Monthly Archives: September 2011

these are a few of my favorite things….

So, as my life becomes more and more hectic while caring for my family and myself, I’ve learned to appreciate the things that I truly love in this life. Ok, that sounds really hokey. The truth is that I take so many things for granted, and I am failing working attempting to establish a sense of order. In surrounding myself with the things that I love, life just seems to make more sense.

That being said, I felt it appropriate to check in with myself and determine the things that are really, truly making me happy these days. I have been obsessed with lists lately (Pinterest’s influence, maybe?), so here is my list of the top 10, yes 10, things that are making my life a more comfortable, hospitable place to be.

1. Fage Cherry Yogurt.  Now don’t worry, I am still obsessed with Chobani Strawberry Banana. However, the sweetness in the Fage Cherry…impecable. It is seriously like a sinful dessert in a strange little white container. Add some granola, and wowza.

2. Hoda and Kathie Lee. I usually only catch like 10 minutes of their show, a few days per week, but it is so stinking hilarious. Those 2 women are like the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum of the morning talk show syndicate, but in a saucy, sauced good sort of way. Keep up to good work and the self-deprecating humor.

3. The Civil Wars. Great duo. Their music captures somewhat generic indie harmonies while embracing a sexual tension all their own. Seriously, every video on YouTube is of them singing directly into each other’s faces. Weird, but i like it. The guy is sort of like a less attractive Johnny Depp. And, believe it or not, they are not married!

4. My Book Club. Seriously the best women I know, which is appropriate since our club is known around town as, “The Best Book Club in the Whoooooole World.” Our next selection is The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. Very excited. So, the answer is no, I have not seen the movie. But, I still have to buy the book, or find it magically for free, which is typical protocol for me. My husband suggested maybe I could just watch the movie and say I read the book. He obviously does not know how our club works. 🙂

5. The Return of the Pumpkin Space Latte. Epic. Truly would not be fall with out it. While drinking said latte, I find myself in a sort of dreamland, surrounded by golden and ruby-red trees. Typically, I am actually drinking it while driving to the next activity with my kiddos, but this dreamworld and dream coffee concoction keep me going.

6. Utz Brand Sweet Salsa. Can be found in most grocery stores, I think. At least the ones that I go to. It is AWESOME on chicken, with chips….I think it would really be good on anything. Really, I do.

7. My husband. We seem to be so in sync lately, and since tomorrow is our anniversary, I feel very lucky and blessed for the 7 years of wedded bliss (a.k.a. tumultuous blur of moves, trips, births, deployments, food, wine and music) we have survived.

8. Blogs. Since I started my own, I can’t stop reading the work of others. I sort of feel absolutely inferior and technologically stunted. I know these are my own thoughts, but I sort of wish I thought like some of the other bloggers that I love. I will write a post soon with a list of the sites that I frequent! I know you are absolutely on the edge of your seat.

9. My treadmill. Yeah, right. I truly despise it. But I am losing weight, and I have a goal of 20 pounds before my New Years Rendezvous in Vegas!! Bring it on, you bitch of a machine that allows me to conveniently run in place in the privacy of my own cluttered basement. I will defeat you.

10. Finally, I LOVE brown. Really, I love brown. Everything that I am buying for fall is a shade of brown. Brown boots, brown sweaters, brown purse. If you know me, I am usually in black. So for me, brown is the new black.

I wish I had the energy to include my dislikes, which are plentiful, but I am trying to keep out the negative. However, I definitely feel a cynical day coming on sometime in the near future. Stay tuned.

Mommy Diarist

P.S. Sorry for the lack of pics. I just didn’t have the energy to go take shots of everything. Will try to do better in the future.


Finding my niche.

In all the bajillion photography blogs I read these days, the experts say that the first step to developing your photography in some sort of professional way is to determine your niche. This has always been hard for me in all aspects of life. I went to school to become an international business professional and came out an english major. I always went for younger guys in college, and then married a man eight years my senior. I was never going to have children, and now I have 2. It’s hard for me to commit.

So, I have been experimenting, and since I don’t have a ton of time, thought I would upload some of the different pictures I have been taking on my path to establishing a niche. Hope you like, would love feedback!


Here’s hoping for an inspiring and productive week!

Mommy Diarist


Since it’s too early for a drink (mom guilt typically renders alcoholic beverages to be inappropriate before dinner time), I will blog instead. Holy cow, oh my word, bleep, bleep, and freaking BLEEP. Taking two children to the doctor sucks. Taking two children to a two-hour allergist appointment is sort of like hell on earth. Throw in an MRI scan, and whoa, today was not good. No friends, not good at all.

My little ballerina has had swollen eyes for about two months now. After three trips to the pediatrician, we went to the allergist today to see if an expert could determine what in the world is making her eyes so puffy. After being warned by friends about how…..unfriendly allergist appointments are, I knew we were in for it. Luckily my husband could get out of work to make the appointment a foursome, rather than a threesome (If I had attempted to go alone, I am not sure I would be writing this now).

So, they tested her with like 12 pricks to start, sort of like a TB screening test. Then, since that showed nothing, they injected her (like, with full on needles) 6 times (which felt like 100) in the arm. I just had to hold her while she screamed. Then, Nothing. No dog allergies, like we thought. No mold, ragweed, grass, etc. How frustrating!

Let the record show that the doctor’s office made every attempt to be comforting, with movies, suckers, a treasure chest…..and all in all, my daughter was actually very good for the doctor, asking questions about her heartbeat, saying AHHHH, all the necessary tasks.

It’s when the doctor is not in the room, when you are trapped behind the closed-door, that the chaos begins. I am a bit claustrophobic, and being trapped in a small closet with my husband and two kiddos sent me off the deep end. I put on a brave face, but the “what’s this?” and “I don’t want to!” and “I want a snack!” (no food allowed in an allergy clinic, but I snuck her some anyway) comments, while nursing a fussy seven month old that has already spit up on you 17 times because he’s not really hungry and all he wants to do is sleep, were like daggers in my brain.

Now, the kids are napping, the house is quiet, the dogs are resting, and I am trying to find my happy place. I guess writing about it seems to just get it out of me, which is helpful and quite therapeutic.

Anyway, the doctor said we needed an MRI to make sure it wasn’t some sort of nasal blockage. We went, and luckily, NO WAIT, which was incredible. However, going into get an MRI scan with a child that has already been at the doctor for 2 hours and been stabbed repeatedly was not such a wonderful idea. She was a champ, but wanted to potentially try to break every piece of equipment in the very sterile, very strange and very space-shuttle-ish room.

And then we got to the car, and we’d misplaced “Ellie,” her lovie that is seriously more of a part of the family than our dog Stella. 🙂

My husband had to go back and hunt for it, and when he came around the corner carrying the little pink blankie, cheers of elated joy erupted in the car.

I walked out and met him, both of us smiling and laughing. I seriously almost cried. We hugged for a long time, thankful that the worst was over and we had made it through, together.

What had we accomplished? A doctor’s office visit (with no snacks and toddler torture), an MRI and a lost lovie, yes. But, it’s those moments when I am so unbelievably overwhelmed with how much I love that man and how lucky I am to be going through this parenting ordeal with him. It happens on occasion where I can just sort of stare at him and see images flash of the man he was 10 years ago up through today and be simply awestruck by the life that we live now.

So, today was not a good day. But, it wasn’t a bad day. I guess it was sort of normal, really. And, now that it’s quiet and my jitters are gone, I am kind of in love with normal.

I have so much more to write about, but for now, this will do. Will catch up soon.

Cheers (you can assume I will be having a big ol’ glass of wine later),

Mommy Diarist


Am I crazy?

So, just got back from what felt like an incredibly long trip back to the good ol’ Midwest, which included a weekend getaway with my husband to Colorado Springs in celebration of a friend’s wedding.

Two nights away from my children in the cool, crisp Colorado air was very nice, but also very weird. Upon encountering glimpses of our life before children, my husband and I tend to get a little rambunctious. But, we survived, and we danced, which rarely happens, so all in all, it was a success.

And the fire that I unintentionally started at the wedding reception was contained, so no biggie.

We also decided that Denver is an awesome city, and despite our oppressively generic lunch at the Twisted Kilt (a sort of Scottish Hooters), we will definitely be happy when we can again head West to do some further exploring. Bad news, I didn’t take my camera, so the only pictures I have of the actual wedding are from my iPhone. I felt naked without it, and I will never again embark on a journey without my little Rebel again.

The logistics of traveling are tricky these days, but I refuse to let distance keep my kids from their family back home. I’ll be the first to admit this trip was a bit ambitious considering the time and miles. Typically when I make the drive from Virginia to Illinois, I bribe a family member into travelling with me cross-country. This time, due to scheduling and short-notice, I made the drive with a two-year-old and a 6-month-old ALONE.

Yes, more that 800 miles of open road without an extra set of hands. Am thinking I should forget writing or photography and start moon-lighting as a truck driver. Get me behind the wheel, and I can just go on for hours and hours.

Many people have asked me how I can possibly make this trip considering the age of my kiddos. Well, wait no longer. Since I am the expert, I will tell you my secrets. It’s quite simple really.

1. Snacks. All kinds and lots of them (Keep them out of the reach of the kids, though. We thought it would be ok if the little girl had access to her bag of goodies, and she ended up drinking 4 juice boxes. She kept telling me her “body hurt” and had the absolute fullest diaper in the history of diapers. Luckily, they were low-sugar juices from Trader Joe’s, but she was still a crazy bit hyper).

2. Movies. Again, all kinds and lots of them. I so miss the days when I could actually listen to music in my own car. These days the most exciting tune I hear from the driver’s seat is the theme song to Scooby-Doo. Oh, and Redbox was amazing this trip. It’s a buck, and you can drop them off once you’re done with the flick. Perfection.

3. A strong bladder is a necessity. Each time I had to, you know, go, I had to unload both kids and put them into the stroller. Not fun, but if timed appropriately, no biggie.

4. Be silly. Make yourself laugh; make your kids laugh.

5. Look for safe, multi-functioning stops. I try to find Panera and Target. If I can get the kids out of the car for about an hour or so, they are ready to sit again for a while. And, lots of moms hang out at these locales, so you won’t attract attention to yourself.

6. Finally, if you have to stop, just stop. Not in the middle of the road, obviously, but don’t try to fulfill some altruistic road-tripping timeline. Whether it’s to give a hug or reposition a bottle, it’s much easier to just stop then try to make it further with screaming kids.

This is sort of a random post, as I am in travel recovery mode. Still sifting through my pictures and edits, unpacking suitcases, doing laundry. Missing my family a lot. It is amazing to see how your kids react to the kids of your brothers and sisters. It is so stinking cool. I feel very lucky to have so many people who love my babies, and that makes the miles much easier to bear.

Football starts back up tonite, so think it’s pizza (and probably beers) for supper. The Vegas diet starts Monday.

Just wanted to drop a line. Will it ever stop raining?


Mommy Diarist