International Women’s Day. Some Interrogating and Some Thoughts.

First of all, this is meant to be lighthearted and politically neutral.

I am a woman, I admire women, and I am blessed to have more strong, incredible women in my family than most Thanksgiving tables have seen. I respect women, and I’m all for women’s rights. I work, I contribute to my family’s finances, and I’m all about building people up. What was even the point of me listening to Spice Girls if I didn’t support “gi’l powah”? (Said like Ginger Spice, the best Spice Girl.)

That being said, WHAAAT?? Women’s Day?

New holiday, who dis? I have questions.

Is this from a Beyonce song? Or is this about Hilary again?

Is someone going to bring me flowers for being a woman? What about chocolate covered strawberries? A doughnut, anything?

Was this celebration fueled by love, or anger?

Were there enough marches that someone at Hallmark said, “You know what, Miley? Here. We will just give you a day, okay? We’re sorry that Hilary lost and Trump is creepy and has terrible hair, but calm down. We’ll throw in some inspirational key chains and limited edition Beanie Babies.”

Did Donald Trump really write those tweets? That’s not a question, actually. Donald Trump did not personally tweet well phrased formalities about gi’l powah, or his name isn’t Donald Trump. (Sorry, Donald, no back pedaling now.)

Was I expected to make an Insta-tribute to my mom, like Mother’s Day?

Am I supposed to be teaching my sons to open doors for girls, or is that going to offend everyone?

Were all my friends serious about missing work for the corporate world to experience life without women? If so, was it like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or is this serious? Is this a good representation of women? I hope the ladies at least went to IHOP’s Free Pancake Day. (What a coincidence!)

In conjunction with that, did any men notice their absence? It is March Madness time, and if I know men…

International Men’s Day is November 19, just for the record. Very unfortunately for them, it’s not during March Madness, but maybe Buffalo Wild Wings will have some kind of promotion for men celebrating manhood.

I became so intrigued about Women’s Day Instagram posts that by 9 last night, I had to look it up. According to Wikipedia, International Women’s Day has been observed since 1909. It was started by a socialist party for anti-discrimination/gender equality. I read all about it.

WELL. I’ve been alive since 1986, and I’ve never heard of it. I’ve heard of National Everything Day by now, thanks to social media. Best Friends Day, Sibling Day, Doughnut Day (am I hungry?), Associate Day, but International Women’s Day doesn’t ring a bell.

So, I am circling answer D.) Hilary started the fire in November to highlight all things pro-women.

…which is cool.

I don’t feel suppressed, and I haven’t personally felt victimized of sexism. Yet, I believe it exists, and promoting awareness is great. Plus, I like any opportunity to give kudos to awesome ladies.

I do want a heads up next time so I know to burn my bra and not go to work.

It got me thinking, what would happen if I called out of my mom job for the day? Let’s see how the house would run without a woman in it. MUAHAHA!

Then, I realized I’m an idiot and I leave for a couple days at a time for work EVERY single week…and it’s fine. Everything is just fine. I have an awesome husband who can run the house perfectly, and is probably a lot more fun than than I am. My kids LOVE their daddy days.

I didn’t let that ruin my spirit of “muahaha,” and it fueled me to organize a trip with my girlfriends.

I’m now planning to be here in April. “Women’s Day” inspiration at it’s finest.

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They Will Slash Your Tires: Story Time Moms Unveiled

Our library has a fun story time program for young kids.

…and judging by the squealing Honda Odyssey tires in the parking lot, it’s not as rainbow-y as it sounds.

Story Time at our library is a short program for parents and toddlers that involves a little dancing, singing, reading, poems, and a take home craft. It is also limits it’s attendees on a first come, first serve basis, due to “fire code”/instructor’s sanity. Story Time hits capacity quickly, and moms are universally a few minutes behind.

Let me tell you the result of this equation from personal experience.

I am one of the rushed moms, throwing my kids in the stroller and running to the library entrance. Half a dozen grown women all run through the parking lot, driving their strollers around and sometimes over parking hurdles (or just plain off-roading their City Selects through the plants if it’s a quarter after).

Gus face planted last week, but brushed off and continued running next to me without a peep. Even he knew from our pre-Story Time huddle—one man down is another man’s spot on the rug.

The running slows to a brisk walk at the library entrance, where women smile politely at…nothing. They don’t even make eye contact. They just have a thin smile plastered onto their faces, because they’re terrifying like that. (You know this feeling from when your mom would thin-smile at you, and something inside of you would squeak, “What does this mean?!”)

In this instance, the women are thin-smiling because they’re about to turn the corner and dart to the elevator, all while keeping their Story Time competitors in their peripheral vision.

I missed the elevator by just a few feet, and as the door closed, I heard an “Oh, sorry!” and a laugh that was VERY MUCH A WITCH CACKLE. Gus almost said, “Trick or Treat, b—-,” under his breath.

I’m just kidding. Inappropriate. (Gus wouldn’t dream of that kind of language.)

By the time the second elevator of tangled strollers arrives to the second floor Story Time entrance, it’s too late. The limited story time tickets are gone.

I’m not sure if there is an after market price being offered, but I’m pretty sure I could scalp Story Time passes in the parking lot, or at least over by the Gardening Self-help section. Money ain’t a thing to a woman who has woken a sleeping child or rearranged nap schedules for story time.

Should we happen to not make it in time to get tickets, which is fairly regularly, my kids are offered a consolation prize of playing with the Pink Eye Puzzles. Agree with me that we are looking directly at bacteria without a microscope. Streptococcus? Flesh eating.

All I’m saying is that it’s possible Ronda Rousey began her career in the Story Time parking lot.

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A New Mom’s Letter to Her Babysitter

We don’t get date nights often enough, and I semi-blame the whole “finding a babysitter” fiasco.

Now that we are on our second child, our instructions to babysitters have become much more lax. Ultimately, we just want our kids safe and happy. A few years ago, however, my new mom hormones were TURNT UP. WAY UP. Had I written an actual note (a la my mom in 1992), it would have looked exactly like this:

Dear babysitter,

Thanks for coming over! Help yourself to any food (notice we bought the name brand graham crackers this week), and make yourself at home. My kids should be sleeping, so just hang out! Watch TV!

Except, try to avoid turning the TV volume higher than 12, because that will wake up my kids, but it’s okay if you have to because you don’t lip read as well as I’ve been forced to learn. If you would like to actually hear your show, you can just put them back to sleep after they wake up. They’ll lay down for you super easily.

All you have to do is this!

You’ll need to heat up a little milk (roughly between 4-6 oz) for my little one, for 45 seconds. He is particular. Shake the bottle. Test the temperature. He also likes his grey blankie to snuggle with, but make sure it’s not on his face. My other son can just get up and watch TV, but only one show and not for too long, and if you don’t understand what he is saying, try the Dinosaur movie, but fast forward the part where the dad dies. Along those lines, if he says something that sounds like “daddy,” it could mean daddy, Mickey, or blankie (full phonetically spelled translation guide on the side of the fridge).

But whatever! Just have fun! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 !!!!!

Consult the attached pamphlet for numbers of my–

Pediatrician
Poison Control
My number
Restaurant’s number
Next door neighbor’s number
911’s number
Insurance agent information
Homeland Security
CPR instructions
Animal control
Living trust
Speediest SWAT responders (Don’t hesitate to call!)
Current shot records
Life insurance documentation
Last will and testament

We will be back in forty five minutes! Thanks!

–Ashton

PS Fire extinguisher is under the kitchen sink.

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Feb 15: Valentine’s Day Split Personalities Explained

At the risk of offending self proclaimed feminists, I will go ahead and say that February 15 is the day that we girls collectively explain our optimistically erratic Valentine’s Day behavior.

I’ll go first.

This Valentine’s Day, I told Brian I didn’t care what we did to celebrate.

He interpreted that as I didn’t care what we did to celebrate.

Yes, I’ll admit it. I’m THAT girl. The girl that says, “I don’t care!” and genuinely mean it about 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time, it’s up to my husband to decipher what I really mean.

Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, etc are always in that other 20%. By, “I don’t care, whatever!” I mean, “I don’t care butyoubetterreadbetweenthelinesandmakeplansorcomehomewithsomethingbut really, whatever!”

Then, there are other girls, who are fine with their guy surprising them with Trader Joe’s flowers, until they’ve scrolled through social media for seven hours. A bouquet pales in comparison to the Ferrari that babiesburlapandbigamy had in her driveway, and Carolyn35 had her pool drained and filled with her favorite chocolate and a swan floatie. Even Brittany from high school had a gluten free cake served in freezable portions to accommodate her Weight Watcher’s diet!

Suddenly, those Trader Joe’s flowers make you wonder if your man even LIKES you.

Your single friend’s Galentine’s was more elaborately planned than your night, so now, you’re sitting at Outback with your date, nary a bloomin’ onion, furiously unimpressed. “Yeah, no, nothing’s wrong. This is great.”

I know better than to peruse social media on Valentine’s Day, and although I still tossed Brian my usual, suspiciously impartial attitude this year, we had SUCH a fun day.

We began the day with heart pancakes that looked like demented Mickeys. No one ate them, but I took a picture.

Gus went to his darling friend Ivy’s Valentine’s party, and it sounded like he was a little confused about his first ever play date without me. One day, he will be thrilled I left him alone with all these girls, and he will be even happier to know I squirted him with his daddy’s cologne on the way out for good measure. Thanks, Taylor and Ivy!

Brian maneuvered through my “I don’t care!” lies with wisdom of a seasoned (battle scarred?) husband. (For the record, I don’t hope for much, just SOME ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, which was established after my 2009 birthday.) (Ashley Furness was my date that night and let me know husbands don’t know what you want unless you tell them, which was news to me…and has only sunk in 80%.)

We stayed in this Valentine’s Day, and Brian cooked an amazing “adults only” dinner after babies went to bed. If you’ve never had a Brian meal, you’re invited over. I have a hard time eating meat since pregnancies, but Brian’s steaks are ridiculous. He made his own dressing for this pear arugula salad he made but wouldn’t eat, and I almost drank it.

Our dining was momentarily accompanied by background music of overtired Gus’s night terrors. After snuggling him for a while, I returned to my OG Valentine, enjoyed conversation, and went to bed early.

Food and sleep speak to my heart.

So, boys, let this serve more as an explanation than an apology, because history repeats itself, especially so long as your significant other has social media accounts and watches The Bachelor. Sleep well tonight knowing you have another twelve months to either figure out if your lady is a 20%-er like me, or save $75/month to get her Louboutins next year.

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Justice for All: Creative (Dare I Say Democratic?) Punishment Alternatives for Your Children

Is anyone else TIRED of the political talk?

The last time words like “freedom,” “justice,” and “equality” were this exhaustively used in my vocabulary were during my teenage years, when, like, I was, like, really upset with my parents.

Although my two boys are still just babies, my fear of parenting teens (or fear of bad karma from my own years) is already in effect. Because of this, my husband and I have instead compiled a list of “grounding” alternatives. Our future teenagers’ undesirable behavior will be at a standstill due to Mom’s variation of tactics.

To reinforce the democratic familial governing our teenagers will insist upon, the following list is to be used as a CHOICE in place of a run of the mill, predictable consequence. Instill some fear into their souls, correct behavior, and teach them the meaning of justice, all in one! “You can choose to lose your phone privileges for a week, OR______.” Then, pat yourself on the back for bringing democracy back to the family, and let the good times roll.

Discipline Alternatives for Taming a Teen

1. The Sign and Date: The rule breaker will not be grounded if he or she returns a completed petition with a header statement. “I, _____, have come home 20 minutes past my curfew multiple times this month. I am so disrespectful of my parents’ rules. SHAME. Since I was so inconsiderate of my parents, who are super cool and know Jay Z songs, I need your signature to agree that yes, I am in the wrong. Yes, there are repercussions. No, I will not be late again. This way, you can still see me on weekends. Include your number, because my mom will be calling you to verify your signature’s authenticity.” After 25 signatures and phone numbers from high school friends, call to confirm their signatures and a consequence will be waived. Heart emoji.

(And then, you’ll have a secret stash of their friends’ phone numbers. Well played, me.)

2. Not Stacy’s Mom: Upon continuation of the country’s doughnut and cupcake fanaticism, odds are good you will pack on a few pounds. Hold off on Weight Watchers–this will come in handy. “Happen” to run into your teen and his/her friends, rain or shine, in a bikini. This will have to be more of an ambush rather than an agreed upon punishment, but you can work out the kinks when the scale increases another fifty pounds.

3. Wheely Embarrassing: Should your finances allow, invest in a perfectly safe, yet severely cosmetically damaged, vehicle for offenders to drive for a determined time period. This total piece of crap car will have duct tape, stale fries squished between the seats, and possibly and “I love my mom!” license plate holder. “Time out car!” spray painted on the side is also a consideration. Driving solidarity will be achieved by removing passenger seats.

4. Au Natural: A negotiated time period of no makeup for daughters. High school social pressures alongside a bare face will definitely instill a fear of talking back.

5. PDA, PDA, PDA is Not Okay:
If you need to bring out the big guns, pull out the ol’ love card. The teen culprit will have to accompany his or her googly-eyed parents on a date to a pre-determined, popular location. Don’t skimp on lots and lots of public displays of affection with your significant other. Make sure to talk unmistakably to your child, loudly, between kissing. #notmyparents #PDA #eyesburning

Even though my guys are just little, any additional suggestions to our raise-good-kids-sans-grounding arsenal would be appreciated!

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I’d Give Myself a Solid B Today

I was a crappy mom last Thursday. All around. I ended up letting my kids just splash around in a mall fountain to their hearts’ content, while I sat defeated on the side eating a caramel apple.

I’d glare from behind my caramel apple at anyone that asked if my kids needed a towel, or gave the oh-so-clever, “Looks like you’ve got your hands full! Har har!” comment.

I know, it’s February, and Shamu reenactments can be a little brisk. It’s just that the night before I forgot to completely recharge my patience the way I do my phone. I was in low power mode. (My kids were super happy, for the record.)

Because of my bland mothering the end of last week, I went into my long work weekend feeling guilty. After hearing a few sad stories and seeing a friend get hit by a drunk driver with her son in the backseat, I was fiercely determined to be an A+ mom this week.

So, we have played all day the past few days. I put my phone in a drawer. We got out the Playdough. We went out to eat. I cleaned G’s little spot on his wall where he (carefully and intentionally) displays his boogies after declining Kleenexes. My kids refused their naps, so they just watched Mickey…but no naps don’t fly with me. The precious, precious, precious synchronized naps are when I gloriously recharge, and my guys awaken to a clean-ish house, and a mom with clean-ish hair.

Naptime is my phoenix rising from the ashes moment, if you will. It’s as dramatic as it sounds.

No naps really steal my thunder, but I triiiiied to not fall off the wagon by playing with stickers and coloring and tickling and reading and playing hockey.

That A+ grade is hard earned, man. It reminds me of my freshman year biology class, when I worked SO hard for a grade that would make you pat my head.

This time, I’ve got nothing to study, and all those Pinterest moms are throwing the curve.

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I’d Like to Title Today “L-O-L.”

I would like to title today “L-O-L.”

Even though I was not laughing out loud, I think the universe was. At me.

Because I’ve being up multiple times a night this entire week (and because I don’t have a newborn), I hit the pillow everrrry night with the thought, “This is my night. Tonight. I. Sleep.” The moon says, “LOL! See you in thirty!”

I tried to do my slept-on-it-wet hair this morning, and my hair was like, “LOL!”

I thought Gus’s ear infection issues would be a simple fix…two weeks ago. LOL!

I thought Gus’s ear infection situation would finally be resolved at the doctor today! LOL!

If we have to go to a specialist, odds are good that we will meet our deductible in a month! LOLSIES!

We discovered the price tag on Gus’s third prescription, and my bank account said, “LOL!”

I almost took a nap today, and Roscoe said, “LOL. Mom. LOLOLOL.”

I tried to Google (misspelled) “My 3 year old won’t take medicine” for some new ways to sneak Advil to Gus without him throwing up, and I actually did LOL. By the looks of the suggested search items, looks like 3 year olds are collectively conspiring against the world. Or just real jerks.

Good one, January 19.

What a weird week.

Sidenote: I’ve noticed that when I reach a certain threshold of sleeplessness, really obscure thoughts/memories bubble up to the forefront of my mind. They’re long forgotten mementos from my life that escape confinement when my brain is so tired, it literally can’t even (like me, with my kids today, when I let them watch Mickey over and over and let Roscoe run all over and over).

I couldn’t get Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” out of my head last night, and today I suddenly remembered how eager I was to try a Giada brunch recipe I’d seen around Thanksgiving several years ago. So, there I was tonight, standing in front of a blender with a little guy hanging on my leg, making a sage hollandaise sauce.

Brian came home from work, nonchalantly set down the box of tampons he’d been requested to buy (LOL), and swept up the boys’ dinner (and breakfast) from the floor. Bless Brian. I don’t know if he competely disregarded my one-person,Thanksgiving-inspired brunch for dinner because I looked like I was going to crack, or because I looked like I was on crack, but either way, it was much appreciated “LOL” ending to an “LOL” day.

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Midnight Mixology

I once worked at a bar. Okay, not really a BAR, per se, but I worked at a Vegas pool, which is essentially the same thing, right?

I’m not a drinker and had zero experience with fancy alcoholic beverages, so I was pretty intrigued watching the bartenders. During events, the other girls would sometimes fulfill their own drink orders instead of waiting for the bartender…but obviously, I couldn’t. What was a twist? What was a margarita with a Grand Marnier floater? Sounded like French backwash.

Sorry, bartender, I’ll just wait for you for anything I need that isn’t in a Dasani bottle.

At some point, however, I did make a few mojitos. Turns out that I was a heavy pourer and the alcohol : soda ratio was astronomical.

No extra round of drinks were needed after one Mormon mojito!

That summer job has popped into mind as I’ve been up late night drink concocting the past couple weeks with sick babies. Without fail, Gus throws up any medicine the second it hits his tongue, so we mix it in his drinks as discreetly as possible.

The mixers and the hard stuff.

A few nights ago, I spent the hours of 3:30AM-5AM digging out Koolaid and perfecting drink mixtures. Grape Motrin pairs well with apple juice or blue Hawaiian Punch. Chocolate milk seems to be working well to mask amoxicillin. Cherry Tylenol was okay with lemonade, but the bubble gum Advil? Ugh. Can’t hide bubble gum in anything.

I was confident in my drink combinations, but I presented them with Goldfish chasers, just in case.

(Just for the record, I’m an exact 5 ml/1 tsp pourer these days.)

I know I haven’t slept in days when I think this is all hilarious…

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I Either Smell like Aunt Linda or a Stripper

Ever since my family’s Park City girl’s trip a few months ago, I’ve been really into perfumes. That’s because my Aunt Linda, who is beautiful and always smells the way the glitter emoji looks, shared her latest dreamy scent with me. Here she is.

Now, I, too, smell like sparkles, even when trying to get everyone EQUAL cups and EQUAL drinks at lunch.

Have you read fragrance vocabulary? Whoa. Poetic people must always smell like my Aunt Linda.

“Its warm incense undertone lends it a dusky, somber quality, while the top notes reminiscent of freshly cut wood offer an interesting bright counterpoint. Although a beautiful and complex material, it is heavy and opaque, with a tendency to easily overwhelm other facets of the fragrance.”

That’s cool. My house has overwhelming top notes resembling a Costco box of diapers, with subtle notes of soiled ones, magnified by accords of bloated Honey Nut Cheerios that evaded the garbage disposal. The sweetness may give a robust floral fragrance.

I should bottle that up and call it, “Wednesday Mornings.”

In addition to Aunt Linda’s amazing perfume, I’ve been eyeing Prada Candy for a while. I’ve been second guessing it ever since I’ve had more than one stripper client rave about it, which seemed appropriate after reading it’s advertised description:

Prada CANDY is instantly seductive—pure pleasure wrapped in impulsive charm.

Definitely getting a different vibe than my “Wednesday Morning.”

Prada Candy, you’re a welcome addition to my mom-perfume curation.

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Things I Wish I’d Known Before Becoming a Mother

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I. Had. No. Idea.

An opportunity to share my infinite mothering wisdom from my three years of experience presented itself, and I shared five things I wish I’d known before becoming a mom with Jess Toolson. Check her out for inspiration, or just to look at her because she’s pretty.

A HANDFUL OF THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN BEFORE I HAD BABIES

1. You cannot die from no sleep. Don’t worry, I checked, and there are no records of a coroner citing sleeplessess as a cause of death. Well, okay, there was this ONE guy that went eleven days, but I tried to forget about that as I dragged myself out of bed with my second baby. Rest (or not?) assured that although your brain may feel dysfunctional, you will live to see the sun rise again. Then, a few years later, your heart will hurt realizing how quickly the sun set and rose during that time, and you’ll wish you could hold that newborn all over again (or at least remember it more clearly).

2. You don’t need so much STUFF. Why didn’t anyone tell me to calm down with the purchases? And, was it necessary to research laundry detergent for two hours? All the baby “needs” and colossal registry recommendations are going to be stacked in your garage Jenga-style after a few months. After you’ve survived all those sleepless nights, do you really want to risk your life every time you wander into your garage to pull out Christmas decorations? Worse, I’m not even sure if a fatal avalanche of Mama-Roos and double strollers will qualify you for a Darwin Award…

3. Your husband will probably slip from your radar a bit. Before I had kids, my whole universe revolved around my husband. Now, after a weekend of working, tell me: am I going to put pants back on to go to a movie I don’t care about, or stay home to bathe my teeny baby with the best thigh rolls (and go to bed at 9:30)? Get real. It has taken me a couple of years to realize it’s beneficial to everyone in the family to reinstate your husband’s title as your main guy. My husband now knows that he is the only guy I’ll put my pants ON for, which is a much greater compliment to him than the opposite.

4. Kids are FUN.
I wish someone had said, “Hey, you’re going to LIKE this!” instead of telling me horror stories. Kids come with their own unique personalities, and provide constant laughs. Until I became a mother, I didn’t know what true, pure happiness was. I have the most fun friends and great family, an exciting college life, and a wonderful marriage, but I hadn’t experienced true bliss until I saw my first baby smile at me for the first time. There is no elation that can compare. Sure, I’m exhausted and have a weird ponytail every day, but every SINGLE day, I am surprised, I am laughing, and I am in awe of these little humans that light up my whole life.

5. Motherhood isn’t pretty, but that is what makes it incomprehensibly beautiful. According to social media, motherhood means lounging around in a pristine bed with a sleeping baby and a bouquet of flowers, and maybe running to lunch with friends in an #OOTD (outfit of the day).

I just, I don’t…alrighty, bloggers.

Motherhood is Costco on a Saturday; motherhood is defying the laws of physics and being able to juggle any wiggly child/pacifier/bottle/blanket; motherhood is looking in the mirror and not recognizing yourself after two or three days of cleaning up throw up from a sick family; motherhood is innate resourcefulness when you forget to pack wipes; motherhood is never taking a photo when you ARE in bed with a sleeping baby, because you can’t look away from the impossibly perfect face you are studying; motherhood is a million whispered, “I love you”s; motherhood is the most joyous chaos. Motherhood is imperfect and heavenly and messy and teary and hilarious, and just the best.

In my opinion, if motherhood is pretty, it’s wasted.

Besides, pretty is too dainty of a word for a title so strong.

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