I’ve always been interested in the #100DayProject that happens on IG every year (or maybe some people do it whenever and wherever they want?). Either way, I have never felt like I’ve been creative enough or, more likely, motivated enough to do something like this project for 100 consecutive days. Consistency isn’t my strong suit. 

This year I have several friends participating (thanks for the inspiration @lindseybong!) and have been mulling over my own project ideas. At the start of 2020 one of my goals was to maintain a more consistent journal practice. I’ve actually been pretty successful (shocking myself!) and it’s even more interesting to title my journal pages dramatic (but accurate) things like QUARANTINE DAY 28. When I look back in twenty years, I’m sure I will remember what a calm and soothing presence I was during this time. HA. 

I thought about sharing some of my writing as my project but ultimately decided to take it a step further and aim for some photo journalism to record this time period in my family’s life. I will be posting one photo a day in my feed for 100 days. Right now, my goal is to shoot them in the same spot in our office/classroom setup and keep them very AS IS (messy hair, jam jams, tears, etc.). I reserve the right to change that at any time during the project but that’s where we are going to start! 

In true quarantine fashion, the project started YESTERDAY and I am starting TODAY but that’s par for the course and we’re going for it. I will tag another photo on the end or something if I  make it all 100 days! 

Anyone else participating? Leave me a comment if so and I will follow along. I will give and take all the support out there during this strange time! 

#the100DayProject #Day1 #QuarantineDiaries #QuarantineDay28 #StoryWillSaveUs


Bring Back the Popcorn Balls!

Writer's Note: I wrote this article for LR Family for the October issue. Due to some miscommunication, it was not published there but I am posting it here because I love it with all its ridiculousness. I hope you enjoy it as well AND I will have an article in the November issue so - local friends - keep your eyes peeled for that!

Bring Back the Popcorn Balls!

There’s no doubt that Halloween is a bit more hopped up than it used to be. Mostly, as a Pinterest Parent (admittedly a hardcore fail of a Pinterest Parent) to small people, I find myself getting sucked further and further into the Halloween hoopla every year. In my neighborhood, Halloween tends to be a big party - we block off our street, our neighbors are out and about, and, one year, we even had a food truck and Halloween parade BEFORE officially trick or treating. I won’t discuss the hours of balloon tying I did that year - the children clearly needed a balloon arch at the start of their parade!

Tiger Kitty and Friend under the infamous Halloween balloon arch.

We’ve come a long way from my own childhood when a slim selection of costumes purchased at the grocery or convenience store sufficed. You know the ones - a plastic smock that tied in the back, eerily circular cutout eye-holes that you couldn’t really see out, a suffocatingly tiny slit for breathing and those flimsy rubber bands to secure it around your head.

Occasionally, we had homemade costumes as well though they generally went one of three ways - a sheet-ghost, a hobo or a gypsy, which, let’s face it, was basically the more girly version of the hobo. If you wanted to get crazy, you could craft your own but parental involvement was scarce if you went this route. One year, I vividly remember painstakingly pressing masking tape onto a black t-shirt in order to create a spider web effect. How happy must my mom have been? Here’s some tape & a t-shirt. Viola! Costume! Her hardest job was eating my popcorn balls and scouring my candy for non-existent razorblades and the oh-so-dangerous-your-stomach-will-explode Pop Rocks!

I am the tin foil crowned gypsy on the end.

Masking Tape Spider Web Costumes are all the rage.

Now, if my kids need a costume, we have entire stores dedicated to Halloween apparel. My oldest child, who is 8, has never had much of an affinity for creative costuming. He is happy to keep it simple - a pirate, a soccer player, the ever-popular Harry Potter. My five year old daughter has more unusual requests ranging from a Rainbow Kitten to a Tiger Kitty to a Dancing Unicorn. In my heart, I’m hoping for a zombie version of one of her costume requests soon. We have a new baby in the house this year - perhaps a 3-month old Vampire? Clown? Tiny ax-murderer? Suggestions for my trio or terror welcome.

Overall, I try hard to keep hopped-up Halloween somewhere in the middle of then and now - a mixture of store bought costumes with homemade elements. I let them candy overload but try to reign in it in before a full on sugar coma. As they get older, I try to let them roam the neighborhood a little more freely and party with the neighbor kids until they crash. As my kids age, I’m sure I will be reevaluating the whole Halloween situation - Halloween with pre-teens and teenagers? Now THAT, my friends, is scary.


Neeky Teeks Has a Birth Story.

It's coming soon!


And then I cried.

Wednesday started off a little rough. 

It went a little something like this:

5 a.m. Child climbs over me to get in my bed.

5:30 a.m. Same child makes a few OH I KNOW THOSE gagging noise, I throw said child back over me - none too gently - and rush to bathroom for minor vomit incident.

5:45 a.m. Scrub the teensy bit of minor vom from the floor on hands and knees. Sanatize some things. Start laundry.

6:30 a.m. Text boss explaining situation. (For the record, Karl and I generally try to trade off sick days; it was my turn.)

7:00 a.m. Prepare other people to leave the house. Tamp down jealousy. Feel slightly better when I realize I can stay in my pj pants. 

9:00 a.m. Open work email, confirm scheduled communication and social media posts for a client. Continue checking and responding to email.

9:15 a.m. Continue working WHILST STILL REMAINING WITHIN ARMS REACH. Because Nate.

9:30 a.m. Email and links go out.

9:31 a.m. ALL CAPS EMAIL FROM CLIENT VERY ANGRY ABOUT TYPO IN FACEBOOK POST. Insert scathing words here. (For the total record, the spelling error was in the copy of the text pulled into a facebook post by a link so I didn't actually write it, but, regardless, the client was right. I should have checked it.)

9:32 a.m. Unexpected tears pop out of my experienced, old lady eyeballs. Unanswerable questions begin from 7 year old. (Q: What's wrong? Why are you crying? Is someone hurt?) (A: Mommy's upset because she made a mistake for her job and needs to fix it.) (Silent A: AND THIS GUY - who signed his email with just his initial - is not being very nice about it.)

So, like I said, a little rough. It's not like I have never cried about a client or a job before, but it's been a long time and this was something very minor and fixable. I think it caught me off guard on a morning where everything was out of routine and not the normal Order of Wednesday Mornings. I'm not immune to leaky eyeballs. I'm also not asking for sympathy; in fact, please don't - I'm over it.  The client may have been having a really shitty Wednesday morning himself.

I guess, as we approach the weekend and get ready to go out to eat or go to work or play with our friends and family, I'm just hoping to approach it with more of a Be Kind kind of attitude. So, all in all, a good reminder for me : LIVE A NON CAPS LOCK KIND OF LIFE. 

Link to Photo


Put This (Shit) on Pinterest!

So sometimes I feel like I am still trying to hit my stride with this whole parenting gig. I show up for things like PTA meetings/functions and I think, Nah this isn't me. I shouldn’t be here. I don't fit. (Like where should I be? The club? The bar? The gym?)  Some things that seem to come naturally to other parents don't always feel as natural to me. Or I feel too young or too underdressed or too... (insert your insecurity here!).

But sometimes (sometimes!) I feel like maybe I get it right.

Nate's 2nd grade class has a Surprise Reader that comes in every Thursday morning. Parents or family members sign up for a spot and the stage (or the rainbow mat – whatever) is yours to talk or read about anything. His sweet teacher emailed me a few suggestions – ranging from a science experiment (yea, that's a no for me) to making paper airplanes (props? We can bring props? Yes please.) to reading a favorite book.

I wanted to share something both Nate and I love. He has a few books we read over and over and over. One of those is "Ted Williams :: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived" (A baseball book!? GASP.) There aren't many kids in his class that play baseball or softball so I wasn't sure how the book would go over, but, well, 2nd graders are pretty rad and they were totally into it.

Oh hey, Ted! If you ever want to be bum rushed by 23 adorable 7 & 8 year olds, just read the sentence in this book that says "And he swung and swung until his hands would bleed." And then, when one of the most adorable girls in the 2nd grade asks sweetly "Is there blood in the picture?" and you squint real close, because, yes, yes the illustrator did actually put a few spots of blood on Ted's bat in the picture, prepare yourself for 23 "LET ME SEEEEEEEEEs" coming at you!


I also brought some super old baseball cards. (Most married people have to combine, like, their CD collections. Karl and I had to combine our old baseball cards. I mean, what do people even combine now? Their iTunes accounts!?) Anyway, the kids had a blast looking through the cards and picking out their favorite 80s mustaches.

I regaled them with horrible old lady stories about walking to the neighborhood drugstore (And then thought - crap can I say drugstore!? HA.) to buy a pack of baseball cards for 25 cents mostly so I could get the stick of sweet cardboard-like gum. Raise your hand if you remember this sweet waxy packing and the gum sticks! (Also this is an old photo from the internet, I only WISH I still had some of that gum in the original packaging. Imagine the rock-hardness.)

Then we made our own baseball cards. Well, Nate and a few others made theirs baseball related.  There was also a nice variety of soccer, gymnastics, dance, basketball, cheer and one horseback rider. I'm sure I am breaking some copyright law here with the Topps logo but there were a bunch of blank baseball card templates on The Internets so I'm going with LEGAL. 

All in all, pretty adorable, right?


Sweeps Month is Here. Let's All Cancel Cable and Blog Again.

At this point, I don't know exactly where to start. Blogging obviously is not high on my priority list and, like one of my old bosses said way back in 2005 when I tried to convince him to start a blog and use social media for a client, the trend is on it's way out, right? (HA. I'd love to hear his current opinion on the state of social media.)  For me, there are so many other avenues to connect with people online, this one just sort of fell to the wayside.

Problems with this:

Our family archives are a little more blank than they used to be. Events aren't reflected the same. My brain is getting more spotty, not less, so writing things down is becoming increasingly important. (See also: My planner looks crazy, the to-do lists are long, and second grade is hard.)

My writing is RUSTY at best. (That's the first time I've used CAPS FOR EMPHASIS in, like, forever.)

It's still one of my great loves – to blog, to write it down, to connect with people when they read it.

Advantages to this:

I have more time to focus on the life in front of me and hanging out with those two small people I birthed many moons ago.

I have more energy to focus on some things that needed focusing on in the last little bit of my life – namely, myself and my people.

But like every season of change (Come on FALL!), I feel myself feeling antsy for a change and unclear where to start. So I thought I would come back here – to this space that made me happy for so long – and see what might happen.

Hope you will join me. (Subscribe here.)


#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: