Wednesday, November 25, 2015

visiting Mom

The boys and I went to see my mom today. I haven't actually been to her gravesite since her funeral a year and a half ago.the whole rosary/funeral experience hadn't been great for me for obvious reasons, yes, but also because seeing my mom like that.. Her BODY, not HER had really jolted me. I knew she was gone, yes, but seeing that really brought it home to me that she was No longer anywhere I could reach, no matter how close her physical body might be. I told my sisters later that I didn't want to ever see it again. Her grave, I mean. It wasn't my mom, she wasn't there and I didn't want to see it and be reminded of that. Problem is, if my mom found out I hadn't visited her grave, she be pissed. My mom was the kind of person who visited graves. She brought fresh flowers, she decorated for holidays. The graves of her loved ones did not go neglected. So, as much as I said I didn't want to, the boys and I went to see my mom today. 

It was a little harder than I expected, considering my thoughts on the matter. I got out of the car and  had to stop. Hopper was the one who took my hand and asked, "Is your mom here?" 
"Yes and no," I answered and showed him the gravestone. "HEY!" He said, "Her name is Bonnie LEE! just like yours!" yep, just like mine. 
Rowan had brought some Thanksgiving crafts to share and left them next to the headstone. Hopper ran back to the car and came back with his basketball medal from last summer. "Would she like this?" I told him she'd be very proud but that he didn't need to leave it there. He asked, "Because she's not really here, right? She might not appreciate it as much as if I kept it."
"That's right, Bud. She's not really here. Where she is she can see that medal all the time." So he put the medal back in his pocket and both my sweet boys gave me the biggest tackle hug. I felt her there then. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bro-cation, pt 1

First, let me just preface this by saying two things:

1). Someone told Hopper that a vacation you take with your brother is a "bro-cation." So guess which word I've had to hear 20-30 times an hour for the last 5 1/2 hours? 
2). I know that my dog gets car sick. It is well-established. I did, in fact, attempt to prepare for the inevitability. I did. 

The boys and I left Austin this afternoon  on our way to Arkansas to spend Thanksgiving with family. I had taken the day off so I could take my time packing the care while they were at school. I even gave the dog a bath before we left, which should have been my first omen. 
Now, knowing that Possum gets carsick, I didn't feed her and I gave her some Dramamine at least a half hour before I left to go pick up the boys. I took my doggie expert friend's advice and put her in a crate with the sides covered so she couldn't see out the windows. I even packed paper towels and some spare bath towels, just in case. 
She horfs before  I even got out of our neighborhood. And then before I got to Hop's school which is seven miles from the house. While she was at it, she decided to mix things up and throw up one more time while the car was stationary in the parking lot at Rowan's preschool. We had not even cleared downtown Austin and this dog had already gone through 1/2 my paper towels. But, I was ever hopeful that maybe since she had already horfed SO much, her tum might be empty? Please? Dear Lord in Heaven? 
It seemed like we might have a bit of a reprieve and we were making ok time. And then. Sigh. And then  there was a wreck and the traffic just came to a standstill. There was nothing but tail lights as far as I could see. Just one of those things where you know you're going to be stuck there for an hour, not moving on the freeway. It was then I heard the strangled gurgling sound, a hooooooooof, and then both boys yelled simultaneously, "MOOOO-oooom, POSSUM PUUUUUUUKKKKED." Any previous hope I had held that she might be out of things to projectile vomit died. Let me explain that Possum is a cockapoo. She weighs 19lbs. What came out of this dog was like, a half ton of...something. I can't even possibly conceive where or how she could produce this much... STUFF out of her body.  I don't want to think about it anymore because this precise moment that she decided to unleash this Fountain of Hell on Earth, was right when we stopped, behind 750,000 other cars, going approximately .5 mph. Stuck, going nowhere for the next 45 minutes. No where to pull off the road and feebly attempt to swab things. No place to get the dog out and hose her off. No opportunity to just evacuate, burn the car and just go with a rental. We were stuck in the middle of nowhere, just me, the boys and our Dog Who Pukes Mountains. 
So yeah, that's how our trip is going so far. It can only go up from here, right? 
She's feeling greeeaaaatt. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Gifts for ME (and ok, others)

This post is sponsored by Uncommon Goods, who maybe haven't figured out yet that have blogged about shaving my dog's butt more than once.

The last time I ventured out on any type of Black Friday or other popular holiday shopping period (like any of the next four weekends), I was pregnant with Rowan. I left my house at 10pm and stood in the cold outside a, uh, National Chain of Toy Stores (ahem) for three hours before finally making it inside along with 700 other people who did not give one piece of ca-ca that I was 8 months pregnant, only that I was standing in the way of the sale display. We left without buying anything and I’ve been a proponent of online Christmas shopping ever since!
I have a few favorites I have bookmarked, but one of the places I always find cool things is Uncommon Goods. Not only do they have interesting stuff, but I appreciate that they’re animal friendly (no leather, feathers or fur) AND they give you an option to select a non-profit organization to benefit from company donation each time you check out. It’s like they handle putting the money in the jingle bell Santa pot for you! So, I was super-psyched when they reached out and asked me to share some of my favorite picks from their holiday gift guides.

Without further ado:

Grandparent &  Grandchild Letter Book Set ($40)
If you’ve got grandparents that remember (and are willing) to share their histories and stories, you may be familiar with the concept, but for those of us who let time go by without remembering to preserve the memories, this Grandparent & Grandchild Letter Book Set is just the sweetest idea. I wish I had known about it when my own mom was still alive, she would have filled it up in…about a week probably. This is the kind of thing your kids will be glad to have one day.

Honorable Mentions: Hand Trux Shovels ($18)

My kids would be half way to China with these inside of five minutes, or is it New Zealand? Oh, wait, Google says we'd end up in the Indian Ocean, that might be problematic. If you think I'm maybe exaggerating a bit, you have not yet experienced the digging ambitions of one Rowan H.
I also think the Mr. and Ms. Face Plates ($12) are pretty cute and would totally buy them, except for the fact that my sons already take 45 minutes to eat a hotdog.
More gifts for little guys here.
Because I didn’t want to have all the fun by myself (and because I’m married to a professional sommelier), I let Sam pick out some favorites from the Wine Lovers Collection. Being “wine people” we get wine gifts (A LOT), but these are ones we both agree are pret-ty darn useful.

Wine Preserver Bottle ($50)

The thing I do that causes CTS (the Clenched Teeth of Sam) is open wine and then leave the cork out of it. He likes to call me “The Stale Maker.” This wine preserver bottle has an airtight seal so it keeps the flavor in for up to a week. (though, let’s face it, there’s not a chance a bottle of wine would last in our fridge that long, but in your fridge it might!).

Wine Pearls ($24.95)

In the summertime, I love to open a bottle of white or rose when I get home from work, but since I’m never mentally functioning enough in the mornings to remember to pop a bottle in the fridge before I leave the house, the wine I want to drink when I get home is all warm. I end up pouring a glass and adding ice cubes to it which again causes CTS or this particular grimace that Sam does whenever I’m desecrating a nice bottle of Chenin Blanc. Problem solved with these little things that will cool it down without watering it down.

I also really like this Bamboo Wine Table ($22)

Because you can use this at a park, at the beach, in your backyard--just stick it in the ground and you've got an instant little party tray wherever you are. Theoretically, you could weed vegetables in your garden and drink a little vino AT THE SAME TIME (note to self: no more excuses for not gardening, other than congenital black thumb).

There are other gifts for wine lovers here.

Ok, now, enough shopping for other people, let’s get to what you can buy me, me, ME, otherwise known as These are fewwww of my faaavoorrittee thiiiiingggs. I’m really a sucker for personalized things so most of these came from the Personalized Gift Collection. I’m also apparently not very lady like because everything else was from Gifts for Dad (why does Dad get all the cool gifts?)

Custom Pet Pillows ($145)
Let's face it, my dogs are pretty much pillows already. But you can submit a favorite photo of your pet and this artist will use it to create an ACTUAL throw pillow that looks like your pet for you. How cute is that? Plus, these pillows probably don't fart.

Left Brain Right brain Bookends ($68)

We don't have near enough bookends in our house for the amount of books we own. I don't have enough  punny bookends in my life, period.

Das Horn ($24.95)
I'm not even the Viking in the family, and I need this. I love that it comes with both it's own stand AND a neck strap, so you can wear it around while you're doing Viking things or like, browsing Facebook. Probably frowned upon at the office, though?

Mom Equation Necklace ($185)
There are a million, cajillion versions of "mom necklaces" out there (I dunno, I’ve always been terrible at math), but I think this one is one of sweetest and most clever I've seen.

So, hopefully these will give you some ideas to get started with your Christmas gift giving. Only a month away-WHOOP!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lazy Day

Today was going to be a "lazy day" which means that other than feeding ourselves and our children (and the dogs), we weren't going to put much effort into doing anything, preferably even staying in pajamas all day if socially appropriate.  This is what we did today instead:

1). every scrap of laundry in the house, including some socks we're pretty sure haven't been seen since 2008.
2). cleaned out the fridge, including the yogurt that had an expiration date of March 22nd. Nice.
3). packed for me and the boys to go to Arkansas for 5 days, in one suitcase, that may or may not explode sometime between now and Tuesday.
4). gave dogs haircuts (which is a nice way of saying, I shaved Bean's butt so The Dingleberry King could be dethroned).
5). took down the Halloween decorations (I know).
6). grocery shopped. Ok, it was more like I went to the store with an intent to grocery shop then got run over twice with a shopping cart before I could even get to the bread aisle, so I left with dog food and potato chips.
7). sawed up a 15 foot branch that supposedly fell off our tree during the storms earlier this week, but we know our neighbors pretty much drug it into our yard because we can see where it fell off THEIR tree (yes, they're pricks).
8). vacuumed up the contents of a rain stick from Peru which was an awesome gift from the boys' cousins, until Hopper broke it over Rowan's head.  They both cried for fifteen minutes. Rowan because his head hurt and Hopper because he "really liked that stick."
9). sent the boys outside to play and emptied two trash bags worth of toys that haven't been played with in months. So far, they haven't noticed anything is amiss.
10). Downloaded stuff to listen to for my road trip. I am now the proud owner of 37 hours of  The Moth podcasts.

So yeah, I gotta get better at this "lazy day" thing.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

There was a Plan

There was a plan. Then the temperature dropped 30 degrees and the wind started gusting to about 40mph kicking up some sort of Satan Dust which has me unable to breathe without snorting Flonase about every hour.  SO. My outdoor photo shoot to Get The Damned Christmas Cards Done Already Plan went to shit and you know what that means: I got out the glue gun and made props. Then I harassed my children into wearing somewhat festive sweaters and threatened to send Santa a text immediately if they didn't sit down for 5 minutes and Look At The Camera For The Love of God. Rowan spent the majority of his time making fart noises with his arm, so it might be putting it mildly to say there were outtakes.

Hopper says, "You know, Mom, there are professionals who do this sort of thing. They probably don't get that look on their face like you do."
Probably not, son. Probably not. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

You Shall Not Password

Every Friday is "New Game" day which basically means that if my children manage to make it through the week with out kicking/hitting/pinching anyone while finishing all of their homework and being reasonable Citizens of Earth, they can download a new game from the App Store.  So, since this was a relatively successful week, Hop got to download this SkyFarter(lander?) thing he has literally been asking for since... last Saturday morning.  I download it for him and go to "rest my eyes" when, not even 30 minutes later, he wants to download something else because this one is "boring."
"I'm sorry, bud, that was your download, you don't get a chance for another one til next Friday."
Oh. Dear. Lord. The Wailing. And then the cajoling and then more wailing and then angrily demanding that ALL I NEED TO DO is give him the PASSWORD and he'll DO IT HIMSELF.
"Uh, yeah, No. That's the point of passwords."
More wailing ensues which prompts me to tell him in a loving, motherly way, to go speak to the hand because the elbow is not listening.
Then he stomps off and says he's going to "write me a card" and it's "not gonna be a Valentine."
I look up a minute later and he's standing in the room silently holding up this:

If you can't read it, it says, "I hate you Mom by Hopper" 
And I start laughing,
So he stomps out of the room again and comes back a minute later, holding up this one: 
"Go Away Mom"

He stands like that for probably five minutes while I'm really trying not to laugh where he can hear me. 
Two minutes later he runs into the room, throws himself in my arms and wails, "I I DIDN'T MEAN IT, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, DON'T LET MY AWESOME WORD SIGNS CONVINCE YOU OTHERWISE!!!"

So, I hugged him back and told him I loved him too. He sighs contentedly and says, "Does this mean I get the password?"

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wine talk

Would you like to hear Sam talk about wine pairings for Thanksgiving? Of course you would. He also talks about beaujolais nouveau and uses the terms "carbonic maceration" and "laffy taffy" in the same run.

You can click here for a listen.

update: fixed link. I do know how to do them, they're just not easy to do from na ipad when you can't see without your granny reading glasses. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It's the Shit

So, apparently the "consumer watchdog"  World Against Toys Causing Harm has issued its Worst Toys of 2015 list which is how I end up shopping for most of my coworkers (I know they probably want another scented candle, but they'll thank me later).
This year's list includes probably one of my most favorite things ever: Poo Dough.

It's on the list not because it's awesome (and it is). It's because the "Poo Dough Compound" contains wheat and some people might be allergic to it.  For the low, low price of $4.99, I can probably get this  for everyone on my list.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


The boys had their bi-annual dentist appointment this morning. It went well (for them). Me? I left a shivering mess. The boys got Ninja Turtle stickers and bouncy ball. I got a f#*$ing LIST of things to look forward to that I, in no way no how look forward to (no way no how).
First item on the list is that they would like for me to teach Rowan how to floss. hahahhahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah! oh mylanta, let me compose myself for a moment..hahahahhahahahahhahahaha.  Hoo. Yeah.
Second on the list is that Hopper is apparently going to drop "4-6 teeth in the next three or four months".  Bzzzzzzrrrp. Hold Up.
Now, I will admit that I've been looking around at all his first grade classmates and I realized that every single one of them has lost at least one tooth and I wondered what the delay with Hopper was. (not that it's a competition, it's just one of those things you notice). So, I'm relieved that he's not going to develop Shark Mouth where his adult teeth come in before the baby ones leave and he has two rows of chompers. But I will tell you that I am not equipped to handle teeth falling out of my kid's mouth. I'm not going to be able to be in the same room if he starts to fiddle with a loose tooth and nudges it back and forth. And if he approaches me with a tooth hanging on by a thread, I will probably come close to passing out. I have a...THING with teeth. Like, you may think you can't stand to hear the sound of someone grinding their teeth, I'm not talking about that sort of thing.  I'm talking teeth in general. Teeth grinding, teeth scraping a fork--those noises, yes, but also, the IDEA of teeth falling out.
Have you ever had that dream? It's a common one-- the one where your teeth either fall out or they crumble?  I used to have that one a lot and it's actually in a lot of dream interpretation dictionaries with all kinds of interpretations. One interpretation is that your teeth represents your attractiveness and if you dream about losing teeth, you're feeling like you're losing your looks. Some cultures believe that if you dream that dream, then a very close friend or member of your family may be sick and close to death. The interpretation that resonates the most with me is that your teeth  represent power. So if you have a dream where your teeth crumble or fall out, it means you're feeling powerless or things are out of control. I only bring this up because I honestly have no idea why teeth falling out in real life freaks me out more than anything. I mean, I don't FEEL like thins are out of my control or I'm powerless, but I promise you if you approach me with a loose tooth I will run down the street screaming.
I mentioned the teeth grinding earlier--ironically (in the Alanis Morrisette way), I grind my teeth. I grind my teeth so much that I have to wear a professionally fitted mouth guard at night and I regularly bite through it about every few months. Because of this nightly grinding, I've actually chipped one of my front bottom teeth so much it's noticeably shorter than the other (and now you will stare at my bottom front teeth the next time we see each other). Every time I go to my dentist to get a new guard, he always asks, "soooooo. Are we feeeeelinnnngg.... STRESSED?" (that's how he says it). And honestly, no I don't feel stressed.... UNTIL TODAY. Because man, I am not going to be able to handle this tooth-loosing phase.  This is going to be one of those things that's ALL DAD.  And now that I think about it, Shark Mouth might be kinda cool?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Photo Dumplings 11/16

It's been a whole week since I've unloaded my pictures and while it's less of a storage issue since we've embraced the cloud (I know, welcome to 2011), I still end up with way too many pictures that I forget to upload somewhere. So, without further ado, pix from the last week (or so).

This is a completely awesome, perfect scary web that some contrarian spider opted to weave on my front porch a week  after Halloween. WASTED OPPORTUNITY, Eight Legs.

Despite my attempts to wet it down and plaster it to his head, this is what my kid's hair looks like every single morning. Yet, by the time I pick him up in the afternoon, it's completely normal. I have no idea how that happens.

Rowan was running around before his swim lesson on Saturday yelling "I AM WICTORIUS" and giggling hysterically. Yeah, I got nuthin.

My little old men sharing a bed. This rarely happens, as one or the other is usually too cranky (Hudson) or farty (Bean). 

A coworker of mine brought in her French Bulldog puppy for the day on Friday. (He had just had surgery and needed to be watched). Basically, he just sat on my lap and snorted for 45 straight minutes.  

Friday was the rescheduled Halloween festival at Hopper's school.  So, it's a good thing we still have 27 costumes laying around. He was a little anxious to get there. 

You'll note that Rowan was persuaded to go with the Panda costume (YES). 

It really is the most adorable thing. And he'll outgrow it by next year. Sniff!  Here he is having a heart to heart with Dad about why he needed another hot dog. 

Lastly, I love this picture of Hopper doing his school's Fun Run (also on Friday, it was a busy day). Side note: the school opted to go with a Fun Run rather than a sell cookie dough or wrapping paper thing and they ended up making over $27,000. The thing I love about this photo (which was on about lap 3 out of 20 or so) is that the look of Hopper's face clearly indicates that he reached the same conclusion that I reach every time I'm on lap 3/20 which is: "Wow, running kind of sucks."