#nashbash success



Here it is: 

A few weekends ago, the first weekend of the kid's Spring Break, I headed to Nashville to celebrate my friend Julie's upcoming wedding. Since my friend set is oldER these days and we can afford to do more than just drink a bunch cheap bud light pitchers at crappy bars and run around town until our fake veils are dingy and crooked and full of cigarette burn holes, we tend to make weekends out of bachlorette parties. It has its perks - more time to spend solely focused and with precious friends in this crazy, hectic time of our lives. It has its downsides - multiple weekends away are a huge hit on my pocketbook (since I am oldER, I now carry pocketbooks) and my husband's sanity and, essentially, we do the same thing except maybe with craft beer, fancy bars and tiaras?  Oh, and, in this case, BOOTS. (You know, because of the Nashville!)

Because of some extenuating circumstances, a few of us were unable to leave until Saturday morning at the bright and early hour of 5 a.m.

Our day went as follows:

5:30 STARBUCKS. Coffee. Always start with Coffee.

5:45 FROZEN SOUNDTRACK. Please note the rising sun and the happy coffee flowing through our veins. (10 second video link: http://youtu.be/wBV10f-EdqE)

6:35 SALT and PEPPER. Duh. The sun is UP UP UP. Time for sunglasses and bad 90s rap. (8 second video link: http://youtu.be/E64j7b_xLlo)

Continuous Spotify of bad 90s music - heavy on the Paula Abdul and pretty much any song we could semi-remember the words to... As we got closer to Nashville, we started getting belting Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry with NO SHAME. None. And also to the tune of a breast pump.  Ya'll. I have not been to a girl's weekend or a bachlorette party in the last 5 years were there was not at least one breast pump involved. Ahhhhh mid - 30s, you are glorious! (Insert the weep weep weep - let down - WHUMP-WHUMP, WHUMP-WHUMP of your favorite pumping nightmare!)

12:00 Arrive in Nashville and BRING ON THE BLOODY MARYS. Noshville in Nashville is apparently famous for serving pickles at every table (like bread or chips and salsa at other establishments) and two bloody marys in, we found these pickles HIGHLY entertaining. I will spare you the photos but I laughed so hard I cried several times. (Apparently my sense of humor occasionally rivals that of a preteen boy. Moms gone wild and all that.)

2:00 BRING ON THE BOOT SHOPPING.  If you are in Nashville, you should totally go get boots. The outlet we visited was buy 2, get one free. It was also banoodles crowded. I don't do well with shopping crowds. Shopping, it's not my thing. So....

Since I already own the most perfect pair of cowboy boots of all time (purchased not in Nashville but at a real boot store the first year I moved to the "country" slash Arkansas), my friend Jenny and I scoured the tourist area for, uh, a case of Bud Light?!?  (Maybe forget all that I said above about fancy beer.)

3:30 BACK TO FANCY BEER. BRING ON THE BREWERIES. This part of the day could have gone one of two ways - a nap or continuing to run around town. Though the siren call of naptime was STRONG, I resisted! (ONE DAY IN NASHVILLE - had to pack in as much as possible!)

Please ignore how my butt cheeks perfectly fill in the space of the two OOs in room. OR HOW I HAVE SUNGLASSES ON IN ALL THE PHOTOS. Ahem. This brewery gets ALL MY LOVE. Great place.

This brewery had quotes stamped into their tables. My seat, appropriately, housed a quote from Tara Reid THE VOICE OF OUR GENERATION.


8:00 p.m. Pseudo disco nap over dinner at some place called Suzy Wong's House of Yum (For the record, my meal was decidedly un-yum. Maybe I am just not cool enough for a restaurant that advertises itself as 'a brothel of epicurean delights.' Also, it took our waiter approximately 4 hours to handle our party.)

10:00 p.m. Hit the HONKEY TONK. We went to a bar called Robert's. This place = all that is fun about Nashville. If you are there, you should go.

12:30 a.m. Try not to fall asleep AT THE BAR. 

1 a.m. Walk out the front door, bypass the hot dog cart line EVEN THOUGH YOU REALLY WANT ONE, grab a cab and return to your hotel. Purchase hot pockets from the night clerk but fall asleep before you can eat them because THE EFFORT IS JUST TOO MUCH!

8 a.m. Check out and drive home in pajama pants, chugging powerade and IN SILENCE.

The end. 




In Honor Of The Walking Dead Returning

So... sometime during the last season on the Walking Dead, I decided (zombies be damned!) I was going to watch with Karl, who is, to put it mildly, a fan. I totally got into it and jumped on the "classic" zombie support bandwagon - you know, the people who support the crazy, dumb, lumbering yet deadly zombies (as opposed to the quick moving, TERRIFYING zombies.... like in say World War Z, a movie I would never consider watching.)  (WHAT? After listening to horrifying zombie slaying sounds from the other room of my house for several Walking Dead seasons, I feel I have FULL AUTHORITY to be snobby about my zombies.)

ANYWAY, I totally got suckered by one of those stupid quiz things popping up in my facebook feed about Which Walking Dead Character you should be. Also, in case you wanted to know, the career I should have is A Writer, the city I should live in is NYC, my dialect quiz results were straight up Midwest and I am totally Donna from Parks and Rec (Treat yo self.). Hmmm... I may need to curb my little quiz problem, eh? Stupid Internet. Actually, no, I blame years of unhealthy YM magazine obsession circa, um, all of the early 90s? (Remember that "Say Anything" feature? THE BEST.)

ANYWAY, as usual, Karl and I were texting each other from various rooms in our house (that we were both in)....

Conversation as follows:

CAROL??!  Really? An abusive husband, a murderess and BANISHED from the camp of survivors by Rick. 

Anyone else excited for the Walking Dead to return? (For the record, I am NOT b/c the writers totally got me to like the stupid Governor and now everyone is dead.)

I think we need a new Sunday night show!!  What are you all watching? Downton Abby? Isn't everyone dead on that show now too?!?!


Moving :: 6 Months Later

People continue to ask if we are settled in  - to which I fervently reply NO! most of the time (and still, NO! six months later.) 

Por ejemplo....


Yep. He's been sitting on my night stand for....oh... three or four months (don't worry that kleenex is from last night and not six months ago!), giving me his pensive little smirk every evening and every morning.  

Or this fun couple who adorns Karl and my bedroom wall, hanging from a hook the previous owners left in the wall. 

These are the things that puzzle me months later and that I can't motivate myself to do anything about. All my stuff is here, all my people are here BUT WHERE DOES IT ALL GO?  It just (still!) doesn't feel like OUR house. Nothing (NOTHING) fits the right way on the wall and I still face the same inherent homeowning issues (Like the clothes still need to be laundered (and folded - always with the folding!) and the dishes still need to be cleaned.) We finally finished unpacking and purging (mostly purging - glad we paid for 6 additional months of a storage unit! ha!) so, thankfully, I now can safely say everything we own is in the house. So there is that.

Little Things that are Nice (We will start positive): All of my books are happy to be home. On a shelf. And not in a storage box. I have a pantry now so storing food in kitchen cabinets is no longer an issue. Our street has a lot of kids on it similar in age to my kids. This can only continue to be good as they grow, right? We are still loving walking Nate to school and looking forward to this for NK when she hits pre-k.  (And someday they might walk together. Alone. Without me. This is the goal. Cue big smile and half-sob.)

Some Things that are not AS NICE (Read: THIS HOUSE IS MAKING ME QUESTION MY SANITY!): The day we moved in the fridge went out and had to be repaired. We have three toilets. Since we moved in EVERY SINGLE ONE has had to be repaired (like completely rebuilt, all of them), the pipe our downstairs laundry machine is attached to makes the crazy shaking noise that you can hear (no FEEL) upstairs (didn't catch that in an inspection, eh?), we have a pet groundhog (and by pet I mean JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH GET THAT THING AWAY FROM MY HOUSE) that wanders around our front yard, we found a dead rat in our underground storage area upon returning from Christmas in STL (Nothing like a gagging dead rat smell to make you feel at home, eh?!), and, just last week, a giant tree fell on our back fence during the ice storm. GOOD TIMES, right?! There is more! (Sorry... I can't stop now - I have to get it out!)

Let me tell you about THE BUGS, THE BUGS, THE BUGS. I am going to perhaps sound slightly dramatic here but I can't handle bugs (Someday I will entertain you all with stories of how Little Rockians of certain city neighborhoods call roaches "waterbugs" like they are not just ROACHES ON CRACK.) We had our old house sprayed once a quarter and found maybe one dead bug ever. Ummmmm... let's just say I can not say the same thing at this house. Bring on the poison. I have had our bug guy (Hi Mike!) out no less than 6 times in the last six months. Apparently a once-a-month spray is necessary and it STILL doesn't curb the ant issue in one of the upstairs bathrooms (WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM?!?! IT IS FREEZING ANTS GO AWAY AND DIE.)

Also, (real first world problem here!) THE TRAFFIC!! Lord, the traffic! HA! Now all my St. Louis and city friends will laugh uproariously at this - if I wasn't so spoiled by the glorious lack of Little Rock traffic, I would make fun of myself. It somehow takes SO MUCH LONGER TO GET PLACES (Read: 15 minutes instead of 5 - ha!).  We technically moved closer to the city and downtown and less than 5 minutes away from our old house so it FEELS like it should take the same amount of time to get around town. Not. So. Much!  

There are other, smaller things like I HATE the color of Nora Kate's bedroom and the carpet in the playroom. These things seem surmountable when I think about them, but, on top of all the other, uh, learning curve issues of this house, it just seems like too much. Add all those things on top of moving in basically the week school started and through a busy fall and holiday season, and, well we haven't done much of anything and it's really starting to get to me.

(Also, our washing machine stopped working right before Christmas and is still not fixed - this appliance is something we owned prior to moving but STILL! Our home warranty company hates us and I hate the laundromat!)

I don't know if our expectations were just TOO HIGH and now the reality of owning this imperfect home (aren't they all?) continues to settle in. Bigger house, same/more problems. I just wanted this to be our Forever Home (well, maybe not forever but at least until the kids leave for college and excluding any move we might make.) and I'm just not feeling it. In my logical mind, I know the location, location, location was a lot of why we purchased this house but now the work that needs to be done feels like.... well... a lot. I constantly remind myself that it took us eight years to get our first house in order (and I still had lots of to-do lists there!) and to take my time and decorate slowly but surely. It will never truly be done, right? RIGHT?!

So, overall, with the New Year and heading into the January/February slip slide of emotions, I am vowing (RESOLUTING?!) to like this house. 


You can help me paint. 

Or hang pictures. 

Or knock out a bathroom. 

Or fold laundry. 

Or, just, you know, let me feed you and then you can hold me and tell me everything will be okay.


A Different Kind of Toast.

This one time, yesterday, I kept both of my children home from school. Nate was running a low fever the night before and, to be honest, I was too lazy to then get up and take Nora Kate to school. We lazed about in our pjs a bit. They have finally hit some magical play-together stride that allows me moments of peace in between the requests for help getting out toys, putting together toys, picking up toys, playing with toys aaaaaaannnd snacks.

Always with The Snacks. (Can someone please help me to just say no to constant snacks!?)  
Me: I am making toast. Who wants toast?
Nate: I don't waaannnttt toast. I want OATMEAL.
Me: I am making toast. T-O-A-S-T.
Me: Toast.

Commence with the making of toast for me and Nora Kate and oatmeal for Nate. Milk for all. We sit down that the table, I take one bite.

Nate: I want toast.
Me: Absolutely not.
Nate: With Jelly. 
NK: ::munches toast happily::

Commence argument about toast making. To which I eventually give in to (HELP ME!) because I don't want to lose my mind. (For the record, he made the toast on his own but the jelly spreading was just an obstacle that apparently could NOT be conquered alone.) 

Twenty minutes later:




Well Well Welcome 2014.

So, yep, the clock struck midnight as our whole household was asleep barely noticing. (In Karl and my defense, we did watch a movie and drink a bottle of champagne. Unfortunately, the movie ended at 11:30 and, apparently, those thirty minutes were JUST TOO MUCH.) 

We made a park day of January 1 - joking that NK was wearing her hangover outfit - T-shirt, messy hair and shades that she refused to remove for the day.

A vision in plaid. The smaller plaid = one of Nate's hand me downs.
 A little hipster, a little homeless, a lot ridiculous.

WHERE THE GOLD AT?!? (Wait, that's St. Patrick's Day.) 

You won't, per usual, find any resolutions from me. Though I am feeling the hope of a new year and the love of a new (ahem, perhaps several new) calendar and maybe I will get somethings done this year feeling so... maybe my increasing age = more concrete goal setting, um, at the beginning of the year. WAIT JUST A DAMN MINUTE... maybe I do believe in resolutions. It's insane to realize how quickly a month goes by and if I don't write some goals down, surely nothing will be accomplished.


Cheers 2014. Let's do this.


This Is What I Know About Snow


We're going on Day 4 of this ridiculous Snow Showdown (Storm Cleon??!!?) and, my friends, the weather is most definitely winning.  (WHAT even IS A FREEZING FOG?!?)

It's Sunday night and school is (for sure) cancelled for tomorrow, as it was Friday.

The last time I was not IN my house was Friday morning and that is only because we packed our bags and headed to the in-laws Thursday evening when the forecasts all called for Epic Ice Storm. (Visions of last years horrific week long Christmas present power outages were dancing in our heads; the in-laws have since purchased a generator. Our new neighbors warned us our street is a magnet for power outages and, despite having a wood burning fireplace and a couple of propane heaters, the call of electricity from a generator was too great.)

Per the usual Arkansan approach to snow, everybody did a little bit of panicking (ourselves included - see above). My company coordinates Little Rock's Holiday Parade that was to take place on Saturday; we cancelled it Wednesday. Karl's company work Christmas Party that was to take place on Friday night (complete with an overnight date night compliments of the inlaws!), also cancelled Wednesday.

Thankfully, the ice was not enough to down power lines (at least not in our area), but it was enough to cover the streets.  An inch, maybe? Definitely still grass peeking through in my front yard.  Mostly, all precipitation stopped Friday. And this, my friends, is where the apocalyptic type shutdowns begin, because, regretfully, the only thing Arkansas REALLY has to combat ice and snow is sun and warmth. Neither of which has yet to return.

We headed back home to our house Friday morning and, um, yep STILL HERE.  

Initially we were all YEA SNOW DAY! FUN! We let the kids play, we made hot chocolate, we remained IMMENSELY thankful to have a house (and one with power!) during the frigid temps.

Before she realized I was right about wanting coats and boots.
 We created a parade of snow people.  (See all that grass poking through? THIS shuts us DOWN!)
We hit the streets with the sled. (Because God knows NO cars would attempt to drive this street and definitely no snow plow!)
We let this kid play for hours and hours and hours. Literally hours. He definitely has some Yankee blood - the cold was his friend. NK... not so much. We spent more time getting her dressed than she spent in the snow. (Ice? It really can't be called snow.) Perhaps she will change her mind when she discovers how awesome sledding is.

Then, we got PRODUCTIVE.  I think I ran my dishwasher three times today. I cooked multiple meals. I cleaned out the fridge. I CAN'T EVEN DO A LOAD OF LAUNDRY BECAUSE I DID IT ALL. And put it all away. I almost ironed. (Gasp!)

Then, we gave in and watched like four hours straight of Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Yo ho mateys AWAY.

Then, right before dinner, school was officially cancelled for Monday.

And everyone sighed and dreamed of just last Wednesday, when it was 78 and we were at the park in shorts and t-shirts.

SIGH. MAKE IT COME BACK.  Or at least, you know, deliver our mail and open our schools!

Much love!


The Tears :: They're Made of PAPER. It's PAPER.

I had one elephant and one pirate (dressed in his daddy's pirate costume from loooong ago! He wanted to be a football player for approximately six months prior to Halloween and then, days before, decided pirates were way better - Gigi to the rescue!).

And my own (BRILLIANT) sad fan costume because, let's face it, I would have rather CANCELLED Halloween and watched the Cardinals win a Game 7 World Series on Halloween night instead of walking around with the kiddos, holding strung-together paper tears to my eyes and consuming copious amounts of Sour Patch kids and mulled wine! (Thank you, new neighbor, for the mulled wine. I could maybe get used to life on Waverly Drive if there is always mulled wine involved!) Though, I will admit, the candy and the friends and the wine were an excellent alternative to worshiping at the altar of Cardinals baseball. Fun was had by all.

Bring it on November.


The Bowl Cut :: We Heart It

A photo of his kindergarten photo. GLORIOUS. I think it really accentuates the bowlness of his hair.
After something of a total disaster of a Monday, I am taking a moment to record Nate's 1st Kindergarten Parent Teacher Conference.

It happened this morning and, I will admit it, I was a little nervous. Like not nervous like expecting HORRIFYING reports nervous, but still, just ready to sit down face to face with his teacher and talk. The students receive behavior reports every single day (Can I just say thank you to Nate's teacher for making his class have a nice, easy 1-4 behavior scale and not like the purple stick must stay in the blue square until noon and then it moves to the yellow or the red (STAY AWAY FROM THE RED!) for the afternoon.) And they receive grades every week so, really, we have some semblance of how he is doing already and know that he isn't having any major issues. But still - Kindergarten = little up front interaction with his teacher and SOMEHOW it's already late October, so I sort of feel like he's going to be done with Kindergarten before we even get to know his teacher.

Additionally, school has been a source of nervousness for me for several other reasons.

1. My big kid baby has a mid to late summer birthday (June 26th) so the whole summer birthday/borderline the school cutoff date of Aug 1/he would always be one of the youngest/also he's a boy and apparently boys of summer birthday have a tendency to not be ready more than girls of summer birthdays (maybe the whole sitting still thing?). We definitely thought he was ready for the challenge of school but maybe not socially quite there. (Not the making friends part because our little extrovert is SUPER good at that; just the sitting in class and paying attention and not distracting other children.)

2.  PLUS, we had the whole public school vs private school argument over and over (and over). Karl and I both were privately educated from K-college, so, for a long time, we both sort of assumed we would do the same with our kids. (Additionally, when we bought our first house we had NO foresight to look at school zones. We were zoned for one of the worst rated schools in the city. All our neighbors attempted to send their kids there and moved them to different schools.)

So, send them? Move into a different district? Or send them to private school? I know this is a deeply personal decision for every family and every child and we were very lucky to find a house we could afford in a district that we liked. We had Nate enrolled at our local Catholic school until mid-July, when we moved. (Full discretion: I grew up in the Catholic Church and Karl grew up in church as well - mostly episcopal; we don't have a church right now and don't plan on having one any time in the near future.)

His pre-k teachers assured us he was ready. In the end, we agreed, enrolled him in our neighborhood school and took big deep breathes into brown paper bags and sent him on his way. I'm not going to lie, kindergarten has been a serious adjustment for all parties. (An additional adjustment on top of moving - let's just say JAYSUS MARY AND JOSEPH!!) For the first month of school, he chewed a hole or four into the collar of every. single. shirt he owns. We tried not to comment on it and let the habit pass (all part of the transition) but it was super gross and super expensive. STOP EATING YOUR SHIRTS. (As a former disgusting hair chewer and current nail biter, I have no room to judge! Also, he appears to be finished with the habit these days. Lord only knows what is next.)

Additionally, Little Rock Kindergarteners? They get grades. Like A-B-C grades. They don't get naps. (Not that he would take one but not even a little quiet time??!?!) They have gym and art and music all in different classrooms with different teachers. They have an INTENSE dismissal process of craziness. There are so many things to volunteer for and donate to that I can't keep them straight.  Kindergarten, my friends, is hard core.

But, I have to say, so far,  he is doing great at Jeffers0n Elementary. (Jefferson is Home of the Patriots - can we get a little more red white and blue please!? My blond haired, blue eyed, fair skinned child already loves baseball, country music and the ice cream man more than life itself, so let's go ahead and make him a leeetle more American!)  

This guy = super nice. The Safety Clown = super terrifying.
A little rest after some intense run-ups/hotbox.

Here is the gist of his evaluation - I don't expect you to read the whole thing but basically it says he is awesome and right where he should be. He has made several new friends and our front yard, which is within walking distance of the school (can i please tell you how awesome walking is?), has become the after school "wrestling yard" where he and his friends can blow off a little pent up energy at the end of the day.

So, yea, so far so good!

Sidenote: OH, hi. Hello. Sorry my writing is rusty. Nora Kate turned two. Poor second child. Birthday post forthcoming. I promise we had cake.


The Unfunny Knock Knocking Jokes

I swear I will return to deep and meaningful blogging at some point.  (Maybe.)

Until then, I just wanted to share a phase that Natey has just entered :: The Unfunny Joke Phase.  Pretty sure it happens to all children at some point and, while it's still fresh, it's HIGHLY entertaining.

Here are several of his bedtime classics (No picture, just audio):


Ridiculous, I tell you!

(Also, how long should I expect this to go on?)


The Poltergeist Potty

I am going to preface this post by saying it is NOT (technically) about potty training.

 (Though I will say that NK, at 23 months, is showing some serious interest and I am doing some serious gentle encouraging. Down with diapers!)

(And, also, I realize I post an inordinate amount of posts about bathrooms and I'm semi-sorry.) 


Anyway, this post IS about this ridiculous pink princess potty that I bought for No. I also bought her several seats that fit on a real toilet (which is my preference; I sort of find the little stand alone seats revolting, but, you know, whatever works.) Anyway, this one is super fancy and was the only one available at Target. It is supposed to play celebratory music when you pee in it. It's all dot-dot-dot-DOOO!  YAY!!!

Somewhere along the way our pretty pink potty malfunctioned and now plays that the celebratory music at all hours of the day and night.  Now, the logical thing to do in this situation would be to remove the battery, right? But what, I ask you, is the fun in THAT? 

Brush your teeth? Do-do-dot-DOOO! YAY!!!

Showering? Do-do-dot-DOOO! YAY!!!

Walking down the hall? Do-do-dot-YAY!!!

2 a.m. alarm clock? Do-do-dot-YAY! 

(Ok, that 2 a.m. one isn't quite as funny.)