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I’m excited. I’m excited because one of my good friends is doing something awesome and I’m a part of it. My friend Erin started an organization called Edge of Seven. Edge of Seven organizes volunteers for trips to Nepal to do amazing work. I wrote about her here, and I blogged about my own experience in Nepal here. They’ve built a school, a hostel of girls so they can attend school, and are in the process of doing so much more. You can read about their endeavors on their blog here.

I am part of a campaign to turn pocket change into futures for hundreds and hundreds of children in Nepal. Education is the key to lift the upcoming generations out of poverty, and these children can have that education with our pocket change. How cool is that?

I’m excited to be a part of this because I believe in the power of education, because I’ve seen the children’s faces, and because I have plenty of pocket change lying around and I won’t miss it a bit. Also, I believe in this organization. I know the actual people who will be designing the buildings, digging the foundations, carrying the stones. My name is already on a plaque on one school in Nepal, and I’m happy to have it on another.

For more information, check out this video. Come help me change the world with your pocket change. If you decide to donate, please let me know so I can lavish you with appropriate praise and attention. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in one of Kate Takes 5‘s listography posts, but this one has caught my fancy. As a blogger, I am slightly obsessed with my site’s statistics. How many page hits have I had? What links do people click on from my site? How to people find me? Although I can’t see any identifying information about who clicked on what, I can see how many people came from X site, how many people found me searching for X, how many people voted for me at Top Mommy Blogs or Babble (ahem), etc. So without further ado, I give you:

My Top 5 Keyword Searches of all time (excluding blog name):

  1. Charlie Sheen YoungThis post is really about make-up and aging. Charlie Sheen is a hot ticket in the world of SEO. Using his photo was actually one of my very few deliberate uses of SEO. It works. Generally I choose content over optimization though, SEO be damned!
  2. Terrible Mom – Thank you, thank you very much. Am I psyched that I come up on the top of a Google search of “terrible mom“? Kind of, yeah. If the person searching is a mother feeling inadequate, I am happy to provide a soft landing place for her to realize that she’s not alone – I suck too.
  3. Mom Exposed – this one actually leads people to the same post as #2, but it is an entirely different group of people doing the search. The people typing this into their browser are looking for websites where “moms” actually expose themselves. I get a few other porn searches that lead people to my blog. I think it’s funny that a person seeking porn is so easily diverted by a mommy blog.
  4. Missing Spoons – I guess this is a common problem! But what are people hoping to gain from searching online for their missing spoons?
  5. Annoying Questions – Another common problem I suppose. Again I’m left wondering why people are searching online for this? Do they not have enough annoying questions in their lives? Are they looking for annoying conversation starters? Or are they checking to make sure their children are developmentally annoying enough?
No matter how people find my blog, I’m happy to have you all here. If you like this post, check out the other blogs participating in this week’s Listography.

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

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Ahhhh, the Spaaaa

I’m tired. Not in the usual way though. I’m tired from staying up late and laughing too hard. I’m tired in a wonderfully refreshing way because I spent a weekend at a SPA with FRIENDS, WITHOUT KIDS! Somehow, it seemed appropriate for me to crash someone else’s girls weekend. This is out of character for me, but it felt like the right thing to do and I’m so glad I did.

The number one most awesome and unexpected thing (from a long list of awesome and unexpected things) to come from my blog is the relationships I’ve formed with a handful of other bloggers. I count these women among my friends, even though I have not met all of them in ‘real life.’ Kim, from Let Me Start By Saying is one of these bloggers. I don’t remember how our online friendship started, how we first found each other, but I was lucky enough to meet her in person at a blog conference. She is a tall, blonde, coffee-guzzling, hilariously funny, snarky, camera-wielding, lovely, moderately obscene soul mate for me who I couldn’t possibly not be friends with. So when she extended the invite to join her and her friends on their annual spa weekend, I jumped at the chance.

Over the course of 2 days the following things may have happened:

  • 4/4 of us had a face drawn on our chins with eyeliner. We may have then performed various solos and duets while upside-down wearing a pillow case over our heads, (What? That’s totally normal,);
  • 1/4 of us peed in her pants;
  • 4/4 of us fell on the floor laughing;
  • 1/4 of us took off her pants in public, twice, unrelated to the aforementioned pee incident;
  • 2/4 of us found ourselves running from compost;
  • 1/4 of us got I-love-you-drunk and spent hours looking through all of the photos of her kids on her phone;
  • 3/4 of us did not;
  • 4/4 of us ate, drank, and were merry.
I feel all filled-up in a way I haven’t for a long time. I feel calibrated. I have a song about clavicles stuck in my head. I gained 3 pounds and yet I feel lighter. I have two new friends who I have inside jokes with. And I have a video of a couple of chins singing “Mahna-Mahna.” “What’s that?” you say? I’ll let the professionals show you:

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

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Kate from Kate Takes 5 has a weekly link up where she provides a topic for a top 5 list. This week’s topic: inventions that would make my life easier, nay, awesome.

1. A Me-Duplicator

The only time the doctor can see me is the same exact time I have to pick L up? No problem, set the Me-Duplicator to 1 and create one temporary Me to do the less pleasant task. Friends arriving in 15 minutes, the house is a wreck, kids want to play outside and all I want to do is take a shower? Set the Duplicator to 7. Each child gets one Me to play with, and 5 Mes make quick work of the house while I get to relax. Perfect!

2. A pause button

A pause is the perfect solution for a myriad of life’s problems. One push and everyone freezes in time but me. I also reserve the right to tag any individuals I want to unfreeze in the rare instance that I don’t just want to be left alone. Yes, would use this to cheat on game shows.

3. A miracle weight loss pill

Why not have a real, safe alternative to all that eating right and exercising crap? This pill would save countless lives and millions of dollars in healthcare for weight related illnesses. See how magnanimous I am? It also would ensure that I could pull off skinny jeans and bikinis. (Pst, you could too!)

4. Post it notes

Wait, these have been invented already, you say. True. But I would like them to be uninvented so that I can invent them and make gajillions of dollars. I’d also like Harry Potter to be unwritten so I could write it. Oh, hell, throw in Microsoft and we’ll call it a day.

5. An Insta-Transporter

This one has been said before, but it bears repeating. Feel like French food? With a push of a button find yourself at an outdoor Parisian cafe. Stuck in traffic? Use your transporter to instantly find yourself parked in front of your destination. (Yeah, it’s smart enough to know to bring your car with you, but not your house.)

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Kate from Kate Takes 5 has a weekly link up where she provides a topic for a top 5 list. I always mean to participate in her listography, but for some reason I don’t seem to make it in time. Last week’s topic was Decisions and I’ve been ruminating on the topic for days, and naturally missed my chance to link up to it before the new topic for this week was posted. But it got me thinking a lot about some of the decisions that have shaped my life.

Like everyone else, I’ve made good decisions and bad decisions, hard decisions and easy decisions. Here are a few of the most  influential decisions I’ve made, the good and the bad.

1. Leaving High School

I don’t actually like to admit this often, but I went to boarding school. It was the norm for kids from my middle school to go away to boarding school for high school. (Did that sentence have “school” in it a lot or what?) Anyway, it was not for me. I hated it vehemently. I hated the culture of my school where the hockey team ruled and even the teachers seemed to be divided into cliques. During my junior year we had a parents’ day and I was in a sour mood. My parents asked what was the matter and I rashly lashed out that I hated my school and was miserable. “So what are you going to do about it?” my dad asked me. Huh?

This was the first time I was handed the reigns of my life. I could do something about this? I decided to apply directly to college as a junior, and skip my 4th year of high school entirely. I did not have enough credits and did not take any kind of equivalency exam. I was like any other high school junior. Several of my top choice schools firmly let me know that I need not apply until I graduated like a normal person, but some were open to my application and I was accepted into a handful. Then I had a difficult choice to make: leave my friends and the comfort of the familiar? Separate myself from everyone else on the planet by not having a senior year of high school? I did it. That decision empowered me and at 17 I learned that I was in charge of myself and could drive my own life.

2. Giving Up

I found myself as a previously sheltered 17-year-old in the bigger than big world of Giant University. My dorm my freshman year had over 1600 students. Believing I was a uniquely talented and bright individual, like I had always been told, I applied to a competitive writing course. I submitted my short stories, full of teen angst and trite drama (this was waaaay before Twilight). I was not accepted. I received a letter explaining that I should work on my writing and reapply as an upperclassman.

Devastated, I concluded that I actually had no talent for writing whatsoever. Too humiliated to sign up for any other kind of writing course, I hung up my pen. I decided that my parents were right, writing is a hobby, and I should take a bunch of science courses so I could be employable some day instead. Easy decision to make. Giving it up was so easy. But what if I hadn’t? I could potentially have some fulfilling career instead of a history of random jobs, a Master’s degree I don’t care about, and no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

3. Studying Abroad

Most people consider taking one semester to study abroad or at another university, for a change of pace and fun opportunity. I did it 3 times. I knew that college provided me the unique chance to do this. That one day when I was a grown up saddled with a grown up life I would not be able to spend 3 months in exotic places like Nepal and Kenya, or living outside in snow caves in the Rocky Mountains. I was so fortunate to have these opportunities at my fingertips and I could not pass them up. Each of these experiences left indelible impressions on me and shaped me into the adult I would eventually become. The only hard thing about these decisions was where to go and what to do. Palau or Kenya? That was a tough one.

In my current life as a SAHM to two little kids, it refreshes me to remember my younger self roaming through the streets of Kathmandu; living with a family in a mud and thatch hut in rural Kenya and speaking Swahili expertly; or how strong and hard my exhausted muscles were after digging out another snow cave to spend the night in. These memories are a world apart from my current reality, but it was me, I did it. It reminds me that life is a series of events and stages, that this one is just another stage, and that one day I’ll be looking back on all of this. I had better try to appreciate all it has to offer.

4. Marrying T

This was maybe the easiest decision ever. I’ve suffered more indecision over shoe purchases than whether or not to marry T. From the moment I met him I felt connected to him. We actually almost got hitched after only knowing each other for several months. We faced some inconvenient visa laws and the fact that he’s an alien from far far away land. We had 3 choices: get married, move out of the US, or break up. We call that day “stress day 2000.” In the end we decided to both up and move to far far away land rather than get married for the wrong reasons. So we did. 3 years later, we were back in the US (legally!) and he proposed. Of course I would marry him! I never had cold feet.

5. Kids

Another easy decision to make despite how huge it was. Suddenly one day I felt ready to have a kid. T and I had been married a few years. Our life was fun. But I felt kind of done with it and ready for something new, the next phase. Luckily T was on board and soon we had our gigantic baby L. (He was 10 lbs 3 oz.)

Nothing in the universe was cuter than L when he was 1.5 years old. This was a lucky thing because he was not easy. At all. But he was a bouncing boy full of exuberance, energy and serious cuteness. So cute that I just had to have another. Again, an easy decision that T agreed with. The time was right and having L be an only child was never really in consideration. It amazes me how easy these huge, life changing decisions were to make.

It’s been a fun exercise to look back and think of the biggest decisions I made which brought me to where I am today – steadfastly ignoring my children while they wreck the house so I can selfishly reflect and blog about it.

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When Ruckus Media Group asked me to try out their new Spot the Dot game and then write a review,* I jumped at the opportunity. Although I haven’t done any product reviews as of yet, this one seemed like a natural fit. I’m a blogger, an iPad junkie, and am always looking for something to entertain my hard to entertain 4-year-old.

The object of the game is to locate a specific colored dot against various visually appealing playing fields. The first few rounds are simple and then become increasingly more complex and difficult. The colors, shapes, and designs are eye-popping and the game’s different interactive levels make the most of the iPad‘s unique awesomeness.

L was able to begin and navigate through the game just by following the it’s simple audio directions, with no help from me. He enjoyed the first few levels more than I expected – I thought they’d be too easy. As the game got more difficult, however, he wanted to give up. I helped him through the final levels and then asked if he liked it.  “I loved it!” I asked if he’d want to play it again: “Yes! But maybe another time.”

Still not really sure what to make of it, I decided to give my 6-year-old nieces a turn. Like L, they were able to navigate through the game on their own. I was surprised to see how engaged they were. They needed to work together to figure out the last 2 levels, but then each of them played another couple of times and was able to solve each level on her own.

I am unsure what age range this game is ideal for. The educational component is color identification, but I can’t imagine a child S’s age (22 months) playing it. In the end, I think the “learn the colors” component of the game takes a huge backseat to the visual appeal and engaging playability. Rather than being good for the toddler to preschooler set as advertised, I think it’s better for the slightly older set.

I like it as another iPad game in addition to L’s beloved Fruit Ninja. It’s calmer and requires some patience and thought. And it’s coolness is undeniable, although totally lost on the kids for whom the magic of an iPad is just a given.

So, is it worth your $3.99? Maybe. If Ruckus Media adds some more levels, it would totally be worth the price, since you’d want to play it too. As is, it depends on your kid. It’s not the perfect game for L, but I could see S loving it in a year or two.

*Disclaimer: I received this app for free from Ruckus Media Group in exchange for my review. I do not work for and am not associated with Ruckus Media Group.

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I’ve slipped to #12! Please help me stay in the top 5. Thank you!!

Repost: Help a Girl Out

Have you noticed my requests for votes at the bottom of many of my posts? What’s that all about? I’ll tell you what it’s all about. Top Mommy Blogs is a site that lists (can you guess?) blogs written by moms. There are a number of categories ranging from Multiples to Humor to Adoption to Cooking to Crafts and several blogs within each category. TMB ranks the blogs according to how many votes they receive*. Readers can vote daily by clicking on the Top Mommy Blogs button displayed on their favorite blog(s).

So, what does getting votes do for me? The higher the ranking I have on Top Mommy Blogs, the more exposure to new readers I have. I don’t get any money or rewards or anything, just a stoke to my ego. As a blogger, by definition, I love readers. More readers=more love. Already committed to voting for another blogger? That’s OK. Voting for me doesn’t affect your votes for anyone else. I vote when I visit other blogs.

*The folks over at Top Mommy Blogs have some secret, complex algorithm for averaging votes received. This means that my number of votes can actually fluctuate up and down, which means that my ranking can fluctuate up and down. Let’s say that on a particular day (today, for example) I ask my readers to please vote for me and I get a bunch of votes. But then the next day I don’t get any votes, my ranking may not change despite that one great day of so many votes. Frustrating, right?

Here’s the deal: I will write the best posts I can and in return you’ll click on the TMB button each time you visit my site. Sounds fair, right? To vote you simply need to click on the button over there in my sidebar, or the one below. Your click counts as your vote, and you will be redirected to Top Mommy Blogs. Once at TMB you can look around and find other interesting blogs to read, or simply hit your back button and come right back here.

Thanks for your help!!!

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

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There is someone out there who likes me enough to put my writing on her blog. This person is JD from Momagement Matters, who I recently got the chance to hang out with at Bloggy Boot Camp. Over post-conference drinks we hatched a plan for me to write a guest post for her blog, which deals with the particular challenges of a working mom. She writes with humor and heart, she’s super cool, and is totally adorable. I guess the last one doesn’t really directly affect her blog, but it’s worth mentioning.

So go check out Momagement Matters, become a fan like I am, and read my post which answers the age-old question: who has it worse SAHMs or WOHMs?

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Kate from Kate Takes 5 has a weekly list meme. She provides a topic or prompt and participants create a Top 5 List. This is my first week participating.

This week’s topic is Bad Combinations.

1. Child with a cold/dry clean only sweater
Is there anything worse than your child’s slug trails of snot all over your clothes? Yes. Those same slug trails all over your nice clothes.
2. Potty training toddler/service station bathroom
I don’t think this one needs much explanation. Whether it’s you who has to go or the kid, having a toddler in a gross bathroom is Hell on Earth.
3. Poop/bathtub
‘Nuff said.
4. Caillou’s voice/my ears
This isn’t really limited to Caillou. It also includes Dora, Raffi and the B52’s.
5. Kids/any desire for a clean house or orderly life
Maybe I’m lamer than everyone else, but I cannot keep a clean house, provide home-cooked dinners every night, maintain any kind of social calendar, or keep any plans. I am constantly overcome by the feeling that I’ve forgotten something important and I’m constantly looking for my keys and glasses.

Like I said, this is my first crack at listography. To see how it’s done by a pro, check out Kate’s blog.

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

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This past Saturday I spent the day at Boston Bloggy Bootcamp, sponsored by The SITS Girls. [6 ways to lose 30 lbs in 2 minutes!] I left with my head spinning, full of new information and inspiration. [10 ways to please your man, and get flat abs!] 

I have my work cut out for me:

  1. I should use lists more.
  2. I need to use catchy titles preferably with numbers, Cosmo style.
  3. My blog needs more photos and those photos need good names. [Royal wedding photos!] 
  4. I have to define my brand as a writer, as a blogger, as a person. Once my brand is clear, everything else in life will be simple. Tiffany Romero promised me this, and she’s so awesome (and hot!) that I know she wouldn’t lead me astray. [News! Politics! Sex!]
  5. I need to think about SEO when writing. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s my understanding that I just need to randomly include certain frequently searched words and phrases throughout my posts so people who are searching the web for anything accidentally end up on my site instead. (Have you noticed my subtle implementation?) And putting those words in bold text helps. [Boobs]

All joking aside, I had an amazing day. I learned a ton of technical and practical things that will help me improve my blog. It was empowering and validating to spend a day with so many talented women who really get what it is that I do.

Most fun for me was that I got to meet people I “know” online. I have a little virtual community of bloggers who I read regularly, Tweet with and feel like I have real, if extremely 21st century, relationships with. The whole concept of a friendship with someone I haven’t met sounds weird to most people, but not to anyone who was at the conference. A major highlight for me was meeting Kim from Let Me Start By Saying and JD from Momagement Matters. Whose blogs you should go to immediately.

So what’s in it for you? Awesomeness. If I implement a fraction of what I learned your reading experience at Motherhood, WTF? will be just plain amazing. I did it all for you. Hold on to your hats…

Like this post? Vote for me! Just click on the link below. Thanks for your support!
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Alicia is the funny and multi-talented blogger from Naps Happen and The Frazzled Foodie. If you haven’t checked out her blogs, do. Her kids are apparently narcoleptic (although she denies this) and she takes pictures of their various naps for (can you guess?) Naps Happen. These aren’t minor league cute nappers, like my kids who are adorable but generally in the vicinity of their beds. This is the majors: sleeping on stairs, buried under couch cushions, sprawled amidst toys on a hardwood floor, face-planted at the table. I defy you to look at these pictures and not crack a smile. With The Frazzled Foodie, she admirably maintains her passion for cooking and shares highly personalized recipes and stories of life as a mom of two (possibly narcoleptic) boys.

Why am I talking about Alicia so much? Because she has written a guest post for me. My first ever guest post! Here she paints a picture of a typical day in the life. This happens to be a WTF day. The kind of day we’ve all had where we wonder, how did I get here? How did this happen to me?

My special room in hell has been reserved. After weeks of poor weather, canceled preschool, and cabin fever, I am desperate to find a place for my four-year-old and my two-year-old to work off some boyish energy. I have brought my children to a McDonald’s Playland.

We are not McDonald’s people. William and Cormac do not ask us for fries or cheeseburgers. They do not know what a happy meal is. Neither of them actually recognizes Ronald McDonald, although I have read that he is more widely known among America’s children than Jesus. What my boys do recognize, however, is a big slide. What they are immediately drawn to is the impressive two-story network of multi-colored tunnels and plexiglass bubbles that fill this greasy-smelling room. Forget the Chicken McNuggets – these boys are ready to rumble.

They are, of course, not the only children who are going crazy for the indoor jungle gym. Roughly ten other children ranging in age from about two to seven are crawling all over the tubing like insects. Their screams echo off the walls of this amazingly acoustic, glassed-in cell like crazed fans at a high school basketball game. Out of the corner of my eye, I see an eleventh child come streaking out of the family bathroom in the corner. His mother chases angrily after him waving a wet wipe and saying something about hand washing.

I seat myself at one of the cleaner tables arrayed in front of the jungle gym, gingerly arranging the Happy Meal I’ve purchased for the boys and putting the straw into my mammoth Diet Coke. I scan the table to ensure I’m not about to rest my elbow in a pool of ketchup. The coast is clear.

William and Cormac have no interest in our Happy Meal, despite the masculine toy it contains: a red truck with stickers you can apply yourself. William has scaled the levels of the jungle gym with impressive speed and is already running back and forth in the tunnels at the uppermost levels, shouting unintelligible messages at me through the clear plastic bubbles that connect the tubes. He looks like an inmate at a hamster farm. Cormac is a little slower, which is understandable considering he is not even supposed to be in the playland until he’s three-years-old. Undeterred by his insufficient stature, he figures out how to shove his foot into the netting that forms the jungle gym walls, vaulting himself up to the next level each time. A woman behind me comments to her companion that she can’t believe that baby is making it all the way to the top. I briefly reconsider my choice to let him play there and wonder if I get an even more special room in hell for parents who let their babies break their necks at McDonald’s.

Most of the parents are hardly paying any attention to their kids, which is why nobody has noticed a four-year-old boy who is lying on the floor under the jungle gym stairs, eating a chicken nugget that was lying on the floor. The two women next to me have babies with them and are gossiping scandalously. Every so often a little girl with pigtails runs up to their table for a sip from her juice box.

An older woman in the corner is one of the few adults focused on the children in the gym. She is laughing at their antics and looks far less stressed-out than the younger parents in the room. Catching my glance, she nods at Cormac, who has managed to take his chocolate milk into the play gym with him and is running back and forth in one of the tunnels. “Just wait until you’re a grandparent,” she says. “It’s much better.” I roll my eyes in appreciation and liken my children to monkeys. She chortles appreciatively and tells me that William is a charmer.

My gaze is drawn to a table across the room. A girl who appears to be about five-years-old has come running to her mother, bawling. One look at her and I can tell why. She has wet herself and the entire crotch and inside legs of her pants are soaked. Her mother pats ridiculously at her legs with a stack of napkins and hastily begins packing up to leave. The girl is inconsolable, as if someone else wet her pants for her, without her permission.

I turn my eyes back to the play gym just in time to see Cormac have his own catastrophe. He runs toward the window of the plexiglass bubble in the center of the play gym and trips. As if it is happening in slow motion, I see his chocolate milk slide down the front of the bubble and leak out the bottom, dripping outside the gym and onto the floor. His lower lip trembles and I see his mouth form the sad words, “Sorry Mamaaaaaa…..” I am aware that nearly every parent in the room is looking at me. I grab a pack of baby wipes from my purse and crawl inside the bubble, uttering soothing words to Cormac and furiously working to wipe up the mess. He is somewhat consoled and exits the bubble with me, where I use another wipe to clean the floor under the gym. I turn to face my audience of parents and theatrically shrug my shoulders. One or two smile sympathetically. The rest are stone-faced.

As I sit down again at my table and hand Cormac a slice of apple from his Happy Meal, William comes running up. He has just come down the slide. “Mommy, my pants and my socks are wet.” With horror, I realize that the slide was the last location used by the girl who had peed herself moments ago. The girl is long gone but her presence is still being felt at the McDonald’s Playland, perhaps by several more children who are about to go down the slide.

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I don’t really think I suck, and I don’t really think that I’m fucking up my kids (any more than every parent fucks up her kids, anyway). I wrote yesterday’s post immediately after blowing up at L so I was feeling maximally emotional about it. I pounded it out on the keyboard while L screamed for me upstairs and S screamed for me at my feet, while my throat still smarted from my own screaming. I’ve written a few posts in similar situations and they always seem to resonate with other parents.

The first post I wrote in the middle of a bad moment was scary, (read it here). I hit “publish” and then thought, “well, there goes my blog!” certain that revealing my real truth would repel any readers my fledgling blog had acquired. But the opposite thing happened, and it took my blog in a new direction.

I started blogging thinking I’d write wildly funny posts about parenting. It started out that way, but then I ran out of funny and was left with L shitting his pants (it took under a month). So I hit publish and I learned something: it’s one thing to read about a bad parenting moment after the fact, once the writer has regained a cool level head. It’s still nice to read about it, still relatable, but it doesn’t have the same oomph as something written mid-tantrum.

I love the responses I get to my angsty posts. I feel so low and angry and then out of thin cyber air comes tons of support, empathy and others willing to admit that they’ve been there, done that. For that I thank you. I can’t tell you how grateful I am, and how lucky I feel to have this platform and my readers.

So Motherhood, WTF? isn’t the uproariously funny, side-splitting blog I imagined I’d write. Instead it’s much more honest. I’m not always funny. Sometimes I’m pissy, or upset, or bitchy, or angry, or feeling out of control. Sometimes the responsibility of parenting weighs heavily on me, and other times I can see it all as a huge prank the universe plays on us and I’m just waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come out laughing “haha, you should have seen your face!” So, I’ll start another day stealing myself for the former, and hoping my hair looks nice enough for the latter.

Like this post? Vote for me! Just click on the link below. Thanks for your support!
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Nicole over at Ninja Mom started a meme called Character Assassination Carousel, in which we get to have our revenge on the children’s books we hate but are forced to read over and over again. She kicked it off with a letter to Shel Silverstein in the voice of the much aggrieved tree from The Giving Tree. Next to ride the carousel was Kristine from Wait in the Van who wrote a hilarious and scathing attack on Love You Forever. Now it’s my turn and I’m a little pissed because those two already wrote about my most-loathed books. Fear not! I have enough vitriol to hate more than just two books!

I’m the type of person who needs my own space. I’m social (a little), like being around people (honestly, I like very few people), but really need down time, alone time, me time. I’ve always been very independent. Basically I’d be fine on a deserted island and probably wouldn’t resort to personifying a volley ball for company. I’ve spent a good deal of my life trying to get away from people without hurting their feelings, with mixed success. It’s not you, it’s me. (Are you wondering where I’m going with this?) All of this is to say that I sympathize so much with the little bunny in The Runaway Bunny.

I know, I know, this is a much-loved classic. What kind of mother am I to criticize Margaret Wise Brown? Meh, I hate this book. The poor little bunny just wants some space! But his mom does not get it. At all. Not only does she want to be with him at all times, she wants to smother him. She just can’t hear her poor little bunny’s pleas for freedom and independence. It begins with the little bunny’s declaration that he is going to run away.

“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.”

That’s right kid. I own you!

RunAway Bunny

Clearly, this bunny wants to get a little distance between himself and his suffocating mother bunny. The book continues with the little bunny thinking of different ways to get the hell away from his psycho mom. He wants to be rock on a mountain, but the mother bunny threatens to become a mountain climber. He decides he’ll become  a boat and sail away from her. But she one-ups him by becoming the wind so she can “blow you where I want you to go.”

That’s right kid. I own you. Can you imagine being this mother bunny’s boyfriend and trying to break up with her? She has crazy stalker written all over her. You just know she’s perfected the ominous-love-note-made-up-from-letters-cut-out-of-magazines trick. Sheesh! No wonder there’s no daddy bunny. He probably had to get a restraining order.

Here she even disguises herself as a tree so he unwittingly lands on her when he's a bird needing to rest. Holy psycho!

Being that he is just a little bunny, his crazy mother (totally resisting the urge to bring Blossom and attachment parenting into this…) can out-think him in her attempts to hover over him for always. Outmatched, he finally gives up. You can almost hear his hope dying as he realizes that he is stuck with her.

“Shucks,” said the bunny, “I might as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.”

I give up. You own me.

Poor little bunny.

Next month Beta Dad, whose blog is worth checking out if for no other reason than the awesome header picture, will be riding on the Character Assassination Carousel. I wonder what book he’ll skewer?

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Look Up

I’ve been bitching and moaning. I’ve been cranky and grumpy. I feel cooped up, have cabin fever, and my kids can’t stand to watch more TV. Well, since we’re stuck here, I might as well try to shift my attitude, right? So, taking a cue from Brenna at Suburban Snapshots and Kim at Let Me Start By Saying, I decided to look around my (mess of a) house and appreciate some of my favorite things.

I love this photo. It’s me and S on her second day. I think it captures a moment and a feeling that words just can’t. It lives high on the bookcase in my computer room, where I see it just about all day every day.

(Yes, that’s a finger print on her head. So sue me.)

I am temporarily retired as a person who does cool stuff and goes cool places. Before my retirement (having kids), I collected all sorts of objects from doing cool stuff and going cool places. I have a ton of these objects, but almost nowhere safe to put them (anymore). So, much of it is stored away and the rest is displayed high on the mantle and high on the bookcase.

Here we have several of my favorite objects. The print in the middle was made by my very talented friend GK, and just looking at it makes me feel zenny and calm. To the right is a cool-ass clock that my very talented husband T made back in the day when we could sit around and make cool and fragile stuff.

Next to that are two glass pieces from my brief stint working in a glass blowing studio. (I told you I did cool stuff…) On the other side of the mantle are four wooden men I brought back from Kenya where I spent a semester in college. (…And went cool places.)

These have moved with me no less than 9 times, maybe 10. In one of those moves the little one lost his staff and that breaks my heart a little. They’re one of my absolute treasures and remind me of the girl I once was – a brave, carefree, brazen thing.

So, although it may feel like my house has been taken over by various large, bright, plastic objects, and tons of pieces to things that hurt to step on, there are a few vestiges of me hanging on for dear life. I just have to look up to find them.

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I’ve decided to redecorate the walls behind my kitchen table. I’m tired of the unobtrusive beige. How about a little pizazz? You know what color is nice? Peach Yogurt. This isn’t a Benjamin Moore color you can pick up at the hardware store. It’s a Yoplait color you pick up in the dairy aisle.

Unbeknownst to me, S suddenly (as in this morning) can climb up to the kitchen table. While I innocently ignored my children in the other room, S climbed up and found L’s half uneaten yogurt and went wild. She loves yogurt and has a firm attachment to the idea that it is a finger food. It’s also a finger paint and apparently a hair styling product.

Have I cleaned up yet? No. I laughed, took a picture, and came in here to blog about it. (I have a firm attachment to the idea of not disturbing happy children.)

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Have you noticed my requests for votes at the bottom of many of my posts? What’s that all about? I’ll tell you what it’s all about. Top Mommy Blogs is a site that lists (can you guess?) blogs written by moms. There are a number of categories ranging from Multiples to Humor to Adoption to Cooking to Crafts and several blogs within each category. TMB ranks the blogs according to how many votes they receive*. Readers can vote daily by clicking on the Top Mommy Blogs button displayed on their favorite blog(s).

So, what does getting votes do for me? The higher the ranking I have on Top Mommy Blogs, the more exposure to new readers I have. I don’t get any money or rewards or anything, just a stoke to my ego. As a blogger, by definition, I love readers. More readers=more love. Already committed to voting for another blogger? That’s OK. Voting for me doesn’t affect your votes for anyone else. I vote when I visit other blogs.

*The folks over at Top Mommy Blogs have some secret, complex algorithm for averaging votes received. This means that my number of votes can actually fluctuate up and down, which means that my ranking can fluctuate up and down. Let’s say that on a particular day (today, for example) I ask my readers to please vote for me and I get a bunch of votes. But then the next day I don’t get any votes, my ranking may not change despite that one great day of so many votes. Frustrating, right?

So, how do those top 3 bloggers stay in the top 3? I have no idea. Somehow, they’ve committed their readers to voting daily. So here’s the deal: I will write the best posts I can and in return you’ll click on the TMB button each time you visit my site. Sounds fair, right? To vote you simply need to click on the button over there in my sidebar, or the one below. Your click counts as your vote, and you will be redirected to Top Mommy Blogs. Once at TMB you can look around and find other interesting blogs to read, or simply hit your back button and come right back here.

I started the year as #10, but have slipped to #12 over the last couple of days. My goal is to get into the top 5. Thanks for your help!!!

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