#isms, Volume 3

Every day, y’all…EVERY DAY my kids make me just bust out laughing. And I know every parent feels the same way, but it’s just so astonishing, even though my older girl is a full 5 years old, to see my adult sassiness portrayed in such a little body. She’s had it since she could mumble out words, though.

Kyle once said that he wished she could stay 2 forever – because 2 was a magical age, an age with excitement and wonder, with new experiences every day. And a friend said, “Why would you want that? Don’t you want to have conversations with her? Don’t you want her to ask questions and grow so you can learn about her hopes and dreams?”

As I like to say – parenting is that wild ride that keeps getting better.

And then we have my little one, my little crafty Engineer, who is using her toys to turn lights on and off, who moves stools from room to room so she can reach things, who uses my furniture like a playground – that one is coming into her own with even more sass. Heaven help Clairol and Revlon and L’Oreal and my hair stylist, because in a few years, we’re going to need the big guns to cover up all this gray.

For now, though, enjoy Volume III of #isms – quotes from my sweet and sassy little babies.

(after learning that God created animals and taking her favorite My Little Pony to Sunday School…)
Me: “Did you learn that God created Twilight Sparkle?”
The Artist: “No. We said she was just a pony.” (Then, accusatory…) “God didn’t make unicorns.”
Me: “No, but He made us to have imaginations to imagine unicorns. That’s kind of cool.”
The Artist: (pause) “I’m imaginating I’m singing and flying on a unicorn right now.”

(trying to skip church)
The Artist: “Yaya, do you hear how bad my voice sounds? And now I’m going to cough. Cough. Cough.”

Me: “Okay, sweetie, good night – oh, wait, look, the dog is on your bed!”

Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 1.47.15 PM
We might have a Chihuahua problem.

The Artist: “What is she doing on my bed??”
Me: “Maybe she wanted to sleep with you. Can she sleep with you?”
The Artist: “NO! She will poo poo and tee tee all over my bed!”

The Artist: (singing): “Oooh, baby, do you love me?”
Me: “What song is that?”
The Artist: “One I made up.”

(in the car)
The Engineer: “NOOOOOOO.”
The Artist: “You better stop that yelling! If you don’t, I will unbuckle myself and I will throw you out of this car. Do you hear me?”
The Engineer: “NOOOOOOO!” (laughs)
The Artist: “Okay, that’s it. I’m going to unbuckle myself and throw you out of this car…Mommy! I need you to help me unbuckle!”

Me: “Did you get in trouble today?”
The Artist: “I don’t remember. My memory’s foggy. Silly memories. They thought they could go away.”

The Artist: “I love unicorns. They’re my favorite horses.”




Trying to run

A long, long time ago, I used to run half-marathons.

In high school, I never was a runner. Ask my tennis coach. Exercise wasn’t really my thing, but I did like playing tennis. I just didn’t like to run.

Running came to me during a difficult part of my life, when two of my biggest concerns were starting a Ph.D. program and my husband being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, among several other issues. I ran to keep the stress at bay, and it worked. I ran my first half-marathon in the early spring of 2010, and I followed up the next two years with two more half-marathons.

However, in the spring of 2013, I had a baby: The Artist. She was sweet and she was wonderful, and before she turned 1, I had plans to run another half marathon.

Then I broke my tailbone. That whole incident deserves its own post one day, but suffice to say, I was out of running for months after that.

No problem, I thought. Time went by, I healed, and I started to train again, this time for a nearby race in November 2015. I got all the way to the week before the race. I was finishing up my last long run and was getting ready for the taper week.

And then I busted up my foot.

“Busted up” truly is the best way I can describe it. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but not only could I not race the next week, I spent the week prior to the race getting an X-ray, a CT scan, icing, downing ibuprofen, and having to even cancel a work trip to Las Vegas (and, really, who wants to do that???). The day of the race, I was a hot mess of emotion.

And that Wednesday, I found out I was pregnant again.

So between two babies and two injuries, it’s been hard to keep running up. Before The Engineer was conceived, I was easily running 20 miles a week for fun. Now, I’m lucky to hit 12.

Which, before you roll your eyes, I KNOW THAT’S PRETTY GOOD. Every thing is based in comparison, though, so compared to what I used to do, it’s a bit disappointing. I’d be happy to hit 16 a week, but it’s hard. Either a child is sick or I’m sick or I’m not sleeping well or a million other excuses hit. But, I am proud to say that the past three weeks, I have run four times a week, which is my goal. I may not have hit the mileage I want, but I laced up my shoes and ran four times each week.

We all need goals – even exercise goals. Heck, because my back hurts because apparently I’m old now (I had a student last week refer to my age as “middle aged” without knowing that WAS my age), one of my goals is to stretch 10 minutes every day. Now, granted, I haven’t done that in a week, but that’s beside the point. We need to plan goals, even if it is just stretching 10 minutes a day (which, again, I haven’t done in a week…).

And it does take planning – especially if you work and have kids. Heck, when I was off this summer, I thought, “Hmm, I can basically run any time I want – morning, nap time, or night time.” And you know what happened? I was lazy and slept in every day and then by nap time and night time, I was too exhausted to run.

PLAN. Plan with me and plan reasonably. If you don’t exercise at all, make a goal to walk half a mile every day. That’s like 10-15 minutes a day. Get the kids involved. My girls love doing yoga with me – you know, the two times a month I do it. But they love it, and they love doing it with me.

And if you need a running buddy, I know some good ones in the area. =)

media literacy, Social media, Writing

Back to school

I have returned.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the classroom – okay, really just a few months, but it felt like FOREVER. At first, I was kind of under this delusion of “Hmm, maybe I could be a stay-at-home mom.” But, no, no, by mid-August, I missed my work. I missed my colleagues, I missed my students, and I missed my classes.

I do not take it for granted that I have a job that I love. I feel like I’m making a difference in our world, and I love teaching about social media and media law and even copy editing (actually, it’s one of my favs – but, then again, I generally say that about every class). The world of communication and journalism and media is changing so rapidly that it’s hard to keep up. But I never get bored.

Every day there is something new in my profession, whether it’s what the president tweeted that I use in media law or what ad was released that relates to media literacy and public relations and social media. All of communication interconnects and can be related in any setting. Communication is a human cornerstone. You have to have it. And I get to teach it! How can I not be overly excited?

So after I got my darling girls settled in their schools, Mommy returned to work. Kyle saw me on the first day and said, “I’m so glad you get to go back to work.” I responded with, “Ha HA, you’re just glad I’m out of pjs in the morning now.”

But, seriously, the first week was great. I may have scared my students a bit with my enthusiasm. Fall quarter is just fun anyway because everyone’s either new or coming back, we’re gearing up for the football season, and after not seeing everyone during summer, it’s just so good to catch up.

I walked into my first class with a big – no, HUGE – grin on my face. And I couldn’t help it. I said (very loudly), “I AM SO GLAD TO BE BACK TODAY! AND WE ARE GOING TO HAVE AN AWESOME QUARTER EEEDDDDIIITTTTIIINNNGGG.”

The responses were less than animated that day, but that’s okay. I had enough eagerness for everyone. And they WILL learn to LOVE editing.

I love hearing my colleagues teach across the hall. I love talking about the news with other news junkies – faculty, staff and students alike. Yes, there are parts of my job I don’t like for sure. And I definitely don’t come into class every day feeling like, “Hooray! I get to teach!” But, in general – I do. And that’s a good feeling to have.

If only fall could really come to Louisiana soon so we can stop pretending it’s fall by turning down the AC. And I would like the love bugs to stay away. Please. It was like a plague of locusts last year. Small (miracle-needed) requests, really.

But I am so glad to be back. It is going to be a great year. I just know it.


Lunch ideas for kids

I’m stumped. You got any?

I have made lunches for my kids for four years total now. I hate it. I hate it so much. When The Artist went to preschool and started eating at school, IT WAS AMAZING. I suddenly didn’t have to meal prep! It was so lovely. Of course, then I was nursing and packing baby food and bottles for The Engineer, so…wasn’t quite the break I was expecting.

The Artist started kindergarten this fall, and I was pumped that her lunch is F-R-E-E. Celebrate!!!! Not only do I not have to pack a lunch for her, but I also don’t have to pay for it either. Woo hoo!! Go, public school! Can I get an amen? Apparently some very loving moms pack their kids lunch, though, because the other day she asked me if I would pack her a lunch. Haha, NO. Girl, you eating that cafeteria food just like I did.

The Engineer, though, still has to have a packed lunch, and, guys, I just don’t know. I’m running out of ideas. I love feeding the kids PBJs because both my dainty girls can down two of them at a sitting (seriously), and it fills them up with protein and carbs. However, I can’t send any peanut products to school due to allergies. So that option is out.

But, in case you’re wondering what does go into The Engineer’s lunch box, here are some ideas, and PLEASE SHARE SOME WITH ME!!!

1) Hummus and (whatever your kid eats): My kid loves dip. Anything she can dip, she loves. It’s actually a problem when we visit Chick-fil-a because she won’t eat the chicken – just the dips. She’s eaten tartar sauce, ketchup, and ranch dressing all on its own. She just loves the idea of dipping. And turns out – she can dip with hummus. I generally pack some pita chips or carrots with it, though, to be honest, the chips or carrots are just used as a pseudo-fork. But that’s okay – the hummus was the main star anyway!

2) Pseudo-yogurt parfait: I actually haven’t tried this yet, but I plan to. The Artist and I love yogurt parfaits (yogurt + honey + fruit + granola), but The Engineer is a bit suspicious of the granola. So I substitute Cheerios for hers, and she thinks it’s the best thing ever. So I’m planning to pack some yogurt, fruit, and Cheerios in her lunch and see how she likes that.

3) Cheese quesadilla. She has no problem eating this cold, and, if she’s lucky, I’ll throw in some salsa, too.

Y’all, that’s about it. I’ve also had parents tell me they’ve put chicken nuggets in a thermos or put pasta salad in the lunch box, but I’ve tried both and The Engineer didn’t eat it last year. Maybe I’ll try them again this year, though.

However, if there was just a way she could eat spinach popsicles at school (and in under 30 min – she savors them, ha!!), she’d think lunch was just about perfect.


It’s potty time

I hate potty training. It’s pretty much the bane of my parenting existence. We struggled with The Artist. Stttrrruuugggggggggllleeeddd. I had a friend whose kid was potty trained before she turned 2. The Artist’s other friends were all potty trained around 2 ½. The Artist? A solid 3 – really closer to 3 ½.

Y’all. I stressed so much about that potty training. I worried that she’d be in a pull-up so long there wouldn’t be pull-ups in her size. I worried that putting her in a pull-up had forever wrecked her bathroom abilities. I worried that because we attempted potty training before she was 2, she would never get it – or not soon enough to go to preschool.

Obviously, I’ve got some issues to work out because The Artist is fabulously potty trained now. Girl’s got it covered. She good. And has been for a while.

But all these things you see online and that you hear can stress you out: Never put your kid in a pull-up! He’ll be using them in college if you do! Potty train your kid in three days! Potty train over the weekend! Snap your fingers and your kid is magically potty trained! Potty train? My kid trained himself!

Just. Stop.

Here’s the thing, mamas: you are fine. Your kid is fine. It will be okay. He will get it. And if he has an accident? He’s a kid. That’s what happens. You deal with it and move on.

The Artist had a lovely MDO teacher who, right before our daughter’s third birthday, said, “Listen. Send her in panties. She’s ready, and it’s fine.”

Me, nervous as always, asked, “But what if she has an accident?”

Her teacher shrugged. “It’s fine. We’re used to it. She’ll be fine.”

And she was. Wisdom and guidance from others. It’s critical to thriving as a mom. Find someone who gives you good advice, who is willing to help you during those down times, and listen. Because The Artist DID get it. She was ready. And she was fine.

So after all the stress with The Artist, along came The Engineer.

That kid wanted to be potty trained at 22 months. Seriously. Would take off her diaper and run to the toilet. She just wanted to be potty trained earlier than The Artist.

Let me emphasize here: The Engineer wanted to be PT at 22 months and we basically threatened that Santa wouldn’t come see The Artist at 3 ½ (okay, we straight up told her that) if she wasn’t completely pull-up free. That doesn’t mean that The Engineer is more advanced than The Artist. We definitely see things already that our younger girl does that is more advanced than our older child, but our older child excelled in things that the younger one has not. Every child is different. And our older one just had no interest in going potty.

The Engineer, though…that girl should have been my first.

I have been SO LAZY potty training her. I really have. She had the concept down before I “formally” began working with her over the summer, but between camps and events and going places, I just was lazy. I threw that pull-up on her every time we left the house. Because I remembered when The Artist had an accident at a restaurant…or at Walmart…or in the car. And, honestly, I just didn’t want to deal with it.

So this poor baby hasn’t gotten the same treatment, but she does get it. She still has accidents at school, but I am so proud of how well she’s doing. And, yes, I still put her in a pull-up when we go out in public because, no, I don’t want to deal with cleaning up an accident on Aisle 5.

And you know what? I’m okay with that. And I have a pretty good feeling that Santa is going to visit two little girls who are both completely out of pull-ups this Christmas.

And if we aren’t? That’s okay, too.

Note: Mommy shaming is not allowed here. Only love and support for all parents. I’ll say it like Thumper told Bambi, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”