Being A Grown Up

Published February 8, 2017 by sarcasmica

This sucks!

I’m trying to let that near miss house go in my head, but my head is not cooperating. My husband and I have had countless discussions about “What if..”  “let’s just say..”  “In the event that…”

It’s exhausting. Meanwhile, shit is not getting done around here! Apparently mail wont open and file itself. Bills are not yet intuitive enough to get themselves paid. Toys refuse to budge from where the kids leave them.

It’s anarchy!

I guess being a grown up is siphoning through the distraction and being able to maintain normal routines. My kid has some phantom camp coming up the teacher has given zero information on. I have no clue when the payment and registration is due. No idea. School was closed the first two days of this week for Snow Days so i’m sure I can’t count on the teacher to be on top of the information right now.

I feel a bit like i’m drowning. I want to just lay in bed and wallow, but I can’t. My other kid is home sick today as a result of enjoying both snow days. She could not find sleep until after 1am. That meant I did not sleep until around 2 and every sound or bump I had the expectation she would come to me covered in vomit. It’s kind of her thing.

Now I’m playing catch up with bills and checking redfin for the 837th time looking at the same old listings that have been sitting there for weeks and weeks…. including the house we nearly moved into. The money pit. The ramshackle heap of near rubble that happens to be in the perfect location with the exact right amount of spaces and buildings.

Today was supposed to be the day we put our house on the market. My motivation should be attempting to make our house nearly presentable for such an option in the event something falls into our lap… but that just isn’t fun. Not as fun as, say, bitching on my blog and having a pointless pity party.

Wah wah wah. I know. Suck it up and move on… i’m trying !!

 

Snow

Published February 6, 2017 by sarcasmica

I grew up in California. Sunny- actually mostly overcast- always mildly weathered California. 

I can now say I’ve also lived in Arizona, Texas, and Washington. California failed to prepare me for actual weather. I’m not talking Boston winter or Louisiana summers, heeelllll nah. I just mean seasons. 

My first big thunderstorm in Arizona was awesome! I was the only moron outside trying to get pictures of lightening, but it was so amazing! There was actual weather happening!

Texas was one big mind f-ck of weather. Hot Tuesday, cold Wednesday, Tornado watch Thursday and pretty much windy as hell erryday. 

But Washington, beautiful Washington has given me snow. Mild shut-everything-down-for-2-inches-of-snow snow.


The kids had a snow day today and while I love watching it from my warm living room, I dont actually relish all the gear and nonsense to enjoy being in it. I much prefer the beach. (See California girl mentioned earlier)

But my kids love it. My oldest just likes building stuff. He’s not much of a sledder. My daughter loves sledding, but hates hauling the sled up and down, back and forth through the snow. 


All in all we had a fun day, but I am more than ready for sleep. Watching them assemble the snowmen and run around all day is exhausting! 

She had her jacket on all day despite only dipping a toe in when she had to pee

Barney loves the snow, but he pays for being in it later. My old man 😦

Super Dog!

My son’s snowman army. Look close & see the 3 mini snowmen

Morning view from my bedroom

The snow pattern was so beautiful

House Hunting Adventures

Published February 4, 2017 by sarcasmica

Recently I’ve noticed houses in our neighborhood selling really quickly once they go on the market. My husband and I decided to take a peek and see if anything out there would be worth selling our house for. We have some lay out issues with ours in addition to needing a mother-in-law option for my mom who has been living with us for a few years.

We made some rules for ourselves which we began to break almost immediately.

I am pretty set on not wanting to take my son out of our school boundary. It’s been an uphill battle to get here and I cannot make him start all over. I cannot start all over, either. Not if I want to keep this hair in my head and the bits of sanity i’ve held onto.

So we had a radius…which we periodically went outside of.

A couple of weeks ago the seemingly perfect house came up! There was an open house that weekend and it was about 5 miles away. 

“Let’s go!”

It was a rambler. A one story older house on a fantastic piece of peoperty beside a creek. Fenced yard, beautiful back yard area, big kitchen and a lot odd quirky character. Bonus: it had a free standing “additional dwelling unit” aka mother-in-law house/cottage converted barn.

My husband’s current mode of transportation is a knee scooter due to foot surgery he had, and most likely will have again in 2 years on the other foot. We are currently in a 2 story, so this added to the pluses of the house. 

Long story short we went back numerous times for sanity checks, remodeling options yada yada yada, we made an offer.

We told no one. We were a little terrified to even admit we were going to give up our house in this big family oriented neighborhood and quiet private street for a place closer to town and quite frankly I have no idea when I began giving a flying frankfurter what other people think! Why the need to justify this? I’ll move on.

We were so excited! The kids were mostly on board, Fixer Upper was now on the DVR, pinterest pins were flying, color chips were chosen, negotiations were being made and we were prepping our disasterously disorganized house to go on the market in five days. FIVE DAYS! 

We hired gardeners to spruce up the property. 

Side Note: Land is a big pain in the ass and you should probably have it professionally maintained more than every three years 😱

We rented a dumpster and cleared out all kinds of karma, baggage, trash and crap. 

We settled on terms, price, and all was going famously. As long as the inspection came back reasonable the deal would be signed. During the inspection, I met a designer at the property to talk about what remodeling would entail. She had some great ideas. 

This was really happening! How exciting!! 

My husband and I filled in all the initials and signatures on the new contract, leaving areas blank for the agent to fill in after inspection. As we were finishing up, the inspector comes in and begins to load the info onto his laptop. We were in high spirits and joked with him, “Anything big? Any show-stoppers?” totally expecting to hear nothing major….afterall, there was a new roof, new kitchen counters and recent flooring in addition to new carpet. What could go wrong?

He responded with, “Ohhhh yea. Several.”

Shit.

My husband, myself, and our agent walked over still not expecting what we got.

He began with things like cracked window seals, and broken fences. We thought, “Hmm, ok. Manageable.” Then he got to “failed windows” which means the pane needs to be removed and resealed…but it was a window in nearly every room. Damn. 

He moved onto the chimney with pictures of crumbling mortar so bad chunks had just fallen down onto the roof. 

Crap.

Posts holding up the porch roof were beginning to rot and were not fastened properly. Double damn.

We nervously said, “Have we reached the bad stuff now then?”

“Hang on we’re getting there.”

Shit.

We go through some more issues with rotting steps and beams and we’re thinking the scope is getting big and imagining repair costs but we’re hanging in there.

We get to the attic pictures and it begins to unravel. The “new roof” is putting up a 99.9 % moisture reading on his digital gadget. He tells us that is only because it does not have a 100% option. The roof was saturated with water. No less than 20 leaks, and there were most definitely more than that. 

“But he just had the roof done in November!?!”

“Ok, so now this is the worst of it, right?”

“Hang in there..”

Fuck.

Next we see insulation with tracks carved out. Rats. Rats had made their own subdivisions in the rafters. Lots of them, too. A variety of live ones, dead ones, skeletal ones. Rats for everyone! Rat nests, highways so they can travel during the holidays, and wherever they go they pee and poop and pee some more. The insulation was completely saturated with waste.


This was not all.

Soaking wet beams and boards in Washington usually means one thing. Mold. There was white fuzz spreading like ice on a windshield.

But wait, there’s more!

The horizontal load bearing beams in the roof had vertical support beams. Great! Unfortunately the beams were not actually fastened properly to the load bearing beams with anything more than a nail.

Not. Kosher.

One picture showed the middle support beam completely severed resulting in nothing holding the roof!

But the roof was just re-done!

Next we go south to the crawl space. More skeletons and fossils of rodents. Rats to be exact. Zero insulation below the floors to replace at least. There was no insulation. What there was was a giant swimming pool for the rats. A Club Pet, if you will…and they did. They clubbed and swam and scurried all beneath there. The sump pump was not able to drain the water because it wasnt graded to do so. The size of the under home pool was from half the kitchen, down the hall and an entire bedroom. The water was pouring in from the fancy water heated pipe system in addition to the massive separation of the foundation from the side of the house. One entire side of the house. 

But at least the house was stable, right? 

No! The support beams that hold the house up were rotted from all the water! Didnt really matter because they too were not properly attached to the structure. 

Again we saw a broken beam with the board above it totally suspended. The rotting beams that go to the concrete foundation were not actually set into the foundation. They were floating.

“They all float down here!” on the mold, apparently. There was more beneath the house.

The roof on the mother-in-law unit was equally drenched and wrecked. There were curiously no rats over there, though. 

So after 45 minutes of the ass whooping we were served by the inspector, we just picked our jaws off the cold unstable floor and stared in disbelief at the walls of this house we had already made plans for. The agent was equally horrified and shocked by all of this. 

Needless to say the contract was torn up and now we just move on, but definitely not in.

Old houses are one thing to take on, moldy rat infested structures that leak water and are held up by spaghetti sticks do not make good investments or homes.

The March

Published January 22, 2017 by sarcasmica

To be clear, I did not march. I did not have it together enough to go participate. I am so proud of all the people who did, though! Millions and millions of people -women, men, kids, black/white/green/red- all showed a peaceful refusal of accepting this “person” as President of the United States. 

How can someone look at that global turnout and turn a blind eye? How can people look at that unified effort and determination and dismiss it?

I think a lot of people are unclear on the purpose of it. Let me help if I can.

Donald Trump has plainly stated his opinion of women. He places value in boobs and willingness to be silent to abuse. 

Supporting Trump is not a pick and choose option. You cannot dismiss the mocking of a disabled person and say he’d make a good president because he runs a business. (Which requires appreciation and buiding up your employees) 

You cannot endorse a man who does not respect LGBT communities and still expect him to have the best interest of the country at heart. The LGBT community is part of this country. 

There are so very many reasons millions of people went out and marched. No one was whining or crying about injustice. They simply stated it. No one was violent and combative. There were no arrests. No one hurled weapons or destruction. 

It was an enourmous statement that we do not accept a President who does not accept us. 

That is why they are marching. The basic refusal to accept this human as our leader. Im sure if you took a poll of all the protesters you would find a vast array of things they are protesting. It’s that big. It’s not one tidy answer all wrapped in a bow and put on a board. There are many things to disagree with him about but the overall theme is that he wants to diminish the value and power of women, LGBT, lower class, and minorities.

We will endure his presidency, but not willingly and not without an educated, rational, united, peaceful fight. 

For all the women standing up and saying they are not the victims the “snowflakes” are portraying all women to be. For the women in denial about being in control of their bodies and families please stop. Yes it’s important to claim your strength, but that is not what the march is about. Yes you are in control, but what happens when something out of your control happens?! What happens if you are a teenager in Texas who is in a commited relationship and you have no access to birth control because of the governement? 

What happens if you find out your pregnancy is killing you and it is illegal to terminate that pregnancy? What about the women who get the heart-breaking news that the baby they are creating is malformed and will die before or during labor? Regardless of what your choice might be, the government decides how you will handle that. You do not get to choose.

Do you think that woman has a choice to feel independent and empowered and in charge of her life?!

These marches are happening despite your unwillingness to acknowledge the dangerous and lethal decision to put this man in office. 

If you do not agree with 4+ million people peacefully demonsrating maybe you are missing the bigger picture. This is no small feat, and you have to respect whatever brings that many people together with kindness, appreciation, and an open mind. 

This is not about Clinton vs Trump, but let me just say this. If Hillary’s emails that- caused so much uproar- were found to have made porn illegal, or vasectomies illegal what would the result be? If a President made Lorena Bobbitt in charge of men’s health would you stand by and allow it? 

The people who put Trump in office are equally responsible for that insult of the disabled reporter. The people who voted for Trump are equally responsible for the families suffering the loss of a family member due to the loss of their health care. 

There is a bigger picture when millions of people across the planet are unifying in a large scale gesture of refusal. It’s not about one statement or act. It’s about the number of acts and statements that now have the power to make laws and appoint Supreme Court Justices who will make constitutional laws for the future. 

If you dont understand or support the march, fine. Do not diminish the value of the women who have done it. They have the courage and the determination and the enlightenment you refuse to see.

Thank you to everyone who marched. Especially thank you to the women who turned out by the millions. Thank you for not making it about the rage and hurt you feel and turning into something ugly. Thank you for showing the power of grace and unity that is uniquely feminine. 

Armor

Published January 17, 2017 by sarcasmica

We are a video game family. My husband makes them so it’s sort of a requirement. This is aided by the fact we all enjoy them.

I like RPGs. (Role Playing Games) I’ve lost many a personal growth opportunity to playing WoW. (World of Warcraft) I no longer play, but had played since the beta and well into my son’s life. I did not neglect him to play, but let’s just say dirty dishes may have aged and laundry may have walked as a result of my hobby. This game was my first RPG and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wasn’t very good at it, and did not achieve anywhere near maximum level, but I felt it was a respectable character.

I like ranged characters. This means I get to be away from the fray, but still hurl damaging hits from afar. Because I get to hang back, my character only needs light armor. I’m vulnerable to attacks, but I rely on “tanks” to deal with the bad guys up close and personal.

My husband likes to play FPS games. (First Person Shooters) He loves big hulking characters maxed out in armor and giant weapons. He loves running into a mess and tackling things head-on.

My son likes FPS games, but tends to hang back and want to direct. He likes the weapons and the action, but not necessarily up close and personal. His armor is protected. Fighting is sometimes secondary.

My daughter is only 6 so her game library is pretty sparse. She loves playing Minecraft with her brother, but they never play with the monsters on. She has begun to master Mario Kart also – but only if she’s Princess Peach 🙂

What is with the gaming lesson? I have realized we play much like we live. Not with big guns and moon boots and space ship getaways, but with our armor and our plans of attack. I am very passive aggressive. I will do anything to avoid a confrontation. Please do not put me on the spot for a quick decision because it will simply not happen. Need support? I’m your gal. Need advice? Anytime! But direct conflict? No thanks.

My husband is all about confrontation. Clean it up, clear it out, what’s the matter, deal with it. No mess. He is a big personality with big opinions and ideas to back it up.

Together we’ve created this little man. This kid that likes to be in charge, but doesn’t necessarily like conflict. He’s all about safety and rules. Things are black and white and everyone else should absolutely follow the rules.(If he chooses not to, it’s for a very good reason! Duh!)

So here I am sitting at my computer trying to work out a problem. My son has a villain. A nemesis. An enemy. This kid has been a problem since 4th grade. I don’t like using the term “bully” as that should be reserved for actual physical threats, abuse, intimidation, etc. The jerk in my son’s class is just that. A jerk. A now 5th grade jock brat. This kid is bigger than most kids in the class and has the psychological back up of a teacher mom. A teacher at the same school, no less. He has a nearly impenetrable invisible armor. … nearly.

Last year the harassment began. Slight things. Big brother annoying things. This kid is not my son’s big brother, however, and that crap will simply not fly. I brought this all to the teacher’s attention.

Things escalated and nothing was being done. I found out my kid was not the only one being harassed. By the Spring there was a playground incident where my kid was shoved by Jerk Boy and I took it to the principal and called out the fact that just because Jerk Boy had a Teacher Mom, I did not appreciate the staff turning a blind eye to the treatment of my kid.

Surprise! Things were corrected. The Teacher Mom literally refused to make eye contact with me after that (and still wont look at me at pick up) but who cares? I just wanted my son safe at school. He had enough to deal with from being behind by an entire grade level and was working through finding a good medication for his ADHD. Also we were new to the school, and a lot of the kids knew each other so my son had to jump in and make friends from scratch.

After making a huge deal about everything, the antagonizing and overall jerkdom ceased. This year we found out they would be in the same class again and worried a bit, but the year began with no issues. … until recently. My son told me last night that Jerk Boy had been resurrected and he was starting again.

Kids have a way of making you grow. Unless you are just unable to pay attention and parent, you kind of have to grow and change as they do. I was a very naive parent in thinking if I could just keep them alive until Elementary School, things would be cake!

HA!! HAHAHAHhahahahhaAAAAAAAA

Dumbass. It just gets more complicated. At school you have a big giant pool of all kinds of small humans from all kinds of big human lives/situations/circumstances and the big humans in charge also come in a wide array of Human.

Spoiler alert: Some asshole grown ups make asshole kids. I strive not to associate with either.

So I’ve become more aggressive in my tactics with dealing with these situations. I cannot send in my tank husband to bash through the administration office. I am the face they are used to seeing. They know me from the IEP meetings and they know i’m not an asshole ( i hope!) But now they know I can be one if someone is choosing to overlook my son’s treatment simply because they are friends with his Villain’s mother.

Kids suck. School is hard. Armor is required! I had big brothers so my combat training was extensive before elementary school. Teasing and name calling was not something that concerned me. I am thankful my family has always been brutally honest about everything. Don’t feel good? Take medicine. In pain? Lose weight, fat ass! Hungry at lunch time? Pack  your own damn lunch! Failing a subject? Do the damn homework!

This made adulting slightly more doable. Cynical and intolerant? That’s just back up armor.

I am a firm believer that kids should not be sheltered from life’s harshness. I DO believe it makes for better adults. Having said that, there are levels of tolerance. My kid is a sensitive boy not because he is coddled or enabled. He is sensitive because he is dealing with a lot of factors. He does not go to school, sit at a desk, listen to the teacher, follow the directions, play at recess and come home. My daughter is able to do all of that, and is mastering it in Kindergarten. My son, however, literally cannot. He goes to school after getting up from a restless night of intermittent sleep. He deals with ten channels going on in his brain as he tries to focus on getting the toothpaste on the brush …. if he decides to actually brush instead of just trying to convince me that it happened. He manages whatever clothes he likes despite being able to identify colors, fights through the lack of impulse control to jump scare his little sister every chance he gets. When he makes it to breakfast, he takes medicine that will eventually kick in – hopefully by the time he sits at his classroom desk – eats what he can before his body is no longer interested in food. He then wades through the noise of a morning house, his brain noise, and whatever duties he needs to complete before configuring all the items needed to leave the house.

It would be nice if school was the beginning of his brain activity for the day, but it’s not. When you add to that the stress of a Jerkwad who is seemingly protected by an invisibility cloak in the form of a mother who is a well-liked teacher at the same school it adds complication to your day. It’s a distraction! My kid has managed to jump an entire grade level in Math and Writing. That’s epic! That is huge and I would hate for that achievement to get diminished and jeopardized because he’s trying to figure out avoidance and exit strategies.

Let’s just make kind reasonable people, ok? And if you are afraid you are one of the asshole parents mentioned, you probably are. That’s ok! There’s help! Just stop being an asshole. Attempt to open your mind to another perspective. Start small. That checker who never smiles at the grocery store? Maybe it’s not you, maybe he/she has something really hard to deal with like a sick family member. Be nice anyway. There’s hope! I used to be an asshole, and my kids have convinced me to change… and they are worth it because they’re pretty awesome.

At the end of the day we all want to be able to take off our armor, sit at a table and chow down on a turkey leg.

Just be kind.

 

Convos With My Kid

Published January 8, 2017 by sarcasmica

I’ve told this story out loud to a few friends, but I realize I better “write it down” before it’s completely lost in the ether and out of my brain forever.

The day after Christmas I took my son to Target to use a gift card
(Side note: Never rush to Target the day after Christmas in the hopes of finding anything on the shelf. It was and empty anti climactic exercise in futility)

Anyway, on the drive my son asks “Mom, why does the Christmas song say ‘you better not pout, you better not cry’? What’s so wrong with crying?”

Me in my head: Wow. Did that just come from my 10 year old? Ok, don’t eff this up, woman. Wake up! Answer the boy!
“Well that’s a really old song. Up until fairly recently the general consensus was that children should be seen and not heard. If a kid was crying, grown ups didn’t want to hear it. This was the case when I was a kid, too.”

Kid: “Hmm.. that seems really sad because then kids must have felt they couldn’t just be themselves.”

Me: “You’re right, that is pretty sad. Parents talking to their kids and asking about feelings and having conversations about what you want and feel is a fairly new concept, buddy. Do you think Grandma talked to me about feelings?”

“Uhh, no.”

“Because there weren’t open honest conversations, lots and lots of people grew up not talking about certain things because they didn’t want to make their parents angry. They had to hold in a lot of things. Think about all those kids who knew they were gay but couldn’t tell or were afraid to tell their families. There were a lot of kids who got kicked out of their house, people whose parents stopped speaking to them.”

“That’s really sad, mom. That must’ve been terrible for those kids. I can’t even imagine that.”

We went on to talk about why calling people ‘gay’ as a negative thing is not acceptable because of how brave and courageous people actually are. We also talked about how stifling these kinds of conversations can be and what it can lead to – depression, running away, etc etc.

Then my son asks, “Mom, so how were you able to be a different mom than your mom was?”

“Well, I took the things that I thought were really great and tried to do that, and the things I wanted to change for you and your sister I changed.”

“Mom, I’m really glad you changed some things.”

“Thanks, buddy. I’m glad I did too because we get to talk about this kind of stuff.”

And my mom heart yet again grew three sizes. This boy surprises me, challenges me and my patience, but his brain is a wonderful thing. Some say his challenges make our life hard and I have been known to call him ‘difficult’ and he is. But it’s moments like these that remind me it’s for a reason. Kids can be amazing.

It took taking a class to open my eyes to the need of communicating with my kids. While I can certainly appreciate the ‘seen and not heard’ mentality so much gets lost with that. I’ve been able to help my kid understand his body and mind better because we have conversations when lots of people think he should be left in a time out and ignored because “that’s the consequence”. I think this is especially necessary for kids with challenges and issues. My kid knows he has ADD, but he knows what that means. He takes medication for it, but he knows why, and he is part of the team that made the decision to do it.

Time outs and consequences do have their place, but only if you remember to help your kid through their feelings. Feelings are confusing and frustrating and hard to manage. Without a road map, how would anyone get anywhere? Think about how many adults are in counseling to handle feelings. I wonder what that looks like if you’re given some guidance early on as a lot of those feelings are forming. I am sure to be open about my own feelings in front of my kids. Do they make me cry with frustration and anger sometimes? Hell yes. Do I hide that? Hell no. “This is what it looks like when you treat people that way.” Do my husband and I have arguments? Yes. Do we still love each other? Yes. Is it okay to have different ideas and opinions and still have a great relationship with someone? Yes. I like to think my kids have seen this.

In the same way we show happiness and love, we also have to show anger and sadness. We have to be honest about being confused. We have to let them know mistakes are not exclusively a kid thing. There’s no shame in showing the kids your cracks…. wait, that came out totally wrong. Please don’t show children your crack. DO show them that your armor isn’t impenetrable. Strength is only dependable when you see what it grew from. Also, they know when you’re faking it. Don’t you remember being a kid and having to endure one of the countless “How is school going?” conversations and just knowing the grown ups that were faking it? Our own children are even smarter than we were, so give them credit for it.

Just remember, if all goes according to plan, these are the people that are making the decisions about your care and treatment when you’re an old fart. They will have their fingers on the cord when the doctor asks if it’s time to pull it.

(A note to my mother who I know reads this blog: This is in no way a knock on your parenting. You did what you knew how to do and I certainly do not find fault in the lack of “feelings talk”)  🙂

 

Orthodementia

Published January 5, 2017 by sarcasmica

Never commit to an elderly orthodontist who is obviously well into his retirement years. 

You would think this would be common sense,  but apparently I like a challenge.

It wasnt worth it.

Our ortho is the same my son had. They think it’s helpful, fun & undoubtedly profitable to treat the adults of the kids that make up the primary part of their practice. 

Being as how my son’s orthodontia was pretty routine, the techs did 90% of the work and they were all spry and fun and professional. 

For me, however, i’m just a giant disaster riding in on a unicycle. Baby teeth, bite issues, it’s a frigging mess.

Unlike my son, I require much more coaching and guidance from the Old Doc to the techs.

This is quite unfortunate as I discovered today the heavy metal sharp tools that are weilded by orthodontic hellions are more precise and effective in non-arthritic hands.

The slice in my gum tells me so.

Also, it was quite interesting to have to remind the guy getting a large sum of money every month for this corrective torture that I still do in fact possess the devices he insisted I implant into my face for said correction. To be fair, 2 came out in an infected haze but I still have the other two- as told repeatedly to the office.

Today: “So when are we going to start using the TADs? I’d like it to be worth the pain of having them put in at least.”

Tech- “let me check with the doctor”

Senile Orthodontist: “Oh! I forgot about those! They are really hidden up there!”

And he then proceeds to connect painfully thin bands from the recesses of my molars up to the top of my gum.

“SNAP!”

SO to tech: “Hey, i got it.”

That meant I get not only the fun experience of his big clumsy hands on giant sharp metal tools in my mouth but in cutting a band he also cut my gum.

We also then discovered my wire was not even fully inserted and anchored on one side of my mouth!

FML quite literally.

Beware young chubs, this is how the universe corrects your terrible eating habits if you dont before you hit 40! 

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