June 6, 2013

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

When I was younger, my brother was the funny one in our family. He was constantly putting on shows and acting out skit comedy routines. I mean, let's be honest - who doesn't love a six-year-old Fire Marshall Bill? And the time he faked his own death on a plastic sword waiting for the fireworks at Walt Disney World? Classic. He also thew up on the Haunted Mansion ride on that trip, so yeah... banner vacation for that guy.

I clearly remember thinking to myself, "I want to be funny. I bet I could be funny, too!" But here's the problem with trying to be funny: it rarely works out. It often feels forced... even awkward. And if we're being completely honest, at the time my 5-year-old self was somewhat more concerned with finding my next snack and avoiding physical activity than truly honing my comedic skills.

Enter Lucy.

When I started this blog, I was nervous that everyone outside of the immediate Ethels, my 4 lifelong friends (the extended Ethels), and Ricky would think it was weird. Hard to follow. Kind of stupid. It very well may be all of those things, and yet a surprising amount of people keep encouraging me to write because they think I'm FUNNY! Or they want this train wreck to continue, and to those people I simply say: You. Are. Rude.

So last spring, seeking comedic validation from a completely unbiased third party, I submitted two of my blog posts to a publishing company for an anthology about parenting. I didn't tell anyone about it - not even Ricky - because I didn't think either one would actually get chosen. And if you know me well you know I hate to lose.

Examples of me hating to lose:

1. There's a picture of my 4th grade volleyball team taken after the final match in the season tournament - we came in 2nd. All of the other girls are smiling and holding their trophies. My face is bright red from sobbing and I refused to touch the damn trophy. I want a big one or not at all. Take that as you will.

2. I'm a really great spades player. Ricky does not necessarily agree. It never ends well. The only thing worse than us playing against each other is being partners with each other. Even so, we will wipe the floor with your face if you challenge us. So don't.

3. A few summers ago my brother-in-law pulled out Connect 4, you know, for old times' sake. Little did he know that I would force him to play me over and over again until I won. I still haven't won. I still make him play.

4. I played the lottery every week last fall and, shockingly, never won the jackpot. I would stop at the 7-11 every Wednesday and Saturday night to buy my ticket, then dream about what I would do with  millions of dollars. I had a plan, man. I knew what I would buy and who I would (and wouldn't!) share it with, and I made Ricky listen to the details. Every teeny tiny detail... twice a week... every week... for about 4 months. I bet he misses those conversations. I'm positive it didn't wear him out at all. I even watched three documentaries about lottery winners. I'm still pretty pissed I didn't win, so I'd rather you not bring it up next time I see you. That's all.

5. I show no mercy to Little Ricky when we're playing Candy Land. None. If we're going to play we're going to follow the rules, and then we're probably going to clap and cheer when Mommy wins. If that's not okay then we don't have to play. You decide, LR.

(Can you believe Little Ricky is already three, by the way? How the hell did that happen?! He continues to be the funniest child I've ever met. He clearly got it from me.)

All that to say... if my stories didn't get picked for the book then I wouldn't have ever told anyone I submitted them. Like I said, I really really seriously hate to lose, and I didn't want you people to think I'm a loser.

Well guess what? Turns out I'm a winner!! Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! It's like that guy T-Pain says: "All I do is win, win win.... blah blah blah... hands go UP!!"

Don't judge my rap lyrics - No one really knows any other words in that song. Including you. I just love a beat featuring T-Pain. (Also Luda and Snoop. Fa' sho.)

But anyway, I got the official email today... the publishing company chose one of my stories for the book. Here's a sneak peek of the cover:

I even get a free copy. I'm kind of a big deal.
This is the story they chose and this is the story they did not choose.

I actually like the one they didn't choose better. Shows what they know. (If my editor is reading this, that's a joke. The fact that I "have an editor" also seems like kind of a joke.)

So yes... I will officially be a published author come September, although I'm not quite sure this is what my college professors had in mind when they suggested I publish my work. Although it's a far cry from Using Task Analysis to Develop a Process for Teaching Independent Feeding Skills*, published is published, y'all.

*actual title of my special education master's degree treatise; APA format in da' house!

As a result of this little publishing experiment, I've decided to make a comeback - yes, another one - to the blogging world. You're welcome.

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July 12, 2012

You Gotta Fight! For Your Right! To POTTY!

Not my kid. Kind of wish it was.

Potty training has begun.

But before we get into that, I know what you're thinking.

Where the HELL has she been?!

Initially I was going to tell you all that I have simply been too busy to post. That, my friends, would be a lie. Turns out no one likes a liar.

So here's the truth: I did not want to post. Nope. Not one bit.

This was actually a very Lucyish thing to do - start a new hobby, jump in with total abandon, convince Ricky that said hobby is clearly life changing and this time I am going to stick with it!

But then I get bored. So bored.

So I move on to another bright and shiny hobby. Sometimes even three or four at a time. I am that good. The past few weeks have included the Whole30, Insanity, and refinishing furniture - details to come in the near future.

As I obsessed over learned about my new interests, ridiculous things kept happening and I found myself thinking about writing a new post... and then I would remember that I had moved on to bigger and better things!

But guess what? It turns out there are people who actually noticed that my absence and started asking me when I was going to blog again. Now, I find this to be quite hilarious because I still don't even know what this blog is about. It's kind of about nothing. Random nothingness. If you are here in search of anything remotely helpful or informational I suggest you go elsewhere.

Be that as it may, I had a change of heart and decided to embrace the random nothingness and return to the blogosphere! At least until I get bored again.

(And for the record - Why would anyone want to start a NEW blog that is actually helpful when we have Pinterest? Beats the hell out of me. I would much rather steal someone else's creative ideas than waste time developing my own crappy recipes and crafts.)

Now potty training.

The idea that little people come out of the womb without any clue how to manage their own P&P (pee and poop) is absolutely beyond me. Poor planning, God. This one's on you, Big Guy. Major design flaw. Just sayin'.

Little Ricky turned two in March, so we decided this summer to teach him how to use the potty. And yes, I also think the word potty sounds absolutely ridiculous, however in an effort to teach my two year old appropriate preschool language (whatever that means) I have said potty about 34 million times over the last four days. It is what it is. Personally, I would rather feel stupid saying potty than have Little Ricky march into preschool this fall and ask to use the pot. Or the pisser. Sick.

A few things you must know about my feelings towards potty training:

1. I refuse to buy a miniature plastic toilet. Call me crazy, but the idea of cleaning out what is essentially a chamber pot is a little too 19th century for me. I also think they look stupid. I'm sorry that I'm not sorry for feeling this way.

2. I did, however, buy a Sesame street toilet insert because I would hate to flush Little Ricky down the toilet if he fell in. Plus it has handles so he can hang on when things get really wild.

3. I am not below giving M&Ms as a reward for makin' it in the toilet. I wish someone would give me candy everytime I successfully used the potty. (Hint, Ricky.)

4. I have absolutely no desire to drag this process out. I have an irrational fear that my house will smell like pee (it doesn't, hence the irrational part) for the duration of potty training so I just want to get it over with. So I decided on the 3 Day Potty Training Method. Git 'er dun.

We started Monday morning by throwing away all of the diapers. Little Ricky has been in Pull Ups for a few months and I have decided they are not any more conducive to potty training than regular diapers. Sorry folks, they are the same thing. Just more expensive. But hey, the designs are fantastic! Throwing away the Pull Ups was infinitely more important for me than Little Ricky. Knowing my house is sans Pull Ups forces me to continue housebreaking potty training the little rascal.

In my excitment to get started, I realized I didn't actually have the supplies I needed so I sent Ricky on a mission to WalMart to purchase the following: baby gate to quarantine LR to the bedroom/bathroom hallway during naps and bedtime, a step stool, 15 pairs of toddler underwear, and positive reinforcers - M&Ms and Oreos to reward Little Ricky along the way. Ricky and I may or may not have rewarded ourselves as parents with the entire package of LR's Oreos since Monday. I know... shameful.

After throwing out the Pull Ups I slapped a pair of Buzz Lightyear underwear and a matching t-shirt on Little Ricky and we were ready to go! But then nothing happened.... for three hours. He drank water and that didn't work. So we made Kool Aid and that didn't work either. Talk about anticlimactic. Good to know my child has a bladder of steel.

And about the time I wondered about the functionality of Little Ricky's plumbing, he had his first accident! I was thrilled that he started to pee his pants (parenthood is really weird) and we dashed to the potty! We were too late. Too bad.

As you can imagine, potty training involves a lot of accidents, dashing, changing, laundry, and M&Ms. Therefore, I have decided to spare you the details of every P&P situation - because that would be gross - so I'll give you the (very) brief overview and focus on the funny.

Day 1, Monday: He didn't get it. It didn't click. He wanted a diaper, I wanted a drink. We created a potty dance. I yelled at Ricky for making fart noises along with an incredibly unbecoming poop pose at the end of the potty dance. Little Ricky proceeded to imitate his daddy. Great.

Day 2, Tuesday: Little Ricky started to show a little understanding, although I think he also began tuning me out after the 300th time I said: "Little Ricky, tell mommy when you need to go pee pee in the potty, ok?!" The enthusiasm in my voice became a little forced by lunchtime.

Day 3, Wednesday: It began to work... he was actually doing the deed in the potty! A few minor mishaps but overall I would say things were looking promising. The highlight of day three was undoubtedly the private conversation he had with his ding-a-ling.

Little Ricky (while sitting on the potty, looking down at his friend): "C'mon, pee pee. Where are you, pee pee? C'mon. Please? PEE PEE!! WHERE ARE YOU?! Ready, set, GO!!"

Day 4, Thursday: Day 4 brings us to today. Funny how the 3 Day Potty Training Method brought us to a fourth day. Huh. Things took a brief downhill turn this morning when, after staying dry all night, Little Ricky stood up during breakfast and screamed, "MOMMYYYYY!!! POTTYYY!!" And then came the flood. Little Ricky was standing straight up on a tall bar stool about eighteen feet in the air, peeing everywhere, and looking at me in sheer horror at his actions. I guess the silver lining here is that at least he realized the error of his ways. I threw placed the Bulldog on the floor, grabbed Little Ricky (holding him two feet out in front of me because I didn't want to get pee on me, oh hell no!) and hightailed it to the bathroom. I'm sure you can infer the rest.

Oddly enough, that was the last accident he had. I guess he decided to go out with a bang. So since 9 am this morning (14 hours, but who's counting?) he has successfully used the potty as intended. I'm sure we're not quite out of the woods yet, but I feel confident in saying Little Ricky is well on his way to potty training stardom. And for whatever reason naptime and bedtime have been signficantly easier than the daytime - other than a small nap accident on day one, he has stayed completely dry. Yes, I'm proud. But not proud enough to post a picture of him sitting on the toilet on Facebook. I will never understand that phenomenon. Feel free to enlighten me if you do.

**FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Still no accidents. BOOM.

So join me in a chant, dear friends... "GO Little Ricky, GO!!"

No, seriously. We want you to go.

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May 23, 2012

And They Called Her Pinny

I've got bad news. It's really bad.

No seriously - it's a problem.

I'm addicted. That's right. Addicted.

My drug of choice? Pinterest.

I have turned into a pinning freak. It's gotten so bad that Ricky no longer calls me Lucy. My new nickname is Pinny. Seriously.

How can one website be simultaneously terrific and awful?

Terrific because of the neverending ideas for cooking, baking, sewing, decorating, art projects for children, fashion tips, hairstyle how-tos, and probably even step-by-step spelunking instructions if you dig deep enough. I don't know - I rarely make it past the food.

Awful because it might just be the most incredible time suck ever created. Even more than Facebook. That's right! I can easily spend more time pinning than creeping on the Facebook pages of the people from my past. Don't even pretend you don't do that, too.

(By the way, if I haven't talked to you in a few years and I happen to see you out somewhere I will most likely ask what you're up to and how things are going. Truth is, I already know the answers due to your Facebook status updates and photo albums. Not only would I probably recognize your children if I saw them, I would know their names and ages.)

 So Pinterest.

Ironically, I found this little gem on Pinterest.

I have convinced myself beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am capable of becoming an all-around domestic bad ass because of all of the inspiration I have found on Pinterest!

I have plans. Oh yes, big plans.

I plan to bake a delicious chocolate fat free cake from scratch while wearing a homemade wrap dress and a 10-minute chignon in my hair. While my dessert is baking, I will cut fruit for a beach scene snack for Little Ricky as he paints the kitchen walls with colored shaving cream and rolls homemade playdough on the tile floor. My dogs will snack on treats baked from scratch, and I will clean up their mess with my organic, baby-friendly cleaning supplies I created from only three simple household ingredients. After strapping the Bulldog to my chest in a handsewn baby carrier (which according to the directions is super easy to make) we will head to the garage where I will strip an old piece of furniture and re-upholster matching bar stools. Follow up this project with some crafty wall hangings made from contact paper and Modge Podge and perhaps a quick reorganization of my spice collection using printed labels and Ikea shelves. Dinner will consist of chicken enchilada crockpot casserole with a side of oven-baked sweet potato fries and roasted cauliflower. Because on Pinterest the cauliflower is always roasted.

Whew! I feel exhausted just planning my day 'o Pinterest and this only covers about 7 of my 532,000 pins (on 481 boards, no less). Furthermore, I don't actually have the time to follow through with any of my Pinterest ideas because I'm busy, well... pinning.

So herein lies the Pinterest dilemma. How can one person possibly create/bake/build all of the fabulous ideas that are found on Pinterest?! Turns out, one can't. But for some reason that doesn't stop me from pinning everything that looks even remotely fun/tasty/trendy!

I forgot to mention the fitness pictures of super fit, tan, ripped chicks wearing lingerie and boxing gloves. Yeah. 'Cause that's gonna happen.

And then comes the guilt.

The guilt of knowing that realistically I will never attempt, much less complete, at least 90% of the crap that I pin.

I feel guilty for letting Little Ricky watch Caillou when we could be making handprint flowers and footprint butterflies instead! And for the record, I kind of hate Caillou. He's whiny and annoying, and I think Sid the Science Kid could kick his ass any day.

I feel guilty for not having a house that looks like it came from a Martha Stewart magazine that I created for less than $200 in only 4 days or less.

I feel guilty that I didn't leave cutesy notes on the bathroom mirror for Ricky,  not to mention following through on the other 17 ideas for How To Flirt With Your Husband!

Most of all I feel guilty when I spend $25 at Hobby Lobby buying supplies for a new Pinterest craft and then I get home and remember that I am not crafty. Not even a little bit.

Enough! I've had about enough of the guilt!

So instead of feeling guilty about all of the things I will never actually do, I have decided on a different approach to Pinterest. My new focus? Dessert.

Any dessert that looks even a little bit delicious gets pinned. I have decided that before I die I will attempt to make all of them. Because honestly, I don't love sewing. I don't love scrapbooking. I most definitely don't love making furniture out of vegetable crates and Gorilla Glue. But I do love to eat dessert. Not only do I love it - I'm damn good at it.

So bring on the cookies, cakes, pies, pastries... and don't forget all 300 recipes for Nutella desserts! Because this gal is ready to do some baking.

For the record, I have attempted exactly three pins. That's right... three. Stop pretending you have done more. One might say, though, that the three I have tried have been revolutionary. Truly.

Hard boiled eggs in the oven? Brilliant.

The best fruit dip ever? Delicious.

THE SOCK BUN?! Game changer.

And there you have it, folks. While I would love to keep writing about my love/hate relationship with Pinterest, it's time for me to go. Go pin, that is.

"Walk softly and carry a big pin." -President Theodore Roosevelt

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May 18, 2012

Dang! Look At All That Sweat.

Today I'm feeling very full. Either I have a lot of things to be thankful for in my life, or I just had a really big lunch.

Truth? Both.

So yeah, full. As the school year draws to a close - could Ricky BE  more excited there are only two weeks left? - I feel like taking the opportunity to reflect on how much our lives have changed in a year. This time last year I was counting down the days that I would no longer be teaching and I would officially be a bonafide, full-time stay-at-home mom. This had nothing to do with not liking my job. In fact, I loved teaching and the people I worked with. It takes a certain sense of humor and personality, if you will, to teach special education, so between ARD meetings and behavior plans I often found myself laughing hysterically with the women that I worked with. I absolutely miss that; no doubt about it.

But for me, I know I will find that again one day when I return to the world of teaching. When  I decided to stay home, Mother Ethel gave me the following insight: "There will always be special children to teach when you are ready to go back; there will not always be tiny children at home to take care of." Hmm.

Be that as it may, I was nervous about making the leap for two reasons. The first one is obvious - who can possibly afford to live on one salary? The second reason was somewhat selfish - will I be lonely?

Something stay-at-home moms don't talk about very often is the fact that staying home with your children all day every day can sometimes feel lonely and even isolating. Now this is not a woe-is-me post, but the truth of the matter is that there is a lot of down time between play dates, birthday parties, and all of the standard first moments - you know, eating solids, walking, talking...

(On a side note: I couldn't wait for Little Ricky to start walking! My grandmother - yes, she is Grand Ethel - told me early on that as soon as he starts to walk just push him down. WHAT?! Of course I want him to walk! It's so exciting! I was wrong, folks. Tiny walking people throw you into a whole new ballgame. And as soon as the Bulldog starts walking - or even acting like she wants to - I have every intention of pushing her down. Truth.)

You may be thinking to yourself, Hey Lucy! Maybe you should spend some of your down time organizing your closets or working on baby books instead of blogging.

Oh yeah? Eat my shorts.

In an effort to combat the potential loneliness of staying home, I decided last summer to join a moms' group. I didn't actually know anybody in a moms' group, but who needs to know somebody when you're really great at walking into an unfamiliar situation meeting people on your own? Oh wait, I'm not. Boooo.

So my boyfriend Google led me to the national MOPS website. MOPS is not a group for people who love to mop, which is actually great because I hate to mop. MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. Initially I was a little confused because at that time Little Ricky was not attending prechool, per se, but technically he was pre-school because he didn't go to school yet... right?

Turns out the only requirement is that your kid(s) are ages 0-kindergarten. Perfect! Little Ricky fell into that range, and once the Bulldog was born she would be zero.

By the way, I think from this point forward if anyone asks how old she is I'm going to say she's zero. Forget the months or weeks crap. She's not one, so she must be zero.

MOPS promised me a delicious brunch and a few hours of childcare for Little Ricky. I. Am. In.

I walked into the first meeting and didn't know a soul. I was nervous. I was intimidated. I was sweaty.

Can you blame me? It was HOT! And there I was, hugely pregnant, with women I didn't know and I kept thinking to myself: Why am I here? No one wants to be friends with the pregnant sweaty woman who may or may not have pushed down her firstborn child in the parking lot so he would STOP walking!

(Kidding. I didn't push him down that day.)

But here's the funny thing. They did want to be my friend! Even though many of the women in the group obviously knew each other - some have been in the group for years - they were so nice and welcoming! I literally have had the same three friends for basically my entire life, so when I say I'm not very good at making new ones I'm being serious. Yet, somehow I have managed over the course of this year to make friends with many of these fabulous moms.

So after attending MOPS  meetings twice a month since September, the opportunity to join the leadership team presented itself and I decided to apply for a position. Ladies and Gentlemen, you find me here today as the Publicity Chairman (Chairwomen? Leader? Master? Queen?) of our group.

Which brings me to this morning. Our first official leadership team meeting. This is why I feel full today. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I am so excited to be apart of a group of women whose main purpose is to help other women be great mothers! I feel very blessed to be apart of something so wonderful. It's amazing what can happen in your life when you're willing to take a risk and put yourself out there.

I honestly didn't know how things would go when I joined MOPS, but I can honestly say it has been one of the best decisions I have made in the past year. I am thrilled to see what this next year has to offer. And when our first meeting rolls around this fall, I hope there's a sweaty, pregnant newbie that needs a friend. Because I now know that being awkward and sweaty does not mean you can't make friends.

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May 4, 2012

Girl, Look At That Body... I Work Out!

Oh, LMFAO... when I can't find the words I need to describe how I'm feeling, I simply look to the lyrics of I'm Sexy and I Know It and alas, I always seem to find what I need.

Who doesn't agree with me that "Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, YEAH!" will immediately bring you out of a sad funk or angry mood? Just try it. Next time you're feeling down, wiggle your butt and sing this song. I swear it will make your day better.

And if you're feeling really brave, check out the accompanying music video - it is hilarous for all of the wrong reasons. If you are easily offended don't watch it. Just don't. Also if you're my parent or grandparent, you probably shouldn't watch it either. It may be difficult to look you in the eye the next time I see you (except maybe Mother Ethel; oddly enough, I think it was she that first showed it to me).

But I digress.

While I'm sure we can all agree that LMFAO is musically gifted - or just really stupid, I don't actually know which - I'm not here to talk about the nuances of pop culture. I actually just wanted to update you all on my weight loss challenge.

After two incredibly boring weeks of minimal effort, and as a result minimal weight loss, I finally decided to actually try and make some progress this week. Drum roll please...


Now that's what I call progress, people! Everyone keeps telling me that 1-2 pounds a week is the healthy way to lose weight, so I guess I'm on track.So what did I do differently this week?

Weight Watchers: I actually tracked my points and stayed within my target for the week. We've been eating a lot of fruits and veggies, lean meats, and drinking protein shakes. Exciting stuff, I know.

Couch to 5K: I have convinced the Ethels to run a 5K with me on July 4th. We are following the 3-day-a-week training program and I did both of the workouts so far this week. Again, exiting.

Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred: This DVD is the hardest 20 minute workout I have done at home. If you want to try it, the entire workout (divided into three levels, 20 minutes each) are on YouTube. How's that for convenient? Not to mention, Jillian is friends with Bob Harper, who you know I love dearly, and I think this is the closest I will ever get to being apart of The Biggest Loser. My goal is to do the shred 5 days a week in addition to the C25K training.

Did you know that eating healthy and working out really does work? It's shocking, I know.

So here's the breakdown:
I've lost a total of 2.7 pounds in the last 3 weeks, or 0.9 pounds average per week.

That weight is in addition to the 15 I lost during my first health kick earlier this year, so it's actually 17.7 pounds since January 1st.

So while this information may seem boring to you, this is kind of my way of holding myself accountable for losing weight.

And yes, I'm sexy and I know it.

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