Wednesday, April 25, 2012

For Rizzle.

Love this! You can buy it here!

Socialpunk Blog Tour & Giveaway!

Hi guys,

I'm participating in a blog tour for Monica Leonelle. She is a well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire ( and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit (

I've found her tools really useful as a blogger and hope to apply them as I experiment with some different writing projects in the future!

Monica is the author of the Socialpunk trilogy. Here is a blurb about the series:

Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.

Socialpunk is available for purchase at:
Barnes & Noble (
or Amazon (

Giveaway! Sign up here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Prequel... Hmm

I've been thinking so much about my pregnancy lately. I can't believe that less than a year ago, we were in the doctor's office watching Ellie roll over on the ultrasound machine. It's so weird to think that little creature was the baby I have now. I remember standing in the kitchen when my mom was visiting and feeling her kick for the first time. I don't want to forget these things! I may need to make a prequel to my Ellie scrapbook!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Zombie Attack!

Didn't need a random 3am feeding thrown into the mix this week. Mark helped, but I still had such a hard time falling back to sleep.

When I finally did, an hour later, I had a zombie apocalypse dream... (cue the dream sequence wavy lines)

I was staying with my extended family (the cast of Family Matters and some of my real life cousins/friends). The floors started to sink in as the Earth disintegrated. My family thought this was fun and kept trying to test the floor for weaknesses. My mom, a woman named Marla, Ellie, and I decided these people were not born to be survivors, so we left.

After about an hour on the road, Marla decided she wanted to stop at Dunkin' Donuts for a hot cup of post-apocalyptic coffee, but zombie customer service is slow as ****. My mom decided she and Ellie would just take a nap and wait. With zombies afoot...? I don't think so. I decided she'd finally lost her mind too, so I grabbed Ellie and ran for the door.

In the parking lot, the Dunkin' Donuts manager, Rick, his wife, and son (Lil Wayne) were heading out of town in their armored mini van. Finally, a family with some common sense!

They let me ride with them, and I let out my first real sigh of relief until, (in typical, zombie-movie fashion), Rick says, "We got Patches up front with us... Always been a good dog. He's been bitten." WTF!? I'm in an armored mini van, riding down 87, with the black Brady Bunch, and Kujo-zombie riding shotgun!?? Aww, hell nah...

I politely asked them to pull over. Luckily we had made it to my childhood home. My mom had arrived there earlier, and when I met her at the door, it seemed she had come to her senses. The house was in lockdown mode, though there was evidence she had been doing some gardening... Freshly planted flowers adorned the front step. The sun was shining. Something about your childhood home... You always remember it that way. Safe, bright, warm, happy.

My mom got me a glass of iced tea to sip on the side porch. I held Ellie close and snuggled her. I asked Mom how her day had been. She said, "Oh I'm just helping your sister with day care today..." A cute, little toddler awkwardly stumbled out the door onto the porch. Mom continued, "I needed a little extra help with the kids, so my neighbor, Trisha, offered to come over."

Trisha also awkwardly stumbled out the door onto the porch, because she was a ****ing zombie!! I jumped up and said, "Mom, what are you doing??" Mom said that Trisha wasn't fully transformed yet and still perfectly capable of carrying a tray of iced tea.

I ran upstairs with Ellie and tried to lock myself in my sister's old room. Unfortunately, Mother had switched the lock to the outside of the door, probably to keep Trisha *in* the room.

I closed the door tightly then realized the original doorknob lock was still in tact. I pushed it, and it sounded like the most insignificant click, as if this simple mechanism could keep the world out.

It couldn't even keep Steven Seagal out, which I realized quite quickly when he burst through the door with his two sidekicks, Ice-T and Cuba Gooding Jr.

(No more Lifetime movies, Law & Order, or Jerry MaGuire for me, thank you!)

My heroes!!? Nope. They assaulted me and left me for dead.

I heard Ellie crying and woke up to find her staring at me. The combination of feeling overwhelmingly in love with her, happy to be in my own pre-apocalyptic bed, and annoyed at being up at 5:30am made me nauseous.

I fed her, and she's been sleeping in my arms since 6:00 while I wrote out my silly dream and thought about how this is an exact representation of my anxiety, emotionally what I put myself through every single day.

The "zombies" must be my own thoughts and anxieties, and they're awful, flesh-eating, nasty things. And my one power against them (besides a beautiful crying baby to wake me up), is my optimism!

You know, I still believe Marla got her cup of coffee from the zombie barista, that she met some sweet old man with kind eyes and an extensive rifle collection, and the two of them rode off into the sunset together to survive the zombie apocalypse.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Sometimes it all seems so surreal. After losing the first pregnancy on Father's Day two years ago and hoping so much for another baby, after getting pregnant again the following April, and all the stress and anxiety of that second pregnancy...

Then this morning, I hear her stirring in her crib. She turns herself so she can see me, and coos at me as if to say, "Psst! Mama? Are you awake?"

Being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done, but each morning feels like heaven. I have my baby.

Whenever it gets really tough, I just hold her tight and tell her, "You're my baby." (I still sound surprised that I really have her, because I am surprised and so grateful.) "I love you, and I promise not to take one minute for granted."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Oooooh Baby! (in my best Little Richard voice)

This motherhood thing is just weird. Yesterday was so hard. She's changed so much this week that it feels like starting over with a new baby. I'm digging the nap routine day care set up (swaddle, binky, 2hr morning & afternoon naps = amazing), but when she's awake she needs us constantly. No more cuddling in the recliner. She tries to throw herself out of our arms to grab things she wants and wants to do everything we're doing including eating potato chips. My voice is hoarse from reading stories and singing old rock songs (She's obsessed with Little Richard. I mean, Mama's proud, but it seems a tad weird to be singing Long Tall Sally to my baby. And those "Oooh"s are exhausting!)

Mark almost broke down last night which freaked me out, because he never does. I'm sure it's just because we're both sick, I'm just back to work, and we're still new at this, but wow, we are done in. We both took turns last night getting her to go to bed, barely hanging onto each other for support. And just when I felt like I didn't have one more ounce of strength in me to sing one more lullaby, to rock her, to tell her everything was okay, she grabbed my hand and held it tightly. Okay, I'm yours. There's not much left for me to give (haha!), but it's yours.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Housewife Secret #1

I'm not pooping in here... I'm reading or taking a nap with my head on the toilet paper roll. (Submitted by my sister.)

Send me yours at:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Project Life

Finally, I'm up to the current day!! Woohoo! Not all the dates are perfect, but it's almost every 2 weeks. My next page should be done mid-May if I decide to keep doing every 2 weeks, which I think is doable right now!

Time to Make the Donuts!

This Dunkin' Donuts guy, I swear... Today he told a customer wearing a chauffeur hat that he should wear a conductor's hat, because it would look much cooler.

I ordered my usual medium decaf coffee with milk and sugar. He just shook his head "no" at me and smiled playfully... I said, "No??!" And he laughed and said, "Wait, what do you want?" I told him again. He stretched (and flexed, I kid you not) and said, "Wow, I'm exhausted. Let me get this straight... See, this is what happens when you go to bed at midnight and get up at 2am."

So, just to recap my week: Wednesday he told me he's "workin' on his six pack." Yesterday he told me he wanted to buy adult feetie-pajamas. Today he playfully denied me coffee and told me about his insomnia. I know way too much about this guy's nocturnal habits. And, seriously, what are we playing at? I mean, I'm 29, have bags under my eyes, no makeup on, spit-up in my hair. He's probably 18 and does *not* have a six pack. We both know this isn't going any further than the Dunkin' Donuts counter.

And, today, when I finally had the opportunity to say, "Ugh... I'm exhausted too. My baby kept me up all night..." I didn't. You know why? Because I'm the female version of Clark Griswold. And (probably because I haven't been out of the house in 3 months) he is the male version of Christie Brinkley in the red Ferrari...

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Me to Mark: So I signed up for Blogsvertise and... (giggles) Sometimes before I tell you something, I hear it from your point of view, and it makes me laugh.
Mark (the logical one) shakes his head and says: Continue.
Me: So I signed up for Blogsvertise. It's an advertising system for your blog. They give you *tasks* to complete, and you make money for completing them. But the thing is, you don't just get money from people clicking the links. They have to fill out a form or buy a product for you to earn money and for it to count as a completed task.
Mark: Okay...
Me: The thing is, no one's going to do that. Who would be dumb enough to first click a web ad then fill out a form? Nobody.
Mark: So how did you hear about this?
Me: I found a link on the Mommy Blogs site I visit.
Mark: Did you have to fill out a form to sign up?
Me: What? Well, yeah I... ... Oh my God.
Mark: Congratulations, you completed your first task.
Me: (gasp) I did!!! I'm an idiot.

Mark: And what do you get when someone completes a task?
Me: Money. You know, $5 each time someone completes a task.
Mark: You mean, "Blogsvertise Bucks"??
Me: (laughing) No, its real money...
Mark: I guarantee that one million Blogsvertise Bucks equals a "chance to win" one of 3 plastic lamps.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Project Life

I jumped ahead a bit, because I couldn't find pics for the 1 mo/2 wk page and 2 month page. They're kicking around on a camera card somewhere but will have to do some sorting. I think I have 3 more pages to do to get caught up!

Just Get Me a Coffee

So, instead of my usual, polite, sweet, flirt-free, awesome-coffee-making Dunkin' Donuts guy, today I get the new guy. Young kid, kind of stocky. He's standing there in his brown Dunkin' Donuts apron, brown Dunkin' Donuts visor. He gives me his best Dunkin' Donuts smile, sparkling in front of the donut case, and says to me in his sexiest Dunkin' Donuts voice: "So, I'm workin' on my six pack..." Me: "Whaaahaha!!" Him: "No, seriously. I'm in the Air Force." Me: "Ahhahaha!!!" Him: "I'm getting a tattoo when I get out... I can't get one now, because my body is government property." Me: "Hahahahaha..." (falls over)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Bomb Mom!

Not to toot my own horn, but I think I may have achieved super-mom status this morning...

After a restless night of trying to get E comfortable enough to sleep in our 83-degree apartment (ok, Mark took 3 of those wake up calls...), I got up at 5am to feed her, play with her, and start our day! When she fussed, I put on a regular broadway production while I made my lunch, singing her new favorite song (that I diligently learned the words to), and when I realized her sun hat was too big for her, I took my last 7 minutes before running out the door to whip out my sewing machine and take in the sides on the hat, so it fits now!

I saw this shirt in Walmart on Saturday and thought, "Lame!!" I was going to make fun of it, but now I might just have to buy it and wear it with pride!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Trees Are Freakin' Huge

Today E reminded me that trees are freakin' huge and completely "Oooh!" worthy. I love watching her take in the world from her car-seat!

Other "Oooh!" worthy things we found while out on the town:
-A large tower of ceramic wedding-cake toppers at the Christmas Tree Shop
-A large display of rainbow-colored candles
-A large man waiting in line at checkout

Free Journaling Cards

I had to make some blue cards to play off of the little spot of blue in the flower on E's shirt!

To Download: Click each card to enlarge, then right click to save. For Personal Use Only.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Project Life - Getting Started

So, here's a start! I'm hoping to get caught up to my current pictures. I have lots of pics to sort through, as the little one is now 3 months old! I can't believe it!

I'm so excited to make more progress and start creating pages for every week to two weeks of her life. I hope I can keep making these for a long time. I love the Clementine collection but already want to pull from the other collections. I'm thinking I'll get the complete digital Amber kit next month!

Does anyone have a preference for a printer? I like Shutterfly, but they seem expensive: about $3 per page.

Lets Get Digital

Is it just me or is working with real paper and pen terrifying? Ok maybe not terrifying (and sometimes it's even relaxing), buuuut it seems so permanent. There's no undo! I have to get past my fear tho! Drawing and crafting can be so therapeutic once I get past that hurdle!

My cousin got me an Amazon gift card, so I used it to buy a Project Life kit to do some more-templated scrapbooking for E (another great suggestion from Jess at The Girl With Curls blog). Of course once I got the supplies and put a page together, I found myself really missing the digital aspect, especially after seeing some of the things Jessica Sprague created.

But then! I googled Project Life hybrid and found a lot of people combining the digital and print. I thought that'd be perfect, since I have tons of digital pics but a lot of sentimental items too that I'd like to keep together like her hospital bracelet and day care reports.

So that's the plan then - a combo. I'll keep updating with my progress and share any digital graphics I create.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Little Hands

Finger-painting with a 3-month old is messy! But it also makes for some beautiful artwork! Love her style!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Parents Descend

My parents haven't been able to visit E in VT since her birth due to lots of craziness on both sides of the lake.

In NY, Mom was dealing with her own round of surgeries, and both she and Dad were handling matters with my grandparents' deaths. You know about the craziness in VT with my surgery and new-mom life.

Didn't my counselor tell me I should start a family calendar? Yep. Would have been very useful yesterday. I actually have a family calendar, but just FYI... It helps if you write your appointments on it.

My already stressed-out Mom and Dad arrived Sunday evening. I had made a crap load of veggies late in the afternoon with the intention of reheating them while baking a half ham. Voila! Easter dinner!

I cheerily texted "Happy Waster!!" (Thanks, auto-correct!) to all my friends as I bopped around the kitchen, wasting my few moments of post-surgery energy on dancing. E enjoyed the show from her bouncer but conveniently got bored right as the veggies were done. I figured you can't over-boil potatoes and carrots, and let them sit another hour while I tended to the baby beast.

Mom and Dad arrived early. I put E in her crib to keep her busy a moment, changed her diaper, and Dad called me into the kitchen to assess my veggies. I forgot about E and returned 10 minutes later to find her pantless and chewing on her fingers peacefully. She was 100%, totally fine. In other words, she was "neglected" (per my high standards of parenting). Dinner proceeded normally but so began a parental visit with a general feeling of blah-ness at realizing I couldn't babysit my guests and tend to my daughter at the same time.

We all chatted for awhile after dinner then Mom and Dad headed to a hotel at E's regular temper-tantrum-inducing holy-crap-I-gotta-go-to-bed?! time. E also got creative and paired this parenting challenge with the holy-crap-it's-2am-let's-have-a-party!! wake-up call and feeding frenzy which led straight into the holy-crap-I-gotta-pee-5-times! diaper-changing marathon. I concluded that having a baby is like taking care of a drunk college friend every Friday night... for the rest of my life, and I cried a little bit.

Late-morning came quickly, and Mom and Dad arrived at 9am. I got E fed, dressed, and ready to head out right in time for Dad to decide he wanted to do our taxes for us and take care of some other errands. He proceeded to search the entire house for the papers he needed, and I panicked, doing the same. This led to a series of panic attacks especially when he didn't find them but instead found the other hidden, crumpled pile of letters he had sent me explaining how I needed to organize my finances after Mark and I got married. He gave up and retired to the sofa while I had a mini meltdown.

The good thing? As a mom, I couldn't resort to crying. I had to pick myself up, call the Town Clerk for those missing papers, make two other calls to rearrange some appointments, and get E ready again for our outing. We had to stop at her day care, eat lunch, and run a few other errands. Mom helped, I re-fed her, and was just getting her car seat ready when there was a knock at the door.

I mumbled a "Who the hell...?" and opened the door to find the housekeeper. I forgot that I had scheduled one more cleaning session with my housekeeping gift certificates.

I'm supposed to ready our house first - just a minor pick-up for floor/counter cleaning, etc., but I had completely forgotten. I gave the woman freedom to do whatever needed to be done to clean, and ushered all four of us out of the house, while my mother insisted E wasn't dressed warm enough AND while explaining to the cleaning lady that she doesn't know why her daughter keeps her house this way, that she certainly wasn't raised this way, that me (the strange one) just isn't the "domestic type." Humph.

It's true, I am no Bree Van de Camp. I'm not even a Lynette Scavo. I'm probably some mix of Susan, Gabi, and one of those moms you see crying in the freezer section at Walmart.

However, my baby gets the best of me, and my parents had to get the leftovers. I calmed myself, insisted to Mom that she didn't embarrass me in front of the cleaning lady, and headed out with my family.

We went to lunch, visited the day care, shopped at the craft store, went to Walmart (no crying in the freezer aisle), Babies 'R' Us, Starbucks, and home. I had to breast feed E in the car. She peed all over her only blanket and the bench at the restaurant. Me, who never wants to ask for help, had to have Dad get her stroller and Mom get paper towels.

Everyone survived, barely. We came home to a gorgeously cleaned home. We had dinner, and Mom and Dad went to their hotel. Mark came home from work and put E to bed. I plopped down on the couch to RELAX.

Mark offered to rub my feet and legs. I graciously accepted under one condition: that he would not give me one look of romantic anticipation, not one hopeful touch that this leg rub would turn into anything more physical. And after he promised me that, then halfway through the leg rub broke that promise, I told him this exact story, word-for-word. He hugged me and sent me to bed. Alone.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pop Tarts

Remember in Yours, Mine, and Ours when Henry Fonda is grocery shopping with Lucille Ball, and he loads up on beer and says something like, "And these are for Dad..."?

That's how my husband feels about Chocolate Pop Tarts. It's his one guilty pleasure. The last few nights, while rocking E to sleep, he quietly opened his Pop Tarts and ate them right from the package cold.

Though it was something little, it made me realize all the sacrifices he's made for us. It was the equivalent of watching Henry Fonda put the beer back.

So tonight when he asked me, if it wasn't too much trouble, to hand him a package of Pop Tarts and the glass of milk he left in the fridge from the night before (that probably tasted like fridge funk by now), I toasted the Pop Tarts and got him a fresh glass of milk.

He said he was undeserving of such luxury (hehe), but we all know that's not true. Super Dad has been working full time and taking care of E while I'm still recovering. And I swear that, as our relationship takes a back seat to this week's obstacles, these little gestures of love will keep our marriage strong!

Mic Dundee at Your Service

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: last night was easily one of the worst nights of my life.

If you don't like bathroom stories, no need to keep reading. Our family is famous for them, and I'm proud to be able to add another one to the chart-topper list of bathroom horror tales.

Let me cut to the chase... After taking Vicodin every 6 hours for 4 days straight, and obviously not drinking enough liquids, I found myself beyond the normal realms of earthly constipation. In other words, other-worldly constipation. Yes, that has a nice ring to it.

After attempting to pass on my own what I later learned was a "softball-size" turd, I wound up in the Emergency Room in severe pain.

We live in Vermont, and the closest hospital is 25 minutes away. I thought about calling 9-1-1 until I remembered my neighbor telling me he's an EMT and would be the first one to arrive at "the scene" should there ever be an "emergency." I decided that since "the scene" would be my bathroom with me on the toilet and the "emergency," my lack of pooping, it'd be best to not involve him in this delicate matter.

Instead I begged Mark to rush me to the ER at 8 o'clock at night. I waited in "triage" for 2 hours with an angel of a nurse named Rebecca. I couldn't sit, and to add to the torture, I could hear the doctor on the other side of the curtain, at the bed next to mine, (very) slowly assessing another patient.

Meanwhile I prayed (out loud) to the Lord, my savior, to help me poop, even if on the floor. I told Jesus I wouldn't mind and begged him to exorcise the poop demons from my body.

Finally the doctor came to see me. Though it was a 2-person room, and I was the only patient now in there, he closed the door. And I knew something awful was about to happen. Much to my surprise, he looked just like Crocodile Dundee... So I knew he was the man for the job.

I explained my situation. He said (in an Australian accent, I imagined), "I'll have to do a rectal exam and manually break up the poop." Oh God. I had heard about this procedure but long since convinced myself it was only an urban legend.

It was over quickly but not without some crying and one, last, humiliating "I can NOT do this!!"

Mic Dundee apologized and warned me it may take one more round of "crock wrestling" to "release the beast."

Then they ushered me off to the enema room where Rebecca, my nurse angel, filled me with mineral oil for a spa-like experience I will never forget.

Ten minutes later, I ran to the bathroom, threw aside my barf bag, dropped my glasses on the floor, and suffered through five rounds of poop-passing convulsions.

In a flash, Mic had my discharge orders ready. He came in the room, while I was breast feeding E. (Super-Duper Pooper Mom!), and he said "I'm sorry. I'll give you a minute." (tire-screeching halt sound) Seriously? You're bashful about a boob? You just had your hand in my butt, massaging my poop.

He reminded me to drink lots of water - and no more Vicodin. Extra-Strength Tylenol will do.

Note from the forever optimist: My dignity is gone, which is unfortunate, but I am now officially immune to all levels of shame and humiliation.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Want To

I want to blog today but just can't find the motivation.

Recovery is going ok but I still can't lift the baby or hold her for long periods of time.

My parents are busy with Grandpa's funeral, and all I want to do is call and cry for my mommy. How's that for pathetic?

My mother-in-law is helping with E today which is great, but every time E cries I just melt. Every part of me wants to run to her and make everything ok. Instead I just keep my distance except to talk to her or play with her briefly. It just breaks my heart that I can't be a good mommy to her right now. I hope she doesn't remember this and have security issues for the rest of her life.

I feel like such a wreck right now. I blame the pain meds.

Someone on Twitter thought that E had surgery based on how I worded my tweet. And it was a good reminder that things could be much worse. I'm very blessed to have a happy, healthy baby.

There, I blogged!