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A few weeks ago, Michael’s grandmother came by with a pop up tent for the beach. It was all folded up in a circle and came in a handy carrying case a little smaller than a hula hoop. It boasted that to use it, all you had to do was unzip it and toss! That’s it! A tent! Sounded good to me. I had been looking for a tent Ryan could sleep in during our beach days this summer and this appeared far easier than anything I had seen.


Our first beach trip of the summer was going well. We joined friends and their baby on the sand and spent the morning playing and relaxing. When Ryan started to get tired I decided to use the tent. As described, it was easy as pie. I literally just tossed it in the air and POOF! Down came a tent. My friend gushed over it, begging to know where my in-law and found it. She wanted one for herself.

Ryan’s nap was short-lived (my little creature of habit will have to get used to a new nap local), but boy was that tent nice. Roomy, shady, and again…so easy! Here, let me show you:


Oooooh. Ahhhhh.

When our day came to a close, I packed up all the zillions of beach things and went to close the tent. I hadn’t checked out the directions before because I figured, how hard could it be? It just pops up. It must pop back down.


What followed was quite the show. I struggled to fold up the tent with one hand while reading the Ikea-like picture instructions with the other. No dice. I pulled, I pushed, I twisted. Nope. Not even close. One of my friends started to give me a hand. Surely the two of us could figure it out. NOPE, NOT EVEN.

While this was going on, an older man sitting in his beach chair chewing on a cigar kicked up his feet and took in the show. He laughed — loudly — every time we failed. After flashing him what I only imagine was a stink eye made only by mothers with whining children covered in sand, he stood up and offered to help. Laughing, all condescending-like, he strutted over, cigar still in his mouth, and tried to figure it out.

Only, he couldn’t either. OH, who’s cocky now, Mr. Strutting Cigar Man?

Finally, after far too long of this nonsense, the kids were DONE and it was getting late. My friend and Cigar managed to wrangle the tent into a shape just small enough for me to jam in my trunk and wrapped the cord around it. I was thisclose to being unable to shut my trunk, but managed to get it home. Friend: “I no longer care to know where you got this tent. Do not want one. Ever.”

Upon arriving home, I put Ryan to sleep in his crib and left Owen, who had fallen asleep on the ride home, in the car. (In the shade, with the windows down — obligatory I-did-not-leave-my-baby-to-roast-in-the-car disclaimer.) I dragged the tent out of the trunk, untied the string and POOF! Oh look! A tent! SO F-ING EASY.

The next hour of my life went something like this. I beg of you to watch at least a minute of this video because THIS WAS ME. Only, angrier. With curse words. Actually, start at the 0:33 seconds mark and proceed to watch the tent pop open in her face. Then feel my rage.

See how she’s trying to hold the tent (“hold all four poles with one hand…”) while trying to decipher those nonsense directions with the other? Know why? Because those directions are BULLSHIT. The written directions mean nothing and the drawings of the man folding the tent are drawn as though you’re standing behind him so you can see…NOTHING. Except his ass, essentially. And that helps NOT AT ALL.

This went on for an hour. AN HOUR. I would get so frustrated that I would throw the tent in a fit of blind rage, only to have it pop open in the air (OOOH! A TENT!) and float back down to the ground all tent-like. There wasn’t even any satisfaction in giving it a good toss because that only resulted in a tent and ARRRGHHHH. I DO NOT WANT A TENT.

Finally, I realized that there’s no way I could be the only person who has ever wanted to murder this particular tent, so I turned to the all-mighty internet. What I found, however, was practically nothing of help, until a random image search landed me on a YouTube page in…German. Which lead me to more videos in German. Tons of videos in German of German people closing this tent.


I watched about three videos and while it certainly clarified things better than those bullshit instructions ever did, I still couldn’t do it. I finally gave up, fresh bruises on my arms from the tent popping up on me multiple times, and left it for Michael.

Only, I couldn’t let it go. I stewed on it. By this point I was so invested in it, was so determined to conquer the damn tent that I started searching again. This time, I unearthed another German video and it was pure gold. The guy who made it was so thorough. I mean, he would shoot the same step over and over from multiple angles. This guy was dedicated to helping you close your Abbau Pop Up Strandmuschel. Which I’m pretty sure translates into The Pop Up Tent From Hell.

It took a few viewings, but finally, FINALLY, I closed the tent. I was so proud of myself! I had conquered the beast! WOO HOO! I went inside and poured myself a stiff drink.


The tent is sitting in the family room waiting for it’s next beach adventure but I’m wary. Can I really close it again? I do not know. I will probably have to practice a few times before venturing out with it again.

Beware the Strandmuschel, friends.


Last night Owen stopped what he was doing and stared down the hallway. “What’s that man doing?”, he asked me.

Man? What man? There was no man. I asked him to clarify. He plays pretend now, so I thought maybe he was being silly.

“That man! The one RIGHT THERE!” he replied, pointing at seemingly nothing. “Hes right there, Mommy. Why is he sad?”

He was so insistent that I started to feel a little strange. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Don’t people say children can see…ghosts?

I know. I KNOW. That’s one of the most absurd things a rational adult could say.


It was getting just a little too The Sixth Sense up in here. Owen was still staring down the hall and pointing, and if it wasn’t a ghost, then at the very least there was something human-like my kid was seeing and I’ve seen enough bad TV to know that means get the hell out. Don’t answer the door. Don’t talk about your favorite scary movie.

I was just about to grab something heavy and venture down the hall (though, if it was a ghost, I’m not sure how effective a Mag-Lite to the head would be…) when Owen added a missing piece to the puzzle.

“See, Mommy! The man is dancing in the window!”


That right there would be Twist, the doofy, beat boxing DJ from The Fresh Beat Band. Reflected in the window.

Let’s just pretend I never told you this story. As you were.

– This. At Starbucks.

No. No, no, no, no, NO. All of it NO. Shiny leggings not technically as pants because the shirt did cover her butt, however it was cut really high on the sides. So, leggings as pseud0-pants. Still a NO in my book.

And then. The shoes. The gold…what are those? Sandals? Loafters? Sloafers. Landals.

One of you is going to comment that you own that very outfit, aren’t you? And you are going to unfollow me because I am mean about your shoes.

Well, your Sloafers are ugly. They look like cheese graters from space.


– Now that our living room isn’t the size of a postage stamp, we finally got with the times and upgraded to a flat screen TV. Do you know what that means? Elmo is now LIFE SIZE. I’m pretty sure Owen’s mind was sufficiently blown this morning.

Gahhh creepy blurry Elmo! (Also, the dog bed? Apparently is also Owen’s lounge chair.)

– I’m having company soon and my kitchen really needs to be cleaned. At yet…I’m blogging instead. Anyone want to come clean it for me? I can offer you some leftover chicken and dumplings and some slightly snot-covered toddler kisses. I mean, how could you turn that down?

Happy weekend!



What is it about the holidays that makes people so pleasant? (Said with the biggest eye roll imaginable.)

Yesterday we went to get a bagel. O was asleep in the car seat, so Michael ran in while I waited in the car. It was still early and I wasn’t really awake yet, so I was just staring out the window. All of the sudden, there was a woman next to the driver’s side window (I was in the passenger seat). She was waving her arms maniacally, pointing and shouting at me.


It took me a minute to register she was talking to me, and my confused face clearly pissed her off because she kept going. I began to gesture that there was no handicap parking sign, and she lost it, shouting “NO! NO!”, rolling her eyes and making disgusted faces at me. She stormed into the  building and continued to give me dirty looks through the window, probably expecting me to move the car.

Now look, in her defense, it turns out we were in a handicap parking spot. BUT. There was no sign. And the marking on the pavement was almost completely faded away and oh yeah, covered in snow.

So maybe, just MAYBE, this was an honest mistake?

And maybe if she, I don’t know, came up to me and said, “Excuse me, do you know this is a handicap parking spot?” or something to that effect, I would have apologized and moved the car?

Now don’t hate me for this part, but what put the icing on this lovely cake was that she was forced to park a whole 8 inches further from the door (seriously, RIGHT next to my spot) in her brandy-new Audi, then got out and stormed right over to me no problem. I’m not saying she didn’t have a legitimate reason for needing a handicap spot, who am I to say what qualifies as a handicap? But it certainly had nothing to do with her feet or her mouth! Maybe this was the last straw for her. Maybe she was tired of people parking in handicap spots when they shouldn’t be. But I don’t think that excuses her tirade on me.

This reminds me on an incident that happened a few years ago right around the same time of year.

My friend and I were going somewhere one evening, and she parked on the street outside my house. When we began to hear someone laying on their horn for a really long time, I opened the door to investigate. There was a woman behind my friend’s car honking and honking. I figured she thought someone was in my friend’s car, so I made the “go around” motion from my doorway. She rolled down the window and yelled, “Is this your car????”

No, it isn’t, I told her. And then all hell broke loose.

“It’s illegal to park on this street! (It isn’t) There are SIGNS! (That say no parking during SCHOOL HOURS).”

And then the kicker.


At this point, she was beat red and clearly losing.her.shit. As she threatened to call the cops, Michael attempted to go out and talk to her, but she rolled up her window leaving only the tiniest crack, and shouted obscenities at him. Ok, he said. Call the cops.

We went back inside and watched her through the window. The best part was that as she ranted and raved, she caused even more of a traffic problem, forcing people to go around her!

So what does Crazy do next? She backs into our neighbor’s driveway and turns off her headlights (as if we couldn’t see her?) and waits for the cop to arrive.

(At this point, my friend’s mother — who is a local police dispatcher — calls her up to ask what exactly the problem is. Why is her plate being reported for trouble at my house? It was comical.)

When the cop arrives, Michael goes out to talk to her, and the two are actually laughing. I see Michael point to Crazy hiding in the driveway, and the woman — now caught and seemingly embarrassed to be — turns her car back on and rolls down her window to talk to the cop. When she receives the news that nothing will be done, she peels out in a huff.

And then circles the block five minutes later to see if we’ve moved the car.

We hadn’t.

A clear case of the Christmas Crazies? What IS that?

– We went to Walmart yesterday to pick up a few items and of course my first stop had to be the bathroom. I walked in and stopped dead in my tracks when I noticed what was going on in the stall in front of me. (You think it’s going to be dirty now, don’t you? Well, it is. But not that kind of dirty!)

Whoever was in the stall…was in the stall BAREFOOT. In the WALMART BATHROOM. Ew, ew, ew, ew, EW.

– Why can’t American Idol end on time? Don’t they know I want to watch Glee  at exactly 9 p.m., not 9:02. Especially since Parenthood starts at 10 and if Glee goes over, well, we have a problem now don’t we? (For the record, we don’t have DVR. I know this would potentially solve the problem.) And aren’t there only three or four contestants left on Idol anyway? What can they possibly be doing for an hour that makes it impossible for them to end right on time?

And p.s. – what happened to Crystal Bowersox’s dreds? Where did they go?

– I officially have to pee ever 13 minutes or so. We’ve had some near misses where I swear to you, I thought I was going to pee my pants. So far, so good, but guys, it’s like potty training all over again.

– We have a meeting with the woman who will most likely be our pediatrician tonight. I’d like to come prepared with some questions, but I’m not really sure what to ask about other than her opinions on vaccination schedules (I’d like to stretch his out a little). Any suggestions on what I should bring to the table?

My sister sent me this little gem recently:

“Pajama Jeans! Pajamas you live in, Jeans you sleep in!”

I’m sorry, this is a real thing? It IS.

For only $39.95 you can have your very own pair and look like this.

Huh. Well, she looks like she’s wearing jeans, I guess.  But…really? Why not just wear JEANS?

Actual testimonial, supposedly from a Creative Director at Elle says, “They look so chic…I love it. They look like a sharp, clean, polished denim. I’m always a big fan of something that can look slick and be comfortable. I don’t think we always need to suffer for style every single moment of our lives.” It also goes on to say that he wore them to Fashion Week. I think I’m calling BS on that one.

The website and some blogs I stumbled across think it’s so great because you can wear sweats while still looking chic. No more shlubby sweats! But, here’s the thing. Sweatpants are sweatpants. Sure, I’ve worn my stretchy black ones out in public, but I KNOW I’m wearing them out in public. I’m not trying to look stylish is sweats.

And conversely, if I want to be comfy in the house, I don’t need to look stylish. At the end of the day when I’m kicking back on the couch, who is going to care if my pants look like jeans? Kodiak? I doubt it.

In the end, if you feel the need for some non-jean jeans, may I suggest “jeggings“?

Just, you know, don’t wear them as pants.

Said to younger boy from older boy in the cleaning product aisle:

“It’s OK to hit girls as long as you’re under 18. Once you turn 18, you’re an adult, and you can get in big trouble for that.”

A woman who I assumed was his mother smacked him upside the head after that.

It’s going to be a little baby heavy around here for a little while since today I am 12 weeks pregnant and that means I have many, many weeks of thoughts to tell you about.


I really wanted to discuss this whole leggings as pants thing. Again.

I don’t know why this is a trend that just won’t die, but COME ON. Leggings are NOT pants. When I say leggings aren’t pants, I mean if you’re wearing leggings, you must, must, must cover your butt. PLEASE. At least find a top that goes down to your upper thigh.



That’s why.

Ladies, I don’t care if you’re a size 2 or a size 22. Everyone has a butt crack, we don’t need to see yours on display.

And if leggings make your back look like that, what do you think they’re doing to the front? Are you truly comfortable with displaying camel toe?

And why…why, oh why, would you pair this awesome look with Uggs?

Look, I don’t have a problem with the Ugg brand. And I don’t have a problem with people who wear Uggs. My personal dislike for the traditional Ugg boot stems from the fact that I think it makes everyone look like they have giant Muppet feet and I just don’t understand the appeal. Comfort be damned. I have a very comfortable pair of Rocket Dog boots that are contoured enough to not make my feet look like dinner plates.

I just don’t get it. Butt crack, camel toe, AND Muppet feet?

Am I missing something?

I have completely jumped aboard the legging train and wear them all the time, especially with my growing waistline. But my butt is always covered. Leggings…not pants.

My last thought on this is that while I’m totally pro-trends (most of the time), I’m not pro-dressing like every other person on the street. This became evident to me when we stopped at a local coffee shop located on a nearby college campus and as we waited in line I counted eight — EIGHT — girls wearing the exact same thing in varying colors.


Ugg boots.

Northface fleeces.

If I was stealth enough I would have taken a picture, but you’ll have to just imagine it. Can someone explain to me why this look is so in?

I don’t mean to offend. If you’re sitting at home reading this post in your leggings as pants, Ugg boots and Northface fleece, you don’t have to start gathering up the rotten tomatoes.

You can explain it to me!

(P.S. – Belly shots start tomorrow!)

Can someone explain to me the need for women to dress up for the beach? I’ve spent the last few days on the sand and I have to tell you, I just don’t get it.

The makeup. The jewelry. The styled hair worn down in 80 degree weather.

My makeup? It’s sunscreen. My jewelry? My wedding band, sans engagement ring because it gets all sunscreen-y. My hair? In a knot on top of my head. Going to the beach around here usually means rolling out of bed and throwing on your bathing suit.

What are your thoughts on this matter?

And OH do I have a people watching outfit to tell you about. Yesterday, a woman sitting near me on the beach was taking off her street clothes and left on what I thought was a really odd shirt. It was cropped at the belly and had puffy sleeves and was plaid.

Not her shirt. Her bathing suit top. I’ve never seen anything like it. It looked like it should be the top of a sexy pirate costume.

I love the beach.

Yesterday I watched an episode of A Baby Story and the mother-to-be had these really big, really 90s, perfectly round-brushed style bangs.

You could tell she wore the pants in the family. Especially when she told her husband that during labor, he was absolutely, positively, NOT ALLOWED to put a damp towel on her forehead.


Because she wanted the baby to “see my bangs” when he was born.

Got that? She wanted the BABY to see her BANGS when he was born.

I guess she wasn’t counting on labor being, you know, labor, because by the time the baby came out the stupid bangs were wet from sweat anyway and plastered to her forehead.

I couldn’t say for sure, but it seemed to me that the baby was less than impressed with mama’s hairdo. In fact, I think he was a little disappointed.

I think he would have preferred she wore a hat.