Category Archives: Humor

Shopping Cart Thief

Once upon a time, my grocery list used to be written out by aisle, marked with symbols indicating whether the item had store coupons, manufacturer coupons, or both, estimated cost with or without coupons, and an estimated total of the grocery bill.

Now, I walk away from my grocery cart, distracted by something I’ve forgotten to write on my list, and steal someone else’s cart that may or may not have similar items my cart held.

I’m a shopping cart thief. I confess.

Sometimes I don’t notice I’ve thieved a different cart until I’ve gotten home and I’m unloading the groceries. “Honeycrisp apples?” I say out loud. “We don’t buy those. They’re expensive.” Empty more bags. “Where are the bananas?”

Crap. I’ve done it again.

When I messaged Captain Laser Pants that I cart swapped (again), he asked me if I had come home with the right baby. The good news is that mini Gwinn wasn’t with me (he was at MMO), so I hadn’t made off with the wrong child. What happened to me? Where has my brain gone? He commented that I didn’t even have our child to distract me this time.  I told husband that the bliss of grocery shopping sans- grabby toddler must have put me in a fog as I wandered through the aisles of Target, perusing the clearance clothing with a cup of Starbucks in hand. He laughed.

During the purgatory known as “pregnancy,” I heard a report on the radio about a pregnant woman’s brain actually shrinking. I don’t remember if the research said anything about a woman’s brain returning to normal size postpartum (I was pregnant, I don’t remember what was said, my brain was small), but it made me question one’s ability to parent on all cylinders. There are some moms that are hopelessly put together. I see them every Friday morning when I drop off mini Gwinn at MMO. Matching sweater set, perfectly pressed khaki shorts, pearls, lady- like sandals, hair and makeup finished and applied beautifully- all before 9 AM. Their daughters, because they always have daughters, are wearing white linen ruffled dresses with pink hair bows and not a spec of dirt on them. Then I walk in wearing clothes only suited for the gym, glasses on and hair up in a messy bun, tucked under a hat. Mini Gwinn probably has a smear of raspberry on his cheek, a milk spot on his shirt, and he’s shaking his head “no” at me as I tell him to hold my hand. Then he shoves my hand off his and runs, his own little fingers grabbing his recently poorly chopped hair. Maybe their brains were super sized to begin with, maybe they’re just really better at organization and appearance than I am, but I can’t help but feeling second rate when I see these moms with their perfect children.  Don’t get me wrong- mini Gwinn is spirited, and active, but he’s in no way behaviorally challenged. He’s mostly a delight (mostly). Yesterday, as he was kicking and crying in the car from exhaustion, I was trying to soothe him just three blocks from our house. Instead of stopping my car for a full three seconds at a stop sign in a residential area, I only stopped for one or two. I was immediately pulled over by a policeman who could plainly see I was having a bad day. MG had calmed down in the backseat momentarily, but his cheeks were tear stained and red. I was let off with a warning (he told me I didn’t stop long enough, which made me laugh), and as we pulled away into our neighborhood, mini Gwinn lost it and started sobbing again. I’m willing to bet these sweater set- pearl wearing moms in their Infiniti SUVs have never been pulled over in a residential area for not stopping long enough at a stop sign because they were so distracted by their child’s crying in the back seat.

But I guess we all have our own paths, and we are given what we can handle. As a light at the end of the day, my little guy showed me where his nose, ears, eyes and tummy are. He said “I just want to go over there” as we took our afternoon walk. He let me hold his hand. And, even though I may absentmindedly steal other people’s carts at Target, and I wear gym clothes while others are in Ralph Lauren sweater sets, and I get pulled over for driving under the influence of tears, I don’t believe any of these things make me a bad mom. We have a lot of laughter, a lot of love, and when we look back on this time in our lives, it won’t be these little things we remember, it will be the giggles and the tickles and the love.

check out his awesomely bad haircut.

check out his awesomely bad haircut.

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BEST WEEK EVARRRRRR

GUYS. This week is freaking awesome, and it’s Tuesday. I would let you guess, but I’m fresh from a work out and amped up on a protein shake (and a mini kit kat), so I’m just going to tell you.

1. Today my brother and his beautiful wife are welcoming their second baby girl into the world. If you don’t like kids, please stop reading my blog. Kids are awesome, and I’m pretty excited that we’re adding grandchild #12 to the ranks.
2. Valentine’s Day is this week. I could care less about the commercialized holiday itself, but I am fond of pretty flowers and fancy chocolates and telling the world how much I love my husband. It’s also a fun day to give little homemade Valentines and gifts to friends and loved ones.
3.Mini Gwinn is full on walking, talking, and growing more adorable every day. Proof:

Driving daddy's Jeep

Driving daddy’s Jeep

No joke, he LIKES wearing his sunglasses. And driving Captain Laser Pants’ Wrangler. And he doesn’t have any problem shifting the gears (well, he can’t reach the clutch, but don’t tell HIM that). Even when he’s making this face (because I make him climb on the couch without my assistance and he yells at me):

"Help me up, vile woman!"

“Help me up, vile woman!”

He’s still adorable. And sometimes he’s placid and content, like when we’re driving around in my awesome car:

IMG_20130211_152950

Ignoring the fact that “American Tail” is on for his viewing pleasure.

Wait, what?!
4. Captain Laser Pants FIXED MY FREAKING JEEP! That’s right, interwebs, MY HUSBAND THE IT SOFTWARE DEVELOPER REPLACED A REDONK COMPLICATED ENGINE IN MY CAR. He, with muscle and brawn and steel and brains, replaced my engine and a hundred other parts (like the water pump, the intake manifold, the sensors) and brought my beautiful Grand Cherokee back to liiiiiiiiiiiife. Who has six thumbs and is super stoked about this? Team freaking Gwinn, that’s who.

We are planning a baby Valentine’s Party. Because there isn’t anything cuter than that. What are you doing for Hallmark Day, interwebs?


Mini Gwinn Turns One!

So, yes, as of late, I’ve been missing in action. Well, mostly just “missing,” not much “action” lately. Some of my absence is to blame on planning a majorly huge first birthday party for mini Gwinn. It has occurred to me that many parents disapprove of throwing a big “first birthday” for the dumb reason of “the birthday baby doesn’t know what is going on”. It is to those people I would like to send a flock of pigeons to poop on their mini-vans. The first birthday party, as all good parents know, is largely a celebration for the new parents’ “survival of the first year”. We, as dutiful parents, make it a child- friendly party, give it an appropriate theme, graciously accept gifts for the birthday child, but everyone there knows it is just as much of a milestone for the baby as it is the parents.

In the spirit of selfishly planning this party, I picked out a theme like six months ago. My favorite very little person book is “The Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. I loved it when I was little, and thanks to Pinterest, I found excellent ideas on ways to make this party kick as-… butt. The good news is that mini Gwinn actually loves this book, so it didn’t seem hugely self centered to make this his party’s theme.

So when I say I started planning months ago, I’m absolutely serious. I picked the theme in March, found the ideas for invitations in July, made the invitations in August, delivered them in September… you get the idea. But, good readers, by spreading the work over months instead of days, the party itself came together (mostly) seamlessly. Rather than desperately grocery shopping for food the day before, almost everything was already finished. I’m going to share with you my super- genius party planning. Prepare to be O-MAZED.

Firstly, let me clarify. I actually came up with next to none of the ideas for mini Gwinn’s party. Secondly, it was completely serendipitous that Target’s dollar section had Hungry Caterpillar items the week I went shopping for goodie bags and accessories for the party. Lastly, if anyone copies anything from my party, I would be honored.

Pottery Barn Kids Invitations – I changed mine slightly, which are mostly visible in my own pictures. Word to the wise: Michael’s craft store sells green pom pom rope! That saved me a lot of time gluing individual pom poms together to make caterpillars. Instead of hand cutting each eye and mouth, I used a hole punch. The hole punch saw a lot of action during the making of the invitations. I went to Michael’s and bought a ream of multi- colored cardstock, used eight or nine colors for confetti dots, four basic colors for the invitation lids, and green for the leaves in the invitation jar. The mason jars were on clearance at Target, so of course I scooped them up. I used the leftover invitations to decorate the tables.

Fun Cheap or Free Party Planning – I used this website as a base for how to plan the party menu. She has a million great ideas. I bought my plates and cups at Costco, napkins at Ikea, utensils and tablecloths at the dollar store, serving trays at the dollar store and clearance from Target, and followed most of this lady’s advice. She even has a table for the type/ amount of food to serve based upon the time of day of your party. Now that I know where to buy party supplies, I will never, ever buy expensive supplies ever again. The amount of money we saved on decorations and serving was redonk.

THE MENU

Planning the menu was a lot of fun. We had 44 adults and 6 kids RSVP for the party, some with dietary restrictions, some with bottomless appetites, and some with discerning palettes (ahem, Luke). The party started at 2, and although that’s the more common lunch time for weekend days, I felt like it was safe to not provide a full meal. With that in mind, I grew up with a mother who cooked for an army of 100 every Sunday lunch, and as a good Southern woman with a Midwestern practicality, I know you can never run out of food at a party, lest you risk public humiliation.

I feel like the crowd you are feeding dictates what you serve. If we had more children at the party, more “kid- friendly” foods would have filled up the spread. Since we had so many adults, I served food according to our guest list.

Hawaiian Sweet Roll Ham & Swiss Sandwiches – I doubled the recipe. How did I keep them warm, you may ask? Redneck heater: giant foil turkey pan from the dollar store, large heating pad on “high” underneath. These sandwiches were a big hit, and trust me, you’ll love them, unless of course you hate food and yourself.

Costco Pinwheel Sandwiches – the tray serves ~30. They are sold at such a reasonable price, and they’re filling, so they’re hard to beat at a party. Kids can handle them, adults like them, and they’re pretty much wonderful.

Mac & Cheese Cups – my own pseudo creation. Velveeta (or Market Pantry) shells and cheese, bacon bits, two or three globs of sour cream, 1 tbsp. minced garlic, lots of shredded cheese. Mix it all in a big pot, then drop two spoonfuls into foil cupcake liners. These can be made the day before the party, shoved in the fridge, and reheated the day of the event. I’m enjoying a re-reheated cup right now. Again, another kid and adult friendly food. Super tasty, and very easy to handle.

Sensible Portions Veggie Straws – these are the baked equivalent of French fries. I filled up a green planter I bought from Target ( 84 cents!), dropped a cup in, and had out paper bags to fill with the straws.

Vegetable Tray with Spinach & Artichoke Dip – self explanatory.

Strawberry and Green Grape Caterpillar Kabobs – I originally had a grandiose idea to stick these in a styrofoam block, add some chocolate covered marshmallows, and make it look like a cute edible arrangement. When that failed, I just laid them on a crystal- esque tray from the dollar store. Pretty simple. Bamboo skewers from Publix, cut off the sharp edges, three or four green grapes and then a big strawberry at the end. They look reminiscent of the main (well, only) character of the book on which the party was based.

Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Juice – Crazy easy recipe. I sliced apples and froze them in a little bit of lemon water to keep them from browning. The drink dispenser looked quite pretty!

Cucumber Water – Plain old water with frozen cucumber slices. Turns out like spa water. My brother said it was too fancy.

Skinny Girl Funfetti Cupcakes – These were gone in MINUTES, people. MINUTES. I don’t know how they tasted, but I heard good things. I did a rough frosting (from the recipe on the website), then dunked the entire head of the cupcake in large nonpareil sprinkles. Very cute look. The cupcake liners were cute dots from Wilton which appropriately matched the large “1” candle.

Most importantly, THE CAKE – my mom made a GORGEOUS birthday cake for mini Gwinn. She has a groovy printer that prints sugar paper, so I asked for this pattern on a white, three layer, 10 inch cake with this filling. This cake was the best birthday cake I’ve ever had. She made cute fondant letters spelling the kiddo’s name, and it turned out to be a beautiful, clean looking cake. Amazingly, this cake actually served everyone at the party. I wanted the cake to resemble the inside cover of the book, which seemed a lot less busy than the rest of the cakes I’ve seen. This was by far my favorite Hungry Caterpillar cake. Thank you, mom!! I think I was her toughest customer yet, because I swear by homemade cake. After her hard work, we all agreed- homemade cakes taste the best, especially when made by mom!

The Smash Cake – I used a little bitty pan and this recipe to make mini Gwinn’s smash cake. No frosting, and he still went at it!

THE PARTY

I ordered balloons from Publix (tip- tell them you don’t want high float. It adds to the cost and the balloons last ~12 hours without them) and strategically placed them in focal points of the main room, specifically, on the back of mini- Gwinn’s high chair, behind the main table, and in our fire pit/ present pit. Between the balloons, the table covers, the food and the kiddos, there was enough color that major decorations weren’t needed.

The Goodie Bag Contents:

For Kiddos Under 2: 1 pair of Hungry Caterpillar socks, one Hungry Caterpillar paper bucket, 4 Hungry Caterpillar crayons, one spiral top, one kazoo or one set of castanets.
For Boys Between 2-4: The above, but instead of kazoo/ castanets, one wooden train whistle
For “Big Kids” Between 4-11: One Hungry Caterpillar reusable bag (dark green, light green or yellow), and age appropriate awesomeness from the dollar bin, like hair ties, army men, stick on mustaches, sunglasses, slinkys and crayons

We also had a “predictions and wisdom” box for guests to fill out predictions for the kiddo’s future, words of wisdom, etc. He’ll get to read them when he turns 18, but Captain Laser Pants and I got a great laugh reading them last night. I put together a small box for the bigger kids with cloud dough, bubbles and coloring pages with crayons outside, just in case it was too crowded in the house (this was used!). My mom made a cute sign that said “come on in!” so people weren’t ringing the doorbell every minute. These were all last minute additions to the party that definitely made a difference.

Needless to say, the party was incredible. THANK YOU to all who were present, all who were there in spirit, for the incredible generosity, the love, support, laughter and friendship. We are beyond blessed, mini Gwinn had an outstanding first birthday party, and we are honored to have shared our son’s first year with all of you.

If you have ideas, thoughts, questions, etc- send them on down the line in the comments!


Why I ABHOR, LOATHE and DESPISE the TSA

Sorry, mom. There’s some colorful language in this one.

Originally I wanted to call this post “The TSA Raped Me,” but I didn’t want to lessen the emotional and physiological effects of actual rape. But I certainly feel like the TSA violated us in a MAJOR way.

Last week Team Gwinn took our mecca to Minnesota. Well, for me it’s a mecca. Captain Laser Pants is from Texas, so it was more of a death- defying journey for him (also, he went up for work). For myself, it was a returning to my heritage (think Vikings and the Swiss, not hot dishes and ludefisk) and visiting my family and friends. Mini- Gwinn went with us, of course, and our three dogs were in the incredibly caring hands of the best dog sitter on the planet. Seriously, this woman is amazing. She sent text messages with pictures every day and even vacuumed our house because of the dirt the dogs tracked in. If we ever travel again (which, at least by flight is highly unlikely due to this experience), she will be our go- to dog lover. I digress. So, like all good type A mothers, I started packing a month ago. I froze enough homemade baby food to last a little over a week. I watched the weather for several weeks to plan mini- Gwinn’s outfits and my own accordingly. When I was single, I could pack a week’s worth of clothes and toiletries in a carry on bag. This trip was much trickier. Packing a full size checked bag, a diaper bag, a carry on bag for mini- Gwinn took skill and consideration. I’m like a packing Tetris goddess now. Of course, CLP packed his one carry on and he was done. The Monday before our flight I called our hotel to verify our reservation. There were issues with the room we had booked, so we cancelled our reservation through Priceline, re-booked through the hotel, reserved a pack and play for the baby, and I had peace of mind for our room for the week. The Wednesday before our flight I verified with Delta that we were allowed to bring on liquids for our baby, check our stroller and car seat for free, and that there were special accommodations for families with babies. I talked to my sister, mother of four young boys, who had just flown recently with her family. She gave me peace of mind. I felt good about our trip and was excited to see my family.

So the morning of our flight, which was around 9:30 AM, we packed up our car, made sure the house was clean, did a load of dishes, took extra coffee with us, and headed to the airport. While we were assembling everything to carry from the daily parking area to the check in (which was: two carry on suitcases, one full size suitcase, one jogging stroller, one diaper bag, one baby, two adults), we forgot our car seat, which we had to turn around to retrieve. Are you keeping count of all that CLP and myself were carrying through the airport? Good. After going to the full service curbside check in, we were free of our full size checked bag and our car seat. We stood in line to get molested by the TSA. Now, for all you fliers who are only responsible for yourselves, admit it. Security is a hassle. You have to remove your shoes (if you’re wearing sandals, gals, you get to be barefoot in an airport. EWWWW.), your belt, take your laptop out of your carry on, remove the convenient quart- sized bag full of your tiny bottles of toiletries, and stand in line to have a naked body scan of yourself, get a detection wand waved over your body or an invasive pat down from a TSA employee, or some combination of all of the above. For the record, to be eligible for employment as a TSA “officer” (they are in no way officers- mall cops have more authority and importance), one must:
-be a US citizen
-have a high school diploma or GED equivalent
-pass a background check
-speak English
This is good news! In case you currently work at TACO BELL and want to be a TSA “officer”, you already have the requirements. You can just transfer on over!

I digress. Let’s continue with my experience.

So we are holding our tired baby, two carry on suitcases (because it’s $25 for the first bag and $60 if you check two), a diaper bag, and a stroller. They have a special line for families with strollers, which was significantly shorter, so yay? for that. We had to break down the stroller while holding our baby, remove our shoes, belts, get everything on the table, and stand in line. Once they realize our stroller won’t fit through their security belt screener, we had to reassemble the stroller, push it through the x-ray security scanner, and have someone “hand test” it for ballistics. Or whatever they look for. So, while we’re standing they’re like cattle in the slaughterhouse, they tell me they have to do a hand search of my diaper bag, which is craftily packed to actually hold everything. We oblige, because if we don’t, we get arrested and thrown into Azkaban or whatever prison houses beautiful, all American families who pack water for their baby. The good news in all of this is that the TSA “officers” in Hartsfield- Jackson are quite polite. I had a new bottle of hand sanitizer that had to be confiscated, but he was nice about it. All in all, even though it was a monumental pain in the ass, we made it through mostly unscathed. We barely made it to our flight for pre-boarding, in which the Delta staff assisted greatly.  Mini- Gwinn was wiggly on the plane, but he never sits still, so this was mostly expected. The flight was otherwise great- I really like flying Delta.

In case we weren’t screened enough by the initial TSA screening, my checked bag was also searched. I felt so safe knowing they literally had their paws on everything of mine to make sure I’m not a terrorist (I wish there was a font for sarcasm). What terrorist packs her and her baby’s belongings in a navy blue and white houndstooth Liz Claiborne matching suitcase set? It has hot pink lining, for crying out loud. As an aside, did you know that those awful blue gloves they wear (two by two, hands of blue) are for their protection? Those gloves are filthy. And they had those filthy gloves ALL OVER my baby’s belongings, including his bottles. Just to give you germaphobes a shiver of disgust.

The visit itself was tiring but wonderful. After the first night adjustments of sleeping in a new place, mini- Gwinn did wonderfully well. My grandparents are absolute saints- I adore them- and they loved my little man. I got to see one of my very best friends a few times, feel the glorious weather, see the beautiful Fall foliage, and took my husband to the Mall of America (say it aloud in an announcer voice, it’s fun). Advice for traveling with a baby: if staying in a hotel, always always get a suite so there are two separate rooms. Bring your own sheets for the baby and whatever other comforts s/he needs for sleep. Call ahead. Expect to get raped by the TSA if you’re flying.

We arrived an hour and a half before our flight at the Minneapolis- St. Paul International airport. Atlanta’s airport is the busiest in the world, so they say. I am inclined to believe it- it is always crowded. By comparison, the Minneapolis airport is a ghost town. We thought ninety minutes would be plenty. When we asked a TSA agent for guidance on a line to go through with our stroller, they told us there wasn’t one (our stroller wouldn’t fit through the lines they had sectioned off). So we found the line ourselves, which was blocked off only for airport employees assisting families (thanks for nothing, in that case), and walked through. The TSA agent to whom CLP had spoken literally ninety seconds before about an assistance line acted as if we were brand new faces and waved us through.

This, good readers, is where the real fun begins. By “real fun” I mean ludicrous, proverbial rape.

We pulled mini- Gwinn out of the stroller, left it standing upright because it wouldn’t fit on the belt scanner, removed our shoes, belts, bags, and placed all of it on the belt scanner (all while holding a 25 lb. baby!!). Immediately, the TSA officer asked us to break down the stroller. CLP and I both explained that it was too big to fit through the scanner. The TSA agent pointed to some screws on the base where the wheels are held and told us that “most strollers can come apart here”. I told him, “No, ours was shipped that way. It does not break apart.” Asshat. As if I don’t know the fine, inner workings of my own stroller. ALSO, we already have our hands full. It gets better! Then he tells me I have to remove all liquid and food contents, including diaper creams, applesauce packs, bottles, from my diaper bag. MY HANDS ARE FULL. So, I continue to hold up the line and proceed to remove every item from my diaper bag. As if by ironic courtesy, the “officer” tells me I can “keep the formula in the diaper bag”. Gee, thanks, I can put that one freaking item back in the bag I so carefully packed. It gets even better! CLP and mini- Gwinn go through the x- ray machine together, his ticket and ID are checked, etc. Then they tell me they have to test the contents of the diaper bag. They “hand tested” the stroller and left it to the side, not even telling us (who were very busy with a baby and all of our personal belongings strewn out for God and everyone to see) it was ready to be retrieved. Then one of the “officers” gets out a test kit and tells my husband to open the baby’s bottles so he can test them. He told me this later- if I had seen this, I would have stabbed a ho. My husband told the TSA agent, “Those are for the baby to drink.” Thank God a TSA “officer” who had worked there a week or two longer stepped in and told the moron- agent that the bottles were protected under some rule in their retard- handbook and didn’t have to be tested. He put his gross, blue- gloved grubby hands on my child’s distilled water, boiled- to- kill- the- germs bottle. Then he told me (I had reassembled my outfit at this point) to open the diaper cream for testing. I laughed at him and said, “It’s A&D diaper cream.” Then he tested it and told me, that yes, in fact, it is JUST A&D diaper cream. Look, moron, my hands are already full of taking care of a baby and all the freaking stuff I have to bring along with us for him. I don’t have time to shove microscopic bombs into his diaper cream. Also, that diaper cream goes on his sweet baby butt cheeks. I’m not putting bombs on the butt I worked off my own butt for to make and raise for the past 20 months. Sarcasm font for this paragraph would be great. I just know that now I’m going to get pulled for a rape security screening at the airport the next time we fly. Joke’s on you, TSA, I don’t think I’m going to fly again until you’re dissolved. Want some irony? They FORGOT TO CHECK my ID AND my ticket. HAR HAR.

After the reassembling of our clothes, bags and baby, we made it to our gate with about two and a half minutes before pre-boarding took place. Captain Laser Pants and I were shaking with anger. Literally, absolutely shaking. Fuming. I’m sure there were airport security cameras trained on us the entire walk to our gate. I was ready to get in a fight. I even took off my sweater to show off my biceps, just in case someone wanted to get in my way and I could confront them by She- Hulking out.

When we got home, we were too exhausted to open my checked bag. I waited until this morning. Good news- they searched my bag on the return flight too. Not only was Captain Laser Pants’s $1100 work laptop stashed in there, but they opened both bags of liquids I had in my suitcase and opened the lotion I had locked closed. The lotion (and my toothpaste) were all over my clothes and gorgeous riding boots. If I hadn’t been such a good mom and packed two mattress protectors and two sets of sheets for mini- Gwinn, and if I hadn’t had the forethought to wrap my husband’s laptop in these things, his laptop would have been ruined.

Am I crazy political ranter? Am I a supercharged anti-TSA, angry hater? Yep. More importantly, I care about personal rights. Not just my own, but everyone’s. I want my readers to know that there have been TSA “officers” charged with theft of many travelers’ high dollar items, including iPads, laptops, cell phones, money, and more. Ironically, I saw a major news report on a national news station while in Minnesota about it. Here’s an article covering this as well. If you’re of the belief that, for the safety of all, some must be singled out, you may also be in support of random sobriety tests on the road, which would also include the requirement by law for everyone to have a breathalyzer in their  vehicles, as well as a requirement that before you reach any city or county road, you must pass a sobriety test. Whether or not you drink, you would be subjected to this law, because like flying, we all share the road and are at the mercy of other drivers. What’s good for all must be good for one, right? Wrong.

Our forefathers put our constitution and our laws into place NOT for protecting its’ citizens, but for protecting its’ citizens’ rights. Look it up, folks. Your government is not in place to take care of you, it’s in place to ensure that we have equal rights. The way the TSA treats us is  downright shameful. We are all assumed to be guilty of crimes we aren’t committing, and even when proven innocent, we are still subject to the molestation of “security” in the name of safety.

I abhor, loathe and despise the TSA for the way my family and I were treated. We are great parents who take excellent care of our child, not criminals who pack ballistics into our diaper bag.

Screw you, TSA.


Would You Marry Yourself?

About a week before Captain Laser Pants popped the question, I was talking to an old acquaintance of mine. After a years- long relationship, his ex had left him because it wasn’t moving forward. He compared all other women to her. At the time of this conversation, he told me he was “casually” dating between three and five women simultaneously and wondered why none of them took him seriously enough to have a real relationship with him. I guffawed and asked him if the situation had been reversed, how he would react. He sighed dramatically and commented on my wisdom (of course) before asking me about my relationship. I told him it was awesome, which was totally true, and he asked me how I was so happy. I told him, “To find the one, you have to be the one. I may not be ‘the one’ yet, but I’m sure working on it.” He told me that I was going to make CLP a very happy man. That was the last time I’ve spoken with him.

Maybe I was too harsh with him, but, let’s be honest- no one wants to settle down with a serial dater. Did he want to date the female version of himself? No way.

It’s a good litmus test, if you’re honest. Would you marry yourself? I sure as heck wouldn’t marry me. Want some reasons why? Here you go!

-I am really forgetful about important stuff (like paying bills or renewing my driver’s license) but have an acute memory for the utterly mundane (“there are four snaps on mini Gwinn’s romper!”)
-I am moody. There, I said it.
-Sometimes my very rational brain goes nuts and shuts down. Much like a robot’s hard drive.
-I’m not really affectionate, but I like to get a hug once in a while.
-I am super critical

I’m working on the critical attitude- being forgiving and emotionally generous will be paramount as my baby grows older. My moodiness is usually as a result of something incredibly petty, like forgetting trash day. Managing my emotions isn’t my partner’s responsibility, it’s my own. There are areas of “me” that I’m working on still (like my thighs). It’s pretty obvious that if I married myself, all the bills would be forgotten, but all clothes would be organized by color and style in each closet. Dinner may be made, but if me and myself are losing the house due to foreclosure, it doesn’t really matter. I need a partner, not a clone.

This is kind of a two- point blog. Not only do we need spouses who complement us, we need to first be the kind of “work in progress” person that “the one” will want to complete. I’m not saying you have to be perfect before you’re going to find your other half. But doing things like hip- checking your own selfishness, for instance, can make or break a good day in a marriage. Sometimes it amazes me with the blatant selfishness I see displayed in marriage, and honestly, it makes me pity the other spouse. It’s always a two way street (believe me I know), but if we laid down the weapons in a relationship and tried empathizing with the other, I can’t help but wonder how much more peacefully resolution can be found as a team, and not two opposing sides.

I asked CLP if he would marry himself, and he responded with, “I’m more likely to marry a Choco Taco”. He wouldn’t marry himself because he and I are two halves to a whole. Would I marry myself? No. But are there traits in my personality that make my marriage great? Absolutely. He and I both have plenty to work on as individuals, but because we empathize with one another and connect on a daily basis, we are so much better together than we are separate.

This is all over the place, really just a stream of consciousness blog. Maybe something more coherent will come up in the future!


BatFletch

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Accut-ain’t What I Thought It Would Be

Chances are, if you know what Accutane is, you either a) are a medical professional or b) you know someone who has painfully cystic, problematic skin. For the record, Accutane is no longer on the market. It has replacements, like isotretinoin, or Claravis, if you want to be able to pronounce it. Hi, I’m in AA- Accutane Anonymous (is there such a thing?) and I started taking Claravis two weeks ago. Let me just say, Accutane ain’t what I thought it would be. After a lifetime of combating skin I didn’t love, everything got much, much worse after the birth of mini Gwinn. I’ve done everything in the book in an attempt to heal it, with no results (yes, even Proactiv. I’m so tired of being asked that.). The last resort- the big dance- was isotretinoin. Five months of misery lead to a lifetime of healthy looking, smooth as a baby’s behind skin. I can handle five months, right? I mean, I was pregnant for like six years, and I lived through that. So I started talking to other people that have taken the big plunge in skincare. All the guys I talked with said they didn’t think the six months of misery (the treatment is five to six months) was necessarily worth it. All the ladies- you guessed it- absolutely felt that enduring the hardships of the medication were worth the end result. The guys urged me to reconsider, the gals told me it would be an entirely freeing decision to give myself a life with pain- free, pretty skin. What everyone agreed on, as well as all the forums/ interwebs stuff I read, was that I’d need a supply of the following:

-copious amounts of chapstick
-eye drops
-saline spray for my shnoz
-lotion
-vaseline
-water. lots of water.

So, no big deal. Right? I have five or six tubes of chapstick laying around the house to begin with, and I was already a crazy moisturizing lady. Piece of cake.

A few days into the treatment, I noticed that my lips felt dry if I hadn’t used chapstick within an hour. A few days later, I noticed that my eyes felt dry. Now? If my lips aren’t coated, they hurt. I actually have to stop in the store at least twice to apply gobs of goop to my mouth and pour eye drops in my eyes. Last night I experienced my first medication- induced nose bleed (as I was washing my face, which was convenient for clean up).

For those that aren’t in the know, cystic acne is incredibly painful, especially with an eight month old smacking your face. Topical treatments don’t work (they just make the top layer of skin dry, eww), oral medications don’t always work, and sometimes only time can treat the issue. While you’re waiting, you’re stuck with a topographical map for a face. When you’re 15 years old, it’s acceptable to have a few pimples. When you’re in your late 20s, however, people wonder what you’ve done to yourself to have such heinous skin. Statements like “It must be something in your diet” and “Do you wash your face regularly?” are usually said by morons with flawless skin. Of course I wash my face, and I eat better than you, lardbutt (not you, gentle reader).

This major shift in my life is also coupled with the news that I’m returning to the work force (cue the river of tears). The stress of looking for child care, the feeling that I’m abandoning my bright (yes, he’s bright, I said it. He says several words! He’s Einstein! Ok, he may be average. But he’s pretty.) little boy (who’s never been without me for more than two or three hours!!), and the fear that he won’t get the attention he deserves have me stressing out completely. Will my house ever be clean again? When will I have time to make all his baby food? Will they use sign language when they sing to him? Will they sing to him? How often is he going to be sick? Even as I’m writing this out, anxiety is taking over my mental faculties.

Oh my goodness, ya’ll. This is a lot of new going on right now.

I’m going to go squeeze my little punchkin.


Sippers and Shooters

I am somewhat obsessed with personality sorters and tests. Captain Laser Pants finds it exhausting when I talk about fictional characters and their four letter personality label; I find it fascinating to be able to “type” a person and work out (in my head) how to interact with them. In case you are as nerdy/ weird as I am, I am an INTJ (introverted – intuitive – thinking – judging) and have been since I was 16 or 17, and my DISC profile has a ridiculously high DC with a crazy low IS.

What does this have to do with the price of eggs?

When it comes to people, I am often intrigued by the inner workings of their minds- how they think, why they think and do what they think and do, and the best ways for me to approach interaction with them (yes, that sounds very scientific, but it’s true). If the world answered my suggestion box, everyone would have a name tag with their Keirsey Temperament type written on it. So it should come as no surprise, then, that I enjoy dissecting and analyzing relationships. Some people are sippers and some are shooters.

Huh?

For people that drink, you probably picked up the reference by the title. People that like wine, for instance, usually sip, taking in the bouquet of flavors and enjoying the aroma as they slowly drink. Those that enjoy shots, however, take in the whole of the drink in one fell swoop. Approaches to relationships can be categorized (loosely!) in these two ways- those that are “sippers” and those that are “shooters”. Sippers take their time with relationships, moving slowly in hopes to extend it to a long term relationship. Shooters enjoy the immediacy of moving quickly, and then move on to the next relationship quickly. I’m not saying that wine drinkers prefer long term relationships and shooter girls are short term types, it’s just a comparison in the style. Moving on…

I was listening to a Bon Iver song a while ago called “Blood Bank”. The lyrics have a lot to say, but a particular verse reminded me of the way a new relationship feels – you know, the electricity between you and that someone, the excitement of getting to know a new person and sharing those endorphins and adrenaline and all those other fun chemicals you feel when you’re falling in love. As I was driving and listening to the song, a wave of – I guess it was sadness? – washed over me as I realized I would never experience those feelings again. Those chemicals are so addicting, that even though I have a remarkable relationship with my husband, I was bummed that I would never experience that “high” again.

My logical side (and frankly, my heart) squashed my dumb, immature feelings almost immediately after they made themselves known. How stupid! Captain Laser Pants is the person I pursued for months. He is the man I learned to know and understand over a long period of time as friends constantly on the cusp of falling in love. I won the prize! I ran in the race, the huntress overtook the chase – I have the relationship with the man I never dared to dream existed.  Those feelings of infatuation are nothing compared to the deep river of love I have for my husband.

It is funny to me that the thought of “wah, I’ll never fall in love again” even crossed my mind. I’m not an adrenaline junkie, I was never the type to jump in and out of relationships, and (as an INTJ) I tend to prefer the tried and true method to the new idea. But, odd fact: I preferred a shot of something to a glass of wine when I would have a drink. Maybe that instinct to be an epicurean and move on quickly is in there somewhere. To be honest, I tried it with Captain Laser Pants – danced around the idea of the relationship, but was too scared to invest. Clearly, my fears were quelled and any thought I had of being hurt was overpowered by the immense love I’ve had for him for so long.

Are you a sipper or a shooter? Am I a weirdo for not liking wine? What’s your Keirsey Temperament? DISC profile?


My One Article of Clothing

It is not brand new information when I tell people that I am not fashionable. Mostly, when I “dress up” or try to look “nice”, the outfit involves jeans, some sort of flat sandal, and a t-shirt. Since pregnancy, I’ve mostly given up on what I wear. At home, my mom uniform is usually a pair of running shorts and a sports bra (the t-shirt or tank top is discarded by 10 AM due to puke, milk, carrots, and snot). When in public for nonsocial reasons (shopping, gym, etc), I’m wearing what I wear at home, only with the gunk covered tee. When I once swore I’d never leave home without makeup (the horror!), it’s now more routine for me to go without than take the time to slap some on my face. You’ve seen other moms like this- she wears a fashion trend that embodies “defeat”. It’s like a proverbial game of paper – rock – scissors switched to baby – fashion – baby. For the record, “baby” wins every time.

Not all moms are this way. I see and know many mothers who look phenomenal every time I see them in public. Their clothes are clean (which is a super power in itself), modern, and dare I say it? They look beautiful, nay, radiant.

I lack this radiation ability, and not because don’t want it. Some women are born to be mothers- they were also most likely the women that “glowed” when they were pregnant. Some of us were thrown into this new career path and aren’t totally qualified for the part. I don’t really have the energy to look good, especially when my looks are such a nonissue. I’m the equivalent of the new intern who’s just really happy to make it to work in the big, fancy company, even if I have wet hair and deodorant streaks on my blouse.

Seriously, I’d like to look presentable in public with my adorable baby in tow. I’d like to look like one of those moms that stepped out of an advertisement for something I didn’t know I needed. At some point, I’d like to look somewhat fashionable. In an attempt to do this, I splurged and bought a $15 jersey maxi skirt at Old Navy last month.

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This has become my one article of clothing. If I have to leave the house and it would be socially awkward for me to look the way I normally do ( i.e. must wear makeup to avoid terrifying small children, deodorant, must brush teeth, must brush hair, etc), I have worn this skirt nine times out of ten. I bought it in a light heather grey color to guarantee that I could wear it with almost anything, and so far, it has worked out splendidly. It’s probably the best $15 I’ve spent since, well, I can’t remember the last time I spent a magical $15.

So, for the other moms whose fashion statement says “defeated by my child’s needs,” I took some pictures to prove the effortlessness of this very trendy look that’s age appropriate for everyone except for really, really old people. It’s also flattering (really!) The skirt I bought has a wide waistband and a generous length to accommodate long and short figures alike.

For those with accessories, go crazy (as crazy as you can without your baby pulling earrings from your earlobes or choking you with necklaces). The minimalistic piece of the skirt lends itself to patterns, multiple textures, and plenty of accessories. I don’t wear jewelry anymore, largely because mini Gwinn will find a way to hurt me with it, hence my plain outfits.

Until my little dude is self sufficient and outgrows his “mommy must suffer!” mentality, this will probably be the extent of my attempts at looking nice, unless my trendsettery knows no bounds and puke stains become haute couture.

If you’re one of those “my fashion has been defeated” moms and you’re blessed enough to have helping hands in your city, I encourage you to change out of your gunky puke shirt and husband’s shorts (wash them, too) and try a small change, like a maxi skirt, and go feel pretty. Then tell me about it, so I can live vicariously through you, as I’ve never been away from my child for more than three hours and have no idea what it’s like to feel pretty anymore. In fact, if you have a sitter, go on a date with your guy and feel pretty while you’re at it, cause that’s what I miss most, and you deserve some enjoyment (and I really need to live vicariously through you on this one, too).


“First World Problems” is a Stupid Phrase and More

Hello my jolly rogers! I took an unexpected hiatus from everything except living like a hermit (which I shall detail below). I trust you all lived with baited breath as you eagerly awaited my next post. If you really did, then may I suggest some social activities for you, perhaps a riveting game of BINGO or curling?

Ahem. Onto other things. So, after my “Overwhelmed” post, I didn’t think things would/ could be harder, but guess what! Things got harder. Mini Gwinn caught a bug the very day we went back to the gym, and promptly shared with me. The virus, as I was told by his pediatrician, would run its course within a week and leave us unscathed. So, naturally, a few days later when my throat was to the point that I couldn’t swallow or speak, the baby and I spent the day at my doctor’s (oh waiting room joy with a wildly active baby who wants to crawl everywhere!) only to find out that the virus had evolved into a heinous sinus infection. So we spent another week away from the gym, but we were both sick, so it wasn’t a major loss. While this was going on, our AC decided to run six degrees higher than its setting. This also happened to be the week that we were topping out at 105-110 degrees in the lovely (read: miserable) South. With multiple calls to maintenance/ AC and no real fix, a sick mom and recovering baby, we were on our way to misery town. Saturday I started feeling better, so we packed up the baby and headed to Costco for some good old fashioned American grocery shopping and sample eating (plus, the store was better air conditioned than our home, so it was more comfortable). Seeing that our radiator reserve tank was low, I added some (ok, way too much) water to the tank. While we were shopping, mini Gwinn peed through his Costco diaper (we don’t usually use those, and now I remember why) and ALL OVER my shirt. Naturally, he and I ran to the car while Captain Laser Pants finished the shopping. On the way home, our (NEW!) car began to overheat. We stopped in the ghetto between Costco and our home (why there is a section 8 stretch of hood between two lovely communities I will never know- good job, Atlanta) and the (NEW!!) car decided to die, right there in the parking lot of a grocery store, quite dramatically, I might add. So, it’s 104 degrees, we have meat and frozen veggies in the back quickly losing their cold temperature, the baby’s sweating, CLP is dripping with sweat as he troubleshoots the vehicle, and I’m freaking out because I think I caused the whole issue.

Fast forward to today- Wednesday- and the car still isn’t revived. CLP has been a super hero in his efforts to repair every aspect of the engine that comes to mind, to no avail. This man took the first few days off this week so he could rest (rest? What rest?), instead he’s been sweating it out in our garage trying to figure out what’s wrong with our beautiful new Jeep. He has spent days consoling me and telling me there is no possible way I could cause this bizarre, unexplained engine failure. Things he’s replaced/ investigated so far: camshaft sensor, crankshaft sensor, fuel pressure, battery, fuel injector and no codes. Suffice it to say, he’s running out of ideas. We haven’t been to the gym since the day the baby contracted the virus, and I may start sticking forks in my eyes.

It’s been a hard couple of weeks. On Pinterest (the place where my soul and self esteem go to die) I saw one of those retarded “text as motivational decoration” signs that said, “There are many who are happier with less than you”. Woo- freaking- hoo. I’m so glad they’re happy. And if it makes me seem evil for saying that “first world problems” is a stupid phrase, then I’m evil. Firstly- I like creature comfort. And my husband and I work darn hard to ensure said creature comforts. And yes, our country is the best of the best (if you don’t agree, go somewhere else), and yes, Americans are mostly spoiled. Are all the issues I complained about above first world problems? Yeah. But it’s the only world I’ve lived in, so I’m just calling it “my world problems”. Of course I have sympathy for those in need (truly, I do), but I also don’t have guilt for living in America. People that suffer from “white guilt”, “wealth guilt”, “having AC guilt” and any other kind of guilt for being born into a certain circumstance shouldn’t push their guilt on others. Go be guilty all on your own.

Moving on.

Rant number two (hehe, “number two”) for this post: women without children who talk about pregnancy and post- pregnancy. Shut up, or I will put a boot in your mouth. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Unless you’re an OB (which they never are), you only know from theory and watching what it looks like. You don’t know from practice, and you sure as heck don’t know what it’s like post- pregnancy. Stop putting up “how to tighten your post pregnancy belly skin” tips, stop suggesting ways to breastfeed your four year old, and stop pretending to have any idea what It’s like to live the life of a mother for even ten seconds. You deserve to have a boot in your mouth.

 

Favorite comic strip of all time- Calvin and Hobbes. Chances are, you know some people that should line up for this, too.

Ok, phew. Rants over. I promise I’m not in a horrible mood! To all of you who are happy to celebrate your first world problems/ spoils/ wonderments of life- Happy Fourth of July! Even if you’re a noncontributing zero, like myself, I’m sure you still appreciate the hard earned freedoms our country has.

I promise PROMISE the next blog will be better written and about something more thoughtful and thought provoking. This was just a “stream of consciousness/ I’m still here” post. Topics I’m mulling over: women with higher than average testosterone, pornography and modern media in marriage, the one article of clothing I own, and more. Thoughts? Ideas?