Sunday, December 8, 2013


This is our nativity set. The building is new, I got it last year, but the characters are older than I am. My parents got the set their first Christmas after they were married, 42 years ago.

When I was a child, my favorite thing was to set up our nativity, and then it was my favorite toy until it was put away for the year. When my husband & I were married, my parents passed it along to us.

When E was small, she'd play with the characters just like I did. Now, Sophie plays with it. It is still my favorite Christmas decoration.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

First Christmases

These are the "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments for the girls. There are others, too - the Hallmark ornaments with trains, the baby alphabet block with a photo, fun ones like that. The one on the left is pewter and has been hanging around since 1998, E's first Christmas.

I tried to find another like it twelve years later for Sophie's first Christmas, and the silver teddy bear was the closest I could find.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas stories

I love our Christmas decorations. Many of them are old, and almost all have their own story.

This ornament is one of my favorites. My husband and I bought it on our honeymoon. We spent that weekend in Chattanooga playing tourist- Ruby Falls, Rock City, Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga Choo-Choo, and the Tennessee Aquarium. I found this ornament in the aquarium's gift shop and loved it instantly. Every year it is carefully packed in its box, and thankfully after sixteen years it still is in perfect condition.

Stay tuned for more Christmas stories!

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Double standards in advertising

K-Mart has caused quite a stir with their new holiday commercial for Joe Boxer. Television viewers are up in arms, saying it's indecent, inappropriate, and should be banned. Personally, I thought it was funny.
Is it suggestive? Certainly. Are the men covered? Definitely. Has the brand been known for being tongue-in-cheek? Always, especially before K-mart purchased it. But there are so many ads that are just as suggestive and even more sexual in nature. Why the fuss over this one?

This commercial is for perfume.
It is far racier than the Joe Boxer commercial, which is at least advertising underwear. The Joe Boxer commercial is being called brash, distasteful, offensive, and vulgar. Many of the general public are outraged! Comments on Kmart's facebook page say "Pull this ad, it has no place on public television." "What is wrong with you people? This is uncalled for!" "Kmart your new commercial sucks and is disgusting! I will never shop at your store again!" "Think of the children who will see this!" But no one is outraged over the Victoria's Secret commercials, the Hardees/Carls Jr commercials, the GoDaddy commercials, the various beer commercials. So why the double standard? Is it really okay for women to be portrayed as sex objects in advertising but not men? What are people afraid of?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Still thankful

I'm thankful for my job
Our pets
Babies (Happy birth day beautiful Ellie!)
Snapchat silliness
Ohmygoodness hugs
Mom-daughter time
Kisses on my forehead

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 10

The toy commercials are out in full force. As a result, I am SO thankful for Santa Claus. Why? "Ask Santa" prevents this conversation from happening a thousand times a day:

"I want a Loud Crappy Toy!"
"Pweeeeeese! I want it!"
"But I neeeeeed it! Can I have it?"
And tears.

Instead, this exchange happens:

"I want that! Can I ask Santa?"
"Yay! I'll ask Santa!"

Because I KNOW that 99% of these things she's asking for will be forgotten. I feel no guilt at all with Santa being a type of scapegoat. She doesn't get that piano? "Sorry, sweetie, Santa couldn't carry it on his sleigh."

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Days 8 and 9

Day 8
I'm thankful for ice cream, chocolate syrup, and Glee on DVR. I'm thankful for girl time with my oldest daughter. I'm thankful for laughter.

Day 9
I'm thankful for Saturday. Enough said.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 7

Today was spent at home, mostly on the couch on a heating pad. It seems Sophie is getting too big for me to carry to bed when she falls asleep in mine.

So today, I'm thankful for flexibility. I'm thankful for cell phones and internet connections that let me do my job from the couch. I'm thankful for ibuprofen and heating pads, Disney Junior and Netflix. I'm also thankful for little imaginations and cuddles and kisses.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 6

I am thankful for 72 degrees in November, and eating lunch outside in the sunshine with one of my oldest friends.

I am also thankful for friendship, for good friends who know all of you - the good and the bad - and love you anyway. The friends who have seen me at my worst and supported me, and who are always there for each other no matter what.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Days 4 and 5

Day 4. Monday.
On my 5 pm commute home, that is over an hour driving west, I am very thankful for Daylight Savings Time. It is such an eyesight saver!

Day 5
I'm thankful for Pinterest. I've found some delicious recipes there! Here are some of the more recent ones: 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 3

I'm thankful for my parents. They are wonderful people and I'm very lucky to have them.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thankfulness, day 2

I'm thankful for my husband.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Thirty days of thankfulness

It's always a good idea to remember why we are thankful, especially when things have been less than ideal.

Day 1: I'm thankful for our daughters.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Respecting each other - is that the answer?

I fully support blaming the rapist and not shaming the victim. No is no, and men should be held responsible for not respecting that. I do NOT think that men cannot control their urges, nor that seeing a provocatively dressed woman will cause them to lose their minds and attack her like dogs chasing one in heat. Humans are separated from the rest of the animal kingdom by our intellect, and our ability to control ourselves.

However, having a teenage daughter makes me not so comfortable with the opposite extreme, either. Should women be able to walk around in however little clothing they choose without fear of getting raped? Absolutely. But should they?

I've been torn about this. But, I'm not just a feminist, I'm an equalitatist. Men should respect women enough to not rape, and women should respect men (and themselves) enough to expose their bodies so much. How respectful is it to dress up in ultra-sexy clothes, and parade around men basically saying "You can't have me?" It isn't at all.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013


Last night we went to our favorite Halloween event, Boo at the Zoo. Since we had visited the zoo twice already earlier in the month, Sophie had seen all the preparations and was super excited about going. The only problem was narrowing down a costume! She wanted to be Ariel, Belle, a pink princess, and a superhero. All at once. We finally decided on Doc McStuffins, and E was a ladybug. E's boyfriend also joined us, dressed as a soldier.

Many of the animals were not out, but we saw elephants and zebras enjoying the crowd. Parts of the zoo were blocked off to keep patrons on the trick-or-treat trail, but there were so many things going on we didn't miss seeing them. The city had a police car, a fire truck, and a big tractor for exploring, the minor league baseball team had their bouncy house there, and there was face painting, dancers, music, and a big Monster Mash dance party in the party tent at the end. The carousel is also "haunted" for Halloween - it goes backwards! We had a blast.

The girls with Thing 1 and Thing 2


Trick or treating on the trail

Doc McStuffins!

There were costumed characters throughout the zoo for pictures.

We all got masks, too!

E's favorite movie

Fire truck!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mediterranean breakfast quinoa

It's no secret I love quinoa. I keep a lookout for new recipes, and recently found several good recipes in various cookbooks on my kindle. Two were breakfast recipes, and I tried one yesterday.

It's not a sweet breakfast, but it's tasty and OH so filling! In general, 1 cup dry quinoa yields two cups cooked. I split this into two bowls and could only eat half of one. I was so full!

1 c quinoa, rinsed
2 c milk
1/2 c chopped almonds
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp honey
1/4 c raisins
3 dried apricots, chopped

Combine quinoa, milk, & cinnamon in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.

When I made this, I didn't have almonds so I omitted those. Next time I make this, I'll use more apricots and raisins, though. It didn't seem like enough fruit to me. Probably more honey, too, as it seemed to need more sweetness. The extra fruit would probably be enough, though.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

What I'm listening to lately

My favorite song right now - Royals by Lorde. This is one talented teenager.


Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Ray


Applause. Yes, I still love Lady Gaga.


Same Love by Macklemore. I love this song so hard.


Roar might be the first Katy Perry song I download.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


A friend shared this picture on Facebook today. I love this.
Just breathe.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hi, stranger

Hello again.
I know, it's been a while. I've been having a hard time lately, mentally. I'm always tired, and I've had no interest in writing anything. Blog, fiction, freelance, nothing. I'm hoping to pull myself out of this though.
It's been a rough year. A lot of huge things have happened, and a situation we expected to be short-lived has continued. Basically, our family needs a break.

I promised myself to make an effort, though. I can't guarantee my posts are going to be of spectacular quality for a while, but I'm focusing on quantity for now.

Right now, though, it's bedtime.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Millie love

Last weekend, we added a new pet to the family. Sophie is now the owner of Millie, a red female betta fish.

Millie lives in Sophie's room, high enough to be out of reach. Soph LOVES to feed Millie, and Millie is happy to show off. Twice a day, I take the lid off the bowl and Millie swims to the top. Sophie drops the food pellets in one by one, and laughs delightfully as Millie ears them. She presses her nose against the side and watches the fish swim around. "She's so cool!" "She's awesome!" "Millie is so much fun!" I love seeing the joy she is getting from the experience of having a pet of her very own.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013


The year I was turning 30, I found a tiny line under my eye. I waged war, calling my Mary Kay representative and ordering the anti-aging cleanser and moisturizer and eye cream. I used them religiously - for a week or so. I didn't like the way the eye cream felt on my face.

Today, I turn 35. A lot has changed. I don't care so much about that tiny line. To be honest, I don't even look for it any more. I haven't "given up" but some things don't matter any more. My skin is still oily. I have weird hairs that come out of strange places (my throat? WTF, biology?). I wear less makeup. I still pluck out random white hairs but I no longer look for them. Not frequently, anyway. I've learned to let go. Not let myself go, but let go of the little things that don't matter. Will my family think less of me if I have tiny lines around my eyes? Will my friends stop being my friends if I have shiny skin?


At thirty, I had lots of anxiety about my age. At 35, I have peace.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My problem with Miley (and it isn't what you think)

Whether it was a symptom of a Britney-style meltdown, or a brilliant marketing strategy, Miley Cyrus has everyone talking about  her again. And yes, her VMA performance was outlandish, gross (that tongue! Ew!) and hard to watch. But one thing I've noticed with that performance and her latest two videos is lacking: originality. Everything she does lately is a copy of someone else.

First, there's the video for the song from the VMAs, We Can't Stop. The outfit, hair cut and color, the bright red lips - they scream "Gwen Stefani." Even the giant dancing bears have been done before, too many times to link here.

Then, there's the live performance itself. Her outfit, or lack of one, was heavily criticized. Instead of being her own idea, though, it was a direct reflection on the Blurred Lines video. (Note: This links to the second-released video, where the models have actual clothing on. In the original video I didn't link here, the women are all wearing only nude colored thongs and heels.) Even the infamous foam finger is from his video. Sure, she added her own raunchy twist with her dancing, but nothing she did was new.

Then, yesterday I saw her new video for Wrecking Ball. This could actually have been a good song. Almost. But I couldn't get past the "I've seen this before" feeling. Remember Alanis Morissette? Her Head Over Feet video from 18 years ago (eighteen???!!!) was eerily similar - close up on the face, the tears. Alanis has also already done the naked in a video thing - in Thank You.

Miley, I know you are desperate to stay relevant. I understand you are trying out different personalities to find yourself. But please, find your own style. Get your own artistic ideas. Stop copying artists who are still around and making (good) music.

Pretty please?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lemony quinoa & squash

I love quinoa. Seriously, I could eat it every single day and be happy.

Yesterday I made this dish for workday lunches. It. Is. Delicious.

First, I started one cup of rinsed quinoa cooking in two cups chicken broth. While it cooked, I chopped a zucchini and a biggish yellow squash into bite-sized pieces. I sautéed them in some Wildtree Zesty Lemon grapeseed oil, and a little garlic powder, black pepper, and parsley.

When everything was finished, I stirred the quinoa into the squash. That's it, easy peasy!

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Friday, September 6, 2013


In my car
Crawling across my hand
As I was driving!!!
Hit the spider
Killed it instantly
Hurt myself
I did just slap my own hand
Miraculously, no car crash
Creepy-crawly feeling
Itchy all over
Imagination overdrive
I can't believe this happened again!

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Saturday, August 31, 2013

When I get bigger...

Sophie's new favorite phrase is "when I get bigger" followed by a question. Many times she's asking if she can do something she can't do yet, like drive, drink tea, drink coffee, use a big toothbrush, things like that.

But I've also noticed she also wants reassurance, too. "When I get bigger, can I still play Pollies?" "When I'm bigger, will I still have Bunny?" "When I'm bigger can I still snuggle you?"

While she's excited about the idea of growing up, part of her is apprehensive. She doesn't want things to change too much. Our job is to reassure her. Yes, one day she will drive, and drink tea, and use a grown-up toothbrush. And yes, she can have Bunny and snuggle me for as long as she wants.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Life really sucks sometimes. We have people we love very much, but for too many reasons we don't get to see often. We send letters and Christmas cards. We occasionally speak on the phone. None of it is enough, but its the way things have always been. But we don't really talk about our feelings or exchange sentiments because that's just who we are.

Then, one day it's too late. It's not supposed to be like this it is unexpected. But, it's the reality. Without warning the person you love is not there. You are out of time, out of chances. You can still picture her face, hear her voice, feel her hug on your body as if it was yesterday instead of too long ago. It doesn't seem possible that you'll never see, hear, feel her again.

Learn from this. Tell your loved ones you love them. Make time. Write more. Call often. Make your feelings known. Because hurt combined with regret is even worse.

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Defending breastfeeding

This week is World Breastfeeding Week. First, let me say that while I fully, completely support breastfeeding, I am not a lactivist. As long as your baby is healthy and nourished, I don't care if you feed formula or breast milk, or a combination of the two. I understand that not everyone can nurse their baby, or pump enough milk to meet the baby's needs. There is no reason at all to judge a mother for feeding her baby, either with breast or bottle. This, and any other post I write about breastfeeding, is not an anti-formula post.

There. Now, back to the good stuff.

I read and shared this post on Facebook yesterday. It is undoubtedly the best post about nursing in public that I've ever read. And surprisingly, it was written by a man. But he nails it. First, there is this opening:
Grow up, and stop being a child.  Stop being a stupid, churlish, simpering, nimrod, and accept the fact that women feed babies with their boobies.
And this:
Because, you do realize, that you are asking mothers NOT to feed their babies, don’t you? Which is ironic, because you are probably the same person who would also call for a woman’s summary execution if she let her child go hungry.
And definitely this:
Ohhhhh … It makes you uncomfortable.  It makes you … uncomfortable.  Because you are the one exposing a part of your body, that has been sexualized and vilified (insanely, at the same time), in a public area to provide sustenance for your offspring.  Because you are the one summoning the courage to get over the stigmas and social mores that scream at you not to do it, even though your baby is crying from hunger.
And all the paragraphs in between. Seriously, read his post. 

Coincidentally, today was a nurse-in at a local Chick-fil-a restaurant. Yesterday a mother nursing her baby was (illegally) asked to stop because another patron complained about the fact that her children could see.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

First I'd like to thank the Academy.... Sorry, wrong opening.

What an honor! I came back from vacation to an award!

First of all, I love you, Abby T. Writer. You make me laugh and I adore the way your mind works. Thank you so much for the award! Everyone else - go read her blog. Now. You can come back to this later. She's great.

Now, the details of this award:
  1. Display the Award Certificate on your website/blog.
  2. Announce your win with a post. Make sure to post a link back to me as a ‘thank you’ for the nomination.
  3. Present up to 15 awards to deserving bloggers.
  4. Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have linked them in the post.
  5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself.
One and two - check and check. Easy peasy.

Award others - Ok here goes! (Numerical order does NOT equal ranking - I just like to keep things neat(ish).)
1. Depression Cookies Blog of author and all-around great lady Tia Bach, author of Depression Cookies and Chasing Memories.
2. View From Down Here Blog by Nain, lawyer, writer, wife, mom of an adorable baby girl. And owner of a shiny new car!
3. Anjali Enjeti Anjali should win an award for most fun name to say, ever. She is another author and blogger, and creator of the wonderful Summer Writing Prompts for Kids (and sometimes adults) that I am in love with. Her most recent post has some fabulous photos from London.
4. MommaSachs This is the blog of a friend of mine, who needs to blog more! Hint, hint.

There are others, but I'm too tired to link them all. But - check out my blogroll list on the right. Visit those blogs.

Ok, seven interesting things. Hm.
This is always the hardest part for me.

1. I'm terrified of heights but not flying.

2. I HATE tomatoes. Hate with a fiery passion. They are so gross and smelly and slimy and disgusting.

3. I drink too much caffeine.

4. I can't always fall asleep at night.
5. I will forever deny any correlation there.
6. I read a LOT.
7. I adore beautiful high heels and am quite sad that I can't wear them like I used to.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Another episode of Sophie Says

Sophie spots a seashell thermometer that I've had since I was a kid. "I need that sheshell for my collection!" (I didn't know she had a collection.) "No, sweetie, it's mine." "We can share it, in my room."
That's not how it works, but nice try kiddo.

Sitting next to me, taking off her sandals. "My toes are stinky! Smell them, mama!"


Tuesday, we went to Garden of the Gods. There is a sign with the park rules, including no alcohol. We are joking about bringing a beer in the car and who would drink it before getting out.
Me: I don't like beer.
Cousin's wife: I don't like American beer.
Sophie: Well, I do!


Singing: "Tinkerbell, Tinkerbell, tingle all da way... E I E I O"

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Our trip, in a nutshell

First view of the mountains


Tired girls

Having fun

Very tired

Look at that view!

And that one!

And that sky!

Playing together

Fun with friends

Feeding a wild(ish) chipmunk!

In the mountains

They almost don't look real!


Family time


Holding up the rock

Playing in the dirt
Last view of the skyline

Heading home