Archive for June, 2012

My 5 year wedding anniversary is tomorrow. I have been trying to think of how to celebrate the special occasion. What should I get him for a gift? What can we do for a special date? I have such an amazing husband I just really wanted to find a way to make this date special. And, considering that we both forgot our anniversary last year I felt some pressure.

I did research online and the tradition is to go on a vacation or to give a gift of wood. Well, vacation is not going to happen and that leaves wood. I can’t say what I decided on because Brent will read this, but I thought I would also honor him by dedicating this post to appreciating him. So, without further ado, here is why I love my husband.

1. He is really one of the nicest people in the world. I honestly would be shocked if I heard that someone did NOT like him. Plenty of people don’t like me, but Brent is different. He is just kind. Even dogs and babies love him.

2. He is a great father. He is engaged and capable. He is always there for his kids. He is silly, and stern, and loving, and supportive.

3. He gives me lingering kisses in the morning. I have to say that even when I am in a hurry and pushing him away, I love this time. It is a good reminder, before I start my day, that I am loved.

4. He can always get the baby to fall asleep. 2 minutes on daddy’s chest- snoozeville.

5. He thinks I am funny. I could not be happy with someone who didn’t laugh at my jokes. Maybe sometimes he is laughing AT me, but that’s okay too.

6. He never minds. What I mean by that is he is so laid back that nothing ever gets him worked up. You’re going to be 15 min late? I don’t mind. You’re going out with friends tonight? I don’t mind. I’m on my own for dinner? I don’t mind. (But, he does mind if you don’t use a turn signal. Look out!)

7. He’s a guy’s guy, but girls love him too. He can talk sports all night, but could also communicate with my friends. Some “Bro’s” come off as meat heads, but Brent can get along with anyone.

8. He treats me as an equal partner. He doesn’t think his job, time, wants/needs are more important than mine. We are in this together.

9. He tells me he loves me everyday. He says things all the time that let me know how he feels. He’ll say something like, “I’m glad we are married” out of nowhere and it makes me smile.

10. He ignores me all the time. I love and hate this one, but when I tell him to stop tickling Will because it’s bed time- he ignores me. When I tell him to stop throwing Ellis up in the air- he ignores me.

Oh, and just one more..

11. He does the dishes! (He is doing them right now)

Wouldn’t it be cool if those of you who know Brent chimed in? Why do you love Brent? Comment below.

Weekly rant time! So, I was shopping today and saw a couple of bathing suits. I’ve been working out a lot lately, I lost some weight and thought I would give some bikinis a try. I know, I should know better by now, but I temporarily went crazy or something. Fast forward 15 minutes….. Depression.

Now I am a pretty confident chick. I feel really good about my ‘situation’ (I’m gesturing at all of me) 90% of the time. I’m not over weight, I have some muscles, I have boobs- so pretty good. In fact, you put me in a bra and underwear and I wouldn’t be embarrassed in public. I am no Marissa Miller, but you wouldn’t kick me out of bed. So why is it that you put me in the average bikini and I look the Michelin man?! Why do I look like a 30-year-old mother of two?! Oh, wait… 

The thing is I’m not that weird shaped. What do women with difficult bodies to dress do? I have big boobs, but what do women with REALLY big boobs do? Whatever, I quit. I wish I could turn heads like I did in highschool, but who am I kidding? I’m a one-peice kind of gal I guess.

But, why do they have the technology to make me look great in a bra, but not in a bikini top? Why are the cups on a size 14 too small? Why can they make underwear that looks good on me, but not a bikini bottom? Why can they put a man on the moon and a woman in your iPhone, but not make a bathing suit that fits?!

Bathing suits are so flimsy on top and so tight on the bottom. It’s like they are trying to make sure you could go down extreme-mega-waterslides and not lose your bottoms. Well, bathing suit designers, listen up. Some one needs to make a line that might not hold up on the high dive but doesn’t make your stomach look fat. I promise to just lay there and look pretty. You can even put a warning on the label, “Specifically designed for mothers who promise not to do any extreme sports. If you go tubing, you will lose your shit.” Thanks!

Filters and Framing

This is a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately although partly on a subconscious level probably. My sister brought my thoughts to the surface recently when she mentioned choosing which parts of a ‘memory’ to remember.

I’m writing this while sitting outside with my kids playing. It’s a practically perfect summer day. The sun is shining and the birds are literally chirping. All I have to do is ‘be’. Isn’t that wonderful? I will take a couple of photos of my adorable children to capture the moment. That is how I am going to choose remember it. 

I say choose because I have another option. I could instead remember how my son was whining because he wanted juice instead of water, how my daughter would not stop trying to eat the grass (she’s 11 months not crazy), how I filled two Jewel-bags full of dog poop, and how I stressed about the chores I was ignoring. Hmmm, I’ll choose memory ‘A’.

The thing is that this happens every day! Good, happy, positive things occur all around us but if you are not paying attention, it will pass you by. At the end of the day, do you lay in bed thinking of all the things that you accomplished, all the happy memories you made, or the things you failed to get done?

We are the architects and creators of our experience. We can frame our mood, behavior, and memories depending on what we focus on. I have been trying to work on my re-framing. For example, I HATE Tuesday nights. My husband plays basketball on Tuesdays so I am home with the kids on my own for hours. I get stressed, I am trying to make dinner, and I usually end up mad at him. If I were to re-frame, I could think about how this keeps him in shape and healthy for our family. I could focus on the fact that he would NEVER get mad at me for leaving to exercise- he’s just too laid back for that. I should pay him the same courtesy.

From now on, I am going to filter my memories and frame my mood toward the positive. Use the old rose colored glasses. Not sweat the small stuff and every other glass half full cliche you can think of. Life is just too damn short to walk around all crabby and stressed out. Starting now!

What a day it is

Sweet innocence surrounds me

My heart full of love

So I’m officially turning into the annoying jerk that can’t stop talking about her blog. I’m a self-promoter, ‘The Expert’, and a nerd. My friend Nate made fun of me the other day for being ‘The Expert’ while simultaneously making fun of ‘The Expert’. I just can’t help myself. When I hear people talk about something I have blogged about, I say, “Oh, did you see my blog about that?!” The words leap out of my mouth before I can stop them. “Oh, you read 50 Shades of Grey? Did you see my blogs about that?” My poor husband…

If I were one of my friends, I would make fun of me A LOT!

I’ve mentioned this briefly in the past, but blogging is so weird. To have a blog you have to believe that people care what you have to say (unless you are literally just blogging for yourself, but that is pretty rare). Either you believe you are some sort of expert in your field or on specific topics, or you want to be a writer, or you think you are funny. It turns out I am guilty of all three! That means I am the worst- “Not only can learn from me, but I’m hilarious! Oh, and buy my future book.”

Why bring this up? I don’t know. Maybe it makes me feel better to laugh at myself. Maybe it’s to let you know that you can make fun of me too. Maybe it is so I don’t feel bad for making fun of other people with blogs. Because, really, they are the worst too!

A while ago I decided I was going to start my very first book club. I was so excited. I had been on a real tear lately with my reading and jumped right in with both feet. I posted a blog about it, put it on my facebook page, bought the book. Everything was going well! That is, until I started reading the book.

I couldn’t get into it. I have read about 20% and I have no desire to finish. I’m genuinely surprised because I love the author, but I just can’t get into this story. Now what? I had to make a choice. I could either 1. power thru, or 2. quit.

Even the thought of quitting something gives me anxiety. I am not the kind of person to throw in the towel. But, the more I thought about it, I realized that I said it was a ‘NO OBLIGATION’ book club. Shouldn’t that apply to me too? Why should I feel guilted into finishing?




So, I quit. I am moving on.

If anyone cares or is interested, I am going to read ‘A Marriage Plot’ next. If anyone has suggestions for the next book, I am listening….

I kind of want to read “Blood, Bones, and Butter. The Inadvertant Education of a Reluctant Chef”

The Sh*t on TV

Okay, it is time for my weekly rant. I have touched on this concept a little before, but I hate the sh*t on TV- especially the reality TV sh*t. Now, don’t get me wrong there are a couple of shows that I watch and love (Biggest Loser, Next Foodnetwork Star, So You Think You Can Dance, etc.). Some people (my husband) might argue that these shows suck too, but I disagree. These shows, along with American Idol (which I don’t watch) all have people who either have a real talent or are trying to improve their lives. I am not against ALL reality shows, just the sh*tty ones (Jersey Shore, Bachelor, Real Housewives, Kardashians, Swamp People). I’m against the shows that are all about televising train wrecks. I’m against the shows that are all about looks and sex. I am against shows that exploit and make fun of ‘rednecks’. Have you seen the previews for ‘the Choice’ and ‘the Glass House’. Just kill me now!

To be clear, I don’t blame the networks- I blame us. The viewers have all the power. We can choose not to watch these shows, not to buy the US weeklys, not to follow douche bags on Twitter. So, why do we do it? Is it a little Schadenfreude (pleasure derived from the misfortune of others)? Does it make us feel better about ourselves? Or is it a mindless guilty pleasure? I’ve never watched Jersey Shore but I’m pretty sure listening to Snooki talk would make me feel pretty good about myself. So we watch these shows to entertain us. Meanwhile we are making these people rich. We are making Snooki rich while teachers are making next-to-nothing. We are all to blame for ‘the situation’ we find ourselves in! (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

It is bad enough for a 30 year old to watch these shows, but what about our 16 year olds? What role models do our young girls have to look up to? These reality stars are idolized in our culture, but for what? For looks, for playing dumb on camera. This makes our daughters want to be like Kim Kardashian and makes our sons want to date her. Why isn’t there a reality show about a pretty girl (not hyper-sexy) who works really hard in high-school, plays sports, gets good grades, doesn’t get pregnant, and get’s into a good school? I know- it’s not sexy enough; there isn’t enough drama.

But, like I said. We have the power. The next time there is nothing on TV- turn it off. Wouldn’t that be a great message for our kids, “There is nothing but sh*t on TV so let’s turn it off and read a book.” Except, maybe don’t swear at your kids. Let’s make a commitment right here and now:

I will no longer watch any television show that has…

  • Women fighting over a man
  • Women playing dumb for the camera b/c she thinks it’s attractive
  • Women being exploited/taken advantage of
  • Young girls making poor decisions (i.e. teen pregnancy)
  • Men mistreating women
  • Celebs who are only famous for being famous, rich, or have a sex tape
  • Women bringing each other down to make themselves appear better/more attractive
  • Women that have to be slutty to be attractive
  • Men and Women who don’t have real jobs and party for a living
  • People suffering for our entertainment
  • Exploitation of poor, under-educated people

There, I got that off my chest. And, don’t even get me started on MTV. I have had a boycott on that sh*t for years!

The Grocery Fairy

I’d like to introduce you to my new best friend: Peapod.

If you are anything like me, you are too busy. I actually like to be busy, but I want to choose what keeps me that way. I like to play with my kids, and read and write, and play with my husband, and exercise (well I don’t always like the exercise). I also like to feed my family healthy food. When I say healthy I mean real food, cooked at home that is not processed. This is all a pretty tall order. One thing I do not have time for is grocery shopping. I used to spend at least 2 hours every weekend grocery shopping. Not only was I wasting my time, but my husband was at home not-cleaning or getting anything else done because he was alone  with the kids. This was EVERY weekend, over and over for the rest of my life! Or so it seemed. I made the switch a couple months ago and I really can’t imagine going back. Here is why Peapod is the best (especially for you busy moms and dads out there).

1. The time it saves me is glorious. I ‘grocery shop’ while drinking wine on Friday nights on the computer. I have my Saturday mornings back. I can’t even explain what this means to me. When you and your husband work full time, you have two days to get everything done- all the cleaning, all the fun-having, everything. I can take shopping off my list now.

2. They will deliver it almost whenever you want. One time I had them deliver it on Wednesday morning between 6am and 8am. I woke up in the morning and my groceries were waiting for me on the porch. It was like the grocery fairy came while I was sleeping. You don’t even need to be home. They will pack everything up in boxes and coolers for you while you are out.

3. It saves me money. Okay, Peapod is not the cheapest option out there. It is probably similar to Jewel and Dominicks. I would be better off going to Woodmans in Kenosha. But, bottom line, I don’t make it to Woodmans. I end up being in a hurry and going to Jewel instead. Then I spend at least $150 every time! With Peapod you can shop the weekly specials first and plan your menu around what’s on sale. Perhaps the best thing is the running total on the side. You can see your total going up the whole time and make adjustments. It’s not like Jewel when they give you your total and you just have to bend over and pay it. You can control your budget. The other day I finished and my total was $120. I really only wanted to spend $100 so I went back thru and took stuff off (“I can get burgers next week, I can wait on the shrimp, etc”).

4. No more impulse buys. I have not bought chips, cookies, ice cream, or any other impulse crap since I started using Peapod. I only buy the stuff I need. I don’t through the oreos in the cart during a weak moment. I get my fruits, veggies, meat, fish, bread, milk and I check out! Done.

By the way, I don’t have some sort of sponsorship deal with Peapod. I am just doing this to maybe help a couple of you busy people out there. Although I think I should get a $100 gift card or something out of this!

Read these books!

I’ve said it before- I love to read. I love nothing more than disappearing into a great book. I usually have a thousand books on my list to read next, but in case you don’t, here are the best books I have read in the past 5-10 years:

1. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris: This book is hilarious and so are all the other books this man has written! If you have read all the Sedaris books and like that style, try Dry by Augusten Bouroughs- also very good.

2. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson: Non-fiction book talking about science from the big bang until present day. Bryson is a very entertaining writer and makes science fun.

3. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl: Don’t worry- it’s not about physics. But, it is a great novel by a beautiful writer.

4. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas: Classic! My sister and father told me that this is one to definitely get around to and I am glad I did. I actually knew very little about the story before reading and was swept away.

5. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen: This might be the best novel I have EVER read! I really mean that. The writing is so good and the story is perfect. It is about a dysfunctional family, an affair, an unhappy woman- it’s perfect! (Corrections by the same author is also amazing)

6. The World According to Garp by John Irving: This is a great book about a boy who is a writer and his strong-willed mother. It’s just really good.

7. The Curious Incident with the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon: Honestly it’s been a while since I read this book so I don’t remember a lot about it other than the fact that I loved it and it made me smile.

8. The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs: This is a non-fiction book about a guy who tries to live the bible literally (the best he can) for a year. It’s funny and surprising. He is respectful but smart.

9. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver: A beautiful story. I am pretty sure Oprah used it for one of her book club picks so it must be good.

10. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan: Best food writer of all time! Non-fiction about what is going on with the ‘food’ we eat and why we should be demanding better.

11. Middle-sex by Jeffrey Eugenides: Fascinating story about a greek family and their intersex offspring. Beautifully written.

I guarantee that the second I press “publish” I will think of 3 books that I forgot but if you are looking for a next book, you can’t go wrong with any on this list.

What did I miss? What is the best book you’ve read in the last 10 years? I might put it on my to-read list.

Apparently every once in a while I need to rant about something. I am actually a very happy and mild-mannered person, but there are just some people who irk me. Here are the 5 that seem to irritate me more than others:

1. The Hipster: You know this guy. He always is asking you if you have heard of that new band or been to that new bar. He probably wears a scarf and is ‘effortlessly urban’. Sorry, I am just not that cool. I guarantee I haven’t heard of that band or been to the cool place (although I do wear scarves a lot).

2. The Expert: This is the person that knows everything there is to know about everything. You can be in the middle of a random conversation and they jump in with some little known, little cared about fact. I think of the movie Zombie Land when Woody Harrelson’s character says something like, “That’s like the penguins in the North Pole thinking that life is better at the South Pole.” and then Jesse Eisenberg’s character says, “Actually there are no penguins at the North Pole.” The response is the classic, “Want to feel how hard I can punch?” Because that is how you feel when you are around The Expert. Closely related to this guy is the ‘one-upper’; he sucks too but I wanted to keep the list at five.

3. The City Guy/Girl: (Usually seen hanging out with The Hipster) This is person who is always telling you why city life is superior to suburban life. They say things like, “what do you do for fun?” and “Isn’t it so boring?” They act like it is impossible to have fun anywhere other than downtown. I seem to manage every weekend. Give me a 6 pack and a friend and I can have a good time. And, yeah cities are nice for special occasions and museums, etc. but I really like having a yard and I never have to drive around looking for parking when I get home. When I hear a loud noise, I know that it is my crazy neighbor down the road with fireworks and not gun shots.

4. The Negative Nancy: AKA Debbie Downer. This person can suck the energy out of a room in 3 seconds flat! “Wow, beautiful engagement ring. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 7 years and nothing!” She can bring you from ecstatic to sad in no time flat and you don’t even know what happened. I hate this person on Facebook!

And last but not least (my personal favorite)

5. The ‘Cute’ Dumb Girl: The reason I say ‘cute’ is because she thinks it’s cute. Yeah, that is really attractive. Giggle giggle, hair flip, I need a man to help me make decisions…. You are setting us back ladies. We are better than this. If we don’t want to make 75 cents to every man’s dollar we need to cut the crap. No more Kardashians, no more Real Housewives, no more Jersey Shore. We are making these women rich and it’s killing me!

If you like this post, share me on FB! I’ll be your best friend (unless you are one of the 5 listed above).