For Moms (and Dads) of Train-Obsessed Kids. Also: leg-shaving.

This, my friends, is the post that officially announces to the internet the fact that I will sometimes write things that are only interesting to a very small cross-section of the population.  Actually, come to think of it, it might only be interesting to…um…none of my four readers.  Ha ha!  Thus, I will first babble about completely unrelated things.  Such as:  I’ve been shaving my legs with baby oil lately.  One of my friends saw it on Pinterest and – completely accurately – describes the results as making one’s legs as smooth as baby dolphins.  Actually, she said, “I have baby dolphins for legs.”  Try it!  It’s amazing.

So!  All rambling aside, let’s talk trains.  I’ve mentioned before that Bear is into Thomas.  Well, what I never knew before I had a train-enthusiast child is there’s not just one kind of Thomas train on the market.  There’s the Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway, which is what most people seem to start with (here’s a pretty good photo of what I’m talking about),  and there’s the Take & Play Thomas stuff.  And then – THEN, my friends – there’s the Trackmaster line.   This is what Bear is currently obsessed with.   He first encountered them when visiting my parents, who bought a bunch of the stuff on eBay, and he fell in love.  The tracks and trains are plastic, and the trains are battery-operated, and he loves them with all of his heart.

I can talk a LOT about these Trackmaster trains.  I can tell you about the different manufacturers (they used to be made by TOMY, now they are made by Fisher-Price) and about the different tracks and about how some of the TOMY engines have batteries in their coal tenders and some have batteries in their engines.  Interestingly, my Bear favors the TOMY trains and tracks, so we buy a lot of ours on eBay.  (Only 3.5 years old and already a hipster, favoring the “vintage” models, yes?).  This is all kind of irrelevant to today’s discussion, but I tell you all of this to illustrate how into these trains we are.  I have even, thanks to a handy YouTube video and a newly acquired soldering iron (from the woodworking department of a craft store), re-wired a train that originally took a C battery and adapted it to take a 9V battery so it would go super-fast.  (Do you want to do the same?  Check this out.).  So yeah, we are INTO these trains.

But!  One thing that has always driven us a little crazy is the fact that the Trackmaster trains only have couplings on their backsides.  The wooden trains have magnet-couplings both on their fronts and their backs, so you can hook multiple engines together.  The Trackmaster trains do not – you can just hook an engine up to a tender or any of the train cars, but that’s it…





Ta da!!!  Want to know how we did it?







Here’s what you’ll need.



(1) Box cutter.

(2)  Replacement couplings.  I bought ours here.

(3) Little screwdrivers.  These are from a kit I got at Radio Shack.  You’ll need one phillips head one and one flat one.  (Actually – what you’ll really need is a special security key one, but I don’t have one of those, so I improvised.)(Some of the screws have little triangle indentations instead of looking like normal screws.  Apparently, you can buy special screwdrivers for them, but you can also improvise by using a flat head screwdriver on one side of the triangle. )

(4) Trackmaster train.  I think the one we used is a TOMY Gordon.

(5) That hacksaw-ish thing up at the top.  I have no idea what it’s called, but it came in my tool box.  You can probably get away without it, but it helped to have it.

Once you have all that stuff, you’re ready to get started.  You should also be warned: you’re going to be cutting into the plastic on your train, so you should not do this if you aren’t okay with that.






First, reach into your little baggie of couplings and pull out one of the hook ones, like so.








Next, let’s say hello to our train.  Hi there, Gordon!







Turn Gordon upside down.  You’re going to be unscrewing this red panel from his underside.





IMG_7005If the picture isn’t too small, you can tell that I’m having to unscrew one of these little triangle screw thingies.  My flat head screwdriver is doing just fine, though.

The key here is to keep your train flat on your work surface.  There are lots of things inside these trains, and – at least with the older TOMY ones – parts can fall out and be hard to get back in correctly.





Here’s what it will look like inside.  Those little silver bar thingies are particularly annoying if they fall out.  Also, your train will probably be a lot cleaner inside – this one was made in the 1990s, so it’s a bit grimy.





IMG_7008 Here are some parts you’re going to want to pay attention to, so you can put everything back together correctly.  First, see this white thing?  You’re going to want to make sure that hole at the top goes over the black pole thingy.  Incidentally, the red and blue wires connect the battery (which on this particular train is in the coal tender) to the engine’s motor.  If I were teaching you how to rewire Gordon to use a 9V battery, we’d be talking about those wires more).



IMG_7009Next, be careful not to lose any wheels.  They go flying right off of the earlier-model trains.   (They still fall off the newer ones, but this particular year was a bad one for wheels, in my opinion.)






IMG_7010Lastly, be careful of these little buggers.  Some folks on the internet refer to them as magnets, but I think they are actually weights.  If your train was made in a different year/by a different manufacturer/is a different one of Thomas’s friends, the magnets may be placed in a different location.  For example, in one of our trains, two weights are vertical and one is horizontal.  This can be a real pain in the neck if they fall out on you – it took me forever to figure out how to put them back in correctly in one train, and the damn thing wouldn’t even run with the weights in the wrong places.


So!  Now it’s time to get cracking.  If you are a kid and you are reading this, DO NOT TRY TO DO THIS PART ON YOUR OWN.    You could really  hurt yourself because the tools I’m using here are ridiculously sharp.  By “hurt yourself,” I mean “lose a finger” or “cut off your arm” or something equally excruciating.  So, stop reading and go find an adult to help you.

IMG_7011I found it easiest to take my hacksaw thingy or whatever this thing is and start sawing back and forth a bit on the plastic where I wanted the hook coupling to go.  I think you could probably start out with a box cutter, but the saw worked best for me.  If you are using this exact tool, be careful.  I’m not positive that I was using this thing right, because sometimes the blade part would loosen up and I’d come close to cutting off an arm or a finger or something.  (See kids? If you’re still reading, go find an adult.)

The goal here is to cut a little hole in the plastic that is wide enough and deep enough to hold the coupling.



Once I got a little cut going, I then found it easier to switch to the box cutter and kind of shave a little plastic at a time by slicing thin pieces off.








Here’s another photo of the box cutter in action.










Finally!  A little half-moon-shaped hole!







Here’s a better photo of it.  Excuse my gross unmanicured, bitten-to-the-quick fingernails.  It’s a bad habit that I’ve had since childhood.







Next, you’ll probably need to cut a hole in this piece, too, if you want the train to close back up again nicely.  This is a little trickier because you don’t have as much plastic to work with, but the technique is still the same.  (Can it be called a technique if the person doing it is clueless?  Because I was clueless.)






See?  Tiny half-moon hole.










Now, make sure you put the wheels back on, because it’s time to close this baby up!  I don’t know why I didn’t take a photo of this stuff, too, but you’ll need to lay the coupling into the hole you created, making sure the hook’s opening faces downward, and make sure that white loop thingy near the wires (I posted a photo of it earlier) is lined up properly, too.







Finally!  He’s done!







We added front couplings to several of our trains, and I’ve promised Bear that I’ll order some more so we can do it to the rest of them.  I’m sure we just killed any resale value these things will have, but let’s face it – I’m too much of a hoarder to ever sell his beloved trains, when he outgrows them, anyway.  (Also, can we talk about how tragic it’s going to be when he outgrows these things?  I can’t even think about it!!)



And there you have it: how to put a front coupling on a Trackmaster engine!  We will resume our regularly scheduled drivel tomorrow!







Posted in lara-bee chatters, lara-bee choo choos, lara-bee mamas | 1 Comment

Just Because I Love You

photo-113  I present to you: a giant chicken statue.  I kind of love it.  I couldn’t tell you how big it is, because it’s been a while since I paid much attention to it, but it’s definitely taller than a person, if that tells you anything.   There are spotlights on it at night, too, which is equally awesome.

And since I’m talking about chickens, I may as well share the fact that I made another Pinterest low-fat chicken recipe.  This one.   I’m not sure what I think about it.  I loved the honey mustard, but thought the cornflakes were weird.  Wilbur, on the other hand, loved the cornflakes but thought the honey mustard was weird.  What I want to know is what happened to good old-fashioned Shake ‘n’ Bake?  Oh wait – apparently it still exists!  Why am I dragging my chicken through crushed Ritz crackers and corn flakes and, quite possibly very soon, crushed pretzels, when I know I used to like shake n bake? I should probably read some nutritional info on this.

In other news, Cubbie bear took a few unassisted steps today!  This kid is growing up insanely fast.  Also, I’m typing this from my bed, because Cubbie is napping and Bear is next to me, watching YouTube videos of Thomas toy trains.  They are his addiction, like mine to Breaking Bad.  I’m so lazy during rest times like these that I put him in a pull-up because I don’t want to have to get up to help him with the potty (or worse, get up to change my sheets).

Also, I feel like I did the chicken story a real disservice by typing it in pieces and when tired.  Did y’all miss the part about the alleged painting of the swastika on the chicken coop??  Or the fact that they might be playing recorded chicken sounds?  Those are my two favorite aspects of the story.  Also, is it crazy that I’ve been thinking about calling Mr. and Mrs. Turquoise and asking if they want to get our dogs together?  (They have a puppy, and my dog looks longingly at him when I let him out to do his business.)  (On the other hand, it’s freaking freezing around these parts lately, and I don’t have the fortitude for an outside  play date of any kind, so maybe not…)

On that random note, I’m off to snooze.  Or read.  Or play my Scrabble turns.

Posted in lara-bee cooks, lara-bee uses pinterest | 2 Comments

Cluck cluck cluck

This post is delayed for two reasons.  The first is my newly acquired addiction to Breaking Bad.  Holy crow, that show is addictive – a fact that I find funny, since it’s about an addictive substance and all.  The second is that I’ve been trying to draw a stupid map for y’all so this story will make more sense, and I couldn’t get it to work quite right and now i’ve lost the file altogether, and it didn’t make much sense anyway.  Oh well.  No illustrations for you.

So, picture if you will a street that goes around in a circle, with a side street that comes… oh, never mind.  Here’s a picture for you.  It’s pretty crappy, so I can’t promise it will help you follow this story any easier, but maybe it will.

chickensIsn’t this some lovely art?  Clearly, I don’t really know how to draw computer images.

So!  You can’t really tell from this picture, but the neighborhood is designed in a way that allows several people to see into each other’s backyards.   Only the turquoise, pink, and green homes have fences, and those fences are split-rail, so it looks like a giant piece of land shared by all.

The houses at issue are marked either with a heart, stars, or ducks (there was no chicken option in Photoshop Elements, so I used ducks).

The story goes that the folks in the turquoise house (let’s call them Mr. & Mrs. Turquoise) bought themselves a chicken coop and some chickens, and then a rooster.  The folks in the pinky-purpley (Mr. & Mrs. Pinkish) house didn’t mind the chickens.  The three houses with stars on them DID mind the chickens.

Incidentally, the orange house is mine, but I didn’t live here yet.  Apparently, Mr. & Mrs. Orange (the previous owners) and Mr. & Mrs. Green were particularly bothered by the chickens.  Or maybe they weren’t too bothered by them, but once the rooster came along, they had a problem.  I’m not sure.  Anyhow, Mrs. Orange asked Mrs. Turquoise if chickens were allowed in residential areas in this county, and Mrs. Turquoise said yes.  Mrs. Orange was annoyed by the chickens, either because she is anti-chicken for one reason or another, or (as I heard from an across-the-street neighbor, whose house is not pictured here) she hated the chickens because she was trying to sell her house, and buyers were turned off by the chickens clucking in the yard.  (Our yard extends pretty far back, so the first half of the yard abuts Mr. and Mrs. Green’s yard, and the second half abuts Mr & Mrs Turquoise’s yard).  Does that make sense?

So,  Mrs. Orange looked up the regulations for our county and learned that one must have at least 3 acres of land in order to keep chickens in this county.  The houses in our neighborhood are each on about an acre/acre and a half of land, so Mrs. Turquoise was wrong when she said her chickens were legal.

I hear there was a petition at one point that was circulated around the neighborhood to try to force Mr. & Mrs. Turquoise to get rid of their chickens, and eventually, Mrs. Orange sought some sort of legal action.  As a former attorney, I’m hesitant to say she sued them or brought them to court – my googling, which yielded very little about this – makes me think the issue was brought before a zoning board, but I’m not sure.  I may even be misinformed about Mrs. Orange bringing legal action.  Mr. & Mrs. Turquoise may have requested to be rezoned somehow in order to keep their chickens.  At any rate, there was a hearing, and the the Greens, Oranges, and Yellows argued against the chickens.  The Greens claimed the chickens and rooster were causing their autistic son to have seizures.  The Oranges and Yellows – well, I don’t know what they argued, but they didn’t want chickens in the neighborhood.  The Pinkishes supported the chickens.  It was all very dramatic, or so I’ve been told.  There were tears.  And there was shouting.  Mrs. Pinkish tells me the Turquoises were humiliated and she feels terrible for them, and that the Yellows and Oranges were some of the meanest people she’s ever seen, and she also cannot stand the Greens (for other reasons).

I should note here – the Yellows moved away about a month after we moved here, and I thought they were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Then again, I’ve also never tried to have chickens in my yard, so perhaps chickens bring out the worst in the Yellows.

Anyhow, the Turquoises lost, and they had to send their chickens to live on a farm elsewhere.

You’d think the story would end here, but it doesn’t.  Here’s where it gets really crazy.  Apparently, things did not end peacefully.  I haven’t heard the Turquoises’ side of things, but my across the street neighbor told me the Turquoises did all kinds of crazy things. For starters, they erected a giant chicken statue in their backyard.

I’ve also been told they started calling the Oranges “a bunch of Nazis.”  (I asked my across the street neighbor if the Oranges had exhibited anti-Semitic behavior, and she said no.)  (Also, interestingly, the Turquoises are not Jewish.)  Even weirder, they allegedly painted a swastika on their chicken coop, intending to illustrate…I don’t know.  And if the Oranges or Yellows or Greens had people over and were outside, they would yell crazy things (like, “You are a bunch of CHICKEN-HATING NAZIS!!!”) on a megaphone until everyone would get fed up and go back inside.

Of course, this is all hearsay, as the only thing I have experienced first-hand is the giant chicken statue.

For what it’s worth, the Turquoises seem like lovely people, so is it possible that everything has gotten completely exaggerated?  From what I hear, this completely tore our neighborhood apart.  Chickens!  Chickens tore our neighborhood apart!

Well, what is even crazier is the fact that I have started hearing chicken noises coming from the Turquoises’ yard.  So, either they are thumbing their nose at the law and have brought their chickens back home, OR they are playing recorded chicken noises to torment the Greens.   I don’t know which is crazier.




Posted in lara-bee chatters, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Jeans and a Pinterest Fail.

Hi!  It’s 11:30(ish) and I am exhausted, so instead of rocking your world with my own highly entertaining and intellectual prose tonight, I am going to refer you elsewhere.  However, I am kind of dying to tell you about the drama in my neighborhood, which involves chickens, a rooster, an  autistic person, some 50-somethings acting like Mean Girls, some other 50-somethings acting crazy, and more.  I know you two readers of this here blog are just dying for that, but I don’t have it in me tonight.

Instead, I’m going to make you read this girl’s posts about how to find the right pair of jeans, and you will like it.  I promise.   Because I’m on the fluffier side of the weight spectrum, I personally found her post, How to Find Great Plus-Sized Jeans the most enlightening.   Scroll down to the end of her post (dare I say, the “bottom”, har har?) for links to other jeans-related posts that might be more relevant to your own body.  Or, click here for all of her jeans-related posts to show up on your screen at one time.

You’re welcome.  Now, who wants to go off in search of a Maurice’s and a Torrid with me?

In other news, I tried making Crispy Cheddar Chicken this week, which I found on Pinterest.  I was too lazy to hunt through my Pinterest board to find the precise recipe I used, and instead just googled it, so here I am, linking to another person’s blog post about how much she and her family loved this meal.  Ha ha.  I have no clue what I did wrong, but mine wasn’t crispy!  I think the milk and cheese made the cracker crumbs soggy.  It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t divine either.  Nor was it Weight Watchers-friendly, so there’s that, too.  Better luck next time, Pinterest.

Posted in lara-bee shops, lara-bee uses pinterest | 1 Comment

New possible band name: The Saggy Boobs!

I kind of knew my boobs were different after having kids, but this is terrible.  I don’t think they were this bad after Bear, so can I blame Cubbie?  Maybe it’s from me not breastfeeding Cubbie?  Who knows!  (And yes, I know I said I would write a post about all that.  I just need the energy to do it, because it will be a long one).

Anyhow.  As part of my resolution to take better care of myself, I busted out an exercise DVD the other day for the first time in years.  I also put on an old sports bra (I have other, newer ones, but this was the first I grabbed out of the drawer).  The elastic around the bottom is pretty worn, and it feels like the bra smooshes my girls more than supports them, but (at least until that day) it does the job.

So there I was,  doing my (kind of cheesy) Weight Watchers workout DVD.  In case you’re curious, it’s this one.  Even though I also own the 30-Day Shred and think it’s pretty awesome, I started with the Weight Watchers one because I like the more moderate intensity level, particularly until I lose some weight and presumably have stronger knees than I currently do.  (My theory is that my knees have trouble holding up my gargantuan arse).  Part-way through, the guys who were scheduled to come assemble our piano showed up (an hour early) (Aside: my parents shipped up the baby grand piano I played all through high school!).  I stood there talking to them for a while, then went to finish my video.  And that’s when I realized  my boob had fallen out of my sports bra.

I was wearing a t-shirt over the bra, of course, but still!  My boob sagged out of my bra and I didn’t realize it, while I stood there talking to two dudes.  Awesome.  I am so very classy.

In other news, the hunt for a new babysitter is ON.  I thought I’d found one, but the more I think about her, I get the feeling she isn’t right for us.  For one thing, I found out she snooped through my house while I was away.  I asked Bear what he and Miss Snooperpants did while I was getting my pedicure and he said, “I showed her my room!  And then I showed her Mommy’s room!  And then I showed her the guest room!  And then I showed her Robert’s room!”  I asked whose idea it was, and it was Miss Snooperpants’s.  At first I rationalized it, thinking I probably poked around in houses while I babysat as a kid, but then I realized *I didn’t.*  I dont’ have a clue what the master bedrooms looked like in any of the homes where I babysat – and I was a teenager!   I still almost looked past it, but then I had a chat with Miss Snooperpants around Christmastime, when I was sick with the flu and felt like I was dying and needed some help.  Turns out that she was sick, too, but as we chatted, she asked if Bear had gotten better about sharing with Cubbie.  When I said, no, not really, it’s still one of our challenges, she said, “Oh.  Well, I hope you are able to figure something out, because I’ve got to be honest: it was a little irritating.”  She then went on to ask if she could sit for Bear sometime while Cubbie is napping, or vice versa.  Um, no.  You think my kid is irritating (and yes, his inability to share most toys with his brothers is VERY irritating), and I’m not going to ONLY hire you when one kid is napping!

Hrmph.  Am I being too sensitive?  Still, I have to get over my babysitter anxiety.  I worry less about Bear these days with a sitter and more about Cubbie.  Cubbie doesn’t want anyone but me these days, and what if he screams the whole time?  Don’t answer that: I know.  He will survive.  The sitter will survive.  I still just hate it.

And now I’ve rambled enough.  I fell asleep while typing half of this post last night, and now I’ve gotten Cubbie down for his nap (I think), and have promised Bear I would build him some tracks, and I need to do my workout DVD, and let’s face it: I’m desperate for a shower.  Oh, and did I mention my dishwasher is broken, so there are dishes to be washed?  Ho hum.  Countdown to new dishwasher’s arrival on Friday is ON!


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In which I decide to stop heading all my posts “In which…”

I guess I don’t actually plan to talk about how I’ve decided to stop heading all my posts “in which…”  I kind of wish I didn’t have to come up with a title for every single post all the time.  Titles aren’t my forte.

Guess what!  I’m hungry!  Today was my first official day counting points and it turns out that right now, at 11:33 pm, my body is accustomed to eating a bunch of random shit.  Oh, guess what else!  I’ve decided to stop caring whether I cuss too much in my blog.  I think I stopped cussing on here when I thought I was going to become a teacher sooner rather than later, and now it’s looking like it’ll be later rather than sooner, and…oh, never mind. I could be wrong, and then I’ll have to get all paranoid about whether it’s respectable for an English teacher to pepper her blog posts with, shall we say, colorfully expressive and unladylike words.  So…my body is accustomed to eating a bunch of random junk at this hour of the night.  At 3 pm, I was out of points for the day.  THREE.  Fear not – I did not starve myself, and in fact ate some delicious (albeit crustless) quiche at the home of a friend who is both vegetarian and embarking on her second week of the South Beach diet.  Thank God for the flex points, I say.  Well, for flex points and the fact that I’m also significantly cutting back on my wine consumption.  (Things had gotten a bit out of control.  There’s something about being a stay at home mom to two wild boys that makes a girl want to drink wine – lots of wine – every night.)  I have a feeling I would lose weight simply by limiting my wine consumption to only weekends.  Ha ha.

Enough about my adventures in dieting, though.  Let’s talk about books.  First of all, Hollywood has apparently been paying attention to my reading lists, because several books that I’ve read are being made into movies.  One of my Facebook friends posted this Buzzfeed link.  Let’s talk about these books, shall we?  Actually – I’m mostly just going to talk about the ones I’ve read.

(1) Labor Day, by Joyce Maynard.  I haven’t read this one, or any of the author’s books, but I recognized her name and just did a google search and yup, I remember her name from my obsessed-with-JD-Salinger days in high school.  After reading this article, I just find her curious.  Maybe it’s time to read one of her books, since I’ve also resolved to read 50 books this year.

Aside: Oh, hey!  Yeah!  Add that 50 book resolution to my list from yesterday!

(3) Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin.  Holy crap!  I read this beautiful book a billion years ago (okay, probably more like 15).  Correction: I read about half this book a billion years ago.  That first half flew for me, as I flipped from one beautiful page to the next, entranced.  Then, suddenly, I lost interest and never tried to read it again.  Side note: this one is 768 pages long.  Oof.

(5) A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby.  Read it.  Loved it.  Love Nick Hornby.

(7) The Fault in Our Stars, by John Greene.  What a gorgeous, tragic book.  Read this book if you want a good cry.   I predict this movie will be the Steel Magnolias of 2014, not because it will be all Southern and involve Dolly Parton or anything, but because it will be a movie that makes you bawl no matter whether you start it at the beginning or an hour and a half into it, and yet, people will still adore it.

(10) Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn.  Read and loved Gone Girl, and just recently read Sharp Objects, which I sort of liked but mostly found a bit too predictable.  Curious to see where this one falls on the spectrum, and will probably read it soon, especially since I read Sharp Objects in one day and that kind of speed helps me out with my 50 book resolution.  Sweet!

(11) This Is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper.  I don’t know how I went so long without knowing Jonathan Tropper, but I read this one a few years ago and it was the first in a line of several of Tropper’s books.  I have a mad crush on Jonathan Tropper, and I say that without knowing what he looks like.  Ergo: I’d like to see this film.

(13) Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn.  Sheesh.  Gillian must be over the moon (and raking in the $$).  Two books made into movies in the same year?  Dayumn!  I hope this one transfers well to the big screen, because I thought it was a really fun read.

(16) Serena, by Ron Rash.  I do not understand how they’re going to make this movie and not make it an “adult” film, because in the book, George and Serena Pemberton had so much sex that I had a hard time suspending my disbelief (that link is to my Goodreads review).  Still, I bet this becomes an exciting film.  I’ll look forward to this one, too.

Phew!  That was a lot of book talk for one day.  My growling stomach and I are going to bed.


Posted in lara-bee diets, lara-bee reads | 1 Comment

In which, once again, I attempt to revive this blog. And make some resolutions

Howdy!  It’s 2014!  Woohoo!  I hope you all sent 2013 off with champagne and toasts and kisses at midnight, because do you know what I did?  Snored, and then practically laid on top of my dog to keep him from barking and waking up the children.  And you know what?  I loved my new year’s eve.  I am officially lame and I do not care.

I don’t think I made any 2013 resolutions, but I’ve been feeling ambitious.  Or is the proper term “resolute”?  Anyhow, here goes.

  1. Take better care of myself.  This one gets bold print, too.  It’s super-general by design, but I have lots of sub-resolution ideas.  Start going back to Weight Watchers (it’s the only thing that works for me, and I have to actually go to the meetings because I apparently need that kind of accountability).  Hire a sitter more often.  Put my needs ahead of my kids’ needs sometimes (when appropriate)(by this, I mean stuff like worry less about how the kids are going to feel about being left with a sitter, and instead just enjoy my outing).  Do more kid-free things with my husband.  Have more, ahem, relations with my husband.  Take the Bear’s preschool attendance a little more seriously (he skips school a lot).  Take my showers at night so I don’t have to rush so much in the mornings (or, let’s be honest, so I don’t skip bathing as frequently as I do).  One day a month, REFUSE to be the one to wake up with the kids.  Use foot lotion every night.  Get my hair done more often.  I could probably keep going on and on about the various self-improvement things I need to do, but you get the gist.
  2. Finish knitting the blanket I started for my friend’s baby back when she was pregnant with him (he’s now 3 or 4 months old).
  3. Go through all these boxes of baby clothes and sell/donate them.  (I’ve determined that, although I REALLY want three kids, I cannot handle a third.)
  4. Be less wasteful.  (This is one of the reasons I’m writing in this blog right now, for which my annual payment was automatically debited from my bank account. If I’m paying for a domain, I may as well use the damn thing.)

I think that’s quite enough resolutions, don’t you?  What did you resolve to do this year?

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In Which I Am Lazy

You know what?  Almost every day, I think about various things I should blog about.  And every day, the clock ticks along until I realize it’s way past my bedtime and I have no idea where the time is going.  I mean, yes, I do – I get it – I’m taking care of two kids – one who is an infant and, you know, needy like an infant is, and the other who I’m pretty convinced has at least a little bit of OCD.  Or something.  Or hell, maybe all toddlers are just crazy like this (but I don’t think so.  but then, sometimes I do think so.  oh, whatever.)

Here’s an example of my kid’s OCD.



Every morning, he lines up Thomas, the train cars, and all of the other trains’ tenders.  In this particular order.  Earlier this week, he had a massive freak out over the fact that Emily’s tender (the dark green one) was missing and that meant Henry’s tender (the kelly green one) would have to be directly adjacent to Hank’s tender (navy) instead of having Emily’s between the two.  This is crazy, yes?  Oh, and if you’re wondering, the tender is the little cart with coal in it. Although we own a small fortune’s worth of Thomas & Friends trains, my kid prefers to play just with Thomas and the tenders and a variety of train cars from crappy little off-bran trains.  Let this be a lesson to you, Moms of Boys: it’s a really good idea to wait and see what your kid is into before you buy a lot of crap thinking he’s going to love it.

Anyway, here’s the list of topics I’ve meant to write about (and still might write about) over the last couple months:

(1) My fear of what will happen to my kids if I croak and my inability to decide who to bequeath them to.  I know “bequeath them to” is inappropriate in this context, partly because nobody bequeaths her kids and partly because OMG I just ended a sentence with a preposition (although I’ve read that’s becoming more acceptable, which is SO SO wrong!!!), but I like saying it.  So, there.

(2) Why I’m unashamed to admit to formula-feeding Cubbie Bear from Day 1, and why it’s awesome, and why anyone who thinks otherwise can bite me.

(3) My irrational feeling that everyone’s appendix is a ticking time bomb.

(4) The great Stay-At-Home-Mom vs. Career Mom decision/debate/whatever, and my thoughts on it all.

(5) My obsession with strollers, and why I’d own at least 8 if Wilbur would allow it.

(6) Oh, hey, did I mention we are moving?  Yeah.  Potential Topic #6 is all about why I don’t recommend buying a house, selling a house, and moving with a toddler and an infant.

(7) My kid’s obsession with his penis.  (Seriously – he says, “Oh, HI, PENIS!!!” when I open his diaper.)

(8) Various arts & crafts/Pinterest things I’ve done with my toddler and why I do or do not recommend doing them again.

(9) Various recipes I’ve made that I found on Pinterest.  Like this one.  Holy hell, this one was delicious.  My new favorite.  But I made it with ground chicken, not beef.

(10) Having a husband with anxiety issues who denies he has anxiety issues (and thus doesn’t treat his anxiety issues)

(11)  My Instagram series entitled Wines Chosen by My Two-Year-Old.  I kind of love it.  Do I just love it because I get to drink all those wines?  Possibly.

I think that’s it.  So…what do you want to hear about first?






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In which I make you feel a lot better about the way you look in the morning

I’m the kind of tired that makes a girl wonder why on earth she’s picking up blogging again instead of taking a nap, but here I sit, catching up on TV and messing around on the internet instead.  I can’t explain this.   Not to mention that if I’m going to be awake while the kidlets are asleep, I should TOTALLY be packing up clutter, but I just can’t make myself do it today.  So here I sit.

Speaking of catching up on TV, is anyone out there watching the new Dallas?  It’s completely ridiculous and I love it.  I grew up watching the old Dallas with my family.  I’m pretty certain I didn’t understand most of what I saw, but apparently I have a deep and abiding love of Texas drama as a result.  I’m also completely obsessed with The Americans – and I have to say, that’s a show that is actually worthy of my obsession in a non-ridiculous sense.  You must watch it.

Also, I can’t stop eating.  Dare I vow to figure that little problem out tomorrow (instead of right now) instead of going to the kitchen to get another handful of pretzels?  Yeah, I dare.

Anyway.  Wanna feel better about the way you look in the morning?

We had some painters here doing some work on the trim on the front of our house this weekend. They arrived at 7 a.m. on Saturday.  I’d been awake since 4 with the baby, who I don’t think I’ve given an alias yet.  We can’t just call him “Baby”, right?  Stay tuned for that (or feel free to suggest something.  If Kid #1 is Baby Bear, maybe Kid #2 should be Wee Bear?  Or Cubbie?).  I digress.  What I’d started to try to explain is that I’d been up for 3 hours already when they arrived at 7, and I was TIRED.  I answered the door in pajamas, a robe, and glasses, with my hair in a ponytail and no makeup on, and just generally looking like crap on a cracker.  (I apologized for my appearance and explained I’d been up with an infant, but still.)   We exchanged pleasantries and I went back to my business, leaving them to their house beautification project.

The next time I saw them was a couple hours later, as I was on my way out to take Baby Bear to his very first swimming lessons without a parent in the pool with him.   More pleasantries were exchanged, and as I walked away, one of the painters said, “Hey, you look just like your mom, by the way.”

I said, “How do you know my mom?  She lives in Florida!”

He said, “Oh, I’m sorry.  I thought you were a different person than who came out to talk to us this morning.”


He thought I was someone else.  Not just someone else – someone 30 years older than myself.

I think I’m probably supposed to be offended or upset by this, but instead, I think it might be the funniest thing that has ever happened to me.  I don’t even wear a lot of makeup!  I feel like I’m a character in a teen drama where the nerdy girl is miraculously transformed into a cool, pretty, popular girl simply by letting her hair down and removing her glasses. (You know, like in this movie.)  If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is.

I don’t have pictures of that particular day’s transformation, but I do have pictures of the adorableness that was Baby Bear’s swim class.  Wanna see?

Jonah swim

He kept poking his head over the side of the pool and going, “Mommy?  Mommy?  [Baby Bear] in pool!  In pool!”







swim classHere’s the whole class.  Baby Bear is the one second from the right.  I’m pretty sure he’s examining the ripples in the water.





It was all so adorable!  We’ll see if he actually learns anything or if he spends all six weeks of class poking his head over the pool to find his mommy.

I’m off to drink my ninetieth Diet Coke of the day and take advantage of what’s left of naptime by packing a few more boxes if I can.  Lest you all think I’m neglecting the wee one, here’s a gratuitous OMG THAT BABY IS ADORABLE shot for you.  Because he is indeed adorable.  And if he looks enormous, that’s because he is.  Mama’s little overachiever is often mistaken for a 3 or 4 month old despite the fact that he’s only 6 weeks old.  He’s in the 100th percentile for height, 87th for weight, and 93rd for noggin!


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In which I remember I have a blog.

Oh hi, Internets!  You know what is embarrassing?  Visiting your blog for the first time in months, only to be reminded that your last post was a soul-baring whiney one that has been sitting up at the top of the “recent posts” list for three solid months.  Meep!  I really love how I said I’d post when I was less pathetic, then didn’t make a peep for a long time.


I promise, I haven’t been whiney and sad and fighting with Wilbur all this time.

I’m attempting to type this on my phone, which is a giant pain in the neck, and the baby is finally back asleep, so I’m going to give up on writing now.  I’m also going to give up on promising to write more soon. We have a lot going on around here.  We have a new baby (who is beautiful and wonderful and a complete angel!)!  And we bought a house and are therefore scrambling to pack up our current house so we move get it on be market!  I think we might be insane to try to do this while also adjusting to being a family of 4!

So…more later.  Maybe.


(I’d include a photo of the baby, but have no clue hi to do such things from my phone, so alas, you will have to wait.  Boo hoo!)


also?:?  I just fell asleep typing, which is how those question marks got there.  Clearly, I need to try to catch a few more winks before the next feeding time!




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