Homeless In DC

So here is something crazy.

As of today, we are officially homeless. Yep, you read that right. My husband, my two small children, and I at this point in time do not have a home.

What I mean by this is that our lovely little house in the heart of the city sold today. It is no longer ours.

Today is the first time in 15 years that I have not owned a house, and for a couple of those years, I owned two.

I have to be honest, it is a bit of a surreal feeling.

Somehow, even though we accepted the offer 6 weeks ago, it wasn't until we actually signed the papers and handed over the keys today that it all felt real.

In fact, in that single transaction, we handed off a whole weight that I hadn't even realized was there. And on top of that, the money wire into our account means I suddenly feel incredibly flush.

I know, I know, it is already earmarked for the down payment on our next house.

But it is still more than a *little* tempting to drop by Tiffany, Cartier and Louis Vuitton and see just how long I could go before shopping lost its appeal :-)

For some reason, I think I could hang for quite a while...

Our next house purchase is a big change in lifestyle. It's a much larger house in a little more rural of an area.

This is the house that we will raise our family in, and that shift in mindset completely changed the buying process.

Up until now, we focused more on things such as proximity to dining, shopping, and the metro, and less on features such as number of bedrooms and flat places in the yard to put a swing set.

It's amazing how adding two little bodies to your household completely changes the decision-making process.

I know, I know, no shit. EVERYONE knows that having kids changes your life. But it is one thing to know it and a whole different thing to really KNOW it.

Because it isn't that we don't still like nice restaurants or going into the city for fun events (or Louis Vuitton purses).

Nope, still definitely a fan of those.

It is more that I want my kids to have room to run and play without worrying about traffic. I want them to have woods to explore, and a spot to build a tree house, and streams to get muddy in.

I want these things MORE than I want to be able to hop on the metro and run into the city any time the mood hits me.

Although I still kind of want that too if I am totally honest. Which is why we aren't abandoning the DC metro entirely.

The new house we are looking at is a little oasis in the city.

Can't wait for all the pieces to fall into place :-)

Because I'm pretty certain the other hotel guests aren't terribly charmed by Bennett's early morning vocal stylings...

Passionate About Patriotism

I don't know about anyone else, but I absolutely LOVE parades.

Without fail, every time I hear the deep bass thrum of the drum line, I can feel my pulse speed up and a trill of excitement courses through me.

I love the energy, I love the excitement, I love the showmanship and the music, I love the horses, I love the guys in little cars, and I especially love the cheering of the crowd.

It may sound cheesy, but listening to a band play the Star Spangled Banner makes me tear up every time.

It's a reminder to take a moment and be grateful that we live in a country like this.

One where no matter how much you agree or disagree with the current crop of politicians, you have the right to openly voice your opinions without fearing retribution from the government.

One where every citizen over 18 has the right to vote, regardless of sex, race, or any other reason. And where generations have passionately fought for our RIGHT to vote. As a woman, this right is especially poignant to me.

A nation where you can practice almost any religion you choose, or choose to practice none at all.

It's a reminder to be grateful for our armed forces, past and present, because it was their sacrifices that originally won this nation for us, and their ongoing sacrifices that continue to protect it for us.

Our nation is built on generations of sacrifice, time after time we have fought to provide an environment for those with a vision to excel. It is because of this that our nation is such a fertile ground for visionaries, people like Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhardt, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Gates.

America is one of those rare places where if an individual has the focus, the persistence, and the determination, they can achieve almost anything.

That is why the Star Spangled Banner moves me.

It stands for all the reasons I am grateful to raise children in this beautiful nation of ours.

And I was thrilled to see my girl shared my sentiments when we went to her first parade this weekend. She clapped and waved the entire way through.

She danced to the music and neighed at the horses and laughed when the muskets went off.

We had a wonderful time, sweating in the sultry heat of a Maryland summer.

When the parade was over, we went to enjoy the rest of the festival. I could still hear the music playing in the back of my mind, and it added an extra bounce to my walk. It was so special to be able to share a memory like this with my babies.

And more than anything else, it reminded me that Memorial Day is a day for celebration rather than a day for mourning. It is a day to rejoice in our troops, both those alive and those gone. It is a celebration of their sacrifices, and a celebration that we live this moment, this day, in a country like this.

So take the time today to celebrate our troops and be extra grateful for everything that their sacrifices have achieved.

Note: today's post is dedicated to my dad, and to all the amazing people who have served.

Sleeping Shenanegans

It may come as no surprise to you, but my girl is a crazy sleeper.

To be fair, this is hardly the first time I have started a blog post along that theme.

Indeed there are tons, such as this, or this, or this, or this, or hell, even this. That's just a small sampling, but I think you get my point.

The truth is, it takes quite a bit to surprise me when Sterling does something hinky after she goes to bed. But tonight, she did not disappoint. When I went in to check on her before going to bed, this is what I found.

Homegirl had fallen asleep crosswise in bed, with her legs sticking out about a foot.

Talk about looking UNCOMFORTABLE!

I will let the photographic evidence speak for itself...

Walmart Parting Gift

Um, did you know that Walmart gave parting gifts?

Yeah, me either.

Tonight we did a quick run to Walmart because Nana wanted to get Sterling a kiddie pool.

As we were walking out, something orange flickered at the corner of my eye.

I looked down, and saw that somewhere, Sterling had picked up an accessory.

She had it thrown casually over one shoulder like this season's Prada bag.

I have no idea where she picked that puppy up, or how long she lugged it around with her, but somewhere there is a wet floor without it's sign.

Yep, we are THOSE people...

As a side note, you will notice that she absolutely refused to make eye contact while I took her picture.

Court House Observations

After my big adventure at the courthouse yesterday I thought I would share a couple of key findings:

1. This might surprise you, but no matter how flagrantly you are defying the CLEARLY posted rules by sneaking in a contraband bottle of water in your purse, it really is pretty tame in comparison. I was gloating over my bad assery when I happened make eye contact with one of my compatriots. I don't think I've ever seen such an obviously stoned individual in my life, and I HAVE watched Reality Bites. Several times. He looked at me with heavy lidded, bloodshot eyes, giggled like a schoolboy, and said "grand theft auto, yeah buddy". For some reason, I don't think he was voicing his enthusiasm over the video game. Yeah buddy, indeed.

2. You would be amazed the number of people that will hug you after you break down in sobs in the courtroom. Total strangers of all types. A lady in a Burka, a Spanish guy covered in tattoos, even a nice African gentleman with a heavy accent. In fact, the only one that didn't approach me was the uptight-looking old white lady in the corner. Wonder what the deeper meaning behind that is...

3. Evidently, the court house only takes cash, check, and debit cards. No Visa, no MasterCard, and definitely not Starbucks gift cards. No matter how many times you offer. And you have to have your fees paid by 2:00. Thankfully, I have friends that live only 15 minutes away, but my lunch plans were screwed by running back and forth to get cash to pay my court costs.

4. Cops give tickets for a dizzying array of bullshit reasons. I completely feel that they do a valuable job, and have always thought of them as "upholders of our society", but sitting through just three hours of traffic court, I was shocked. In many cases, it would be hard to defend those tickets as anything other then a revenue generating opportunity. And the judge was so bored that he dismissed one ticket when the lady explained she had been speeding because "it was a beautiful day, she had the top off her convertible, the radio turned up loud, and lost track of her speed".

5. Judges are remarkably unimpressed when you break down in heavy subs in front of them. I am not generally a crier, so I was mortified at my tears. I could clearly hear the judge thinking "hurry this up lady, I'm letting you off, and you're keeping me from lunch".

6 Months Of Hell

Today, while waiting for court for a speeding ticket, I had a chance to do nothing but sit and think for roughly 3 hours.

I had planned to explain to the judge how severely sleep deprived I was at the time I got pulled over. Yep, that was the sole premise of my stellar defense: I was on the way to my friend L's house so my girlfriends could help wrangle the monkeys for a few hours.

As I thought back over the last 6 months, I realized what a crazy, crazy year it has been.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with my blog, let me do a recap.


10/11 - We decided to sell our house. We knew it was a stretch, but between the two of us, we felt it was doable. Began preparing the house to list it.

Mid 11/11- John's firm pulled him off of a local contract that he had been committed to for the next 3 years, and sent him to Ohio indefinitely to rescue a failing project there. I was suddenly a hugely pregnant single mom.

11/28/11 - A week later, Bennett was born via C-section.

12/11 - I was diagnosed with postpartum Preeclampsia. Yep, evidently this is a thing. Blood pressure was going through the roof and I was put on bed rest for 6 weeks. Funny joke.

Mid 12/11 - Dodge our rescue dog came home, still severely ill. Several rounds of expensive drugs and vet visits ensued.

12/12 - John officially went on the road full time, leaving me home with S the wonder tot and B, who mysteriously did nothing but eat and scream.

1/12 - Spent the month organizing house painters, tile replacement and other projects to get the house ready for sale.

2/12 - Got pulled over and was given my first ticket in years, as my infant screamed and my toddler repeatedly said "uh-oh, oh no".

Late 2/12 - Dodge's MRSA resurfaced. After days of calls and trying to find a solution, the American Bulldog rescue recommended that we put him down because of the risk to children and those with compromised immune systems. Our amazing nephew adopted Dodge hours before he was to be put to sleep.

3/12 - B FINALLY diagnosed with Acid Reflux, slept over 3 hours for the first time since birth.

3/12 - We all got the stomach flu the same weekend we moved in with my parents so we could finish staging our house.

Late 3/12 - John rushed to the ER with kidney and gall stones.

4/12 - Officially listed the house, two weeks later accepted an offer on the house.

4/12 - Grandfather enters hospice.

5/15 - Sister married. LOTS of drama.

Mid 5/15 - Grandfather passes away.

Late 5/15 - Finished moving out of the house.

Next week - Close on the sale of our house.

6/5 - John will have surgery to remove his gall bladder.


So you see my friends, it has been a little busy already this year.

And amidst all of this, Sterling has continued to create as much mayhem as physically possible.

So is it any surprise that when I got up to explain the circumstances surrounding my urgency to get to my friend L's the day I got my ticket, I completely lost it?

And I don't mean a few tasteful, well placed tears. I am talking full-body wracking, snot streaming, sobbing. I was a mess on par with Courtney Love doing a Twitter rant. And just as coherent.

After the third time I tried to stutter out "my grandpa died, my baby was sick and I was alone", I think I kind of lost my audience.

In fact, it was so bad that after the judge dismissed my ticket, he not so kindly recommended I look into a bereavement support group.

This, this is why I blog. And drink. But mostly blog.

The Most Powerful Words In The World

Today, on her way home from play school, Sterling said perhaps most beautiful words ever.

We were riding along and she was telling me all about her day.

She had talked non stop for perhaps ten minutes when the conversation reached a little pause. And then from the back seat, in her tiny little voice, Sterling said "I wuv you, mommy".

As a parent, there are constantly little moments that melt your heart. You can literally feel your insides turn molten and mushy.

And then there are moments like this, where you dissolve into a million effervescent bubbles of happiness, and suddenly remember that this tiny, perfect, beautiful person is a part of you and you are the luckiest creature in the world.

Thank you Sterling Rose for choosing us to share your journey with, and for such a special memory to celebrate your 2nd birthday :-)

British Racing Puppy

Want to guess what the connection between the first picture and the second picture is?

*cue the Jeopardy music*

If you guessed my toddler, ding ding ding ding! You advance to the bonus round.

Because evidently when you have three seconds alone with a contraband stick of deodorant, painting racing stripes on Nana's dog is the only way to go.

I guess it could be worse... unless you are the dog.

In which case, my sincerest apologies. Oh, and brace yourself baby, because this is just a small sampling of the mayhem to come.

Relocation Exhaustion

I have to be honest, I hate house shopping. And moving. But especially house shopping.

I used to love watching that show House Hunters. You know the one where they take people around to look at a couple different properties, and then walk through the process of purchasing one?

And then I learned the deep, dark, dirty truth. Spoiler alert: I am about to bring worlds crashing down everywhere.

You ready for this?

When they film House Hunters, the buyers are already under contract on one of the houses. There isn't any reality to the show at all, they are paid 500 bucks to look at two random houses and their new house, and then pretend that they are making the choice all over again.

Here is why that frustrates me: they make the house buying process look SO easy! They look at a couple of houses, debate a little and then bing, bang, boom, they pick one and away they go. Easy peasy.

Except looking at houses isn't that easy. Or that fast. I have by now looked at quite a few houses in four different areas.

Each time I go out looking at an area, I find one that I really like the first time I see it. I then schedule a second showing, and each time I see all kinds of flaws that I missed the first time.

It is so disheartening.

Saturday morning for example, I went for a second visit to a house that blew me away the first time I saw it. This time, I really can't decide.

This will probably be the house that we raise our kids in, so we have a lot at stake to pick the "RIGHT house".

And because we are shopping in areas that we are not completely familiar with, it makes things just a bit more complex.

Plus, juggling childcare around house showings is super tricky. But not nearly as crazy as taking kids with you to look at a house. You spend the entire time trying to keep your devil toddler from climbing other people's furnishings, which makes it kind of hard to get any sense of the house at all.

So yes, I am totally over the house shopping process. I would love some kind of divine sign to suddenly show me which house is the right one.

Anyone want to make that happen for me? It would make me eternally grateful :-)

Baby Lucha Libre

Backyard Wrestling starts early in Casa De Hickman. Real early. As in "before you are 6 months old" early. Any idea how hard it is to find one of those Lucha Libre masks for an infant??? Seems like an untapped market right there. Millions to be made by some enterprising soul. Millions.

But anyway, this is how we spent our Mother's day, and I swear, it wasn't quite as Lord Of The Flies as it looks.

See, it all started by Bennett scootching out of his bouncy chair. Now that he is a man on the move, he oozes out of that puppy every time he gets a chance. I think we see the writing on the wall here folks, a mobile baby means... two on the prowl. I am screwed.

But on this particular occasion, Sterling decided to be the "Helpful Big Sister" and get him back up into the seat.

Which is great and all... except that there is less than a 5 lb weight difference between them.

So it didn't work out quite as she had planned. Imagine The Brain trying to move Pinky, and you have a sense of what I am talking about.

There was some sweet snuggling time...

A bit of pushing and nudging... until finally she lost her balance and fell on top of him.

At which point it digressed from "Helping The Baby" to "Cage Match Of Doom".

And it *almost* looked accidental. Good times, good times.

Addict On The Loose

I have a confession to make.

I am addicted... to blogging! Which is the ultimate irony, because I don't even really know what a blog is!

In fact, the closest I have come to actually following a blog was my Perez Hilton crutch that I used to survive my final months in Corporate America. I would hit that "refresh" button like a mad woman, desperate for new dirt to make the hours of my day pass a *little* less slowly.

But I don't think what I do could be ANY further from what Perez does if I tried. For starters, I haven't had a single lawsuit filed against me for my blog content. But I am working on it.

And I haven't had a Twitter war with Kim Kardashian... yet.

All I really do is ramble on for a while until I get to a point... or run out of time, slap a picture on that puppy and call it good.

OK, So perhaps I put a little bit more thought and effort into it, but you get what I mean.

I didn't research blogging other than to ask a good friend and respected blogger what she recommended... then did almost none of it. It's not that she didn't have AMAZING insights (because she did), but more that I am pretty much a "by the seat of my pants" kind of blogger. Oh no wait, that is parent. No wait, it is definitely blogger.  I am so confused... I guess that's my approach for both!

Honestly, as I have said before, I blog to process the insanity of my world. And right now there is LOTS of insanity, so my blog has become invaluable in helping me cope with it all.

So as I sit here and watch total strangers box up my world, and twitch a little bit as they pack my antiques and jostle my grandmother's china, typing a blog entry (or twelve) helps me not get all anal and micro-managery on their asses. Because I have it in me people, I TOTALLY have it in me!

Where The Heart Is

Right now we are in the middle of a move. As in: right now there are big, burly, manly men packing boxes, moving my furniture and generally taking my house apart.

Trust me, that sounds way hotter than it actually is. One of these lovely gentlemen walked in the door, shook my hand and asked to see the lavatory, at which point one of his delightful chums laughed and said "oh man, he is going to blow that thing UP".


But I digress...

There is nothing like a move to make you step back and really look at things. For us, it usually means a fairly intensive process of cleaning out closets, throwing away food that expired when Clinton was in office, donating clothes that we haven't worn since college (I STILL love that green flannel), and generally paring down our lives.

Its amazing how as you primp and preen a house for staging, you remember all over again what made you originally fall in love with it. The bones start to emerge, the decorative features start to stand out again, and you notice less of the old, drafty windows and more of the charm of original 16 pane, double hung wooden sashes.

And before long, you start to think to yourself "DAMN, this is a nice place!"

The thing is, having a house is a lot like marriage. Or any long-term relationship for that matter.

You search and search and search for the right one. You put an offer in with your heart in your throat, jumping every time the phone rings, hoping that it's "the one".

Once things fall into place, you move in. No matter what the original bones were, you set out to make it your own, painting, rearranging and customizing.

The longer you live in it, the more junk starts to accumulate. Rooms acquire clutter, and when you walk into a room, you see less of the room and more of the "stuff".

I'm realizing now that it's important to step back every once in a while, peel away the stuff, and really appreciate the space (or relationship) for what it is.

Clean the windows, paint the outside, plant some flowers, do whatever is necessary in your relationship to make certain that you continue to appreciate one another and don't get distracted with all the "stuff".

Because in relationships just as in houses, no matter how little you appreciate your current dwelling, someone else would love to live there.

Maybe I'm feeling sentimental because my grandfather just passed, or maybe because my sister just got married, or maybe because I'm in the middle of completely uprooting and moving my whole family.

Whatever it is, it doesn't make it any less important to take time today and celebrate all the places that your heart resides, both the physical and the emotional.

All Mayhem, All The Time

I have become so conditioned by Sterling's mayhem that I now ALWAYS anticipate it.

When she is quiet? I expect mayhem. When she is noisy? I expect mayhem. And when she is acting "normal", I expect mayhem most of all. Essentially, with every breath she takes, I expect mayhem.

So when I heard her saying "jumpy, jumpy, jumpy. Jumping is FUN mommy" I came running to see what she was jumping from, to, or on.

Which made it a total shock when I realized that all she was doing was jumping off of a step onto the landing below it.

I feel like one of those people that was raised in a war zone, and forever after flinches anytime there is a loud noise.

And the fact that she has conditioned me to be constantly flinching may be the greatest mayhem of all. Even when she isn't actually doing mayhem, it is mayhem :-)

Flying The White Flag Already Today

So in the three seconds it took me to write that last post and change Bennett? Yeah, mayhem hit.

While you may think this photo speaks for itself, I think a little bit of explanation would give you even greater appreciation of it.

This, this is my parents kitchen table. A well established "no climb zone". And that? That my friends would be Sterling, squatting in true middle of it.

Ms. Sterling likes to choose moments like when I am changing Bennett's poopy diapers to scale on top of this table.

Because it is a semi "safe zone", we make the mistake of putting things like photos and my mom's betta fish on top of the table. There is also a salt shaker. Assuming that these things are safe because they are on top of the table would be a mistake. A BIG mistake.

When I took this photo, I didn't quite realize what she was clasping in her right hand.

Want to take a guess?

Let's just say, I hope that Mr. Betta survives his time clasped in a toddler's hand, being sprinkled with salt, and then washed under the kitchen faucet.

He certainly looked a little "ruffled" when I put him back in the fish bowl.

Poor, poor Mr. Betta.

Jumperoo Mayhem

I had put Bennett in the Jumperoo for a little fun time while I cleaned up.

I heard him screaming bloody murder and came rushing in, to discover that Sterling had climbed in on top of him in the Jumperoo and was yelling "wheeeee, JUMP Bennett" while she jumped on top of him.

For some crazy reason, he didn't seem to really be enjoying it.

No photo of this mayhem, his screams were pretty convincing so didn't take the time to take a picture.

When actual pain is involved, you will have to settle for a cute photo taken of the blue eyed boy about 10 minutes later :-)

Kindness And Honesty... And Survival

Someone asked the other day why I hadn't posted in a bit and I had to be honest, I just wasn't feeling it.

It wasn't that our lives had been any less full of mayhem. It's actually been the exact opposite.

In the last month, our family has seen some major transitions including a wedding, a death, emptying our house out and our house sale closing at the end of the month.

And honestly? I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and exhausted from it. My parents have been amazing. If it hadn't been for their help, I think I would have completely fried by now.

Part of what has been so tough is that in my family, interaction is a full contact sport.

And the weapons of choice are passive aggression, self pity, and straight out nastiness. Which makes me desperately miss the days when I lived half a continent away.

My parents' house has remained a little haven of respect and kindness in all of this, we are considerate and honest with one another and the babies bring happiness to us all, but that doesn't keep us from being buffeted by the nastiness of others.

One of my biggest hopes in the world for my children is that we jump the rails on this legacy of nastiness and that they grow up in one of those mythical, magical "happy" families where we all love and respect one another and treat each other with kindness.

And maybe, just enough hardship that they are funny and strong but not so much that they are jaded by the time they are 5.

It is sad to see just how little happiness wealth and comfort has brought my family, and how the thing that so many of us are hungry for, family closeness, is also the thing we push away the hardest.

In my family, we confuse openness and vulnerability for weakness. And there is nothing that my family knows how to exploit better than weakness, so we are caught between the dichotomy of craving that close contact, and mistaking the openings for it as a spot to attack.

Somehow, John and I have built a relationship where we have both moved beyond this. Our relationship is strong BECAUSE we trust one enough to show our vulnerabilities.

There is very little artifice or exploitation between us and we trust one another enough to be open about our needs and kind in our interactions. We don't feel the need to manipulate each other in order to get what we need from our relationship.

And I sincerely hope that our kids learn from this and carry that kindness and honesty forward in their own relationships. Because otherwise, no matter how successful they are, how wealthy they become, or how incredible their accomplishments are, I will feel like I have failed.

Bennett enjoying a little admiration from his fans :-)

Love, Life and Social Media

I think social media is a fascinating, fascinating thing.

Take this blog for example, I find that in sitting back to write a blog post about a day of mayhem, I'm able to appreciate it far more fully than I did in the initial frustration of the event itself.

And as a discussion starts rolling about the event, I am able to see the humor that I might have otherwise missed. Oddly enough, it is also making my parenting adventure even more fun, because I am taking what would otherwise be a kid that is constantly plucking my nerves, and really looking at each event from the joy of the story behind it.

I am also really loving having an electronic "scrapbook" of my journey in raising two kids, and my observations on my current place in life.

My grandfather died yesterday, I'm still really trying to process that and get some perspective on such a rich life that has ended.

One of the things that we did yesterday was sit around and reminisce, and I rediscovered so many memories that have been lost over the years. We each brought our own memories and collectively we had a full set it seemed, but I'm sure some fell through the cracks.

I know how much I love looking back over my baby book as a kid, and I still do. I hope that for Sterling and Bennett, they get the same joy from this blog that I get from my baby book. That they can look at the pictures of themselves as little kids, see the comments people left on the posts, and get a sense of how much I am absolutely loving being their mom.

Because at the end of the day, love is the only thing that endures. My grandfather was wildly successful, he was a superstar in the world of engineering, an executive at DuPont, and did university accreditation for things like the engineering program at MIT. He was such a super star, that I had several friends come up to me at my wedding and say they had no idea he was my grandfather and ask if I would introduce them. But as successful as he was, what we spent the time discussing yesterday was what a wonderfully loving part of our lives he was.

Love truly is the thing that endures, so I am thankful that social media gives me a platform to track our experiences, share and laugh about them with others and give my kids a "time capsule" of of our lives.

Dramatic At Only 5 Months Old

Bennett has found a new way to get attention when no one is watching, and it is SO freakin cute! Please note, I am his mom so perhaps I am not the most objective person when it comes to determining how cute something is.

Anyway, my guess is that he is practicing up for when he needs a "mental health day" in elementary school ;-)

Dirty Mouth? We Have A Fix For That!

We were at my grandmother's today when nap time rolled around. Instead of packing everyone up and hoofing it back home, I decided to go ahead and try naptime from grandmother's house.

I bet you can imagine exactly how well that went.

Bennett was the easy one. I found a dark, quiet room and he went right down at 1.

After perusing all the guestrooms, I finally picked one for Sterling that seemed the most innocuous. It also happened to be one of the ones with an attached bathroom suite.

I waited outside the door for a few minutes to see if she would go right to sleep or get up and party. The room sounded silent, so I assumed it was safe to go and let her sleep. You know what they say happens when you assume…

That's about right.

About 40 minutes later I hear a high-pitched little voice yelling at the top of her lungs "Bennett eat, yuuuuuuuuuummmm".

I rushed into the room he was sleeping in to find her perched over him in bed, shoving a bar of soap into his mouth.

Evidently she's watched one too many Orbit gum commercials...

His poor little arms were waving like a traffic cop on speed. And of course he was screaming bloody murder.

See the two little divots on the end of that bar of soap? Those would be from where she shoved it against his little gums.

Yep, it's a wine kind of day already ;-)

Busted Lips, Faux and Real

This is a toddler, laughing at my ability to parent.
Tonight Sterling comes running up to me with what appeared to be full on Baby Triage gore.

She had red goop dripping from her nose, dried and caked around her mouth, on her forehead, and all down the front of her shirt.

My first thought was that she had fallen and busted her face. But my mom (wearing the guiltiest smile of all) admitted that Sterling have gotten into her Naked juice and thoroughly enjoyed herself.

So five minutes later, when Sterling was running around the yard like a nut, slipped and busted her lip on a bucket, I didn't realize that it was blood running everywhere at first.

I was all "You're OK, it's fine" until I realized... wait, that big fat thing? Yep, that would be her lip. And that stuff dripping? Yep, blood.

Where is my Parent Of The Year (POTY) award?

Ninja Smurf

Just a forewarning: a quiet toddler is a dangerous toddler.

But let me explain.

My sister got married this weekend, and had a candy bar at the reception. My mom provided the candy. Which means my mom came home with about a million pounds of leftover blue and white candy.

Sterling doesn't eat candy. At all. No matter how hard we try to sell it. I know, she is a weirdo.

But because of this, I erroneously thought that it would be safe if we left the candy unattended.

I would be wrong.

Because evidently what she DOES do is suck on candy until the outside layer loosens up, and then uses it to paint. On her hands. On her face. And most definitely on the furniture, rugs and anything else she can find.
Not going to let The Man stop her party!

And she does it amazingly quietly. Like ninja silently.

The spiffy part? That damn candy stains.

Which means I put a Ninja Smurf to bed tonight. And then spent what felt like hours trying to rub blue smudges off of everything else.

My mom was especially surprised that Sterling picked only the blue candies which stained to use in her domestic graffiti.

For some odd reason, that didn't surprise me. In. The. Slightest...

In fact, the only thing that surprised me is that my mom was surprised.

Never underestimate the naughty of a quiet toddler, my friends. It is a dangerous, dangerous mistake to make.

Who AM I???

We moved in with my parents on March 17th.

The initial plan was to stay just long enough that our house sold, and leave before we started to drive one another crazy.

Two weeks after we moved in, our house sold and the buyer wanted to close as soon as possible. The average person would've instantly launched into house search mode. But until this week, we hadn't even really decided what area of the state we wanted to live in.

To be honest, every time I would think about moving out, I would get this sense of dread.

Because truthfully, it has been pretty damn awesome. Sure, we initially had some bumps and irritations as we got accustomed to living with one another, but those ironed out fairly quickly.

No, the issue was that our little experiment was perhaps working a little TOO well. For a variety of reasons.

Bennett absolutely loves his early morning love fests with Nana and Pop pop, and I love getting to pass on those early morning love fests. A little sleep makes for a WAY happier momma, I haven't felt the urge to do anything angry or stabby in quite a while.

Sterling is thrilled with having the undivided attention of at least one adult at all times, and especially appreciates the perpetual open lap to snuggle in while she catches up on her Caillou.

I like the companionship and LOVE the help. I've said it before, but we aren't made to parent alone. Especially not my crazy little hellions.

Several of my girlfriends and I always joke about buying a communal mansion since our husbands all work long hours/travel full time, and we would love the support of having each other around full time.

Having another adult around is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Because of it, watching hours of Sprout no longer makes me feel like my mind is melting.

And I can change a million diapers a day without getting all twitchy.

But as for living with my parents, the longer I live here, the better we work together and the harder it becomes to imagine heading out on my own again.

Which means I probably am getting TOO comfortable.

The odd part is that now that we are looking at houses, every house is approached with "will my parents have some place to fit in here" in the back of our minds.

I don't know who the woman writing this post is, but I know her kids are loving life :-)

Naked Fence Climbing Olympic Hopeful

Know what the difference is between a clothed climbing toddler and a naked one?

About 20 seconds... and bottomless depths of ornery.

See, this afternoon we were out playing in the yard in an attempt to burn some ornery off of my little pixie. I know, I know, but do you have a better idea?

My parents have a koi pond that they couldn't keep the dogs from swimming in, so they built a fence around it. Which means it is IMMENSELY attractive to Sterling.

Every time she is outside, she walks along the fence line like a tiger at the zoo, inspecting it for weaknesses, rattling the fence from time to time, looking for ways over, under, or around it. She has tried to climb the fence itself a few times, but she hasn't yet figured out how to climb it fast and I usually peel her off before she makes it very far up.

But that was before. Before she discovered the wooden cross support. And she realized that by using the fence for handholds, she could run up the wooden support in about 0.003 seconds flat. Which has rendered my existing kid-peeling skills hopelessly outdated and required me to up my game.

By perching near the fence, I was usually able to catch her about half way up. Or catch pictures of it. Either one.

So once I upped my game, Sterling realized it was time to raise the stakes. And off the diaper came. Not sure how, but somehow that enabled her to shave those critical extra seconds off of her climbing speed and nearly make it over the top.

Probably because I was so busy laughing, that it slowed my reaction speed down a bit.

**Special note here, I have an AWESOME shot of the naked climbing, but John made the valid point that there wasn't a black bar big enough to make it safe for blasting across the internet. If, however, you happen to see me in person...

If the Olympics ever adds a Naked Fence Climbing event, America is set!

I Am A Whore

So I have a confession to make. I am a total whore. For feedback on my blog of course!

Why, what have you heard?

See, I have spent pretty much my whole career competing against myself, not giving a crap what anyone else thought of me. I always knew I was doing my absolute best and my results spoke for themselves, so their opinion didn't really matter. Plus I've worked with a bunch of idiots over the years, but that's a different discussion altogether.

Anyway, then I had a kid. And sold my business. And kind of moved away from all that. And started a blog.

And when I started blogging, I wasn't even really certain if anyone read it. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't certain if I WANTED anyone to read it. It was safe not to have anyone judging my very personal thoughts.

I first started blogging just as a way to put the insanity of my day into perspective and kind of keep a record, so that when I was old and gray and sipping from my bottle of Mad Dog through a straw, I could point to the blog and guilt Sterling into paying for my retirement villa in Bora Bora. Or Tahiti. I'm not really picky, as long as there are hot cabana boys.

But back to the topic. Publishing that first blog post and then sharing the link on FaceBook was one of the scariest things I have ever done.

It took me two hours to actually get up the balls to do it. And as soon as I did, I texted my girlfriends M and L for moral support. When the first person read it, I was elated. When the second person did, I was thrilled. And as the numbers grew, I was beyond floored. My goofy, fried, rambling posts were actually resonating with people!

For the first time in a long time, I was thrilled to get the feedback!

And as more and more people are referring their friends to my blog, posting links on their FaceBook pages, and Tweeting my posts, I am more and more amazed to get notes from total strangers and see  readership grow all over the world (I don't even KNOW anyone in Turkey).

So when I got the most amazingly sweet note today from an old friend who had read the blog for the first time, I was blown away. It brought it all back to me how great it is to be able to reach people through something that I love to do so much. And it's funny how every note, every response, every comment really does make my day :-)

I truly am a whore. A feedback whore :-) So bring on your responses!!!

What do these have to do with my blog post?
I could explain it, but I would rather let you use your imagination ;-)

What Is Your Legacy?

I absolutely love my friends. Like "don't know how I would get through the day without them" love my friends.

And we regularly have pretty in-depth discussions about almost everything. So when we got talking the other day, it was kind of crazy to realize that we were all either in the process of losing, or had recently lost, a grandparent.

And this got us talking about the legacy that our grandparents left.

Last year, I was lucky enough to go the memorial service for a man I never met, but who had one of the most beautiful ceremonies I've ever seen.

We were given a copy of his obituary when we walked in, and looking through the list, his accomplishments were impressive. But what made the ceremony so beautiful was not the things he had done, but the people who he'd loved and who had loved him.

Person after person stood up and shared the most incredibly touching, poignant memories of the good times with him. He was loved by friends and family alike, and even his ex wife had a wonderfully touching story to share.

By the end of the ceremony, I felt as if I had known him, and genuinely wished that I had actually met him in person.

What I realized from this is that life isn't about what you accomplish. It is about who you love and let love you. The things and people that you truly pour your heart into are the legacy that lives on long after you are gone, so you sure as hell better do everything possible to share as much love as possible.

Because otherwise, what is your legacy? What brings you joy on the days you are here, and lives on to carry your memory forth once you are gone.

You are the one who decides what to do with your life so invest it wisely. Be someone who brings others joy and love, and your life will be that much more incredible because of it.

Hug and kiss your loved ones as much as possible, be brave enough to say "I love you" often and mean it, and be truly genuine and present in your relationships.

Because you never know when your last moment is upon you, but you sure as hell can wring as much love and happiness out of the moments you are given as possible.

I love you grandpa, when you pass the world will lose a great, great man.

More Banana Mayhem

So yeah, a LITTLE curious how Sterling got the banana off the counter that she just handed me.

Especially since she can't reach the counter from the floor, and we have locked down all KNOWN baby-to-counter access points...

Pretty certain this kid is a ninja. As in certain. Totally certain. Either that, or a Jedi master.