A Thank You to Otterbox

 

I'm talking about the case on my iPhone, y'all. It's pretty spiffy, yes?

Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I am brutal on my electronics. I blame gravity, but The Husband insists gravity had nothing to do with me spiking my last 4s on the kitchen floor hard enough to render the protection of  the previous Otterbox case I had on it utterly useless. I was left with a shattered phone screen and only didn't lose my shit because Apple Care is a Thing.

While waiting for my replacement phone to arrive, I was pleasantly surprised with a tweet from Otterbox inviting me to choose a new case on their site. No strings attached and no requirement to blog or instagram or tell you why Otterbox kicks serious customer service ass. Just a very nice gesture, a replacement case for my replacement phone, and me spreading the social media Otterbox love-fest because this is how I say thank you.

Housekeeping! (A List in Accented English)

* Yes, I did in fact say that in my head with an exaggerated Spanish-accented English voice. * Because I can.

* If you don't laugh, you're actually hurting my feelings.

* Things are insane.

* Hence, the list.

* Turns out you guys are all Made of Awesome.

* Why, you ask?

* Because 418 of you signed my Change.org petition to get Disney to drop the sex kitten crap with Merida.

* It's too late.

* Maybe.

* She's been crowned & the new image is available on a variety of Crap We'll Buy Our Kids Because We're Giant Suckers.

* And because even if she's been sexed up, the movie is still amazing.

* Oh right.

* Because if we tell our children it's the message that matters and not the size of her waistline, we done good.

* We have no choice, really, since Disney contradicted the very message behind Brave with this whole debacle.

* You know, the one about family, independence, and finding the strength to find out own fates within us?

* Yeah, that one.

* The happy asides?

* A Mighty Girl has a petition with over 18,000 signatures.

* Brave's director is a bit pissed off about the animated plastic surgery job, too.

* So high five on that, y'all.

* New subject.

* Keep up with me, will you?

* I've got an updated version of my Mind Over Medicine review on Girl Body Pride.

* You'll want to stop by.

* Gigi Ross from Kludgey Mom needs some love.

* And Lissa Rankin has written a book I promise you'll want to read.

* Trust me on this one.

* Also? I've got a winner for the Aspiring Mama giveaway of Mind Over Medicine.

* Tanessa Knoll? Buttercup just said Comment Number Two is my winner.

* So ... you're welcome.

* Email me your address, will ya?

* Twitter works, too.

* New subject.

* Yes.

* AGAIN.

* Buttercup is about to follow in Mama's footsteps.

* Little girl has been granted permission by The Mama (me) & The Daddy (The Husband) for a pretty cool gig.

* Girlfriend is going to be a regular contributor to Holly Fulger's Speaking of Beauty blogging team.

* Which also happens to include me.

* I know, right?

* The girl can read at a fourth grade level but has the typing skills of a 5-year-old.

* Probably because she is five.

* So I can't knock her for that.

* Instead, I'll be transcribing my baby's words and views on what beauty means to her.

* I promise not to edit what she says.

* I hope like hell I've done right by her and taught her that beauty is everywhere.

* That the only size that matters when it comes to beauty is the size of our hearts.

* And that society is full of assholes who will try & knock her down a peg or two but that they don't matter.

* I'll know I've succeeded in about 10 years.

* If the child is self-assured enough to wear this when she's 15 because it makes her happy without giving a damn what you think?

 

* I win at motherhood.

* Whiplash warning.

* New subject.

* I really need to take my Xanax.

* That wasn't the subject change.

* Just proof that I need the fucking Xanax.

* This is the subject change...

* Dammit.

* I forgot.

* No, wait.

* GOT IT!

* Girl Body Pride has new team members!

* Congrats to Heidi Zalamar and Margaret Elysia Garcia.

* You guys kick major ass.

* I promise to add your bios to the writer page sometime before 2014 hits.

* Was that all?

* No, seriously.

* I was asking you if I needed to cover anything else before I chase that Xanax with an instant espresso.

* Shut up.

* It works for me.

* Last subject.

* I'm still sitting in a secret.

* And it's a Big One.

* Oh...

* And The Husband just warned me to be on the lookout for the family of moose in the area when I let the dogs out.

* Drops Mic & Saunters Offstage.

 

Go Ahead...Guess What I've Been Reading Lately...

If you give a writer an idea, she'll probably ask for some inspiration to go with it. When you give her the inspiration, she might procrastinate on Twitter for a bit.

Making up new hashtags and ignoring auto DMS will make her lose track of time so you'll give her a well-intentioned Facebook threat to get back to writing which she will miss because she was on Google +.

When she finally sees your GET BACK TO WRITING status update, she'll decide you meant her blog. So she'll post there about how hard she's working on her book.

Then she will post her blog link on Twitter and Facebook and Google + and a random gas station bathroom wall and get sucked into talking about writing again, specifically, how much time it takes.

She'll eventually toggle back to her manuscript document and promise herself to dive in but the blinking cursor will scare her away again.

She'll decide she needs to go read a book instead.

First, she'll browse her e-book library.

Then she'll glance through her hard copy collection sitting on her nightstand.

She might even open one of them up and get lost in someone else's words.

After she reads, she'll want to interview her characters.When they start talking back, she'll smile bigger and hunch over her keyboard just a bit more intently.

When her favorite character reveals her love for four-inch stilettos, she'll want to go shoe shopping.

She'll want you to come, too.

It's research, and her accountant will wonder why he was crazy enough to accept a writer as a client.

You'll take her to Dress Barn because who just buys a new pair of shoes for that really big date with the main character's love interest? She'll update her Facebook status about how much she loves research. She mentally works the outfit into her chapter five and saves the receipts to piss off her accountant.

She'll want to head to Starbucks next. You'll order a Tall Skinny Half-Calf Mochaccino with soy milk, and she'll ask for a Venti Iced Green Tea with three honeys. You will both proceed to ignore each other in real life while tweeting each other online and pretend you don't notice chairs scraping the floor as other customers move just a bit further away from your table as you randomly break into seemingly uncharacteristically synchronized laughter.

This only makes you both laugh harder. At the same time. Then you'll sip your Mochaccino and she'll slurp on her Green Tea.

The Green Tea will remind her that the main character's love interest's mother loves a a squeeze of lemon in her own teacup. She'll ask you for a notebook.

First, she'll scribble a few notes. Then she'll give you back your notebook and tweet that her muse lives on Starbucks.

When Starbucks closes, you'll be the last to leave.

On the way home, she'll read you the funniest comments on her blog post about how hard writing her book is from her iPhone email app. Then she'll want to share her responses to the original comments.

When you get home, she'll ask for that notebook again. She might even find the page she scribbled her notes on.

Seeing the notes will remind her of the inspiration that got her going. She'll probably ask you to beta. And chances are,

if you give her any encouragement,

she'll get a new idea to go with it.

The Day I Bought My Blog an Iron

If I was a man and my blog was my woman she would totally be mad at me right now.

See, I've been using This Little Blog O' Mine as a sounding board for the past two years.  Bottom line? Blogarina deserves Shiny and Pretty and New and instead? I totally forgot her two-year anniversary. The only thing I could have done to make it worse was Remembered and brought home an iron.

My dad did that for mom once. He's dead and she's still bitching about it.

It's okay though. I can guarantee he's sitting up on a cloud, drinking a Miller Lite and chuckling about that time Mom got pissed off at him for buying What She Said She Needed.

August 11, 2009, people. That's when I first appeared online as Aspiring Mama on twitter and on this blog. So I'm reposting the first words I shared with the world. Surprisingly, or maybe not, I probably could have written this post this morning.

And round and round...

The World...

She spins...

***

I have blogger’s block.

Or rather, the blogger in me isn’t sure what she is doing right now.

For years, decades even, I have been talking about how I was going to grow up to become a novelist.

An Author.

A writer.

I was eight when I made that decision, and 18 when I realized I was going to need something that paid the bills. So rationally, I signed up as a Communications major in college and specialized in Journalism. This was a smart move, I figured. I’d hone my craft, impress my editors, get my name out there, and publish the novel I’d write into the wee hours of each morning in no time. But then…

I was too tired to write when I got home.

I got married.

Dealt with infertility.

Had a baby.

Hated my job.

Quit my job.

Lost my father.

Moved 2,000 miles to start a brand new life.

And then I woke up one day and decided I wanted to try and make that dream come true again.

So here I am. And I’m not sure where to start.

 

***

 

Thank you all for reading my finding my words and coming back for more.

I Now Call This Meeting to Order (Again)

I dug this one up from the archives because, well, it needs to be said. Until the day Twitter takes away the PLEASE STAB ME IN THE EYE WITH A SPOON annoying Auto-DM feature, those of us in the We Hate Them camp need to stand strong and get some T-shirts made.

***

It’s no secret.

I spend a hell of a lot of time on Twitter.

It’s fun. It’s random. And I love being able to connect with writers and moms just by pulling my blackberry out of my bra and sending a tweet.

But ya know what I don’t love?

Auto DMs (or automatic direct messages, for the uninitiated).

Here’s my take on the situation: If you send them, you look like an A-hole. A fake, smiling, chipper telemarketer hoping that the person you just called won’t hang up before you finish your pitch. I don’t care how famous you are or how many followers you have or how impossible it is to keep up with all the tweets coming your way. Be real or sit down and shut up. I know when I’m being patronized. And you know what happens when I get “Thanks for following me! Please check out my INSERT URL HERE and I can’t wait to get to know you!” in my direct message  inbox?

An automatic unfollow.

Same goes for the crazy Facebook games some of Those People with Time to Spare that end up with your results in my direct message inbox.  Because really? I don’t need to take a quiz to figure out which real crazy writer I am like. I can save a lot of headache by just looking in the fucking mirror.

I don’t care if you have 2 followers or 2 million. I don’t care if I followed you because I thought you were interesting until the DM showed up in my inbox. Sometimes it hurts to cut the chord. But if you’re too busy to sincerely acknowledge or ignore me, I doubt you’re going to notice you’re down a follower.

Here’s the thing, people. I know that some perfectly wonderful and nice bloggers/tweeps use auto DMs. I’ve grimaced every time I’ve gotten one…and admit that I have had to swallow my own words and ignore my own policy every now and then, especially if a relationship had already developed outside of/or prior to Twitter. I want to tell these people that for a brief moment, I stopped thinking they are wonderful and nice and instead thought they were about as real and sincere as The Popular Kid in elementary school who was forced to invite all the kids in his/her class to their birthday parties. Smile big and pretty for the camera…but let’s forget we this ever happened after the flash dies away, okay?

Am I being melodramatic? Probably.

I know that most people who set up auto-dm’s probably think it’s a nice way to welcome their new followers instead of making them wait for acknowledgment. But after my recent informal twitter poll, I confirmed that I’m not the only one with a bug up my bum about this whole thing.

What started this whole drama? A real direct message. One that thanked me for a follow that was very obviously written by the person who sent it and was very obviously intended for me. I was in shock.

So I tweeted this:

wow, i just got a realm sincere, thanks for the follow DM. take note people, i’d rather be sincerely ignored than falsely welcomed.

And the “Sing it, sister!” responses started coming in, so I started a very unscientific and unofficial Twitter Poll.

Responses to my “Love auto DMs or Hate ‘em” tweet included the words “annoying,” “hate,” insincere,” unfollow,” and “why?”

Not one person jumped up and admitted to using them. Not one person called me out for calling them out.A few people did say that they are only mildly annoyed by them. Some just ignore the auto-dm’s and others have even found magical and mystifying ways to block them completely. I’m not that talented, nor do I believe I need to go out of my way to avoid your social media fuax-paux, so I’ll just bitch about them here because I can.

But ya know what? Not one person jumped up and said that they loved receiving auto dm’s or that they make the receiver feel like they just got hugged by a rainbow.

Or a unicorn.

So here’s my plan to take over Twitter and make it safe to play in the sandbox again: I think that those of us on Team Pauline should join together and form Tweeps Against Auto Direct Messages (TAADM.) I’ll be president. Karen Quah can be vice-president.

I even have a slogan, which Karen already approved after too many martinis.

Friends don’t let friends auto-dm. Respond or ignore sincerely. It could save a follow.

Our first meeting will take place in the community center, room 4A, right after the Twitter Anonymous (TA) meeting lets out. Don’t forget the punch and cookies this time.

Random Fact Friday

Two: the number of dollars HC Palmquist handed to Buttercup to cover her tip for Buttercup's painted toes last weekend. Probably because she wanted to speed things along and didn't trust me to tip anyone properly after I got stuck with the We Ran Out of Room But Are Still Going to Charge You Full Price spa chair. Also probably because the chair punched my spleen. I didn't like it.

Shank: Like prison except not because it was used in a direct message to HC. Exact verbage:

Forgot to shank you for Buttercup's tip.

Auto correct: That would be my personal kryptonite.

Tears: What I was wiping away while trying to control the laughter while writing HC yet another twitter DM.

And by Shank I totally meant Thank. Although both are grammatically correct.

Abdominal muscles: The part of me that hurts from trying not to spit water onto my keyboard after reading the following response :

Here's a tip: shanking a friend is not the proper response for not getting the good spa chair.

Of course: As in, it isn't. It was auto correct, dammit. Not a Freudian slip! I'm too pretty for prison.

Original thought: There are none in blogging. Robin O'Bryant wrote a hilarious post with this format and I feel like I know her well enough to take the format, add some typos and improper language and call it my own.

Shank you: And you're also very welcome.

Because Safety Matters

 

Becca thinks you should know CPR.

Frankly, I do, too. I've been certified in the past. And although I once saved my mother from choking by performing the Heimlich maneuver while I was in high school, I am in need of a serious refresher.

I was reminded of that while waiting for Buttercup's swim lesson one day. I read some of the writing on the wall. Every cut out newspaper article told of a drowning, a lost child, and a grieving mother. One especially heartbreaking story told of a mother who lost both of her sons in a neighbor's pool.

Part of me was scared out of my mind. What if? WHAT IF?

But I'll admit it. I remember thinking...That would never happen to me. I'm not those parents. I'm vigilant. I'm aware. She's safe. I make sure of that. So I let myself breath and I moved on.

Until Becca sent me an invite to a mass CPR training class her in Tucson. I can't commit due to the current craziness and a probable move, but I can do my part to bring awareness. So, like a good little blogger, I went to Becca's blog tonight to get the deets and link up. And I read Darcie's story.

Her son was in Buttercup's preschool class.

Buttercup LOVES Jayce.

I've spoken to Darcie countless times waiting for the kids to be brought in from recess at the end of the day. She's sweet, smart, well-spoken. Jayce's eyes lit up every time he saw her waiting for him; an expected surprise. Mommy's here. I Love her.

Jayce almost drowned in Becca's pool. My heart is sick just to think of it.

And Darcie, I am sorry. For judging when I had no right.

Please, if you live locally and are able to attend, do it. And thank you to Becca for organizing such a great event.

 

 

The Christian Mama's Guide meets Aspiring Mama

IMG_1613.JPG I was recently approached to review a copy of The Christian Mama's Guide to Having a Baby: Everything You Need to Know to Survive (and Love) Your Pregnancy by Erin MacPherson. My first question to the PR rep was if the author has ever seen my tweet stream or is aware that I have a potty mouth category in my blog post tags. I might not be pregnant and I might not go to church often enough (make that only for events with invitations and religious holidays involving rabbits and chocolate), but I had taken a peek at Erin's blog, liked her style, and figured my ability to say The Lord's Prayer in two languages qualified me to give my opinion on this book.

First, let's get the fine print out of the way. Again. Yes, I received the book for free. In fact, I didn't pay for it. And? There was no monetary exchange involved. But maybe more importantly, my blog belongs to me and so do the opinions expressed within. That being said?

This book is awesome.

With a bit of sass, a lot of humor, and a great blend of expert with a dash of girlfriend thrown in, Erin MacPherson covers pregnancy from the obsessive days of peeing on a stick to, "Holy Wow-the baby has to come out where?" While it might not be a necessary read for experienced mamas, I would definitely recommend to first-timers who are searching for a pregnancy book with a  practical and sweetly-stated spiritual side.

But enough with the pleasantries. It's time to talk. Read on for a fun interview with the author.

***

AM: Let's get down to brass tacks: I only see the inside of my church on Easter and for baptisms, I swear, take the Lord's name in vain on a (pretty) regular basis, and am fairly sure I would not have picked up your book had I not been contacted for a review. That being said, it's fantastic! I love how you focus on pregnancy and motherhood with tips on developing a closer spiritual relationship with God. Who do you see picking up The Christian Mama's Guide at the book stores? And what do you say to those (read: me) who may have strayed a bit from their faith?

Erin: I'm so grateful that you picked up my book even though it didn't exactly "fit" into your current mindset.  I appreciate you reading it and giving your honest feedback even if you didn't agree with everything I said.  My goal in writing the book was to create a comprehensive pregnancy guide for women that told them exactly what to expect and what not to expect-- all while pointing them towards Christ.  I do see Christian moms as my primary audience but I pray that my book would speak to any pregnant mom.

AM: I liked your book. Will you like to me and tell me you like my blog? Feel free to lie if this is your first time here.

Erin: Ha!  It IS my first time visiting your blog but I DO like it.  There aren't many blogs out there for writers AND moms and you've done a brilliant job of combining two totally unrelated themes.

AM: Piggy-backing off of #2, you *do* know I swear on my blog, right? Related: I promise to behave for this interview. Response?

Erin: I did NOT know that.  Girl, I have friends from all over the world and blogosphere and while I choose not to swear on MY blog, I definitely have friends who do.  I make it a point to act like a "Christian" on my blog and in life because I want women to know of my love for Christ, but I'm also not one to judge.  If I holed up in a corner and only associated with people who did the things that I did, it'd be a very lonely existence, wouldn't it?

AM: Fact or fiction: praying really, really hard will make all labor pains magically disappear.

Erin: Fiction.  Well, I don't want to put God in a box so I'm going to go ahead and say that God COULD take my labor pains away if he wanted to, but so far, no matter how much I prayed and moaned and groaned, labor still really hurt for me.  And, similarly, I've been praying and moaning for two weeks now that God would make my water break or put me into labor again and I'm still huge and pregnant... so that's not working so well either.

AM: You talk about pretty much every aspect of pregnancy, labor, and the first few days after baby arrives in The Christian Mama's Guide. And you do it with adorable sass and an authoritative but encouraging manner. So my question is: Can we go shoe shopping together?

Erin: Yes.  Please.  My feet have been swollen for weeks and I really want to wear something other than these flip flops.  I need someone to help me find something hip and fun like Gladiator sandals or wedges... and I'm just not hip enough to be able to tell the tacky duds from the up-and-coming trends.  But if you're looking for someone to help you, let me warn you ahead of time... I'm not the best at doling out shoe advice but I will definitely buy you an iced coffee and chat with you while you try on a million pairs.

AM: My favorite part of pregnancy was the part that involved getting pregnant. The resulting nine months are not exactly on my list of things I want to do again (read: hyperemisis gravidarum, three hospitalizations for dehydration, crippling sciatic pain, and feet that got too fat for anything but flip flops. And yet, after reading The Christian Mama's Guide, I kinda, sorta, almost want to get pregnant again. This makes me think you would make a kick-a...I mean, kick-butt hypnotist. Have you ever considered that as a second career choice?

Erin: I hate hate hate hate hate (did I mention HATE) being pregnant.   I've been hospitalized for hyperemesis gravidarum EIGHT times during this pregnancy (and over the course of my three pregnancies, it's been something like 17 times.  And, I swear, I answered the last question about my feet being too swollen for anything but flip flops before I read this one... so, basically, you've read my mind.  BUT, I wrote the book when I was NOT pregnant and it turns out pregnancy memories turn awfully sweet once you're holding a precious baby in your arms, dont' they?  Anyway, I don't want be be enticing anyone to go through torture again, but I do have to say that in the end, it's always (always) worth it.  In fact, ask me in three weeks after this baby is born and I bet I'll be telling you how wonderful pregnancy is.

AM: You asked for potty training advice (on your blog). As the proud mama of a recently potty-trained almost four-year-old, allow me to shed some light on the subject: pray for patience. It will happen when they are da..uh..darned good and ready. But turnabout is fair play, so I'd like some advice, too. Please explain how I might avoid gaining 45 pounds the next time around...

Erin: Thank you for this.  I have a friend who just potty trained her one-and-a-half-year-old and she's just ranting about how EASY it was and how it just takes patience and dedication and well, darnit, I don't have patience and dedication and it took me almost a year to potty train my second.  And, she peed her pants yesterday while we were at Target.  I think you're right, they must be darned good and ready or you're going to end up with a lot of wet panties to clean.  As far as the 45 pounds, I can't help you.  I'm not sure how much weight I've gained this time (I conveniently avert my eyes at the doctor's office) but I'm sure it's not pretty.

AM: *Running out of material* *Thumbs through book again for more questions* *Lightbulb* *A-Ha!* What do you mean I was acting psychotic while I was pregnant? Have you been talking to The Husband? And if so, nothing he says is true.

Erin: Well, I certainly haven't acted psychotic at ALL during this pregnancy (Case in point:  I did NOT wake my husband up at 3 am this morning to tell him that he was "breathing too close to my pregnancy pillow")... but apparently a lot of women (not me, of course) get all hormonal and cranky when they're pregnant.  Who knew that being 50 pounds overweight and throwing up every 10 minutes could do that to you?!

AM: Let's just pretend I was maybe considering possibly thinking about trying for another baby. With me? Great. Now talk me out of it but not really.

Erin: I'm 38 and a half weeks pregnant so I'm not really in the place to be talking about the glories of pregnancy.  But, I do know that with both of my other kids I swore up and down that I'd never (ever ever ever) get pregnant again and then did it anyway.  And, I can also say that I've never (ever ever ever) regretted my second pregnancy since the day I held my daughter.  And, again, email me in two weeks and I bet I'll say the same thing about my third.  Plus, I have to say that maternity clothes and flip flops are SO much cuter these days than they were six years ago when I was pregnant with #1.  That might be my imagination, but if that's not incentive to get knocked up, I don't know what is.

AM: Will there be a Christian Mama's Guide to Not Going Crazy the First Time Your Kid has a Public Tantrum in the Toy Section at Target? 'Cuz I would totally buy that.

Erin: I've been scheming The Christian Mama's Guide to the Terrible One-and-a-Halfs but perhaps your idea is better.  And, if you want my advice, get an iced vanilla latte at the Starbucks at the front of Target and when your kid starts throwing a fit, turn across the aisle to the electronics section and yell "Hey, someone's kid is really losing it over here?  Does anyone know where his mom is?!"  Then stand back and enjoy your latte.  Works like a charm until your kid is old enough to say something like "Mommy?!  I don't see anyone ELSE throwing a fit!"

AM: Number three is on the way. Any new pregnancy insight to share with the world? Or does Fudge Ripple still reign supreme for cravings?

Erin: Insight, insight... let's see here.  Okay, so, I've gotten so huge that my maternity clothes don't really fit anymore but my husband's gym  shorts and shirts are perfect.  So, I've taken to running around in them.  But, apparently, my husband packs his gym bag the night before for his 5:30 am trek to the gym each morning (which kinda makes me wonder why he can't be that responsible about anything else?!)...and, apparently, husbands who arrive at the gym to find their gym bags scavenged at 5:30 am aren't super happy.  So, word to the wise:  Go ahead and steal your hubby's clothes but you might want to pre-warn him before you do.

And, pregnancy craving #1 at this moment:  Coconut Frappucinos.  They're new at Starbucks and so, so yummy.  And, they're coffee-free so they don't mess with my coffee aversion. BUT, word to the wise, if you have kids, it's NOT a good idea to share your coconut frap with them or you'll end up with a sugar-fueled meltdown (see question #9) which is NEVER fun when you're nine months pregnant.  Just sayin'.

***

It's giveaway time, people. Up for grabs is one copy of Erin's book. All you have to do is follow Erin on Twitter or stop by her Facebook page and click the like button. Stop back here and leave me a comment and boom.

Done.

Entries will be accepted through midnight, EST, on May 20.

Also? Good luck, Erin. That baby you're baking is almost here! And if you want my opinion, Daddy Mac is an entirely feasible baby name choice.

Insomniac says...

Things you realize at 2:25 a.m.: * Insomnia isn't really your thing. It's just a way of life you've grown accustomed to. Exhibit A? Mom came to visit which meant Buttercup slept in her room for the first week. You slept like the dead. Until the New Grandma smell wore off and the baby monitor ended up back by your bed. That's when the fucking thought of even the slightest shift in the cosmos will make it impossible for you to get comfortable in bed, let alone fall asleep.

* Bed time stories entitled Go the Fuck to Sleep? Sound like the best idea ever.

* Dreams of hiring a live-in masseuse start to actually make sense.

* That Facebook Like Page that the rest of the world has? Yeah. You created one months ago, it seems. And because you couldn't sleep tonight, you created a new one, found the old one, realized it was an old one, and deleted the new one. You think. But you aren't entirely sure.

*You are convinced that you are so past the high school social anxiety related to people liking you...until you refresh your Facebook Like Page for the 143rd time at 2:32 a.m. and realize that only 39 people actually like you.

* The puppy licking your toes under your desk feels kinda kinky.

*That thinking about ( maybe possibly trying to) getting pregnant again seems like an entirely feasible way to celebrate the four years it took to lose the 45 pounds gained with the first kid.

* That if this actually works, and it takes four more years to lose the baby weight, I'll be kissing 40 before I can identify my waistline in a police line up.

* That by the time Buttercup loses her first tooth, I will probably have to distinguish between the fruit and the smartphone when I offer her a blackberry.

* And that when she hears a bird say tweet in the park, she will most likely tell me to check my phone for new messages (because that's what I'll be doing, anyway.)

* That I am not in the minority when my phone rings and I get annoyed. Who the hell uses those things to talk anymore?

* It's 2:42 a.m. And my kid didn't come with a snooze button.

Tomorrow morning is not going to be pretty.

Meagan Francis on Motherhood and Happiness

I'm normally a Nook kind of girl. And my first question to author Meagan Francis via Twitter after seeing one of her national television interviews promoting The Happiest Mom was to ask how long I would have to wait to download a copy.

Which-side note here- was just an awesome example of the immediacy of social media. I think Meagan was still at the studio when she tweeted back. And that's when I looked at The Husband and was all, "See? I am having An Actual Conversation with a real published author who WAS JUST ON TV. How cool am I?"

About a week later I found myself at Barnes and Noble and decided to just buy a hard copy of The Happiest Mom. What sold me? The cover. See that So Cute it Makes You Happy Just to Look At It book at the top of this blog post? ? Yeah...trust me. I've had the book for about a month now and I still find myself smiling involuntarily when I happen to see that pretty mix of happy on my desk.

What's even better is that it's not a book full of empty promises or Let Me Tell You Why My Way is Better empty promises wrapped in a pretty package. The Happiest Mom is more like a rational girlfriend who dishes advice that makes sense without making you feel like she is being preachy or judgmental because SHE GETS WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM.

I'm a mother of one. I am in constant awe of moms of More Than One and sometimes find myself wondering how my own mother never had to get fitted in a white coat raising five girls. And I will gladly admit here that part of the reason I still have only one (she's almost four years old now) is because I constantly find myself torn between feelings of inadequacy (How can I handle more kids if I can't keep it together with one?) and frustration (How can I handle more kids if I can barely keep it together with one?) Bottom line? I love my kid but I can't honestly say I'm happier as a mom than I was Before Baby. How can I be? I have so much to do!

My to-do list is living (and breathing) document on my smart phone, and I am not exaggerating when I say that if I don't type in Remember to Breath after Wash Laundry, Put Laundry in Dryer, Take Laundry Out of Dryer, and Fold Laundry, I don't remember to do it. I am overly anxious and freak out when the slightest thing doesn't go according to plan. And I am always frantically running around trying to remember where I left my bank card. (Last time I lost it when I decided to mark my place in The Happiest Mom. Yeah, I know. The Husband told me my life would be so much easier if I just took five seconds now to get off the couch and put the card back in my wallet instead an hour of driving to the bank and back home to get a another replacement, too. He also told me to breathe, take some time for myself, and stop wishing my stress away. I told him to shove it.)

Then Megan told me (in her book) that part of one of her secrets to being a happier mom is to take time now to do that extra step, like putting the laundry away right after folding it instead of leaving it in a pile on top of your dresser and leaving a bigger mess for later. She also suggests breathing, taking some time for myself, and to think of happiness as a skill that would be a benefit to everyone in my family if I mastered (Think Go with the Flow). And I nodded my head and declared her a genius for thinking up such original advice.

That's when The Husband told me to shove it.

The Happiest Mom is full of gems and broken up into ten chapters in which Meagan shares her secrets to staying sane (and smiling) while raising her own brood of five. Love Your Life, Make Your Bed, and Aim Low, Go Slow are just a few examples of the discussion topics Meagan leads with a rare but welcome blend of authority and warmth. Never once does Meagan suggest she knows all leaving you with the feeling that she is telling you why her way is better and yours is not. Instead, she shares the happiness skills she has learned along the way (like figuring out your Must Do's on your To-Do list and saying To Hell with The Rest) and offers suggestions on how to incorporate them into your own life and what works for you.

Buy it. Read it. Love it.

And then send a tweet to Meagan Francis or leave a comment on her blog letting her know how happy you are.

I did.

***

Ready for the good stuff? You know...the part where I tell you to leave a comment sharing the one change you'd like to make in your life to become a happier mom and I tell you that two winners will be selected next week to receive copies of The Happiest Mom? Yeah...that part.

Make sure I can get in touch with you via twitter, facebook, or email if you win! Contest will close at midnight, EST, on Wednesday, May 4.

So...What *Are* You Wearing?

Because it's April Fool's and nothing on the World Wide Web is going to be taken seriously today, I will pretend the following List of Random Facts About Me is Worth Reading. *The Hamster Dance is my favorite song. Shut up.

*I was a B-cup when I was eight. One night I went to bed and woke up the next day with boobs big enough for my mother to turn me sideways and immediately call her friends asking for bras they didn't need. #truestory

*I like to use random hash tags in my every day conversations. Most of the time, I am the only one who can see the # in my head. Other times, @HC_Palmquist responds to me in #randomhashtagspeak, because she speaks my language.

*I grew up speaking English and Spanish. Buttercup speaks Dora Spanish. *shrugs shoulders*

*I can't refuse to parallel park.

*Coconut tastes like paper to me. The Husband thinks and probably rightfully so that I should be institutionalized for this very reason.

*I still want a finger monkey.

*And an agent.

*A book deal would kick some major ass.

*I bit a boy on the arm when he pinned me during a game of tag in the third grade. The kicker? He never talked to me again. And he grew up to be really fucking hot.

*I roll my R's when I say the word "three."

*I also can't say the word "Pina Colada" without a Spanish accent. Or names like "Antonio Banderas."

*Related: I have Movie Only thing for Antonio Banderas. Like the movie El Mariachi? Aye, M'ijita. But real life? I'll take The Husband.

*The Husband uses the word "supposably." Often. Miraculously, we are still married. Probably because his use of the word "supposably" is met with a complete resistance on my part to learn how to check my own oil. It's kind of a standoff.

*The first story I ever wrote was titled Crashing in the Backyard of the White House. The plot had something to do with two female pilots on their way to deliver Something Important and their crash in the backyard of the White House. Riveting, I know. I was eight. So were the main characters.

*I cried when Buttercup learned how to roll. Not because I was giddy she had learned a new skill but because the lifetime of worrying what her next move would be kicked off at That Very Moment.

*I am the oldest of five girls.

*There are five of us because Mom and Dad were trying for a boy.

*They eventually gave up.

*I told The Husband I will get pregnant and push a kid out my cabbage two times. If he wants more, he is allowed encouraged to knock someone else up.

*I played the flute in high school. I also went to band camp.

*I worked as a waitress in a strip club while in college. Yes, I was fully (kind of) clothed. My lesson to the world? If a man pays $12 for a "mixed drink" for a stripper he is trying to impress, he probably just bought her the world's most expensive glass of orange juice with a splash of grenadine.

*My mother told my father she was pregnant with sister #4 on April Fool's. Consequently, he didn't believe her when she mentioned sister #5 would be making an appearance.

*I chew my ice cream.

*I have a semi-photographic memory but can't remember where I put the car keys five minutes ago.

*My first job out of college was as a city editor for a small town newspaper. By the time I left the newsroom to be a SAHM, I covered two high profile murder cases and had my picture taken with the Stanley Cup.

*This is my third blog and second twitter identity.

*Scrubs made me cry during every episode when I was pregnant.

*I wanted to be Lady Jane and Wonder Woman when I was a kid.

*I still want to be Lady Jane and Wonder Woman.

*I swear #hittingsend on anything important is the Big Bang equivalent for typos that had not previously existed to come into being.

*I swallowed a marble when I was five.

*And almost drowned at the kitchen table when I was 21.

*Accident prone is kind of an understatement.

*The Husband and The Father-in-Law have the same name.

*Related? I accidentally called The Father-in-Law one thinking he was The Husband.

*Luckily, I didn't start the conversation off with, "So...what are you wearing?"

Mamavation Monday: Compatible States of Being

@Raisingboychick

Everyone is allowed to think/talk about themselves as they wish, but seriously, could we stop with the "I'm fat THEREFORE I'm not sexy!" BS? Because I'm fat, and damn fucking skippy I'm sexy. They are not incompatible states of being, thanks very much.

I haven't been on twitter as often as I used to be, so I consider myself lucky to have seen this sassy bit of  'tude come through my stream. It's the perfect reminder for me, anyway, that even though I might be working for a healthier body tomorrow, there is no fucking reason to not embrace what I have today.

Which? Sounds great and would probably look fantastical on a bill board. Or a Zazzle T-shirt. But it's not always a theory I am interested in subscribing to. I was a big tall kid in a family of Mexican midgets short people and confused "big" for "fat" without anyone realizing that I was heading straight for an eating disorder. Now I'm a mom with a daughter who is doing her damnedest to make sure I skip the word "fat" in the children's books I read to her (seriously, Dr. Suess?) and tell strangers she's tall for her age when they comment on how "big" she is.

I also think I deserve to be canonized for not commenting on the size of  a single one of these dimwits or the asses attached to them to see how they like it, but that's besides the point.

Forget the number on the scale. For me, it's about the mental outlook. That's what defines me and my perception of my body.

When I am depressed and feeling sorry for myself because it's so hard to lose weight with PCOS and blah blah blah and just give up? No. I don't feel sexy. Instead, I feel like the 33-year-old version of the 15-year old with her head in the toilet.

But when I am eating right for my body and making the time required for me to exercise? So I can feel good about me no matter how little the scale might move? So I can show my daughter that curvy is pretty and activity is healthy and fun? Yes, even at 200 pounds, you can bet your ass I feel sexy.

Fat, curvy, thick, full-figured or whatever you call it...you can be sexy, too. All it takes is you looking in a mirror and believing it.

Thank you, Arwyn, for the reminder.

Platform the Secret Agent Monkey: Validation

It seems that my blog topics come in phases. It's either post after post about Buttercup and the mom thing or writing, platform, and monkeys which, surprisingly, are basically all the same subject. Today's post is inspired by my beat-up copy of the March/April editon of Writer's Digest Magazine. Specifically, the Breaking In column by Chuck Sambuchino. In each edition, debut authors are featured with the tag: What they did, what they learned, and how you can do it, too. I love this column and have been all I TOTALLY KNOW THEM on twitter on multiple occasions when a familiar face avatar is proudly featured with the cover of their shiny new book. Last time it was Lissa Rankin and her kick-ass What's Up Down There: Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist if She Was Your Best Friend. This time, it's Lisa and Laura Roecker and their pretty pink The Liar Society.(If you have been scratching your head wondering where all the pink-haired avatars in your tweet stream came from, here's the reason.)

What caught my eye, aside from the I TOTALLY KNOW THEM sorta kinda shut up they are in my tweet stream thing I rattled off to The Husband about while ignoring his disinterested yawn, is the platform portion of their interview.

And I quote:

"An online platform of blog and Twitter followers..."

I think I read that portion a bazillion times before blinking.

Now, before you say anything about me writing non-fiction and Lisa and Laura Roecker writing fiction and the difference between the two and how I am totally reaching for imaginary straws here, I beg you to just shut up, sit back, and let me sit here in a happy little bubble thinking that there is, in fact, some hope for me the rest of us.

*And don't forget to check out Lisa and Laura's author blog and book blog.

Now pardon me while I log off to fall asleep dreaming of platforms and monkeys. And monkeys named Platform.

**Fine Print: Yes, I read the book. I even paid for it. With The Husband's own money. Was it good? Sure, if you consider my wondering who will play Kate in the movie version and when the Team Liam and Team Seth T-shirts will be in the stores merely good. Because I? Consider it incredibly well-written to have sucked me in so deep that I finished a book with more than 50 chapters in four days.

The Starting Line Up

I once had an idea. I get a lot of those.

And many, to be honest, remain as they began: creative itches I can't seem to find the time to scratch.

But there are others that become more. These are the ideas that take hold. The ones that keep whispering in my ear saying, "Do something about it, you idiot."

So I did.

I got serious and told the world I was working on an anthology.

I wanted to gather your stories. The kind that would make any mother wondering why she was still wearing her maternity yoga pants five months after pushing the kid out know that she isn't the only one. The kind that spoke to the magnitude of physical changes a woman's body will endure while creating new life. The joys of motherhood. And the cursing at the scale months, and even years down the road.

If this idea ever becomes a reality, I want those who pick up the book not want to put it down.  I want reports of laughter and tears and muffin top solidarity. I want smiles and Warm and Fuzzies and "Have you read....? The whole thing just made me feel like a conversation with a group of friends!"

Okay. So I want. Now what?

Since I first announced the anthology on the blog, I have been honored to read some incredible essays by mama writers I respect and admire. Jeanne Bowerman, Lisa Galek, Abigail Green, Robin O'Bryant and  Stephanie St. John have already submitted and I love each and every piece. I've laughed, cried, RELATED, and wanted to hug these women for their words, much as I hope my our future readers will respond.

But my idea was still whispering in my ear and I finally got brave enough to start whispering into the ears of those for whom the message was actually intended. If the book is going to speak to those who read it, I was hell-bent on making sure I get voices that speak to me. Like authors Therese Walsh and Lissa Rankin. Both are incredibly talented women.

One made me cry with her beautifully written novel.

The other made me think telling my vagina she is pretty is a good for her self-esteem.

And that, my friends, brings me to The Happy.

THEY SAID YES!

Of course.

When's the deadline?

WE BELIEVE IN YOUR IDEA!

My initial reaction was a blank stare.

Holy what?

Really?

SQUEEE! (Because some moments are just totally squee-worthy.)

And after I picked my jaw up off of the floor, I thanked both Therese and  Lissa profusely for their gift of time and experience. And then I went all fan-girl again.

*Interested in adding some of this Awesome to your twitter feed? Click on the names and tell them AspiringMama sent you.

Jeanne V. Bowerman

Abigail Green

Stephanie St. John

Lisa Galek

Lissa Rankin

Therese Walsh

Robin O'Bryant

*I would love to read your submission, as well. For more information on the anthology idea, please click here. The deadline is April 6 and I can't wait to read what you have to share.

The Typo Queen Strikes Ag...Oh Never Mind

I got tired of sitting here with my thumb up my ass waiting for responses to a few queries still floating around in Publishing Land, what with not having a clue what I had even sent out to whom and all, so I took the initiative (read: HC Palmquist made me do it) and trolled through my gmail account to set up a proper excel sheet. You know, so I'd have half a clue. I cringed at some of the quick form rejections, smiled at the You Don't Suck, The Market Does responses, and even did a little jig when I saw an invitation to query an agent with future projects.

Then? I saw this:

Dear (Mystical Gatekeeper Agent Person), When you see my query you also will see a very obvious typo...in the title of my book. While I am known to typo more often than should be legal, I am well aware of how to spell "Sane." Unfortunately, I am coming down with a cold and shivered while attempting to make the correction. That is when my fingers hit send for me before my head fixed the word. I understand if this takes me out of the running for consideration. But I did want to take a moment to explain myself. Please have a wonderful weekend.

Sincerely,

Pauline M. Campos

So, who's surprised that I never heard back from this agent?

Anyone? No?

Yeah...I figured as much.

Milestones and Mexifros

I started blogging here with the mindset that no one was reading. That no one would read. Why would you? I wasn't famous. I wasn't giving anything away. I was just sharing my words. But I guess that was somehow enough. And 100,000 page views later, I am sitting here in awe. I am not the same person I was when I started here. And I am definitely not the same person who tried blog after blog of what I thought people would want to read before realizing I had to be true to myself for anything I said to not sound like a PR pitch.

I'll admit I was a scared shitless to drop my first F Bomb. What if I offended people? Turns out I was just being that much truer to myself and my voice. Which, yes, is peppered with profanity. You have no idea how fucking liberating that was.

Every blog post, every story I shared, was just one more piece of me opening up to the world. And each step brought me that much closer to the self-acceptance and confidence I sorely lacked while growing up.

That's me, in the fourth grade, I think. I was awkward. I was geeky. And I felt every bit the ugly duckling with my mini #mexifro in all its glory.

Before I started writing here, I never would have shared this photo. Before I started writing here, I probably would have burned this when I found it in my mom's stash of memories.

But I'm not that girl anymore. Instead, I'm this girl.

I'm sassy.

I'm confident.

I'm snarky.

And I'm loving the little bits of me that make me who I am.

Including the hair.

And the crooked smile.

And my F(Ph)at ass.

You might not think that's a big deal. But you have no idea how hard I tried to be what I wasn't. There were chemical perms to straighten the kinks. There were copious amounts of aqua net used in a misguided effort to make the bangs I cut look like the white girls I went to school with. There was that yellow sweatshirt and those glasses.

Maybe it took becoming a mother. Every day I wake up hoping to provide my daughter with a positive example of self love. I can't very well expect her to love what she sees in her own reflection if she sees me hiding from my own.

Maybe it took hiding behind my words before I became confident enough to start sharing myself in photos and videos.

Maybe it took you.

In either case, I am here now to thank you all for reading.

And? For the free lesson in the cheap therapy that is the magic of social media.

Power to The Mexifro, people. Power to the Mexifro.

Mamavation Monaday: My Un-Famous Reality

But I am relatable. (Shut up, spell check. It's a word, dammit.) I'm overworked. Stretched in more ways than I ever dreamed imaginable.

I? Come last on my to-do list because Motherhood comes first. And that, my friends, includes the dishes and the laundry and the dusting and the mopping and the schlepping around of the Mother of All Diaper Bags because I must at all costs be prepared for The Unknown. Even if we are just going to Walgreens for vitamins and OJ.

It means cooking dinner while packing The Husband's cooler for work while chasing the damned puppy out of the kitchen while saying "uhuh" and "okay, baby" in response to questions and stories you aren't really paying attention to while promising to make it up to her later with some one on one time. Her turf. Her rules. This means I go by Mama Prince and have to wake my sleeping Princess with True Love's First Kiss. Then we giggle and color and I love that she doesn't give a flying shit about staying in the lines.

It means I showered today at 4 p.m. and put a brand new pair of pajamas on (read: yoga pants and an old T-shirt) and never bothered with a bra because who really gives a damn when I knew I wasn't leaving the house?

Nick Jr. is king in my house. If she is awake and in the room, nothing with commercials, sex, violence, swearing (shut up, I save it for the blog) is allowed. Which means that The Husband and I can recite entire episodes of The Backyardigans and know when The Fresh Beat Band has come out with a new song before we know that that something exciting has happened in the Wonderful World of Adults.

What doesn't it mean for me?

Motherood (and my reality) doesn't include nannies or television interviews because of what I do or who I am married to. It doesn't mean record deals or millions of fans across the globe who give a shit about who I am or what Target brand I wore while teaching Buttercup to ride her new new wheeler on training wheels. There are no tabloid covers, no paparazzi hiding out in my garbage cans. No plastic surgeons, no drivers, no live in help of any kind.

Which brings me back to the (slowly shrinking) muffin top I'm still sporting because My Un-Famous Reality  doesn't always allow me the time to attend to, well, me. Not all the time, anyway.

I know. I know...Other Moms do it. I get that. But I'm still trying to figure it all out. My daughter will be four in June and I'm still trying to figure myself out, for crying out loud.

And?

That's my story. That's who I am.

Look in a mirror. If you see a variation of my reflection, you are my target audience. You are who I want to connect with.You are the reason I wrote my book.

I've been querying, trying to get an agent. Not long enough to start crying, but definitely long enough to have received feedback that's making me wonder why I didn't just lie about my reality and call it fiction, because apparently that's where it's at (and yes, I am over-simplifying here) if you aren't already famous. It's called a platform, and they are required for getting a non-fiction book on the book shelves.

That's the part that brings me back to the Me Not Being Famous Thing but still having written a book that seems to require me to be famous for you to ever see it. Agents are telling me they like the project but momoirs are tough to sell. That Moms just won't buy a book buy a Nobody from Nowhere when they can buy a book by Celebrity Mom from Hollywood.

I get it. Publishing is a business. It's about the bottom line. But I don't get how an experience as universal and unifying as motherhood is limited to the Rich and Famous. I want to relate when I read.

I want to see myself and my struggle in those pages.

What about you?

A Visit from The Boys

It's a Stationay Blog Hop here at Aspiringmama. That's code for I Didn't Have Time to Blog so (Insert Name Here) Bailed Me Out. Today's blog help came from a local Tucson friend who, it seems, needs more princesses and less tail-less lizards... Well, hello there! I'm Becca, from Our Crazy Boys.

I'm a blogger, not a writer (not to be confused with Pauline, who is a writer, that happens to have a blog), so please excuse my super short paragraphs and sometimes poor grammar. I write like I talk, because it's my... well, usually, it's my blog.

I am thrilled to be guest posting here, at Aspiring Mama, during her Stationary Blog-Hop.

You see, in my little head, Aspiring Mama is a "girl" blog.

Why? Because Pauline has Buttercup, a girl.

 She gets to post super cute pictures of her baby girl, like the one in this post.

And videos like this one, where Buttercup shimmied her way through the grocery store.

Oh, and I can't leave out this post, where Buttercup gets to show off her adorable painted toenails.

As for me and my blog? My blog is a boy blog.

No pretty pictures by the Christmas tree, or shimmying, or even painted toenails. Well, I do take a lot of feet pictures... but usually, they're mine.

I get to blog about making yellow snow,

scaring the tails off of lizards,

and getting ringworm.

Ewwww... boy stuff.

I think that Pauline and I are different in many other ways, too.

She's Hispanic. I'm white. Except in the summer. I turn a *little* darker. But she probably does, too.

She's got the Mexi-fro, and I have... well...  no Mexi-fro.

She drops the f-bomb on her blog, and I would give my mother a heart attack if I said anything worse than "darn it!"

Oh, here's a good one... she somehow keeps her blog top secret, while my mother is my self-appointed press secretary and in-house comedian.

Since I'm here, I thought I would share a picture that my friend sent me today. This isn't my blog, so I'm not doing any long-term damage to my kid... right?

Without further ado...

This is my son, Jack. Playing "barber" with his friend Samantha. He styled her hair, and he's got the accessories in his pocket to prove it. I think he's a natural... don't you?

Meanwhile, that poor little girl is thinking that she has found her future husband...

So, if you're in the mood to laugh at someone who is trying her darndest to figure out this whole "Mom of Boys" thing, stop by and say hello.

Just leave the f-bombs out of the comments, ok?

Becca is a mom to two and blogs at Our Crazy Boys. Check her, and her yellow-snow-making possee, out there and find her on twitter here. And make sure to get the F-bombs out of your system on this blog before stopping by to visit hers.

Mama's Go (Crazy) Bag of Readiness

It was just me and Buttercup. No school, so I called a friend and asked if her kids and my kid could play unsupervised in her fenced backyard so I could lounge on her couch with a glass of wine and have my own little play date. She said yes.

So I packed.

That's right. I said P-A-C-K-E-D.

IMG_1284.JPG

First I needed to get rid of the Lean Pockets my mom left in our deep freezer from her 8 week stay. That went into one cooler. And because Buttercup and I are on a gluten-free diet and Friend Jill was making pancakes for dinner that night, I also packed:

*corn tortillas with slices of cheese for quesadillas for Buttercup

*a fruit cup

*leftover bison steak and veggies for me

*a Lara bar in case I couldn't gag down the reheated bison steak (which is what ended up happening.)

*three juice boxes for the kids to feel like they were getting something special when Friend Jill and I cracked open another bottle of wine.

*two oranges for me because I have been craving some major vitamin C.

And then I moved on to the diaper bag. Which really doesn't carry diapers anymore because Buttercup is kinda sorta potty trained. In it? I packed:

*four training pull-ups

*a spare set of clothes in case Buttercup got a pull-up wedgie going down the slide while simultaneously peeing and needed a change of clothing. (Yes, it's happened before.)

*a pair of pajamas for insurance because every time I go to Friend Jill's house, which is only 25 minutes away, I end up staying until the kid's need to go to bed.

*a water bottle for Buttercup.

*a water bottle for me.

*a snack cup with gluten-free pretzels to tide her over till dinner

*Buttercup's sunglasses

*My iPod Touch and my Droid X (because I am nothing if not addicted)

*Buttercup's Snow White and Cinderella dolls because they are The Dolly Flavor of the Week.

*Buttercup's purse (of course) in which, I think, she packed rocks and her play cell phone. Who am I to judge?

*My (her) Nintendo DSi which allows me to drive with my nerves intact and my guilt assuaged while I focus on the road and Cookie Monster teaches her to count.

And because that wasn't enough? I also took:

*My purse

*Which we won't get into because there isn't enough space on the internet for me to share.

When I left my house, The Husband didn't even raise an eyebrow because he knows better. I am nothing if not Over-Prepared and Un-Medicated. When I showed at up Friend Jill's house, she asked if I was moving in.

Smart ass.

I'm prepared for anything. Always. Why? Because that guy on the street corner with the dirty trench coat and the ARMAGEDDON sign might be on to something. And? Me and What If don't get along very well. So? I pack a diaper bag like a crazy lady.

You should see what I take with us to Barnes & Noble.

But don't worry, peeples. Even if (if I said IF so don't even ask) I end up with another kid between now and the next episode of Jesse Ventura's Conspiracy Theory, I have plenty of room in my Go Bag for the essentials. Like Humanitarian Suspenders.

And lip gloss.