Who knew eating Taco Bell twice a day could lead to "obesity", "diabetes" and "heart failure"? 

When I write I tend to put quotes around things that may lead to death. 

Granted, 99% of what "I cook" are super easy crock pot meals, but you've gotta start somewhere.  And it works because I can start them around 2:30, when the kids are napping and less likely to crawl up my legs the minute they hear me bang a pot in the kitchen. 

Pinterest (click. follow. love.) has been my endless well of awesome recipes, so I thought I'd share my favorites with you.  You'll love them even if you're culinarily challenged, like me.  I've made between 25-30 crock pot dinners since January, but these are the favorite of the favorite: 

My favorite - chicken Parmesan

A close second - honey sesame chicken

Nick's favorite - Cajun shrimp (I use Zataran's red beans and rice)

Rikki's favorite (my niece/former helper) - French dip subs

Easiest - meatloaf

The kids' favorite - teriyaki chicken

The best for a dinner party - lasagna

Healthiest* - fish tacos (not a crock pot recipe)

My favorite non-crock pot recipe - chicken piccata - I mean, SERIOUSLY.  Try this.  It is the bomb diddy. 

I know this isn't 'that' kind of blog, but I'd love if you'd share your favorites from the crock pot so I can branch out.  Or if you try any of the above let me know what you think!

*I have no clue if this is actually the healthiest.  But it has fish and veggies and stuff. 



Hello

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Now, you all know that I'm not one to be all "Hey!  You know what sounds like fun?  Looking at some more pictures of my kids today!"
Well, maybe once in a while.  But after 32 years of being kid-less I know that nobody gives a crap about pictures of other people's kids. 

But this is really weird. 

So I posted this video of Hadley on my Facebook page last week of her saying her first word.  Which was technically two words - "hi babe". 

video

But then, and I'm not kidding, I SWEAR I've been hearing her say random words non stop since then.  Big words.  Like words that make sense where they're supposed to go.  I've stopped walking around the house naked because I feel like I'm being Punk'd. 

This morning I finally caught one on tape.  Listen for yourself and tell me I'm wrong. 


It would be adorable if it weren't so creepy.  It kind of reminds me of that dog that howls the words "I love you".  But it's more like "A ru ru ru".  And you're left wondering if the dog actually has any clue what it's saying, or has just eaten so many Milk Bones after howling the right syllables at the right time that it does it for a sure fire snack. 

And so now I'M left wondering - are these 'words' just babbling that my ears are interpreting as words?  Is she just mimicking sounds?  Is she possessed by the spirit of my dead Grandmother trying to send me a message?  Tell me what you have to say, Mimi.  Give it to me straight.  Especially if it involves a coffee can of cash buried out by the well house.

Live to see another cheese tray

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Spoiler alert - this actually has nothing to do with cheese trays.  I just went on a rhyming website to find something that rhymes with 'day' and 'cheese tray' was an option.  I like cheese trays, and thought it had a nice ring to it so I went with it. 

Now on to the story. 

A few weeks ago I had a mole removed from my Special Purpose.  I have not been able to see that area of my body first hand - that is to say without the help of two hand mirrors and a set of tongs - since September 2008.  I noticed a small mole after I scared off a family of Martins that had taken up residence down there. 

It was time for my annual (that's the word for every five years, right?) dermatology appointment anyway so I decided to get it checked out.  I have the intention of going every year because I'm a poster child for why you should wear sun block.  Although my Irish half does give my Swedish half a little color.

Transparent is a color, right?     

Now, I've had three kids.  Pretty much everyone who has worked at St. Luke's from the years of 2007 - 2012 has seen all or part of my Special Purpose.  Including the janitor, though that was just a big misunderstanding when I was all drugged up and thought the cafeteria was my bathroom.  When I was recovering from Lila it must have been field trip week because at one point I had a team of students gathered down there as one tried (unsuccessfully) to stick a catheter in.  It wasn't her fault, though - who can insert a catheter with a family of birds pecking like maniacs at your hand because you're invading their nest?  They're very territorial, you know.      

And I happily laid there, splayed out frog legged for all to see, while about a dozen students cheered her on.  I didn't mind because I know they look at them all the live long day and I'd put money down that mine isn't the worst they've seen. 

But my dermatologist... he's not lucky enough to get to look at vaginas all day.  I have no idea how many people de-underwear in his exam room so I had to make sure everything was tip top because with such slim exposure I didn't know who he would be comparing mine to.   

As I lay there on the table, I had second thoughts.  I told myself it was probably fine, and just to forget it.  We're all going to die sometime, right?  I mean, I could die on the car ride home. 

And hey!  Maybe it wasn't a mole after all.  Maybe it was just a stray turd spec that lost its way.  But as he finished his exam and told me everything looked good I knew I had to put my big girl pants on. 

"There's one more thing,"  I said, lifting my butt up and pulling down my underwear as his lips curled over his teeth and he backed toward the door.  "I noticed this tiny mole on my bikini line."

He exhaled.  "Well, if you say so.  I guess I'm legally obligated..." he said, putting on a pair of woolen mittens.  "How long has this been here?"

"Your guess is as good as mine.  I haven't seen anything below my nipples in four years."

"Well, hmmm.   Yes, I'd like to biopsy that.  I'll go get the syringe."

I immediately regretted my decision to bring it up. 

"What does that mean?"  I asked the student standing next to me.  Oh, I forgot to mention of course there was a student in there.  Because that's how my luck rolls. 

"Well, I'm sure it's fine..." she started to say but he was quick with the syringe. 

"This is going to sting..."  he said, jamming a needle into the mole.  On my Special Purpose.  And yes, yes it did.  It stung like a bitch. But not as much as the sting that accompanies waiting for test results.  As I've said before, you can be an ugly ass virgin nun and you'll still sweat out the two weeks it takes for you to get the results of your AIDS test. 

On the drive home I began planning my funeral.  "I want fancy napkins,"  I told Nick.  "The kind with my initials on them.  And a video montage of pictures of me looking hot.  Maybe we should schedule a photo shoot in July after I've had a chance to tan a little bit."

"You're not going to die." 

"You're a doctor.  That's what they train you to tell people who are going to die."

Well, you'll be happy to know that I'm not going to die.  Not from this, anyway. 

I'll live to see another cheese tray. 
  

Let them eat cake

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In an effort to absolve a few of the things I did on my wedding night that I'm pretty sure are against God's natural plan for men and women, last night I served food to homeless people. 

Actually, I take that back.  I THOUGHT I was going to serve food to homeless people.  Exchanging quick pleasantries while I stood a respectable distance away spooning Mexican casserole onto their plates.  A table safely in between us as God jotted down some notes to get me on the fast track to golden town. 

What I learned at our orientation was that each of the 10 volunteers would each be assigned to a table where we would sit with 8 people.  We were supposed to actually talk to them.  And eat with them. 

What if one of them touched me.  Eww. 

The coordinator started giving some simple instructions for what to do, oh say if someone started stuffing casserole down their pants, or, I don't know... someone had a complete mental fucking episode. 

I looked around and planned my escape.  They were super short handed and I had conned my sister-in-law Vicki to come with me and right before the doors opened she made a break for the restroom.  I thought that was the last time I would ever see her.  It was too late.  Before I knew what was happening they descended.  142 people in need of a meal. 

The first group through the door was a flock of kids who made a beeline right for me.  And by 'me' I mean the plate of cake sitting in front of me that I was trying to shove into my purse and take with me on my escape. 

"Can we have some cake?"  They all chimed in unison. 

"Well, let's try to eat a few bites of dinner first and then you can have some cake,"  I said as I put plates of not cake food in front of them.

They all looked down and started picking. 

The littlest one was two.  About the same age as my kids.  She struggled with her fork in the same way my kids do.  I felt a lump start forming in the back of my throat.

"I don't like tomatoes,"  one of the little girls looked at me and whispered.

"Yeah tomatoes are nasty as hell.  Here's some cake!  Have as much as you can fit into your little mouths.  Let's go HAM on this shit.  And I think I saw some cookies around here somewhere,"  I said, running to another table and yanking a cookie from an old man's hand as he was about to put it in his mouth.

"What else do you guys want?  I'll give you anything you want."

They looked at me with big doe eyes as they shoveled cake into their mouths.  "More cake!"  They all said, chewed up chocolate spewing out of their stuffed little mouths. 

I ran frantically around the room, grabbing every piece of cake I could get my hands on and stuffed those little sweeties so full of cake they had diabetes by bedtime.  At one point I looked over and noticed their Mom at the table behind us with a few of her other kids, looking at me wide eyed and open mouthed, wondering what the hell she ever did to me to give her kids so much sugar she's going to have to peel them off the ceiling fan. 

I didn't care.  I would have dressed up in a chicken suit and ran around the parking lot if it made those sweet little kids happy. 

I looked up and noticed Vicki had been cornered by a drunken googley eyed man asking for her phone number.  They always say you'll meet the love of your life when you least expect it so I decided to let her ride it out and see what happened.

The hour flew by as the kids told me about their school, their friends and how much they love Hannah Montana.  It wasn't that different from dinner conversation at my own house.  I know it sounds hokey but I walked out of that place a changed woman. 

And so did Vicki.  I don't want to jinx it but I think I saw her Googling "cute nursery ideas for shopping carts" once we got home. 

If you're interested in volunteering, donating food to the food pantry, helping with job searches, donating clothing or making a meal for their weekly Sunday night dinners, click here

There's free cake. 

Freak of the week

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Dear Skeeter,

I can see why you've come to my blog looking for answers to your troubling question.  I can totally relate. 

Just curious - have you ever woken up in the morning to see what appear to be elf prints around your bedroom window and then you look down and notice your pubic hair has been shaved in the shape of a smiley face? 

Let's just say that I've been working on a little "conspiracy theory" since college. 

Other than that I've got nothing.

Love Always,

H Bomb



The Fizzle

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From what I hear, I had an awesome time at the Snoop Dogg concert last Friday night. 
The concert was at Pop's, which isn't the type of place you go if you want to feel like you are not going to die. 
Of course we were in the front row and I'm pretty sure Snoop recognized me from my blog. 

See how he's looking at me and waving?

Because we were so close to the action, the first thing I decided to do was make some allies with everyone around me in case the shit went down. 

Actually, that's not true.  The first thing I did was shot gun a Natty Light tall boy so if I found myself in the middle of a gang bang I would at least die happy. 

The beers did the trick and before I knew it I had made lots and lots of friends.  Making friends is just another way of saying that I poked some strangers in the cheek and told them I liked their gold teeth.  A move which was misinterpreted by one gentleman who asked me for my number.  Apparently I needed to be more careful about straddling the line between putting out my prowess vibe and putting out my 'please take a bullet for me while I push you out of my way and scream as I run out the door' vibe. 

However, as I type this my memory is jogged a little and I realize he may not have been asking for my number so much as telling me to please leave him alone and stop asking him for drugs we're not in college any more.  And please breathe the other way because he's getting drunk off my breath. 

But I prefer to remember it as the first one.      

I was also pretty sure that at some point during the concert I was going to try to sprint past the bouncers and make a sad attempt to get on the stage and I was going to need some moral support and encouragement from those around me that Snoop would be super stoked to give me the microphone and show everyone what I've got. 

And that may or may not have happened.  Things are sort of a jumbled blur after the Natty Light tall boys. 
  
But as it turns out I had nothing to worry about and the parts I can remember were really awesome. 

The truly terrifying parts actually came the next morning when I had to get up at 6am and take care of three little kids.  And by 'take care' I mean encourage them to zone out to Sesame Street while I Googled things like "can I reverse permanent hearing loss" and "why are the whites of my eyes the color of kitten's blood".

The silver lining is that I'm finally starting to establish some decent street cred at play dates.