Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A visit to the land of friendly people and fun food

Over the weekend, I got to go on a mini-vacation all by myself. We considered taking the whole family, but with the baby's crazy strict elimination diet it would have meant having to drive so we could transport all of her meals and drinks. As fun as that sounded, my wonderful husband insisted that I go visit my friend on my own and he would stay home in the House of No Gluten and Endless Princess Playtime with the girls.

Traveling alone is amazingly relaxing, even though I'm an idiot who didn't think to bring a book or something for the plane ride. It was only an hour and there was the Sky Mall magazine. I wish I could get that magazine delivered to my house. I love everything in it.

All about the bass

This was my first time going to Buffalo, NY and I picked a weekend with perfect weather to go. It was still warm, but the leaves were already turning for fall. I also realized that they are not kidding when they call Buffalo the "City of Good Neighbors" (or something close to that) because everyone is so unbelievably friendly and helpful. Granted, I grew up in northern VA and I'm told that we are an unfriendly people, so it was remarkable to me.

Even the babies are friendlier here

Doesn't my friend have the cutest baby? I might be biased, but I think he could be a baby model. I'd buy whatever he's selling.

Happiest baby on the block
His hands are covering it, but he's wearing a hilarious onesie that I brought for him that said "I Still Live With My Parents" because I'm easily amused.

On Saturday we went to Canada to see Niagara Falls. I had never seen them before, so I was suitably impressed.

We didn't do the Maid of the Mist (that boat you see in the pic) because babies don't love getting soaking wet, but we got a taste of the mist just standing close to falls.

The falls are behind us, I swear

After the falls, we drove around the Niagara area looking for lunch. We were going to eat at one of the wineries, but there was a big wine festival going on so they were all booked. Trying to park at those wineries pretty much killed my idea of Canadians as being exceedingly polite. Canadians get passionate about three things: hockey, maple syrup, and parking spaces.

They did say "So-orey" after yelling

Luckily we stumbled upon a tiny little restaurant that smelled like heaven inside. They had everything that I love to eat.

I asked for extra gluten


After eating a sandwich the size of my face and trying two kinds of pie, we crossed back over the border to the US. As usual, I was a joy to take out in public.

A giant beaver. It doesn't need a punchline

This is post wine tasting. I can't explain the shark part though.

That night I got to try the famous Buffalo burger and shake joint known as Taffy's. They have over 100 different milkshake options! Clearly, Buffalo is superior to southern MD in many ways and we need to step up our milkshake game.

The next day, after eating something called breakfast pizza and a donut made from a croissant (a cro-nut!), we ventured out to go find the fabled Eternal Flame. Well, it's not too fabled because that was the first time I've heard of it, but Google told me it's actually quite historic.

Part of me really wanted to try touching it

In case you're ever in Buffalo and want to do the hike to see the Eternal Flame, don't be stupid like me and wear flip flops. I already had to borrow clothes from my friend because I wrongly assumed that Buffalo in late September would be too cold for shorts, but I couldn't borrow shoes because she has tiny normal sized feet. One woman saw my feet and exclaimed "Wow, you're brave doing this in flip flops!" I think she mispronounced "stupid".

You have to earn the right to see the Eternal Flame

I should have just done it barefoot. I've seen people run 50Ks in their bare feet on trails so it has to be possible. Stupid yes, but possible.

Getting back home was a little bit of a cluster because my flight got delayed three times, but the Southwest attendants are really good at placating passengers with food items so I was happy enough to sit and wait while watching free TV on my phone. TLC is still the learning channel because I learned that gypsies really like to fight. Also, dressing ridiculously is another passion of their people.

I'm a fan of Buffalo now. I love the wonderfully unhealthy food and pretty city, but I don't quite get the obsession with sports. The Bills are like a religion there and I can't even say I have a football team that I root for because I could say the Ravens because I live in MD but really, the Redskins are closer.

Are you a football fan? I don't watch any sports on TV, but sometimes I sit in the room while my husband does so I know about football through osmosis.

Have you ever been to Buffalo? What's your favorite thing to do there? I totally want to go back so I can add any suggestions to a list.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

We're all experts in our own mind

A funny thing can happen when someone has a baby. and it seems to happen more often when they have a public blog. They are instantly experts in all things baby related and they can tell you what you need to buy and to do to be a better parent. I get that everyone is the expert on their own kids, but it seems to be somewhat rare to realize that you aren't the expert on all children.

Let's look at some (hypothetical of course) examples:

Had a baby a week ago, now an expert on all things a pregnant woman needs to buy for her new baby. Affiliate links are fun and all, but let's not pretend that one week into motherhood that you have anymore of a clue about what you need/don't need than you did when the fetus was housed indoors. The baby hasn't even really woken up yet. They just lay there like alien potatoes. I'm sorry, adorable alien potatoes. 

After a week of parenting, all you really know that you need is diapers. Those are critical. Go ahead and quote me on that.

Has one toddler, is now expert on solving toddler tantrums. I know how exciting it must be to feel like you have some modicum of control over the tiny person living in your house, but you really don't. You may have stumbled on some method that's working for you this month, but you haven't found the Holy Grail of Parenting. 

Having another kid is usually a good way to realize that you have no idea what you're doing and how on earth can two people so closely related be so different?

So serious


Once skimmed a book on sleep training, is now an expert on how to sleep train a child. The best part of this kind of case is how they will alternate between telling you how to get your children to sleep better and complaining about how tired they are.

Sleep training isn't calculus and by that I mean it's both incredibly intuitive and yet there is no right answer. Do you really need some blogger or other mom to smugly tell you that a bedtime routine is key to better sleep? Everyone has a bedtime routine, literally everyone both young and old. Except for maybe cats, they just seem to fall asleep wherever. It's not some secret key to finally getting that darn baby to sleep all night or that toddler to stop resisting going to sleep.

You can't negotiate with a terrorist

Thinking of yourself as an expert on language development because your kid happened to develop at a slightly accelerated rate. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me that their toddler talked more than Faith because they read to them and talked to them, I'd have enough to fill a sock to beat the next person who wants to tell me how they are personally responsible for their kid's ability to communicate. Understanding the complexities of language development usually requires an advanced degree and lots of experience, so if it was as simple as "Talk to your kid!" then a whole lot of people would be out of a job. 

Also, just because your kid talked early doesn't mean they are smarter than kids who didn't. We're all stupid in our own ways.

The nutrition Nazi. We get it, your kid doesn't eat sugar or processed food and only consumed meals that locally grown, vegan, low salt, and gluten free. Aren't you just the best parent ever for never letting your kid have a treat beyond mashed frozen bananas that you call "dessert"? Please, post about it more on social media, I need to hear more!

How about we agree to not care about what other people feed their kids? I'll just stick with bribing my kids into being quiet in the van with lollipops, and you can dehydrate kale into "chips" for your lucky kids.

I know I'm probably forgetting a few classic examples. I'm sure someone fill in the blanks in the comment section.

On a related note, can we all just agree that the phrase "Just wait..." is the most aggravating thing ever and should never be said to someone you like? 

Just wait...until that baby is crawling! You'll wish you had these easy days back!

Just wait...until that toddler is talking back! You'll wish you had these easy days back!

Just wait....until real school starts and there is friend drama and homework! You'll wish you had these easy days back!

Just wait...until they are teenagers! You'll wish they were cute toddlers again!

Whenever you say that "just wait..." phrase you're being a smug asshole who is telling the person that whatever struggles they are having right now aren't valid. So let's stop. 

When was the last time you were told "Just wait..."? Does that phrase irritate you as much as it does me? 

Also, if you feel like you deserve a chance to win $100 after reading all of this, make sure you entered here

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rage, horse humor, and cat shaming

I'm so totally over the back and forth with Faith's (soon to be former) preschool, that I feel like I pulled a muscle rolling my eyes yesterday. They actually told me that they weren't aware that I was unhappy. I guess those 8 emails in three weeks time were just normal for them? Also, they asked for specific paperwork from Faith's speech therapist so I got it and sent it in her bookbag and it didn't come back home with her, so I assumed they had it. No, let's instead tell me about how you're still waiting on me to send in that paperwork you requested. Or let's tell me how you can't find the health inventory paperwork that I need you to return to me!

I did email about the stupid paper heart thing (reward system where all the kids got a heart with something positive written on it except for Faith) and don't worry, it wasn't just Faith who didn't get one. It was also at least one other kid.

Apparently Faith and this other nameless delinquent didn't "do something nice for a fellow classmate" and therefore didn't earn the paper heart reward.  Of course, let's exclude preschoolers who didn't understand the verbal instructions. That's the best way to teach them!

I'm just so freaking done with this whole experience that I'm even considering just letting Faith stay home with me like she begs for every morning until she starts her new school next week. We go back and forth on that decision, which if I keep up will solve the dilemma for me.

In more lighthearted news, I'm pretty sure I broke some Amish law by taking this picture at a stop light yesterday but this horse was cracking me up. He was shaking his head and pawing at the pavement like we were at the start line of a race. Spoiler: I won.

I live in a strange place

Also, I probably feel really bad about this if it turns out one day that my cat has some kind of neurological disorder that effects her equilibrium, but my cat is the most un-cat like cat ever. She falls off everything. She'll run across the house and doing a flying leap onto the window sill and completely overshoot and just fall face first on the ground. She'll even fall off my lap when she's sleeping and not care when she just plops on the ground. I thought cats were supposed to be graceful and shit?

I'm pretty sure today will be a better day than yesterday because I'm determined to not speak to the current preschool people at all (shouldn't be hard to avoid) and Wednesday is Zumba day. That's right, I get excited for Zumba day. Last week was bad because the normal instructor wasn't there and I was the only one who doesn't follow her on Facebook (is that really a thing we need to be doing?) and due to that, I was the only one who showed up to class. I felt really bad for the super friendly sub as I backed slowly out of the room, but I do not Zumba alone. That shit needs to be done in a crowd, preferably with the lights dimmed low.

Well, this blog post covered rage, horse humor, cat shaming, and bonus Zumba talk. I consider this to be a job well done.

Would you stay and take a group fitness class if you were the only one who showed up? I would only do this if the instructor was a friend or super hot. Hey, let's be honest now.

Do you have Amish where you live? I'm fascinated by them, but judging by all the Amish reality shows, I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My favorite hobby

You know how there are annoying things in life that you can't do anything about, but it's still really cathartic to complain about them? Well guess what, I have a list.

My neighbors have chickens. I have no issues with the chickens, it's that goddamn rooster that I hate. They must have gotten a deal on one that was dropped on his head as a chick because he starts crowing before dawn and he doesn't stop. I swear he doesn't even take a breath between cock-a-doodle doos. I lay in bed every morning and fantasize about rooster murder. It's the best way to start the day.

My kids hate my cooking. I get it, because I hate it too...but I'm the only one who is allowed to say it. If I spend almost two hours making some special gluten/dairy/soy/egg free nasty dinner, then my kids need to learn to stop questioning me and just eat it.

All of our dependents work in shifts to make sure we don't sleep for more than 4 hours at a time. Yeah, I'm including these two assholes in the line up.

I don't even care

I just want to love you at 4am

Faith is having some kind of back to school anxiety spike that means she's up multiple times a night (of course) which works nicely with the baby's wonderful sleep habits. Maybe in a few months things will be better and bed time will be a simple process and we won't hear a peep from them until a reasonable hour. Oh, I crack myself up.

My kids insist on touching me at all times. This is one of those things that if you complain about in public, some older lady will always interrupt you and say "You're going to miss this! Cherish these days!" Yeah, I'm sure you just relished being constantly accosted with sticky hands and icy little chubby feet all day with a smile on your face.

Trying to manage my expectations for going to see the pain management doctor. I keep telling myself "After that appointment, I'm going to feel better!" and then I have a Gollum-esque internal argument about how it probably won't help at all and I shouldn't trust the hobbits doctors. I could be wrong and maybe they do have some kind of magical cure that will make me forget all about my pain.

Our garage is a graveyard for all things small and crawl-y. If you remember, we have a problem with black widow spiders (an infestation would be a a better word) so we have a company come out and spray for the spiders. To kill off the black widow spiders, they basically have to kill everything. Every time the kids go out in the garage to get their outside toys, I have to explain the mysteries of life and death and how that little lizard isn't just sleeping and no amount of yelling "HEY LIZARD!"  will wake him up. It's fun.

The last week at the less than stellar preschool. Yesterday I was at the pick up and the teacher told the parents in the hall (as we stood in our proper line) that they started a new reward procedure and if a kid did something positive, they got to take home a paper heart with that act written on it. Every single kid got to take home a heart yesterday. Except for my kid.

Look at that cute little face and TELL me how you won't give her a freaking paper heart reward

Yeah, I really enjoyed sending that email telling them we are taking our kid and our money to greener pastures starting next week.

What do you feel like complaining about today? Also, if you have rooster killing ideas, feel free to share. Not that I would do it. Of course not.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Questionable life decisions

I had a weekend full of questionable life decisions that turned out to be actually pretty fun. The first one was based on a conversation I had with a friend a few weeks ago based on our shared love the Stair Master at the gym. We noted that the max time the machine would allow was 99 minutes and said "What kind of idiot would do this for 99 minutes?"

So we decided to meet early on Saturday morning and "race" for 99 minutes and see who could cover the most distance. We considered sharing a machine to make the race feel more real, but we ultimately decided to just settle for adjacent machines. 

Yes, we made some poor guy take this picture

99 minutes on the Stair Master actually wasn't that bad at all and in retrospect I think I could have gone harder. I'm a little hesitant on pushing myself since my back injury, but if we decide on a rematch I plan on beating this mileage. 


After my triumphant victory in the inaugural Stair Master race, I came home to go to the county fair...because walking around all day after 11 miles of stairs is an awesome idea. It was actually really fun because the weather was perfect the kids are old enough to both really enjoy the attractions. We looked at all the animals in the morning. I never really considered how disgusting turkeys look. Look at that face. Look at it.

Gobble gobble motherfuckers

Luckily we live really close to the fair, so we were able to go home for lunch and a nap for the kids. They still haven't come out with gluten free funnel cakes, so we couldn't eat any fun fair food. Well, we could but that would have been just mean to the baby who would have to just watch. After nap time, we took the kids back to the fair to try some rides, which could have ended in terror and tantrums but they actually had so much fun.

A rare ginger husband sighting on the blog!

I only went because he didn't fit

I get motion sickness really easily so I was proud of myself for riding this off-brand Dumbo ride without needing to lay down afterwards. It's the little things in life that make me proud.

The kids were exhausted after the fair, so of course it was a good idea to take Faith to a birthday party the next day at the gymnastics gym instead of taking a nap. Who needs sleep when you have cake?

Cake! CAKE!

Faith did much better than usual with missing her nap/rest time, so it was actually fun and relaxing. You never really appreciate how relaxing it is to go out with just your older child until you have that second one. We even went out for milkshakes after the party just because I like to live it up when it's just the two of us and we have a new Sonic in town. That's a big deal for southern MD.

Speaking of southern MD, I had such a "You know you live in southern MD..." moment yesterday. My friend and I went to the hospital to visit another friend who just had a (so adorable) baby. As we were leaving, we had to walk past two chicks just going at it on the hood of a car while a third chick sat in the driver's seat playing with her phone. This was on a Sunday afternoon, in full daylight...in a hospital parking lot. Never change southern MD, never change.

What would you rather do, go on a Stair Master for 99 minutes or touch a turkey's lumped red melted looking face?