Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Fact: The name (or a derivative of) Angel has been in my family for 5 generations.  CBL is the 5th one to be exact.

Fact: Once, when I was in my early 20's I went to a psychic.  Throughout the reading, she said some eerily accurate things.  As soon as I sat down, before I even said my name she said, "I see a child around you.  The child is always with you. Always."
We attempted to troubleshoot a bit, but came up empty.  She said the meaning would uncover itself in the reading. 

I had a little brother who was born very sick and way too early, when I was about 12.  He spent a few days in the NICU.  We lost him within days of his birth.

Apparently the child the psychic saw was my brother.  She told me that he is always with me and he will come back as one of my own children.

Very eerie, especially if you know P-man's birthing story.

About this time last year Pman asked me about Angels.  Honestly, I do not really remember the conversation.  I think we got on the topic because of the song "Halo" by Beyonce.  I told Pman what Angels were and that was that.

This past Sunday Pman and I were coming home from grocery store.  Out of left field he says, "Angles are here to protect us.  They love us and want to keep us safe.  They are all around."

With a very large lump in my throat I asked, "That's right.  Can we see Angels?"

He said, "Some times, but not always.  The boys wear ties and the girls wear bows.  They want us to be safe because they love us."

I asked, "Do we know the Angels?"

He said, "Some times."

When I asked him where he heard all this he said, "From you, Mommy."

When he is a teenager and I feel like he doesn't listen to or care about anything I say, I will try hard to remember this moment. 

This conversation with my 4 year old on the way home from an exhausting trip to the grocery store, swept every bit of air out of my lungs.  Not only did he remember what I said, he had clearly reflected on that conversation and expanded his understanding.  I know this because I surely never told him boy angles wear ties.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Random Act of Kindness

Yesterday I went to the grocery store with CBL, as we often do on Tuesdays.  While we waited to check out the lady in front of us had a something I can only describe as a "severe coupon issue" which made the whole getting home process take way too long.

The lady behind us, who came up after the Coupon Coup of 2012 was resolved, saw CBL and commented, "Oh you are a pretty little girl, what is that you are eating?"

"Fruit Loops." I replied.

In our house they are a snack, not a breakfast food.  More specifically they are generally a grocery store snack and it takes my kids about a month to get through a box. 

The lady replied to me via CBL, "OOO I guess you have a nice mommy.  I didn't let my girls have those."

As I paid and walked away I heard her tell the check-out guy she had 4 things of soda under her cart.  Well lady, I NEVER let my kiddos have soda- so there.

No matter, I had a happy little lady in my cart and we were nearly done with our daunting chore.

On the drive home I reflected back on my most recent grocery store check-out experience. I thought of nearly 1,000 things I wanted to say to the Fruit Loop Nazi (FLN).  I wish I had my wits about me, because when I do- watch out.

But I had just ran 6 miles on the treadmill and had only eating 1 apple and a mini Hershey's bar, so my wits were set to low.

When we were about half way home traffic on both sides of the street stopped completely.  No light.  No school bus.  Just stopped.

I peered around and saw a medium sized black short haired dog traversing the street.  Cars were piling up.  No one honked.  No one yelled.

Finally a girl in the led car on the other side of the road opened her door.  The dog came over and tried to climb on her lap.  She reached back and opened her driver's side back door and let the dog in the back of her small gray car.

I watched her as she drove away throwing up her hands with a "now what" smile on her face.  Something about her gestures told me this was not her dog, but she saw something needed to be done and she generously took care of it.

There was a message in that random act of extreme kindness that resonates with me.  She saw that help was needed and she trusted the situation enough to do the right thing.

At the end of the day, the random act of kindness from the sweet dog girl stuck with me more than the Fruit Loop Nazi- and for that I am Thankful.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Full Plate

When I was younger I hated eating dinner.  Frankly eating at all sort of got in the way of all my chattering.  If my mom would have let me main line chicken nuggets I probably would have taken that option, just to keep my mouth empty.

Growing up this discouraged and confused my older sister (I will call her Sweddy) to no end.  She and our older brother would snarf down their dinner while I regaled the family with tales from my day or random thoughts in my head.  Then I would be there with a full plate of (cold) dinner.  Nary a bite taken.

Table empty.  Plate full.  No fun.

After finishing her own dinner, Sweddy would ask my mom, "Can Nikki play?"  The reply was always, "She can play after she eats dinner."

My sister would heave a heavy sigh, grab a fork and eat my dinner.

This was nightly.

As we grew up I began to eat my own dinner.  Eventually my parents had another daughter 6 years after me.  (My kids call her Aunt ZZ, so I will call her ZZ here)

ZZ and Sweddy are eaters.  ZZ still even calls me to fill me in on the amazing amount of food she consumes before lunch on some days. She works with our dad and once she ate her own lunch, her afternoon snack and our dad's lunch all before noon.

A few weekend's ago Sweddy got married to her college sweetheart.  ZZ and I gave a little speech at the rehearsal dinner.  We were first up and provided comic relief to the others in attendance while they ate, obviously, this is my wheelhouse. 

Then ZZ and I got some dinner and watched the other speakers.  The way we were sitting I was in front of ZZ with my back to my plate. 

ZZ ate my dinner.  The only thing she didn't eat was my sausage- four 3 inch cubes.

I also missed out on key lime pie because I was too busy entertaining the masses that I failed to even realize there was dessert at the rehearsal.

The next day at the (gorgeous- straight out of a magazine) wedding dinner, my food was again snatched away after I had only taken a bite or two.  I believe there was a salad of some kind and possible a shrimp.  I have no clue.

The waiter basically ran past the table with a plate of food and if you were quick enough with your fork, well then lucky you.

Of course, later the photographer caught me sneaking a cookie (re: shoveling many stale cookies in my mouth) off the tray in the long ago departed pre-ceremony "staging area".  Leaving the photographic impression that I am the fatty fatty two by four of the sisterly bunch.

 I do feel the need to note that both of these sisters are tall and thin and seemingly in great physical condition.  The amount of food they eat when they are together is astounding.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hidden Treasure

I love to cook.  Baking is okay, but for me cooking let's me be a lot more creative and that is what I love.

Recently I have been on a sort of Cooking Odyssey. I like to make yummy recipes as healthy as possible without sacrificing any of the oogy gooey-ness of the best dishes around. Not the most novel of ideas, but I'm trying to broaden my scope a bit.

Let me be clear, I'm not a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, free-range,  lentils only kind of girl. 

We all know applesauce can be used in place of oil, but did you know you can also use ripe bananas or canned pumpkin.  I will say though I think the pumpkin does tend to make things taste a little...harvesty.  Great for fall, but a little off for Memorial Day brownies.

Recently I have come across the pureed veggie movement and I am in love!  I have hidden brussel sprouts in lasagna, carrots in taco meat and butternut squash in mac and cheese.  I can even make a cake with 2 cups of pureed chick peas (recipe for the cake can be found at

Jerry Seinfield's wife published a cookbook based on this cooking method.  I'll save you the time and $15, its basically about steaming (or boiling) any fruit or veggie and then pureeing it until it's creamy.  Then add the puree to virtually any dish in 1/2 cup to 1 cup portions.

Be smart about the combinations though.  Obviously, pureed strawberries won't work in taco meat, but carrots did and I'm beating parsnips would work too!

I do think it is important for kids to eat veggies and know that they are eating veggies.  These hidden treasure are not the only veg on their plates.  I always have broccoli, spinach, green beans or the like on the plate.  In fact, the only thing they have to eat all of is the actual veggie, the rest is negotiable.

And we do negotiate.

I just want to make sure they are getting the most amount of veggies possible.  I am hoping their palates will develop a taste for some of these foods.

For example, I made Pumpkin Stew last week with chunks of butternut squash in it, along with other veggies, all visible, not pureed.  Pman took a bite of the squash and said, "Ick!" spit it out and ate around the rest of the chunks.  Tonight, I pureed the squash and hid it in the mac and cheese.  Maybe by this time next year, we won't eat around the squash chunks in the stew.

Next week I am going to puree cauliflower and sneak it into chicken and cheese quesadillas.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Clear the Air

In my last post I wrote about being disappointed in myself for my last run.  I have been getting some interesting feedback about that post.

I just want to clarify that I do think it is amazing that I completed a half marathon (13.1 miles).  I am very proud of myself for that.  While I was training though, I reached a mile speed that was 2 or 3 minutes faster than what I did on race day. 

That is beyond frustrating.

Think cutting into a turkey on Thanksgiving Day only to find it is still raw in the center despite slow roasting in a oven since 5a.m.

Or, if you teach your kids over and over not to hit and they go to a play date and you have to leave early because they cannot keep their hands to themselves.

The one instance is not indicative of your ability and that is frustrating.

In truth I only missed my goal time by about 4 minutes.  Better hydration and well timed potty breaks will get me those minutes back in my next one.

I am in no way ready or willing or thinking of giving up on running.  I don't expect to be fast.  I just expect to run the race I know the I am capable of running.

As proof that I am a-ok, here is a picture of me with my medal, looking very proud if I do say so myself.

In other news, it seems CBL has taught herself how to fart on command. 

I am not someone who generally finds farting or fart jokes funny. 

In extreme, unexpected circumstances, like if the President of the United States (any one of them) farted while giving the State of the Union, I would probably laugh. 

Generally that's not my humor style.

However, CBL seems to think farting is comedic genius. The more appalled I seem, the harder she laughs.  Of course, Josh and Pman only encourage this outrageous behavior.

In this case, I do feel like I am fighting a loosing battle.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Yesterday was the half marathon in Philly.

I officially trained for the race for months.  Getting up early on Saturday mornings and run, run, running until I reached 12 miles a couple times.

On Friday nights I stayed away from junk food, drank plenty of water and went to bed early.

I missed the hustle and flow of Saturday mornings with the fam in an effort to rise to the challenge on September 16.

I stared down the barrel of a long training run on hot, muggy mornings.  I nursed blisters and pulled muscles.

I ran while we were on vacations.

Forty-eight hours before the race I packed up the CBL for her first alone trip to Mimi and Pop-Pop's, so that Josh and Pman could have a peaceful "Daddy Parker Weekend."

Twenty- four hours before the race I watched Pman play in his second soccer game.

Two race outfits were packed (just in case) along with many band-aids, Tylenol and a protein packed breakfast for race day.

I wasn't nervous.  I just kept saying, (to others and myself) "It's just running.  All I have to do it put my feet down.  I'm just doing this for me."

3, 2, 1- gun shot fired and we are off.

I ran the first half feeling really good.  There were bands along the way, cheerleaders in the street and plenty of people, or runner, watching to keep me distracted.

Somewhere around the half way point, there was a Scottish band complete with kilts, bagpipes and a fur boot wearing Go-Go dancer.  The singer jokingly said into his mic, "Only 15 miles left!" He was promptly boo'ed by those of us who had the breathing-power to muster a boo.

Along the way, some little kids held their hands out for high fives and others gripped signs that read, "Go Mommy! We are proud of you."

Somewhere around mile 9 or 10, I started feeling dangerously dehydrated.  I didn't drink a lot before the race because I was afraid I'd have to stop running to pee and I didn't want to mess up my time. I didn't end up having to pee, but I did end up losing peripheral vision in my right eye for about a mile or so, maybe a bit more.

As I past the next few water stations, I grabbed two waters and a (warm) Gatorade.  They helped, but I was still off.  Fuzzy.

My time sucked.

I trained better than that. I feel like everything I gave up or planned for was thrown out the window because I didn't run smart.  I should have drank more before the race and stopped earlier on at the water stations.

I'm happy I ran the race.  I did run it.  The only time I sort of walked was when I was drinking the water because really running while drinking water out of a small waxy Dixie cup seems impossible.

However, I am very disappointed in myself.  I'm embarrassed that my race time does not at all reflect the training that went into achieving this goal.

I want to do another one so I can erase this one.

How's that for motivation?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Abby Goat

Oh Abby girl, the pipes, the pipes are calling you...

Shortly after Josh and I got married we rescued a dog named Abby.  I found a rescue place called A Forever Home, based about a state away from us.  Josh and I look around and met some great pups, but none seemed quite right, until we saw Abby.  She was sitting on the deck, in the shade, with her front paws crossed.

She was quiet as she observed the Tom Foolery of the other doggies.

That. Is my dog.

She immediately became my home girl. She would get so excited when I got home from work, she almost always peed a little. This was both endearing and frustrating.

Abby used to dig holes under our deck, so big that she would sit in them and we would have to crawl under the deck at night with a flashlight to coax her out.  After a few rounds of this, we put up lattice to block the under deck portion of our postage stamp sized backyard.

Abby loved pizza more than other other food.  However, once we moved we had a big pantry.  The kids often leave the pantry open and Abby treated herself to all kinds of things- chips, cookies, muffins...

When we first got her, she slept in our bed.  Then about a year later I got pregnant with Parker.  I banished Abs to the floor (on a dog bed) and forced Josh to buy me a king sized bed.

My relationship and connection to Abby was never the same.  Parker came and took nearly all of my attention away from her.  She was terrified of the stroller, so our long walks were over.  Then Peyton came and my attention for Abby only lessened. 

She quickly became Josh's pooch after P1 came along.  I liked her enough, but I didn't love her like I did and I think the feeling was mutual.  We coexisted and tolerated each other.  She seemed mad that I had babies.  Hurt even. 

She did not take this out on the kids.  You could not ask for a more gentle, understanding dog.  She never even barked at the kids.  Never.  Not even when they were "petting" her or trying to grab her tail as she ate.

On Thursday night/Friday morning she took a sad turn.  She was about 15 years old.

Abby stopped eating and couldn't make it from her water bowl to the deck (about 15 feet) without peeing on the floor.   We saw the end was near and called the vet.  We had an appointment set up to bring her in on Monday evening.

Abby didn't make it to the vet.  She died Sunday night/Monday morning on a very soft bed of nice blankets on her own terms.

Josh is very upset.  Parker wants to know when we are getting another dog.  He also thinks that other things that aren't here anymore are dead.  "I don't have those shoes anymore because they are dead."

Maybe we will get another dog at some point, maybe not.  The kids (and Josh) really love having a dog and I can't be that selfish to fully resist.  Either way, it will be a while.

Friday, August 10, 2012


In about 35 days I will be running my first half marathon.

A couple months ago I ran in a 5K Race for the Cure.  I did it with a couple friends from my neighborhood.  Around mile 2.5 one of the ladies I was with asked me why I run.

I gave her some canned answer about wanting my jeans to fit.  Then I confessed that was not the real reason.

Then I said, "I know this is cheesy, but I run to show my kids you can do it."  Another racer heard me and said, "That's not cheesy, it's genuine."

The it is not important, finding the will and drive to accomplish a goal is what I want the P's to learn.

However, that is not the only reason.

I run because I have a supportive husband who high-fives me when I return from a long two hour run. Josh has not complained once or made me feel bad about my running schedule, even when we were on vacation.

I run because he lets me take a nap in the middle of the day when the kids go down for naps, even though I should be doing laundry for the week.

I run because it makes me a happier person.  Some how things that get me worked up are worked out by the time I get home.

I run because I never thought I could and some how I just keep doing it.

I run because I am capable.

I run because my jean size is shrinking and I am in two weddings between October and March.

I run because it is efficient.

I run because one of my besties asked me to and I could not let her down.

I run because it makes me feel tougher and stronger.

Finally, and this is really the hardest to admit, but the base of it all, I run because I love it.

This is honestly what I chant in my head as I'm hitting mile 9 and all I want to do it stop and call a cab.

Run on.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cakety Cake

Parker's 4th birthday was eleven days ago.  Peyton's first birthday is today.  In eleven days it will be my 32nd birthday.
Lots of cake eating going on in this house.
Some notes to my kiddos about their specials days:

Dear Parker,
You continue to amaze me.  You came into this world defying all kinds of odds and overcoming obstacles.  The way you tackle adventures inspires me to try, do and be. I find your enthusiasm and trust in all things new, to be both frightening and comforting.  I hope your blend of carefree attitude and sensitive nature is appreciated by everyone who is lucky enough to meet you.  Thank you for showing me that it just keeps getting better.
Love ,
Pman and Uncle Andrew paddle boarding

Dear Peyton,
A year ago today, you and I were in the hospital, doped up on meds, watching some crap Judge Whoever show and eating.  I reflect back on the first day you were here, but it seems like I can't remember a day without you.  I dubbed you SBG while I was still pregnant and true to your form and damning all molds, I have changed that moniker to crazy baby lady (CBL).  You have a will and a way to achieve a goal that makes me swell with pride.  You are already so much your own person who is a messy eater and likes to play in the mud, but all while wearing the girliest of dresses.  You are gorgeous and sweet.  Knowing that I get to watch you grow and figure things out in your own special CBL way, makes me the luckiest mommy around.  You are my sunshine.

To both kiddos,
I'm not sure if a third child is in the stars for this family.  We will just have to wait and see how the cards fall.  I do know that if we introduce another child into this family, they will be met with two loving and happy siblings.  Watching the two of you play and grow together makes me happier than anything else.  I know you will not always be so in to each other, but I also know the strong foundation you are building now will help bridge the gap during less than loving moments.  You are two of the awesomest diddybops I know.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


This past weekend we took our first official family vacation.  We went to a little beach town a few states away.  We picked our location purely because Pman wanted to ride a ferry. 

Leading up to the trip, which Josh and I deemed the "working vacation" I was nervous.  I just knew this wasn't going to go well.  I thought the day to day stuff would be fine, but I was overwhelmed by the sleeping arrangement.  SBG gets up about an hour before Pman and she must take at least one nap or she is down right unruly.

We boarded the ferry on Saturday afternoon and Pman was immediately in love.  The interior cabin housed booths equipped with video gaming terminals and for a dollar you got about 3 minutes of play time.  No, he did not have any of his allowance with him.

The ride was rocky and launched at exactly SBG's nap time.  Needless to say, she made a few enemies on the ride.

Once we were off the boat and at the hotel I noticed the room was small, like two people could not walk past each other without one of them having to sit on the bed small. 

Panic mode, increase.

I opened the bathroom door and saw there was no tub.

YIKES!! SBG is not a shower girl.  She ended up bathing in the sink, which Pman thought was beyond hilarious.

The bathroom itself was huge.  Huge enough that SBG's pack and play fit in it perfectly.  I unplugged the alarm clock radio from the nightstand and put it in the bathroom and ta-da! SBG had her own room.  I still wonder what the maids thought about that. 

Of course this also meant once she was in bed, no one could use the bathroom. It was a balancing act in it's truest form.

We brought food to save money, which actually turned out to be a brilliant idea.  We only had to buy dinner (and ice cream).

Pman swam and got his first taste of a lukewarm hot tub.

We went to the zoo.  Pman told us his favorite part of the zoo was the chickens.  There were not any chickens at the particular zoo.

We went to a mirror maze and amusement park at a local boardwalk. 
Pman asked me to get on a charming looking ride involving a sort of suspended Mother Goose looking thing.  As we got onto the ride I realized the goose was actually a bike.  I had the peddle the thing around a track that was suspended over a water park and a beach.  Parker was not even allowed to sit any where near the peddles.

I was sweating. SWEATING as I dismounted the goose.

On our last night I had to check my work email.  I went to the lobby and asked if I could slip behind their desk for a quick moment.  As the clerk finished up what she was working on it dawned on me that I was holding SBG who was only wearing a swim diaper. 

Those things are not meant to hold pee in. 
They are great and keeping poop out of pools, well at least somewhat good at it, but any mommy can tell you they don't hold even a thimble full of pee.

I realized time was not on my side and tried to say a thanks but nevermind to the clerk, but the she assured me she was done.  I sat in this very nice strangers chair with SBG in my lap.  I typed in my information to log into my work email and SBG peed. 

On me, my shirt (?), jeans and the clerks' work chair.

After changing into some non-urine soaked clothes, I promptly went out and bought the clerk a sorry gift.  I also had to buy myself new pants, as I had nothing else to wear home.

Every morning when SBG woke up we went for an hour long walk, which consisted of her eating banana muffins and waving at everyone, while I trudged up and down the old, bumpy sidewalks.  I did lose 3 pounds on this vaca though- nicely done!

I will say this trip was a major success. We will take the monsters out for another vacation.  For now, I am looking forward to an adults only wine tour Josh and I have planned for later this summer.---ah vacation.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


We have a round empty fish bowl.  I'm not exactly sure how we got this fish bowl and honestly I don't feel like taking care of fish. 


At first we just threw our loose change in the bowl, when it got to a certain point we took it to the Coinstar machine and followed that up with a trip out to lunch courtesy of our newly acquired loot.

However, Parker has started doing little helpful things around the house- clearing his plate from the table after dinner, throwing away P2's pee-pee diapers (he refuses to touch the poop ones), and putting his clothes in the hamper.  I did not want him to lose interest, or momentum, in these new duties, so Josh and I established a sort of random allowance system.

When Parker does something like put his plate in the sink or hang up his towel he gets a quarter, which he puts in the fish bowl. 

The other day he "helped" the neighbor mow his lawn and was awarded with a WHOLE DOLLAR BILL! Into the fish bowl it went.

He helped Josh wash the car, another WHOLE DOLLA DOLLA BILL y'all!

This means he had two whole dollars and many quarters squirreled away.  I'd be lying by omission if I did not confess that those two dollar bills have been recycled through the process several times over.  I have put those dollars in my pocket, asked him to do something and then handed him the very same bills I just fished out of his bowl.

I foresee some issues with this method when he learns how to count money

The other day when I dropped him off at school he asked if we could get a slurpee after school.  I gave him the patent parent answer, "hummmm, We'll see, buddy."

He quickly replied, "Bring my quarters from the fish bowl!" Brilliant.

Yesterday the ice cream man came through our neighborhood.  Pfunk ran for his fish bowl grabbed a fistful of quarters, which he exchanged for SpongeBob SquarePants ice cream with stale frozen gumball eyes.

We had not had dinner yet, but he asked if he could eat his treat immediately.  At first I said no.  He was so proud of himself and in an instant my answer deflated him.  I relented and said he bought the ice cream with his money so he could eat whenever he wanted to. 

It was nearly gone by the time we reached our front porch.  He did still eat all his dinner though.

There is a downfall to a nearly four year old with unpredicatble income.
About a week ago, while the P's were supposed to be napping, Pman was picking at and ripping the wallpaper border off his wall.

When I went in to get him, I looked at his face and I knew he did something naughty.  Then shifted my eyes a bit above his head and saw the torn paper. 

I gave him the choice of either taking a 3 minute time out or paying me a dollar for the time it would take me to fix the paper.

He opted to skip the time out and pay me for my services.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Takes a Lickin

SBG has had quite a day.

It began with a her consuming a fistful of finger paint.  As she stuffed the teal paint in her mouth, she looked at me like, "Mom, this breakfast sucks."  Somehow, within seconds, the paint was behind her ear, in her hair and on the bottoms of her feet.  I pulled off her clothes and stuck her in the sink.

When Pman was a little bot, I used to bathe him in the sink regularly.  We have a different sort of sink in this house and she never quite fit, so she has pretty much always been in the bathtub. 
For her bathing in the sink was new and mystical, like unicorns and leprechauns.

I thought that was going to be her discovery for the day, her learning experience, if you will. 

I was wrong. 

Pman has been sick.  Fever. Puke. And an added bonus today, diarrhea.  During his nap he had a bit of an accident.  I was cleaning up that mess when I heard a loud thump followed by an even louder wail.

You know the song, "Ten Little Monkey Jumping on the Bed"?  We lived it out today.

It seems SBG was jumping on Pman's bed while holding onto the bedrail.  I scooped her up off the floor and asked P if he saw exactly what happened.  I was in the room, but otherwise occupied.

He said, "She did this."
He then laid face down, flat out on the floor.

The sweet P-Nut was crying so hard she was not making any noise.  I held her and sang "You Are My Sunshine" to her as I stared at the poop stains on P's rug.

In these moments parents feel like, "Wow, this is such a unique situation and others will be enraptured by my tale."

We are wrong.  These are parenting moments and they are a dime a dozen.  We all have them and will continue to tell them to each other with a certain amount of intensity and wonderment.

However, my SBG has her first shiner.  Her sad sweet face breaks my heart a little.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Old Men Dig Me

I seemed to have developed some kind of relationship with an older man at my gym.  He wears two knee pads, stays at the gym so long in the morning that he frequently changes shirts and he knows

He is sweet and means well, but when you are locked in a conversation with him, you are locked in like for life.

He give hugs. Sweaty, firm embrace kind of hugs.

This perspiring gent started chatting me up while I was pregnant with SBG.  He asked the normal questions about the baby and if my doctor cleared me to workout. 

That should have been my first clue to back away slowly and never- ever- turn back.

I recently made the colossal mistake of telling him I am training for a bit race in September.  Now he checks in every time I see him (at least three times a week) about how my latest run. 

Fine, fine. FINE.

At my gym there are two tiers of treadmills.  The lower tier is made up of the newer models. 
On Thursday The Gym-Man was on the upper tier, apparently watching me run.  About 2 miles into my run he came up to me and said, "Hey Nikkiiiiii! Looking gooooood! I was watching you run and there's no jiggle at all girl."

I kind of stumbled through a response that involved praising God for spandex.

Then he followed it up with, "You're solid and sexy."  He repeated this so as to hammer home the point.

This morning, I saw him and again, he called me "solid and sexy."

I'm beginning to think all my running isn't working- solid? and sexy by geriatric standards, is not exactly the look I am aiming for.

Although, I guess it could be worse. Remember this?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bragging Rights

My preciously brilliant Pman has been blowing my mind with all his smartness.

On Saturday we were making a quiche (that's a breakfast pie in Josh world because "quiche sounds gross." This coming from a guy who recently grilled a pigs foot and ate it.)

I told Parker we were going to start with 5 eggs. We had some in the bowl already and he counted them, "One, two, three." When I asked him how many more we needed he said, "Two."

After we added the two eggs and mixed in the other stuff I suggested we put 2 more eggs in the mixture. When I asked how many we would have then he said, "Seven."

He did not hesitate or use his fingers to count. He just knew.

Then yesterday we were in the car and he spelled stop. He knew what he was spelling and spelled it correctly.

This morning I wrote the word "go" on a piece of paper and before I could say anything he said, "Go!"

I am just so proud of this little guy! He is figuring things out, building forts on the deck and just growing so much.

He just rocks.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter 2012

I am a very traditional type of person.  I like to reflect on where I was and what I was doing this time last year, or five years ago, or who I was with last time I wore a certain shirt or drank a bottle of wine. 
On Easter 2005 I found myself home alone, I do not remember the circumstances, but there I was watching Crazy Beautiful- sobbing.  Mostly because for some twisted reason that movie reminds me of one of my sisters (if you have seen the movie I need you to know that my sister is not a drug addict and she regularly wears a bra).

About half way through the movie I called her in a misery loves company sort of way, but was met instead with her slapping me into reality with the comment, "You may be the only person to have ever cried at that movie- IT'S NOT EVEN SAD." 

In my defense, there is a hint of sadness in the movie, but nothing that justified my weeping. 

Since then, Easter has meant a bit less to me as holidays go.  I like it enough.  I understand the profound religious background and I can groove on being thankful, humble and awed by His resurrection. It's just not Christmas.

So now, this is how the Phillips' do Easter:

What our Easter wasn't
Church service on Sunday morning
Chocolate bunnies
Peeps of any sort
Lamb and/or Ham, I mean really they both seem a bit sacrilege (that's for you Lucy!)
Dyed eggs.  (Truthfully, Parker dyed two at school and made me eat them because he "doesn't like them in the shell."  Last year I was left with a dozen off colored hard boiled eggs.  No one person should consume that many eggs and it just felt wasteful this year.)
Egg hunts
Pastel puffy dresses and seersucker suits

What our Easter was
Sitting in the front yard on a beach towel.  Alternately watching Parker write his name in the driveway and SBG figure out her new sippy cup- she's a natural.
Easter baskets full of pinwheels, the wind kind not food kind, birdhouses, 1 Hershey's miniature and a small bag of Skittles. 
Chicken seasoned by Pman and cooked on the grill by Josh
A pre-Easter block party the weekend before, complete with smashed cupcakes, sunkissed faces and a moonbounce.
Joyful, yet untraditional

One of my other lovely sisters asked me to send her a picture of the kiddos in their Easter garb.
Here you go:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Did It

On Sunday I ran 9.25 miles in 96 minutes.

I have a super cool ipod that will track how far I run and how fast I run it.  I can set the ipod for a distance- 8 miles, and after every mile a wonderfully encouraging female voice will say, "One mile complete."

"Congratulations, you are at your half way point."

"400 yards until you reach your goal"

"100 more yards"

"Congratulations, you reached your goal!"

However, when she said that, I was still more than a mile away from my car.  I could have walked, but I just wanted to get home, so I hulled ass to my car, to my endgame.

As I did the voice was telling me, "You are a half mile past your goal."

When I was relaying this story to someone else they said, "The lady in the ipod was probably about to say, 'Do you need help?'  'Are you lost?' 'Is there someone I should call?'"

After I did a slow walking lap around the parking lot, I hit the button to assess my distance and time.  Nine and a quarter mile in just over an hour and a half.

This is what the voice, I otherwise, trust told me.

I just can't believe her.  I know where I started.  I know what I ran.  Logic tells me it was over 9 miles.  Why can't I accept this victory, this milestone? I'm convinced that the ipod is wrong.  It was probably only 5 miles and it was probably more like 120 minutes.

I want to accept my amazing distance and time, but I can't and that is annoying.  Any other runner go through this self-doubt thing?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Breakfast How To

SBG here! I'd like to teach you how to eat Cheerios because you are probably doing it wrong.  Also, I'm the boss.

Step one: There are two ways you can attempt to get the Cheerios from your highchair tray to your mouth.  

Option A, involves focusing intensely on one Cheerio and pinching it tightly with your thumb and which ever other finger is easiest. Warning, this method is difficult and requires fine motor skills. 

Option B: Get your whole chubby hand moist with your own saliva, as you move through the process of eating Cheerios, this becomes easier- see below. Then place your wet hand directly on top of the pile of Cheerios, surely some of them will stick.

Step 2: Whether you choose Option A or B, then next step is the same.
SHOVE THEM IN YOUR MOUTH.  It is imperative that you use the entire fist, even if only one Cheerio is stuck to your hand/fingers/wrist.

Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee these methods.  I admit there are some flaws in my plan.
 Ignore the cookie.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Parker Goes to the Dentist

The first time I remember getting in legit trouble was when I was about 4 or 5 and involved the dentist.  I am not sure if this was my first trip to the dentist, but for some reason I did not want, and ultimately refused, to open my mouth. Both of my parents work(ed).  I was a middle child in a four child household.  There was no time for these games.

I left the office in tears and had to spend some time, my memory tells me hours, but I am not foolish enough to believe that, in my room alone.

I still get apprehensive about the dentist.  Cue Parker's first dentist appointment. 

The appointment was actually scheduled a bit ago, but I ended up cancelling it.  I blamed insurance issues for the cancellation and on paper that made sense, but really I was truly nervous about P's first dental visit.

From the time between the cancelled appointment and this afternoon, P and I read the Dora dentist book several times and he came with me when I went to the dentist and watched.  The hardest part was staying calm for him.

This morning we had breakfast, played a few board games then brushed our teeth.  We dropped SBG off at a sitters and headed to P's first dentist appointment. 

Up to this point he seemed very indifferent about the whole thing, but as we got closer he started asking questions about hurting and who his dentist was going to be and would he get a sticker?

He kept the smile on his face as we headed down the hall after the hygienist called his name.  He answered her questions and climbed up in the chair.  She showed him all the instruments and let him pick a few animal/color coordinated things and paste flavors. 

Then it was x-ray time.  She warned me that, "Most 3 year olds don't do well with x-rays, but let's give it a shot."

He did amazing.  He sat still with a worried, but 'let's get through this' look on his face. 

The hygienists all made a big fuss over him sitting so still and doing such a great job.

Then the dentist told us he has a cavity.  Apparently his teeth sit very close together, which looks pretty, but is a breeding ground for cavities.  He is also tongue tied, but so am I, so I am not worried one bit about that.

So we have to go back for a cavity filling, which will involve laughing gas and hopefully my ipod.

When making the appointment for the filling I asked if he will be in any kind of condition to go to school after the procedure.  I have never had laughing gas.  My only experience with it is what I have seen play out on the silver screen after a group of teenagers pull illegal hits from a balloon or something.

The receptionist assured me when the gas is provided legally by a doctor, it is then "flushed" out with oxygen before the patient leaves the office.

I choose to see his first appointment as a victory and not make a big scary deal about the cavity.

We brush his teeth twice a day, he eats very healthy save for the daily packs of gummies and mondo amounts of (watered down)  juice.  He does need to to start flossing. 

Also, in the book, Dora had a cavity, so there.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Baby Food Whisperererer

When Pman was a babe, I thought making your own baby food was for crunchy moms who did not shave their legs and practiced elimination communication

How could anyone possibly have the time to puree actually tidbits of food, spoon the food into jars and put them in the fridge?

I thought these women had too much time on their hands and were obviously neglecting their precious newborns to grind up a blender full of peas.

I was wrong.

Major wrong.

Since December, I started making all of SBG baby food.  I love it.  I know exactly what she is eating and she is getting used to the food we eat on a regular basis. 

For veggies, I buy canned veggies (typically 69-89 cents).  Open.  Drain. Dump into a blender, okay, I do have magic bullet, but not the specific baby food magic bullet. Then I spoon the puree into some baby food jars I have.

I do with same with overripe fruit.

Sweet potatoes are the easiest.  Heat the oven to 350, wash the sweetpot, stab it repeatedly with a fork, wrap in foil and toss in the oven for an hour.  If the sweetpot is for one of us, then I slice it in the middle and serve.  If it is for SBG, then I simply scoop it out and put it in a jar.  One sweetpot equals about 4 ounces of baby grub.

The biggest downfall seems to be that I have ended up with a few jars of a carrot, banana, pea combo, but SBG does not seem to mind. 

More than anything she likes to eat exactly what we are eating, Nutri Grain bars, oatmeal, broccoli cheese soup and the list goes on.

I do draw the line at meat though.  Pureeing chicken is just beyond me.  It smells.  It's yucky looking and the texture of the resulting chicken mush makes me gag.  So that I buy.  Although, she is getting some teeth, so perhaps soon I will no longer have to purchase the vileness that is strained meats.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who's in Charge?

First a few status updates about the SBG- she seems to share Parker's love of pork lo mien.  She is sprouting her first tooth! She continues to be the boss of all things Phillips family, but she is becoming less of a tyrant about it. Just about four months left until we no longer have to buy formula!

A few days ago Parker was helping me cook dinner.  Josh started messing with Parker in some father/son way that is usually funny to Parker and that I will never understand.  However, when Parker is cooking, it is very serious. 
He met Josh's attempt at rough housing with a, "Daddy, go away." In a serious, but bratty sort of way.

Josh took him by the hand led him to the other room to "have a little chat."  I could not see them, but I could hear them. 

Josh and I have an agreement.  If one parent is disciplining Parker (or Peyton when the time comes) the other parents stays out of it.  We present a united front, but only one of us can be the leader. Until this agreement was in place there were a lot of toes being stepped on. 

As I hung back in the kitchen, SBG strolled around my feet in her walker and grabbed at my pants leg, I chopped onions and listened to P and J's conversation.

J said, in a stern but comforting tone, something to the effect of: "I'm the Daddy.  You cannot tell me to go away.  If you want me to stop you need ask nicely.  Okay?  Understood?"

Parker's reply in the same stern, yet comforting tone: Yes. Okay, but Daddy when I am cooking with Mommy, you need to stay out of the way.  It is dangerous.  So you just stay safe, okay.

Then Parker glided back into the kitchen with an air of, he won't be bothering us anymore.  A beat or two later Josh came in with a look of utter confusion on his face. 

A few days after this happened they were calling for snow in our area, we didn't get a single flake.  However, as the town prepared for the Blizzard of 2012 we were running errands and got stuck behind a big truck.  On the back of the truck, staring at us for the better part of an hour, was a sign that read:


DEICER?  Did they mean decider?  Maybe something about deer?  Honestly we were both stumped.  Then finally, I said, "It says DE-ICER!"  Since we had not actually said any of our internal thoughts outloud, I wasn't sure if Josh knew what it said or would even know what I was talking about, until...

"OOhhhh!.. It's needs a hyphen."

I didn't check, but something tells me Parker was either rolling his eyes or smacking his hand on his forehead- Morons.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

First Word

Parker's first word was duck.  In fact, I do not think "mom" or "dad" were even his second word.  They came about eventually, but not initially.

Sadly, SBG seems to be following that pattern.  It seems her first communicative word is bottle. 

She does not say it out right, instead she says, "BA! BA! BA!" with passion and zeal of a starving (although she is not starving) infant.  When you actually show her a bottle the "BA! BA! BA!" reaches an even higher pitch and becomes some how more passionate- emphatic even.

When you take it away again, she furrows her little baby brow and questions, "BA? BA? BA?"

Also, and I know this is a stretch, but if you say, "Do you want a bottle?" She replies, "YEA!"

It's so cute to see her little tooth-free gums, puffy cheeks and sweet lips bob together in that BA motion.  What is not so cute though is that she also realizes this elicits some reaction from all of us.  We either laugh or hastily scramble over each other to GET. HER. THE. DAMN. BA BA BA.

So her first word, or semi-word, seems to be directly related to demanding food.  Yikes.

This next bit should come as not surprise then. 

The other day I was in the grocery store with both kiddos.  At this particular store, if you are buying something, you are allowed to take 1 cookie from the bakery display.  Parker LOVES this grocery store.  He picked a chocolate chip cookie and asked me to "piecea half it."

I'm not sure where piecea half it came from.

I did as he asked and held the other half of the cookie in the hand attached to the arm that was wrapped around SBG. 

Guess who ate her first chocolate chip cookie at 7 months and 2 days.  Of course as soon as we got home I had to give her a BA! BA! BA! to wash it down.

Monday, January 30, 2012


January 2012 will forever be in our minds the month we were all Down with the Sickness.

I thought it was over after the "puking on the  steps" incident.  I even took Pman to a birthday party on Friday and a football party on Saturday.

Then it happened.

It seems Parker has two major fears.
1. Little monkeys crawling up from the crack in between his bed and the wall and biting his toes.  Seriously.  Sometimes he says they are monsters, but mostly it's little monkeys.  We have to stuff two pillows in the crack to keep the toe eating monkeys at bay.

2. Puking in his bed.  A couple weeks ago he woke me out of a dead sleep because he thought he puked in his bed.  He didn't it was just drool.  I turned his pillow over, kissed his head and wandered back to bed.

Then Saturday night, one of those two great fears came to fruition.

Parker puked in the bed. And on one of his three pillows. 

The drama pretty much peaks there.  I pulled the sheets off the bed and tossed them in the laundry room to be dealt with in the morning.  Josh hosed Pman off in the shower.  Parker and I had a slumber party in my room and Josh slept in the guest room with the baby monitor because I put him on SBG duty for the remainder of the evening.

I did sleep with my back to Pman most of the night though because I kept thinking that he was going to puke on me, he didn't.

Once day left of this dreadful month.

Monday, January 23, 2012


 January 9- Pman gets a Hepatitis A vaccine booster.  SBG is diagnosed with a raging case of pink eye.  No biggie.  Little drops and let's roll on. (I know you know this, but I'm aiming for an effect here.)

January 18- Both kids were sick.  Headed back to the docs.  SBG diagnosed with bronchitis and a sinus infection- "Ears look clear though!"  Says a cheery pediatrician.  "But she'll need to be put on a nebulizer."  I do not have asthema, nor does Josh.  Prior to 1/18/12 I had no clue what hell it is to nebulize a 6 and a half month old.  The doc also suggested since Pman was coughing, but did not have bronchitis-yet.  He could be nebbed too.


BONUS! They were also both put on a diarrhea causing prescription.  Pman seems to have escaped that, but SBG's sheets and jammies have been on a constant washing machine cycle. The HOT/HOT cycle.
Throughout the week, at different times they each had low-grade fevers, but nothing too major.

January 21- We host a family party at our house because that's just how we do.  Our family does not let a couple sick kids slow them down.  Bring on the kiddo Tylenol, antibacterial Lysol wipes and cork screws- we are having a party. honestly, I had already gone to Bj's for supplies and cleaned my house.  I even changed ALL the sheets!

January 23- We were out running errands because really it's nearly been a week and they both seemed fine in the morning.  As we pulled into the driveway I looked in the rearview and Pman had big dark circles under his eyes.  I told him I would open the front door and he needed to take off his stuff and head upstairs for a nap.  He agreed- uh-oh!

As I get him out of the car and we walk up the porch he bursted into tears.  He was afraid I was going to leave SBG in the car.  He was wailing.  I have NEVER done that, so I'm not sure where that came from. 

I opened the door and he stumbled in to take off his shoes I hear the gurgle.  I turn around and he is puking on the carpeted steps.  After helping him finish up and getting SBG out of the car, he burst into tears again.
"What's wrong honey?  Are you going to throw up again?"
"No.  Cleeeaaaannnnn IIIIITttttt UUUuuuUUUP!"

On the upside somewhere in all this mess I found a WalMart gift card on the side of the road with $6 still on it- SCORE!...?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First Weekend of a New Year

This past weekend I had a girls weekend with my besties.  We drank, ate, and sat and repeated the process to our hearts content.

This is the face of a happy mama- recharging

Pman spent the weekend with his Mimi, Pop-Pop, Uncle Andrew and Aunt ZZ.

His Uncle Andrew took him on his first trip to the skate park.

SBG and Josh had a daddy daughter weekend and perhaps it is best there are no photos.  When I came back home, the poor girl was wearing the same pants she was when I left and she woke up on Monday morning with a mean case of pink eye.

After a Monday morning trip to the kiddo doctor, where Pman received a vaccine (no new news- he still hates them and they hurt him both physically and emotionally.  He emits a wail the likes of which you have never heard.)  SBG was officially diagnosed with the pink eye.

That afternoon we welcomed the great Blizzard of 2012.  SBG, first snow.

Poor Pman put on his snow pants and everything in an effort to make his first snow angel of the season. Alas his attempts were fruitless.