20 July, 2014


The subject line is my deep, inner scream (and also the worst curse word in the Russian language)... because I spent the last week writing and tweaking a post THAT IS NOW GONE.

It's somehow inexplicably reverted back to its initial draft form, which was just an outline. So, if I want that post written, I'm going to have to START OVER which doesn't seem even remotely appealing right now.

SO! I will write something different. Charlotte just passed the 18-month hallmark last week, so my husband and I are balls-deep in the toddler phase of parenthood.

Did you guys know that toddlers are completely unreasonable sometimes? Yeah. Also, my toddler has started hitting me. She doesn't hit Will or my sister, her primary daycare-giver, but only me. I'm not going to lie - it hurts my feelings a little bit! Why does she feel it's ok to lash out against Mommy, but no one else? Or is her newfound violence about to spill over onto everyone else any day now? A terrible little part of me hopes so, just because I don't like being singled out this way, but the reasonable part of me hopes NO. No one likes an asshole toddler who hits people. Or bites. Please don't let her start biting!!!

My saving grace has been my mother, who has worked in a classroom with toddlers for years. She knows exactly how to keep 10 or so of them in line, while still keeping them nurtured and content, so I often call her to make sure I'm on the right track.

I keep reminding myself: life has to be really confusing for a toddler! It's full of seemingly arbitrary rules and regulations, and things that appear to be good ideas often result in minor injuries. Beginnings and endings (of events, meals, excursions, etc) are fraught with emotion and hard to comprehend. This is NEW - I don't know how I feel about it. This is FUN - I don't want it to end!

I get it, completely. I think we all have our inner toddler lurking somewhere inside of us still - deep down, we want what we want. Now. All of it. Regardless of the consequences.

But somewhere along the way, most of us learn boundaries and self control. It's my job to teach those valuable life skills to this little cave-monster, and I'm not always good at it. In fact, I put MYSELF in time-out today when I lost my temper over something, just to show Charlotte that grown ups make mistakes and have to deal with consequences too. Charlotte hovered near me the whole time, brimming with curiosity and concern, but also smirking a little at the fact that MOMMY was in time-out and not her!

Honestly, time-out wasn't so bad. If only I could put myself there more often! It was quiet and peaceful... with just a few more minutes, I could have taken a power nap.

I love Charlotte dearly, and every stage of her development thus far has been quite an adventure. Tantrums, tears, hitting and all, she makes me laugh every day. Toddlers may be slightly insane, but they're also the funniest humans on the planet.

Happy 18 months, little Bean!

24 June, 2014

The Camel Suit & the Vagilantes (part 2)

And now, for the long-awaited continuation to "The Camel Suit & the Vagilantes (part 1)."

As stated before, I've decided to usher in my 34th year by acting as immature as possible. This, surely, is a fool-proof way to stave off the aging process!

still does not know how to make you younger

It all started one Monday evening around 9pm, as I waited in the car for my sister while she ran into a pharmacy. I was sitting in the passenger seat of her Subaru, messing around on my phone, when a couple of police cars flew by with sirens wailing. Less than a minute later, another two cops sped by, followed by three more joining them from an intersecting road.

Being a naturally nosy person, I thought to myself: "Wow, it would be nice to have a police scanner right now to figure out what they're flipping out over." Then it occurred to me...

By the time my sister emerged from Walgreens, I'd downloaded a police scanner app and was engrossed in trying to figure out what the fuck was going on. As soon as she got in the car, I exclaimed: "There's been an attempted robbery at 26th and Iowa!"

Laine gave me a guilty side glance. "Should we drive by?"

Knowing, of course, that you're NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT, we of course DID NOT DO THAT.


It was clear: a strange new voyeuristic hobby had been born. We texted our friend, Maria, to tell her that we'd decided to become amateur crime-fighters and we needed her to join us. She was totally in when I told her she'd get a flashlight and a badge.

We'd call ourselves "The Vagilantes," a female threesome dedicated to bringing swift justice to all who dare break the law. Not unlike Charlie's Angels, but with modern hair and chubbier physiques. Basically, we hook up the police scanner app to Laine's bluetooth car speakers - Laine drives, Maria navigates via Google Maps, and I try to decode the police scanner gibberish.  We DO NOT drive by the scene of possible lawlessness. We don't. But we need to know what's going on in case, you know, our pals in blue need any help...

Unfortunately, there's never very much going on Monday nights from 8pm-10pm (that's the only time all three Vagilantes are available). Mostly the police scanner just tells us what time it is and where the cop is sitting while he snacks on his donuts, so we spend the majority of our "shift" putting on fake mustaches, trying to figure out the dispatch codes, and giggling. But SOMETIMES, shit gets exciting.

Someone's got to make sure those hot firefighters have plenty of moral support! You know what I'm saying? *suggestive eyebrow wiggle*

Rest easy, world. We're here to serve and protect. 

The Vagilante Creed

As a bumbling but well-intentioned vigilante, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard 
lives and property in theory, to pretend to protect the innocent while actually snacking, and to leave the real crime-fighting to Batman. 

Inspector Wizard Sleeve, Sergeant Ham Wallet, and Lieutenant Ninja Slipper 

12 June, 2014

The Camel Suit & the Vagilantes (part 1)

It's fucking June. Did you guys know that? It's not even the beginning of June, it's the MIDDLE of June. My birthday is next Friday... I'm going to be *gulp* thirty-four. Don't tell anyone.

In an effort to stop my relentless aging, I've found myself engaging in a lot of immature activities lately.

Exhibit #1: The Camel

Yes, this is a two-person camel suit. 

Yes, I'm the one on front. Can't you tell?

For some reason, there's a camel suit in my office. Last week, as part of a team-building exercise, my coworkers and I all got to go to a Royals game in the middle of the workday (wahoo!!!! except for the fact that we were going to have to make up for 4 hours of missed work later...). My coworker and I decided that we were going to smuggle the camel suit into Kauffman Stadium and find a way to get on the jumbotron.

Why, you ask?

I don't know. Because I've always wanted to be on tv?

I'm not going to lie - on the big day, I started to get pretty nervous. It was 85 degrees out, and it was REALLY hard to see inside the camel. Also, it was hard to breathe and a little sweaty. And what if security decided that we were terrorists and tazed us? What if we accidentally fell onto the baseball field because we couldn't see, and ended up getting arrested like that drunk chick in the fountains that one time?

But I decided that I HAD to do it. After all, some guy got on tv at a game the week before just by wearing a horse head. Surely a CAMEL would be stepping things up a notch!

So we pulled on the costume and started sauntering around.

People stopped us for pictures, asked if we were selling cigarettes, and I felt like an anonymous sort of celebrity. There was one terrible moment when a group of children started screaming: "ATTACK THE CAMEL!" and I genuinely feared for my life, but luckily their accompanying adults held them in check.

After a few minutes, we were running low on air and needed to get out of the sun. I saw a long stretch of empty sidewalk ahead of us in the stands, leading up to an employee door. We decided to "gallop," aka skip, the rest of the way, in order to make as grand an exit as possible. I could only hope the cameras were on us the whole time...

Turns out, THEY WERE! We made it on the jumbotron not once, but THREE TIMES. And we made the televised game as well - my husband called me and said: "I saw you on tv!" They caught the camel galloping along in the stands in all its dromedary glory.

Unfortunately, none of my coworkers thought to record this epic moment on one of their camera phones, so all I have are the two photos above from when we first donned the costume.

Bucket list item = achieved.*

Exhibit #2 will have to be the subject of a second post since it's getting close to bed time... and the Vagilantes deserve a post all of their own (read it here!).

*Note that wearing a two-person camel suit in a stadium to get on tv has never technically been on my bucket list... but I just threw it on there for good measure. Why not? 

17 May, 2014

quality time with my mom and sister...

This is what happens when my mother, sister, and I are left unattended with cake.* 


We are on a "diet," so instead of eating a piece of cake each... we decided to share one piece of cake (a very large piece of cake...).


Last bite. When you've come this far, can you really throw the last bits away?**



Here's hoping it's a long, long time before we do THAT again. Shudder.

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

*This reminds me of the quote: "Any pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard and believe in yourself."
**Yes, you can. And you should. 

10 May, 2014

Mother's Day #3

This is technically my third Mother's Day. For the first, in 2012, I'm not even sure I knew I was pregnant yet - or I'd just found out. It counts, right?! Last year, in 2013, I'd just returned to work after maternity leave and was trying to acclimate to my new role as a working mother. In 2014, I'm the mother of a rambunctious, sweet toddler. It's mind-blowing how quickly things change.

I've been fortunate - Charlotte's been an extraordinarily easy child (I know she'll pay me back tenfold for this when she's a teenager). Her little personality is already starting to show - she's fearless when she's relying solely on herself, exploring and testing her boundaries. She's timid with strange people and strange places. She's serious, inquisitive, and stubborn as all hell.

It's odd to say this, but she's really the most laid-back toddler I've ever encountered. Yes, we have a tantrum from time to time as she tests her boundaries but, for the most part, she accepts the "rules." The stubbornness comes into play when she's tired or when she's learning something new. If she's determined to learn a skill (like how to climb onto a shelf, for example), she won't quit until she gets it. And, once she's figured it out, she'll do it over and over and over until she's perfected it. If she somehow hurts herself in the process, she cries briefly and then gets right back on task. She's a tough little cookie!

I remember Charlotte's first nightmare, a couple months ago. I went to comfort her, lifting her from the crib, and she melted against me. As I held her close, I felt the fear drain from her body, and she drifted back into slumber.

I pondered how odd it is that fear creeps into our lives at such a young age - and STAYS. Because, as I pressed the warm weight of her 20 pound body against mine, her fear absorbed into me. It was like I'd taken it from her via some sort of weird maternal osmosis. Suddenly I felt a stab of terror grip me, wondering what the future might hold for her... knowing that the world can be a very, very dark place.

I've had to fight a lot of anxiety since becoming a mother. From time to time, this crippling fear overwhelms me: what if something terrible & senseless happens to her??? I, despite all my vigilance, am incapable of protecting her from everything.

So what can I do? I don't want to stunt her development by making her a bubble kid (believe me, I've been tempted), so I guess I'm just going to hold my breath and PRAY.

And, while I'm not at all a religious person, I've found myself breathing a three-faceted prayer since becoming a mother:

  • Protect her from predators; have them see through her, let her pass them unnoticed.
  • Protect her from the reckless; shield her from the danger of their bad choices and inattention.
  • Protect her from herself; give her the longevity to survive her adolescent years of carelessness and perceived immortality.

All I can do is pray silently to some unknown force in the ether and hope for the best. And... watch helplessly as my child grows further and further away from me, drifting out into a wonderful yet dangerous world.

The ultimate goal of motherhood is to render your own role obsolete. It's definitely the most bittersweet aspect of the gig, but there's so much more joy than fear. And it's worth it, just for the honor of being Charlotte's mommy.

When I find myself worrying too much about the unknown, it helps to remind myself to focus on the NOW. And the now has never been any better.

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” 

― Amit Ray

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” 


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