Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bringing The The Holidays Up A Notch Will Be The End Of Our Nation.

By now we have all read this amazing rant from Rage Against the Minivan about bringing the holidays down a notch. I completely agree.  In my house, we too, celebrated St. Paddy's Day by wearing green and eating corned beef.

Oh, how far we've come. The achievement-oriented children of the 80s are now moms and we're all CRAZY and making ourselves crazier turning every single holiday into a technicolor event so we can instagram the $hit out of the technicolor and post our homemaking prowess on Facebook and Pinterest.

Barf.

Or so I thought.

I vowed to keep Easter simple. Maybe he'd get a basket with a box of Kix inside since those are his new packaged-good obsession.

The aftermath isn't too bad, but the setup
was cuter before he got his little hands on it!
Last night I realized I may have taken it a tad too far. In his cute froggy basket, which I HAD to buy because he started ribbiting at it in the store, were a dozen plastic eggs filled with Kix and crackers, one Reese's egg, bubble stuff, and an Elmo shirt because everytime he sees Elmo he says, "Momo" and it's just about the cutest thing ever. Next to his basket was a set of plastic golf clubs. You can't start them too early when they're destined for the PGA.

We did not have a scheduled egg hunt because of my mis-scheduling but next week I am hosting a Spring Treasure Hunt the bounty of which is eggs filled with, you guessed it, Kix. 

I asked myself numerous times last night why I did this when a single chocolate bunny would have sufficed. This year, especially, he'll never know the difference and still I couldn't stop myself from accumulating more Easter treats because I thought of the smile on his face and the peals of laughter he'd shriek when he saw a pint-sized Elmo shirt.

Now, I didn't take it too far. There are no chocolate fountains or barnyard animals in my living room, but I can see how that happens:

My Mom Train of Thought: "He just loves chicks. Thanks to their awesome data-mining, Target knows what I want before I do and just so happens to be selling a coop of chickens this Easter season that are strangely a perfect fit for my car and the playroom AND I have a Red Card. Throw it in the cart!"

It's hard to take it down a notch because we adore seeing our children full of joy, but the ends will not have justified the means. A century from now, when China is the dominating world power psychologists will write books called "Generation Deluded," that will track the fall of our nation back to the babies we birthed and  Pinterested through childhood. Moms, we DO NOT want this to be our legacy!

The frosting cocoon we are crafting for them (and creating a KICK ASS Pinterest board about) will be a detriment when 2035 rolls around and they enter the workforce. Their first day on the job, they will be searching for their Email Echidna to get through their inbox, their Meeting Moose to facilitate their meetings, their Polka Dot Panda Presenter to present to the Leadership Team, and their Office Orangutan to manage the politics and get them promoted.

Before Cupid starts shooting safe, yet well-aimed, candy-laden arrows every February 14th and Punxsutawney Phil spends February 2nd delivering summer treats to every child in the land, let's stop.

The productivity of our nation depends on us.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Let's Talk About The Kitchen Renovation.

So the renovation is just about done and while I'd love to share all the pics all at once, we still don't have everything set up just so and I can't find the damn charger for our nice camera so I can't take nice pics, anyway.

While we wait to set up and to find the charger, let's talk about my new appliances.

We were feeling European and much cooler than we will ever be when we made the decision to go with Miele. Neither Jenn-Air nor GE could offer us the smooth, sleek lines that sang to us like sirens from their German counterpart.

And so far, they look fabulous!

Same view. The post in the "after" is the wall where the microwave is "before." In the day, it's just as sunny in the "after," thanks to a giant picture window you can't see in this one. Oh, the new appliances are the three silver rectangles in the back.

 Using them, however, has taken some getting used to. Let's start at the beginning.

Meile Coffee Maker
Our first appliance is the coffee maker. This thing is no joke. I can make a latte, espresso, or a regular coffee with fresh ground beans if only I knew how! I have figured out how to make coffee, which is frothy and extra delicious come out of this bad boy, but the latte/espresso capability is still a mystery.

However, as soon as I figure it out I'm opening a Starbucks satellite location for carpool moms. With me in a green apron and the smell of fresh ground beans in the air, no one will realize they're not at the real thing.

Our second amazing appliance is the speed oven/microwave. Yes, that's a slash. This little thing has a mind of it's own. When I turn it on, I choose what I want to do. My options are Bake, Broil, Microwave, Master Chef, Defrost, and "More." Right now I mostly microwave, but I have done two other cool things with this appliance.

Miele Speed Oven/Microwave
First, I've baked with it and learned the name "speed" oven is accurate. The thing heats up to temp in about two minutes and then cooks everything in half the time you expect. We had some very crisp pizza on my first go-round.

Secondly, I used the meat probe. I mocked the name "meat probe" but I shall never do that again after witnessing its wonder. I stuck one end in an outlet in the oven, stuck the needle end deep in the meat, punched the meat temp into the oven and it cooked it until it was done. I didn't choose a temp or a time, it just did it!

Last up is the Steam Oven. This one is giving me the most trouble. When I turn it on, I choose what type of food I'm cooking and then dive into specifics.  Last night, for example, I cooked Broccoli Florets. Yes, that was a choice. Like its friend the meat probe, the steamer doesn't ask for inputs other than what you're cooking. From there, as long as the water reservoir is full, it goes until the food is done. It seems pretty amazing, but I don't know when to use it yet so I am steaming everything in the fridge.

Miele Steam Oven
So in a surprise twist, I'm more happy with the way the appliances work than with how they look. Turns out judging a book by its cover wasn't a bad thing (says the marketer who does this no matter what).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Purely Self Indulgent Post.

"Aren't  they all self indulgent posts about you?" I hear you asking. Well, I hope not. You'd tell me if I was an blogging egomaniac, right? Oh wait. I have a blog. Egomania is a free widget.

Anyway, I wanted to take a post to not be sarcastic or try to be funny and just say that I am very excited because I got to do something totally awesome on Friday...I got to go back to college!

Through a friend I was invited to speak to a marketing undergraduate class about New Product Development. I got to talk about what I used to do, share examples of successes, and feel sort of important again.

I also found another validation point about leaving my job, which I still seek almost a year later, when the professor asked me what my former position was, laughed, and said, "You can't do that and have a baby," when I told her.

Talking about products I launched that they knew of was also a reminder that not everyone gets the experience I had. I know at the end it almost caused a nervous breakdown, but aside from that blip, it was a dreamjob. Except on the days that were a total pain in the ass. Which tended to be Mon-Thurs, on average.

After class I had lunch with the head of the Undergrad Marketing program who told to let her know when I'm ready to teach. I said, "I am ready now," and she asked if I could teach Consumer Behavior. My answer is yes, yes, yes so she is going to try to make it all happen.

 "Professor" could have such a lovely ring to it even with the "adjunct" before it. Do you think I'll get Professor business cards because if so, I will accidentally hand them out to everyone I come across.

Dog groomer: I'm in office hours around the time the dog is clean. Call me here. I'm a professor.

Dry cleaner: Call me in my office in the ivory tower if you can't get out the stain.

Doctor's Receptionist When She Asks If My Insurance Has Changed: No, I'm only an adjunct, but university healthcare is so great. I know because I'm a professor. Take my card and call me if you have any academic questions.

Plane Seatmate: Oh, I'm not in the business right now. I teach about it. As a professor. Email me, that's dot e-d-u, and I will critique every marketing campaign without running one or having sales accountability because I'm a professor!

Cannot wait!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It's Crackerpalooza.

It's Crackerpalooza.

He wants crackers in the morning. He wants crackers before breakfast. He wants crackers as lunch, dinner, and two snacks.

He wants Goldfish crackers, Cheddar Bunny crackers, Trader Joe's Peanut Butter sandwich crackers, Saltine crackers, and animal crackers.

8am shot of the kitchen. Crackers everywhere.
He wants crackers in Target, in the car, at the grocery store, and in his playroom.

He wants to feed his dog crackers.

There are crackers on every floor, in both cars, in the bathtub (don't ask), in my hair, and mushed into all my jeans.

His cracker tracker is more accurate than my GPS. He can spot them by brand from his perch in the grocery cart, through the door of the kitchen cupboard, and ground into the rug in his playroom.

He can crush, stomp, and throw crackers with the ferocity of an Olympic discus hurler. He can yell for crackers at a decibel that rivals eight opera singers hitting the high note together.

Get your tickets before the show gets shut down. It's Crackerpalooza.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sneak Peak of the Remodel.

"Where have you been!?" I hear my five fans frantically screaming.

Ladies, I have not abandoned you! The energy usually devoted to my incredibly funny wit has been temporarily diverted to moving back into our house, unpacking, and settling in at long, long last. I have set up the kitchen, the playroom, and hired a poolboy. Yes, I have a poolboy.

Since you are the reason I'm publishing today, I want to give my loyal followers a quick sneak peak of the kitchen. Don't worry, there will be several more living room, guest bath, playroom, pool, and kitchen shots to follow, but for bearing with me with baited breath, I want to reward you with an insider look at my fabulous new house.

Please note, it is far cooler than I will ever be.

Also, I added a picture of the boy and the dog because it is cute beyond words. They are so in love with each other it's disgusting. The dog for the food, the boy for the fun of chasing something who doesn't mind the tugs, whacks, and oh-so-tight hugs.

Also, the furniture has not yet arrived so it's a bit bare.

Also, the coolness will seem cooler when I dazzle you in a few weeks time with the before and after shots.

Also, I'd like to say the baby accoutrements scattered throughout are a one-off, but let's be serious. They're not.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Do Toys Really Need To Be Labeled Non-Toxic?

Dear Toy Makers Everywhere, Including China,

Is labeling toys "non-toxic" similar to labeling soap "antibacterial"? They are all non-toxic, yes?

I ask because, today, from two feet away, I heard my little boy banging something into the pristine, newly painted white wall. It was a red stamper that immigrated from China to the $1 bin at Target. We had fun stamping Valentines for Dad and now it's one of his season's accessory. A rock is the other one, but his archaeological tendencies are not the topic of today's letter.
The Toxic Stamps.

When I started the futile effort of explaining the wall is not for stamps, I noticed he his lipstick.

He sucked on the stamper and produced quite a little Geisha effect using his Chinese tool. Once I'd removed all evidence of the red ink from the wall and from him, I laughed and moved on.

Later, a nagging feeling about China factory standards lead me to the stamp package. I was certain I'd locate the "non-toxic" label. Guess what? There isn't one.

Is this some crazy toy industry loophole that if it doesn't say non-toxic, it IS toxic?

Please discuss. Am I the only naive parent who assumes toys are non-toxic without the non-toxic stamp?

Nice play on words, right? Let's hope I own a non-toxic stamp.

Sincerely,
annie

Monday, March 11, 2013

Living Under A Tsar.

My 15 month old is the youngest tsar in the history of the world. Don't look up whether or not this is true because I didn't and I wouldn't doubt if in the world's history there existed a baby tsar who came to power courtesy of a loose icicle that got his dad. I just don't want to hear it and blow this amazing analogy, ok?

We are moving in again and for several days our fabulously remodeled house was littered with half-opened boxes full of things babies shouldn't touch. My little tsar stumbled from box to box, destroying everything in his path, to reach the baubles that were not his own.

Nothing could stop him. Not baby gates, dogs, or my stern, "No!" and I am convinced the vodka made him bold.

When he heard no, he looked at me with utter contempt, pointed at my face like he'd identified a counterrevolutionary for the firing squad, and screamed in drunken gibberish, "How dare you speak to me in that tone!? You are a laborer and I am a little prince. Pick me up and carry me to my toys!"

Today, being the simple-minded peasant that I am, I forgot his cracker and experienced wrath that only a dictator knows how to dole out. We had to leave the store as fast as possible lest he tip over his mom-drawn carriage.

Yesterday, I rounded a corner just in time to see him casually flip off the lid of an open paint can and pull out the paint-soaked brush. "Lady," he said, "I really shouldn't be tarnishing my royal threads. Are you going to stop me?" I dove. He laughed.

The good news is that all tsars get overthrown. It's the way of the world and I just have to wait for my moment to revolt!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Moving and Podcasting. In The Same Week. This is CRAZY.

I've gone dark over here because we are in the process of moving back into our house. I will be sad to part with the horse and tent that have supported my nomadic lifestyle of the past eight months but am excited to stop living like I'm searching for a water source.

It will also be exciting for me, and hopefully for you, to share pictures of the finished project. Alas, for now we are unpacking and I do not want to share nor do you want to see pics of this mess.

Lucky for me, Cynthia at Oh So Pinteresting chose this week to broadcast our podcast about my meager pinning attempts which she thought were cool enough to PODCAST and publish my post for her blog. So go listen and read there.

Gawd, I am getting so famous.

Cynthia is a Pinterest expert and has amazing tips practically everyday on how to use Pinterest. Whether you're a light user or growing your business via Pinterest I highly recommend becoming a regular over on her space. I've heard from high-up sources that little Cynthia sent kids home crying from birthday parties when Pin The Tail On The Donkey was played. What other pinning credentials does a girl need?

I can't listen to the podcast because hearing my recorded voice makes me wish I'd never learned to Speak. Lest I spend the rest of my life confused for an amateur mime who can't get out of her invisible box, please go listen for me and tell me how it is. Seriously. I just can't do it.

Happy weekend. May you not unpack a single box.