Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fred the Fish

Rounding the corner of the last half-mile, cursing a hill and reminding myself of the Pinterest runner that said something about putting one foot in front of the other, I paused to focus on my iPhone, the familiar scroll of a text crossing the screen:

Fred is dead.

For many, this could cause alarm to receive such news, particularly via text, but for me it was ok because it meant a beta fish lived nearly a whole year before taking his swim to heaven. And please don't judge me when I even go as far to share with you a fleeting thought of "one less pet - hooray!" went through my mind.

Did I just type that out loud?

Don't judge.

And please don't tell Ellie and Sully, who I love dearly and will weep considerably when they take their trots to dog and cat heaven. Though I imagine they'll have to teleport Sully up given his consistent weight gain and shocking resemblance to the "morbidly obese" shadow figure on the vet's poster...

I digress.

How ironic that little dude decides TODAY is the second day ever he is uber interested in feeding the damn thing. Watching him dump out the small plastic bottle and pinching the foul pellets into the top of the tank, I wrestled with sharing lessons on death and dying with a two-year old or just letting him believe the magic that was Fred's back float at the moment.

You can guess what I went with.

RIP Fred. May the waters where you're headed be cat-free and filled with other fins.

Fred the Fish - 9/13/2011 to 7/29/2012.

A Family of Three

You rock Melissa, for making us appear as the picture perfect family vs. the one that was sweating in the 92 degree heat at 8 a.m., doing wild booty dances to make our less than impressed 2 year old squeak out a grin, for the four trips back to the car half-mile away and for waiting it out during a Wheat Thin break. These images and many more hang on the walls of our home, reminding us of life's greatest gift - each other.

Thank you for capturing these moments in time.


Remember how jazzed I was to attend the Nordy's Anniversary Sale? So much so that I took a vaca day from the grind? Well, here are the results:
"Nordy Girl" leather pouch by Rebecca Minkoff

Mia 2 Clarisonic - Image by

Ok, so nothing earth shattering, but a girl's gotta eat (aka: I'm on a budget).

And both result in buttery soft (though only one leathery, hopefully!) outcomes.

And though outside the scope of things, these kicks arrive this week, simply because little dude keeps outgrowing his shoes:

Images courtesy of

Hope your trip to Nordys was just as fab!

Love - Nordy Girl

Friday, July 27, 2012


Any girl knows a man is worth keeping around that has this stored in the freezer for you after a week of limited sleep, layoffs, three-year-old turned teen, ill loved ones and marathon training:
Courtesy of
Thank you, dear husband. I'll never look at birthday cake the same again...

because I'll be drinking it from a lowball.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Invites Are Ordered

Source: via Megan on Pinterest

The banner will be hung:

Source: via Megan on Pinterest

Races will ensue, along with park playing, lakeside gazing, pinata breaking and of course, consumption of cake.

Thank yous will be given and written:

Source: via Megan on Pinterest

Source: via Megan on Pinterest

And little dude will be three.


Can't wait?! Can wait. Ah, the age old Peter Pan debate that plays out in Mom's hearts day after day.

So even though that's not solved, at least the party gear is ordered...

Training Days

Began yesterday, in more ways than one...

For starters, I announced to the Facebook world that I'm committed to running a half marathon in October. And everyone knows, once you put it on Facebook, the accountability ante is upped by tenfold. Perhaps that's part of why my insane psyche took over my hands and typed it into the little status update box. I mean, I've never even run a 5k let alone a 10k let alone...13.1 miles! I must really want that little pink bumper sticker. Or a reason to purchase these shoes, which I did:
Asics scored from Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Maybe it's the shoes' fault. Something along the lines of if you have something this flashy and obnoxious you better having something to own up to.

Regardless, my friend Megan was a huge inspiration, along with a smattering of friends on FB that make that whole motherhood, working in an office and hey, throw in a marathon or two thing look easy. Couple that with some significant life stressors that led me to just needing a new goal and come watch me potentially cross the finish line in early fall. And my friend Jennifer? Training with me weekly despite having a cast removed just two weeks ago. Total rockstar.

Yesterday I ran two miles.

Today: three.

And you know what? They were right. The high of crossing something off your bucket list married with the sensation your soul has left your body and your mind is numb due to pure physical (vs. mental) exertion is well, exhilarating.

We'll see what four feels like on Sunday. Yowzer. And it's only week one...

The second event I'm training for? Re-ferberizing - a parenting method I never really believed in until my child got closer to one and three nights were necessary and now, two sleepless months later at nearly three years old, a 40-minute conversation with a child psychologist who was doing the whole train the trainer thing. In other words: she was kindly and empathetically telling me to grow a pair.

Night one: nearly an hour of tantrums filled with every word and emotion you never want to hear your child experience. Fifteen minute check-ins that resulted in my peeling him off my neck, tears staining my blouse, which then resulted in me peeling off in my car, my own tears littering my steering wheel. Thank God for Usher, headphones, a pile of dirty dishes and a husband made of steal. The next morning was not just at trip to pre-school, but a guilt one, him saying "I was crying for you and you didn't come. Mommy, I wanted you - why didn't you help me?" Just keep the knife in there and keep twisting, why don't you?

Night two: a quick whine (5 seconds) at bedtime and passed out, promising to stay in bed until the clock hands hit the stickers and anticipating the long game of basketball he'd gain the next day from doing so.

Now why the hell didn't I do this two months ago?

Note I was not saying that last night. In fact I wasn't saying anything because my mouth and nose were stuffed with Kleenex and I was making that ugly cry face thingy.

Training days: one day at a time, all day, every day - to achieve a result you never thought possible and is good for the whole fam.

Surely it will all pay off, right?! And not in that creepy Denzel movie type way, but a really, really positive one.

Wish me luck! And lots of Epson salt, wine, patience, gratitude, persistence and commitment.

Cause girl (and Dan and Wyatt), I'm gonna need it.

6 a.m. update: apparently writing about sleep training in advance is a terrible idea - jinxed! Two to five a.m. was not. pleasant. Must.keep.trucking!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Family Photos, Round Two

For nearly 30 years, my Dad has dreamed of having his family in one city, one spot, to capture a moment in time of all the love and laughter that makes up our little circle. So for his big milestone birthday, the kids threw together their resources and had Melissa from Captures in Time Photography make his wish come true.

Check out the results of our indoor shoot by Aug. 5:

- Enter this link into your browser
- Click "access gallery" on the top menu bar
- Enter Choate2 in the code box
- Enjoy!

Union Station (our shoot was supposed to be outdoors but you know how our summer weather is going) and a few packs of Smarties saved the day!

Thanks again, Melissa, for truly capturing our moments in time with the most important people in our lives.

Six Years

Ryan Brown Photography

of: ....long walks in the park...sharing our dreams for the future...scrubbing toilets and landscaping...watching our child bring magic to every day...experiencing success and disappointment...laughing until our bellies hurt...picking each other up when we're nights...making hard decisions...embracing our family and friends...traveling the great US...working hard to be the best parents we can be...paying off debts...watching our weekly shows...courting our love of food...pursuing our individual passions and one another's...and accepting, loving and cherishing one another...

simply for who he and she is.

My heart. My soul mate. My best friend. My husband.

Happy anniversary, my love.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Until I Stood Back...

I didn't realize why little dude would deliver this book to me time and time again, advising me to store it away because he just didn't prefer it. After all, it was about Moms and sons celebrating an extra special day, right?:

Upon further inspection, it just looks like the Mommy dinosaur is drooling over her son, contemplating what condiments to lather him with before she eats him up.

Totally get it now, L, totally get it. That one's for the closet.

Wishing L a happy, fun second-ever sleepover at his Nana and Papa's tonight on our anniversary eve! May it be fun filled and most of all fear free!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Because I Have No Words...

Photo by Karen Walrond
I'll share Karen Walrond's during this tragic, unthinkable time.

All our hearts, hugs, strength, prayers and hope to you, Aurora and to all of you coping during this difficult time.

There are no words...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Yes, It's a Holiday...

And yes I'll be online at midnight so I can create my list and arrive, waiting and prepared, outside the doors by 9 a.m., even if that means I have to take a vacation day (besides popping in to host a quick webcast). My boss totally gets it. It is a national holiday, after all...weird it's not on our Outlook calendars...

Wait, what? Just a Megan holiday?

I'll take it.

Happy shopping!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oh Sh*t, III : The Pool Version

“That’s it buddy, go for the rings!” I cheered and clapped from the poolside, my neon toes dipped carelessly in the welcoming cool of the water. Hubs and little dude splashed inches away, a smiley-faced life jacket and actual grins lighting up their faces as the wee one jumped off the side over and over again.

It was our second outing to the chlorine-laden temple that weekend, serving as our go-to as temps continued to soar above 100 and staying inside had no longer become an option for our rambunctious preschooler. Nearing the dinner hour on Sunday it was packed with hoards of children reminding me that summer really meant sunscreen, goggles and giggles while their adults sipped Arnold Palmers nearby. I relished in the people watching (at times cursing the fact we chose a gym of all places to make our pool home – hello perfect bodies of women in their 40s and 50s) and delighted in my husband’s shrieks of joy as inches of water poured over him with our son’s every vault from the poolside. It was remarkable to watch his confidence grow after just a few swimming lessons, his dog paddling growing vigorous and strong as he reached the side, his listening for fish as he submerged his cheeks and the attempts to pull himself under and blow bubbles as he inhaled gobs of water, grinning the whole time. Overall, it was pretty magical, until…

The shriek of a whistle cuts across the ruckus of the pool patrons and a thin, teenaged lifeguard throws up his fist in a symbol I did not recognize from my safety training days. Children began screaming and adults pull them from the water, perching on the sidelines, some looking confused as other teens join the gaggle of lifeguards nearby. I begin to panic, the events of last week too fresh in my heart and mind to bear an incident even remotely happening nearby and I begin to gasp for breaths, embracing my own son tightly and removing him from the water as we attempt to sort out what’s going on underneath the umbrella fountain past the ropes.

Though my relief only invades briefly, I notice no one is running, jumping or diving in to assist and I begin to wrap my brain around what this evacuation could really mean. Lifeguards do a quick huddle, then divide and conquer on communicating to fellow waders the big news:

Someone sh*t in the pool.

Apparently, this is serious sh*t when someone sh*ts in the pool. I mean full on evacuation, take it to the inside, don’t look back type of situation.

I think I even heard several parents use words like “biohazard,” “shadoobie” and “poop” as the escapade was described. Even trying to sell it to our son was a sham as he stared at kids nearby, clutching their stomachs with laughter and groaning “ewwww!” as the Baby Ruth slowly made it’s way to the deep end. Coming up with an answer to his curious inquiry as to why the poop was swimming and can’t they just let the poop enjoy his day in the pool became too challenging, so we just told him it was closing up for the day because the lifeguards needed a rest.

I mean, surely they did after all that feces fetching anyway, right?

From then on all I remember is a long pole, a net and the fact these teens are learning a valuable lessons early in life:

Sometimes you gotta deal with sh*t.

Clapping ensued as the number two was rescued from the deep, dark depths of the four-foot section and life went on. Well, for all of us I guess. I’m not sure about the parents whose kid decided that moment and environment was the place to let loose, but I imagine they’re welcome back again? You know, right after the biohazard cleanup and the public mockery that their tiny child had the ability to force out hundreds of pool goers with one little turd.

Sh*t. Not just for dogs or Dads anymore, but pools too.

P.S.: While we’re on the inappropriate topic, I’m thrilled to announce little dude has mastered the art of number twos in the art of “potty learning”, many months after tackling number ones. We’re thinking of taking him somewhere to celebrate, but likely not a pool.

Nope – definitely not a pool…

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The New Go To...

When hormones strike:
Heads and Tails Oreos - Photo courtesy of

Couple that with the throwbacks of Sour Patch Kids and Cherry Sours and suddenly life is good again.

Who needs Midol when you've got these? Ok maybe my husband or def my waistline, but no one is asking them.


Happy emotionally eating to get through the week!

Sunday, July 8, 2012


In a quest to find "I'm a professional but still want to look chic and 32" ensems, I stumbled upon this little beauty at nearly 80% off:

Antonio Melani Loreen Dress in Coastal from Dillards
Comfortable, sassy and a little swingy, it's now mine for future showers and soirees that line the year ahead.

Don't ask me how I ended up in the party dress section vs. career...and then idled into shoes...handbags. You catch my drift. Don't judge! This was my attempt to avoid Mrs. Fields Cookies in my fatigue of finding only career wear that features the colors navy, black or charcoal.

But "coastal?" Way more fun. Way. My own little blue dress (LBD).

Now on to finding that appropriate outfit for Thursday and fall meetings...

Wanna go to Mrs. Fields?


“Soooo – one of my bucket list items for this staycation week was to hit a spin class - ya in?” I asked my sister-in-law tentatively, assessing if she’d want to take a break from what was supposed to be a relaxing getaway to deal with her lack-o-confidence sis that belonged to her husband.

“Yes– I’m in! When shall we go?”

Of course she was gung-ho and supportive as she is with all things, but this meant I had to buck up and really do it. With a triatholon chic nonetheless. This could end up being a terrible idea. But true to her non-judgmental, always teaching, always assisting nature, she and I suited up in gym attire and hit the 8:30 a.m. with my favorite New Yorker as the instructor.

Entering the darkened room I had no idea what to expect (did I mention I had to ask where the spin room was and I’ve belonged to the gym for a year?), but the loud pumping of club music, people self-focusing and pedaling away and Laura the instructor already cracking jokes, I immediately felt at ease. Several minutes later, the SIL gave me a plethora of helpful tips, assisted with my pedals and seat position, shared a few pearls of wisdom no one tells you, and we were off.

Unable to keep up with the rest of the class just minutes in, I was still comfortable (well, as comfortable as winded and numb hamstrings could be) and felt my confidence growing, striding along with the others, judgment free and enjoying the drops of sweat cascading down my back, a tension my legs hadn’t felt in years and the challenge of trying something new. Usher rang loudly over the speakers above as Laura barked out orders, keeping up with us and poking fun while still encouraging the class as only she can. An energetic rider next to us made it extra fun, his “woos!” and hand clapping and cycle dancing adding to the energy in the room. All levels of fitness pressed on, and suddenly, the hour was up.

What?! Really? I had only looked at the clock once before this wishing the hands would tick by a bit more quickly.

As I waited to regain my leg consciousness and hopped off while the other slowly cycled down, I vowed to make this part of my weekly trip to the gym and cursed myself for not trying it earlier. A few questions asked of Laura afterward and a big, sweaty hug to my SIL for being my right hand woman in putting myself out there, and I was hooked. This is one spin/cycle I could actually enjoy vs. that responsible for cleaning our clothes at home.

Now to find those cute Lululemon bike shorts…

Saturday, July 7, 2012

It's Not Our Silver Anniversary Coming Up...

but I'd still take these from the hubs:

Give him a hint, will ya?

Or a Clarisonic or a nice piece of gem work would do.

Wait, what? He's been taking the evenings of our Jack in the Box non-sleeper? I guess I owe him one actually. Maybe he'd like the TOMS but in pink, size 8...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Speaking of Interruptions...

Mr. Sandman has left the building.

In fact, I think he straight up ran, never to return, despite our best efforts that even involve bribery, trickery and straight up begging.

For more than three weeks now, our “read a few books, throw in a snuggle, lights out and he’ll sleep for 12-14 hours solid” kiddo has turned into something more of a soldier on night duty required to stand at attention every 45 minutes starting at 12:45 a.m. Though in this case our little soldier demonstrates more fear, anxiety and racing thoughts than an aura of protection…

Like clockwork, he now takes hours to put down, pulling out all the stops, his eyes dancing wildly as he brain shakes out the remaining thoughts of the day.  After heroic efforts (if I do say so myself), he wakes between 12:45 and 1:15 a.m., then consistently for about every 45 minutes as if he’s demonstrating an exorcism.

Needless to say it’s not good for his health, our marriage is being put to the test and our house? Might as well be condemned due to neglect. But my career? Thriving. Because really, why bother getting two hours of sleep in a row when you just have to interrupt it soon after. Might as well grab your laptop and get through your 250 emails of the day…

But this isn’t about me, it’s about him. It’s about returning him to the comfort that was once his world, showing him there can be peace found in the stillness of the night and that dreams can provide a vivid picture to what the universe can hold into the future. It’s about teaching him independence and trust in him, while also reminding him that no one will love, protect or be there for him more fiercely than his Mommy. It’s about teaching someone as little as two to understand fear and anxiety and helping them cope with limited skills and understanding. It’s about balancing that fine line of baby-toddler-preschooler consistently without tipping off the wire time and time again, only to start all over again. And it’s about loving unconditionally, while also trying desperately not to let your love get in the way of what’s best for your child. And I’m certain it’s about persistence, patients, grace and kindness, though we’re finding we have to dig deeper and deeper to explore that.

In other words: it’s complicated.

Seriously? I’m the gal all the other gals call or email at 2 a.m. for sleep tips. I have worksheets I dole out, Facebook messages I copy and paste and swear by Weissbluth’s secret, passing it along time and time again to Moms who hit this stage with their wee ones.

But mine? Not so wee anymore. Mama’s in a whole new ballgame. And I’m losing desperately.

I’m not going to lie: it’s incredibly lonely. And maddening. Sometimes I find myself nestled on the staircase of our home, torn between wanting to bawl my eyes out, punch a wall, crawl into bed with him or just get in the 4Runner and drive until I was lost in an abyss of quiet and solitude where no one at all needed anything from me and where slumber could find my eyelids. At social events I fight to keep a smile plastered on my face, terrified that if I share how tired and stressed I am over this small issue that I will be deemed a terrible mother and person. After all, I remind myself time and time again that this too shall pass and that I will mourn these days where he actually wanted to be in my arms at every waking hour. And that it’s not cancer, poverty or any of those things that are significant. And that when another child blesses our lives, this may be the case again (though I remember mostly waking every 2-3 hours?!) When the negativity settles in I pray it’s from fatigue and blame it on the theory that less than three hours of sleep a night for weeks at a time is truly a form of torture, which is why my spirit seems to be slipping so far from my soul…

And sometimes I think that’s what this is all about and something I knew I’d struggle with: I’m terrified of him growing up. After all, isn’t growing up quite a bit about stripping innocence, leaving the nest and having your heart hanging out to the world and its people in the most vulnerable of states? I can’t imagine what I want to protect him from more…

I know I’m no longer making sense. In fact, it’s a symptom of this wakefulness that has become so much a part of our daily (nightly?) routine. And I feel incredibly guilty sharing it with the universe because, after all, it really isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. This seems like more of one of those Johnson County/white wine/ get some perspective situations, but I gotta admit, it feels a bit more in some moments. (Hand me a violin?)

So, what do you think? Did your 2.5 year old go through this? How long did it last and what worked for your family? Because I think we’ve tried it all, yet days turn into nights that turn into days which have quickly led our family to function as if we’re auditioning for parts on “The Walking Dead.” And I don’t mean the hot guy with the 5 o’clock shadow that’s always saving the crew…

What’cha got peeps? How do we return our son to healthy sleep habits so he can be a happy child?

Calling on you, Mr. Sandman…

We Interrupt This Program...

to share this senseless piece of info:

I bought this sweater. Sure, I had no business doing so and it's 104 outside.

But totally worth it, right?!


Me: "So, buddy, what are you thankful for today?"

L: "That Uncle Ryan and Auntie Erica came to my house because I love them and for my two NEW pools and my slip n' slide."

Me: "And for America's birthday?"

L: "Yah. Sure. For 'merica. And its fireworks."


L, in an accusing tone: "MOM-MY - we forgot to get cupcakes for "Merica's birthday!"

Hope your Fourth was that good and that your heart is full of gratitude for all that you love and for what this amazing country was and is. So much so that it deserves cupcakes...

Breaking It Down

Literally – that was the best part of the movie. Or maybe the only worthwhile piece: when Channing goes all “America’s Best Dance Crew/Usher” on stage with his Eminenemesque gear. Though there was the buttery deliciousness that was the theater popcorn…

Magic Mike. Kind of like “Fifty Shades of Gray” for the big screen (before it actually hits the big screen) in that all the ladies are talking about it, so you gotta indulge. You know, like gel manicures, iKat cardigans and chevron, monogrammed iPhone covers in that you invest understanding it’s likely not worth the dough or highly functional, but it’s fashionable, so you’re in. And with the sis-in-law in town? There simply was no excuse not to go.

So we did. At 10:50 a.m. like the two very classy ladies we are.

Sure there six packs, business lessons on entrepreneurship and valuable example-setting on what striperdom and drugs do to your soul, but I felt that I likely learned of those lessons when “Coyote Ugly” made it’s debut.  And holding out for the potential romantic comedy piece that’s featured for 2.5 seconds on a preview? Count on it lasting exactly that long. Couple that with awkward silences, trips to Cirillas and the scenery that is Tampa, FL and you have “Magic Mike.”

It wasn’t a complete waste though. As mentioned above I had the luxury of downing buttery popcorn for breakfast and two hours with a gal I adore. Plus it gave us the chance to test our boundaries of comfort when it’s all sex all the time and you’re left pondering what piece of the plot to digest with your sister-in-law, who likely neither of you desire to hear of that portion of the others’ lives. And I am on vacation, which totally warrants losing a few brain cells if you ask me…

In summary: go see “Magic Mike” if you want to see Channing break it down.

Either that or just go Redbox “Step It Up” and call it even.