30 November 2012

Frosty

It turns out I am still not willing to flash my headlights at another car if they're driving around without their own headlights on because I'm still somewhat convinced that it could be a gang initiation whereupon me flashing my headlights would cause them to shoot me.

Apologies to the dumbass driving along 495 without their lights on - I like to think I'm not the only coward avoiding getting your attention. I hope you didn't shoot any good samaritan that clued you in eventually.

Man, gangs were jerks in the 80s weren't they? But did this actually EVER happen to anyone? Was it just an urban myth? If I forget to turn on my headlights & someone flashes me do I have to kill them?

Anyway, I'm happy. I mean it.

Usually when I make such a sweeping claim of contentment in life, something gosh-awful smashes me & I'm not happy anymore. We're probably all going to get scurvy or narcolepsy now.

But I'm putting it out there regardless of what shit storm may get stirred up. I'm really loving my job (though it's been super slow thanks to the holidays - looking forward to being busier in the future), my kids are the best ever & my husband ain't half bad either.

I also love the holidays & decorating & buying presents & wrapping presents & Christmas music & cold weather & looking at Christmas lights. This time of year is just dandy!

Have I mentioned my wreath? My wreath makes me happy.

LOOK AT IT!

Isn't it GLORIOUS?? 
You need to get one too, don't you? 
Go check out Ever Blooming Originals & get one of Colette's amazing creations. 
I love my snowman!!

Elsewhere in my life, nothing is really going on. Our goal this weekend is to really dig into our house & get some more pictures up on the wall, some decisions made on paint colors, put the Christmas tree up, all the good stuff.

But hey, I do have a couple of corners that look great to me & I thought I would share them with you:

My bedside table. 
Lord love my Aunt Mary - that gorgeous table was hers & it just makes my day every day to look at it.
The little painting on the wall is from Marcel's parents' attic.
The little bowl is from some little awesome home shop we stumbled into in Tasmania (can't remember the town).
The picture is all of us at Disneyland with Mickey & Minnie.
The lamp & lampshade are Target. 
And my darling little cockatoo slippers were bought before I went into the hospital to have Evan. They ended up being way too squeaky on the hospital floor & I got dirty looks form the other mothers in our shared room so I retired them from hospital duty. Whatever, they're slippers that look like cockatoos & there is nothing unlovable about that.

And this is the entryway at the top of our stairs.
Yeah, it's busy & cluttered & looks better when it's not smothered in winter coats but I love it.
That gorgeous little cabinet is just from Target (online only for yellow) & I'm trying to find another place I could stick another one of them because it's a little piece of perfection. I'd like the teal next time, please.
The basket is maybe from Marshall's?
The awesome mirror is from Edie's Lab on etsy but I caught a demo model from a home show they had done so I got it half price. 
The big honeycomb vase is AWESOME & I actually ended up getting two from West Elm & I'll probably get more in more colors.
The little vase is even more awesome because up close it looks like a slightly crumpled paper bag. So cute! And a gift from my mother in law - love it!
We left most of our books behind when we moved from the Big Country so all that's left is in this cabinet. 

So there you go, a tiny little tour of two corners of our house. If we get anything put together this weekend, I shall take more pictures I promise. 

Have a happy Friday (or Saturday for those of you on the other side of the planet)(stay cool, by the way, I hear you're getting fried!)!



19 November 2012

The Weight of the World

Went back to Weight Watchers yesterday for my first weigh-in on America's fair shores. America has not been kind to me. Actually, maybe it's been too kind to me.

I've gained 10 pounds since I stopped my meetings in Australia, which was the end of July or beginning of August. Impressive, yes?

This is not good news BUT I will say that I knew I would gain weight, thanks to the stress of the move and the reintroduction to some favorite old haunts and discovering new treats. In fact, I always said that I'd be happy as long as I didn't gain more than 10 pounds & since I managed to be right on 10 pounds I'm kinda okay.

I am a little mad at myself for starting the weigh-in process the week of Thanksgiving - a bit of a clown situation, bro. Ah well, at least it might make me eat a bit less destructively on the big day. Only 2 slices of pie instead of 5 & not just curl up on the couch with the entire dish of stuffing as usual, right?

Hoo boy, I'm in trouble.

So at this point, I am 19 pounds away from my goal weight. I can do this! I quit the gym since there is no hope of me getting there between work & trying to be halfway involved with my homefront, so I've got to find a way to be active without feeling like I'm being active.

Can I hire a personal trainer to wave my arms & legs around for me while I watch HGTV? Can I hire a nutritionist to swat my hand away every time I reach for the tortillas that I planned on using to make a cheese quesadilla? Does anyone else have an addiction to plain old cheese quesadillas?

So while I'm a little disappointed that the extra heft in my gut & tightness in my clothes isn't from my body swelling up with pride at the being the first body to successfully turn quesadillas into muscle, it could be worse.

I'll be in Tennessee for Thanksgiving weekend so I can't go weigh in anyway (no, I will not go weigh in while in Tennessee - how dare you suggest it) so I'll technically have an extra week to undo the damage I do over the holiday.

How long would I have to strap myself to a treadmill to undo a weekend of pie & stuffing? I think my game plan is pretty obvious - only eat my absolute favorites (the aforementioned pie & stuffing) plus veggies & not waste any points on things I like but don't LURVE. Success is going to be delicious enough to make up for all the collateral damage.

Okay, I'm getting sick of talking about my chubby ass.

I just ordered a wreath online. A WREATH. I think my transformation into a true mom is officially complete. We are decorating our damn house for Christmas. We were wimps for Halloween, assuming the new people (us) shouldn't be the first ones to decorate but then NO ONE else on our street did so we were stuck. One house around the corner went all out & we admired them so much & they happened to be one of the very few that came around trick or treating. They were as shocked as we were that no one else decorated - we vowed to ourselves then & there to follow in that family's footsteps & not to worry what the grinches of the neighborhood did or didn't do. We shall decorate.

I have visions of Marcel on the roof Clark Griswold'ing it up while other moms drive their mini-vans from near & far to admire my wreath. It will be glorious, g-l-o-r-i-o-u-s.

Speaking of glorious, Marcel & I went & saw Skyfall yesterday afternoon - it was fantastic. Just getting out without our lovely young dudes was fantastic & enjoying a movie too? Fan-bloody-tastic! There was a lot of buildup about this movie, lots of hype about it being the best Bond ever? Not so much. I've only seen the Daniel Craig 007's & I preferred Casino Royale to be honest but this one was pretty great.

I'm so glad that the Bond movies have kept using opening titles - I didn't even realize I miss credits & fancy graphics at the beginning of movies. Remember them? Good time, good times.

I don't have the energy to give any full review of the movie. If you like other Bond movies, you'll like this one & yes, there are some nice little winks at past 007's & some lovely eye candy in the form of Daniel Craig & his usual gaggle of ladies. I have only two complaints & they are my usual petty rants so here we go:

Why won't anyone give Javier Bardem a nice hairstyle? Lord knows he's a handsome man but the mop on his head was so distracting to me. I know he's the villain, whatever. There have been plenty of good looking bad guys in the world. Why not him?

Secondly & far less importantly, there is some flashlight use that is ridiculous. RIDICULOUS, I tell you. You see this person in the distance & the flashlight beam is all over the place. I ceased to process any more of the plot at that point, not being able to concentrate on any thought beyond "Put that flashlight down. What on earth are you doing with the flashlight? Holy crap, my toddlers could be steadier with a flashlight! Pleeeease stop waving the flashlight!" I assume the filmmakers wanted to build tension because you know someone is bound to see the flashlight but holy guacamole, baboons are more controlled than that.

Okay, rant over. See the movie, you'll like it & if you don't like it, then you'll at least like staring at Daniel Craig or the pretty ladies. And if you don't like them, then you are a robot & I can't suggest any viewing materials for you because I don't know what robots like.

I think I can't eat Sour Patch Kids anymore. I got a bit giddy about going to a movie & brought some with me because there is nothing better than Sour Patch Kids & popcorn. But my teeth still hurt. The sugar pushed me over some edge, now cold & hot are hurting my front left tooth too. Why me, why now? It's just not fair.

Okay, I should go now before I get too hyped up about not being able to get hyped up on Sour Patch Kids & I start waving a flashlight around all willy nilly. That's not good for anybody.




17 November 2012

Fighting the Pickle People

Ben watches a lot of his shows on the iPad - we have Netflix account that he knows how to use better than I do so he cruises through all the options on Netflix Kids. He found one really cute show that must be a little bit above his age range because one episode was a little too scary for him. There were some people dressed up as "pickle people" that some kids thought were going to get them. So tonight we had to have a chat with him about how there is no such thing as pickle people & no pickle people were coming to get him. He pronounces it "peekle" so it's pretty darn adorable to hear him talk about them. Obviously must do a better job policing what he watches.

Work has been pretty darn wonderful. I'm really enjoying myself - I think the position suits me really well & I really adore my new coworkers, staff & freelancers alike. I'm so excited to have found such a great position at just the right time! I'm still doing a lot of learning so in the next couple of weeks I'll talk more about the job. I'm not trying to be deliberately cryptic, I just don't want to say that I do "blah" & then realize that actually I'll be doing a bit more "zoinks."

Hey, I looked nice today! Isn't that a stupid thing to say? But I dressed in a way that I would like to dress more often. I spent a few precious minutes trying to get a picture of myself using complicated iPhone angles & mirrors but I was always either making a stupid face or at some bizarre angle, then Evan showed up so I had to give up. We'll just go with this one:


Obviously I will never be a fashion blogger. Or a house blogger because I will never finish decorating this poor house - the time, it just gets away from us.

I will share with you the one corner I have pretty much completed that you might appreciate. It's my desk. Every time you read one of my fascinating little entries, you can picture me at this desk typing my little sausage fingers away, pouring my heart & soul into really crappy phrases & terrible stabs at humor.

Here we go ...

So the lovely little desk & chair were from my Great Aunt Mary, who died a couple of years ago. 
She was such a hoot so I'm glad to have so many things from her in our house. 

The amazing Venetian vase on the floor is something my grandparents got on their honeymoon (if I have my story straight) & I have loved it for as long as I can possibly remember. 
My beautiful grandmother always said I could have it someday & it's the only thing I've ever actually inherited in someone's will. 
I don't know if I've ever loved a material possession as much as I love that vase - it's so grand & precious & fragile & so unlike anything I'd ever actually buy myself, it just delights me.

Let's take a closer look at the crap I do buy myself.

That tiger print is another of my favorites! 
Bought it in a tacky frame at Value Village in Langley Park back in my college days. 
It cost 25 cents & has followed me around the world, been in every conceivable kind of frame. 
When I bought this orange frame (from ZGallerie), I tried several different pictures & prints but nothing was wow'ing me. 
Then I found my old trusty tiger & all was well.

I totally ripped my friend Nicole off with the peanut. 
She had one & I coveted it greatly, then finally found one for myself on etsy (TwoGuysVintage). 
If ever there was someone's style to steal, it is Nicole's!

FACT: Every pair of best friends needs a Beaches-esque photo booth photo of themselves! 
This is Dana & me at Ocean City, MD when we were 18 or 19 without a care in the world. 
One of my most favorite photos ever, ever, ever.

As we eventually decorate our house, you'll see more of the treasures unearthed in the Eisele family attic but we'll start with the shutters. 
I stole this little pair to hold the random mementos that don't fit in frames. 
I know the concept has been around forever, not trying to claim it as an original but it is genius & adorable & you ought to get some shutters too.

The mug from Anthropologie, the print from Marcel & my brains and the penguin from pattispolkadots (when will etsy let people use spaces in their shop names?).

Oh my word, the hand drawn palm tree from our sponsor child in Papua New Guinea that she titled "Me and my coconut tree." So smitten with our budding artiste.

If you haven't visited Little Things Studio, do yourself a favor & skedaddle on over there! 
Love Kate's designs, colors & the quotes she chooses.
This particular one is my current mantra: A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.
William G. Shedd, I salute you!

DMX, I salute you too!
I know there's a few of these floating around the crafting world but I liked this one in all its delicate glory. 
the Tennessee Stitchery can hook you up with one of your very own.

Another awesome bit of wonderful-ness from Aunty Mary!
This metal sign hung from her husband's ancestor's dress shop in New York City back in the days when it was called New Amsterdam. 
I know, right?! 

So that's what I surround myself when I'm trying to write or just when I'm nosing around your profiles on Facebook or putting things in various online shopping carts & then emptying them because I really don't neeeed that stuff, then filling it all up again. It's what I do, it's who I be.

Have a beautiful Saturday night!


06 November 2012

Did you vote for me?

I am finally staring work tomorrow. Yahoo! I am feeling pretty healthy tonight finally. Yesterday was baaaad, today was just bad but I didn't get to rest because Ben was sick all night last night, Marcel is now sick & Evan was really clingy/grouchy/weird. Did I mention that my poor dad got the bug from us too & has been suffering since last night too?

I am so sleepy & I have to get up quite early while I try to figure out how much time I actually need to get myself out the door on time for this new career thing. When I washed my face tonight, I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get all the mascara off of my face until it dawned on me that it was just the dark circles under my eyes. Oh my.

So what am I doing? Sitting on the damn couch in my American flag pyjama pants, watching CNN. Election night is like my Super Bowl. My boring, confusing, nauseating Super Bowl. Every time they drag James Carville to discuss "Flahrida," I smile. Every time John King starts playing with his fancy map, I ooh & ahh. Wolf Blitzer thrills my soul. I am a weirdo.

Anyway, Marcel still feels puny so he's in bed. Ben slept all day but is back in bed tonight - I doubt he's sleeping anytime soon but he's in bed & Evan is sleeping soundly for a little while longer so I'm celebrating Election Night all by my lonesome.

If you'd like to pretend you're watching with me (& why wouldn't you?), you can keep this picture up on your screen:


Hush your face, it's not easy to get a candid picture of myself! Please remember this is me post-face-scrubbing after battling gastro & taking care of sickies. This is the face I make every time they start on that overly detailed map that zooms in on every county in the country. 

Okay, I really am very sleepy so I'm logging off before I do anything silly like posting the ugly face picture I just texted to Marcel. 



05 November 2012

Blech

So, guess where I am & what I did today! Was I at my job, working for the first time in 3+ years?
Of course not.

Cue that record scratching noise ...

I got a lovely bout of gastro. I'm in bed making a very sour face.

Our family has been miraculously healthy the past few months - some sniffles & mild colds but nothing major so we've been incredibly lucky. With the stress & exposure in packing, moving, travelling, settling in & changing climates, we expected health meltdowns - Marcel & I just stupidly made a remark about our kickass immune systems. Why do we get smug? It always comes back to haunt us.

Now, Evan was sick over the weekend. BUT we didn't spot it for what it was because we hit his head in a major way Saturday morning, which sometimes causes little ones to spew. So we spent the weekend closely observing him for signs of a concussion & other such fun.

Then last night I started feeling nauseous but thought it was fairly standard - I keep my stress in my stomach & between packing Ben off to a new daycare on the same day I start a new job, my stress levels have been on a roller-coaster. When I woke up at 5 bloody a.m. to rush to the bathroom, I was thinking maybe my stomach was stressing a little more than my brain.

It wasn't until I was laying flat out on the carpet outside of our downstairs bathroom - the ugly bathroom - that it finally dawned on me that I had seen my youngest little darlin' in the same flat-out position on the floor quite a bit over the last two days. Mother of the Year finally had an "A-ha, he's sick!" moment.

Now luckily little Evan is feeling much better. He got plenty of cuddling & extra care even when we thought he was just suffering a head injury so I guess we could be worse parents, right? Unfortunately, I've got the bug much worse than he did (wimpy baby's got nothing on me!) & haven't been able to keep my sips of fizzy drink down yet. Took a warm bath but it only seemed to make my aching joints angrier. I did get a good nap & am still taking shelter in my bed while Marcel has taken Evan to the zoo & to pick Benny up from his big adventure at the new school.

Just so you understand how truly pathetic I am, I took a picture of my lovely eyes. Well, just one eye. My brain wasn't functioning until about 30 minutes ago so I couldn't get my act together enough to take a picture of myself with both eyes closed? It was a disaster just figuring out one.


Those are broken capillaries, caused by the force of vomiting. DID YOU KNOW THIS COULD HAPPEN? I sure as heck didn't so I yelped out loud when I spied myself in the mirror before heading back to the internet to diagnose something for about the 5th time this weekend. Ah well, it only enhances the beauty of the dark rings below my eye & my darned freckles. And seriously, imagine this times two.

So anyway, I'm not at my awesome new job & I have to say that I am mightily disappointed. I was really honestly so excited about getting started. I had my clothes & things laid out so everything on my end would be smooth sailing. I can never count on the boys to sail smoothly with me so I like to prepare myself as much as possible.

Add to the not working the fact that my parents are up to visit us & now are sightseeing on their own so as to not cross our quarantine line & catch the devil themselves. I hope it's not too late for them! I'll die if they came up to keep us company & end up sick as dogs instead.

Oh! Speaking of dogs, Ben had one of those adorable moments that make me wish I was the kind of mom to send funny stories to Readers Digest. My mom (Grammy) was telling him yesterday that she would have liked to bring their dogs Saffron & Sunny up to our house with them & asked Ben if he would have liked that. He didn't miss a beat & just asked incredulously, "Would they come in a little car?" BWAHAHAHAHA - I can't erase the thought of a tiny car buzzing up the interstate with a fat black pug & a little chihuahua barking away inside. Priceless.

Okay, this blog has exhausted me. So sad. But I'm going to take advantage of the quiet & see if I can sleep a few more minutes so I can be cheery when Ben comes home with tales of excitement from his big day. Please keep your fingers crossed that the bug will skip him & Marcel!

02 November 2012

Working Class Ash

So, I have news. Folks, I have gotten a job! Can you believe it - little old me, back in the working world? Crazy. I'll give you more information after I start next week but I am very happy about where I'll be working, who I'll be working with & what I'll be doing so I'm just 100% excited!

Welllll, maybe 99% excited.

The other 1% is pure terror. There's the awful fear that I'm going to show up & my brain, which I assumed will still be capable of logistical and production tasks, will turn out to have shriveled away. If someone asks me about the status of a program, will I shout "Great fires of London!" like Fireman Sam? Will my office small talk be peppered with choice anecdotes like "... & then the BLUE Wiggle FIRED the yellow Wiggle & replaced him with the OLD yellow Wiggle, now they're all retiring anyway ...?" I'm a different person than I used to be. I can't possibly be more boring than I was before but I'm definitely different!

Most importantly, there is the feeling that I think most moms face when they choose (or have) to go back to work - am I going to ruin my kids? Are they going to hate me? Am I being selfish?

AM I A BAD MOM?

I think I've made it quite clear over the years that I'm not the most qualified woman in the world to be a full-time mom - there have been periods of frustration, rage and everyone's favorite, depression. I will never be able to erase the mental picture of myself (brace yourselves for this story) breastfeeding a wailing newborn Evan while I was on the toilet with gosh-awful diarrhea, sobbing because the stomach pains were causing my raw c-section incision to throb to new and unholy levels of agony. On my worst days, I let that humiliating time serve as a reminder that I can survive anything. And yes, I plan to trot that lovely story out as often as needed to remind my new coworkers that I'm not a lady to be doubted. Diarrhea/breastfeeding/surgery pain/crying stories are the way to impress new colleagues, right?

So yes, I have had some rough times as a stay at home mom and any time a jackass refers to being a mother as "the hardest job you'll ever love" with a patronizing smirk, I will be the first to say "Um yeah, it actually is." That jackass probably won't be worthy of my heroic tale of poopin' & boobin' but he or she will get the royal stinkeye.

Have I ever mentioned that I actually LOVE being a mom, by the way? I realize I tend to use this blog as a catharsis for the hard, the miserable and (thankfully) the hilarious but I seriously am so utterly grateful that I was able to be with Benny & Evan as long as I have. They are the coolest kids around & we've had some amazing times together - watching them grow into little boys is the best thing in the world. And now I'm weepy again.

Fear not, they will be in capable hands. Ben is starting back to daycare on Monday - he'll be going full time at an Adventist school just down the street from where Marcel's mom is a Pastor so we're very excited to have gotten him in there. I hope he loves being full time as much as we think he will but if not, we'll be going back down to a few days a week instead.

Marcel will be home with Evan & freelancing a bit with his editing & graphics from his new, awesome home office. I'm actually so excited about the two of them spending more time together because a certain older brother usually prevents Evan from getting much alone time with good old Dada. Marcel is great with him as far as getting him down for naps, etc. so I think it will be a walk in the park for him.

Oh crap! I need helpful advice for one area - breast pumps! Yes, I'm still breastfeeding Evan. We talked about just weaning him now because he's darn well old enough (coming from the woman who nursed Ben until 19 months) & I think he'd be okay. I don't know if it's me being my emotional self who is a hippie when it comes to this area but I'm not really ready to wean him completely. This is going to sound completely backwards to most people but if I could wean his day feeds & keep feeding him at night for a few more weeks, I'd be happy. He's still sleeping with us from about midnight or so, which is SO much easier now that we have a king size bed by the way, but he doesn't drink too terribly much unless he's teething. Can you just wean day feeds like that or will my supply drop? I assume since you can wean night feeds & keep your supply up for just day feeds that it's totally possible to do the ridiculous opposite? I'll start by pumping milk for him to have while I'm gone so it's not a cold turkey situation then wind it down from there. Then when all the shakeup has settled down a bit & he's used to be being away all day, we'll start addressing the co-sleeping & night feeding. He'll probably be a champ but I'm not quite ready to let my last baby go!

And on the pumping note, does anyone have recommendations for good pumps? And because I don't plan on doing it for months & months, has anyone had good or bad experiences with rental places?

On that note, I am going to do a little bit of cleaning. My parents are driving up for a visit - YAY!! So it would be nice if our house looked a bit liveable & less like the tropical storm concentrated on our particular house. I shouldn't make jokes because I know how absolutely devastated New York & New Jersey are at the moment & it's heartbreaking. I've donated to the Red Cross & I hope you have too if you're able.

Have a lovely night & I can't wait to tell you more about my new job next week!

01 November 2012

From the Other Side

Heavens to Betsy, I have missed you. Just so you know, I haven't changed a bit - I'm chomping away on a miniature LaraBar leftover from Boo at the Zoo Halloween festivities & am earnestly praying that eating that instead of the Twix I was eyeing will help the fact that my newly earned & celebrated smaller size jeans are way too snug now. I keep squeezing myself into them, mind you, putting their stretch capabilities to an unfair test. I joined a gym a couple of weeks ago & have gone once. Took a class, was so sore I actually cried a little when I had to get in & out of my car a few times (squats & lunges are the devil's handiwork!). Haven't been back but I hear it calling my name. And I somehow have to rewire my brain about eating again - it's like all the healthy food I was loving for so long is completely foreign. I literally can't think of what we used to eat all the time! I sense a return to Weight Watchers in my near future & quite honestly, I am happy about that. I miss the energy I had when I was eating well & I miss that awesome feeling of seeing the numbers (& sizes) going down, down, down.

So now that we've discussed the size of my ass, let me tell you that all is well over here. Hurricane or Tropical Storm or Whatever Sandy blew on through, shook up our trees & pelted us with rain but our area escaped with no drama. I am so thankful that we didn't get blown off the map so soon into our new American adventure!

I promise some pictures soon of our house. It's no palace, but it is pretty darn spectacular in my humble opinion. It was built in the 80s & that is very obvious in some areas so there is some work to be done but we're very happy to have a home that suits us so well. The boys have plenty of room to play, Marcel now has his own office & I am loving decorating this place from scratch!

The best part of our house, I have to say, is the gifts we're filling it with from our families in the form of hand-me-downs. I'm currently typing away at a little old desk from great-aunt Mary & we have paintings, knick knacks & furniture from parents, grandparents & attics. Mixing that stuff up with new stuff from IKEA, Target, West Elm & Etsy (we get so many deliveries that our UPS man recognized us on the street) is really making this place a lovely place to be. I promise I will share some of the transformation soon - I just want to get a little more progress made before I start putting out there for you to judge!

It's wonderful to be back in Washington, I do have to say. I am planning on a quick blog rundown about the place soon & I'm sure I'll end up with many entries on the topic. I'll also give you more information about the suburb where we live so you can get a better idea of our life these days.

But right now, my eyelids are getting heavy I should go to bed & get my beauty sleep. Some of us need more than others! Apologies that this little note wasn't very deep or exciting - I'll get back into the swing of things. I honestly feel like I'm finally snapping out of the fog these days. Moving overseas with two tiny ones is traumatic, I can't stress that enough. We have had some rough days that I'd rather forget but aside from a little post-traumatic stress disorder, I think we're going to be okay!

And if you have emailed or sent me a message on Facebook or by carrier pigeon & I haven't replied, I apologize with 110% of my sincere little heart!! I have read your notes - sometimes many times - & they absolutely make my day but then when I go to reply, I just go blank. I think I could just never figure out where to start.

Anyway, if you're in Australia please know that we miss you so much! Enjoy the sunshine for us as we're going into our second straight winter & give your nearest kangaroo a hug for me please.

24 July 2012

shaking with anitici.......pation

My, how I've missed you guys. As rambling & nonsensical as this blog tends to be, the simple act of writing is so gratifying to me. My rants, raves & lame stabs at humor come from a surprisingly deep place & I swear that I physically feel better if I've spewed my little words. I'm pretty sure I store part of my mind in my fingers & once they've had their typing workout my little brain can relax a tiny bit.

How's that for obnoxious?!

Anyway, I either missed typing or I missed sharing every boring minute of my life with you so I'm back.

And none too soon, I tell you. So much to tell, so much to share, so much inspiration I need from you before I lay my head down on the floor & give up being useful.

For those of you who haven't heard the grand proclamations (seriously, if my mom owned a megaphone you would have literally heard the news straight from her)(by the way, never buy my mother a megaphone), we are moving back to America. That's right. Yes, it is true. Uh-huh, we'll be Yankee Doodle Dandies once again.

You have follow up questions? Of course you do. Unfortunately, I have no answers. No real idea of when, what we'll do, what jobs we'll have (the rumors that Marcel was offered a GC job are not true - he was on the list of possible candidates but it went to someone else in the end, which is absolutely 100% fine with Marcel), where we'll live, etc. are wiiiiide open.

Well, we're moving to DC unless any of you Tennesseans manage to corner Nicole Kidman & convince her to let me be her assistant. How perfect would that be?? Both Nashville/Australia gals with our handsome husbands - she has two lovely girls, I have two goofy boys. The natural partnership writes itself.

So yes, we'll be in DC. More job opportunities for us both there. Our house is on the market here (http://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-nsw-kariong-111102339 just in case you're looking for a wonderful little home on the Central Coast) & as soon as it sells, we'll be on our way. Oh yeah, we also have to get rid of absolutely everything we own too but hey, nothing hard about that. Nope, no drama.

But seriously folks, I'm not one to let a little stress get to me but the build up to this move is a bit much. I realize that moving from one side of the planet to another is hard & it's a gazillion times harder in the other direction once you've bought a house & belongings & suddenly you have two little hangers-on who depend on you for their every step in life. Therefore, when I wake up with a new zit, a cold sore or a visit from the IBS that I thought was loooong gone, I am not surprised. I am also blaming my current string of bad hair days on stress & will kick you in the shins if you try to convince me otherwise.

Anyway, that's my quick update. I'm watching Evan stir on the baby monitor - that's right, I still haven't gotten him into his own bed as I swore I was going to do. He's basically in his own crib for his nap now but I don't have the strength for the nights yet.

I will try to blog more regularly now that I have new things to report. In the meantime if you know of anyone looking for a motion graphics editor (Avid, FCP & all the necessary programs) or some sort of assistant/coordinator/girl Friday, let us know will ya?

And if you'd like to buy a house or furniture or a car or lots of baby clothes, etc. let us know & we'll cut you a deal (well, not on the house)(& not if you're in America because we're not shipping or bringing it over, sorry).

In the meantime, please pray that the cleaning fairy comes along to keep our house nice & tidy (yes, we've cleared out tons of knick knacks & clutter & we make sure all the kids stuff is either in their rooms or hidden away so we can appeal to everyone) for us. Also please pray that we don't lose our minds before this is all over. That is all. Amen.

27 June 2012

Smashin' Fashion

I am not a fashionable person, I am aware of that. 
But it's not for lack of dreaming. 
I don't want to toot my own horn (much) but since I've been doing well with my Weight Watchers, my eye has been wandering towards some slightly more exciting clothes. 
Let's be honest, I'm not looking to break out of my jeans & t-shirt uniform too often but I could always broaden my horizons to a few more fun options.
Would be nice if my budget jumped on board too!

Anyhoo, a few celebrity looks have caught my fancy enough lately that I felt compelled to share with you. Don't ask me why because I don't have an answer for you - I'm just going through a phase.
I have only recently jumped on board the Jennifer Aniston train.
I never had anything actually against her & wasn't sporting a Team Jolie shirt or anything because that shit ain't my business.
I found her style more boring than classic.
Now that I have a few more years under my belt, I truly love that classic look.
I also love that she embraces the jeans & t-shirt uniform - I secretly pretend I look like her when I'm getting dressed. *sigh*
I am not so in love with those wedges with this outfit but I'm probably wrong about that. Also, I completely forgive any fashion sins committed while travelling. No one is at their best when involved with air travel, no matter how hard they try.

Oh yes, she also has inspired MAJOR blazer envy for me.
I see myself owning several new snazzy blazers as soon as I can afford to do so.

Elizabeth Banks is EVERYWHERE this year & I am a fan. 
I am also a fan of this crazy-ass dress.
Oddly, my first thought upon seeing it was "That looks like something I would wear." 
I'm sure something that exciting & colorful would look simply stunning on a stumpy gal like me. 

I have never been a fan of Blake Lively & I have no reason for this.
I have never seen Gossip Girl & I fell asleep during The Town before she came on.
That's not a judgment on The Town because it looked awesome & Marcel said she was good.
My point is ... I completely forgot. But yes, I wasn't a fan.
On the other hand, I am a HUGE fan of this dress. 
Like, this may be the greatest dress I have ever seen - it was everything I desire in a dream dress. 
I love it, I love it, I love it!!

I'm sure my terrible posture & rump would look a-mah-zing in this.

Until next time, may all your fashion choices be zingers.
**I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS! I JUST TYPED IT WITHOUT THINKING & THEN READ IT BACK, SHOCKED AT THE BIZARRENESS. ZINGERS? 



24 June 2012

Shout Out West

Today I have a to-do list that's a mile long so it's natural that I would be inspired to come to my blog instead & just avoid any of that pesky work! Lucky you, right?

I'm having a bit of a blog meltdown these days. Life is a bit nutty & has left me at a loss for words - well, not a total loss but my words have been confused, negative or of the four-letter variety so my radio silence is a good thing, trust me. 

So, I'm trying to decide how to handle the blog from here on out. I realize this shouldn't be such an issue as it's just an electronic brain-fart & nothing more profound but I usually enjoy it. But now that Ben is getting older (3 is ridiculously old to me!), it feels a bit like I'm talking behind his back & that's not so nice. Also, I think you know I've had some struggles with his toddlerhood & I really did not like that every blog entry was complaining about someone who is literally one of the most exciting humans that I've ever had the joy to love! 

I thought maybe I'd focus on Evan until Ben settled down a bit & keep this as a more baby-centric blog for a while but I quickly realized that we've been there & done that. Do we really need another round of me wondering why my child refuses to nap & how the hell did he end up in our bed, drinking all night after he was sleeping through the night in his own space for a few months? 

(Sidenote: I actually honestly have no recollection of what brought him into our bed but there are dark days of sleep training ahead of us so I might blog those for my own sanity)

Anyway, so for now I'm keeping the blog to just special occasions or when the spirit moves me to share some stupidity or if my fingers need a good stretching round of typing. 

Which brings me to this entry. 
We went on a wonderful, amazing, out of this world vacation recently. Well, most of it was fantastic - part of it was awful & heartbreaking but such is life. I'll fill you in, don't you worry. 

Obviously I've been living inside my head a bit too much recently. Let's be honest, living inside your own head for ANY amount of time is dangerous to your health so I'm trying to focus outwards & be present in life but when it comes to this little blog of mine, I'm still taking up residence in ye olde cranium. Can't quite decide how to break down the trip to do it justice so I'm just starting to throw things out there for you - some of my favorite aspects of the trip, in NO PARTICULAR ORDER, usually just happens to be what order the pictures happened to fall.

Soooooo, wrapping up the most painful introduction of all time, I give you ....
Our Western Adventure

JOSHUA TREE
Joshua Tree is literally one of my favorite places on the planet, if not THE favorite - I'm usually one for clutter & hubbub (remind to use that phrase for a future album title) but the desert gets me every time. There is something in the air that makes me ridiculously happy - probably the total lack of humidity so my hair actually lies flight - & I feel totally at peace, as dorky as it sounds.

I don't think I ever told you that we were thisclose to naming Evan "Joshua" instead. Totally were but then I thought my cousin Josh might get a big head about it & that's the last thing the world needs so we went with Evan. Just kidding, I love my cousin Josh & would have been happy to have a son sharing his name but Evan won in the end anyway.

The very very very best part of visiting J. Tree with the family was Ben acquiring a new hobby - he stole one of Ilse's fancy shmancy cameras & decided he is now a photographer. It was awesome. He was awesome. I am currently creating a photo book of his pictures from that evening because some of them are amazing. Some are hilarious but none of them are boring. 



I'll never forget the little bit of time we spent there - it is a very special corner of the world!

DISNEYLAND
I know there are plenty of parents who are not fans of Disney & its influence on kids, plus the idea of a day in any theme park is hell on earth. We are not those kind of parents. For the record, we are also a-okay with those ugly clunky plastic toys that last forever & the kids love but look sloppy in your yard. We can still be friends, right?

Anyway, our day at Disney was perfect. PERFECT. I am terrified to ever go again for fear it won't live up to this trip. Ben was a grouch as the day started but after his first ride his smile got bigger & bigger & we had a blast. Lines weren't ridiculous for a weekend in June & I think we all almost got out of it what we wanted - mostly we were just there to watch the kids experience it, which helped.

Anyway, we watched the evening fireworks & just kept going, figuring we'd head out as soon as either boy started melting down but they never did so as the park closed at midnight we came around the corner & stumbled upon some special friends so I think this picture sums the day up quite perfectly:



I will post most Vegas pictures in a future entry because there aren't many. That was my family's leg of the journey & we are not ones to take pictures - not a big deal but not really helpful when I'm trying to blog about things we've done!

The first part of the Vegas portion was a blast! We had a huge condo in the Hilton building attached to Planet Hollywood & we shared it with my parents & brother, sister in law & their kids so we had the whole gang together. Amaaaaazing that we all managed to pull it off.

Unfortunately, the Vegas section of our travels was cut off as my parents had to rush back to Tennessee to be with my grandmother who fell ill the day after they left to come out to see us. She died the next day so I'm very very glad that they chose to go home to be with her but I missed them terribly & spent the next few days trying to ignore my terrible funk, grieving for my wonderful grandmother & feeling very guilty for dragging everyone out to see us & away from her while she was sick.

Luckily Vegas is a good place for distractions & we had fun dragging the boys all over the place to see the hotels & do some shopping & eating lots of yummy food.

I've been to Vegas several times & love that place, even as a gal who doesn't drink, doesn't care for the clubs, burns in the sun & can't afford to gamble much. It's just a carefree city, I guess. But this trip there was one surprise for me - a hotel I hadn't visited before ...

THE COSMOPOLITAN
We didn't stay at The Cosmopolitan (I'll do another blog later about the various places we called home) but we will absolutely try in the future. It is the coolest hotel/casino I have ever seen. I was seriously smitten.

First, they have a bar/lounge that takes up the entire center of the shopping/casino/whatevs area called The Chandelier. IT IS COMPLETELY ENCASED INSIDE A GAZILLION ROPES OF CRYSTALS SO IT LOOKS LIEK A GINORMOUS CHANDELIER!! I abused the Caps Locks so it's clear that I was shouting that at you. Normally I attempt to keep my cool in trendy places & not act like the total yokel that I am but I could not stop gawking at the 3-story chandelier that people were walking around in & hanging out on comfy couches. We tried to get pictures ourselves on the iPhone but it didn't capture it well enough (IT IS GORGEOUS!!). I kept wandering back over to the railing to look out over this place - is it possible to have a crush on a place? Cos I think I'm in love with The Cosmopolitan thanks to this sparkly piece of heaven.

If that weren't enough, while roaming around I spotted this machine:



I was a little surprised because I didn't think cigarette vending machines were still a thing, especially at such a trendy place. Then I spotted the name & looked closer. OH ... MY ... WORD! It was at this point that I physically grabbed Marcel & started shrieking at him in my way too excited voice "Oh my gosh, it's art, look at the tiny little pieces of art. Howmuchisit?Ohmygoodnessit'sonly5dollars.Iwantamillionofthem.Doyouhave5dollars????"
Thus began my obsession with Art-O-Mat.


This was our first acquisition, an adorable little oil painting of a bird! They all have to be the size of a cigarette carton so they fit in the machine & at $5 a pop you are a fool, A FOOL, to not snatch up some pieces for your own art wall. We went back to the two machines we found in the hotel a few times - two were kinda duds as one was earrings (my ears aren't pierced) & one was a friendship bracelet that looked like a demented scrunchie so my one piece of advice is to only choose ones that say oil painting (or whatever you want) not "random" or "surprise." 

During my last art shopping spree, which sounds much better than cheap vending machine emptying, an older dude who works for The Cosmopolitan came up & told us a bit of the history of Art-O-Mat &  how it's actually a really great way to start your art collection. I don't know who he was but I like to pretend that he's a wacky owner/manager eccentric gazillionaire & if I had found the right combination of words, he would have shown us the secret back areas of the hotel & let us borrow his private solid gold golf cart to tour the property. Alas, either I was wrong or "Oh my gosh, this machine is AWESOME!" wasn't the secret code he required.

Anyway, I wish you would visit the Art-O-Mat website & see where you can find one to visit yourself (Washingtonians, there is a Smithsonian location!). http://www.artomat.org/

Aside from the lounge dripping in crystals & the cheap art souvenirs, this place just had a good vibe. Apparently the restaurants are famous ones & the clubs are world-class, which is right up our alley ... not. On the top floor is a little game area with a pool table, big comfy designer looking chairs & no one scolded us for spinning Benny in them like they were made for commoners like us. If I could transport that little game area with their awesome chairs & funky tables made of giant vintage-looking dominoes I would totally take it. 

Kudos to you, The Cosmopolitan! I love you.

I will be back to blog more later, I promise you that but I make no guarantees of when. I think almost all of our trip photos are up on facebook anyway except the handful of wonderful photos that my mother in law took of everyone in Vegas (the Eisele part of the clan was only there for one day) so THANK YOU Debbie for taking so many pictures for those of us doofuses who don't.

23 May 2012

bee bop a boo

Growing old is a pain in the ass. Don't get me wrong - most of the time I don't consider myself that old but I am definitely finding rust in the strangest of places.

Music is the worst for me. I remember how it used to drive me INSANE that my mom never got the words right to songs when she sang along with the radio so it kills me that I do the same thing now. I'm talking about songs I have known & sung along to forever.

And I am talking about even, gulp, U2 songs. I know, I know - all of you who have sat through one of my enlightening lectures about the meaning behind their lyrics (sample: "You see, U2 songs were predominantly a Christian band for the first two albums so you'll notice a lot of religious themes but even now, Bono sprinkles Biblical imagery throughout their songs ...") are probably very happy about this development but it breaks my heart.

The hatchet job of I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet in my car this morning was brutal. Wherever Carole King is in the world, she probably dropped what she was doing & felt a cold tremor down her spine as I butchered her classic. Lots of bee-bopping was involved, people.

But it's not just lyrics either. There is some hip hop song I heard yesterday (hey, bonus points for me not saying "hippity hop" like some honky grandma in a movie) actually name dropped Gershwin & some classic painters. Could I just enjoy the song or turn the station? Nope, had this mental conversation instead:

Kudos to this guy. Maybe it will make young people check out Gershwin.
I could go for some Gershwin right about now.
I wouldn't mind seeing a Michelangelo either.
I need to get to a museum.
(singing) I got rhythm ...


See, I'm old.

Teenage Ashley would kick me in the rump if she had witnessed me turning off Radiohead's latest song this morning (is it actually new or did I hear the announcer wrong?), deciding I'm over them. They sound the same as they did almost 20 years ago.

Of course Teenage Ashley would hire a future hitman to take me out if she witnessed the soft spot I have for the idiots in LMFAO so maybe we should just ignore her opinion. Maybe my parents are right that Teenage Ashley was a pain in the ass.

Going in my favor is the fact that I've finally warmed up to Triple J, the radio station here in Australia with the more independent, more local, more hipster-hugging music. I will never stop wanting to give most of the presenters some electro shock to cheer them the hell up but the music is okay by me.

Seriously, this morning the lady I was listening to literally said the phrase "We're so excited to have them coming to Australia next month" with the exact intonation & enthusiasm I would use to say "I'm so sorry your grandmother died of the black plague." Cheer up, cool kids!! I know I'm probably too perky by Australian standards but Lordy those Triple J folks are cool/bored to the max. TO. THE. MAX.

Anyway, that's that - nothing I can do but count down the years (months?) until I start driving my kids crazy with my warbling voice butchering their favorite songs. Until then, I'm going to enjoy watching Evan devour every piece of food that crosses his path. That has nothing to do with the rest of this blog, I'm just actually feeding him while I type this. And by feeding, I mean fighting with him over the spoon, giving up & letting him have it & leaving chunks of food on his highchair tray to eat in any manner he would like.

Evan - 1
Mama - 0

He eventually somehow ends up with food & snot smeared in his eyes, crying with a couple of spoons on the floor, very little mess on his bib but TONS of mess on himself underneath (it's magic). Ah well, time to jump back in to comfort him.

Evan - 1
Mama - 1

18 May 2012

Three

Ben is three today.
He's a magical mix of independence, stubbornness & cheeky humor.
Sometimes sweet, often frustrating, always charming.
My little man is growing so fast I can't always keep up.

Maybe I'm the only one who remembers him from this point!

This is the first moment I met Benny.
I can't remember ever being happier in my entire life.
Until Evan, of course, but the first time is such a shock.

Everything about him enchanted me.

And exhausted me.
Some things never change!

We celebrated early in the morning.

We celebrated with presents & party hats.

We celebrated with a new playhouse!

Most importantly, later we celebrated with friends!!

Okay, we celebrated with friends & chocolate.
That's the best combination.



Even later, we celebrated with a little reflection.
Well, reflection plus candles on a bagel with cream cheese & Nutella!

We've had to practically scrape him off the ceiling tonight.
He will never go to sleep. Sugar overload.

Happy 3 years to the best little boy & big brother ever!








13 May 2012

Friday ramblings

Warning that this entry will probably be very disjointed & a mess in general. Have lots of thoughts but probably not a lot of time until Ben comes storming in (he's currently watching Marcel mow the lawn) or Evan decides he's not enjoying his meal so much anymore.

Speaking of which, holy cow it is so much fun having a baby that loves food! I desperately don't want this to be a judgment against my older young'un because he's pretty awesome too but I'm having a blast trying little recipes of smooshy stuff for Evan. What's he eating today? Lentils with a splash of orange juice & a dash of cinnamon. He is gobbling it up like a crazy person, which is so exciting. He had eggy bread last night - French toast without the milk, vanilla or sugar basically. He LOVED that but choked on every other bite so we might take a break from the bread for another few weeks & try it again when his little system is more adjusted to heavier solids.

Overall, he is mad for pretty much anything we set before him - sweet potatoes, avocado & banana top the list but that's pretty much standard for everyone on earth isn't it? I've introduced a tiny bit of meat through packaged baby food (Rafferty's Garden or whatever it's called is wonderful & has nothing but the actual food in it, which is nice) but need to start pureeing some around here for him to try it normally.

Anyway, please don't be afraid that I'm going to turn this into a baby food recipe blog because I'm not. There are too many awesome ones out there & it probably doesn't count as creating a recipe when you're just tweaking ones you find from someone else.

I know the whole point of this blog is about parenting - the good, the bad & especially the desperate but I'm going to take a break from talking smack about Ben while he's going through this crazy 3 year old nonsense. It doesn't seem fair to air it out when I have no idea what I'm doing & most of it is probably brought on by my own exhaustion, anxiety & lack of patience.

Therefore, just know that I am still trudging along, trying whatever I can to practice positive parenting. Some days are better than others. Let's be honest, some days are whack as crack but that's motherhood. I've been in contact with the helpful folks at the Family Care Cottage & will be attending one of their toddler behavior seminars & talking to them about how to be a more positive disciplinarian, etc. so hopefully some relief is in the future.

Until then, let's chat about Ben's awesomeness:

1. He's kicking ass at toilet training at long last - he is all about going wee on the toilet but still not regularly. Again, much of this is probably me not remembering to harass him constantly about whether he needs to wee or not. Add that to my list of things to do better as a mother, right?! He's been shy about doing poos in the potty but alerts me immediately after doing them in his diaper & then wants to go to the toilet. Better late than never I guess. Daycare is also putting him on the toilet when they take the other kids & he's wearing pull-ups most of the time. He even went a few hours in undies last night without an accident. Woo-hoo!

*Sidenote: I absolutely respect those of you who do the full-on method of letting them wear undies & just shuttling to them to the toilet constantly throughout the day. You may be able to tell that I'm not in the most serene of headspaces at the moment so I think the high probability of accidents would cause me to flllllipppp out so I am staying with the slow, steady & somewhat saner way of doing things for now. For those with energy, I actually think the trial by fire works better or at least more quickly but you gotta do what's best for your situation.

2. He has turned into Independent Benny. I will save you my recitation of George Costanza's Independent George lecture from Seinfeld because it's not actually relevant but heaven knows anytime I hear the word "independent," someone somewhere is rolling their eyes at my terrible rendition of "... a George divided against itself cannot stand!"

So yes, Ben is all about "me do it." Marcel is trying to fix something outside with the drill & I can hear Ben saying "me hold it" & he absolutely will not let us help him in the bathroom - he has to drag the stool over, pull the pull-up down, wipe, flush, drag the stool to the sink, wash his hands, yank the towel over to dry his hands, the whole deal. If we try to save him a step we are greeted with the lovely & loud "ME DO IT!"

3. He's so darn stylish. He's started choosing clothes for himself & I have to say he's doing pretty well in that area. Today he is wearing blue corduroys & a red, blue & yellow checked button-up shirt. If we go somewhere, he is likely to grab one of his blue hats - either the checkered fedora or the blue floppy sunhat. He is fantastic.

------------

Well, Friday ramblings has turned into Monday musings - where does the weekend go? I hope all you rockin' mamas had a beautiful Mothers Day!! My gentlemen let me sleep in on my big day so I consider myself spoiled. Also got to catch up with some friends who live up North & we never get to see so that was a treat!

We had a massively wonderful & delicious Saturday as well but I'm going to do a separate post for that because it deserves one. We'll see when I get around to that post, mind you, but it is on my to-do list.

Also on my to-do list? Getting ourselves organized & packed for our vacation!! We leave in a couple of weeks & my book of to-do lists (no joke, I think I'm up to eight lists breaking down what we need to buy & what needs to be packed in each bag - carry-on & underneath, etc.) At least we're close enough that Marcel is starting to get in on the game with me & no longer rolling his eyes at my awesome organizing efforts.

I'm still betting against myself, knowing that I'm bound to leave something important behind!

Anyhoo, I've been feeding Evan for about an hour now because we've gotten interrupted about a thousand times by Master Benjamin but he's such a happy camper, gulping down avocado with multigrain baby cereal. He's also helping me clear my salad plate by chomping down some kidney beans & lentils. Heaven bless us when his teeth FINALLY show up one day, he'll be unstoppable!

I actually had something in mind to write but it's gone now - too tired to complain, too exhausted to go into details about anything & Ben is singing something completely unrecognizable at the top of his lungs in the backyard so I should go check him out.

Okay I'm off but you know what, before I go, I'll go ahead & share Independent George with you!



03 May 2012

spew

I am tickled today. Do you ever have one of those days where you keep thinking of little things that make you laugh & then start giggling to yourself uncontrollably? That's probably my favorite thing ever. No, strike that, it's even better when it's with a good friend sharing the giggles but I'll settle for a lone gigglefest. I have many little thoughts that are dependable snicker-makers.

Evan & I were cruising along, listening to Bohemian Rhapsody in the car (what? I'm old & have become a radio curmudgeon). If you can hear that song without thinking about Wayne's World, then hats off to you & your sophisticated ass. I saw that piece of cinematic brilliance when I was in 6th grade & my poor father somehow got stuck taking me to see it. That theater was PACKED, kids my age snuck in & were filling up the aisles I tell you. I've never seen that happen before or since.

Anyway, for some odd reason my favorite part of that stupid movie is Garth's reaction to having the drunk dude ride with them. There is rarely a week that goes by that I don't tell someone (Marcel mostly but sometimes the kids) "If you're going to spew, spew into this" in my best Garth voice. Then I start tittering to myself like it's the wittiest line of all time. There are several scenes in that movie that are probably actually funnier but that's the one that sticks with me - if I'm sick I can generally count on my mom to give me those instructions as well, bless her.

So I was giggling in the car & trying to explain to Evan why it was so funny - his funny bone is mostly tickled by raspberry noises & Ben putting things on his head these days - so I had to look it up when I got home. I watched the clip on youtube & said to myself, "That's really not that funny," but then a tee-hee-hee burst out & off I went again, cackling like a loon.

Here, you can partake in my enjoyment (or roll your eyes at my immaturity) if you like:


Anyway, sorry I've been ducking out of my blogging duties recently. I've been a bit lost for words. Not just my brain melting but our house has been taken over by a demon. Yes, Ben has reached a new developmental milestone that has turned him into an ass-hat.

Sorry, I shouldn't call my toddler names but geez he's a jerk sometimes! Our discipline routine used to consist of us saying "No!" or "Stop that!" Lo & behold he would stop it. If things escalated beyond that, there was a timeout in his room while we all calmed down for like 2 minutes then all was good. Nowadays the situation is more like this:

Ash: Bennn, stop that please.
Ben: No! Nononononono, mama!! STOP IT MAMA! Move awaaaaaaay!
Ash: (to myself) <<what the hell is happening?>>
         (to Ben)  BEN! STOP!
Ben: NO!!! STOP STOP STOP STOP NO NO NONOOOOO!
Ash: <<I am losing this battle.>>
         That's it! You're going to your room!

Then he proceeds to tear his room apart & start sobbing & saying "I'm sad" in a way that breaks my heart every time even though I know he's up to no good & manipulating me.

So, now I'm making an appointment with our family care cottage place to discuss better discipline for our growing toddler. Oh joy. A few people suggested making sure he didn't have an ear infection or something since the personality change came in like a strong breeze one day just out of the blue. I secretly hoped it was something like that - I know it's bad to hope that your child is having physical pain that causes him to be turd but that stuff can be treated whereas a developmental change is a stink that can't be unstunk. The doctor gave him an all-clear on any infections or physical reasons for the crazies & the early childhood nurse said it's pretty typical of soon-to-be 3 year olds.

On the plus side, he has moved up at daycare! He used to be a Joey but now he's a Dolphin so we're very proud of him. His speech is definitely improving & he's eating a tiny bit better these days too. Also, the slowest toilet-training of all time is still plodding along - some days he nails it with lots of pee-pee'ing in the potty & he's not a fan of having poo in his diaper anymore so we keep explaining that he needs to ask for the toilet before, not after the pooping. We're getting there, people, we're getting there ... eventually.

And oddly, even with this moodswinging drama, he's still an awesome big brother! He absolutely adores Evan & loves making him laugh as much as possible - they crack me up together. There are many, many times where he gets a little carried away & almost crushes Evan so we have to supervise very closely but it's all out of love so it's hard to be mad about the trampling.

Evan is 7 months old now & is still pretty awesome. Rolls around the room like a crazy man & will hopefully be sitting up one of these days but I'm really hoping crawling is still in the distant future because that's a whole new set of headaches. A lovely elderly woman stopped me in Target this morning to compliment me on how cute he is - she actually laughed & said "You did very well with him, you should be proud." That delighted me because I was too lazy to take him out of his pj's this morning & half the time he's covered in rusk remnants or food that I forgot or missed.

He's still slaying it with the food by the way - smooshed up sweet potato for him last night, which he devoured. It's fun experimenting with a kid who enjoys food!

Anyhoo, the food lover is grouchy & on my lap, smacking the computer so I'm going to go before he loses my place again.

26 April 2012

happy little Vegemites

I'm feeling pretty darn fantastic today so I thought I'd share. Actually, I felt even better a few minutes ago - would have gone so far as a fan-fucking-tastic - but then I added up my WW points for the day & realized that tortillas are no friend of mine (can you say addiction?). And now Evan is crying on the floor because he knows I'm trying to actually do something selfishly. Babies know these things - if I was doing something I hated, he'd be a happy little chappy rolling in the floor, minding his own business but he must be able to tell that I'm typing happily so he has to interrupt.

Also, he pooped so he might just want that changed.

In any case today is okay. Ben is at daycare after a doctor's appointment this morning -  he is healthy, wealthy & wise so don't worry about him. Well, maybe he's not so much wealthy or wise just yet but healthy is good enough for now. He's had a bit of personality meltdown recently but I don't want to weight down my good mood going into all of that so I'll save it for another day when I feel more like venting on crazy toddlers & half-assed sleep training & all that fun stuff.

Yesterday I stole a bit of time to myself for the first time in a gazillion years. After Marcel's five days away last week we knew I needed to get away from everyone before I stopped loving them. I have had some rough days as of late but that's not the focus today so moving on ....

Marcel was home yesterday because it was the ANZAC Day holiday (google it, I'm too lazy to explain at the moment but it's like Veteran's Day) so I took myself out to a movie. Saw The Hunger Games & enjoyed it if you can actually say that you enjoy a movie like that. It's not the perkiest movie of all time but I could not bring myself to watch what would undoubtedly be a tearjerker Zac Efron movie alone so Hunger Games was my backup.

Let's be honest, I have become one of those people who sees movies out so rarely that if I have that blessed movie popcorn & a drink in my grubby hands & no responsibility on me, I will declare whatever I'm watching to be a masterpiece.

I do have one niggling issue that I need to clarify with those of you consider yourself Hunger Games aficionados. What is the deal with everyone calling Josh Hutcherson a heartthrob?? I realize that as the mother of two boys I really ought to be nice to young dudes & don't get me wrong, he's cute but young girls are going apeshit over this kid who frankly looks like the kid Rocky from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to me. I seriously kept reminding myself to imdb him when I went home to see if it WAS him. It wasn't.

Anyway, even his character wasn't some great guy either in this one. He wasn't evil or anything but he was a bit of a pushover & the only time he was really charming was when he was manipulating someone so unless Thor's brother has mega douchebaggery in his future with the sequels, this fella best step up his game because I am just not seeing it. Seriously, the tall drink of water back home is taking care of your family while you're fighting to the death so he's awesome & Miley Cyrus isn't the turd we all thought she'd be so I can't discount him for dating her in real life. So why are people all not into Gale? Is it because THEY NAMED HIM GALE? Worst names ever in this movie.

And why is Lenny Kravitz in it? He's not bad at all, in fact he's good but I can think of a few black actors who could have done just a kick-ass job of that role & could use the exposure of such a massive trilogy on their CV. But again, he's good, seriously easy on the eyes & appears to have done a deal with the devil so that he will never age so I will end my complaints here.

I can not & will not say a bad word against Jennifer Lawrence because she rocked my socks off. Made me want to run home & dye my hair brunette again too. Was also impressed by Woody Harrelson & Elizabeth Banks who I didn't recognize for ages even though I knew she was going to be in it.

So anyway, that's my rundown of nothing. Don't bring your spoilers around here for the next two books/movies please because I plan on downloading them to read. Because you know I have so many opportunities to sit & read a good book these days ... NOT.

I hope you enjoyed this newer, happier Ashley today. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll stick around for a while but I make no promises. Grouchy Ashley might be funnier anyway - this one keeps singing that latest Katy Perry song & I do not care for that song one bit.

Okay, I'm not going yet - I just hit up google images so let's get back into this, folks. Josh vs. Liam - it's on like Donkey Kong.

Josh

Liam.

Liam's brother.

Sorry, got distracted. Case closed.