Whining Smackdown

Last night, Catie and I went to the grocery store, figuring that it would be a ghost town during the SuperBowl. (I don’t care about football or sports at all. Sorry, I’ve tried, I just can’t make myself muster up an interest.) Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea, so it wasn’t quite as deserted as I’d hoped, but whatever. Time to shop!

Catie asked if we could get the cart that has that stupid plastic car attached to the front, and I said ok, even though it’s like steering a freaking bus down the aisles. She was really good in the store, she would hop out of the car to get things off the shelf for me (“Hey, don’tcha need spinach, Mommy? Can I get some? What else is on the list? I’ll get it, I’m a good helper!”), and she wasn’t bugging me to buy her toys or junk food. When you’re shopping with a four year-old, that’s about as much as you can ask for.

And really, it was about a 10,000% improvement compared to how she acted when we’d gone to the mall the day before. Which I will always remember as the tantrum that was so epic that an on-duty police officer came over to us to ask if we were ok. Seriously. That actually happened.

Love that face.
Who, me? Act naughty in a public place? Surely you jest! Why, don’t I look angelic?

We passed a mom that was shopping with her two girls – I’m guessing they were 5 or 6 years old, and they were obviously twins. They took one look at our cart and started in on their mother, “Mooo-ooom! That little girl got a car cart! How come WE didn’t get a car cart?? That’s not fair!!” I smiled sympathetically at the mom, and kept walking.

Later, when we were in the bakery section, Catie mentioned she was hungry, and asked if she could have a cookie. We were at Kroger, and they usually have a box of cookies out in the bakery for the little kids to have one. I tend not to get too uptight about the occasional treat, and since Catie was being so well-behaved, I said sure, and grabbed a cookie for her.

As luck would have it, we passed the mom with her twin girls again. They started up again, “Mooo-ooom! That little girl has a cookie! How come WE didn’t get a cookie?? We want a cookie! No fair! COOKIE COOKIE COOKIE!!!” They were like twin Veruca Salts with the whining. I kind of felt sorry for the mom, but I noticed that she didn’t respond to the kids at all when they whined, so I wondered if she hears it so much that she just tunes it out. I don’t think I could tune it out. There’s a certain pitch that little girls can hit with their voices that makes me feel like my head is going to explode. Catie has only tried it on me a few times, and it’s gotten her nowhere (the only reaction she gets from me is, “Try saying that again politely, and maybe I’ll answer you.”), so she seems to have given up on it.

Of course we passed each other two or three more times (why, God, why?), and they repeated their complaint about Cookie Injustice every time. By the last time we passed them, we were on our way to the checkout, and Catie had long since finished the damn cookie. That didn’t stop them. “That’s the little girl that had the cookie! We want a cookie too!” And so on.

Now, I generally have a rule about interfering with other people’s children. And the rule is: I don’t. I wouldn’t appreciate it if someone did it to me, so I don’t do it to anyone else. But I felt so bad for this mom, she seemed so worn out by these kids and their non-stop whining, and… well, I couldn’t resist.

So I turned to the girls and interrupted their little complaint-fest. I said, “You know why she got a cookie? Because she was really good the whole time we were in the store, and she never whined once.”

Both girls snapped their mouths shut. The mom said to them, “You see? THAT’S what it takes if you want a cookie!”

I hope the mom wasn’t offended (and I’m guessing by her reaction and the smile she gave me that she wasn’t). But I figure I bought her at least 30 seconds of shocked silence from her kids, so I’ll call that a win.

It does make me a little nervous about having two girls, though. If they both crank up the whining on me at the same time, I don’t know how I’ll react. Maybe my head really will explode. Who knows.

Kitchen Tidy-Up Project

Disclaimer: I almost never do sponsored posts, but I was given a gift card from BlogHer and HomeGoods, and hey, if you’re going to give me money to go shopping, then heck yeah I’ll blog about it. And bonus: if you read this, you get to see pictures of my kitchen. Oooh, special, right?

Since the cleaning lady came to tidy up our house last week, Dave and I have been having ongoing arguments about what I call Chronic Kitchen Counter Crap. This is the stuff that seems to live on the kitchen counter all the time, no matter what. I tend to believe that all food-related items should be put away in a pantry or a cabinet. Dave disagrees and thinks that it’s fine for frequently-used items to stay out, as this keeps them easily accessible. And it drives. me. NUTS.

Also? I am WAY more cranky about things like Chronic Kitchen Counter Crap when I am (a) pregnant and therefore grumpier in general, and (b) expecting many houseguests and visitors over the next few weeks. But it doesn’t matter how many times I put these things away, within a few hours, Dave has left them on the counter again.

So, I decided to take advantage of this HomeGoods/BlogHer gift card offer to do a little de-cluttering in my kitchen, before the holidays are in full swing.

Here are the before pictures, so you can see what I was unhappy about.

Exhibit A:
Before: bread pile
The bread pile. The knife rack and the toaster are fine, I don’t mind that they live on the counter. But we obviously eat a lot of different types of bread products (there’s wheat, white, mini-bagels, and hamburger buns in that pile), and I hate seeing that stuff all piled messily in the corner.

Here’s what it looks like after my shopping excursion.
After: basket for the bread makes it feel tidier
Ideally, I would’ve liked an old-timey breadbox that I could close and shut everything away, but those are pretty hard to find these days. I like the basket as an alternative, because it makes it feel like it’s tidy and organized since it’s all in one place. And it’ll be much easier to clean around it, since I can just pick up the basket (rather than 6 different bread bags!) when I wipe down the counters.

Exhibit B:
Before: sugar, tea & coffee always on the counter
Sugar, coffee, and tea are always out on the counter. Again, I don’t mind the electric kettle or the blender being out, since they’re both appliances that get used daily, but the food items themselves drive me crazy. I don’t even drink coffee or tea! My Diet Cokes are all neatly concealed inside the fridge. But Dave, being an Englishman, drinks a steady amount of coffee and tea pretty much all day long.

Here’s the “after” picture for that one (this is by far my favorite part of this whole kitchen tidy-up project):
After: containers for sugar, coffee & tea
I got airtight containers for the sugar, coffee, and tea. And I love them. It makes the whole counter look cleaner.

I’m very pleased with the results. And I’m no longer anxious about people judging the chronic messiness of my kitchen when they visit my house for the holidays, so I’d definitely call that a win.

stuff swirling around in my head, none of which is enough to make a single coherent post

We saw “Toy Story 3” on Saturday. I cried. And Dave didn’t even make fun of me that much (which means he must’ve thought it was sad too, because normally he mocks me when I cry during movies). Catie is obsessed with the first and second Toy Story movies, and she loved this one, but we had to talk about it a lot afterward. I think some parts of the movie might be upsetting for little kids. But otherwise, the three of us gave it a combined total of six thumbs up.

I noticed a lot of people did Father’s Day posts, and I felt bad that it didn’t even occur to me. So, happy late Father’s Day to Dave. Catie and I love you to pieces.

I have to say, Sunday was a pretty great day. To celebrate Father’s Day, we went out for breakfast (IHOP, yum), then Dave went home to chill out and have some downtime while I took Catie out to run errands with me. We went to Best Buy to buy Dave’s Father’s Day gift, then we hit Toys R Us to look for a “Slinky Dog” toy from Toy Story. Catie had filled up her reward chart and she said that was the thing she wanted (actually, no, she said she “needed” a Slinky Dog). Of course, Toys R Us was sold out, and I worried she’d have a huge meltdown, so I said, “Hey, they’re out of Slinky Dog here, so let’s go see if another store has it. Come on!” And she… my child… left Toys R Us willingly and without a meltdown. I couldn’t believe it. Reward charts FTW!

Also? Thank the heavens above for Wal-Mart (something I never thought I’d say), because we got the LAST Slinky Dog on the shelf. Catie was so happy that she was an angel for the rest of the day.

We got groceries, brought them home, and then since Catie was too hyper to nap, she came back out with me again to shop for new workout clothes. She sat patiently in the dressing room and told me if she did or didn’t like the clothes I had tried on. (I was only supposed to be looking for workout clothes, but I actually thought this dress looked kind of cute on me and I was thinking about getting it for BlogHer, but Catie said, “No, Mommy. Try something else.” Thanks, kiddo! Way to keep me focused on the task at hand.) It was awesome. We wandered all over the mall and she was the best shopping buddy I could’ve asked for.

And Dave got to play video games all day and take a nap, so I think it was a pretty great Father’s Day for him too.


In the category of exercise/fitness stuff: A little over a week ago, I ran 20 minutes without stopping for the first time in my life. And it was awesome. But since then, my workouts have been feeling progressively more difficult. On Saturday I tried to run 25 minutes without stopping (which, yeah, that’s hard, but I ran 20 minutes, right? So not THAT much harder!) and I had to stop to catch my breath around minute 15. Ok, no big deal. Then I tried to do that 25-minute run again yesterday and I had to stop to catch my breath 4 different times. WTF? Then this morning I woke up with a nasty cough. Ah, allergies, you evil b*tch. That probably explains my diminished lung capacity. I guess I should maybe pop an extra antihistamine an hour or so before my workout.

I made these brownies (thanks, Grace!), which sound horrifying, but are actually pretty good. Only, um, the combination of ingredients does lead to some, *ahem*, digestive issues. Let’s just leave it at that, ok? But they ARE yummy and a lot healthier than regular brownies, so… ? Judge for yourself, I suppose. They really taste nothing like the ingredients would have you think.

I signed Catie up for swimming lessons at the YMCA (our gym), and the classes start in mid-July. But every time we talk about it, she says, “Noooooo! I can’t want to go swimming!” She won’t go to the neighborhood pool with me on the weekends, she won’t wear her swimsuit to daycare on “Water Play Day” (which is basically just playing in the sprinklers, they don’t have a pool). She is terrified of all things water-related, except the bathtub, and she’s not even a big fan of that.

So, I was thinking about withdrawing her from swimming lessons this year. There’s a bunch of kids on the wait list who I know would be happy to take her place, and I haven’t paid for it yet so I won’t lose any money. I’m just not sure if it’s worth putting her through it when she’s clearly so scared and unwilling to try it. Maybe we could try it next year and it’d be easier for her. I do think that learning to swim is one of those basic survival skills that everyone needs. I’m just not sure if she needs it at 3 years old. If any of y’all have any opinions on this, I’d love to hear them. I honestly don’t know what to do.

Random Sunday bits

* Diet/exercise update: I’ve been doing pretty well so far. Trying not to eat at night has been about as difficult as I expected, which is to say, VERY. I’m drinking a lot more water, although I’m probably still drinking too much Diet Coke. One step at a time, people. For me, Diet Coke is more addiction than habit, so that one’s a little tougher.

My sister talked me into trying out The Daily Plate to track my calories, and I guess I should’ve expected to be appalled by the amount of junk I was eating, but it still caught me by surprise. The website has its pros & cons: it doesn’t strike me as the most user-friendly, but on the plus side, it does have pretty much every food item imaginable in the database (even menus at chain restaurants). My main gripe with it, or any type of food journal, is that it’s just tedious to keep a log of every single food item you put in your mouth. (Of course, I also see the benefit, that it makes you think twice about it when you know you’re going to have to see the calories on the screen right in your face later.) I’m still debating on whether or not I’ll use it long-term.

I’ve worked out the last three days in a row. On Friday, I did pilates. Saturday, I did the first couch-to-5K workout (which was hard, but I survived), and then today I did the Biggest Loser Weight-Loss Yoga. Tomorrow it’s back to the couch-to-5K, and so on & so forth.

* We went to Target today and it was insane. We shop there all the time, so I didn’t account for the traffic increase on Sunday afternoon. That’s a mistake I won’t be repeating. But listen, I get that it’s August in North Carolina and it’s insanely hot outside, but y’all: wearing a teeny-tiny swimsuit cover-up and a pair of flip-flops (and nothing else) is not appropriate shopping attire. What happens if you have to bend over to pick up that 12-pack of soda? Lord help us all. And I’m not talking about one person, there were many women that I thought, “oh wow, she really should’ve put on a bra before leaving the house.” I saw lots of kids running around the store barefoot too, which, eww. Yuck. Seriously? Really, really not ok. I think we needed the fashion police up at Target today, is what I’m saying.

* Catie continues to be almost 100% successful at peeing in the potty (she had an accident in her Pull-Up at Target today, but it was her first mistake in 5 days, & she was distracted by the toy aisle, so I’m overlooking it). Still no poops in the potty, but I think she’ll get to it soon. I’ve been shaking her Pull-Ups into the potty so she’ll have the visual “this is where it’s supposed to go” clue. And she’s been acting out scenes in which one of her toys poops its diaper and she tells it, “no no, poop goes in da potty!” (my favorite was when Molly, one of her Thomas the Tank Engine trains, pooped her diaper; I can’t even begin to wrap my head around how that’d work).

* Random kid funny: Last night Beaumont climbed across Catie, trying to get within head-scratching distance of me. Somehow part of his giant cat self ended up on Catie’s foot, which made her irate. She screamed at him, “No, Bun-bun! It’s MY foot! It’s Catie’s!” I can’t explain why that made me laugh for the next 10 minutes, but god, it really did.

looking for my party dress

I’ve got a bunch of stuff swirling around my head right now, but most of it is not really all that interesting. I doubt any of y’all really want to hear about:
* This chapter I’m writing, which is due on Friday, and has got me all sorts of stressed out. Oh, and how yesterday I drew the most awesome diagram of an Active Directory-integrated DNS zone in the entire history of diagrams of DNS zones. Yeah, baby.
* The fact that my house is a mess (because of the aforementioned book deadline) and it’s starting to gross me out. I’m already making a mental list of which tasks I’m going to tackle as soon as I’m done writing.
* House-hunting and my ridiculously long list of criteria, and how we sort of like this one new development, but there are a whole bunch of risks associated with new developments these days, and oh my god, how am I supposed to make a decision like this? Whine whine, woe is me and my privileged little life. People are losing their dream homes left and right and I’m debating over whether to buy resale or have a house custom-built for us. Yeah. Poor me, I know. Shut up, Cindy. God.

So instead, let’s talk about BlogHer. Because I’m going.

BlogHer '09 In Real Life

It’s next month, and I’m already getting a little nervous. As it turns out, when you go to BlogHer, it’s not just the conference itself (which is on Friday and Saturday), but there are also a bunch of parties. So, I’m flying in on Thursday evening, and I’ve already RSVP’ed to two different parties that night. And that’s just Thursday! Before the conference has even officially started!


And I’m also going to the Room 704 party that night (alas, their badges aren’t working).

The parties are at different times, so that’s fine, I should be able to attend both. But here’s the thing: everyone dresses up for these events. And my wardrobe consists mostly of jeans and hoodies. Seriously, you should see the shoes that some people plan on wearing. (Hi, Heather!) It’s crazy. I’m definitely feeling the pressure to cute-ify myself up a bit. (Yes, I just used cute as a verb. Shush.)

So I’m now shopping online for dresses that I can wear on the plane, so I can arrive at the hotel looking gorgeous and ready to party. It’s only an hour and a half direct flight, but you know, it’ll be July. So the sweatiness (and ensuing shiny forehead) is a concern. And I need a dress with at least a little bit of sleeve. Because as much as I might act like my flabby upper arms don’t bother me and I’m fine and “yeah, I’m cool with my size 12-ness” in person, I also know people will be taking pictures at these parties. And if I see photos of my flabby upper arms, my whole self-acceptance facade will fly out the window, and I will cry and beg people to delete the pictures of me. So that’s no good. But it does make it harder to shop, since it seems that most dresses are sleeveless.

I did, however, manage to find these online (thank you, Macys.com – now if you’d only make linking easier so I don’t have to copy & paste everything):

black & white dress
I think this one is my favorite. It’s so pretty and looks like it would be very flattering.

black & white patterned dress
I honestly can’t tell if this is flattering or not because of that ridiculous pose the model is doing. But I think I might like it? Maybe?

brown dress with cap sleeves
I’m not sure what I think about the brown, but it also comes in black. It meets my two requirements as far as covering a little bit of arm and not being too clingy on my tummy area. And if worn with the right bra, it might actually give the illusion that I have boobs. Hmm.

black & white print dress
I don’t usually like all-over prints on me, but something about this dress really appeals to me. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s cute.

little black dress
This one might work, since I know I won’t look nearly as severe and dead-behind-the-eyes as the model. I probably won’t lean on walls like that either.

What do y’all think? Votes?

As for the shoes, I think I’m going to have to find some cute ballet flats or something, because I refuse to be That Woman who wears heels through the airport. Maybe I’ll toss something cuter in my bag to change into once I get to the party, but I haven’t figured that part out yet.