Monthly Archives

May 2015


The 5 stages of being hungover in your 30s

May 31, 2015

It’s a rare occurrence, but I recently found myself victim to a massive hangover, the result of a martini happy hour and a lot of catching up with some of my high school crew. As I succumb to the pain and nausea, and gave myself over to the worthless sack of crap I would be for the day, it occurred to me that the years had not been kind. It was never this hard in my college days. The process then, looked something like: predrink, actual drink, eat pizza rolls, watch Cheaters, sleep, eat grease, resume role as functioning member of society. It was beautiful in its simplicity and sad in hindsight. But I lost my stride in my late 20s. The “day after” transformed into this heartless, brutal series of sacrifices and compromises that make the whole thing worth it only when entirely necessary, like 30th birthday parties and a warm night on a terrace with great girlfriends. What follows a night of cocktails is, inevitably, ugly, and outlined below.

The 5 stages of a hangover

1) The realization

As long as there have been adult beverages, one fact has mystified those who choose to partake. No matter how seasoned of a social drinker I become, it still astounds me how you can go from beautiful buzz to one too many and no turning back in one fateful sip. For me, the realization typically arrives when I go to bed. Regret swirls around in my head and stomach as the lines in our blinds bend and wave, taunting me to try and focus. Misery is the moment you become cognizant of that fact that you are in the first hour of what is sure to be a 24-hour hell.


2) The paralysis 

When faced with unpleasant physical circumstances, my typical response is to stay as stationary as humanly possible. Maybe if I’m quiet, the hangover won’t notice me. It’ll get bored and decide to move on. Throwing up is at the top of my list of least-favorite activities, along with going to the dentist and writing on cardboard boxes with a marker. Because of this fact, what follows is an epic battle between my mind and esophagus. I find that a strong will and deep breathing can buy me at least an hour, if not a complete pass.


3) The guilt

When you’re a college kid and you piss a day away, it’s called “Friday,” which ceremoniously follows “Thirsty Thursday”.  When you’re a 32-year-old mother of three, it’s called “being a piece of shit”. There is a direct correlation between the level of guilt I feel the morning after a night out and the amount of time that passes before my next night out. If I really get rowdy and can’t function until 2 pm the next day, and the girls want to go outside, only I can’t because my cranium is on the deck of a ship in the eye of a hurricane, for instance, we’re talking like a good 6 or 8 months before I’ll dip my toes back into the water. A mild headache … probably 2 or 3 months. It’s not an exact science, but it seems the occasions I’ll drink are fewer and fewer, as my recovery time gets longer and longer and my tolerance gets lower and lower. There’s this song by the Avett Brothers called “When I Drink,” and it is set on involuntarily shuffle in my mind on these mornings: “But when I drink/I spend the next morning in a haze/But we only get so many days/Now I have one less/Just do your best” Ahhhh … yup. Like a knee to the gut, that verse.


4) The triage

When I was 21, I could wake up at 11 o’clock in the morning, pile into a hot car with 3 other girls, go to Wendy’s and get a cheeseburger, fries and a fountain Diet Coke, and it was like the jungle juice never happened. These days, it’s a process. I begin by opening my eyes and taking a quick inventory of the damage: head – throbbing, mouth taste – like a visit from the poop fairy, stomach – unstable. Sensing the need for immediate action, I then slide the lower half of my body out of bed, finding stability and then slowly, ever so slowly, stacking my upper half on top, keeping my head tilted so as to trick my brain into thinking it’s still on a pillow. I then shuffle to the kitchen, where I grab the largest cup we have and fill it with ice water. By the time it’s topped off, my brain catches up and demands I go back to bed. This is where I will stay for at least 2 more hours. I will then move down to the couch and resume the same position to pretend I’m not being a completely terrible mother, because at least I can turn on Netflix for the chicks. Around 10 or so, I turn into the very hungry, hungover caterpillar: On the first hour, she tried some toast and black coffee, but she was still hungry. On the second hour, she went on a ballsy binge and ate 1 popsicle, 1 can of Sprite, 2 handfuls of goldfish crackers, 1 bowl of Kix and 1 sliced apple with peanut butter. On the third hour, she went back to the couch, but sat upright.


5) The gamble

Once the influx of carbs and sugars settles, I start evaluating my limitations and abilities. I could probably run and get the presents for the birthday party, but definitely not working out today. Although if I sweat it out, that could be good. Maybe I should watch one more House of Cards and chug this last glass of water and reevaluate. Eventually I do get up and scramble to salvage the hours that remain of the day I will forever recall as “the day I was so hungover I hated myself for a full 24 hours.” But it’s dicey, for a full day.



Again, just to drive the point home, this post in no way indicates that I have a problem other than the loss of my tolerance and occasional ridiculously bad judgement. But I will say, the mornings I feel the worst are often preceded by the best nights. Getting carried away by a conversation or dancing to my jam and laughing like the fool I love to be sometimes. It’s all good. You can’t have honey without the bees. It just sucks so bad when you get stung.

So Says Sloppy Joan

A lesson in chewing

May 29, 2015

When Sloppy Joan’s first tooth came through and we started putting diced delicacies on her high chair tray, the toddler tradition of placing food in her mouth, where it was tongued and eventually sent out in a tiny tidal wave of drool, began. So, I started showing her how to chew. Demonstrating. But now I’m getting the sense that she’s mocking me. Sure, I probably exaggerated the motions. I mean, I wanted her to be able to see.

At first I thought it was cute. Like a sweet little old man who’d misplaced his dentures.

But I’m starting to get the impression she’s making fun of me. This must be what I look like to her when I do it. Like a largemouth bass with peanut butter in its teeth.

The case mounts.


Mama said knock you out

May 27, 2015

Tune in today to see if she can … plow through Piloxing.

So, Piloxing® is hard.

While my motions say otherwise, I am learning so much about myself through these classes. Turns out, I like to hit shit. Who knew? Well, I like to swing at the air and pretend that I’m hitting shit. It’s not like a hidden rage thing, it’s more like … OK, so I work an 8-5, I have three children, my husband and I can sing every word of Love is an Open Door, and guys, I like jorts. Not like cutoffs, or those cool, high-waisted Coachella girl ones. I’m talkin’ Bermudas, baby. I love ‘em. I do. So, my point is, when do I get to be a badass?

Piloxing has more punching than it’s butt-kicking cousin, Turbo Kick®, which, as I already covered, makes me a big fan. While it still requires coordination, it doesn’t have the rapid turnover sequences. It has “blocks”. Blocks are my buddy because they give me time to figure out what the frick is going on before we’re on to the next move. And I don’t know if it was the humidity hangover from the afternoon thunderstorm or the feistier-than-appearances-would-suggest instructor, but mama was sweatin’ like Britney without a background track. I could actually feel the beer and s’mores from the past 4 days liquefy and be exorcised from my system.


But for every high there is a low and with Piloxing, it’s the gloves and balance. Before the class started (Why do I always have to be so damn prompt? Why can’t I just straggle in during warmup like all the cool gym girls?), the instructor gave me a quick overview and offered a flash of her colorful gloves. This handwear, she explained, offers a light, added weight to optimize your upper body efforts and increase results. And, oh, they sell them. Of course they do. Gosh dang it. Just like the girl with the rowing shoes … or the people with the special clip-in spinning shoes … or yoga mats with built-in cooling pockets (made it up) … there’s always something, isn’t there? But as I hooked and jabbed and punched, I realized my jort-free badass self wanted the stinkin’ gloves.


The “pil” part of the class is a healthy dose of pilates core work, presented on this night in a block of balancing moves. So, the funniest thing happened. It turns out somewhere between my first pregnancy and a 6 year old coming in to go potty while I’m trying to take a hot bath, I lost the ability to stand on one foot. Truth be told, it didn’t come as a shock. I’ve been the girl whose tree pose appears to be wavering in a blustery breeze for months now. The other gals had it and I was the flailing distraction in the corner of their eyes. Sorry about that, ladies.

Definitely hitting this one up again (pun intended). The only sign I needed was when Still Not a Player by Big Pun came on as I turned onto my suburban street. And hell yes I turned that shit up!



Until next time …  


Memorial Day in Michigan

May 26, 2015

Memorial Day header

Memorial Day weekend for me now, is the equivalent of what Spring Break was in college. It feels like the first steps out of a 100-mile tunnel. We hauled ass outta here Thursday afternoon with our popup Emma, and made the trek to a KOA in Allendale, Michigan. Our reservation was a last-minute call since we only recently became camper folk, and the kind new owners gave us a spot on the lawn overlooking the pond. Very quaint.

Emma collage

Friday morning, while Hank tore Emma apart trying to hook up a water tank, and in an effort to quiet my screaming anxiety (Sidebar: If we’re going to be friends, you must know that I am a complete, intolerable psycho when it comes to organization. I need a system. I need things put away. I need to know where the GD ziplocks are, man. It’s gross and I’m not proud, but it’s my bag of clipped toenails in the closet. The secret side of me that torments my inner circle. So when I saw Emma in shambles, I got the shakes.) I took the girls over to feed the ducks. Only, these were not ducks. I’m pretty sure you could ride them. And they were super domesticated and entitled. A few scraps of enriched flour and these mugs came into our personal space. They were fighting and doing stuff to each other and it all got really uncomfortable really fast.


So, they chased them.

We hopped in the car and went to explore Holland, Michigan, just a few weeks too late for the Tulip Festival. We buzzed through the Hope College campus and landed at a restaurant on the water, Boatwerks. The food was decent and the backdrop was beautiful (Spike saw the most “indorable” baby geese) but the highlight was hands-down the beer. My mission is now to drink all of the Ciderboys Peach County cider, which will be difficult, because they don’t distribute here, as Hank predicted. Like biting into a juicy, drunk peach …

Now, the cool thing about camping is that you have a group of folks all connecting with their need to disconnect – sitting around mesmerizing, flickering flames and eating things cooked on sticks. The weird thing about camping, I’m finding, is kind of everything else. Like, I love it and I’m all in, but as we were walking from my folks trailer to Emma on the other side of the pond Friday night, it occurred to me that our present circumstances weren’t much different from that scene from every crime show where they go looking for the homeless man who “might have seen something”. We passed site after site with small groups hovering over their modest fires, warming their hands. The conversations were low and muffled … the cracks of what we hoped were fireworks in the background. As we climbed onto our firm mattress, I honestly chuckled at the thought that we were sleeping in an open field, surrounded by strangers with, essentially, a screen door between us. It’s kind of crazy, right? Like good crazy, but crazy.

But I love Emma. I also find that she satisfies that fine line between camping and glamping, or, as I refer to my parents’ unit, “an apartment on wheels”. We keep our street cred with the tent folk, but need only trot over to Mom and Dad’s for TV and a microwave. Boom! Best of both worlds.

Saturday brought official business. We were in the area for a very special wedding for a very special girl. My sister-in-law got remarried. That’s just how our crew rolls; legal unions might be dissolved, but the family one never will. It’s like the Soprano’s, only I’m pretty sure we’re German, and we shoot around sarcasm and digs rather than bullets. So we put on our sundresses and went to the beach in Grand Haven to see her start a new chapter.

Kids were welcome, and in abundance, and as is often the case with beaches, this one was full of sand. You guys, it was like being at an underground feline rave the moment they bring out the catnip. Khakis and dresses be damned. Kids were rolling down dunes and spreading grains like Sparky’s ashes. Beautiful vows were exchanged among a sea of sand monsters. The moment they sealed the deal with a kiss, the gates opened at the Kentucky Derby and the fillies fled to the waterfront with nervous parents trailing, just trying to get that Instagram-worthy family shot. Here’s ours (notice Spike’s wet dress):


Her dress was wet because …


But it was a lovely occasion with lovely company, as could be said for the entire weekend.

Trip High: When a butterfly landed on Spikey, twice! (The Ciderboys would have had it if I’d grabbed a few cases on my way out of the state.)


Trip Low: Saturday morning we got all geeked up to go for a hike. I put on my Cheryl boots and killer hiking socks from Costco, the girls tied sweatshirts around their shoulders (backpacks, they claimed) and Sloppy Joan was strapped into her carrier. The walk, it turned out, led to a swamp, and lasted a sweaty 5 minutes. The asshole mosquitos and standing water abruptly shat on our adventure.

Hike collage
That’s a wrap on Memorial Day 2015. We hope you had a great weekend!



You down with F.P.P.?

May 19, 2015

Since officially releasing my blog baby into the world, it’s been brought to my attention that most [normal] people don’t know how to follow such a thing. Now, of course you can add me to your Bookmarks or subscribe to the RSS feed, but if you want a system … if you want to truly let yourself fall down the blogosphere rabbit hole (trust me, you do), then I’m going to let you in on my secret.

Every morning, around 7:05, I settle in for a little personal F.P.P.: Feedly, Pocket, Pinterest. Three apps, more than 100 blogs, and just a mild addiction.

First things first, you need to treat yo self to a trip to the app store. Get Feedly, Pocket and the Pocket bookmarklet, and Pinterest and the Pinterest bookmarklet. (God bless the bookmarklet, man.) Once all the players are at the table, you can really play the game.

Go crazy. Start adding any and all of the crazy-awesome blogs out there to your Feedly roll. Suggestions? Oh, I have a few:

Yes and Yes – Great tips on bringing it as a human.
Dishing Up Dirt – My couple crush. Follow their adventures on Tumbleweed Farms.
Ivanka Trump – As far as brands go, this one has a creative dream team.
Enjoying the Small Things – Family stories that will rip your heart out. (In a good way.)
Blog Society – My jam for writing and creative inspiration.
Free People – When I want to tap into my inner hippie.
REI – They truly bridge the gap between selling product and selling an aspirational lifestyle. I’m buying everything they’re selling. Except, really not because I don’t have the money.

Basically, if you have an interest, someone has the blog. Mommy blogs, stay-at-home-mommy blogs, fitness blogs, blogs for lazy people, clean eating, natural eating, farm-to-table eating, fast food eating, crafting, knitting, scrapbooking, stationery collecting, dating, designing, meditating, running, running a scrapbooking store where people date … it’s out there. Just waiting to fill your Feedly. So fill ‘er up!

As I scroll through my Feedly, I give myself three options, none of which require a lot of thought. I either pass by, put it in my Pocket (to read later) or Pin it (to reference later). That’s it! I go on instinct, and I move fast. My Pocket is full of great articles for those rare occasions when I find 20 minutes to read. And my Pinterest boards are full of a trillion recipes, gardening tips and hair tutorials. It’s all there; roads and rives on my Superwoman road map.

I know I went through that pretty quickly, so I created this handy graph, using my pathetic Photoshop skills, for reference:

FPPDo yourself a favor. Get a system and get down with F.P.P. There are a billion bloggers out there just waiting to blow your mind. But start with mine, of course (winky face).


Back to print, with plants

May 14, 2015

A van full of offspring and three pants sizes ago, I majored in magazine journalism. You see, people used to actually go and buy printed pieces of paper with words and pictures – which made stories –  and they would turn pages and, well, the whole thing made for a good time. But now we swipe and scroll and what’s tangible isn’t as trendy, and …. I digress.

My first job out of college was working on a bimonthly food magazine with my college roommate. I wrote, she designed, and we drank at Howl at the Moon on Tuesday nights. It was such an exciting time. So, when she reached out for some freelance help a few months back, the 23 year old deep inside me danced like the rhythm-having, club-going, cool kid she once was.

Kit is a charming bimonthly magazine out of Indianapolis that offers fashion and lifestyle pieces for women. I was recruited to write a 2-page spread on picking the perfect plants for your spring landscaping. It’s great information and this lady can’t wait to get a tomato/potato hybrid going in my beds.

Check out Kit’s blog for more fun stuff for spring.


Mother’s Day (It’s a girl thing)

May 11, 2015


As I take my melatonin and tuck myself in at sunset on this, my sixth Mother’s Day, my heart is full, fat and happy. In what feels like the heartbeat of a hummingbird, we have filled this house with 3 gorgeous girls. Three girls … I still can’t believe it … three girls!
People often offer a “poor you” expression when I share that I have all girls. I get it. I mean, let’s face it, being the mom of all girls is like being on an endless group date on The Bachelor. Not one of the week 2 dates, where the crazies are still running rampant, but like one of the last ones, where all of the remaining contestants are cute as can be with somewhat charming characteristics. The comparison cuts the mustard in many regards. You constantly find yourself trying to get a word in, the ease of the experience elevates in relation to the amount of wine consumed, and it’s extremely difficult to get one-on-one time with the only guy in the room.
It’s fun to trade war tales with women on the other side of the spectrum.Working from home one day, an instant message popped up from a coworker, who has all boys, that simply read, “I had to put the Hulk in timeout last night for smashing Sammy’s wiener.” And right there, in that moment, I realized I would never have that experience. Much like I imagine she will never receive the response, “You make me feel like a piece of trash in a trash can that no one wants!” when she tells her toddler to stop arguing and go to sleep. Drama breeds like barn cats in summer around our house. The more estrogen in a square foot, the greater the magnitude of emotion you get.

Those same people who give “the look” also love to point out that we should “try for a boy” and make the assumption that we feel something is lacking in our lives. Sure, they always have to go potty when the food arrives, all of the body questions get fielded to me and I’ll never get a special dance at one of their weddings. But for every gut punch, there is a wonderful gift given in exchange. Knowing my husband watched YouTube videos with “simple braids for dads” or hearing him read them his favorite book, Daddy’s Girl, at night always makes my ticker swell. Having JoJo tell me she wants to be a writer just like me, or Spikey say she’s going to be a mommy, or watching them snuggle and chat and carry on. Nothing is missing in this house. Absolutely nothing.

I thank God every day for letting me live with these magical little people. I thank Him even on the days when my patience is spent and my nerves are shot. And as much as today makes me reflect on my own joy, it also reminds me of the sisterhood we all share. Every single woman who tries to be everything – the cook, the housekeeper, the professional, the coach, the disciplinarian, the therapist, the nurturer, the teacher. Every woman who tries to be Superwoman.  It reminds me of the respect I have for all of you and the energy it takes to try and be the best version of yourself to make a great version of someone else. I hope your Sunday was filled with sweet moments and crayon drawings, and you maybe found a little time for

Happy Mother’s Day!


Spike vs. Ruben Studdard

May 7, 2015

Unprompted apologies are so few and far between. But when they come, it’s like a Saturday morning at confession. Who’s more sorry?

Spike (writing an apology letter to our favorite caregiver, “Kay-Kay”) …

Or Ruuuuuuuubbbben Studdard …



The popup and the plague

May 6, 2015

Months ago I asked JoJo how she wanted to celebrate her sixth birthday. Her response crushed every piece of my maternal heart. “Mama,” she said. “I don’t think I want to turn 6. I just want to stay 5 forever … and live here forever … and keep my same clothes and my same blankets and live here forever.” It became very clear very quickly that we would have to bring out the birthday big guns. Not clowns … everyone knows clowns are psychotic. Not the trampoline place … I’d surely piss myself. A camping trip? The sparkle came back to her eyes with an enthusiastic “Yeah!”

In tandem with this conversation at our dinner table, my parents were coming into a sweet little popup camper that needed a new home. Coincidence?

Every week that passed brought more excitement and anticipation. We talked about snacks. We talked about our camper. We put the camper up and sat in it in the rain. We talked about snacks. And finally, the week was upon us.This is where our heartwarming tale takes a super shitty turn. Wednesday night, I heard Sloppy Joan coughing. When Hank went to grab her for a breathing treatment, he discovered an unpleasant, deconstructed version of her dinner spattered all over the crib. This was the first act in what would be a very long night of splats and squishes for Daddy, God love him. She’ll be better tomorrow, we thought. She wasn’t.

Friday was JoJo’s actual birthday, and the long-awaited departure day. I packed all morning, Hank left to load and pick up the popup (Emma we’re thinking of naming her). I took Sloppy Joan and went to pick up JoJo and Spikey for the annual birthday lunch at Old McDonald’s. Something deep in my soul told me to pick up the food and take it home rather than linger for the usual scamper through the urine-doused dome of fun. I knew something was off when Spike just stared at her nuggets. Girl loves her nuggets. Two gulps of apple juice – denied. We had a second puker. Maybe she just drank too fast, we thought. We were wrong. Curly tossed more cookies than a clumsy Girl Scout. With my whole family and a caravan of campers en route, I jumped on the grenade and stayed home with the younger two, while JoJo and Hank went north to nature.

Spike passed out and slept for, literally, 13 hours straight. It was incredible. She woke up like Will Ferrell in the debate scene of Old School, renewed and ready to camp. So, we went camping. It was gorgeous. A sunny 78 and a stone’s throw from the playground. We hiked and we ate … oh, how we ate. I mention the eating now as a cautionary tale to any woman who sits with flu-stricken children just 24 hours before said eating. As the children were nestled all snug in their sleeping bags and the adults gathered to gossip and drink grownup juice, I felt my stomach starting to think over my recent decisions. Best to go to sleep, I thought.

At 2 am, I was jolted awake by a very unpleasant, bitchslap of a truth that I can share with you now: Hell is the flu in a popup camper. The angels were with me in only one regard, and that was my parent’s apartment-on-wheels camper, which was just 15 strides away from our swinging door. I know this because I spent the hours between 2 am and 7 am pacing between their trailer and the soup pot that awaited me in the popup. Just after sunrise, my husband was serenaded by dry heaving and snotty snobs.

I was waving the white flag. It was time for me to go home, I thought.

Hank comes out as the saint in this story. This man – this sweet, sweet dad and selfless man – had to pack that whole trailer, unpack it, and then pack it all up again, with three little chicks in tow. Not to mention handle his hysterical other half.

But I suppose every party needs a pooper and that’s why we invited … well, the majority of our family of five. It turns out we gave treats to our party guests as well. As of publishing this post, my mom, brother-in-law and niece were down with the BGs (bubbly guts). Happy 6th birthday JoJo!

All crap aside, you are one of the most amazing people I know. You keep me sharp and challenge me to teach and to listen. This year, more than anything, you surprised me with your courage and determination. I saw fire in those eyes, kid, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You were my first timid step into motherhood – and now to see what has come of that adventure … to see this bold soul finding her voice and her place is so overwhelming. But remember, no matter how old you are, you will always be my baby. You promised!p.s.

This video is the only proof I have that this weekend actually happened. Sloppy Joan chillin with the iPad hanging from the roof of the popup. Good times …