mommas don't let your babies grow up to be internet trolls

Monday, February 25, 2013

A few weeks ago, I was faced with a class A internet troll.  You know the ones, they are just about everywhere comments are enabled on the internet.  They leave their nasty non-critiques on beautiful blogposts and inspirational articles.  They litter every single youtube video with more than 100 views.  They are almost always anonymous or with some ridiculous handle with a fake email address because they know the internet is a hiding place where no one really cares enough to try to actually find them regardless of how much beef they believe they can toss out.

ugh, I don't roll my eyes at anything more than I do when faced with an internet troll.

With my 25 Rules post, I have had my fair share of run-ins with the internet trolls.  I will definitely not be calling anyone out specifically because I'm not throwing gasoline at those fires.  Internet trolls believe they're doing a service by 'stirring the pot,' when really they are by no means contributing any new or interesting viewpoint to the table.  They literally take a dump on the comments and wait for people to be offended.  It's not a critique trolls, you're just a douchebag who wants attention.

I mean, honestly, if you're going to take the effort to comment (and type in that wacky 'prove your not a robot' phrase to do it) - you'd think you'd have something more worthwhile to say than, "this is "stupid" (although trolls almost always use their own heinous synonym for stupid).

Anyway, back to a few weeks internet troll took the effort to comment on my 25 Rules post (don't bother trying to find the comment, I deleted it), and attempted to  leave the most repulsive comment on a post that was originally inspired by my son.
-Oh no, he didn't. -
In my attempt to uncover this troll's identity, I fell into the underbelly of the lowest of low of the internet's potential.  After some lost time (but seriously.) I came back up for air and took a good look at myself.  I was disgusted, sort of horrified, and overall concerned that I had been trapped in a sea of information - albeit total garbage of information - but trapped.

Occasionally I'll run across an article or a video that is truly inspiring or thought provoking.  But for the most part, I am completely impassively scrolling through pages and pages of filler.  Just because I have access to all of this information (a great deal of which is garbage), does not actually mean that I need to be accessible to it at all times.

So then I had a sort of mini-meltdown with the realization that maybe what I need is an overall internet diet.  Because although I was brought to this point by way of an internet troll guide through bigotry and web-hate - it helped me see that even though I'm not entranced looking at that sort of thing everyday - its really the daily garbage that I soak in on the internet that has me sort of in a funk and overwhelmed.  It wasn't just this one moment, but actually for a few weeks now I have become increasingly more concerned about the mindless scrolling that I do throughout the course of the day.  The iPad and my phone are in easy reach for the entire day, and if a moment spares, I snatch them up and mindlessly scroll.

And obviously, if I'm scrolling - there are other things I'm not doing - like mainly enjoying my actual real-life day.

Thus, leads me to my internet dieting for the past few weeks.  It's nothing very set in stone and somedays I still find myself stuck in a youtube black hole of Jim & Pam (of the office) fan videos of their top 65 million cute moments (i'm warning - don't go down that road, it's adorable but also a very slippery slope) - but I've been attempting to limit my access to it so that I don't limit my access to other parts (and people) during my day.  I've removed the facebook app from my phone (shocking! and liberating!!) and I hide the iPad from myself on top of the computer during the day - lame, but out of sight; out of mind.

So sorry for not updating here as frequently right now, but I'm living, man :)  and by living, I mean taking a full blown bubble-mania bath with the kids the other day (thanks to a serendipitous combination of Greyson's secret pouring of half the bubble bath bottle and turning on the Jacuzzi jets.  oops).

and cozy'ing up to Brandon with beer and Darryl Dixon after we put the kids to bed.

Because its not that I wouldn't have done these things before my internet diet, but that I'm fearful (and ashamed, certainly) that I'm not sure I wouldn't have been partially distracted pre-internet diet.  First step to being better is admitting you can be better - right?

So thanks, internet troll?

no, actually, never thanks to the internet trolls.

Mommas, we need to teach our babies that the internet does not give you muscles to say something you won't put your name next to.  If you aren't going to claim it - then don't say it.

A Mom's Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

She wakes up to a kiss on the forehead and a whispered, "happy Valentine's Day, I'll be home as soon as I can" in her ear from her husband on his way out the door for work that morning.

She lets guilt peel her out of bed at 6:15a as she didn't prepare anything special for the kids for Valentine's day.

She makes her way downstairs while the dogs weave in and out of her legs to get outside.  She brews coffee and turns on her work laptop.

She pulls out some frozen sugar cookie dough and attempts to roll it out and use heart shaped cookie cutters.  As it doesn't quite work, she opts for sprinkling red, pink, and orange-colored sugar on top of each cookie drop.

She sits down to answer a few work emails while the cookies are in the oven - only to realize too late that she lost track of time and now the first tray is of cookies are dark brown.  She tosses the second tray in and sets the oven timer.

She kisses both kids good morning and helps them downstairs.  "Its Valentine's Day, my darlings.  That means we have to hug and kiss all day!" she says enthusiastically.  "Can I have a cookie?" they ask eagerly.  She succumbs to cookies for breakfast, it's a holiday after all.

During breakfast, she helps her son write the first letter to his name on valentine notes for his day care class.  He asks, "Can I make one for my baby sister?"  Later, she gets choked up when taping the note in her daughter's baby book under the words, 'your first valentine 2013'

She catches a glimpse of the beautiful valentine of her friend's babies hanging on the fridge and has a pang of guilt for not having it together enough to make one of her own babies to send to family and friends.  She grabs her phone, and is yet again, thankful for the Red Stamp app as she whips up a Valentine to text and post to facebook in an attempt to pretend like she is one of those moms that has it together.

She bundles the kids in coats and hats and lumbers out the door balancing kids, valentines, and her purse.  She gets the baby strapped in her car-seat only to watch as her son slips in the snow.  She calms her son and heads back into the house to change his pants now soaked in snow and slush.  

She stops at the local deli to pick up a bag of party mix for the daycare valentine's day party.  She talks excitedly about the party in the truck in hopes to keep her son from fussing at drop off time.

She makes her way home to toss a rump roast in the slow cooker and spends the rest of the day working, changing diapers, and wiping down sticky baby fingers.  She forgets it Valentines day.

After lunch, she realizes the baby has ripped off the head to the monster in the musical valentines card from her sister.  She remembers it is Valentines day.

She feels guilty for not having anything planned for the evening of the holiday so she searches pinterest from some pinspiration   She realizes almost immediately that this was a bad idea as now she only feels worse about not being prepared.

Instead of an elaborate activity, she scribbles a three-step treasure hunt on paper hearts that lead to the bathtub. She resolves to set up a 'valentine bath' which is both fun for the kids and practical for her as its 'bath day.'

She loads the baby in the truck and heads to pick up her son at day care.  She swallows her pride as he shows her the valentines he received from other kids including not only notes but also baggies filled with candies and pencils from moms who have it together a little more than her.

She gets through the late afternoon until a tantrum caused by the missing head to the musical valentines card.  On hands and knees, she finds the missing monster head and reattaches it to the card.  She glances at the clock and wonders when her husband will be home.

She smiles as her husband hands a dozen roses to their son and whispers, 'go give these to Mumma.'  She laughs as her husband hands another dozen to their baby daughter and she tries to take a bite of them.  She only stabs herself with a thorn once as she puts two dozen roses in a vase for their kitchen table.

She enjoys the first four minutes of dinner with her husband and two children.  Then she spends the rest of dinner attempting to reason with a picky toddler and scolding the dogs for taking the baby's food from her outstretched, offering hand.

She watches as her son runs around the house completing the treasure hunt which leads them to the decorated bath.  She sits in peace with her husband as they watch their kids giggling and playing together in the pink-colored bath water.

She and her husband wrestle two kids through lotion, pajamas, and teeth brushing.  She puts the baby to sleep and cleans up the kitchen.  She tells her son through clenched teeth for the fourteenth time that its time for bed.

She cleans up the kitchen, feeds the dogs, thanks her husband for feeding the cats, and throws together a surprise for the mail person.

Sleepily, she heads up to bed wondering if there is such a thing as Valentines day.  And when she lays down, she thinks back on the good of the day.  The baby open-mouth kisses, her son saying, 'you know what I wanna give you?  A kissa and hugga," the taste of a slow-cooked meal, her husband's light kiss on her neck.  She thinks again, maybe there is no such thing as Valentines Day -  maybe its really that everyday is Valentines day.

toddler & baby Kindness - Guest Post

Friday, February 15, 2013

I apologize for the lack of posting going on this week.  I'm going to give you an update very soon (tomorrow?) but I've been doing a little internet dieting - so thanks for hanging around.

I am excited today to direct you over to Nicole's Craftastic Life blog where I did a guest post for her about how we incorporate kindness in our day to day lives.  Even with very young kids, we try to remember kindness everyday.  Check out Nicole's blog for my post and to read her own posts on a normal basis.

Thanks for letting me guest post, Nicole!

meal planning & pin recipe reviews: January 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

I don't want to jinx myself, but it appears that I am going to be able to overcome a very big obstacle in my motherhood/wifehood ambitions:  meal planning.  After years of struggling with getting the motivation to plan out our weekly dinners, I have successfully made it through an entire month of planning our Monday-Thursday meals.  It's a flipping miracle, my friends.

I'm not doing any kind of fancy meal planning like I have aspired to in the past.  (Like this, this, or this).  Puhlease.  I finally just got real with it and owned up to two things about myself:

1. the only thing I am intrisically invested in maintaining order within is my planner
2. I get very bored with food rotations

The first notation is why fancy meal planning systems (like the aforementioned) have not worked for me, because I try to be all fancy until it loses its luster.  However, I have maintained a personal planner since my freshman year of college (nerd alert).  You best not mess with my planner, ya'll.  fah reals.

The second point of interest is why meal planning seems a daunting task after a few weeks because in my brain I'm all like, "chicken, beef, pasta, chicken, beef, pasta, chicken, beef, dear sweet angels above release me from this monotonus existence."  (okay, I'm overly dramatic when it comes to this subject).

Alas, after complaining about my inability to get my sh*t together meal plan with my friend Jessica (hi, JP) who appears to have meal planning down like it ain't no thang, she flat out was like, "why are you being a drama queen? write it out on a piece of paper and be done with it, fool."  (okay, I embellished that a little because Jess is way to sweet to call me a fool, but you get the picture).

So, I've been jotting down our daily dinners in my planner and then getting my grocery list together and having all my supplies by Monday night's meal.  And to be quite honest, it really isn't as hard (or dramatic) as I have previously made it out to be.  And thanks to the magic of Pinterest - I have so far steered clear of my monotonous ranting about repeating foods.

And can I just be the 1 bajillionth person to tell you - it has made a drastic positive change in my motherhood/wifehood to not be last minute stressing about what we are eating each night.

And now for the fun part - from our pinterest recipes tried this past month - I'm going to give the low down on how they fared in our house from our cast of characters:
open to new things (OtNT) mumma
meat&potatoes (M&P) dadda
picky toddler
Lovestoeat (LtE) baby

Pin recipe #1:  Garlic Baked Shrimp

Basics:  this recipe was quick and easy to make, which for a mumma with kids hanging off her legs is a pretty great combo.
OtNT Mumma:  YUM.  love it, of course I love shrimp...and garlic.  this was delicious and easy!
M&P Dadda:  good, but I'm not going to be asking for it by name in the future
Picky Toddler:  blech!  gross.
LtE Baby:  loved it, and it was a successful introduction to shrimp!

(i don't know what "they" say about babies and shrimp -okay, fine i just googled it - but no one in our family is allergic to shellfish so we always introduce our kids to as many different kinds of foods and tastes as possible.)

Pin recipe #2:  Sweet Baby Ray's Crockpot Chicken

Basics:  easiest thing on the planet to make.  we are big supporters of the slow cooker, so we regularly use it about once a week for dinner.

OtNT Mumma:
M&P Dadda:  more please!!
Picky Toddler:  Yummmmmmmmy!
LtE Baby:  only one who didn't like it.  and she was teething and cranky, so we're blaming it on that.

Pin recipe #3:  Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Basics:  takes a little time to get everything assembled and ready to go.

OtNT Mumma:  really enjoyed all of the tastes blended together and felt sort of a like a 'fancy' dinner for our family.
M&P Dadda:  totally obsessed and ate like 2.5 boats.
Picky Toddler:  picked out all the sausage and cheese to eat and left all the zucchini in little piles all over his plate
LtE Baby:  not crazy about the zucchini, but loved the sausage, cheese, & sauce

Pin recipe #4:  Balsamic & Garlic Pork Tenderloin

Basics:  We had to roast it as it was sort of a blizzard (directions for that too in the link) and I wasn't about to make B go out in the snow to grill.  We love grilled pork tenderloin though so we'd love to re-try during grilling season

OtNT Mumma: Yum.  the balsamic marinade was the perfect tang.  I followed up the next afternoon with leftovers and made a quasi-pulled pork sandwich - just as delicious on day2
M&P Dadda:  ate a lot of it.  like a lot.
Picky Toddler:  thought it was chicken and dipped it in ketchup.  ate a 'mom-satisfied' amount
LtE Baby:  ate some.  liked the accompanying mashed potatoes more though.

Pin recipe #5:  Blueberry Muffin Bake

Basics:  holy use of supplies, batman.  I loathe washing dishes, so when a recipe calls for me to blend and mix things in lots of separate bowls it irritates me #firstworldproblems.  This one was all sorts of fancy to make -like use of lots of utensils and lemon zest

OtNT Mumma: Despite the prep mess, it was delicious.  took a little while to bake which is hard in the morning with hungry gremlin children (and it was still undercooked in the middle, but the kids were screaming for breakfast so we ate around it).
M&P Dadda:  it was good, but not really a big breakfast guy
Picky Toddler: ate, and ate, and ate, and ate.  and is still asking when I'm making 'Blueberry marshmuffin' cake again  (he confuses marshmallows and muffins...strange child).
LtE Baby:  liked it but prefers stand alone blueberries more

Pin recipe #6:  Skinny Baked Potato Soup

Source: via Tabitha on Pinterest

Basics:  fairly easy to make (although I need to youtube 'how to cut cauliflower' so I don't make such a huge mess - okay fine, here just did) and we definitely didn't feel guilty over eating loads of cauliflower instead of potatoes & cheese

OtNT Mumma: Really good and perfect on a cold day.  I didn't chop the cauliflower all the way up (it was still sort of chunks) and that was the RIGHT decision.
M&P Dadda:  loves cauliflower = super loved this soup
Picky Toddler: nope.  didn't like it although loved topping it with 4 lbs of cheese and chives
LtE Baby:  could not feed her fast enough.  She loved it that night and then for two days after for lunch leftovers.

So it has been a taste-tastic month (hah!) and we are still going strong.  I'm hopeful that we can keep it up - and keep it from getting boring.  Between the pinned recipes, we sprinkle in some of our oldies but goodies like lasagna, sloppy joes, chicken fajitas, etc.  We try about 1-2 new pin recipes a week and we are having fun trying them out.

What are some of your favorite recipes - pinned or not?  I need all the help I can get to keep this up!