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Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

I remember Valentine's Day back in elementary school. Like around 3rd grade. Decorating shoe boxes with paper doilies and glitter. Staring at the boxes of cards at the store, trying to decide between Snoopy and Garfield. And those little windowed boxes of chalky conversation hearts! Those were the good old days.    

If you are a girl person, you probably remember reserving the very best, most special Valentine for a particular kid in your class:

You simultaneously hoped and feared he'd notice

And after the exchange, you analyzed the ones you received from everyone.

Some of them were surprising:


While some of them were dissappointing:


(Danny clearly didn't like me if he gave me such a generic card.)

Either way, you gingerly tucked them back in the box and kept them in your closet for twenty-five years. (No, I don't really have them still. But I did hang onto them for a year or so. Which is basically twenty-five years when you are seven.) 


If you are a boy person, you probably remember getting some candy:

And well, that is about it. Although your mom might remember picking out which Valentine goes to which kid. (Dear Danny's mom - Why did you give me the "You are super" card? Was I not a suitable match for your son? I am still deeply offended. Unless he is in prison now or something. In which case, thanks for helping me dodge that bullet.)

But all of that was eons ago. Back to the present...


Crappy Boy has a few friends who are girls. One of them in particular is really fond of him. 

Her reaction to him is like this:

And I'm only exaggerating a little. I drew 13 red hearts floating up to the sky from her head while last time I saw her I only actually counted 10. Close enough. She loves him. 

So the other day, I asked him what he thought of her. And this is what he said:

And that is all you really need, isn't it?

Oh yeah, context would be helpful here, right? They both love poop jokes. They like to insert "poopy" in front of just about any word and then giggle endlessly about it. They even dance around and sing silly songs about poop.

Which means they are pretty much identical to Crappy Papa and me.

Having someone you can have fun with? Yep. Pretty much all you need. 

(Happy Valentine's Day, Crappy Papa. If you give me a "You Are Super" card tonight I will put my sad face on. Unless it is accompanied by irony and a box of chocolates. Then I'll know you really like me.) 



Non-Crappy Giveaway - Parents Need to Eat Too

I have a friend, Debbie. Debbie wrote a book:

Her book is called Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals, and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents. It comes out in two weeks (I have a copy already because I'm special) but you can pre-order it so you don't forget and then starve. 

The real thing looks like this:

So Debbie had this idea to write a book that will help parents not eat like crap. Sure, there are shelves of books about making baby food and feeding kids. But what about feeding yourself? I know I'm not the only one that sucks at feeding myself since having kids.

Now this is the part of the post where I should really be telling you about her recipes, like broccoli & cheddar pinwheels and cheater's chana masala. But I'm not going to. They are all good, they are all yummy. Her cookbook is filled with great stuff. But just saying this would be boring. I'm going to talk about something else. Something specific. Something personal. 

Her chocolate chip cookie recipe. You can judge a cookbook by its cookie. 

The cookies of which I speak are in the last chapter. They are also on her blog, called The Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Entire World. A title which automatically made me skeptical and prepared to hate them. I'm weird like that. 

So I made them. 

That is the cookie. It has a crown so you can see how awesome and powerful it is. 

I gave one to Crappy Boy:

This kid eats a lot of cookies. For him to say that is a huge endorsement. 

But her cookbook is for parents, not for kids. So it doesn't matter what he says. He'd probably praise white sugar on a spoon. What does he know? 

So back to the parents...

The kids are asleep. Crappy Papa grabs the whole tray of cookies and starts walking into the family room with it.

I stop him: 

I tell him he can't eat the whole tray. 

He doesn't like this. He actually whines a little. He isn't making fun of the kids. This is sincere whining from a grown man.  

We're bringing the cookies the next day to a friend's house, I remind him. I'm not just being a mean wife who doesn't let her husband have her cookies. 

But he begs me. Suggests I make more. I explain that we don't have any more chocolate chips. So he offers to run to the store. I consider this for a moment, but making cookies in the middle of the night could wake up the kids! It isn't worth the risk. If those kids wake up and catch me secretly making cookies they will have scars for life! They also will never go to bed again. I have to be a big meanie and tell him that no, he really, truly can't eat the entire tray of cookies.

So I make fun of him.

And he makes fun of me. 

In the end, we compromised by counting the number of people that would be there the next day, separating out one cookie per person and he got the rest. Which was still around six or seven cookies. Which was entirely too few. (I'll make more soon, I promise!)  

So yeah. These cookies are GOOD. 

But I don't want you to think that Debbie is telling parents to eat chocolate chip cookies. 

No, those are special treats only. 

And now, here is a special treat for you...



Debbie is giving away a copy of her book, PARENTS NEED TO EAT TOO, to one lucky winner!

How to Enter:

Comment on this post! One comment per person. Comments will close Monday, February 13th at 7PM PST & winner will be picked via random # generator, emailed and then announced here at the bottom of this post.   

Comments are now closed, thanks everyone!

Congrats to...  


Rebecca: Wait, I don't have to eat my baby's leftovers? I need this book!!



housekeeping (announcements, updates, blah, blah, blah)

This post is not about cleaning. I called it "housekeeping" but it really should be called "blogkeeping" but that isn't a real word and nobody would know what I'm talking about. 

Sometimes I have announcements or updates I want to write about but it isn't a proper post and don't want to confuse people. So when this happens, I will use this picture:

And then you'll know I'm not writing a real post. Just taking care of business.

This is the business:

  1. Voting
  2. Sponsors
  3. There isn't a third one. 


Voting. Several people have asked me how they can vote in the Bloggies. Thank you! If you want to vote but couldn't figure it out, read below.

If you've already voted (thanks!) or don't want to (that is okay!) then just skip this section because it will only annoy you and waste your time. 

(I am so thankful and in awe over stuff like this and the sheer amount of people that keep reading this blog. Seriously. Okay, this is the end of the mushy part of this post.) 

Go to the site and you'll see this:

If you see that then you are on the right page. If you see kittens in a basket you are on the wrong page.

Try again. Go HERE

Then you will need to scroll down, down, down, down to just past the middle of the page until you see the Best Parenting or Family Weblog category. I'm in it! As are four other really super awesome websites that you totally shouldn't vote for. 

There is a button in the lower right hand corner of the square image. Click it. 

It will make a little check mark in the button. I don't have an image of this part. I'm so very sorry. 

Then you scroll down, down, down, down until you get to the very bottom of the page. And it looks like this:

You have to type in the words. Yours will be different! Tricky! And then you have to enter in a real email address that you can access. Then you have to press the Submit Your Nominations button. 

Then later (I guess sometimes it takes a bit) you will get an email with a link in it that you have to click to prove that you are a human and not a robot. And then you have voted! Thank you so much! 

Oh, you can vote in all the other categories too. If you have, like, tons of free time and stuff. 

This is the link to vote





I will have blog sponsors soon. They will only be hand-picked, cool sponsors that aren't crappy.

This is how I see this working:




Me + them + you = a happy little 3-way. Except that I get paid for it. So that makes me a hooker? I'm okay with this.

Anyway, I promise I won't start showing you ads for cigarettes targeted at moms or anything. Not even for a million dollars. (I'll do it for 4 million though, email me. Kidding! I'm kidding. No, I'm not.)

On weekends I may even host a giveaway, but those will only be available for sponsors. And they will include crappy drawn pictures and probably even stories. So they'll kinda be like my normal posts except you can win stuff at the end. And my sponsors are going to be groovy so their stuff will be radical. I've never, ever posted on weekends before so this will be like a bonus thingy I do. Will still post twice a week. So you can turn that frown upside down.

In fact, I'm hosting a giveaway this weekend! So you can see how much you love it. Or hate it. Hopefully love it. I mean, come on, didn't you see the rainbow, butterflies and unicorn in that picture above? This could be so beautiful! 

Oh & if you are interested in sponsorship and all the shiny happy stuff that comes with it, you can email me. (Parenting/kids/baby related stuff only please.)

End of business. Housekeeping complete.

Looks so clean and sparkly in here! (Please, nobody let my kids in here. Especially if they are eating crackers or wielding markers. Which is 90% of the time.) 





parents are rock stars

The other night I heard something about the 2012 Grammys coming up. That isn't important information. But it did give me the idea for this post...


I am a parent, so I'm living the life of a rock star. If you are a parent you are probably just like a rock star too.

What do rock stars do? They play music and/or sing while their fans listen. Me too!

I perform updated versions of classics and involve my audience. I never rely on auto-tune. And I can improvise lyrics by rhyming "poop" with "scoop" on the fly.  

Rock stars have groupies who follow them everywhere. I do too!

And mine are really loyal and dedicated.

Some rock stars take drugs. I take drugs too!

Rock stars stay up late. Me too! 

I generally do hardcore things like internet window shop for shoes I'll never buy. Sometimes I'll even put them in my shopping cart before closing the browser. I live dangerously.

Many rock stars treat their bodies like shit. I do this too!

Then I make up for it by eating their weight in ice cream after they go to bed. Overindulgence. Just like a rock star would do it. 

But the best part is that rock stars feel fortunate and fulfilled. They are happy doing what they do.


Me too.

Yep. Parents are just uncelebrated  rock stars. 

Now someone please hand me a few million dollars and a Grammy. I'll wait. 


Well, this blog DID get nominated for a 2012 Bloggie. And it has been compared to the blog equivalent of getting an Oscar or a Grammy. Holy crap! Except nobody gets a trophy. Or those goody bags with computers and diamonds in them. And it isn't on TV. And I'm not even eligible for the $20.12 grand prize. However, I am relieved that nobody dresses up and walks on a red carpet for this. That part would make me throw up because I've lost the ability to wear heels and walk at the same time. 

I'm in the parenting category, scroll down just past the middle of the page and you'll see that I'm not delusional. Plus, you can VOTE!

Also? It is easy to vote. You don't even have to leave a urine sample this time.  



shopping at Target®

We go to Target® sometimes.   

I have a friend who goes there all the time. Her son thought up a dragon toy that had wheels for feet and breathed ice cream instead of fire. He said you could ride it like a bike. He also said he wanted one for his birthday. When his mom explained that it didn't really exist he suggested she look for one at Target®. (They probably do have this. If not, their merchandising team has make a mistake because this thing sounds wicked cool.)

 Anyway, this is what happens when I go there...

First of all, my local store has these monstrous kid carts. My kids LOVE these carts because they both fit. These things are huge. It is a regular cart with an additional two-seater thing bolted on. I think it makes the cart like 34 feet long. I feel so ridiculous trying to maneuver around the aisles that I wind up laughing almost the entire time we are there. (Well played, Target®.) 

So anyway, we arrive and I announce that we just need one little thing. This is to both let the kids know we won't be there long and also as a reminder to myself. 

But as we walk through the doors, something happens:

That is not a bulls-eye. That is a hypnotic-eye.

Because moments later:

I'm walking back to the car with an overflowing cart.

I have no idea what just happened.

And I'm pretty sure I forgot to buy the one thing I went in there for.



No, Target® didn't pay me to write this. So now they owe me. Make that ice cream breathing dragon thing happen and we'll call it even. Actually don't, that sounds super messy and I don't want it in my house. 

Also, supporting mom & pop businesses and buying local and buying used is really super awesome and highly superior to shopping at big box stores. We know. But that hypnotic red eye beckons and I cannot break the spell.

Plus, buying toothbrushes used is super gross. Which is what I was going in there for. And I haven't found a local toothbrush crafter and if I did I probably couldn't afford it. And the natural hair ones at Whole Foods smell like ass. Something about scrubbing my teeth with animal hair squicks me out.

Forget it. I'll just stop brushing my teeth. It will save water. Sigh. Eco-guilt.



going out to eat, before & after kids

I've written about eating in a restaurant with kids. But this is different. This is about when it is just us two. 

This is what going out to eat was like, before kids:

We didn't do this very often, but every once in a while we'd go crazy and splurge. 

And this is what going out to eat is like now, after having kids:

If the kids fall asleep in the car, we'll buy fast food, eat it and dispose of the evidence before they wake up.

We don't do this very often, but sometimes we go crazy and splurge.




Anyone else never eat fast food before they had kids but now find themselves doing it because of sleeping kids in the car?

Still waiting for an organic, healthy drive-thru place to open near me. Organic salads and smoothies with a drive-thru window? How hard can this be? I know these exist in exotic far away lands, like Florida and Oregon. But it would take me a few days to drive there and I'm pretty sure the kids would be awake by the time we arrived.

So I'll wait. And keep eating fries without guilt. 


parenting smart kids

Crappy Papa and I often joke about how hard it is parenting smart kids. 

And we don't want to sound like those parents who say, "Oh goodness, my child is such a unique snowflake genius he will need to be in a special gifted program designed just for him." Because those parents are annoying.

But still, our kids? Smart.

Here is a conversation I overheard between Crappy Boy & Crappy Papa. 

Crappy Boy was getting dressed but his pants were inside out. He asked for help with the pants.

So Crappy Papa shows him how to turn the pants right-side out...






That moment when you realize you underestimated your kid and he is several steps ahead of you?

Yep. All the time.  



I did these things as a kid (but my kids won't)

I think about my own childhood now that I'm a parent. Often. Of course I do, it is my primary frame of reference in all things childhoody. 

There are things I did that my kids will never do.  

I could talk about how they will never dial a rotary phone. Or that they won't be enjoying candy cigarettes - remember those paper wrapped gum ones with powdered sugar inside that looked like smoke? So cool. Or how caller ID will prevent them from learning the art of prank calling.

But all of that stuff just makes me feel old. Plus, this type of comparison would be way more interesting coming from my grandparents who walked 50 miles barefoot uphill both ways in the snow and all that. 

Still. Times have changed.

(The following pictures are of me as a kid. I have braids!)

#1 No Seat belts

I do not remember sitting in the car. But I do remember laying across the backseat, laying across the floor of the backseat, standing in the backseat, jumping in the backseat and possibly attempting headstands in the backseat while my mother told me to sit down. 

Until 1984. Then those "Buckle Up, It's the Law!" signs went up and parents everywhere could point at them and say, "If you don't, you'll go to jail" which must have been awesome for them.

My kids? Nope, not going to be jumping around back there.   


#2 No Helmets

My aunt (who is only six years older than me) used to pull me in my Radio Flyer® wagon by tying a rope to her bike. On country roads. Down hills. No helmets. 

But the wagon would go too fast:

And she'd yell "put the brakes on!" which actually meant "PANIC!" because there weren't any brakes. We stopped ourselves by turning into the ditch and wiping out. It was fun.  

My kids? They wear helmets at the dinner table. You know, just in case they fall off their chairs.  


#3 No Childproofing

Hazardous cleaning products were left out in the open but those Mr. Yuk stickers were slapped on them so it was okay. Childproofing also involved putting chairs in front of things.  

My kids? Anything even slightly yucky is stored way up high, protected by lasers and titanium padlocks at an undisclosed satellite location.


#4 Flying Attempts 

I had a swing set. It was metal and green and yellow and happy. My favorite thing to do was to swing as high as I possibly could, higher than the top bar. I also liked to jump off, mid-swing. I usually landed on my feet, but not always. Sprained both wrists once.  

My kids? No. They will not jump off a swing set. Not when I'm watching. I will always be watching.  


#5 Playground Equipment

Remember seesaws or teeter-totters? I haven't seen on old-fashioned one in years. This is probably why:

A certain boy asked me to seesaw with him. I was thrilled! He must like me!

Oh. I guess not. 

In second grade a girl got her top teeth knocked out from that little trick. It was bloody. Those things were brutal. 

My kids? At least around here, seesaws are smaller and have hydraulics or something so they won't slam any butts on the ground. Which is a relief. Nothing good came of those teeth knocker outers. But playgrounds still aren't perfect. Though they probably aren't as much fun either, especially since they realized the giant metal robot was a bad idea.


#6 Sledding 

We went sledding often. If you do something often enough you get bored. So then you create ways to make it exciting again. So we invented demolition derby sledding. If you got knocked off your sled you were out. We were crashing into each other on purpose. We also built ramps out of snow to launch us flying through the air. So much fun. So many bruises.

My kids? First of all, we don't have snow here. Second of all, thank goodness we don't have snow here. But if we did? No demolition sledding allowed. And they'd have to wear helmets. And not go very fast. Or ever stand up. On second thought, no sledding.


#7 Freedom 


But perhaps the most striking contrast is the freedom I remember having. I'd eat breakfast and then leave. 

I'd wander around. Aimlessly. Sometimes with neighborhood kids and sometimes alone. I'd cross our creek with homemade bridges:

And catch turtles without ever hearing of the word Salmonella.

I'd put roller skates on and skate down sidewalks:

And stop myself by crashing into a bush, just before the street.

I never stopped to eat lunch. Because I remember being out all day long:

Only to be called in for dinner when it was getting dark.

My kids? Yeah, right. At least not until they are older. Like thirty.  


How does your childhood compare? Are there things you did that your kids won't?



This is not a disclaimer. This is where I'm putting some actual parent-y discussion stuff because I don't usually talk about actual parent-y discussion stuff. 

Are parents as a whole more protective these days? And where is the line drawn between good protection (seat belts and not letting your kids drink bleach) and being over-protective to where it is stifling for them. I think about this sometimes. FreeRangeKids is an excellent read if you are interested in this sort of discussion.    

Oops, this isn't meant to be a thought-provoking blog so if this provokes thoughts I sincerely apologize.

Wait, that sounded like a disclaimer. 

Unicorns! Sticker books! Poop!





comparing kids' behavior (is bad)

It is wrong to compare your kids and stuff. You know what I mean. Saying "little Johnny is a being good but little Timmy is being bad today" type comparing. I never make this mistake. In fact, I have never even thought this.

But that is because my kids' names aren't Johnny and Timmy.

Just yesterday, this happened:

I inform them that we are having pizza. In case you didn't know and are one of those pizza-disliking aliens who are not to be trusted, this is good news. 

Crappy Baby responds to the news:

With hands clasped together with joy he professes his love for pizza. I see golden beams of joy radiating from his face. I feel appreciated. I feel like a good mom for delivering this happiness. 

Then Crappy Boy responds to the news:

With high-pitched whines that won't stop. He loves pizza. What the hell is his problem? He continues to carry on like I told him that we are having Crappy Cat for dinner. Actually, I think he would have reacted less to news of eating our cat. Mental note: Next time, skip pizza. Serve cat. (You guys know I'm just messing with the cat people when I write stuff like this, right? It would be funny to get emails accusing me of eating our cats. They probably taste like rabbit. I assure you they are both alive and well though.)

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, comparing the kids. So obviously in the example above Crappy Baby wins. Much cooler to kick back and have a slice of pizza with, you know?

So dinner happens. Then it is bedtime. Which doesn't actually mean they go to bed. This means I force them to do several things they don't want to do to get ready for bed. 

I tell them the first of many steps. 

Crappy Boy reacts to this news:

And brushes his teeth. 

But then Crappy Baby reacts to this news:

And continues to react similarly to every. single. step. of getting ready for bed. Throwing toothbrushes, screaming. Running from me when I try to change his diaper. Saying he wants a book and then crying that he doesn't want that book and then crying that he does indeed want that book. All that toddler stuff.  

So this time, Crappy Boy wins for not being insane.  

Which makes me realize something. They are rarely both cool to hang out with at the same time. 

So I have a theory. 

I think they tag team this shit. I really do. 

That way, someone always wins. And it is never me. 






Not exactly, but close enough.

No text, just pictures today of a conversation that happened last week. Usually I share tidbits like this on Twitter or Facebook but I was feeling draw-y today.

(Also, my mom has been visiting. This means that everything has been wonderful because she is a Jedi and uses the Force on them. I tried to learn her tricks but my friends in the computer tell me that only grandparents possess these magic skills. She left this morning. Expect posts soon. Especially since they've been stockpiling their behavior for me.) 

Oops, this was supposed to be a "no text" post. I don't think I'm very good at these.

I'm ready to stop writing now. This was the conversation:





Not exactly. But close enough.