Monday, July 14, 2014

#MamaJSays everyone needs to watch Derek

I haven't written in a few weeks, mainly because I haven't had anything of value to share...until now.

I love all things Ricky Gervais. I've been a huge fan ever since I saw the original Office series when it first came out. I loved Extras. I read his Flanimals books to my kids. I've seen all his movies, his stand-up and listened to every single podcast of his at least 10 times (this includes all five podcast series, the Best of XM Radio and the Guide Tos). I consider listening to the podcasts over and over like watching reruns of Seinfeld - they never get old.

This all may sound funny coming from a 35 year old stay at home mom who lives in the suburbs, but it is true. I love all things Ricky Gervais (even when he hosted the Golden Globes - gasp!).

When I happened upon Ricky (if I may call you Ricky) on the Charlie Rose show talking about his new creation, Derek, I was immediately interested of course.

So, last year, Hubs and I sat down to watch the first episode of season one and were surprised when we realized it wasn't as funny as we thought it was going to be. Not to say it wasn't funny at all, but it was much more serious and sad that we had expected - not a bad thing, just unexpected. We never got around to watching the rest of the first season, until...

Fast forward to two days ago. After reading online that the second series of Derek had come out on Netflix, I figured I should finish watching the first, so I sat down at my computer after the kids went to bed and dove in. Two days, a box of tissues and a bottle of wine later I have finished both seasons of Ricky Gervais' masterpiece, Derek.

I am not even sure where to begin. Everything about this show is perfect. It is the perfect balance of humor and drama. It is beyond perfectly cast (my only gripe is that Karl Pilkington left in the beginning of season 2 - who knew that "round headed twat" could act so well!) It is beautifully shot, beautifully scored and should win every award possible (Ricky was nominated for a Lead Acting Emmy this year - how Kerry Godliman and David Earl were passed over is beyond me).

Kerry Godliman as Hannah
Ricky plays the title role of Derek, a special man with a heart of gold and abundant love of all earth's fuzzy creatures. He does not judge. He is never negative. He sees the good in every human being, and is able to bring it out for them to see as well. We should all take a page from Derek's illustrated book (on cats.)

Derek works in a nursing home called Broadhill, which is lead by over-worked and under-paid Hannah, brilliantly played by Kerry Godliman. She is the type of woman that your heart aches for, you want to have a drink with and you want to give all your money to because she has dedicated her life to the lives of the elderly people living in the home. She is a mother figure (although younger in age) to Derek, and loved by everyone she works with and takes care of. She is passionate and kind, but not afraid to hit someone over the head with a rolling pin (well deserved of course).

David Earl as Kev
If you thought Jim from the American version of the Office was the master of the "looking into the camera" face, wait until you meet Kev, an unemployed alcoholic pervert who spends his days and nights at the home with Derek, his best friend. At first you want to put a hand through the screen and slap Kev, but as the show goes on he wins you over and you all of the sudden want to hug him...and give him a shower.

The rest of the cast - Vicky, Tom, Dougie and all of the elderly residents - are just brilliant.

Maybe I am so touched by this show because just two months ago I lost my grandmother, who spent her last few years in a home much like this one. I picture her sitting in a room, much like the common room at Broadhill on the show, surrounded by other residents of the home, talking about her family and enjoying a cup of tea or serenading the residents on the piano. The episodes that featured family members coming to visit their eldery relatives touched my heart and brought me to tears because I only got to see my grandmother once in the last 5 years before she died (she was in Denver to my Boston - still not an excuse.) I wished we were closer so that I could have shared more quality time with her before she passed.

I know my grandmother would have absolutely loved this show too. She had that same dry British humor and loved all British television. I wish she was alive today to talk about the cast of characters - I know she would have loved Kev!

There are so many heartwarming moments in the series - the husband that visits his wife with alzheimer's every day, a young girl with a bad home life finding a love and support while working at Broadhill, Derek reuniting with his father he never wanted to see, Dougie cursing out a money grubbing daughter of a dead resident, Hannah and Tom trying for a baby, Derek learning to ride a bike and possibly my favorite, Kev building the sculpture of Oliver for Derek...tears! (Don't worry! I didn't spoil anything for you!)

We could all learn something from watching Derek. We should all be nicer to each other. We should all be honest and tell each other how we feel. We should forgive. We should send that letter we have been meaning to send, or make that call we have been meaning to make before it is too late.

So go! Go watch it on netflix, now! Be prepared to laugh out loud and cry at every episode. And let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hide and Seek

My children are hands down the worst hide and seek players...and I never want them to change.

We have been housebound a lot these last two weeks due to both my kids having the hand, food and mouth virus, which means we have been playing a lot of hide and seek.

Here is how hide and seek goes in our house:

Mommy covers her eyes and counts backwards from 10.

The giggles commence as the girls run around the house looking for a place to hide.

Val hides in the exact same spot (behind the princess dresses hanging on the wall in the playroom) and once she is settled in there she counts along with me.

"Free, twoooooooo, one!!! Here I am Mama!!"

Val has been found.

I pick Val up and we go "Find Marlo! Find Marlo!"

I know where Marlo is, because she hasn't stopped giggling since I started counting down from 10. I, of course, play dumb and start the, "is Marlo in the dining room?" bit, to which Marlo responds, "I'm not in there, I'm in the closet!"

I continue to question her whereabouts while Val points to the closet and screams, "Marlo in closet! Marlo in closet!" and I playfully ignore her.

Ultimately Marlo will pop out of the closet and say "I was in the closet Mama!"

Game over.

Then it is my turn to hide.

Marlo and Val both cover their eyes as I run and hide. This could be the cutest thing I have ever seen and heard because Val is only able to count back from 3, so she just says "free, twooo, one!" over and over while Marlo counts back from 10 (this drives Marlo crazy of course.)

I hide in a legitimate hiding spot...behind the curtains, in the closet behind coats, behind a piece of furniture, etc....and they can never find me. Let me correct myself - Marlo can never find me - Val always seems to spot me quickly.

For example, yesterday I hid behind the curtains in the dining room. Let me tell you this important fact - the curtains are sheer. Anyone who looked at the curtains could plainly see my large body hiding behind the curtains, except for my girls.

A minute or two goes by and they haven't found me. Marlo is starting to get annoyed that I am not answering her when she asks where I am, so I say, in a funny voice, "I'm over here."

They run right by me.

Say it again Mama!

The come in the room, look out the window that I am clearly standing next to behind the curtains, and still don't see me.

Then Val spots me, "'ere she is!!!! 'ere she is!!" (Val speaks with a cockney accent obviously.)

Marlo comes in the room, stands next to Val, who is now pointing at me behind the curtains and laughing hysterically and still doesn't see me...until I jump out and scare the living daylights out of her. Good times.

So if you are ever looking to win a few bucks off my kids, ask them to play hide and seek and bet on them losing...every time. I wish they would stay this young and cute forever.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sheriff Callie's Lying West (Why I loathe the Disney Junior show and why I think Doc McStuffins is the best show for kids)

Phew...that was quite a title.

I have to be honest - I have been crafting this post in my head for almost five months now, ever since the first episode of Sheriff Callie's Wild West aired on Disney Junior back in January. Previews for the show started airing last year during the holidays, and the first time my girls got a peek of the pink-ten-gallon-hat-wearing, talking female cat, they were hooked. I was looking forward to a new show in the mix, and knowing Mandy Moore was the voice of Callie (whom I absolutely adore in everything she is in) I had high hopes for the cartoon.

And then I watched the first episode...and I wanted to punch all of the characters in the throat.

Ok, that might be a little harsh, but I was annoyed from the very beginning - not only by the whiney characters, but by the terrible plot lines of each episode.

If you haven't seen the show, here is how Wikipedia describes it: In a western town called Nice and Friendly Corners, everyone is an anthropomorphic and cute animal. They all get along and are friendly to each other. However, there are times when the townsfolk get into problems or don't get along with each other. The series follows Sheriff Callie, a female Calico cat and the sheriff of Nice and Friendly Corners alongside her friends Deputy Peck, a male red Woodpecker and keeper of the town jail and Toby, a male Saguaro Cactus. Together they all solve problems and teach the townsfolk to get along with each other while working hard to make the town the friendliest in the west.

Yeah, you read that right, one of the main characters is a cactus. Before I even get into why I no longer let my kids watch this show, let me tell you about one of my main gripes about Sheriff Callie's show. I cannot stand a show where animals are made to seem human, but still have animals for pets. Why do all of the animal characters talk, but Callie and Peck still have pets that don't speak, and are actual animals (I speak of Callie's horse and Peck's donkey)? It will always be my main issue with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse...why can Goofy speak but Pluto, who is also a dog, can only bark and acts like an actual dog? I think they should have humans as that would be a show I would watch...maybe. 

Back to my point. 

The real reason I don't like my kids watching this show is because most of the episodes feature a storyline where one of the characters is lying about something, trying to trick someone into doing something or just being a terrible person (woodpecker, cactus...whatever). I kid you not, the majority of the episodes are about someone lying: the stork character making up a story for the newspaper, Farmer Stinky lying about having more peppers than he actually does, Toby the cactus lying about being sick, Peck lying about losing Callie's golden nugget, a salesman lying about the a shirt making people more powerful (yeah this one is a doozie)...every character at one point or another, besides the always-honest Sheriff Callie, is featured in the episode where their storyline is about them not telling the truth. 

The moral of all of these episodes is, or course, that you should always tell the truth. But are my kids getting that at 4 1/2 and almost 2? Heck no! Do they really understand what is going on in these shows for the most part? Probably not...but I know M, my 4 year old, is starting to get it for sure. A few months ago I heard her fake coughing and then she went on to tell me she was being like Peck from Callie and pretending to be sick. That was the end of Callie in our house. 

Now every time it comes on tv M goes "oh mom! Callie's on - the show you do NOT like!" 

Now, Doc McStuffins? There is a show that every kid should be watching. 

I credit Doc McStuffins with my kids loving to go to the doctors. No joke, they love everything about the doctors, and even constantly play doctor when we are at home. Every episode of Doc has a true to life message that my kids actually understand, like "it's ok to ask for help," or "everyone get's hurt sometimes," or even something as simple as the fact you need to brush your hair and teeth every day. 

The other day we were playing in the backyard on a hot day and M quickly ran up on the deck under the umbrella. I asked her what she was doing and she said to me, "I have to take a break in the shade for a bit and have some water. Doc said you shouldn't be in the sun too long, and you should take breaks in the shade...and I need to hydrate like that fire truck toy on doc did." 

Come on now!! The writes and creators of that show should be proud!!

The writers of Sheriff Callie should be smacked. I'm just saying is all...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Night Soak

Something incredible happened tonight...something that has never happened before...

Both of my kids were in bed before 6.

6 o'clock, I say!!!

What does a Mama do when her kids are asleep by 6, and her husband is working late (yes on a Sunday)?

Take a bath.

I seriously can't remember the last time I took a bath. Maybe before I had Val? Two years ago??

We have a fairly large bath tub in our master bathroom that serves the sole purpose of collecting the hair that falls out of my head when I blow my hair dry. Yes, I cleaned out said hair before I took a bath tonight.

This tub also only gets cleaned once every 3 weeks by our cleaning ladies, so it gets pretty dusty and hairy over those 3 weeks, so if I ever want to take a bath I have to time it so it is a within a few days of when the cleaning ladies are here so that it is really clean. I know what you are thinking, why don't you just clean it yourself and use it more often? Because by the time I realize I might actually have time to take a bath, I don't have the time to clean the bath tub and take a get me? Sure you do, you are a mom.

But tonight the kids were asleep more than an hour before they usually are, I don't have dinner to make for my husband and I, the baby shower I have been preparing for in all my spare time was yesterday, I don't have any decision to be made on the house at the moment, and our cable box in the family room is on the fritz...bath time!

Let me make you even more jealous by telling you how great this bath was...

30 minutes of warm bubbly goodness. 30 minutes of uninterrupted silence. 30 minutes of awesome.

I forgot how rejuvenating it can be to soak in silence. Sounds so silly but it is so true! Every day I take a 3-4 minute rushed shower while Val is napping. I might have a minute or two of extra time here and there to stand under the blazing hot water and have a moment to myself (I don't mean any funny business, just me doing nothing), but taking this 30 minutes to myself to relax and unwind (especially after a weekend where I was out on the town until 1 AM both nights - more on that in the next post) was truly heavenly (as my grandmother Ming used to say - she was also a lover of baths.)

I think I might make this a weekly ritual - a Sunday Night Soak. And I think all you other overworked, stressed out Mamas should do the same. Find that 30 minutes at the end of the week to have some peace and quiet to yourself. Have dad put the kids to bed and unwind in a hot bath, close your eyes and soak up the silence. It is awesome.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Loss of a Legend

Last week I did a very difficult thing. Possibly one of the most emotionally difficult things I have ever done in my life. I sat down at my computer and composed a goodbye letter to one of the most important women in my life, my grandmother.

My grandmother, who was known the world over as "Ming," was an incredible woman. She was a no bullshit kind of woman. She wasn't afraid to tell you that you looked a hot mess - but said it with all the love in her heart. She never wore pants - I am serious - I only saw her in pants twice in my entire life. She was always dressed to the nines, and accessorized with scarves and pins to match.

She was a truly gifted pianist. Most of my memories of her from my childhood are of her behind our grand piano. She would spend hours tickling the ivories and singing along to her favorite big band tunes. She could play any song she heard on the piano. I once played a pop song for her on my boom box and seconds later she was playing it on the piano so I could sing of her many talents that I wished I possessed.

She was ridiculously smart. When not at the piano she could always be found with a crossword puzzle or a book in her hands.

She loved her "programs." I have vivid memories of me running down the driveway to the house as fast as I could so that I could watch General Hospital with Ming on the TV in our kitchen.

She loved her Chinese food and her Swiss Mocha coffee (not together of course).

Whenever we would go swimming, Ming would only get in the pool if the temperature was "heavenly." What is "heavenly" you ask? Pretty much bath water.

I can see her now in the pool - getting her exercise by moving her arms around in the water and humming her favorite tunes.

Ming was a second mother to me growing up. She lived with my family for a good part of my life, helping to raise my brother and I while my mother traveled with my dad for work now and then. My mother tells me stories about me clinging to Ming's leg when she got home and not wanting to go to my mother...which breaks my heart as a mother myself, but is a true testament to how important Ming was in my life growing up.

My friends from childhood knew her as Ming, and my college friends were lucky enough to have met her on vacations home to Florida. Here is a prime example of who Ming was...

In the early 2000s I went back to Florida for a vacation with a group of my college girlfriends. Ming was living with my family in Florida at the time. We decided to play some boardgames one night, so of course Ming wanted to play along...I believe we were playing Loaded Questions at the time (a fabulous board game night game if anyone is interested). The question was, "If there is a hell on earth where would it be?"

The answer Ming gave "Right here. Right now." And when we all discovered it was Ming who gave this answer we were peeing in our pants laughing - including Ming. I can see her now at the end of the table, with her glass of wine, wiping the tears away from her eyes because she was laughing so hard. And then telling us she might have actually peed in her pants a little. What a dame.

To get to the point of this post, Ming's health started rapidly declining this last month, to the point where any day I was expecting a phone call. I was told about a week ago that it wouldn't be much longer and that I should either call and say my goodbyes or write something for my aunt to read to her. It is probably selfish of me to say this but I couldn't call. I knew she wouldn't be able to communicate back to me, and I don't think I would have been able to contain my I decided to write.

I went through about a box of tissues, but I wrote...and wrote. I wrote about memories I had and would never forget. I wrote about the impact she had on my life, about regretting not seeing her more often in these last few years. I wrote about how I was so happy she got to know Hubs and how they are truly kindred spirits. I wrote about how sad it makes me to know that my children will never know the great and magnificent person that she is, and how my heart was breaking knowing that this will be my final words she will hear.

It was insanely difficult, but I got through it, sent the letter to my aunt and minutes later my aunt told me this..."I read your letter to Ming, leaned over and gave her a kiss from you and she said 'aww...'" This was after Ming hadn't spoken in a few days. My heart just melted.

Within six hours she passed away. This may seem silly to say but I know in my heart she was waiting to hear from my brother and I to leave this earth. She had been holding on for days, but I hadn't the strength to write anything to her, and hours after she heard my and my brother's goodbye she departed.

It was gut wrenching to write what I wrote, but it made me realize that I don't do this kind of thing often enough. I don't mean write a final letter to someone who is on their deathbed...I mean pour out my heart to those that I love, or even simply just tell those I love that I love them as often as I should.

I pride myself on being a strong woman. I am a woman who does not crack or crumble easily. I don't cry easily. I am the one who looks for the positive in situations and doesn't get upset until I really have to get upset. You know who I get this quality from? Ming. Sometimes I wish I was more of the mushy emotional type, but I am just not. This doesn't mean I don't have a softer side, it just means that I am kind of a bitch more often than not.

But writing this letter to Ming was an emotional release and has made me realize that I need to tell those I love how I feel about them, rather than keep my composure at all times and try to be that strong woman I know I am. I guess being emotional doesn't mean I can't be a strong woman...

Anyways, Ming will be missed by all that knew her. Wherever her soul is now may she have her crossword in hand, a piano near by and may the pool be "heavenly."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Finding the Light

My new photography class (which I will eventually write a full post about) is all about finding the natural light in your house, as well as metering the light inside and outside...Here are some of my favorite shots from the past two weeks. 

Not going to stress about it...

I have developed this really strange habit as of late where I can't stop pushing my tongue against the the back of my top teeth. Isn't that weird? It gets so bad some days that my teeth actually ache, and feel like they have moved a little bit, but I still can't stop. I will try to stop, but it takes tremendous willpower not to do it. I also find that I have been grinding my teeth at night, because I wake up with a headache and a sore jaw. I know these are indicators of stress...

I have a lot going on - with the kids, taking a photography class, building our new house, selling our current house, a new Instagram project I am helping with, etc.. In the grand scheme of things these are not bad things to be stressed about, I know, but that doesn't cause me from tonguing my teeth when I think about all of them.

On top of all of this (without going into too much detail) I have family members that are very ill.

I know it has been two weeks since I posted something on here...and I am a little ashamed. I feel like most of my posts lately have been about me feeling badly about not keeping up with the blog. But you know what? I am not going to stress about this blog.

I started it when I was a completely different person. A naive, judgmental pregnant lady who had no idea what she was about to get thrust into. I shared stories of new mom madness, of my fertility struggles, of becoming a second time mom, of classes we have taken, of products we have loved...and some of that I will continue to do, but I feel like I don't have the same voice now that I did for the last 5 years.

What is my point? Well, I have enough stress in my life that I don't want to have to stress about posting on the blog as much as I had, I take back my promise of more posts and giveaways and all that fun stuff I promised at the beginning of the year.

I do still plan to write the occasional fun editorial piece, and share with you some of my opinions on pop culture and whatnot (I could write a whole blog about how much I loath Nene Leakes right now - what happened to my former fave housewife? Yikes!) so I hope that those loyal readers come back and check in on a weekly basis.

Since I have been much more into photography as of late, I am going to start sharing some of my personal photos on here as well, in hopes of building some buzz for a possible future photography endeavor!

That is all I have to say. I must go to my fridge and prepare one of the same 3 lunches I eat every day.

This mama needs a vacation.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dear Facebook, I am over you

There was a time (not so long ago) that I would check my Facebook account about 20 times a day. There was a time (much longer ago) that I would update my status with the minutiae of my day ("So tired from being up at 4:30 AM!" or "Eating lunch at Bloomingdales!" or "Just took a poop!" - ok, I never wrote about my bowel movements, but some people put so much insignificant crap (pun intended) in their status they might as well be talking about their poops!) - what was I saying? Oh yeah, I used to be a frequent Facebook user. I used to upload photos of the girls on a daily basis, and then desperately check every ten minutes to see which of my friends "liked" my photos (what? only 10 of you like this awesome photo of M? Are you blind?).

There was a time when Facebook was fun. It was a place to stalk old boyfriends, and see what fellow classmates were up to and who they ended up marrying. It was a place to reconnect with friends from your childhood, and keep in touch with family members that you rarely see.

But now I feel like it is just a place for people to over share the intimate details of their lives. Ok, maybe it has always been that way, and maybe I too was once an over sharer, but I feel like people have gotten out of hand.

I do not give a flying fug how many miles you ran this morning!

Oh, you are at the gym? Then get off Facebook and work out for fugs sake!

You are "checking-in" to a restaurant? Who cares! Check this!

I, and the rest of your Facebook friends, do not need to know the intimate details of your marital problems (maybe you should not share so much on Facebook and your marriage would be better).

Yes, traffic sucks at rush hour.

Yes, it snows in winter and is always warm in Florida (you don't have to remind us Northerners).

No, I am not giving you money for your race (ok, some people I do give money to, I am just sick of seeing people asking for money!)

And I am fine with you being a devout Christian, you just don't need to remind us every day! I don't remind you that I don't believe in religion on a daily basis do I?

And if I sign on one more time and see a photo of some terminally ill child in a foreign country (most of them incredibly disturbing and heartbreaking) that asks me to type "AMEN" in the comments (I am assuming most of these are hoaxes) I am going to throw in the towel for good.

Maybe I am getting too old for Facebook. Maybe I realize that I don't want everyone I know to know every detail of my life (and neither should you people). Maybe I am pissed that Facebook has turned into one big marketing ploy (I have to actually pay now for all the people that like the Boston Baby Mama page to see my posts - ridiculous!) Whatever the reason, Facebook, I am over you.

Now, Instagram, that is another story. All photos and no status updates? A community of creative people that have likeminded interests and are nothing but positive?* Count me in!

*Yes, I know, not all of Instagram is like this, but the community that I have aligned with is totally this way! Follow me and find out! I promise! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Val's Path of Destruction

My youngest child Val is a crazy person. I say that with nothing but love...and a few new gray hairs.

I actually think she is an evil genius.

She knows exactly what she should and shouldn't do, and is constantly doing everything she is not supposed to do just to get a reaction out of me. She is constantly climbing on things and then saying "mama?!" and looking at me with this adorable smirk on her face as if to say, "I know I am not supposed to be up here, but I am going to do it anyway, and you can't get mad at me because I am super cute."

Her favorite thing to do is to run over to my desk, reach up and grab something she shouldn't (like my glasses) and then look me in the eye and start cackling and running in the opposite direction screaming "mama gasses! mama gasses!" - she still can't say her L's very well.

The other day she came up to me with something in her hand, looks at me and says, "poochie!" and then puts a handful of dog food in her mouth while giggling uncontrollably.

The behavior that drives me the most crazy lately though is that she has this habit of throwing everything on the floor. She will ask for milk, I will give her a cup of milk, she will take one sip and then hurl the sippy cup across the room and say "no. No. No, milk." She'll take a bite of cheese and then throw a chunk on the floor and say "done!" She leaves a trail of half eaten snacks and full sippy cups wherever she goes.

And speaking of a trail of things...

This is what I have to deal with every night. Naked princesses, in various spread eagle positions, all over the house. And I mean all over. I found naked Sleeping Beauty in the tupperware drawer this morning when I went to make M's lunch. Ariel is on my bathroom floor upstairs, there is a naked Barbie on the staircase. I clean them all up, and then for sure Val makes a point to spread them around the house every day. 

To her sister's dismay, Val also does not like when the princesses have their clothes on. She will look at them and shake her head saying "nope. No cothes..." (remember, no Ls). I can only image what the princesses all say to each other when they come to life after we go to sleep. What, am I the only one that believes that happens? 

Val is the queen of being able to "flip the switch" when it comes to emotions. One second she will be happily playing, and then the waterworks can be turned on in an instant by the smallest thing! The dog walks into the room and looks at her - cue the tears. They only last for about 10 seconds and are the big crocodile tears - I am telling you this girl has a future on the big screen. 

Although she is the source of a lot of the drama in our house, she is seriously the most fun. She certainly keeps me on my toes all day - especially now that she learned to unlock the front door. Good times. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mama J = Slacker

I am sitting at my computer listening to Val scream her head off upstairs in her crib, and M barking like a seal in her bedroom. It is one of those days...
I've had a lot of lattes as of late

Val is at the tail end of a cold, and M at the beginning and was diagnosed with croup at the doctors today. Speaking of the doctors, we have been to the doctors office four times in the last four weeks due to illness! Four times! Val had croup, then they both had strep, and now M has croup and Val is at the end of a head cold/getting all four incisors at the same time. Good times.

We can't seem to shake the illnesses in our house. For months at least one of us has been sick - I have been in some state of sick for over a month now. I think it is largely due to the fact that we have been housebound for about 4 months now here in New England due to this insanely cold weather. Our home is like an incubator for the flu virus - coughing on each other, sneezing in faces (kids not me) and wiping snot on various surfaces. Oh and constantly swapping spit by drinking out of each other's drink vessels.

Needless to say M is home from school again today. I bribed her with a trip for ice cream (even though it is about 30 degrees outside) so that she would go lay down in her room for a while and hopefully take a nap. Val has been sleeping terribly lately so she is a cranky mess and is refusing to shut her eyes. Mama needs a break (and some more caffeine) - a break to start crossing off the 100+ items on my every growing list.

I sat down today and made a list of the things I need to do - things I have been putting off for days/weeks. On my personal to-do list I have 15 things, but on my decisions for new house I have 79. 79 decisions that need to be made, over the next 3-4 months, pretty much by me, as Hubs doesn't really care when it comes to design/look of house. Not a terrible position to be in, I know, as I spend pretty much all my free time looking at ideas on Pinterest or in catalogs and magazines. Tough life I know!

Did you know that there are almost 40 different shades of the color white? Neither did I.

But I am not writing to complain about having to choose paint colors, I am writing because with all these superficial decisions that have become my life as of late, things are being put on the back burner that shouldn't be, like, my every day responsibilities.

Sure the kids are clothed, and fed and cared for, but I am phoning it in when it comes to dinner preparation - I think the kids have eaten more mac n' cheese in the last few weeks than ever before. Hubs and I have fallen off the wagon when it comes to eating "clean" and have ordered out more lately than we have in the entire past year. The time that I should spend on meal planning and preparation I am literally either on my iPad or my computer looking at house related ideas.

My house is a pigsty and I actually have multiple laundry hampers full of clean clothes in there that I haven't emptied in over two weeks. And about a week and a half worth of dirty laundry that is spilling out of the two hampers in front of my washing machine. There is stack of mail and bills on my desk that is about two feet high - I should probably go through it, but then I would be taking up precious time of looking at cabinet knobs online!

In the next few months I will be adding selling my current house onto my list of responsibilities, which will be another interesting adventure. I don't look forward to having to keep the house spotless for showings and driving around with kids and dog in tow during open houses, etc., all the while Hubs is insanely busy and traveling much more for work these days.

I have let the blog fall by the wayside. I seriously had big plans for 2014 - a redesign, both of content and of the layout. I had plans for giveaways. I have a list of kid crafts I wanted to try and and recipes to review, with plans of doing at least one of each of those once a week. I had blogger events I wanted to attend. But what little free time I have these days I have devoted to attempting to stay in shape (or get back into shape - I am not sure what shape I am in!) or doing things for the new house, which I never thought would take up so much of my time.

I still plan to write about some of the creative decision making for the house, and even poll you lovely people on some choices. Thought it might be cool to have some external opinions on things like room layouts and paint colors.

I apologize (again) for slacking in the posting, and hope that you, my dedicated readers, will stick with me over the next few months during this crazy adventure!

I can hear my mom now - "stop typing and go put away your laundry!"