Monthly Archives

August 2015


243 minutes

August 7, 2015


On my run last night, which took 47:51, I got to thinking about time; Specifically, where I spend it and who I spend it with. Dissecting an average work day, I see my chicks from 5pm – 9pm. If you count the glimpse I steal of them sleeping in the morning on my way downstairs and the brief encounter I sometimes get with Spike, you can add three extra minutes to that. So, that’s it. A lousy 4 hours and 3 minutes in a 24-hour day. But it gets worse.

More often than not, that’s a high estimate. If it’s a jogging night, we’re talking at least 45 minutes deducted from the already slim pot. A class at the gym? That’s 60 minutes. Girls night out? I’m lucky to get 40 minutes of face time with them. Then I start tallying the cooking, cleaning and shopping, and my soul shatters. How freaking sad is that to think about? And, if I want to further butcher those sweet seconds, I could go crazy analyzing which minutes are actually considered quality time. Time where I am doing my job as a mom rather than assuming the role of the moron multitasking bystander as their childhood playfully roars by without me.

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An unfortunate series of events has granted Hank a little extra time at home during the past 7 months. As much as we joke about his temporary turn as a “househusband,” the time has truly been a gift to me. Sharing the daily chores and tasks it takes to keep this place running has given me so many more opportunities to get down and wrestle with our girls. I can chew on Sloppy Joan’s neck and listen to giggles hiss out of her four-toothed mouth, because the laundry was already started. I can do airplane until my legs give out with JoJo, because dinner’s in the works. And I can sit in awe and listen to another imaginative Spike story, because the floors got swept this morning. I’m not saying it’s fun being on the other end of the broomstick, but it has been a huge blessing for the lady of the house.

But it’s ending. In a blink we’ll be back to two full-time working parents, with a child in kindergarten and, again, the hourglass is going to drain like a bottle of Moscato at a Mary Kay party.

I don’t know that there’s an answer or a solve for fleeting time. I’ve long yearned for the chance to go back in history, find the fool who implemented the 5-day work week, and beat him until he cries crocodile tears of regret and begs for my forgiveness, but alas, the gentleman (you know it was a man) eludes me. I’m also quite certain that the grass is greener concept is at play here. If I stayed home with my girls, truth be told, I’d probably end up hunkered down in my closet with an iPad full of Sex and the City seasons, a tapped Bota Box and a can of Reddi-wip, crying while the children beat each other into submission and the basic laws of human decency toppled one by one outside by bunker. I once asked my mother what she liked most about staying home with us kids and she said, “You know, I didn’t. Some people are meant to stay home and some people aren’t. And I wasn’t.” I respect her honesty and, while I think my kids are the most awesome specimens ever grown, I think I might not be one of those people either. Sometimes, you just can’t win.

I always try to make it matter. I want their memories with me to be full of belly laughs, muddy knees and wild adventures. I want to listen and I want to lift them up. I want them to know my eyes, rather than the top of my head or my back. I want more time, but since I can’t have that, I want more of the times you take with you; in your heart, in your dreams, in the stories you tell. Every moment spent is a moment you can’t get back and they’re fleeting at an obnoxious pace. All I can do is breathe it all in, let it fill me up with joy and let my soul’s compass point back to that feeling, that purpose, often and always.

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You bet your bottom … dollars

August 6, 2015


About a year after I had Spike, a group of coworkers decided to organize a weight loss challenge. The Ten By Ten Intense Weight Loss Challenge, I believe it was called. At that time in my life, I was in a body composition situation much like the one I find myself in now: About 85% of the way back to my pre-baby self, frustrated, lacking motivation and madly in love with sweets and sauces. The exact parameters of the competition are tied up in my memory – somewhere between the lyrics to Guess I’ll Go Eat Worms and the Flavor of the Day at Culver’s – but basically, we held these degrading weigh ins every Thursday morning and the first to hit a certain percentage of weight loss, won the majority of a somewhat sizable money pot.

These weigh ins went on for months. Interest dwindled. Contenders dropped out. I started taking off my belt and peeing right before in an effort to lock it up. Eventually, it came down to me and a bunch of dudes. And then, it happened … I beat the boys. I was the slim hot dog in a giant sausage fest and, I’m tellin ya, it felt so. damn. good. It was a tasty victory sandwich smothered in cash condiments with a sloppy, indulgent side of a semi-slender figure. I’m ashamed to admit how satisfying it really was.

Jumping to extra pounds of the present, this gal needs some fire in her flat tire. It’s time to drop these last l-bs and bring those cobwebbed goal clothes down to be worn in their glory. Remember when I used to do those “What the scale said …” updates (those two times) at the start of the month? Know why I stopped? Because there was no change. It’s depressing! But the pity and I part ways here.

Another piece of my puzzle, I am mildly obsessed with Extreme Weight Loss, and so, naturally, I stalk Chris and Heidi Powell on every social media platform they selfie on. I’ve seen them post these DietBets before, and was always intrigued. This is how it works, to the best of my knowledge:

You sign up with Paypal or a credit card (a $30 buy in). To be accepted into the bet, you must take two photographs: A full body shot and a scale shot, each containing a piece of paper with your secret DietBet word written on it. Once you’re in, you swap sweets for sweat and move around a bunch to try and shed 4% of your body weight. You do that by the time the bet is up and you win your $30 back plus your share of the total pot, which you share with the other victors. Easy, right?

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The one I entered is here and is open until August 18, though, the sooner you sign up, the longer you have to lose. It’s worth a shot and kind of exciting. I just really don’t have enough deadlines in my life, so I figured I’d pay for one more. Please, join me, won’t you?

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Summer Cocktails

August 4, 2015

Today, I’m bringing something very special out of the vault. It’s a devilish punch that reminds me of younger, gloriously uninhibited days. Hold onto your dresses, dearies, it’s my favorite summer cocktail: The Sip and Go Naked. I had to share this recipe verbatim because my lovely college roommate (and new mommy), sweet sugar lips Sarah, emailed it to me a few months back in just this fashion.

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If I could remember them clearly, oh the stories I would tell; all beginning with a cup of this lemony libation laced with a wicked whisper of Southern Comfort. I recall dancing, perhaps on tables. I remember the kitchen floor, always sticky. We would slip on our black nylon pants and fanciest shirt (possibly one shoulder strap, definitely borderline slutty and Midwest sweetheart), plug in a string of party lights and deal out a game of Kings.

I can almost feel that indestructible, false sense of adulthood we had from our first year truly living on our own. We could have a party. We could smoke cigarettes out of the living room window. We could harass the elephant parade of freshman streaming in from the dorms looking for house parties. With a Sip and Go Naked in hand, we were living the dream and 100 percent invincible. (Granted, the house we rented was crawling with black mold and we only cleaned the toilets once every 3 months when someone’s folks were coming to visit, but that’s neither here nor there.)

But mostly, the smell of a frothy serving makes me think of Sarah, and the lively, lovely ball of joy she is. Isn’t that funny … how a smell can unlock a vault of moments you’d tucked away in a cobwebbed place in your mind? I can hear her, “Mmmmm, bitch! We’re gonna Sip and Go Naked!” with some Outkast blaring from our computers in the background. She’d dump in the prescription for the potent cocktail with abandon and intention, shakin’ her ass and grinning my ear to ear. It isn’t the tastiest drink I’ve ever had, but it is the most nostalgic.

Break out the blender, grab some cheap ingredients and Sip and Go Naked yourself. Quick … before summer’s gone!

Spike Speak

The Week of Spike

August 2, 2015


Today, our second-born beauty turns 4. Her eyes light up when we talk about the things 4 year olds do – ride bikes with no training wheels, stay up at nap to play Skip-O, go to summer camp, learn to swim with no bathing suit (she means lifejacket) –  and I feel that familiar pull to put life on pause and make the Earth turn just a tiny bit slower.

In our house, everything relates back to food, so when we decided to have The Week of Spike, it boiled down to 4 days of dinners with “Sp” worked in.


She didn’t have specific requests for gifts like her big sis who repeatedly pleaded for a family trip to Mexico but happily settled on what will forever be known as the camping trip officially sponsored by the plague. In fact one of the things I love most about our sweet Spikey is her genuine joy in life’s surprises.

There is so much to celebrate about this kid. She is a character in the most hilarious, dramatic, imaginative play I’ve ever had the privilege of watching. From the animated inflection in her voice, to the unmistakable sparkle in her big brown eyes, to the style in which she pops her little hip, puts her hand in the bend of her waist, raises her eyebrows and points right at you when she really wants you to engage in her story, this one is special.

Not a day goes by when she doesn’t make me laugh. And not like, oh let’s encourage her to embrace her individuality and fuel her spirit laughs … like legit, from the bottom of my belly laughs.

Most mornings go like this: I wake up at 5:40 and try to get ready as quietly as possible. I go downstairs to gather my goods for the day and feed the dog. As soon as the bowl drops, I hear the shuffle of too-long toenails as Mya makes her way to breakfast. My last order of business is firing up the Ninja to power blend my smoothie. It automatically shuts off and within 5 seconds I hear her. She scoots the tiny pads of her kissable feet across the tile and, before the rest of her, a bird’s nest of beautiful brunette hair breaks the vertical horizon of the kitchen wall. She is always rubbing her eyes. She is always quiet for the first minute or so. She is always my favorite sight. I get her settled with 2 yummy nilla bars (oatmeal raisin granola bars, which I realize aren’t the greatest choice but that conversation goes here) and a show before … and this is my favorite part … she commands me to give a “kiss and huggie”. As I walk to the garage smiling, she yells, at an inappropriate and unnecessary volume, “Have a good day, Mama, OK? I see you at dinner! Bye!” Boom. Day made.

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We spent the day at the lake, but first, we needed a cake. Her dad whipped up a Cake Without Cake Mix for our Friday night gathering, but we needed something to feed about 25 people for this party, so we stopped into Kroger. Those folks know how to handle their flour and sugar. I grabbed the cutest assortment of cupcakes, arranged to look like an ice cream cone with a cherry on top. It was adorable. I’d post a picture except the only ones I have are from after. After I let Spike opt to do candles outside. After I turned too quickly. After the tray slid off the plastic base. After I dropped 24 cupcakes, frosting side down, onto Great Grandma Marge’s rug. After I made the cutest cupcake ice cream cone into a poop-looking pile of frosting.




But the day was not lost.

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Happy birthday, dear Spike. I hope this year holds nothing but new discoveries and happy memories for you, ya little Sour Patch Kid. Keep inspiring those around you to dream out loud and never, ever fear that imagination of yours; it will take you far in this world if you embrace it and share it the right way. Thank you for the laugh wrinkles and warm snuggles, and for being a living, laughing example not to take life too seriously. As you would say, “You know … I love you so much. I really, really do.”