I Have Eyebrows, Too

I had just started to feel a little big in my britches about having 40 subscribers, and then I read that a cat with eyebrows has over 31 thousand followers on Instagram. And then I started following that cat with eyebrows, because he is really something. What will he do next?! Something adorable, I bet.

In other news, many people have asked how my Insanity workout is going. OK, maybe they asked, “Are you INSANE?” when I was telling them about something and I just assumed it was about my workout routine. You know, because crazy people never admit they are crazy. So I have finished four weeks of the workout and it is really hard but effective. I now look like something like this but with more veins popping out of my forehead:


In addition to looking like a finely tuned machine, I also feel stronger, I have been introduced to my “hip flexors” (did you know they are a real thing?), and I just found a long lost ab muscle. On my body! And the videos are entertaining. I love hearing the trainer dude talk about himself in the third person (“Shaun T is getting tired! Shaun T has huge quads! Shaun T could crush you with his finely sculpted calves!”), and I like when he yells at me while he jumps around all sweaty and shirtless. Sometimes I sit down in our recliner and eat cookies while he just goes on and on about pushing yourself, blah blah blah. But yesterday my husband and I started the more intense “max” phase of the workouts, where I immediately learned that the previous workouts – the ones that I had barely survived – are, in fact, for total pussies. If I make it to the end and still have the use of my arms and fingers, I will let you know how it went.

This update on my workouts reminded me to update everyone on the progress of my New Year’s resolutions, too. Um, I have done absolutely none of them. In fact, I had to look back at the list to even remember what the hell they were.

Well, that was easy.

Be Mine. Or Not. Whatever.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am going Huffington Post style and collecting my favorite love stories from around the interwebs to share with you. This is mainly because it is easier than writing my own material. Don’t worry – these are not the predictable, romantic love stories with contrived gestures and rose petals. Those always make me a little ill. For example, I have seen this one all over the place in the past couple of days and am 100% sure it is a lie.

Dead Valentine

Who knows, maybe it’s totally true. But I can think of at least one reason why it is not romantic at all: what if this lady had moved on and found a new guy to be her Valentine? Imagine she was getting dressed up for a fancy night out, feeling all excited and lovey-dovey for the first time in ages, and then BAM, a note from her dead husband reminds her that his love is ETERNAL. “I am stalking you from beyond the grave. Enjoy your date.” Eww. Which is why I prefer my romantic gestures a little more like this:

Valentine Bear

In your face, to the point, and in my case, totally true.

The romantical stuff on Valentine’s feels fake and weird to me, but these little stories about all kinds of love make me happy.

First, meet Banana Joe, the winner of the Westminster Dog Show’s coveted Best in Show award. His furry little head makes me happy, but look at how happy Banana Joe’s handler is:

Banana Joe

That is love. Of course, the cynical side of me is imagining the handler thinking, “This hairball just got me PAID!” But no, on this Valentine’s Day, I am deciding to believe that they love each other and are the best of friends, and that the handler will love his sweet Banana Joe even after he is no longer the ideal representation of the Affenpinscher breed.

Second, prepare to cry, because those bastards at NPR’s StoryCorps have done it again. This is a sweet story about the love between a mother and daughter despite lots of challenges (or maybe because of those challenges?). You can find the story here. Also, I’d like to point out that this girl is 15, right in the middle of those years when most daughters spend half of their waking hours screaming about hating their awful moms because they won’t buy them a slutty shirt at the mall. So she is really amazing.

Third, Piney Porky McHedgypants has apparently found love, right under his big pointy nose. I discovered him and Blue Bolero Bunny (that name is self-explanatory) holding paws in my son’s room last night. To be clear, “holding paws” is not a euphemism for anything. They are very happy. And as long as they don’t gang up on me and try to kill me in my sleep (which everyone knows is what giant stuffed animals do eventually), I will support their stuffed animal love affair.

Piney + Bunny

And finally, here is my current favorite love song. It took on a new, beautiful meaning when I saw the video – instead of a guy pining away over a girl, it’s a bunch of dudes showing their manly love for their buds by smashing bottles on each other’s heads. If that isn’t true love between besties, I don’t know what is.

Happy, happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. xoxo

I Only Wanna Be With You

As you may have guessed, I’m not great at getting rid of stuff. This has worked out well for some things, such as my husband, who I have kept around for more than half of my life. But it does not always work out so well. For example, I may have kept my son’s umbilical cord stump in a drawer in his nursery for a few months. That’s right – I couldn’t bear the idea of parting with the black, hardened remains of my first child’s bellybutton. Luckily I got some sage advice from a mom friend of mine about this situation. When she saw the stump laying in the corner of the diaper drawer, she recognized it immediately (it still had that hospital clip thing on it) and said: “OH my god, what the hell is wrong with you, that is so effing disgusting, throw it AWAY!” When I began to protest she said, “Look, it’s not OK to hoard rotting body parts.” Which is just good advice for all new moms, and people in general. I sadly wrapped the stump in tissue, said my farewells, and placed it gently in the trashcan.

I still wonder where it is today.

But what about hoarding things that are not rotting body parts? Despite what you might think from watching TLC, there is just no clear-cut rule. Right now I am trying to come to terms with getting rid of a sentimental piece of furniture in my house:
Rocking Chair

To people who do not attach emotional value to every inanimate object in their lives, that is just a banged up rocking chair and footstool that could probably get $50 at a garage sale. To me, though, that is the place where I learned how to be a mom, where I fell so in love with my little babies and their long eyelashes and chubby cheeks, where I learned how to soothe them and make them giggle, where I cursed everyone who told me that breastfeeding was natural and beautiful, where I fought sleep and lost hundreds of times. I have the clearest memories of my husband passed out on the nursery floor, a chubby baby sleeping on my lap, and rocking back and forth in that chair for hours, convinced that all the goodness in the world at that moment was right next to me and wrapped up in my sweet little family.

So maybe you can understand why I don’t just want to sell it to some a-hole scammer on Craig’s List.

But the chair just doesn’t fit in our house any more and I know its days are numbered. The kids are on to their new big kid furniture, their new toys that need floor space. And I’m slowly starting to realize that that is what little kids do: they push you forward, constantly on to the next thing, excited for what is to come. And most days I go along happily and share in their excitement, but sometimes I just cling desperately to those sweet, fleeting moments that have already come and gone and won’t come again.

So in honor of my milk- and snot-covered rocking chair with the deflated cushions and wobbly right arm and matching broken nursing stool (I will not put any of that in the Craig’s List ad), here is my favorite song about rocking. If you are as scared of old-timey carnies and tattooed ladies as I am, just avert your eyes and listen to the bluegrassy magic.

Apparently Hootie from Hootie & The Blowfish (not the OTHER Hootie) covered this song, and really enraged some of the commenters on this video. Hootie is not the first person I think of when I think of sentimental songs, so I chose to link to this version. But I do think of Hootie quite often, and fondly, because once I danced with a boy to a Hootie song. It was Let Her Cry.

Thank you, Hootie. I think I will.

Rip-off Artist

Now that we have recovered from Land Beaver Day and Beyonce Bowl, it is time to turn my house into a child labor factory and crank out some lovingly homemade valentines. My kids are really looking forward to it because they have no idea what is in store for them.

My mom is a retired art teacher (and by “retired” I mean “not teaching anymore but got her Ed.D. for fun, whee”). When she was visiting over the holidays we went shopping at Paper Source, the store where I could almost justify destroying my children’s financial future for some beautiful paper products. Somehow, as I was hypnotized by the sturdy cardstock and loopy fonts, my crafty mom convinced me that I could make the valentines that were on display in the store. And not just make them, but that I could make them better than Paper Source, and get my kids to help. Please note that I had not been drinking. Much.

So we stole a Paper Source catalog (OK, they were free, but I felt so Thelma and Louise, ripping off someone’s idea!) and went to Michael’s with a long list of supplies. Approximately six days later we emerged, tired and dehydrated, with piles of red paper and glue sticks and stickers. Which all cost more than the pre-made kits at Paper Source. Um.

After talking up the projects for weeks to the kids, I finally made some examples this weekend. They really are adorable, and look like only slightly crappier versions of the Paper Source valentines:

But they are kind of hard to make, and I predict my kids will make two before they are bored and things devolve into bribery and threats. Each one took me a good 15 minutes, and I am a really good cutter and gluer. Seriously, that’s on my resume, right next to my law school honors (which are totes going to be put to good use over the next week as I spend 20 hours cutting out hedgehogs and heart-shaped guitars).

My daughter is going to give out the hedgehogs in honor of her beloved Piney Porky McHedgypants. To complete our Paper Source rip-off, we’re writing “Hedgehugs and Kisses” on the back. All of her pre-school friends who cannot read will love it: “Oh, L is so clever with her thoughtful play on words – ‘hedgehugs’! Now can someone help me get this crayon out of my nose.” My son is giving out the guitars, and I’m going to force ask him to write “You rock!” on all of them. He will be pissed off about it probably after the sixth valentine, and will try to convince me that he just has to sign his name because, in fact, some of the kids in his class do not rock at all. Happy Valentine’s Day! Love is in the air.

And even though my mom got me in to all of this, there is something kind of magical about having a grandma who was an art teacher. She can talk me in to trying any art project, and in between the moments of negotiating and complaining, I’m sure the kids and I will have fun. As great as our grandma is, though, this is the kind of bad ass grandma I would want on a road trip. Except for all of the stopping for tickets, it would be amazing. But why didn’t the cops stop her sooner? And how did she not make it to her granddaughter’s dance after all that trouble? Well, at least they all have a good story to tell.

I hope I can say that after we make our valentines this week.