Seven years ago around Valentine's Day - or was it eight? - I met my purse.

We lived in Germany at the time, stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base. And one day while I was perusing the BX, I fell in love with a Coach purse. It was black, made of a soft, buttery leather: simple and understated, yet elegantly tailored. But if you know anything about Coach purses, you know that they're not cheap. This one in particular was like $300. And even though we didn't have kids at the time, we were just in our early twenties, living on an airman's meager salary, and reeeeeally not in the position to drop three hundred smackers on something as frivolous as a handbag.

But I was determined to save up the money and somehow make that beautiful black Coach my own. I worked six days a week as a night stocker in the freezer section of the Commissary, and would make just enough in a month to buy the purse. But I was afraid someone would snatch it up before I could make the purchase - so I hid it, furtively stashing it behind rows of other bags lining the BX shelves. "Nobody will get to that purse before I do," I boasted to Curtis.

And I checked on the purse. Obsessively. For, like, weeks. Nearly every time I was in the BX and had a few minutes to spare, I'd sneak over to the handbags and make sure it was still there.

Until one day, it wasn't. And I was sooooo bitterly disappointed.

"Someone found my purse," I told Curtis sadly over dinner. I probably even had tears in my eyes. "It's gone."

But then he handed me a package. And I found out that the "someone" who had found my purse? Was my husband. He'd bought it for me for Valentine's Day - all $300 worth.

Fast-forward to yesterday, like two million years later. I was still carrying that same purse. Yes, I can practically hear all you handbag-of-the-season-toting fashionistas gasping at the sheer horror of it. But y'all? I get my money's worth. And of course, it had sentimental value.

I guess it's obvious that I've never really gotten the obsession with handbags. I mean, yeah, I enjoyed carrying a nice purse ... but that never made me want to amass a huge collection of them, or keep up with whichever designer bag the celebrities are carrying. To me, it's a huge hassle to switch purses according to outfit or whatever. And besides, I have three kids. I have carried everything from baby food to toy trucks to peed-on underwear in my purse (theirs, not mine). In fact, just yesterday I realized I'd been toting a dirty plastic spork in there. Why would I want to spend a small fortune on something that essentially gets used as a trash receptacle from time to time?

Still, as I tugged on the broken zipper of my poor old beaten-up Coach for the two millionth time yesterday - and silently lamented the lack of interior space - I realized sadly that it was time for some sort of replacement.

Conveniently, there was this sign up at an empty Steve & Barry's store that screamed, "WEEKEND CLEARANCE!" I'd been seeing the commercials on TV for a while (during my daily dose of the Maury show - don't judge) in which they went on and on about how this sale would be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only - and how you could get designer purses, perfume, jeans, laptops, jewelry, tools, and all this other crap at rock-bottom prices up to 80% off!

Designer purses. As in ... Coach.

You can probably see where this is going.

Now - I'm not an experienced handbag buyer, but even I know this: when the only thing standing between you and your new purse is a pack of gold-toothed thugs buying new bling at a deep discount ... it's probably not a real Coach.

But thugs notwithstanding, I bought a new purse. In fact, I bought two - a black one and a brown one - for a teeny fraction of the cost of my one original (and authentic) Coach. They're all right. I mean, even Stevie Wonder could see that they're knockoffs ... but they're decent knockoffs, and will serve their purpose in a way that my old purse couldn't.

When I got home, I couldn't wait to "move in" to my roomy new black purse. But first I had to have a moment with my real Coach. After emptying it, I took it back to my closet, gave it a loving squeeze, and whispered my thanks for its years of faithful service before placing it gently on the shelf. I probably don't need to keep it, but I couldn't fathom throwing it away.

Maybe some day years in the future, when I no longer need to carry the occasional diaper or baggie of Cheerios or other space-sucking kid necessity, I'll dust off my old purse and get the zipper fixed and use it again. It'll be vintage by then.

That's fashionable, right?

(Un)Stuffed Animal

I was temporarily insane when, almost a year ago, we got a new puppy. Because who in their right mind gets a new puppy - a peeing, pooping, barking, chewing new puppy - when they've also got three small children, two of whom are in diapers?

But I made it through the new-puppy phase with at least some of my sanity (although mopping through hundreds of puddles and piles does do a number on the mental health). And now, for the most part, I can honestly say that Josie is a wonderful companion and an irreplaceable member of our family.

And it's a good thing she's cemented a place in our hearts. Because the other day, while the rest of the family was out shopping, Josie decided to redecorate ... starting with the couch pillows.

Now, I've cleaned up some particularly heinous messes in my day. (Remember this? Or this?) But this one, though definitely not as high on the gross-out factor, was probably one of the most difficult. Because the little pillow-stuffing fibers cling onto every. Single. Carpet fiber. I had to pick up the biggest tufts by hand, and then go over the entire area with the vacuum. It took me forever.

And this is where the "epic fail" part of the story comes in.

You see, the trash truck was scheduled to come the next morning.

And I - being the genius that I am - thought, "I'll just leave this trash bag full of stuffing and crap right here by the stairs so Curtis can take it down to the can when he leaves for work." Because I am all about convenience, y'all.

And in the night?

Josie took it upon herself to do this:

Yeah. The beyotch tore the bag open. And scattered the contents all over the living room ... FOR THE SECOND TIME. 

And then to add insult to injury? She barfed up a little bit of the stuffing onto the laundry room floor later.

I love my dog, I love my dog, I love my dog .........

That Wasn't Chocolate

That's it. I've got to figure out a way to refrain from going to the bathroom during my children's waking hours. Maybe I'll just resort to wearing adult diapers around all day. Because seriously? I'd probably rather do that than deal with the fiascos that aaaaalways seem to happen when I take a minute for a potty break.

I thought I had a clear window this morning. Curtis was taking Colin to school, and Cameron and Coby had just finished their breakfasts. I turned on the TV for them, and since they seemed occupied, I thought it was the perfect time to slip off for a little rendezvous with the loo.

But as usual ... I was wrong.

When I came out (less than two minutes later), I could see Coby at the end of the hallway. In one hand, he clutched his sippy cup. The other hand appeared empty ... but he was making a horrible face, and spitting as though he'd eaten something nasty: "Pfffffth. Pffffffthhh."

I walked toward him, my steps slowing out of sheer dread. What was he chewing? And was that ... a blob of something on his upper lip?

Sure enough, it was a blob. A brown blob. And wait - was that a brown smear on the side of his head? And another on his stomach ... and another on his ankle?

Please God please let it be chocolate, I prayed silently, thinking of the M&Ms the kids were eating last night. It was totally possible that Coby had found a few stray ones on the floor, and you know how babies are when they eat chocolate.

But then? I got close enough to smell him.

And that? Wasn't chocolate.

... Unless it was, you know, the recycled kind.

Apparently the little guy had been doing some diaper-diving. I swear he wasn't poopy when I left the room, which means that within a span of about a minute and a half, he had taken a massive dump ... and then sampled the goods. (*gag*) Which cinches it: I've gotta quit going to the bathroom. Because when I do, horrible, nightmare-inducing things happen.

Coby wasn't too happy when I scrubbed him down, but he didn't complain at all when I cleaned out his mouth.

Maybe there's hope for the kid after all.

Ladies, Man

Until he started kindergarten five months ago, I was the love of my son's life. But then he noticed all the pretty little girls in his class. (And in other classes.) And now I'm pretty much chopped liver ... especially lately.

I expected this to happen. I really did. The problem is, I expected it to happen, like, years from now. Like in junior high or something. I know this is a selfish thing to say, but Colin has some geeky tendencies - and I was hoping that he'd be so intensely focused on his pursuit of new knowledge that he would fail to notice the girls around him. At least until he hits puberty ... I mean, my gosh.

But yeah ... not so much. In fact, his adorable nerd-in-training schtick seems to make him a surprisingly big hit with the older women. Case in point: these pictures he's been bringing home. From third-grade girls.

Did I mention these third grade girls have also taken it upon themselves to walk him out of school every day? Yeah. Two of them. They flank him on either side, and guide my beaming son across the crosswalk, where they then hug him goodbye and ruffle his hair and stand grinning and blowing kisses until he disappears into the car. And most days, while this is happening, no fewer than two little girls from his class are yelling, "Bye Colin!" and waving frantically like those "wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube men."

He has had at least three girlfriends from his own class over the course of the year. I use the term "girlfriend" loosely because I think of my own kindergarten "boyfriend," who was blissfully unaware that we were dating, so I had no choice but to chase him around the playground and pin him down for a kiss. For which I totally got in trouble. Although every time I've asked him, he swears that yes, they are mutually aware of their boyfriend/girlfriend status.

The first girl Colin "dated" was G., who he subsequently broke up with for "talking too much about silly things" (to which my husband helpfully snorted, "Better get used to that, son"). Then came E., but their relationship met its demise because she "chewed funny in his face." Now he's dating another E., with whom he says he talks about pheasants. As in birds.


He recently told someone who asked that he wants to "marry a girl who doesn't drink or smoke, and who takes care of herself." I can only hope his standards remain as high throughout his dating life ... although I hope he relaxes a little bit because seriously? Girls sometimes talk about silly things. And occasionally chew funny in people's faces. And, you know, fart and stuff.*

*With the notable exception of my friend Jenna, who is apparently some sort of fartless freak.

So anyway. The ladies, they love my little dude ... and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Maybe if he didn't love them back so much ...   

Girls Gone Childless

I had one of those blink-and-you'll-miss-it weekends ... but ohhhh, was it nice! I traded my boys for girls. Curtis and the kids headed to Missouri for a visit with our families, while three of my besties from Missouri traveled up here for a girls' weekend with me, sans husbands, boyfriends, or children. And the weekend mostly consisted of eating, laughing, dabbling in makeup and hairstyles, and stuff like this:

The dog was all, "WTF?"

... Because even when you're thirtysomething twenty-two, you should still remember how to act like a silly little girl when the occasion calls for it. Which this occasion most definitely did.*

*And plus we were deep-cleaning my mattress at the same time. See all those dust particles we unearthed? So yeah. Practical.

It was awesome and amazing up until yesterday, when my girls left. Then I was alone for a period of like eight hours before my boys got home, and y'all? It sounds like a sweet deal but I literally wandered around the house feeling lost. I tried to take a nap, but wasn't all that successful. I did a little bit of picking up, but the house wasn't really all that messy since I'd cleaned it before my company came. I thought about blogging or drawing a new cartoon, but I felt so weird without Curtis or the kids around ... like I was missing pieces or something.

But I wish I had taken more advantage of it because I'd forgotten one important thing - which became disappointingly clear within five minutes of their return. When my kids come home from a weekend with their doting grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins? They come home with a (false) sense of entitlement. Because they've just spent two or three days getting and doing pretty much whatever they want. It's like they forget that there are guidelines, or people who will actually tell them no, and their pompous little behinds act like they've never heard of things like bedtime, picking up after themselves, and the no-dessert-before-breakfast rule.*

*Which does not, of course, apply to me. Because I'm the mom, that's why. 

What's worse, they celebrated Cameron's birthday while they were there. With both sides of the family. And there were Christmas presents they hadn't gotten. So they came back with a ridiculous amount of new stuff - with an even more ridiculous amount of little pieces that will almost certainly end up as sparts. (See? Here's a real-time update: literally just as I typed the "sparts" sentence, Coby came up waving this nondescript black tube that belongs to Wal-Mart-only-knows what):

So the weekend is over, now it's back to butt-wiping. And laundry. And cooking. And dishes. And school drop-off and pickup. And stepping on random crap (which sometimes, on my unluckiest days, literally is crap).

But it's also back to hugs and kisses and "I love you Mommy"s. Which makes everything else - even the sparts and the spoiledness - pretty much worth it. 


*Disclaimer: this post is predominantly about breastfeeding. So if you aren't down with a frank discussion about my boobs, how about clicking on over to this post and discussing my leg hair instead?

Have you ever flipped through a National Geographic magazine, or watched a documentary about some sort of tribe, and looked at the women's boobs? Having gone a lifetime without the support of bras, plus nursing multiple babies for extended periods of time, makes their boobs a little - okay, a lot - long. Like, tie-them-up-so-your-knees-don't-knock-against-them-when-you-walk long.

But me? I've been wearing a bra since before I had anything to put in one. So why is it that now, when I take my bra off at the end of the day, it's like I've been storing two rolled-up fire hoses in it? My boobs don't bounce any more. They flop. There's no cleavage any more, but rather a disappointing flat space. Like if you put two pancakes really far apart on the same plate. Now, I never claimed to have a gorgeous set of ta-tas even in their heyday; they've never been what you'd call voluptuous (more like ski-slopey, really) but this is ridiculous.

And I blame it on one thing. Not unsupportive bras, and not even breastfeeding (at least not directly) ... I blame it on Coby and his penchant for what I call "acrobatic nursing."

Coby is sixteen months old now, and still wants to nurse several times a day. For the record, this surprises even me; I never, ever thought I would still be breastfeeding at this point. I have had every problem in the book (mastitis, thrush, low milk supply, and most notably, DMER ), which is why I didn't get very far nursing either Colin or Cameron. But Coby has always been particularly attached to the boob, so we soldiered on and got through all the obstacles, and now it's actually the pleasant experience it's supposed to be.

Well, sometimes. When Coby isn't trying to turn my boob into Stretch Armstrong.

I can actually do everything pictured here. With my breasts.

You see, the older he gets, the more curious he is. You know how toddlers are: they never just wanna sit. They want to climb, look, explore. Although Coby wants to do all these things while he nurses. Which means he'll latch on normally at first, snuggled into my arms ... and then he'll raise his head. And then he'll try to stand up. And then he'll go around the corner to fetch a toy. With my boob clamped firmly into his mouth. And I'm all, "Dude, it's not Silly Putty."

Okay, so I'm exaggerating, but not by much. I swear "the girls" have gotten stretched out enough in the last few months to be suitably used as a yardstick. Tangerines in tube socks, people.

At least if I'm ever caught outside in cold weather, I can use them as earmuffs. And a hat. At the same time.  

A Tale of a Tattle

I'm going to look on the bright side and say my kids are practicing to be journalists. Because when it comes to being the first to report something? They're on it. Like white on rice.

Ah, who am I kidding? It's just tattling (unless, of course, they're going to write for the tabloids). And even though it's a relatively new development around here, it's driving me craaaaaaazy. Colin was sick last Thursday and Friday, so he didn't go to school. Then of course it was the weekend, and then it was Martin Luther King Day, so there was no school yesterday either. So over the course of five school-less days, when the boys were perpetually together, I heard no fewer than 12,544,263 tattles.

But they couldn't be something valid, like, you know, "So-and-so is coloring on the wall" or "So-and-so is bleeding." No. You wanna know the ones I heard with the most frequency? (Note: when you read these, your internal voice should sound like a bitterly disappointed mosquito. With PMS.) 

"Colin said I look different!'"

"Cameron said I'm orange!"

Um, WTF?

Not only that, but they will literally tackle each other in order to be the first to tell. I'll hear the commotion start in the other room: some sort of uproar that sets off the race. Then two sets of little feet thunder toward me, and as soon as they think they're within my hearing range, they both start yelling about whatever perceived injustice has gone down. Trying to drown each other out. Shoving each other out of the way. "Colin pushed me!" "Cameron said I have too much hair!" "Colin pulled down my underwear!" "Cameron tried to put his toe in my mouth!"

You get the picture.

It's tough, because it's one of those frustrating things that seems to go against everything you're trying to teach your kids. Kinda like, "Hey, don't ever talk to strangers, but you can go sit on Santa's lap and take candy from him. It's okay." I want my kids to be able to come to me with concerns, and not to feel like they can't tell me if someone is hurting them somehow. But damn. How can I get across to them that not every little thing is worth telling?

I'm trying to be optimistic about it, and hoping that it's just a phase. But I was a kid once too, and from what I remember? Kids tattle. All the time. All the way through, like, elementary. And considering Colin is only in Kindergarten, and Cameron hasn't even started yet, and Coby is just now on the verge of talking ... I'd say I'll be dealing with it for the long haul.

Unless one of you brilliant people has a solution, in which case, quit holding out on me! I'm pretty sure my sanity depends on it.

My Second is Three!

Three years ago today, I gave birth to a baby boy with man-shoulders and enough back hair to make somebody a new toupee. But despite that - and despite the fact that I had worried long and hard whether I had enough love for two babies - he had my heart from the first glance.

My precious baby, my second son. My Cameron.

In the three years he's been in our lives, he has changed so much. (And FYI, he's no longer a hairy little beast.) He's gone from a precious newborn ...

... to sporting one heck of a whiteboy 'fro ...

(and yes, he still does eat toilet paper) ...

... to a rambunctious ...
... nose-picking ...
... sweetheart.

But despite all the changes, and the phases, and the messes that the last three years have brought,
some things ...

... never change.

Happy third birthday to my wonderful, vivacious, charming, mischief-making "middle man." Mommy loves you, Cameron!

PS -  I've extended the EdenFantasys giveaway! You've now got until the middle of this week - and all you've got to do is leave a comment!

What's Your Sign?

It's a good thing I'm not on the dating scene any more, y'all. Because if a dude came up and asked me, "Hey baby, what's your sign?" I'd be like, "Virgo. No, wait, Leo."*

*Actually I'd be like, "Get away from me with your old-ass pickup line, creeper," but that doesn't fit in very well with today's blog theme.

I'm sure if you're on the Internet at all (which you obviously are) you've heard that the astrological signs have changed. I guess it's been this way for quite some time, and we're just now getting wind of it - but whatever. According to the "new" signs, I'm now a Leo instead of a Virgo like I previously thought.

I don't even know anything about Leos, but I do know that I am THE stereotypical Virgo. I was skeptical about astrology until I read the in-depth description of Virgo in this book as a teenager and was like, "OMG! That's totally me!" It's not like I ever took it so seriously that I, like, planned my life around my horoscope or anything, but I was honestly amazed at how well my personality matched the Virgo traits - and how much it didn't match the other signs'.

So being a Virgo has been part of my identity. For like YEARS now. In the following ridiculous photograph, for example - taken at a party circa 2003 or so (and cropped so you can't see what the other partygoers, or my hands, are doing) - the T-shirt I'm wearing had "VIRGO ♥ 's" emblazoned on the front, along with a list of traits:
  Photographic evidence that not only was I once a Virgo, I was also kind of tan.

Anyway, maybe it was a coincidence that I fit so snugly into the Virgo mold, but whatever. I'm having a mini identity crisis over here. The rug of "what was" is being yanked from beneath me, replaced by the carpet of "you're a Leo now." To go from a cautious and stodgy earth sign to an impassioned, extroverted fire sign is a big jump. 

I'm sure it's all psychological and we are who we are, regardless of what sign supposedly governs our personalities. But still. It's like suddenly being told that my name is not actually Rita, people have just been instructed to call me that. Weird.

Oh well. According to my preliminary reading on Leos, they're supposed to be flamboyant risk-takers. Maybe I'll incorporate a little bit of that into my 2011. I guess there's a little bit of Leo room in this Virgo girl.

Whatever your sign, you'll be thanking your lucky stars if you win $50 from EdenFantasys! You've got until Monday ... click the "Giveaways" tab and leave a comment to enter!

I Got the Feevah!

It's happening. And I'm powerless to stop it. It's infecting my mind, spreading like wildfire, taking up more and more space in my consciousness. It's ...

I know. What am I thinking? I'm not, I guess. My brood of boys keeps me busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. But it never fails: every time my youngest starts talking plainly and being all-around less infant-y, I get that itch. Once I get a squirming toddler, my arms ache for the peaceful weight of a sleeping newborn. And suddenly, it seems like I revert back to my infertility days, when it seemed that everyone around me was pregnant, and strangers were saying, "So when are you going to have a baby?" (or presently, "So when are you going to have a girl?"). Like last night, I was getting my daily dose of pop culture over at when I came across this:


As you can imagine, Curtis isn't as "feverish" as I am. He's perfectly satisfied to put our reproductive years behind us, and can't wait until our boys are teenagers and play sports and eat and do whatever else teenage boys do (I shudder to think). He doesn't get my need for another baby. The other night we were in bed talking (okay, I was jabbering while he tried to sleep) and I said, "If we were to get pregnant now, there'd be two years and one month between Coby and the new baby. That's a good distance, isn't it?"

"I'm tired of diapers," was all he said.*

*As if he changes more than one a week.

Oddly enough, the one thing that diminishes my baby fever is the thought of having a girl. I'm sure that seems backwards, especially since everyone and their dog feels the need to comment on how I'm overrun with testosterone. And it's true - I am - but I've come to like it that way. I wouldn't know what to do with a girl.

Still, girl or boy, a baby's a baby. And though I honestly believed I'd feel "done" after Coby was born ... I'm not sure about that any more. 

What about you? Are you finished having kids, and if so, was it your choice or your spouse's, or both? Am I waiting on an "all done" feeling that's never gonna happen? 

Don't forget to click on the "Giveaways & Reviews" tab for the $50 EdenFantasys giveaway - all you've got to do is comment! Ends Monday, January 17th!

Crack and the Beanstalk

The other day Cameron, my almost-three-year-old, came running excitedly into the kitchen and stood beside me ... with one hand rooted deep in the back of his underwear.

"Cameron. Get your hand out of your pants," I instructed him, as I do approximately 1,337,256 times a day.

"But I have a magic bean in my buttcrack!"

Uh ... you have a what?

"A magic bean, Mommy," he insisted. "In my buttcrack."

When your kid tells you there's something in his buttcrack, you're kind of obligated to look, as much as you don't want to. Especially when that something is being described as a magic bean. Soooo, I had Cameron bend over, and I peeped tentatively into his Spiderman-printed briefs.

Sure enough, there was something lodged in his crack. Something small, white, and rounded. WTF?

Dutifully, I removed the so-called "magic bean." Turns out it was neither a bean nor magic, but only a piece of eraser from a mechanical pencil.

I was a little disappointed. I did all that digging for nothing.

Five more days to leave a comment for a chance to win a $50 EdenFantasys gift card! Just click on the giveaways tab up top!

Snow Way

Dude. I just almost slid right past the driveway of Colin's school. Sometimes I hate snow. Unfortunately, I live in Iowa, and we get a lot of it.

I was a fan of snow a.) before I had to drop my kid off at school in it, and b.) before my 4-wheel-drive Jeep crapped out. But now? Notsomuch.

What's laughable is that we live on a bus route, which is supposedly the first route cleared by the city snow removal crew. (What's even MORE laughable is that we live on a bus route, where multiple buses drive by multiple times a day, and they still won't pick my son up.) Anyway, I'm pretty sure that if the snow-clearing trucks went by this morning, they hadn't had their coffee yet and forgot to put the scraper-blade-thingies down. Because the roads really sucked. And sucky snowy roads suck worse in a slidey, low-to-the-ground Buick.

Like I said, when I went to turn in to Colin's school, I hit the brakes and kept ... on ... going. I slid past the regular turning point and thought I was going to have to actually back up in the road, but I just turned in anyway and prayed I wouldn't hit the curb in the process (I avoided it, but just barely).

Usually when I drop him off, I pull up at the curb, he gets out and walks up the sidewalk. It's easier to park further away because all the other parents are crowding up to drop their kids off right at the door, and I know it's not going to kill Colin to walk a few extra steps. But this morning, everything is snow-covered. And everybody knows that when you drop a five-year-old off in a snowy landscape, and tell him to go right to the sidewalk and straight into the school do not stop do not pick up any snow do not get your jeans wet whatsoever do you understand me? ... well, that's probably an unrealistic expectation. At least it would be for my son, who is the consummate dawdler even without snow to play in.

So I had the brilliant idea to not actually park, but instead pull up as close as I could to the door and just let him out quickly. I see parents do it all the time. Unfortunately, those are parents whose kids just get out and go.

But not my boy.

Colin struggled with the door handle. His foot got caught in his backpack. He finally made it out of the car, but acted like the door was so heavy he couldn't push it closed (even though he closes it with no problem every other time). At this point, cars are building up behind me, and I feel like a real asshole for being "parked" in the way. And then I feel like an even bigger asshole because I'm frantically gesturing for my kid to just get on the damn sidewalk for eff's sake, as he's standing in the midst of the morning gridlock, trying to form his fingers into the sign for "I love you."

This is a process which sometimes takes a considerable amount of time. And what you've got to understand about Colin is that he isn't the type to just try it a couple times and then laugh it off. Ohhhh no. He's got to do it right, and in this case, I knew he'd take ten minutes if he had to. So I just kept emphatically pointing and mouthing, "Get on the sidewalk!" as he painstakingly bent his fingers into the right positions.

I could just feel the scornful eyes upon me, and imagined that people were all like, "OMG. What does she think she's doing, blocking traffic and then dropping her kid off to stand in the middle of the driveway? And she's wearing her pajamas and a pair of boots. I bet her house is filthy."

Okay, so maybe I overdramatize. But still.

Colin finally, mercifully, got his "I love you" sign right and got out of the way. Red-faced, I blew him a kiss, and tried to avoid looking at anybody as I maneuvered out of the parking lot. Ugh.

I'll tell you this much: that blew. And I'm not looking forward to picking him up this afternoon, when we will have gotten the remainder of the forecasted snow (about two more inches). But you know what? It's either that or hear Colin and Cameron bicker incessantly for an extra eight hours.

So yeah, I guess I'm glad we don't get many snow days after all.


I Yam What I Yam

Wow! I'm so impressed by the feedback I got from everyone! Thank you so much for obliging me. I was honestly surprised by the amount of good things you had to say! I guess I just figured I left myself open to all kinds of criticism, and expected it to be heaped upon me. I tried to steel myself for some inevitable nastiness - but no! To date, the post has been up for two days and I haven't gotten a single hateful comment.

Which is of course because readers of this blog become automatically awesome. Duh.

I did get a few (very respectful) suggestions on how I might improve thangs around these parts. Several of you weren't too keen on the background. So I've lightened it, made it a bit more subtle. I do as little as I can to change the blog because, well, I designed it myself - and had to Google every. Single. Thing. The whole project took me like three very intense, headache-inducing days, hunched over my keyboard, figuring out HTML and all these other technicalities in an agonizingly slow hunt-and-peck process. So thought of accidentally messing it up, and having to research how to fix it ... let's just say I'd rather pluck a turkey.*

*I thought about things I would not like to do and "pluck a turkey" was the first thing that came to mind. I know ... weird.

I'm not sure I won't redesign it someday in the near future. But that takes time (it doesn't help that I'm uber-picky), which is something I don't have in excess. If you could see my unshaven legs, you'd know. In the meantime, I do plan to do a little sidebar tweaking, maybe try to declutter a bit.

Speaking of unshaven legs, there's the matter of overstepping into "TMI" territory. A couple of people said they loved the Frump, but that sometimes I might be a little too ... candid? Yeah, I can't deny: I share (and overshare) a ton of personal stuff. That's just me, though. I started this blog as a way to reach out - blindly, because I didn't know squat about the blogosphere then - in hopes of finding other women who could relate to me. The more intimately you know someone, the more you can relate - so when I tell you things, it's just me being in need of people who feel me. When we had to make a very difficult decision about our dog Andy, where did I turn? How about when Colin was struggling in school?

I brought it here. To you. It's because I like to know that support is out there, you know? That there are people who get what I'm saying, and who can commiserate or offer up some good advice. When I wrote about, say, needing a job ... that's because I was worried about it at the time. It was on my mind. Actually, there's a lot that I haven't blogged about in order to preserve the funny and lighthearted tone of the blog. 2009 was one of the worst years of my life - and not because I brushed my hair with a piss-covered hairbrush. I kept on churning out amusing posts, even in the midst of truly traumatic events that caused me to have nightmares for two solid months. So I apologize if sometimes I expose a few details too many - but it's difficult to keep a cork in it all the time. Sometimes my problems do run a little more deeply than growing a beard.

Speaking of keeping a cork in it, my potty mouth was also a topic of conversation. And I know, cussing does nothing for the English language. But neither does saying y'all, and I do that all the time too. I just write like I talk; I can't help it. If I were talking to you right now, I'd sound just like I "sound" in these posts. I am a girl who wants to be a lady and admires all things ladylike (I would love to be a combination of Martha Stewart and Morticia Addams), but who falls short of that most of the time. In the immortal words of the great and powerful Popeye: "I yam what I yam."

This blog is (and should be), if nothing else, an accurate reflection of me ...imperfections and all. And like it or not, y'all, I'm a sharer. And a cusser.*

*And somebody who thinks mint and chocolate is a disgusting combo. Just FYI.

My very favorite suggestion was of course ... MORE CARTOONS!!! I'm so glad y'all asked, for real. I love doing cartoons. I just didn't think anybody was paying much attention to them. But now I know better! So I'll bring in frumpy-little-cartoon-Me more often.
Anyway, thanks a million for your input! I appreciate knowing that the Frump brings people a laugh. Thinking of making someone smile makes me smile, and I'm humbled and honored that you guys keep coming back.

Even when I do get a little out of hand.

Don't forget - the newest EdenFantasys giveaway starts tomorrow (Monday)! You don't wanna miss out!  

Your Turn to Talk!

It's a new year. Fresh as dew on a rosebud being sniffed by a newborn lamb at dawn. Fresh as the swirl on top of a brand-new jar of peanut butter. So fresh that it's, like, the total opposite of Gray Hoody Girl. Which means one thing: it's time to take inventory of the old.
That's right. I'm taking a long, hard look at the Frump, and I need you to help me. I want to know what you think about the blog. I need to know what's working. What's not. Rants. Raves. What would you like to see more of? Giveaways? Cartoons? Vlogs? Tips? Recipes? Cowbell?*

*Just kidding about the cowbell. (And if you have no idea what I'm referring to when I indicate "more cowbell," you can ignore my silly blathering. Or click here.)

I'm asking you to comment on whatever you'd like, whether it's regarding the layout or the colors or the content or the stuff in the sidebars or the frequency of posting or the ... whatever. If it's on the blog, it's free for the er435dtf ← (my cat Thurman wrote that, so I felt compelled to leave it in. 'Cause a typing cat? That's talent, y'all).

PLEEEEEASE don't be shy. Even if you don't usually comment, come out of the woodwork and speak up! If you want to do it anonymously, I don't mind a bit, as long as you're not hatin'. (There's a difference between constructive criticism - which is welcome - and straight-up meanness, which is not.)

My goal for 2011 is to bring my blog from merely "awesome" to "OMG IT'S SO AWESOME IT'S, LIKE, HURTING MY EYES BUT IN A TOTALLY GOOD WAY!!!!!!!" wherein every reader sends a link to every person in his or her address book and then writes me and is all, "I can't believe it Rita, I shared your blog with everyone I know and now I'm getting so many thank-you emails I can't keep up with them all! Your blog is AWESOME!" and then I'd be like, "Awww, you're the best," and I'd keep reading over my comments and sort of caress my computer screen and maybe lick it a little bit.

Or, you know, to put it another way: I need your feedback to make Fighting Off Frumpy the best it's ever been.

The floor is yours! Have at it, ladies and gentlemen (and magical typing cats)!

PS - On Monday I'll be spicing things up with a new giveaway from EdenFantasys - even better than the last one! Bow chicka wow wow ... :)

Sexy, Schmexy

So as part of my (and everybody else's) annual resolution to be more fit, I subscribed to a few women's health and fitness magazines. A chick named Brooke Burke was on the cover of this month's Shape. Now, I don't know much about Brooke Burke except that she's married to David Charvet (from Baywatch, right?) and I think she used to have some travel show on E! or something.

Anyway. My point is. This Brooke Burke chick is rocking a tankini on the cover of Shape, abs all toned, that long inner thigh muscle flexing. In her interview, she goes into what she eats, and how she takes care of herself, and everything else you'd expect from such an article. But then she starts talking about how "sexy" is all about feeling comfortable in your own skin.

And she's right. It is.

If you're posing on the cover of a women's mag.

Have you ever noticed who tells us things like "sexy is a state of mind?" ... Yeah. Pretty, toned women. Successful women. And sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I could slap the veneers right off their teeth as they beam whitely at me from their glossy magazine pages.

These women have access to the best skincare, the best makeup, the best clothes, the best personal trainers and dieticians. They have people to clean their house and watch their kids. They don't have to worry about money - or at least, not nearly as much as the average person.

Me, and many other women I know? We go without a trim for a year and a half because our sons' monthly haircuts cost so damn much. We use drugstore makeup that little fingers have put smudges through. We go for embarrassingly long stretches without removing body hair because we don't have much of an opportunity to shower, let alone shave. We spend an hour sitting on the closet floor feeling like crap because everything we own either makes us look fat or is out of style.We have lingerie in our underwear drawers that used to fit before three kids sagged and bagged and stretchmarked us and we can't do anything about it because who has the money for all this plastic surgery or the time to recover from it for that matter and oh yeah, there's still the matter of that pesky 40 pounds standing between us and that lingerie.

... Or is that just me?

Anyway, give these sage-advice-dispensing divas those conditions for a while, and let them see how sexy they feel. Deprive them of valuable "me" time by making them clean their own houses, do their own laundry, watch their own kids, cook their own meals. Limit their budgets. Limit their Botox and lipo sessions. Then let them define "sexy."

My state of mind is supposed to magically transcend the fact that I'm sagging everywhere, in desperate need of a manicure and a trim, and crusted with peanut butter and boogers?

I don't think so.

Temporary Insanity

We're four days into the new year, or what I like to call the "What Was I Thinking?" period. Because during this time, I question my motives, my willpower, and my sanity. For example: I was just going through some pictures from my blog and I came across a photo of my turdlike peanut butter balls. Even though they may have looked like something that came from a woodland animal's rear end, they were damn tasty. And I looked longingly at that photo, as I sat here drinking my water and eating on my apple slices - part of my annual "Oh-my-Lord-get-these-holiday-pounds-off-of-my-thighs" January diet regimen. I began to wonder, "What was I thinking? Can I really forgo such yummy treats in favor of things that are high in fiber and low in processed carbs?"

In, like, March I will ask myself that one final time before making a batch of peanut butter balls and stuffing every one of them in my face. Rapidly.

But it's too early for all that now, so I guess I'll just stick to my apple slices. Fruit: it's nature's candy.*

*And by "candy" I mean "the closest thing you get to dessert when you're trying to diet, so munch on that, fatty." 

Anyway, the diet isn't the only thing I'm questioning. I'm also beginning to wonder what the hell I was thinking when I purchased several of my children's Christmas presents.

I don't know about your kids, but mine - especially Colin, my oldest - will get "into" one certain thing and become completely obsessed with it for a period of time. Right now, Colin is into bugs. So when I was shopping for his Christmas gifts and found a big tube of, like, two dozen assorted lifelike bugs, all I could think was, "Wow! Colin will freak out!" I got so excited, thinking about how his eyes would light up and he'd be so happy with his gift and I'd be the coolest mom ever. So of course, I bought the bugs. Call it a kind of holiday-induced insanity that temporary blinds even the most forward-thinking parents.

Right now, nearly two weeks later? I'm a little bit unhappy with my decision. Because I am constantly being not-so-pleasantly surprised by glimpses of this:

... and this:

I've tried to prepare myself. I've tried to be all rational, like, "Rita, if you see a bug, it's just one of the fake ones lying around." But it doesn't work apparently, because these plastic vermin are continually scaring the bejesus outta me. It doesn't help that the kids move them, and leave them in random places. And what's worse? I keep worrying that someday I'll see a real bug, think it's fake, and pick it up or something.


I guess it could've been worse. I could've bought him rubber rats.

Break-ing Point

Before my kids were born, when I'd hear mothers counting down the days until their children's return to school from holiday or summer breaks, I'd get all judgy. Inwardly, I'd tsk tsk and think, "Why do people even have kids if they can't wait to send them away?"

All I can say now is: I UNDERSTAND.

Since Colin is my first school-aged child, this holiday break (all 408 hours of it) has been my first experience with extended school vacations. And dear gawd has it been rough. Whoever called this a "break" was delusional ... or at least, didn't have three squabbling little boys. The only thing on a break is my last shred of sanity. I'm thisclose to wandering the streets naked, muttering to myself.

The first few days - dare I say even the first week and a half - were manageable. Pleasant, even. But in this last week or so, the excitement of Christmas has worn off and the boredom of being at home has set in. And thus, shenanigans have ensued.

I swear that from the time I open my mouth in the morning to the time I finally get to close it at night, all that comes out are the following phrases or variations thereof:

Stop hitting/pinching/poking/scaring/bothering your brother.

Go put some pants on.

That's inappropriate.

Get down from there.

When I tell you to do something, it means do it now.

Absolutely not.


Don't eat that!

Why is he crying?

... And perhaps a few threats.

In fact, I just had to take a break from writing this blog. I thought I was safe, seeing as the kids were playing happily for the moment ... but no. Wanna know what called me from the keyboard? I had to rescue Cameron, whose head was stuck between the piano and the wall.

Yeah. Really. I'll let that one sink in for a minute.

When I came back to the computer, the baby had managed to climb up, turn it off, and spill a cup of water - all in a matter of a minute or two. And by the time I remedied those situations, Colin ran in screaming that Cameron had forced him to eat a bug.

Folks, this isn't a cluster of particularly bad events. And nothing has been embellished even one iota for the sake of the blog. THIS HAS BEEN THE NORM. For, like, a week now.

And my house. My house. Every surface is crusty and cluttered. There are enough crumbs in my living room carpet to feed an entire village of starving children ... for a year. Even the dog has a crusty patch in her fur, where I'm pretty sure someone spilled orange juice on her. Either that or it's dried snot - which is, unfortunately, entirely possible.

So yeah. I can't wait for Colin to go back to school. Because managing two kids is infinitely easier than mediating between three.

Let's just hope my last, frazzled nerve makes it through today ...

PS - I almost forgot to tell you guys! If you haven't noticed, the Frump has a new feature: a cool video bar right up at the top of the page. I've partnered with Her Channel to bring you some helpful, relevant (and entertaining!) videos if you wanna click on through ... and eventually, I'll have some of my own videos up there as well. (OMG, a vlog! New territory, y'all!)


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