Daddy’s Wake-Up Call

So, we’re all together under one roof again as a family. This is our first day back together since the 4th of July. My husband has been living 2 hours away, beginning a new job. The kids and I have been staying with my parents while our house had been under construction.

As expected, our house is about 3 weeks behind schedule and the kids begin school next week, so we’ve decided to move into an apartment near our not-yet-completed house.

You’d think the hardest part of the whole experience would be fitting all 4 of us, with toys, and clothes, and diapers into such a small space. But no….the most difficult transition has been my husband learning to live with our little ones again. When we last lived together, our son wasn’t even walking. Now he goes 90-to-nothing all day long, running full-speed into the couch and bouncing off in a heap of laughter, ready to do it again. This is a whole different animal than the child my husband last lived with — the one whose only form of self-transportation was on all fours, and not at very high rates of speed.

Needless to say, our first night in the apartment was a bit of a difficult one. With the kids sharing a room, my daughter woke up my son when she got up to use the potty in the middle of the night. This lead to a two-hour screaming fit at 1:00 in the morning. My poor husband was in a state of shock after almost two months of beautiful uninterrupted nights of sleep.

So when the munchkins were up for the day and ready to play at 6:30, my husband wasn’t quite sure how to take it. I simply stayed in the kitchen, unpacking bags and making breakfast. I left Daddy to fend for himself. I’d been on single-parent 6am duty for long enough. It was his turn to have his face jumped on while watching Super Why.

This decision lead to the funniest moment I’ve had in a long time. As my daughter begged Daddy to play with her, he gave the best 6am parenting response I’ve ever heard. It was so good, I had to share it in on the Moms Behaving Badly Facebook page.

Next time your kid wants to play in the early hours of the morning, try this game:


Yep. Parenting: That’s How It’s Done Folks

Whose Priorities Are These, Anyway??

Welcome to Take Two of August’s Secret Subject Swap, where 13 brave bloggers are assigned a secret subject to write a post on. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My subject, submitted by Baking In A Tornado, is “Tell Us About A Mistake You Make Over and Over Again.”

good girls guide

I spent the last 12 years living someone else’s life. I lived day-in and day-out creating a life for someone who wasn’t me. Sure, it was my body, my hair, and my clothes. But the decisions I made on a daily basis did not reflect who I was. I was living the life of the person I thought I should be. A person I thought other people wanted me to be. I was making other people’s priorities my priorities. This was the biggest mistake of my 20s. A mistake I made over and over again. Time after time.

This revelation may come as a surprise to those who know me personally, as my intense personality rarely allows me to be pushed around or stepped on. It’s something I’ve never talked about because I didn’t even acknowledge it to myself until this past year. I was building a life for a person that I didn’t want to be. I think at one point I thought it was the person I wanted to be. But deep down, I was squashing the real me – the me that makes me happy. The me that I pushed aside years ago when I decided that I was supposed to be practical and live life based on the outline set forth in the upper-middle-class American handbook that was passed around in my Cotillion class at the country club:

1. Graduate from high school

2. Attend an academically challenging, respected university

3. Marry a successful man

4. Pop out babies from aforementioned successful man

5. Keep a clean house

6. Keep your husband happy

7. Have a career so you don’t sit at home all day, but don’t let it interfere with any of the above items

I dutifully completed this list (well, not so much #5). I even enrolled in 2 graduate school programs – 1 that I never completed – because I was trying to fulfill other people’s expectations. I was scared to do what I really wanted to do. I was scared to be creative. I had watched my brother and his wife flit around the world being artsy for years and, although I envied them a bit, I felt that non-mainstream behavior was reserved for other people. The artists. The hippies. The Birkenstock-wearing, bearded, no-cable-TV type of people. I didn’t fit that mold. I am the wife of a doctor with two small children, a mortgage, the NFL package on DirecTV, and a closetful of clothes from Banana Republic. People like me don’t do artsy things for a living. We have normal jobs. We get regular paychecks. I felt the weight of other people’s priorities on my shoulders. Other people’s priorities for my life. I didn’t slow down once that entire decade to ask myself what I really wanted. I kept those feelings stuffed deep inside.

As I watched one of my best friends work her way into a successful graphic design career in our 20s, I sat back jealous that I wasn’t the one designing ads and laying out copy. I never said this out loud, feeling stupid for walking away from my advertising/public relationship major during my sophomore year. How hypocritical would I look for coveting the very thing I bashed and immaturely threw aside when I was 19? I was worried what people would think. I was worried that I was getting off the Steps #1 – 7. I had already completed steps #1 – 3. There was no subcategory between getting married and having babies that allowed me to actually figure out what I wanted to do with my life. So, I continued on. And I’m so thankful that I did because I now have 2 beautiful children who are the lights of my life. But somewhere around my 30th birthday last year, I could no longer – and didn’t want to – suppress my true passion. This love of the whole writing/designing/sharing/connecting thing. I haven’t even pinpointed what it is I’m doing. But I’m happy and I feel fulfilled for the first time in a long time. I’m finally just tired of trying to make other people’s priorities my priorities.

So I’ve spent the summer getting strange looks and having to explain to family members why I’m taking an hour-long conference call or why I’m staying up until midnight on the computer. Five years ago, these looks and critical comments would have offended me. But not today. I’ve decided that the mistakes I made over and over again for the past 10 years do not have to define the rest of my life. I’m writing a new outline for myself. And fulfilling my creative dreams is definitely on that list.


Here are links to all the sites featuring Secret Subject Swap posts today.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them out.                            Baking In A Tornado                    Dawn’s Disaster      Black Sheep Mom                         Indian American Mom                      Home on Deranged                  Coach Daddy                           Just A Little Nutty (Guest)                                   It’s Yummilicious                       Dates 2 Diapers                                     Crazy As Normal                    IBD, Daddy and Me!                           That Suburban Momma

Raising Mighty Girls

Today I’m featured over at the wonderful blog Vegan Mama, Eco-Baby. I’m writing about Raising Mighty Girls, a term coined by the fabulous website A Mighty Girl.

The Vegan Mama behind the blog is just like me, trying to raise a confident young girl who feels that she can make her own decisions and not have to follow the crowd once she’s older and out of her mom’s protective shelter 24/7.

If you’re the parent of a girl, it’s worth your while to take a moment to read this blog post. I’ll start it here, and lead you over to Vegan Mama, Eco-Baby so you can read the rest.

mighty girl badge

Raise your hand if you’re the parent of a young girl. Now keep your hand raised if you’re terrified of the world she will encounter in a few years.

Not the world of taking the car out on her own with friends.

Not the world of moving off to college and leaving you with an empty nest.

Not even the world of having to face the decision of career vs. motherhood somewhere down the road.

Nope. If you’re in the boat with me – raising a preschool-aged daughter – you are most terrified of middle school.

Those awkward years between being a kid and being a young adult.

Those years of growing breasts, self-conscious thoughts, curiosity about boys, and the beginning of figuring out who she is as a person.

Those are the years that terrify me. Those are the first years when there will be important life events that we, as parents, will not be around for. There’s the first kiss. The first movie without parents. The secret conversations with girl friends about what really matters in life – pink nail polish or blue – and the really secret conversations with girl friends about what matters with boys – kisses, bases, and oral sex. Yes. Oral Sex.

Continue Reading…

Vodka: Redesigned


Crisp tequila in an ice-cold margarita tops the chart around Rocks, No Salt Mommy. But vodka comes in at a close second. And today vodka made a big announcement. Well, one famous brand of vodka made a big announcement.

The Absolut vodka labels have been redesigned!

While it’s not Earth-shattering news, I love this story because it brings together 2 of my favorite things: design and alcohol. I’m a big design nerd. I’ve been known to take entire courses on typography – by choice, not for school credit. Yep. I’m that nerdy when it comes to graphic design.

Another reason I love this story is because the Absolut design team didn’t use computers to design the new labels. They used actual art mediums. We’re talking ink pens and brushes here, people. I’m not sure I even know what those are! My design is all about pixels, my mouse, and magic wands on Photoshop. So, I admire these artists for going back to their roots and coming out with a beautiful product.

In honor of this beautiful fusion of two things I love so much, I’m giving you the recipe to my FAVORITE low-calories girly cocktail. It’s only 95 calories and delicious!



  • 1 oz of vodka
  • 8 oz of Sprite Zero
  • 1 single-serving package of Crystal Light pink lemonade powder

Fill glass with crushed ice. Pour vodka over ice. Pour pink lemonade powder over ice. Pour Sprite Zero over powder and stir with a spoon until all powder has dissolved. The drink may develop a foam at the top. Just stick a straw in and enjoy the low-calorie goodness.

cocktails on pinterest

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Making You Smile

It’s Tuesday, so it’s Funny Day around here in Rocks, No Salt Country as I hook up with the Humor Me Blog Hop.

I’ve spent the last few days thinking up funny captions for greeting card photos for my new line of Christmas cards that will be coming out this holiday season {more on that soon, I promise!}, so my funny brain cells are shot. But I’d love to share some funny memes I’ve created in the last month. I hope these make you smile!

already tomorrowblogsize











To see more funnies like these, stop and like by my Facebook pages Margarita Mommies & Moms Behaving Badly.

Have a great Tuesday!! Thanks for stopping by!

10 Education Statistics That Will Make You Squirm

education badge

It’s Monday and I’m linking up with the Monday Listicles Blog Hop! This week we’re listing 10 ridiculous things online.

In honor of the Back To School season in America right now {does this go on in other countries this time of year, too? <– sorry if that makes me sound ethnocentric!}, I’ve gathered 10 ridiculous statistics about public education in the United States. While there are many, many countries who have far worse public education systems than here in the States, our system is lacking in a lot of areas and is doing a disservice to our country’s children. As a certified school teacher and the mother of two children who will be going through the public school system very soon, I see these statistics as a call for change, a call for action {cue the music for Can You Hear The People Sing from Les Mis} and a reason to get involved.

  1. “Approximately 6 million students grades 7 through 12 are struggling to read at grade-level. Among the highest, 70 percent of 8th graders read below the standard.” (
  2. “Approximately 7,000 students drop out of school each day.” (
  3. “According to U.S. manufacturers, 40% of all 17-year-olds do not have the math skills and 60% lack the reading skills to hold down a production job at a manufacturing company.” (
  4. “As many as 50% of students… didn’t know facts such as that the first World War was between 1900 and 1950, who Adolph Hitler was, or could identify Oedipus.” (
  5. “The education of the parent is the single greatest predictor of whether a child will be raised in poverty.” (national center for children in poverty)
  6. “Arts and music education programs are mandatory in countries that rank consistently among the highest for math and science test scores, like Japan, Hungary, and the Netherlands.” (
  7. “43% and 53% of eighth graders receive inadequate music and visual arts educations, respectively. ” (nyc rubber room reporter)
  8. “Since 1983, over 20 million [students] have reached their senior year unable to do basic math.” (
  9. “About one-third of all jobs in the United States require science or technology competency, but currently only 17 percent of Americans graduate with science or technology majors … in China, fully 52 percent of college degrees awarded are in science and technology. ” (
  10. Of all the 4th grade students in the United States, only 1/3 of them could read this list like you just did. (

If none of that scares you as you drop your child off for the first day of school, your head is buried in the sand. Our children are at risk for being one of the least educated generations that the United States has had in a long time. At a time when we have all information at our fingertips, a time when we should be focusing on preparing our children to be competitive in a global economy, a time when it is imperative for all adults to be literate to hold down a job, we are doing none of these things. We are instead, as Americans, arguing over tests, bureaucracy, profits, and red tape. Our politicians put baseball steroid use, military generals’ sex lives, and who said what the night of the Benghazi attack all ahead of our children’s education and their futures. That’s a pretty sad state of affairs, America. If that’s not ridiculous, I don’t know what is.

education on pinterest

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Bicycle Built For Two

bicycleshadowYesterday I purchased this fabulous bicycle print on canvas for our new house! I walked into this fun, vintage gift shop on our small-town square and immediately fell in love with this print. In all its simplicity, it embodies my hope for our new home.

Like all marriages, ours has had its rocky times over the years. We’ve been through our fair share of marriage counseling as we attempted to hold together a fragile marriage while my husband completed medical school/residency and I transitioned from full-time teacher to stay-at-home mom of two small children.

This transition wouldn’t be easy for any couple, even one in which the husband works a normal 9-5 job and is home every evening to help with dinner, bath, and bedtime. And we’re anything but a normal couple. My husband’s schedule often had him working 101 hours a week (seriously) when my daughter was 5 months old. This has been our way of life for the past 3 years – and it’s not the best lifestyle for maintaining a solid, romantic marriage.

So this new house, new city, new state, and new life hold the hope of a Happily Ever After for our little family. My husband’s new job only requires him to work about half the number of hours compared to his previous job. The kids will love having Daddy around more and I will love having my husband around again. The kids starting school, me starting a new freelance company, and my family being together as one cohesive unit bode well for many happy years to come.

This bicycle print embodies all of that. It is fitting that it was my first purchase for our new home.

Someone Likes What I Do!

versatile blogger award
I received my first blogging award last week! Stephanie, over at Bee Tree Studios gave me The Versatile Blogger Award! I am honored. As a writer who puts so much time and creative energy into my little corner of the blogosphere, there’s no greater feeling than hearing from my readers and knowing that you like what I do around here.

Thank you to Stephanie, whose Bee Tree Studios is a wonderful haven for any digital scrapbooker – beginner or advanced! Stop by her blog and find out creative ways to showcase your memories for years to come.

As part of accepting The Versatile Blogger Award, I must reveal 7 things about myself that you probably don’t know and I must present the award to 15 other bloggers. So here we go… As part of accepting The Versatile Blogger Award, I must reveal 7 things about myself that you probably don’t know and I must present the award to 15 other bloggers. So here we go…

The 7 Reveals:

1. I’m obsessed with reduced fat Peter Pan peanut butter. OBSESSED. I could eat an entire jar with a spoon in a matter of mere minutes. In acting class in college, we had to bring in items that define us in our private moments. Other students brought in pictures, books and movies. I brought a jar of peanut butter. Seriously. I’m obsessed.

2. I used to compete in the Miss America Pageants circuit. Hey – I’m from the South, okay?? It’s a subculture of glitter, big hair, and flamingly gay pageant consultants. I had a walking coach, custom-made bikinis, a personal trainer who had me counting grains of salt, and a FABULOUSLY flamboyant hair dresser named Billy who taught me the joy of straightening hair and then teasing it into a huge ponytail – a necessary skill for any good Southern girl!

3. I’m counting down the days to November 29. This marks the day that I will pick up one of my best friends from the airport and we’ll go to a concert together like we’re back in college! I haven’t seen this friend since 2007 and then it was only for a couple of hours. We haven’t lived within driving distance if each other since 2006. We often go months between phone conversations. But, none of that matters. We always pick up like it we’ve never been apart. That’s the beauty of a true friendship.
making memories
4. I used to play competitive classical piano. In fact, this was my talent for the above-mentioned pageants. I began lessons when I was 5 with a crazy teacher who put pennies on the backs of my hands to ensure that I didn’t let my hands droop while playing. Her name was Mrs. Stern. Even in kindergarten the irony of this name was not lost on me. I adore being able to sit down and make music whenever I feel inspired. My favorite piece of music, a Gavotte by Bach, still sits on the baby grand at my parents’ house today.

5. I used to be a crazy evangelical Christian – the kind that knocks on your door and tells you you’re going to hell. I could ramble off my terrifying spiel in both English and Spanish. Once I began thinking for myself and reading about other religions as a young adult, I dropped the whole “Scary Christian” gig and replaced it with a liberal acceptance of all religions and an emphasis on philosophy and spirituality as opposed to dogma and doctrines. I’m happier feeling less judgmental and more inclusive of everyone. Isn’t that what Christianity should preach anyway??

6. As a 12-year-old, I sang in Carnegie Hall in New York City with children from all over the country. My choir was part of a huge children’s choir ensemble that performed a one-night showcase in the famed Hall. We rehearsed for months, even learning to sing in French for the once-in-a-lifetime performance. This is the only time I’ve been to New York City and I still have vivid memories of my first Broadway shows. I hope to take my daughter to NYC and let her be mesmerized by the bright lights of Broadway and Times Square like I was as a young girl on that exciting trip 18 years ago.

7. I like to woodwork. I built my daughter a bookshelf last year and I would love to build a dollhouse and some furniture for our new home. I like the process of figuring out which pieces of wood I need for the finished product to come out the way I envision it. There’s a great feeling of accomplishment that comes along with standing back and admiring something I’ve created with my hands.

Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse into my bag of little-known obsessions, memories, and hobbies, I want to pass along this fabulous blogging award to 15 members of my blogging tribe. These bloggers have taken me in this summer, inspired me to be a better writer, and made me expand my creative horizons.

Katia @ I Am The Milk

Sarah @ Left Brain Buddha

Lizzie @ Considering

Kate @ Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine…

Stephanie @ Mommy For Real

Kate @ Another Clean Slate

Roshni @ Indian American Mom

Vikki @ Laugh Lines

Linda @ Elleroy Was Here

Jessica @ School of Smock

Janine @ Confessions Of A Mommyholic

Dana @ Kiss My List

Kristi  @ Finding Ninee

Norine @ Science of Parenthood

Jhanis @ The Vanilla Housewife

Again, thanks to Stephanie over at Bee Tree Studios for my first blogging award!

Fierce & Funny

My two children, described by famous quotes,

on this Wordless Wednesday:




Is It Possible To Fail At Being A Stay-At-Home Mom??

failbadgeI believe, at least for me, establishing an identity outside of simply being a mom is imperative for my sanity, my marriage survival, and the well-being of my children. I do not do well without a project. I need a long to-do list. I thrive on having too much to do. I’ve always been that way and will probably always be this way. It’s in my DNA. My father, at age 60, is currently in school getting his umpteenth Master’s Degree. He’ll be able to add that to the wall that already holds a Bachelor’s Degree, a medical school diploma, and at least one other Master’s diploma. Seriously – I’ve lost count. So, if I’ve got my list put together correctly, he’s runs a private medical practice, is the medical director at a geriatric psych unit at a local hospital, he started a church a few years ago and is running that thriving congregation, he teaches at the Humanist Institute in New York (even though they live in the midwest), and so on and so on…I really don’t have any idea what his entire to-do list consists of. I can’t even imagine.

So, I definitely come by this quirk naturally. As editor of my high school newspaper, I decided that one issue per month was not nearly enough. Nooooo….we had to put out 2 issues. And while this may not sound like a lot, it was a lot. It had never been done at our school before and has never been done since. I still am referred to by our journalism teacher as “the student that almost killed” her. Mind you, while I ran the paper, I also was the captain of the varsity tennis team, taking concurrent classes at the local community college, applying – and receiving academic scholarships to – challenging universities, hosting a foreign exchange student from Costa Rica, maintaining a long-term boyfriend relationship, and keeping straight A’s in the process. What the hell was {is} wrong with me?? I guess I just hate to sleep. Hey- it prepared me well for motherhood!!

So, not surprisingly, I do not do well sitting at home in yoga pants with nothing to do all day but Play-Dough and laundry.

I put forth an honest effort for 3 years. I really tried to love being a stay-at-home mom. I really tried. I tried to satisfy my need for an outlet, a task, an identity with endeavors that didn’t take me away from my children for hours on end. I earned my elementary education teaching certification online, I founded and ran a successful moms group of 100 members, and I obsessively worked out at the gym. But none of these filled that void that was growing deeper in my soul. And, alas, my multi-tasking demons found me {rescued me??} under a pile of unfolded towels. They wiped off the spit-up and smashed banana, then slapped me across the face. I have a distinct memory of the exact moment, driving home from the gym one day, that I decided I had to find my identity again. I had to find me. Because, yes, I’m a mom and a wife, but I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I kept that a secret for a long time, ridden with the guilt of failing as a stay-at-home mom. I mean, who fails at being a stay-at-home mom?? I’m not a good housekeeper. I don’t particularly care to play with Barbies or baby dolls. I don’t cook. And I rarely hang up clean laundry before wearing it. This is not the perfect combination for being the stay-at-home mom of a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old. Now, I realize that this does not make me a bad mom. No, in fact, I’m pretty sure that I’m a good mom. But I know I can be a better mom when I have my own thing going.

I think I’m really struggling with this internal conflict for two main reasons. First, I feel extremely guilty for not wanting to be that June Cleaver picturesque mom. Does that make me a bad person? Does that make me selfish? Does that make me a bad mom? Ugh. The guilt of being a parent can be overwhelming at times.

In addition to the stress of admitting that I honestly don’t care if I figure out how to be June Cleaver, I have also tried to shoo-away these multi-tasking demons because I really don’t know what options I have without going back to work full-time and putting my kids in daycare – a choice I am not willing to make. More power to the 40-hour-a-week, dual working parent households. I would never attempt to judge you or try to tell you what to do. I have many friends with happy families who are in that situation, either because they must have both incomes to survive financially, or because both parents just love to work. But for me, the blessing of having the opportunity to stay home with my children is not something I want to trade in for a bi-weekly paycheck.

I realize what a contradiction this is. I don’t want to stay home with Dora all day, but I don’t want to go to work from 9 – 5 either. So, what do I want?? What exactly are these multi-tasking demons trying to get me to do with my life?? Why am I still trying to figure out who I am and what I want to be when I grow up?? I’m 30 for goodness sake! Wasn’t this supposed to be established and all figured out by the time I walked across the stage and accepted my diploma at my university 8 years ago??

I feel like I should take one of those Pinterest pictures of myself saying “I’m 30 and when I grow up I want to be ___.” I swear, if I’d taken one of those pictures each year for the past 5 years, not one would be the same as the previous one. Is that normal?? Do other women struggle with this, this searching-for-an-identity phase in their late 20s and early 30s?

I’ve mulled it over. I’ve tossed and turned in bed. I’ve been around and around the guilt merry-go-round and I’ve decided that the answer for me is probably a hybrid. I really want to give this stay-at-home mommy gig a fair shake and I also want — needdare I say must — establish an identity for myself outside of mac & cheese and playdates.

This hybrid experiment begins in a couple of weeks, as both my children will go to school from 9:00 – 2:30 three days a week and I will throw myself into my writing, my graphic designing, my mommy-website managing, and my newly established communications company. This may sound crazy, but adding these things to my to-do list actually lightens the load on my shoulders. I feel a little less heavy knowing that I have a creative outlet, a place to use my design and writing skills, and a way to maintain me while I continue to raise my two beautiful children almost full-time.

I’m hoping this new set-up will make me a better June Cleaver. Ok, let’s be honest, I’ll never be June Cleaver. But, I’ll just take a better Elizabeth. A better mom. A better wife. And a happier person. Who knows, after hours of writing, answering business emails, and staring at Photoshop pixels, I may even welcome a tea party with my daughter and her baby dolls. There’s a big part of me of that hopes I will.