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Friday, December 18, 2015

Cuteness Overload

If you haven't been to a preschool program or recital, I suggest you go to one. Well, only if you know a kid in the show, otherwise you would look a little creepy. 

These things are beyond cute--starting with the kids waving to their families as soon as they get on stage. And if the cuteness wasn't enough, there are always moments of comic relief. Like the little boy who kept clapping and the girl next to him who put her hands over his to stop him. And the little boy who kept dancing and the girl next to him who kept telling him to stop. (These little girls are bossy!) 

And here is Gus who did not get in trouble with the adorable little girl next to him. Their class sang "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "The Waiting Song." 

I'm sorry you didn't get to see the cuteness explosion in person, but here are some pictures and yes, even videos! 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Dyson Diva

I have been a loyal Dyson customer for seven years, ever since Thea told me about the Dyson DC15 

I still have that one and I use it on carpets and rugs but a couple of years ago, at the suggestion of Granny Jo, I also invested in a cordless Dyson. 

Both of these tools are life-changing! The cordless is great for hardwood floors and tile and can transform into a dust buster for the car. It pivots in a way that makes it easy to get under furniture and around corners. 

Ah, it is glorious! 

But it sort of fell apart on me when we moved here. Hold on. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with it and I still ADORE my Dysons. It was user error. This little strip of material started to come off and I decided to just toss it. What did I need that little strip for anyway? 

Well, apparently I did need it. It kept the vacuum from scratching up the floors. So then I had to suffer through vacuuming with those hair-collecting sticky pads Frank puts on everything. It was like declawing a cat--my beloved Dyson became practically useless in attacking dust and crumbs. And it wouldn't work when it went backwards. 

And another reason it is not Dyson's fault--they probably didn't intend for me to use it five times a day for three years. 

We felt like we got our money's worth out of it so we decided it was time to replace it. We found a deal at Target, ordered it online and it arrived yesterday. Frank immediately put it together and let me take it for a test drive. Gus tried to grab it from me and I screamed, "NO!! THIS IS MOMMY'S NEW TOY!!" 

Y'all, I didn't think I could love anything more than the DC15 and then I didn't think I could love anything more than the cordless Dyson. But this, new and improved cordless Dyson is UNBELIEVABLE. It works on the carpet too! I vacuumed the basement stairs with ease and then I ended up vacuuming the entire basement. I sucked up two dead roaches! 

I told Frank, "This thing is the bomb!" 

Oh, and I am keeping the other two Dysons--DC15 works better on rugs and the old cordless Dyson is in our laundry room upstairs so I can suck up the hair in my bathroom more regularly. (It's like tumbleweeds in there!) 

And did you see that my new Dyson is pink? 

I love the color and I hope it might just repel the boys. 

Merry Christmas to me! #DysonDivaForever 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


I painted a wall. That may not be a big deal to some of you but my experience with paint has been limited to watercolors and fingerprints. I realized through this experience, though, that I am not a DIY-er. I am a PIY-er--a Pay it Yourselfer.

I have always known that home improvement projects weren't my strong suit. But they make it sound so easy on House Hunters:

"I really don't like the paint color in this room."

"Nothing a can of paint can't fix!"

I even find myself yelling at the hunters when they say things like that: "Come on, you can easily paint over that! Just grab a bucket of paint, a paint brush and go to town. And while you're at it, you can change the carpet to hardwoods, add a bathroom and knock down that wall that makes the house not open enough for your taste."

So when my neighbor said that she had painted her whole house AND her kitchen cabinets, I thought, "Surely, I could paint one wall. How hard could it be?"

And this wall really begged to be painted. It's in our guest bedroom which was formerly a child's room. It has stripes on the wall so I thought the room must have been a circus theme. But luckily the former owners left all the paint in the basement (it's like a paint store in there; you should come shop!) and I found the paint--or paints I should say--from that wall. Apparently it was a baseball themed room according to the notes on the paint can. (I DO love the notes; they help me figure out what paint goes where!) You be the judge:

Usually I delegate these projects to Popsy. He painted our entire kitchen in Frisco and Leo's room here. (From one painter to another, Popsy, much respect.) But he refused to paint this wall. Why? Because HE LIKES IT! Frank and Leo agree. But I didn't and I'm pretty sure nobody else who toured our house did either. So I tackled the job of painting the entire wall the same color as that middle stripe. I thought it was the color of the rest of the walls. But alas, it was not. They were a lighter tan. Still, I stuck with that darker tan and hoped it would come across as an accent wall. That's a thing, right? 

This next paragraph is a shout out to Ace Hardware (for which I am not being paid): I went to Ace Hardware to get supplies and a kind, older man helped me. He didn't pressure me into a lot of fancy painting tools; I walked out with a roller on an extended pole and a square edger kind of paint thing-a-ma-jiggy. When I left he said, "Let me know how it goes!" I said, "I'm not in here much but I live close so I'll come by!" I mean, can you imagine someone at Lowe's or Home Depot saying that? 

So anyway, I taped (my least favorite part), I rolled (maybe my favorite part) and then there was a lot of moving a tarp around and making sure I didn't drip paint anywhere. That's the main thing I didn't like--all of the potential damage I could do to the rest of the room. Like I dripped a little paint on the comforter, on the other walls, on the baseboards and on the outlet covers. (That might be because I abandoned the taping process midway.) 

I started on Monday and I went in to finish today, thinking I just had some touch ups and I ended up doing more harm than good. Now I'm totally discouraged and ready to just wait until Popsy comes in December to undo the damage I have done. Here are some pics to explain the situation: 

Day one-Hey, this is not so bad. I just roll some paint on there. I'll get to those edges later. I don't need tape there, right? I've got the cool edger thing-a-ma-jiggy. 

Day 2: Ooh, that side dried pretty nicely and thank you, Frank, for getting the edges.

Day 2, afternoon: The other side is coming along but it was a pain to move this ladder and the tarp and all of my supplies without making a mess.

Day 3: I think I'm pretty much done. Just need to do a few touch ups! Surely I don't need to tape for that, right?

Oops, maybe I should have taped.

Missed a spot.

What color was this part of the wall before? No one will ever know!

The pictures don't do it justice. It is pretty awful! And I'm dreading the part where I have to go clean up all those brushes and pans and the tarp. I realize that the reason I don't like to paint is not because I'm lazy. I know I'm not lazy because I love to clean. I clean hard core. 

No, I don't like painting because of two P words that I don't have: 

PATIENCE: I just want it done! I am the type of person who fast forwards through home improvement shows to the big reveal! 

PRECISENESS: I prefer cooking over baking. I don't like to measure or make things exact. That's why I liked the rolling part. It was more of a free for all. 

I don't know how much it would cost to have someone come paint a wall but I would guess that it would be worth every penny. Because this thing took me a lot of time and it was just one wall! And my time is too valuable for that. (Except I don't actually have a job so I guess that argument doesn't work.) 

But hey, if you need some help purging your closet, making a Mexican meal or writing a snarky blog, I'm your girl.  Just don't give me a paint brush or a drill or a hammer or any tool whatsoever. 

I will say, though, that the entire time I was painting I looked EXACTLY like this girl: 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cold Case

It's starting to get chilly (at least it is here in Atlanta. Sorry, Texas friends) and you know what that means: all the mommies are going to start forcing their kids to wear jackets and coats less they "catch cold."

I CAN'T TAKE ANOTHER SEASON OF IT! So I am putting it very clearly here in a PSA-style blog:


I know; it's really hard to wrap your brain around that if you've grown up thinking that stepping outside into cold weather leads you to contract a virus. Also, it's understandable that there is some confusion given that the disease is called a "cold" and the temperature is called "cold." 

Why oh why do they call it a cold? Because think about it: if they called it "a hot" you would probably worry that your sweaty children would catch it in the summer. And if they called it "a broccoli" you would for sure fear that consuming too much of that green vegetable would lead to a majorly runny nose. 

But it's just a coincidence. The two have nothing to do with each other. 

"Then why do more people catch colds in the winter?" you ask. 

Good question. Let me clear that up too. It's because we're all inside more, passing germs. The truth is, if we would spend more time outside (with or without a jacket), we would be LESS LIKELY to catch a broccoli. 

I put out this PSA for my own protection, really. See, the weather is in the 50s and 60s here and most people (myself included) are sporting jackets and hoodies. My kids don't care to do that--or wear pants for that matter. And I am sure many moms are thinking, "Those poor kids. Where are their jackets? And their pants? They're going to catch cold!" 

I try to get them to wear more suitable fall clothing--not because I fear for their health, but because I worry about the glares and public ridicule. And even I admit, they do look a little ridiculous. 

But then I think, if they are comfortable then what do I care? As Leo says, "It's my body!" And he has heard me say "you don't catch a cold from being cold" enough to throw that back at me.  Sure, if it were below freezing they could be at risk for hypothermia or frost bite. But we're not there yet. 

Like Jimmy Kimmel said about the anti-vaccine people: "You probably aren't going to take medical advice from a talk show host," (or in my case, a freelance writer/blogger/spin instructor) but "I would expect you to take medical advice from almost every doctor in the world!" 

And what they tell you to do is wash your hands, don't touch your nose and eyes a lot if your hands aren't clean and stay away from people who are sick. They say nothing about staying warm.

So this fall and winter, wear a jacket. Or don't. And definitely eat your broccoli. But don't eat broccoli after someone with a runny nose because that, my friends, is how you really catch a cold. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Camera Captures

Sometimes I just peek at the pics on my iPhone's camera roll to see if any of them spark a blog topic. Well, apparently, the kids have been snapping pictures more than I have. And I have to say, their work is impressive considering they are so young. I think I might have a couple of budding Annie Leibovitz on my hands. 

A superb selfie from Gus: 

This is one of about a hundred I found that I call "Dark and mysterious." 

I call this, "Toes' view of the living room." 

And then, "Heel's view of the living room." 

The lighting on this one is spectacular.

One of the kids was experimenting with lighting and camera angles here.

The shadows and backlight here are quite haunting.

This blur was intentional, I'm sure, to show the movement of the floors.

Whichever kid took this one was really committed--tilting the phone just right AND executing the blur balance.

I call this, "Blurry Mommy." 

After Leo took this picture of Gus's Pull-up, he uploaded it to an app called ChatterPix where he made the Pull-up talk. Genius.

I see a rug. I see a suspicious object close up to the camera. This one really sparks my curiosity.

This shot of the door speaks to me.

I mean, who would think of shooting the foyer from the POV of walking out of the house? Only a brilliant photographer.

It's like the couch cushion comes to life.

It's like the ceiling fan comes to life. (Which would be nice, actually, since it is not working right now.)

Funky angle on the couch cushion. I dig it!

And then I uncovered about 200 of these selfie gems. I chose only the best ones:

And lastly, a t-shirt selfie done my me, to show that, I may not have the photography chops of my sons, but I am the coolest mom on the block with my new Star Wars shirt.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Blog Bundle

Oh, dear blog, if you were a child, you would be taken away from me. Because I have neglected you. But I vow to do better. Tonight, I suddenly remembered that you existed, and thought, "I need to write a post on my blog!" But what to write about? When I used to post daily (obviously, pre-kids), I would say to Frank, "What should I write about on my blog tomorrow?" and he would answer, "The pressures of writing a blog."

But just like a morning radio DJ shouldn't talk about how tired he/she is, a blogger shouldn't talk about writer's block. I have plenty to say, it's just that none of it is enough for an entire blog post.

So with that, I give you a little bundle of what's been going on here--at my house and in my brain.

Let's start with Leo:

He had his first sleepover about a month ago. (I'm so behind!) He and his best friend John joined about seven other boys to celebrate Etienne's seventh birthday. Etienne's parents were so brave to do this as it was a lot of the boys' first sleepover.  The boys loved the Minecraft theme (Leo's latest obsession)--they swam, made Minecraft t-shirts, played Minecraft bingo and watched a movie before eventually going to sleep.

The other thing going on with Leo is a massive exodus of his teeth! He was a late bloomer in this department but he has lost three since June. So that is an average of one a month. He has lost two bottom teeth and a top tooth. I don't know how this kid eats! The tooth fairy has been generous but not TOO generous.  For his first tooth, he got $5 and a spy pen that coincidentally I had bought for him at Cracker Barrel six months earlier and had never given to him. For the next two he got a dollar per tooth. I hear that sometimes the tooth fairy gives more money for a tooth, if it was a tooth that she was low on. 

Then there's Gus. When he's not pooping in his pants, Gus is mostly delightful. He asks LOTS of questions. Like sometimes he just goes on a question-asking binge: 

"Gus, here is a dish towel so you can clean up the water you spilled." 
"What's a dish towel?" 
"It's a towel that you use in the kitchen, usually to dry dishes." 
"What are dishes?" 
"The plates that we eat on, the glasses we drink out of." 
"What is a drink?" 
"You know, a liquid that you put in your mouth like water or juice." 
"What is a liquid?" 

It could go on all day. 

Gus is also into Paw Patrol, his shoo shoo (which he still takes everywhere) and pretty much anything Leo is into (Minecraft, Star Wars and losing teeth).

As far as what's going on in my head…there are two things. Okay, hopefully there are more than two things, but two things I'd like to share: 

I really don't see the point of business cards. If I want to find you, I am not going to go search for a little piece of paper. I will just look you up in the phone book. Duh. 

Just kidding. I mean, I guess sometimes you can't remember someone's name so you need the card to remind you? But I usually do remember their name or their company's name…at least enough to Google them and find their number. I so badly want to refuse business cards when someone hands theirs to me. But I know that looks crazy. So instead I just throw them in the trash. Because even something as small as a business card can cause clutter. It's like gateway clutter. 

While I'm at it, I'd like to say I also don't like appointment reminder cards. I'm just going to put the appointment in my phone and throw away the card. 

And then I've got one more Facebook cliche that I'd like to shed light on. Suddenly, every mom wants "time to stand still." Yes, the kids are cute in still photos and yes, they do seem to grow up quickly. I get it. But the other day I saw someone wish her "sweet" eleven year old son a happy birthday and she added #timepleasestop 

You want to make someone stay an eleven year old boy forever? That is just cruel. 

And since this blog is such a jumbled mess, I just want to say #timepleasekeepgoing