That when you're cold, wrestling with blankets is just silly? That you can enjoy down time with pets or raid the refrigerator while looking like the missing fifth Teletubbie? That you can go to the big game in your own personal giant pink fleece womb? That you can take a crap through a hole in a wearable blanket?
Now you do. Thanks to Forever Lazy, and my fabulous friend Katherine, who alerted me to this troubling phenomenon.
Your Christmas shopping just got a whole lot easier.
My kids who make me laugh while infuriating me, teach me while I'm teaching them, fill my heart while emptying my wallet, and make me happier and sleepier than I've ever been
My husband who is the kind of guy who will notice when I'm at my wit's end, and wisely and wonderfully make me a hot bath complete with bubbles, candles and a big, cold glass of chardonnay perched on the side of the tub
My friends and family and the friends that seem like family and the family that are wonderful friends
A world that seems crazy most of the time, but is actually filled with beautiful things and people if you squint your eyes and look at it the right way
A brain that works most of the time, a body that only hurts occasionally and wrinkles that mean I've learned a thing or two
You people who come on here and read my random blurbs and sometimes even tell me you like them
A snuggly dog, my minivan, viognier and starbucks cappuccinos
We love Portland. Really, really love it. In fact, we go there about once a year just because we love it so much and it doesn't hurt that it's cheap. On our most recent trip, we had just hit up the insanely good Stumptown Coffee shop in the insanely cool Ace Hotel when I saw this mom.
I was swooning. Portland is so cool! Moms push strollers while wearing skirts and shorty boots! And drinking artisanal coffee in hip hotel lobbies! Why can't my town be more like this?
Then we went to the zoo. (Which is awesome, by the way.) And there we saw some major frump frolicking in its natural habitat.
I'm not sure what's more disturbing, the existence of this product in the first place, or the fact that I fit someone's spam profile that makes them think I might want it.
Have you ever, ever put on your jeans and thought, dang I wish these felt like PJs? Have you ever, ever put on your PJs and thought dang I wish these looked like jeans? I mean, these are totally separately functioning wardrobe items. You want your jeans to be tight in the right places if you want them to look good. You want your jammies not to look like something in which you could jump out of bed and hit the local singles bar. Right?
Let's look at the ad for a moment. Did you notice that Pajama Jeans come with 1 Grey Crewneck Tee? I mean, I could open my husband's t-shirt drawer and find about 12 of those right now. If you are running around in a Grey Crewneck Tee and Pajama Jeans, please get off my blog right now.
Now let's take a peek at the checked boxes. This is a flagrant overuse of red checks. I'll give you soft and comfortable, but I take major umbrage with stylish and sexy.
"Perfect for exercise shopping & more." I'm wondering, since there is a noticeable lack of commas in this sentence, if they mean it's perfect for "exercise shopping?" Like those ladies that go to the mall in frumpy clothes and speed walk around it? If so, then I suppose I agree. And when they say "& more", I'm assuming they mean "accessorizing with socks and tevas" because that's pretty much their target market.
I've been putting off this post for a long time. I'm not sure why, maybe because I am embarrassed about what I'm about to admit, or maybe because I want everyone to harbor some sort of fantasy that I shop at fancy places. (Who am I kidding, I drive a fucking minivan.)
I deeply, majorly, hugely love Forever 21.
In fact, one of my favorite alone outings is to head to the mall, grab a no-whip mocha at Starbucks (a treat I only allow myself on special occasions) and head up the escalator to F21. It is akin to what some people must feel when they go to flea markets. I love flea markets, but I can never get my ass up early enough to get to one (nor can I figure out what to do with my children while I go.) Because you have to do some damn good sifting to find stuff at F21 that isn't a) made for 8 year olds, b) about to fall apart, or c) highly flammable. That's ok! I feel like it's part of the rush. Because when you do find that one thing, that fabulous thing that looks like you bought it at Saks (if you squint your eyes or don't wear your contacts), and you look at the price tag and it says $14.99, it's like winning the lottery.
Shirts. Dresses. Scarves. Jewelry. Purses. Sweatshirts. I have done it all at F21, with the exception of pants. Sorry, but when your ass is over 35, it requires you to kick down more than $18 to make it look good.
A word of caution: TRY ON EVERYTHING. I can't even imagine who the fit model is for this brand -- a six foot tall preteen? A post-op transvestite? You never know what it's going to look like on, especially if you have boobs. Also, just ignore the tweens giving you weird looks. They will WISH they are as cool as you in oh, 30-odd years.
I know you've got this whole "Design for all" thing, which I think is brilliant in concept. But clearly, you're lacking a little on the execution. Suffice to say, I'm now calling Missoni, the fabulous, zig-zaggy Italian design brand, Miss-out-i.
Ugly shoes suck. And I see so, so many of them in momdom. I feel like it's my personal mission in life to prove to moms that shoes can be cute, comfortable AND cheap. Voila, exhibit A:These go with everything and have a little edgy flair thanks to the double ankle straps. And they are less than $20. Need I say more? These are from Urban Outfitters. You can buy them here.
I was holding my daughter today when I felt her sly little fingers in my armpit. My kids know that it is NOT OK to tickle mama, especially under the arms. This has to do with some extreme childhood tickling and possibly even some loss of bladder control, but that's neither here nor there. Bottom line is, I said, "Please stop." And she said, "Why?" And I said, "Because you know mama does not like to be tickled." And she said, "I'm not tickling you, I'm just PLAYING WITH YOUR HAIR."
The caps are mine, not hers. Because I deserve them.
Every so often, I need to be reminded that I am an adult. In these desperate times, I turn to two sources, for very different reasons.
My kids may be handing me boogers from the back seat of the minivan, or demanding "warm apple cider, not cold, not hot, WARM" or peeing on the back lawn (their new favorite activity), but for a few minutes, I am either a) an intelligent, educated person capable of discussing issues in the middle east or someone's latest novel or b) rolling around in a shitstorm of celebrity drama. Either way, I'm transported. And I love it.
I'm all for child safety. My almost five-year-old daughter still sits in a full car seat despite the fact that she's weighed over 40 pounds since she was three. I own life vests for my daughter, my son, and yes, even my dog. (Bulldogs can't swim. Short arm/fat body syndrome.) BUT THIS IS RIDICULOUS.
What do you think is keeping him safer? The no less than 10 flotation devices strapped to his tiny little frame or the fact that no one will get near him because he looks like a mini suicide bomber? Maybe that can be his Halloween costume this year.
Yes, I know that's a terrible thing to say. But this is a terrible thing to do to a child. Oh, the humanity.
My husband went out of town earlier this week (he's back now, so any potential stalkers out there can just put your machetes away and bug off). The very first night he was gone, my two year old son crawled into my bed at about 2 in the morning. Ok, fine, that's par for the course, plus I kind of like the whole night time snuggle thing, especially knowing that one day I'm going to turn around and he'll be 6 feet tall and smelling like gym socks. Normally, he just snuggles up and goes back to sleep, sometimes aided by ambien, I mean milk. This time however, just to insure that his mother got very little sleep for the next few nights, he puts his tiny, chubby little face mere inches away from mine and whispers PERFECTLY CLEARLY:
"Mama, there's a ghost in the house."
Did you just get goosebumps? I think all my hairs were standing on end, including my unshaved leg and armpit ones. I mean, this is a kid that is still getting the hang of the whole talking thing. He's only recently started putting together somewhat cohesive sentences. It was like someone swapped out my toddler with a mini version of Haley Joel Osment. Obviously, I assured him that ghosts aren't real and there were none in my house, but the whole time my mind was flashing on men in hockey masks and girls hiding under the bed barfing green stuff.
Thanks a lot, dude. Needless to say, I consumed a fair amount of chardonnay while my hubby was away. But to be fair, I do that when he's home, too.
There are a few things that are clueing me in to the fact that my almost-five-year-old girl is definitely growing up. First, she can swim. Second, she can ride a bike. Third, she beats the snot out of me at Mario Kart, and I am a closet gamer.
But I think she put the nail in the coffin last night when, apropos of nothing, she walked up to me and said:
Her: "Mama, want to know what the real question is?"
Me: "Yeah. What is it?"
Her: *long loud fart*
I mean, that's a set up not even her father has come up with in his 39 years on the planet. And I'm not sure who was prouder, him or her. I was, and still am, shaking my head. And maybe laughing but trying to hide it.
Actually, I have many beefs. (Beeves?) But the one that's currently rubbing me sideways is this:
I know these are very popular, but at first glance, it looks to me like, "People I've Run Over With My Car". Then once I see that it's in fact a caricature of your family, and that you have three children (one of whom plays soccer and one who likes to swim) and two dogs (one of whom chews a frisbee), I think to myself:
Why? Why do I need to know this about you?
I'm happy for you, but I'm not sure why I, as a fellow person on the road, need this particular information. I'd much rather know how many tickets you have on your record and whether or not you are currently on any medication. Can you please put this information on a cute little sticker in your back window?
...who is 4 1/2. It starts all fine and normal, and then eventually trainwrecks. Which sounds a lot like our life these days. Enjoy.
Once upon a time, there was a sponge named Sponge Bob Squarepants. One day, he went to his pineapple under the sea and said, “Can Miller and her friends come over?” And Miller and Lincoln and Mama and Dada came there, and Candyman and Candygirl and all their friends. They all played. Then they went to Miller’s house and all had a sleepover. Then they went to sleep. In the morning they woke up and played in Miller’s room. They played with Miller’s remote control car and Candyman and Candygirl made a special remote control car. Kaitlin and Joshua had an idea. They all wanted to play. Everyone cheered and clapped and roared and cheered and clapped and roared again forever and for once and they did it in Eskimo style for 88 cents. Then they all 78 cents all and for once. And every day they went to a parade and a bouncy house. And they lived like everything else but Nemo but there was one problem. Which house was an acorn? And seahorses backa backa. That means they sneeze. So they went forward and backward in their car and they all sleeped again in the Elliott’s house. Then the Eskimos came into the snow and everyone HRJALH489.
We were exiting church on Sunday and I saw a license plate on a big fancy Mercedes that said, "SKORPNS". I looked at him and said, "So, do you think the guy who drives this car likes the Scorpions?" And without so much as a beat, he replied, "Either that, or he likes to score penis."
Four days later, I'm still laughing out loud every time I think about it.
We were in LA over Easter for a whirlwind, family-full few days. In general, I feel like LA has less frump per capita than here in NorCal. Maybe it's the sunny weather, the profusion of cameras, or the proximity to Hollywood. Take, for example: Check out the cute boots! The slouchy sweater! The adorable and bright bag that holds tons of stuff but isn't heinous! Yeah, for the record, this is Ashlee Simpson. She was in front of us in line for a train ride and I had to snap a pic. I know, I know, she's a celebrity with lots of available time and money which certainly helps in the quest to unfrump, but this look is definitely attainable AND it looks comfortable. I was VERY impressed, not something I have ever before found myself saying about Ashlee Simpson.
And then there's the flip side. Or shall I say dark side:
Thank god these people at least put aside their extreme love for black and denim when dressing their child. What you don't see is the flourescent pink lanyard around dad's neck that I believe was holding a pen. In case anyone asked the Dad of Darkness for an autograph.
And one more: So this whole bohemian maxidress/long skirt thing is making a comeback and I'm not sure what I think of this trend yet. But I do know one things: THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO WEAR IT. With a hoodie. And crocs. With socks. And a husband wearing a grown-up boy scout uniform. Ok? Ok.
The weather is getting warmer, which means it's time to be on high Teva alert. I've created a little compilation of shoes that are acceptable substitutes. While I haven't tried them on, I can be pretty positive that all the shoes below are comfortable. All are park-friendly. And, with the exception of the insane Missoni espadrilles and Tory Burch patent ballet flats (which are totally worth the money if you have it stuffed in your mattress), almost all are less than $100, and most are less than $50. No, no, you can't wear any of them in your local riverbed. For that, I SUPPOSE you can strap on your Tevas. Just please make sure to shave your toes first.
In my convalescence, I picked up a few glossy magazines to keep me company. US Weekly, in particular. Per usual, Kendra Wilkinson was there on the cover with some new family drama. This one, I believe, was about how their marriage is on the skids—not to be confused with last week's story, which I believe was that they are madly in love and planning to have another baby. I am so confused by these people... with their celebrity in the first place, and with their desperation to stay in the public eye. Here's how I imagine their conversations go at home:
K (whining): We haven't been on the cover of US Weekly in like, a week!
H: That's because it's a weekly magazine, sugarlips.
K: What does that have to do with anything? We need a story, stat. How about I call them up and tell them we want to have another baby, then they'll run a headline on the cover that says "Another baby for Kendra" and people will buy the magazine to find out the details, only to learn we're just HOPING for another baby. I love that one. Mwaaa haa haa hee hee.
H: Pretty sure we did that last week.
K: Hmph. Ok. Then how about I say I'm leaving you?
H: Are you?
K: If it gets me on the cover of US Weekly, then sure. But don't take it personally.
H: How about we just skip a week and see what happens.
K: Oh great. I'm going to have to start flashing strangers my boobies again, aren't I?
I had to have surgery last week to remove a uterine fibroid. The downside? It hurts. The upside? I have plenty of drugs, and I have gotten more sleep in one week than I've gotten in the last 5 years. You know you're a mom when you start singing the praises of surgery in order to get some rest. So, if you're like 100% of the moms I know and you need a good solid week of sleep, I recommend immediately growing a grapefruit-sized fibroid in your uterus.
(For those of you who know me and are counting, yes, this is the third surgery in our household in a year. And next month our bulldog has to have surgery on her VULVA. Yes, my dog is having vaginal rejuvenation. It's because she has chronic UTIs but, honestly. Somebody please make it stop.)
I'm hoping that the reason her head is in her hand is because she's thinking, "Oh crap. I forgot to cut my hair for the last 20 years. And I left the house again in my terribly unflattering ankle-length denim skirt and UGGs. Damn, I need to start taking more gingko biloba."
Thank you Kristen, for this most excellent frump submission!
I've always heard stories like this from my mom friends, and have kind of smugly and silently patted myself on the back for having children that don't do this kind of thing. Until now.
This is how it went down.
My 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son were sitting on the couch—she playing a game on my computer and he watching contentedly. I was sitting nearby reading a book—something that happens during the day about as often as a lunar eclipse—and feeling like the best mom ever. More smugness.
Suddenly, my daughter says, "Mom! Lincoln put peanut butter on the computer!"
I start to get up calmly to grab a paper towel, when it dawns on me that:
HE DOESN'T HAVE ANY PEANUT BUTTER.
Yes, that's right. My son tapped into his inner primate and decided to do a little exploring in his diaper. Needless to say, he found something there that interested him. Poonut butter. And transferred it to my computer.
I'm still getting the odd body shiver. And no longer feeling remotely smug about my parenting skills.
Don't you want to be the kind of mom whose children would some day submit your retro picture to the "My Mom The Style Icon" website? Instead of the mom whose children remember you for your seemingly endless supply of grey sweatpants and Tevas? I do. It's a new goal for me. This blog makes me think of some of the clothes my mom used to wear when I was little. They were pretty sweet. I remember lots of big-collared silk shirts and polyester pants in bright colors. Oh, and patterned headscarves! It was the 70's after all. I don't recall her ever really having sweats, except for in the 80's, and they were bedazzled. She wore them with her bedazzled tennis shoes from Nordstrom (heinous now, cool then). And I'm proud to say she never pronounced her rear end as being "PINK" nor "JUICY." Both terribly gross things for a rear end to be in my opinion, though plenty of otherwise sane people seem to want to make such statements.
Think about it. What will your children remember about your style when they're older? It's pretty good motivation to take a shower now and then...
But I kind of want to be, because of these Bashful Bump Maternity Bodysuits:
WHY DIDN'T I KNOW ABOUT THESE THINGS WHEN I WAS PREGNANT? I swear that my pregnancy-related carpal tunnel probably had as much to do with my constantly trying to cover my bulging front (and back) as it did with my circulation. I actually still might get one, since I'm pretty sure that I flash my undies to the street behind me every time I have to lean into my minivan too far. I actually have very fond memories of my college-era bodysuit, which I wore under everything. It might just be time to relive those days, albeit with less Keystone Light.
They are beautiful, functional, and made by a fellow mom (so you know they work.) If you are currently gestating, you have no reason not to buy one, two or ten. You can do it here.
What exactly is the appropriate swimwear for baby/mommy swim class in a steaming indoor pool swarming with other mothers and children? Seems to me that there are VERY few options out there. Here's a glimpse at what I'm currently seeing:
1. The Straight-Up Mom Suit Think LL Bean. This is probably the most prevalent, and also the most depressing. I am all for not showing too much skin, but these suits are like the reverse of sexy. They're like a sexy vacuum. Not that anyone should be trying to be sexy at swim class, but somehow I think just owning one of these suits will mean you will have 25% less sex per year.
2. The Slightly Inappropriate Suit Think Victoria Secret. This is the opposite problem. Usually these suits are on bodies that can pull it off, and believe me I applaud that, but it's a little disconcerting to see quite so much skin when I'm trying to get my toddler to make a puffer fish face. Or it could be that I'm just jealous.
3. The Athletic Suit Think Athleta. I get the catalogs for these companies and I think, "Hey, I like that swimsuit. The one on the girl playing volleyball/surfing/kayaking." Then I realize that I don't do any of these things, and that on me, the same suit might look an awful lot like The Straight Up Mom Suit.
4. The "I Used to be on the Swim Team" Suit Think Speedo. I'm embarrassed to say this is the category of suit I currently wear. Mainly because of a lack of other options. It's the suit I wear when I swim at the gym, so it's also what I wear to my kid's swim class. It's also what the swim teachers wear, so I convince myself that I'm just wearing the appropriate uniform. It's a problem.
I'm starting to think that the headquarters of Benefit Cosmetics is peopled entirely by exhausted, underslept mothers. Because they keep coming out with stuff like this, which is my new favorite thing: It's like concealer on hardcore steroids. You know how most concealer is skin-colored? This is like a light pink color, so when you put it on, at first it looks like you've put white-out on under your eyes. It REALLY covers. And once you get a little makeup and bronzer on, the pink goes away and you are left with eyes that look like they did before you had kids. (Minus the crows feet and frown lines.) Add a can of Red Bull to the mix and you may fool everyone into thinking you're actually sleeping at night.
Can you see it? Can you feel the magic? Maybe you think you're seeing things, as did I, when I witnessed this outfit phenomenon in person. But no, that IS a sequin caftan worn over sweats and tennis shoes. It truly, truly is. I can't make this shit up.
Years ago, I used to dogsit for an Australian Blue Heeler named Jack. His owners instructed me to put a bark collar on him when he was in the backyard that shocked him if he barked above a certain decibel. It felt so inhumane, because the minute I would snap that thing around his neck he would start doing this weird hoarse whisper bark—like he couldn't control his urge to bark, only his volume. (He also humped my leg feverishly but there wasn't a collar for that particular part of his body.) Lately though, I'm starting to wish there was such a thing as a scream collar for my two year old son. This guy screams constantly—when he wants something, when he doesn't want something, when someone comes near something he wants, when he falls, when I leave the room, when I'm right next to him. When he wakes up from a nap, he usually screams for about the next hour and a half, while I offer him every vice I can think of (Bottle? TV? Video game? Juice? Cigarette? Staple gun?) until he gets distracted by something totally random, like a dog toy, and suddenly turns all smiles while I'm slapping my forearm looking for a good vein in which to insert the chardonnay drip. And lately, he's screaming his little blond head off at night unless I STAND IN THE ROOM WHILE HE FALLS ASLEEP. MInd you, this is no ordinary scream. It's the kind of scream where his voice starts shredding. It's a "I'm being eaten alive by fire ants" scream. It produces gushing streams of mucous and sometimes even vomit. It's horrible. Of course, all I want is to comfort him and make him happy, so I do whatever I can, but I swear it's taking years off my life. The only benefit I can possibly think of is that maybe, just maybe, with all the hand- teeth- and butt-clenching that it's causing in me, I'm building some muscle tone. I mean, gotta find hope somewhere.
This year, my resolutions are all about doing less. But I'm not letting myself off the hook here. It's actually much harder to do less than it is to do more. More is about energy, less is about restraint. And while I'm not exactly rolling in either one of those right now, I feel like my life could use more of the latter. So, without further ado, in 2011 I vow to:
Expect less Consume less Stress less Rush less Yell less Weigh less Criticize less Compare less Frown less (as a bonus, this will help with wrinkles) Worry less Be hard on myself less Crank less Frump less