Cupcakes and Breast Cancer Research = #BakeItHappen

When my dear friend Kim from The Fordeville Diaries told me about Bake it Happen, I made her explain it to me several times, very slowly, because I couldn’t believe how simple and amazing it really is. Bake it Happen is an organization that uses the power of social media along with the power of everyone’s undying love of baked goods to generate cold hard dollars for breast cancer research. This year, all Bake it Happen donations will support The Cancer Couch, an organization that specifically funds a type of breast cancer that is so crucial yet is sadly underfunded: metastatic breast cancer.

Here’s how it works:

So, in short — sign up for the emails, get the recipe, make it, brag to your friends on Facebook and Instagram about your bomb-ass chocolate cupcakes, and voila! You’ve done your good deed and supported funding for breast cancer research.

What a time to be alive, you guys.

Before we get to the baking, let’s have a serious conversation for a minute. While I can write my way out of a funny paper bag, and I’m a pretty decent baker, I’m not a food blogger. I’m going to take you through a real-talk version of what it looks like to bake cupcakes on a school night in my house.

After getting home from work at 6:30pm, I realize this will be my only day this week that I’m able to bake cupcakes. Plus, they look really good from the picture and I need to eat these and catch up on My Shows tonight after these kids go to bed. So I pulled up my recipe and mixed up the cream cheese filling for my recipe.

You can see things are going well because I’m still wearing my work dress and am cooking in bare feet. The fact alone that I took a picture of my cooking that features my feet and just went, “Eh, whatever,” and moved on should tell you how much confidence I have in my photography skills. It wasn’t going to get better; best to move on.

As I was mixing ingredients and pulling out pans and cupcake liners, Phaedra came into the kitchen and began packing her lunch. I like this new packing lunch thing she does at night. Partly because her lunch is the hardest to pack because her preferences change from day to day and giving the task over to her was a beautiful moment, but mostly because she likes to chat with me about her new obsessions, school, how to actually pack the lunch, and anything else on her mind. It’s our little chat pocket in the day. While we chatted that night, I thought about her, and our family history of breast cancer. I thought about how I would mix up another fifty dozen batches of cupcakes every single weeknight if it meant raising enough money to find a cure before she’s old enough to spend time worrying late at night about whether she’ll also have to deal with this disease one day.

After Phaedra finished packing her lunch and made her way upstairs to stretch out her bedtime tasks as long as possible, I mixed up the dry ingredients and added the wet ingredients. Here’s a picture of what that looks like:

If you’re reading this, Martha, let me know if you need to know how I crafted this masterpiece of food styling and I’m happy to give you my tips and tricks.

Finally I got this together and put it in the oven. I felt pretty good about them. Here’s my artsy picture.

Do you like how I made sure to get all the extra drips off the pan so it would like nice in the picture? Oh, I didn’t do that? Cool. I also had to stick my camera directly into my 350 degree oven while it was pumping full blast. Again, full-on culinary blogging professional. But it was all worth it, because check out the finished product:

GUYS THEY ARE SO DAMN GOOD. I usually won’t eat chocolate cake, because it’s usually dry and not good. Don’t tell me yours is different; it’s not. I’ll tell you it’s different to be nice, but trust and believe, it’s not and I’m throwing away your cake when you walk away. But these bad boys? They are super moist because of the cream cheese filling and the melty chocolate chips. I’m in love and they are officially my new go-to treat for when I have to bake for something and I want to impress people that I don’t like (shut up, you know exactly which events I’m talking about). The fact that this whole evening and these yummy treats that I ate compulsively for the next few days supported a good cause is just the cream cheese filling on the otherwise unimpressive chocolate cake.

So, I know there’s only today and tomorrow left to bake, but go for it! And even though October is drawing to a close, or you just don’t feel like you can live up to my mediocre baking standards, you can still contribute whatever spare change your kids get dumped in their Halloween bags by weirdos anytime by clicking here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sunscreen Is Difficult.

Before I tell you all about the new anthology I’m appearing in, I’d like to tell you about why I bought regular lotion-type sunscreen today at the grocery store instead of the spray-on kind.

I’m a firm believer in picking your battles as a parent. As such, I decided long ago that sunscreen is probably a battle I should go ahead and suit up for, because I’m not interested in listening to my kids whine about sunburns or getting skin cancer. Also, one of my kids is a redhead, which means she bursts into flames if she’s in the sun for more than five minutes without SPF 263.

In my Top Five List of Annoying Shit I Do to Keep My Kids Safe, meticulously applying and rubbing in sunscreen is right up there. It takes forever, they complain the entire time because you’re usually keeping them from something really fun, or they’re urging you to keep the sunscreen out of their eyes in a higher and more anxious voice the closer you actually get to their eyes (ONE FREAKING TIME WE HAD TO FLUSH YOUR EYES WHEN YOU WERE TWO YEARS OLD GIVE ME A BREAK WE’VE ALL MADE GREAT STRIDES IN THE LAST EIGHT YEARS). Then, when you finally finish, there’s another kid just waiting to begin their litany of complaints while you rub them down like a goddamn hand servant.

So imagine my delight when, a few summers ago, I discovered spray-on sunscreen! “Wait — I can just spray them down and be done with all this rubbing and arguing? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP, COPPERTONE!” So I bought the three-pack of Target brand sunscreen (like I have Coppertone money) and drove home, happily envisioning a summer full of pale children complaining about anything and everything except the speed at which I applied their sunscreen! I immediately began imagining all the great things I could do with the time I used to use applying sunscreen to my kids, like sitting on my couch alone for ten uninterrupted minutes. The twenty-first century, I decided as I pulled into my driveway, was truly the best time to be alive and raising children.

The next day I broke out the new sunscreen as the kids began heading outside to play, which usually lasts about fifteen minutes before they realize it’s hot and they don’t actually like being outside. This is partly how I know deep in my heart that these are, indeed, my children. I decided to sell the shit out of this new sunscreen innovation.

“Guys, check this out! You know how you don’t like how long it takes me to put sunscreen on?”

“Yeeeessssss?” They have a healthy suspicion of me when I go into salesman mode. My children are, unfortunately for me, very bright.

“Well, I just found this at the store yesterday –it’s spray-on sunscreen! I just spray it on real quick…”

At this point, I did what any good salesman does — I demonstrated the product on myself to show how great it is. I sprayed both sides of my own leg.

That’s when it started.

COUGH COUGH COUGH “Mom! Ugh! It smells terrible!”

“No, no, no, it’s fine! Here, let me spray you.”

If you were my neighbor that lives on the other side of the privacy fence (my neighbors are also very bright), you would have assumed that I had brought home a can of oven cleaner or napalm and decided to attack my children with it.


“You’re screaming, you can breathe.”


“Oh my God, then close your mouth, WHY ARE YOU GULPING THE AIR LIKE A GOLDFISH??”


“I’m nowhere near your face, JUST CALM DOWN.”



It was a fine summer memory that I’m sure my kids will treasure for the rest of their life.

While I watched my kids act like they had just participated in a police training exercise for tear gas, my mind circled back to the fact that I had bought the fuuuuuuuuuucking three pack. I had three whole cans’ worth of theatrics to endure before we could go back to regular sunscreen. That night, I had a dream that I traveled back in time using Hermione’s Time Turner so that I could find myself in the parking lot of Target and punch myself in the stomach for making such a dumb decision. Even in my dreams, I knew stopping myself from resisting something like spray-on sunscreen was impossible.


That summer, I drove my kids in my new minivan to New Hampshire. It was a wonderful fourteen hour trip that, conveniently, my youngest daughter doesn’t even remember now so that’s pretty cool. We spent a long weekend with friends in a painfully charming town, eating, celebrating, and chilling out. On the last day, we all packed up our children and headed to a tiny neighborhood beach. I took out the (mercifully) last remaining bottle of spray-on sunscreen, sprayed each kid, endured the laughs and stares from my friends as they witnessed The Passion of the Sunscreen performance from my children, and after they recovered, they scampered off toward the sand and beachfront. A few minutes later, my friend also arrived with her brood. We started chatting, and her children lined up for their own sunscreen application.

“Ah, you got the spray-on stuff too, huh?”

“Yeah, it’s so much easier, right?”

“It is, but my kids hate it.”

“Mine too, but I don’t care.” Then she turned to her kids and said, “Okay, close your eyes and mouth. Here we go.”

Then she SPRAYED THEM FULL BLAST IN THE FACE. She sprayed those kids like it was mace and she was in a self-defense class that she paid full price to attend, so she was definitely going to get an A+ because . She gave no fucks. She left all her fucks in the sunscreen aisle the day she bought that spray-on can. It was incredible.

“WHOA! You don’t do the spray-in-your-hand-and-wipe-on-their-face thing?”

“Naaah. This is easier.”

I have never been more in awe of a parent as I was that day.

I didn’t end up adopting my friend’s face application technique, mostly because I had her blast me in the face later that day and discovered that I could, in fact, be the genetic source of my kids’ drama skills. I decided to gracefully admit sunscreen defeat and go back to slumming it with regular, lotion-based sunscreen. Some of us, like my friend, are meant for the blasting life; I, on the other hand, was destined for a life of lotion-applying servitude. I see that now, and I accept my fate.

I did, however, make sure my kids witnessed my friend and her revolutionary application method, leaving it up in the air as to whether or not I would begin using it. A good dictator always keeps her subjects in suspense.


So, back to the anthology: if you love stories of semi-useful parenting advice and cautionary tales about things like sunscreen and pet funerals, you should pick up the newest installment in the Pee Alone series, But Did You Die? Setting the Parenting Bar Low. On top of my own outline on how to plan the (not so) perfect pet funeral, there’s tons of other “suck it up, kid!”-type stories that will make you feel a lot better about your parenting skills. Or just make you laugh, and really, isn’t that partially the reason we had kids in the first place?

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter so you never miss a post.  Better yet, pop your email address in the box at the top of the page and subscribe!  You can even check out my Amazon author page and read one of my essays, including my entry in the newest Pee Alone anthology! 

Posted in bad ideas, But Did You Die?, not doing that ever again | 8 Comments

I Am 100% Here for Amazon Prints: $1000 of Amazon Gift Cards to be Won OMG YASSS!

This is a sponsored post from Amazon Prints, but seriously, guys, I do think it’s great and am pretty excited about this and my guess is you probably will be, too.

Guys, my love for Amazon runs true and deep. As someone who is both intensely lazy, busy, and hates shopping in stores in person, Amazon has basically become my BFF 4 Life. Amazon Prime keeps going, “Hey, did you want this as well?” and I’m always like YES, YES I DID THANKS PAL. Streaming video? Yup, every Friday Night Movie Night. Streaming music? Good looking out, buddy — my Christmas song playlist for the car is on POINT. Automatic backup for my pictures on my phone? YOU THE REAL MVP AMAZON PHOTOS. Now Amazon has yet another thing that I love: Amazon Prints!

Amazon just launched a photo printing service that allows you to basically print your memories. Prime members can upload images to their Prime Photos account (ALREADY DONE), print the product of their choice (COOL), and receive free delivery (YAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSS). If you’re not a Prime member (dude, really?), you’ll receive 5 GB of storage free on Prime Photos and be able to print your favorite photos.  Prints start as low as $0.09! 

If your kids are like mine, they are self-absorbed little darlings who like nothing better than to look at pictures of themselves. But to accomplish this, they usually end up forcing me to flip through pictures on my phone, which seriously cuts into my Candy Crush time (and Mama has a high score to beat, babies). With Amazon Prints, I can make a photo book for each kid with their baby pictures so they can admire how cute they were in an analog manner! Also, I am a terrible gift-giver, so I depend heavily on photo gifts. Cover your ears, Grandma and Grandpa, because guess who’s getting a photo calendar creation for Christmas this year?!

Oh, you need an enormous photo canvas print of the one picture you took last summer when all of your kids appear to truly like each other? Good news! Amazon is giving away two $500 gift cards for Amazon Prints WHUUUUUUUUUUUUT??????? You can enter below, and then go find other posts with #AmazonPrints and enter there as well!


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Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post and providing prizes for the giveaway!

Amazon, Fire and the Amazon Fire TV logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

Posted in professional slacker | 4 Comments

FAQ Guide for My Kids

flat800x800075fI don’t know about you, but my kids ask me so many questions. Like, nonstop. My kids like asking me questions so much that they will ask me a question, allow me to give an entire well-thought-out, articulate answer, and then rephrase the exact same question and just ask it again.


I’m writing this FAQ guide for my kids because I figure it’s a better strategy than my original idea, which involved tattooing various rude phrases to my forehead as a sort of permanent answer I could point to when my kids ask me something. Nobody really wins in that scenario, so we’ll go this route instead. I plan on printing this out and handing it to them, although I guess if I really wanted them to pay attention to it I would make a YouTube video of me reading it with an annoying British accent while playing Minecraft.

Can I have a drink of water?

You sure can! You can go get yourself a drink from the bathroom faucet, which you can easily reach yourself. Even better, I bet it’s been running for the last ten minutes, so the water’s bound to be nice and cold and you won’t even notice that weird bathroom water taste.

What are we having for dinner?

I don’t know, I give up — what are we having for dinner?


Still not funny? Well, okay, since this is one of the few weeknights that Mom is home from work early enough to cook, we’re either having leftovers, fast food, or a recipe I saved from Facebook this week that will take too long to cook and you guys won’t like it anyways. You tell me which day of the week it is, and I’ll tell you which of the three is happening.

Is it bedtime?

No matter what time of day you ask me this question, I will answer, “Yes,” so tread carefully with this one.

[During spring/summer] Why do I have to come in and get ready for bed, when those kids are still outside playing? It’s still daylight outside!

Because your dad and I love you more than those kids’ parents.

Mom, why are you so obsessed with your phone?

Oh, I’m sorry, is my Facebook scrolling interrupting your iPad time, or keeping you from fully enjoying your Nintendo DS game? I’ll make sure I put my phone down and stare at your electronics more often. I didn’t realize how rude I was being, what with communicating with actual adults and feeling like I still have friends in the outside world even though I don’t see them because of work and spending all my free time at home with you guys. Please, proceed with your marathon video game session while I stare vacantly at it alongside you!

Your butt is big.

Cool, thanks.

No, your butt is like, really, really big.

That’s a statement, not a question, and I’m really kind of done with hearing this every single time you follow me up the stairs. NEXT QUESTION.

[On the weekends] Mom, when are you getting up?

Hmmm, I’m not sure. Let me go ahead and calculate all the hours of sleep I lost in the middle of the night when you guys were babies, add in the hours that I had to get up early on the weekends when I didn’t have to work or take anyone to school, then divide that by the number of years I wasn’t able to sleep in, aaaaaaaaand…it looks like I’ll be getting up around 10pm.

[Also on weekends, also while I’m sleeping] Mom, can you make me breakfast?

I really thought I was clear about today’s breakfast plans when I left last night’s pizza out on the table. P.S. — Your sisters had already figured out by your age that this is prime candy-for-breakfast-while-Mom’s-sleeping-and-doesn’t-know-it time you’re wasting. You should be mad at them for not cluing you in on that.

Who do you love the most?

Oh honey, I love all of you girls the same. You know, when you’re a mom, your heart doesn’t get divided between each child. Your heart grows and is able to give infinite love to all of her babies, no matter what. I have the same amount of love for you as I do both of your sisters, and you’ll always be my sweet little babies whom I adore unconditionally.

LOL JK Which of one of you keeps forgetting to flush the toilet after they take a dump? Not that one, that’s for sure.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter so you never miss a post.  Better yet, pop your email address in the box at the top of the page and subscribe!  Also, you can read my essays in I Just Want to Be Alone, I Still Just Want to Pee Alone, I Just Want to Be Perfectand You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.

Posted in half-assin it, I used to be nice, Joan Crawford parenting, lists, posts that CPS won't think are funny, professional slacker, sleep (or lack thereof) | Leave a comment

Little, Big

20161125_152918A few weeks ago, on that blackest of Fridays, I continued our third annual tradition of taking my kids to the bougie mall to submit to the financial flagellation that is Build-a-Bear Workshop on the literal worst possible day to visit a shopping center. My kids talk about this trip all year long, usually beginning the week after they actually go to Build-a-Bear. I usually dread spending so much money so close to Christmas, but what can I say? I’m a sucker for decisions that make no sense.

If you’ve ever been to this godforsaken store, you know the first stop is the bins of unstuffed stuffed animals, and if there’s anything sadder than a basket of deflated teddy bears, please feel free to let me know (preferably via mail with a $10 Build-a Bear gift card attached I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW MUCH CASH I’VE FLUSHED AWAY AT THIS PLACE). It takes at least one of my kids forever to make this much-anticipated decision. Last year, it was Surrey, who is famous in our family for changing her mind about 5,000 times before finally settling on something, and she only settled because you immediately shielded her from the other choices and hustled her out of sight of the other choices. It’s to the point where I purposely just start handing her random things whenever she’s trying to make a decision, partly because I’m a monster and partly because it’s just really funny to see what she’ll agree to choose. No prior interest in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? “Hey Surrey, what about Leonardo?”

“Oh, YEAH! I yike Yeonardo!”

“Or they have this soccer ball-looking thing…”

“OOOOOOOH! Soccer? I don’t know who Soccer is, but I yike him. I choose dat one.”

And on and on, until I stop messing with her and she makes an actual choice that she’ll regret the second her ass hits her car seat and I’ll get to hear all through 2017 which stuffed animal she’s going to pick when we make our triumphant return to The Store That Must Not Be Named.

This year, though, Bella and Surrey made their choices in a relatively short time. It was Phaedra that had the tough time deciding. Even though she was the one to remind me consistently right up until Thanksgiving that Black Friday = Holy Pilgrimage to Overpriced Stuffed Animal Store, she could not find a choice that she truly liked.

“What about a Troll, from the new movie?”

“Nah. I don’t really like them.”

“Did you see this cat? It’s pretty cute! And you like cats!”

“It’s okay, but no.”

“…what about the My Little Ponies?”

I kind of knew that one crossed the line, but I said it anyways because I live life on the edge.

“MOM, NO.”

She finally picked a super basic teddy bear, but I could tell she wasn’t thrilled about it. She ended up really liking her choice after picking out clothes — a video game-themed shirt, glasses, and a miniature version of those animal hats with the long earflaps that double as mittens. Basically, she created a Phaedra bear. My sainted mother-in-law, who willingly comes with us for this experience, and I were both surprised that Phaedra agonized so much over her choice, until it finally made sense to both of us:

She’s becoming too grown-up for this stuff.

Phaedra has hit that awkward age of childhood where she’s stuck between childhood and the pre-teen era. She still loves toys, but only certain toys, and not those toys, because they’re for little kids. She scoffs and mocks Peppa Pig when we watch it now at Surrey’s request, but she still watches it and enjoys it. She wants to go to Build-a-Bear, but none of the choices are mature enough for her. She doesn’t want to watch the YouTube videos of the kids playing with their Lalaloopsy dolls anymore, but she knows I’m giving a hard pass to any videos I hear her listening to with a narrator that swears, and is young enough to still feel scandalized by it when it happens.

I feel for Phaedra. This is her first time growing up, and she has no frame of reference. She doesn’t know what’s going on; she just knows that some of the toys and activities that used to bring her joy suddenly seem childish and unappealing to her now. It’s probably kind of weird and unsettling. But she’s not the only one trying to readjust — just as Phaedra is going through the awkward phase of transitioning between being a little kid to an older kid but not quite a tween, I’m going through the same kind of transition of how to parent such a creature. Which sucks, because I only recently (i.e., last month) kind of figured out how to handle them all. For a hot minute, everyone was a kid, and nobody was a baby. Now I’ve got to figure things out all over again, because there seems to be a steadily growing dividing line between the “little girls,” i.e. Bella and Surrey, and our “big girl,” Phaedra.

snapchat-5086213753014901311But even as things slowly start to change, I hang on to the things she still likes that remind me that she’s still my girl. She still lets me hug and kiss her at school drop-off, which I don’t think she’s crazy about, but I’m pushing that limit as far as she’ll let me. She still talks to me non-stop about all the things she’s interested in, whether or not I know anything about the topic (and, side note guys, what the fuck is Undertale and why am I searching Etsy for Christmas gifts for my nine year old who has never played this video game in her life but is still somehow obsessed with it?!). And, best of all, she still insists on snuggling with me at bedtime and saving all of her deep discussions for those moments when she has me all to herself, with no sisters to interrupt or TV shows to distract. I still get to hear all about what’s troubling her with her friends at school, or questions she has about The Big Things in Life, and get to hear, “Just a few more minutes?” when I try to leave.

I know one day, she’ll ask me not to give her a kiss on the cheek at school drop-off. She’ll do it sensitively, right before we get out of the car in the school parking lot, but it will still sting a little. I know one day she’ll start spending more and more time in her bedroom instead of rolling around on the new couch and watching cartoons with her sisters. One day, she’ll tell me she’s too old to be tucked in. She’ll give me a hug, say, “Good night,” and slowly shut the bedroom door.

But maybe, if I can figure this stage out, she’ll let me slide through just before she shuts the door and let me hang out with her to talk before she goes to sleep.

Just for a few more minutes.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter so you never miss a post.  Better yet, pop your email address in the box at the top of the page and subscribe!  Also, you can read my essays in I Just Want to Be Alone, I Still Just Want to Pee Alone, I Just Want to Be Perfectand You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.

Posted in ambivalence, changelings, Phaedra, temporary insanity, where did my baby go? | 3 Comments

Thanksgiving is the Holiday We All Desperately Need Right Now

Listen gang — I don’t know about you, but it’s been a rough week over here. No matter which side of the political fence you’re on, this election has been a big steaming pile of horseshit that we all collectively stepped in and then realized we tracked allllllll over the goddamn house and Internet. Facebook is a disaster of arguing with distant relatives and old high school friends, doomsday news articles, and memes. Two of my kids are actively boycotting brushing their teeth in the morning, I can’t figure out how to get rid of the fucking gnats that followed the houseplants in from living outside all summer, and to top it all off, today our office Thanksgiving potluck was cancelled in favor of a HEALTHY SALAD BUFFET.


My face when I got the email.

Fellow Americans, I know it feels like this country is falling apart, and that we’re basically all swirling around and around the toilet bowl, waiting for that final glug to put us out of our misery. This sentiment becomes particularly more pronounced when people start thinking about Thanksgiving. Many of us are worried about the prospect of having their first post-election family gathering. Which I completely understand — judging by my social media feed, some of you are related to some real assholes. But take heart, because I think we’ve all collectively lost sight of one very important thing this year:


Remember that? I sure as fuck haven’t forgotten about it, but it seems like everyone else has. I mean, at this point last year, I had about fifteen different Delish recipe videos saved to my Facebook and had already texted my response to “What’s everyone bringing to dinner?” to the family group message (spoiler alert: it’s rolls, every year. They love me, but they know not to trust me with anything more complicated). This year, though, it seems like everyone is more concerned with how Aunt Gloria will react when her college-aged nephew pours a bag of Cheetos all over her dinner plate and yells, “HERE YA GO! I JUST MADE THANKSGIVING GREAT AGAIN!!!!!”

It’s time we as a country got back to basics: figuring out how to eat an insane amount of food in a single meal. We need to put aside our differences for just one day, put on our fat pants, and get to work on carb-loading like a fucking marathon runner, just as the Founding Fathers intended. It’s time to realize that those fifteen extra holiday pounds are not going to magically appear on your ass on their own, and it’s time you took some goddamn initiative and put an extra helping of cheesy potatoes on your plate UNLESS YOU DON’T LOVE THIS COUNTRY WHICH IN THAT CASE GO MAKE YOUR OWN FUCKING POTATOES AND LEAVE THE REST FOR US RED-BLOODED AMERICANS. Because let’s face it, you guys: we’ve got a lot of feelings right now, and Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to eat every last one of them while glaring coldly across the table at your cousin’s wife.

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful, and believe it or not, we have a lot of things to be thankful for. I’m thankful that when people are eating, they can’t talk about politics. If you’re hosting dinner, this is not the year to skimp on the hors d’oeuvres. Make it rain pickles and cheeses the second your guests walk through the door. Let’s also take a moment to be thankful for those relatives that couldn’t make it to dinner this year — you know who I’m talking about. Finally, let’s be thankful that Thanksgiving is all about eating, and not about gift-giving. Can you imagine what would be happening right now if we had this election and then went straight into Christmas two weeks later?! Could you restrain yourself from ordering a glitter bomb for your brother-in-law right now? Really? Let this Thanksgiving be a trial run for your future encounters with your politically-opposed family members. Get the grumbling, puns, and dirty looks out of your system now, guys, because in about a month, we’re going to reconvene, and so help me Hamilton we’re going to be the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.

So, listen up motherfuckers: I know everyone has been sad, angry, frustrated, or whatever since this garbage election cycle came to an end. But it’s time we all sucked it up again and did our civic duty next week. I don’t care if that means you pack up your kids and head over to your Grandma’s house, meet your siblings and parents at a restaurant, or just cook a turkey dinner at home with your immediate family. But come November 24, I expect each and every one of you to stand up, pick up a plate, and fill that plate with turkey and a random assortment of side dishes until it becomes painfully apparent that you can never hope to finish the amount of food piled onto your plate. Because I don’t give a good goddamn who was elected to the White House, WE ARE ALL AMERICANS AND THIS IS WHAT WE FUCKING DO.


But seriously, if anyone even breathes a word about a salad buffet, you cut that Communist right out of your life.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter so you never miss a post.  Better yet, pop your email address in the box at the top of the page and subscribe!  Also, you can read my essays in I Just Want to Be Alone, I Still Just Want to Pee Alone, I Just Want to Be Perfectand You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.

Posted in that hot thing in my kitchen that makes food | 2 Comments

Please Don’t Make Me Send My Kids Back to School

You guys, there’s trouble brewing.

I’ve sensed it for awhile, but lately it seems to be more and pressing, more ominous. The stores started taking on a different look — less umbrellas and swimsuits, more apples and pencils. My Facebook feed started looking decidedly more positive, as if millions of men and women were beginning to see the light at the end of a long, sprinkler-filled tunnel. I finally broke down and looked at my kitchen calendar, which confirmed my suspicions:

Summer is almost over.

Round these parts, we have about two more weeks left of summer before school starts. While I know so many of my fellow parents are super stoked about getting these kids back into some form of organized education, I have to tell you I am not in that camp. While it would make me look like a nicer person to tell you I don’t want summer to end because I enjoy having my kids around, that’s really only about 25% of the reason. I mean, I like them and all, but girl, please — I’m away at work all day long anyways. Go to school or park your ass on the couch for eight hours, it makes no difference to me. What I’m really dreading is the end of summer and all the glorious laziness that comes along with it.

Yes that’s right — ours is a family that revels in the opportunities for sheer nothingness that summer provides. There was that summer a few years ago when I scheduled every kid to the hilt with activities, keeping everyone on a schedule for almost the entire summer going to camps, classes, activities, etc. Last summer, I did a few camps, but nearly as many as the year before. This summer? We half-heartedly signed Bella up for a two-week social skills camp, which everyone agreed they disliked and required three straight days of bribes with Slurpees and a final trip to Target to get us to the finishing line of actually finishing the camp.

FB_IMG_1471383480301After nine straight months of getting up early every weekday, struggling through nightly homework, and dealing with all the planning and fundraising and conferencing and IEP meetings, we are DONE when June arrives. Three entire months of sleeping in late and watching an obscene amount of television is exactly what we all want and crave. I mean, yes, we do other things as well — Phaedra has written two books this summer (that is no joke, which reminds me, what the fuck is my excuse?!) and Surrey has spent more hours outside learning how to water plants and garden with Rob than I think have in the last ten years. Bella is living her dream of not having to interact with people outside of her family or wear clothes on a daily basis.

Me? I’m living my dream of having kids but not having to actually carry out the crappier responsibilities that go along with it. Instead of waking up two cranky kids and an annoyingly happy one every weekday (shout out to whatever long-lost relative who passed the “morning person” gene on to Surrey! I can’t wait to thank you via surprise telephone call at 1 am!), I just get myself up for work and leave. It’s amazing. I don’t have to keep track of who did their homework or which kid has a field trip or which one needs to wear a green shirt or blue shirt to school on Wednesday and oh yeah next Thursday is Family Reading Night at the school but swim class is the same night so we’ll have to leave at 5:15 pm to get there by 6 pm and I know you don’t want to go Bella but you have to and JESUS IT’S ONLY SEPTEMBER HOW MANY MORE MONTHS OF THIS SHIT DO WE HAVE UNTIL IT’S SUMMER AGAIN?

I will also say this — it’s nice to be able to come home from work, eat dinner, and then just sit on the couch with my girls and do nothing. I don’t have to make sure the laundry is done so they have clean clothes the next day, or get lunches packed, or go through backpacks and deal with notes and paperwork. We just sit and watch cartoons and they gab at me about where they went with Daddy that day, or what they’re building out of clay, or Bella’s new business idea for making tiny cribs for baby dogs, specifically pugs because they are soooo cuuuuuuuuuute! I play on my phone while Surrey spends the entire time on my lap, which is annoying but a fun kind of annoying because otherwise I would be stressing about what time they make their way upstairs for bedtime. In the summertime, bedtime is an approximation. It’s the rule we all take delight in breaking during these slow, stretchy days of summer.

However, there is that saying about good things and moderation, and today when I overheard Phaedra excitedly telling Bella that she could actually feel her brain melting from all the YouTube videos she’d watched that day, I was finally like OHHHHHHH HOLY SHIT OKAY IT’S TIME TO GET THESE KIDS AN EDUCATION PASS ME THE TARGET AD AND PUT ON YOUR FLIP FLOPS WE’RE GOING SCHOOL SHOPPING RIGHT THE FUCK NOW. It’s time to start doing something more intellectually stimulating on a regular basis again, because Mama is not interested in renting out her basement to any adult children on a long-term basis. She is interested in one day turning it into a fun-filled cat amusement park/rescue mission/reality TV show called Kittyopolis, but that’s a different story altogether, and one that I haven’t quite finished fleshing out the details on yet, according to the uptight cat-haters in the loan department at the bank.

Oh well. Back to school, kids, but don’t worry — only nine more months until summer vacation! Don’t forget to grab your lunch box, put on your new tennis shoes, and be sure to blame last year’s teacher if your new teacher asks about your summer homework packet.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter so you never miss a post.  Better yet, pop your email address in the box at the top of the page and subscribe!  Also, you can read my essays in I Just Want to Be Alone, I Still Just Want to Pee Alone, I Just Want to Be Perfectand You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.

Posted in ambivalence, half-assin it, just please get a job and move out someday that's all I ask ladies, let's try this again, posts that CPS won't think are funny, professional slacker, School, wrap it up | 1 Comment

#BuyThisBook: Realizing River City

Welcome back to another edition of #BuyThisBook, where I write mediocre book reviews about the books my friends have written that I also happen to really like! This week, we’re going to talk about Realizing River City, a memoir written by my work wife, my BFF, Melissa Grunow.

20160807_112837[1]Melissa, on top of being my ride-or-die who I can communicate with in social settings using only looks and one-word conjunctions, is a fantastic writer who has been publishing her works in real literary journals for years. This year, she published her first book, Realizing River City, and real talk: it’s so good. It’s based on Melissa’s experiences with love through her twenties and early thirties, and how each of those experiences shaped and changed her, for better and for worse (but mostly better). It’s not flowery, it’s not peppy, and it’s not cute. It reads like your best friend sitting with you at your kitchen table or your couch, having a real heart-to-heart with you about each experience. It’s raw and honest, which immediately sucks you in and makes you want to know where Melissa will end up at the end of the book.

Don’t let me fool you — just because the tone of the book is so real doesn’t mean the language isn’t striking. Here’s a passage from my favorite chapter:


     Joe came home and noticed the emptiness left behind where a man once was. He sat at the dining table, playing music on his computer with the volume turned low. It was our sign, an invitation to talk. Waiting was his way of saying, “I’m here to listen if you need me.” Joe’s presence was a comfort but also a nagging reminder of what it meant to be accountable to someone else, how easy it was to lose myself if people weren’t ever-present. He was to me what I needed from a man who wanted nothing from me.

     I sat across from him, and put my head down, the tablecloth scratchy beneath my cheek.

     “It’s over.” I would say it again. The scene would replay with other men who would leave, or I would leave them, or we would abandon each other. Some I would let go of quickly, easily, one would disappear completely, never to be heard from again, and another would leave me in a spinning state of drunken depression that lasted for days. But no matter how many times, no matter how many men, Joe would always appear at the table, the music down low, and wait until I was ready to talk.


buy this book realizing river cityI love that Melissa’s book isn’t just about romantic relationships, although there’s plenty of that. She also reflects on the relationships that live in the gray areas, the ones that don’t have labels. Those relationships have just as much of an impact as the ones that have clear definitions. I also love that this book just sucked me back into re-reading it for about a half hour while I was looking for my favorite passage because it’s so damn good.

So, if you enjoy good storytelling, or you also spent your twenties figuring out who you are and why you dated who you did, this is a book you’ll enjoy. You can pick up your copy from Amazon today, or you can win a free copy from me! And to boot — it’s an autographed copy, because I happen to have an in with the author. Which, by extension, makes ME a pretty big deal.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter so you never miss a post.  Better yet, pop your email address in the box at the top of the page and subscribe!  Also, you can read my essays in I Just Want to Be Alone, I Still Just Want to Pee Alone, I Just Want to Be Perfectand You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.

Posted in #BuyThisBook, book reviews | 2 Comments

Farewell Children, I’m Showering

Dear Children:

Since I’ve already said good night to each one of you during a process that takes, at best, close to two hours from start to completion, you probably already know that I’m currently in the shower (or, at the very least, sitting on the toilet playing with my phone while the shower runs). We had a great day, huh? We dressed your Barbies, played in the hose, and snuggled on the couch while watching just one more TV show. At bedtime, you told me about your worries, and we talked them out. Your sister fell asleep in my arms, right in the middle of her bedtime book. Precious. And you? Well, you’re the middle child, so I don’t quite recall what you did at bedtime, but it was cute, I know that much.

So, with peace and love, I say to each of you, my precious little angels:

Leave me the hell aloooooooooooooooooooone.

It’s shower time, meaning I’ve punched out for the day. I’m off the clock and all done Mom-ing until tomorrow morning (or realistically, until after I’ve fallen asleep in a few hours because I KNOW you’re going to come wake me up and tell me your legs are hurting or you threw up or something like that). Shower time is wonderful, and Mommy loves it very much. Not as much as she loves you, but close. Oh, so very close.

By User:Mattes (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsDo not come looking for me in the bathroom during shower time. I’ll pretend like I don’t hear you trying to turn the doorknob. If you do manage to get through my advanced bathroom security system of turn-and-push doorknobs and actually try to talk to me, I’ll pretend like I don’t know you.

Mommy keeps it 100 in the shower, sweetie.

Do not yell for me from your bedroom and expect me to respond. I do not hear you at all once I shut the bathroom door.  Unless you are bleeding or dying, I will not leave my shower to find out what you want. If you are bleeding or dying, I’ll automatically know because I’m your mother. But text me, just to make sure.

Upper management has insisted that I institute a Potty Usage Policy. This means you may enter the bathroom to quickly pee, wipe, and then (this part is key) LEAVE THE BATHROOM IMMEDIATELY. Do not flush the toilet, which seriously boggles my mind that I have to tell you this because the entire rest of the day you treat our indoor plumbing like you’re Laura Ingalls Wilder, livin’ on the prairie and doin’ yer business in a fancy outhouse. Do not try to chat me up, as I am busy thinking about which Avenger I like best and coming up with better comebacks that I should have used when that bitch Darcy tried to get cute with me at work.

She knows I sit in that chair every meeting.

Do not try to ask me questions through the bathroom door the second you hear the water stop. Shower time lasts from the moment I shut the door until the moment I emerge, clean and relaxed and ready to deal with being on-call for you and your sisters. If you try to infringe on my shower time via a technicality such as talking through the door but not technically opening it, I will technically find your favorite toy and poorly hide it underneath something else in plain sight, guaranteeing you will never find it.

Not following the shower rules will result in dire consequences, up to and including serving your morning cereal last, thereby guaranteeing its slight sogginess when you eat it and/or packing dumb stuff in your lunch like celery sticks or raisins (nature’s candy FUCK OFF WITH THAT SHIT THEY’RE DISGUSTING).

Okay, I think that about covers it. I can tell by your blank stare at the TV I let you watch at bedtime on the weekends and during the summer that you’ve been listening really closely. So, good talk! ILOVEYOUGOODNIIIIIIIIIIIGHT! See you in the morning!

(LOL JK see you in about four hours in my bed.)

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter so you never miss a post.  Better yet, pop your email address in the box at the top of the page and subscribe!  Also, you can read my essays in I Just Want to Be Alone, I Still Just Want to Pee Alone, I Just Want to Be Perfectand You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.

Posted in I used to be nice, Showers | 3 Comments

#BuyThisBook: I Just Want to Be Perfect

Hey hey hey guys! Remember me? Janel? I used to write semi-funny material for this blog? Well I’m back, and I’m going back to my librarian roots and starting a new bi-weekly series called #BuyThisBook. It should be inadvertently hilarious for all the wrong reasons, because even though I make my livelihood through books, I am quite terrible at writing book reviews. So buckle up and get ready to read the post that took me two weeks, a case of Pepsi, four bags of Doritos and six tubs of salsa to finish.

During the last few months of non-writing, I’ve been lounging around my house eating Oreos and bathing infrequently; meanwhile, my friends were writing actual books. They’re showoffs, and because of that, I’m going to punish them by publicly shaming them, i.e. highlighting a new fun book for you guys to read every other week this summer.

#BuyThisBook -- I Just Want to Be Perfect, the newest anthology from Jen Mann and some Fine Ass Chicas!

First up is a new entry in my favorite anthology series from Jen Mann! The newest one in the I Just Want to Pee Alone series is called I Just Want to Be Perfect, and it’s obviously great. It’s so good that I managed to rise from the cookie crumb ashes of my writing coma to write about being a 35 year old, first-time bridesmaid for Melissa Grunow, who — SPOILER ALERT! — is the author of the next #BuyThisBook entry.

This anthology centers on stories of women attempting to be perfect and failing spectacularly. Personally, I am really nosy and petty and I looooooooooooooove stories of people screwing things up. You could argue it’s because I screw things up quite frequently, but if you did I would probably just turn it around on you and point out a bunch of things you did wrong (including telling me those things, obviously that was a mistake).

Like I said, I’m a contributor to this fine collection, and my story, Here Comes the Bride(smaid) is about how I cannot handle certain uber-feminine rituals, like getting a pedicure. But don’t just read this anthology because you want to know how someone could possibly fuck up something as simple as paying someone to paint their toenails. There’s also Kim Forde’s essay about the terror at 40,000 feet that is pumping in an airplane bathroom in her essay The Breast Pump Corporate Travel Log. You can also read about Nicole Leigh Shaw’s kids who enjoy trolling her on a daily basis in her essay A Pantry is Just a Closet with Food In It. Also, side note: even if you hate every single one of the essays in this book, you can’t deny that these women can come up with a bomb-ass title.

I could go on and on, but instead, let me give you a bullet-point list of the main ideas I would like you to take away from this rambling review:

  • Book reviews are hard.
  • Anthologies let you skip around and find your favorites.
  • In this case, your favorites are bloggers, so you have instant access to even MORE great writing that you know you’ll like!
  • This is also a drawback because so many of the essays are great that after you finish the book, you’ll fall into a giant timesuck of online reading.
  • You can win a free copy below

Wait WHUUUUUUUUUT? True story — I loved this book so much that I’m giving away a copy! Enter below and if you win, I’ll send you a copy to read for yourself. I loved it that much that I figured out how to run a giveaway on my very own blog. I know — baby’s all grown up.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter away, everyone! But don’t worry — if you’re not the contest type, or if you can’t wait an entire week to discover your new favorite blogger/writer, you can always order your own copy on Amazon. I mean, $6 on Kindle? Dude. Get on that.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter so you never miss a post.  Better yet, pop your email address in the box at the top of the page and subscribe!  Also, you can also read my essays in I Just Want to Be Alone and You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.

***BTDubs, I’m also an Associate, which means every six months I get a check for like $1.50 when people click on the links above and order anything at all.  Just so you know how much of a baller I am.***

Posted in #BuyThisBook, book reviews, I Just Want to Be Perfect, nerd alert | 4 Comments