Monday, Mundane

Do you ever just stare at the pile of stuff you need to take care of and wish really super hard that by some miracle it would all just take care of itself?

Yeah. Me too. Which is why right at this very moment - instead of doing what I really should be doing - I'm peering over the screen of my laptop at:

- a bunch of groceries I bought last night that didn't need to be refrigerated so I just left them out because I wanted to watch TV instead but now I'm all, "Ugh, putting away groceries" (frowny face)

- a camera with like eight hundred pictures on it that need to be uploaded to the computer and dealt with

- a huge box of diapers that I need to stack in the baby's closet but first I have to log onto the website and enter my points codes because y'all know I'm a sucker for rewards points of any kind

- two trick-or-treat buckets that need to be stashed somewhere before the kids destroy them because then they won't have anywhere to put their Halloween candy

........mmm, Halloweeeeeeeen candyyyyyyyyy ........

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yes. All this crap.

- a stack of math papers that I totally forgot Colin was supposed to do over the weekend (mother of the year!)

- a McDonald's cup that I need to throw away only I can't throw it away until I take the trash out because the can is too full

- a bowl that I need to put in the dishwasher that used to contain chocolate because I melted a bunch of chocolate chips and dipped some raspberries in it and that's what I had for breakfast. Because I could, because I'm a grown-ass adult. And besides, fruit is totally healthy.

- a patient satisfaction survey from the boys' pediatrician's office which I totally have the intention of filling out but in reality will probably just leave there until something gets dribbled on it and I have to throw it away

- a rolled-up newspaper that I found on our front steps the other morning which kinda baffled me since we don't even subscribe to the newspaper

- a Marie Claire magazine that I subscribe to but almost never read anymore ... Marie Claire used to be my favorite magazine because it focused on like ISSUES and LIFESTYLES and was different than most women's mags but it seems like now it focuses on freaking fashion and skinniness and beauty and superficiality like every other women's publication out there and I am disappointed in you, Marie Claire

- a pile of junk mail that probably should be thrown away but I stuck it there with the intention of going through it first because there just MIGHT be a decent coupon in there somewhere

- a rainbow-colored paper spider with legs numbered one through eight that I need to add to the plethora of bright, scribbly, dripping-with-dried-glue school creations adhered with magnets to the front of my fridge

That's only the stuff that's sitting within a two-foot radius of me. It doesn't count the umpteen loads of clean laundry ready to be put away. Or the turds just chillin' in the litter box. Or the breakfast dishes still sitting on the table like three hours after they were first put there. Or the list of similar things that goes on. And on. And on.

I know a nap won't make these things magically disappear, but I'm thinking it's a good place to start.

Be Ye Four-Warned

Sometimes things happen in life that we have no control over. Time marches on, and we are completely powerless to stop it. And then we're left wishing we had appreciated how good things were before.

This is my Coby. Heart-meltingly sweet, and as soulful as those big brown eyes suggest. He has spent his life being my easiest child: generally undemanding, laid-back, and cooperative. I have been known to say that if I could guarantee they'd all turn out like Coby, I'd have ten more kids.*

*And if they didn't make me all fat again. And if they were, like, inexpensive.

Yep, Coby has been the one of my children that I can count on for smooth sailing.

But then ... this happened.

My baby turned four.

And I swear it's like someone flipped a switch. When he blew out the candle, he simultaneously exhaled every last ounce of cooperation - as quickly as that. And y'all? It has left me reeling.

"Mommy, may I please have a drink?" has turned into, "Mommy! I want some milk! IN THE BLUE CUP!!!" He asks for cereal - but when I pour it, it's the wrong kind. In the wrong bowl. I have heard, "I am NOT going to school," and "I am NOT getting dressed," and "I am NOT brushing my teeth," more times than I can count in the last few days. Where he was once compliant and easygoing, he has now formed definite opinions on his hair ("No! Flipped up like this!"), his clothing ("Yes I can wear this shirt two days in a row!"), and his meal choices ("CHICKEN NUGGETS EVERY DAAAAAAYYYY!").

He's entitled to his opinions. I want him to develop them. I encourage him to express them. But when he does it in the manner of a crotchety 90-year-old man? We've got issues. I swear if I gave him a cane he'd be waving it in the air to punctuate each cranky new demand. 

Suddenly, the kid I never had to threaten has become the one who is seriously trying my patience. And when I force him to comply - which I always do because I'm the one in control here, dammit - he does, but in his own irritating way. Like when I told him to go to his room and get his pants. He did, but like this:


It's like ... seriously??

Just walk. And get. The damn. Pants.

Everything takes five minutes longer now. And is about ten times more frustrating. I know it's just a phase dear God I hope so anyway but ain't nobody got time for all this bidness.

I've scoffed at the notion of the "Terrible Twos" because three, in my experience - at least up until now - has been the really terrible part. But apparently nobody gave Coby that memo because he's decided to wait and make me think he's an angel and then cruelly bust out the "Frightful Fours" on his poor unsuspecting mother.

Stubborn. Willful.

He's lucky he also happens to be cute.

Show-and-Tell Hell

Every Thursday is Cameron's show-and-tell day in his Kindergarten class.

Colin had the same Kindergarten teacher, and when he was in her class, they got to bring whatever they wanted for show-and-tell. (Colin's choices were almost always on the weird side ... remember this?) But this year, they have to bring things according to a theme. Like last week was "the letter M" and Cameron brought Michaelangelo, his favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

But today. Today's theme was "the letter A." And when it came to finding something for show-and-tell that started with that particular letter, I was drawing "A" blank.

It didn't help that I totally forgot about it until like ten minutes before we were to walk out the door. Yes, I have it marked on my calendar every week. Yes, his teacher sent home a reminder yesterday. BUT. These are the kinds of things I remember at random times, like while I'm changing a diaper or writing an article or hiding in the closet eating the last ice cream bar folding the laundry. I think, "Oh, when I'm done with (insert menial task here) I'll totally get on that." But I never do. Which brings us to this morning, ten minutes before departure for school, and Cameron and I frantically ransacking his room for something show-and-tell worthy that starts with the letter A.

"How about this animal?" I suggested, holding up a raggedy stuffed tiger. Cameron, who is apparently far too cool to bring a tattered stuffed toy to school, gave me a look. So I kept rummaging in his toy box.

"Here's an airplane!" I said triumphantly. Then, upon closer inspection: "Oh. It's a submarine." Damn misleading propeller.

Meanwhile, Cameron was really stretching it. "What about A robot?" he said. "Or A dinosaur?"

Now it was my turn to give him a look.

"NinjAAAAAAAA Turtle?" he asked hopefully.

Defeated, I sat down on his floor. "I just don't know, son. I can't find anything suitable. Maybe you can just skip it this week and - "

"NOOOOO!" he wailed. Because of course.

I sighed. "What about an apple?"

"An apple?" Cameron said skeptically. "Mommy. Apples are for lunch. Not show-and-tell."

We were both quiet for a minute. Then his face lit up with what he clearly thought was a brilliant idea. "I know! I can take my Brawlin' Buddy and say his name is Alice!"

For the record, this is Cameron's Brawlin' Buddy:

... He doesn't exactly look like an Alice.

"I think his name is Randy," I said wearily.

Finally, with like two seconds to spare, I suggested that he take one of his toy cars except refer to it as an "automobile." Which he agreed to do.

... And then proceeded to take so long picking one out that we were nearly late to school. I had to haul ass, which is exceedingly difficult with four dawdling kids in tow.

He'd better remember to call it an automobile.

Snapshot Crapshot

I take about a bazillion photos a day with my phone. Pictures of my kids, my pets, things I find funny, videos, screenshots, you name it. And since I hardly ever delete any of them, there's quite a random hodgepodge of stuff. (Although admittedly less since I've stopped letting my kids play with my iPhone.)

I don't know if it's because I'm a blogger or if, like, everyone including tax attorneys and dental hygienists do it. Blame it on the age of Instagram (PS - we should totally be co-followers on Instagram so click here). I'm always snapping a picture, and you could easily tell a lot about my life by looking at my camera roll.

Like the fact that my kitten Vanessa (yes, I got a new kitten. I'll formally introduce her soon) likes to climb on my shoulders.

... and the fact that my forehead wrinkles make me look like a Shar-Pei.

Or that I have some pretty interesting text conversations with my brother Steve.

FYI, he's the one who says he needs gloves when he wipes ... not me.

Or that I find Legos literally EVERYWHERE.

Or that I document everything, even my husband's borderline-obsessive hoarding of empty deodorant containers.

Seven containers. One drawer. All empty. WTF?

And that sometimes, I take pictures I don't even mean to take.

But despite the excessive collection of moments in my camera roll - even the insignificant - I'll keep on snapping away. Because I never know when I'm going to capture the next great shot. Like this one ...

Well. Whatever.

Five Secret Formulas for Follicular Awesomeness

If you've been reading for a while, you know that I'm cheap financially challenged frugal when it comes to looking good. I don't like to pay a lot for beauty treatments I can do just as well most of the time at home. Remember my information-packed post about DIY de-frumping? (Or yesterday's slight mishap that left me drooling and crying into my bathroom sink?)

Anyway, because I'm a sucker for at-home primping, I have a special treat for you guys: a guest post from beauty writer Selina Torres. She's going to teach us five easy recipes to make our hair awesome.*

*I bet they'll also work wonders to soften up my beard

Take it away, Selina!

5 DIY Masks for Kick-Ass Hair

Illustration credit: Constantina Dirica

Let’s face it, most of us have bent over backwards at some point in our life for the sake of our hair. We've blown money on styling products, hair tools, swanky salons and even ridiculous infomercial fare, just to achieve luxurious locks worthy of a Vidal Sassoon commercial. 

I say it’s time to get rid of the ridiculous gimmicky merchandise and head to the kitchen!  You wouldn't believe how many hair troubles can be solved by things you have sitting in your pantry.  These five masks are a simple, cost effective way to get healthy, happy hair.

Hydrate Parched Tresses

What you’ll need:
1 egg
2 tablespoons of honey
½ avocado
3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of buttermilk

In a large bowl, mash the egg and avocado together. Once smooth, stir in the buttermilk, honey and olive oil. Apply it to your entire head and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.

Silk & Shine

What you’ll need:
½ cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg until slightly frothy. Stir in olive oil and yogurt. Whisk until mixture is smooth. Add to hair section by section and let sit for 30 minutes before washing.

Treat an Oily Scalp
5 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a small bowl, mix yogurt, baking soda, and lemon juice until well blended. Apply to hair, focusing on the roots. Let sit for 30 minutes before rinsing. 
Add Voluptuous Volume
What you’ll need:
1 ripe banana
1 egg
½ cup flat beer
1 tablespoon of honey

Puree the banana in a food processor until completely smooth. In a large bowl, add banana puree, egg, beer and honey. Mix well. Apply to scalp, roots and hair. Let the mask sit for three hours, and then shampoo out.

Strengthen Brittle Strands

What you’ll need:
½ ripe banana
¼ cup water
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon jojoba oil
2 tablespoons of honey

Puree the banana and water in a food processor until completely smooth. Blend banana puree, mayonnaise, coconut, olive and jojoba oils and honey in a large bowl. Apply from roots to ends and let sit for one hour before shampooing.

Maintain Gorgeous, Healthy Hair

What you’ll need:
1 ripe avocado
½ cup coconut milk
3 teaspoons olive oil

In a large bowl, mash avocado completely. Add coconut milk and olive oil, and combine. Pour mixture into a small saucepan and heat on stovetop until warm. Apply the mask from roots to ends, massaging it into your scalp. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour before rinsing.

Why These Foods in Particular?

You may have noticed that many of these masks have common ingredients.  So what’s the big deal, anyway?

·         Avocado contains vitamins A, B, D, E, protein, amino acids, and folic acid.  All of these nutrients nourish hair and promote growth.  Since it has natural humectant properties, it adds and locks in moisture. The vitamins, amino acids, and high fat content are perfect for maintaining and restoring scalp health.
·         Bananas are rich in potassium, natural oils, carbohydrates and vitamins.  This softens the hair and protects its natural elasticity, preventing split ends and breakage.
·         Beer is loaded with protein (thanks to malt and hops) which nourishes and strengthens hair. The protein binds to dehydrated hair and restores strength and body.  
·         Coconut Milk/Oil: Since coconut oil is completely absorbed by hollow hair shafts, it adds body and makes hair appear thicker.  Vitamins E and K nourish hair and boost health and shine.
·         Eggs are high in protein, and much like beer, can be used to strengthen hair.  Furthermore, the nutrients contained in eggs work like conditioners to add volume, shine and texture.
·         Honey is a humectant, meaning it attracts and holds moisture.  This makes it the perfect choice for dry or damaged hair.
·         Olive Oil is rich in antioxidants, which are beneficial to your scalp. Olive oil is also a natural conditioner, making your hair shiny and soft.
·         Yogurt contains natural milk protein that strengthens hair without making it dull or dry. The lactic acid and zinc in yogurt stimulate blood circulation which aids hair growth.  Like olive oil, yogurt is a natural conditioner.
These foods are not only delicious; they’re good for your hair too.  Try one of these fabulous masks and greet the world with magnificent hair!

After frying her hair with an at-home bleach kit, Selina Torres went on an extensive, fridge based search for the perfect hair product.  She settled on avocados.  When she’s not stuffing food in her face or on her head, she enjoys her work as a freelance writer for Glisten.

I hope y'all enjoyed the guest post - let me know if you'd like to see more beauty how-to's in the future! Thanks for the recipes, Selina - I'm off to smear food on my hair.


So this morning I tried to whiten my teeth.

I mean - they're not yellow yellow. I don't walk around looking like I could butter a loaf of bread with my grill. But still, I'm a sucker for self-improvement. I can't whiten them to a Barbie-esque level because my two front teeth are fake and they don't substantially change color, but I can remove surface stai-

... What's that? You want to know why my two front teeth are fake?


Okay. When I was five or six, and had literally JUST gotten my permanent teeth, I ran face-first into a fence and shattered those bad boys. Like, shattered them. As in, I stumbled backwards and emitted a spray of powdered tooth from my busted-up mouth.

Yes. I RAN INTO A FENCE. My parents were so proud.

You can stop laughing now.

Anyway, back to the story at hand: the tooth whitening. I have this kit where you're supposed to paint your teeth with this whitening gel. But you're not supposed to get it on your gums. And you have to avoid touching it with your lips until it dries. (Which, hello, have you ever tried to dry anything inside your mouth?) But those are the instructions, and I want to make sure the stuff works. So I painted my teeth and held my lips awkwardly away from my teeth, and ended up looking like this:

I got a little of the gel on my gums on accident, and it started tingling. Then it started burning. No wonder they tell you not to get it on your gums, I thought. Ouch.

I decided that while the gel was drying, I should put my contacts in. So I did. Only I didn't realize that in addition to my gums, I had also accidentally gotten a little of the battery acid whitening gel on my fingers.

The same fingers I was using to put my contact lenses INTO MY EYES.

So now I was blinking crazily with tears streaming from my eyes (much like the time Curtis pepper-sprayed the entire family). Not only that, but holding my lips in such a weird manner was making me drool. So I was standing over the bathroom sink, dripping from practically every orifice in my face, looking like this:

Only with, you know, less grain and more tears. (But possibly the same amount of chin hair.)

I finally decided that I'll just go around with my normal-colored teeth. Because y'all? Sometimes white ain't worth it.

(Check back in tomorrow when I'll have a very special guest post featuring DIY deep-conditioning recipes for your hair - that don't hurt a bit!)


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