Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Well, Its Halloween

So today is Halloween. Everything is pretty much back to normal here after Hurricane Sandy. It feels a little weird that things should just go back to normal when for so many people life is a big ball of smelly crap right now. My mom in NJ, for example, does not expect to get her power back for another 7-10 days.

Last summer, we had a very bad storm here called a Derecho. It was like if a normal summer thunderstorm took a bunch of meth and then for fun, also tried some bath salts. Then pretend you saw the thunderstorm in the Target parking lot and you were like: "Dude. You look really scary. What the hell is going on with you right now?" And the thunderstorm totally lost it's shit and decided that an appropriate reaction would be to eat your face off.

No one expected that storm. It happened with almost no warning. My mother in law saw power poles snap in half in front of her and the roof fly off her barn. She was without water and power for over 2 weeks. Things did not get back to normal right away after that storm. You couldn't buy things without cash. The lines at gas stations were hours long. Cell phones barely worked for a week. There were moments when you weren't sure if people were going to go feral and turn on each other.

But they didn't. They helped each other and took care of each other and they all got through it. And I really, really hope that is what happens to all the people in cold houses right now, wondering if it's safe to drink to the water.

It makes me want to cancel Halloween.

But I can't. Because there are little people in my house who need life to return to normal. So tonight I will put on my costume. Here it is. I'm an old school rapper. It's so obvious, right?

I'll take the kids trick-or-treating and we'll have fun. But no party for the neighborhood. And oddly, my offspring understand that. They nodded in agreement. "It wouldn't be cool. Let's just order pizza or something."

[Editor's note: Cap'n Coupon would like you to know that it will be a store bought, frozen pizza.]

So it's going to be a low-key Halloween. It's going to be a Thanksgiving kind of Halloween. Because we're grateful to have power. And a house with a roof and heat and no water in the basement. I'm pretty happy that school is open. I'm glad my family in NJ is safe. I'm hopeful that all of you are safe and dry, too.

xoxo, Lydia

PS: Here's a really funny video on Halloween candy from the geniuses at Buzzfeed, which I'm sure we can all use right now. It is awesome. Enjoy!

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's a Frankenstorm! Let's All Lose Our Schmidt!

Guess what everybody? It's a huge, scary storm and it's headed this way! Let's all totally freak out and run around in circles! [Except that I sort of do that, so I should stop now.] Seriously, though... I hope everyone stays safe and that you and your babies are all snug and dry.

Over at Rants in My Pants, I gave 25 great ways to prepare for Armageddon/Frankenstorms/Your in-laws coming to visit. I'm kind of an expert and stuff because I've had training. Government training. Even though these tips are silly, they are based on checklists from FEMA and Homeland Security.

But here's an example the government didn't teach me about:

Kitty, get out of the damn picture. Why are you so into having your photo taken? YOU ARE WEIRD.
And here are a couple more:

Go ahead and buy them, your kids will eat them anyway. In fact, the hard part may be keeping them from gobbling up this stuff before the power goes out. It's like apple sauce out of tiny, little, pre-packaged containers is the most delicious food ever. I don't get it. Out of jar and they're like - meh.

Even at night, you'll get some light through your windows. So keep all your important stuff where you can find it, even when it's creepy, spooky dark.

Matches are good. Especially for people who are afraid of blowing up their house when they light the pilot light on their stove. Because it makes that WHOOOSH sounds that is terrifying.

You know, an apple a day and stuff. Eat it - it's good for you. Besides, after a couple of days with no power, a fresh, crisp apple tastes amazing.

To see all the other tips, click over to Rants in my Pants!

Good luck and stay safe! Let's hope this storm isn't as bad as they say... xoxo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Pinterest Nonsense - Halloween Edition

I flipping love Pinterest. If you're on there and you don't follow us, please please pretty please find us and join us in our stupidity.  Here are some recent Halloween-themed additions to our boards. Let's start with everyone's favorite:

As always, if you come across something on the internet that you think Kate will hate, please send it to me at: Thank you in advance for your assistance.

How to make duct tape boots for costumes. Because boots complete the look!!! Never know when I might need this. :)
I think these are genius. Kate will see these and roll her eyes so hard one of them will get stuck. 
THESE ARE AWESOME. They look like Wonder Woman boots except they're PURPLE.
But Kate still hates them because she is KATE.

My apologies, you guys. As you know, I'm bad at knowing what's too gross to share. If you want to see it, click over to the Things Kate Will Hate board. It's a red and white Halloween costume. You kind of can't miss it. It really will make Kate puke in her mouth when she sees it, though. Which is awesome.


I think we should all pretend that this is where Kate gets her hair done. Because she takes her hair and the dude who does her hair, as seriously as a motherfunker. She don't play.  That's also probably why her hair looks good all the time and mine looks like it was done for $16 at the Hair Cuttery next to Walmart. Because it was, you guys. It was.

This gift also included napkins.
 This kills me. I mean, I would totally apologize this way for something gross that I did and Kate knows it.

Right now Kate is like "I want to think this is funny because it sort of is, but DAMN IT. Snape's love for Lily Potter is not a joke. YOU KNOW THIS, LYDIA."
Now she's sighing and shaking her head at me.

And now Kate is blind.


Parenting FAIL? No. NO WAY. Parenting WIN.

I dare ya
I AM DOING THIS NEXT YEAR. I call dibs if you live in my neighborhood.

hahaha yes 
This is the look Kate gives me in church. And I love it.

You can't look at this for more than 4 seconds and not laugh.
 I just... I'm dying.

Why do I have this board? Two reasons. Reason one: in my family the tradition is that I stuff my kids with healthy food before we go out trick or treating so that they will have less room in their bellies for candy, which even in small amounts turns them into uncontrollable crack heads.

Reason two: like a freaking idiot, I entered into a behavior contract with my two older kids. If they agreed to be kind to each other, watch their tone of voice, do homework and chores without me having to be nag-dragon and GET UP IN THE MORNING ON TIME, I would agree to have their buddies over to much on healthy stuff with us.

It worked. They've been awesome for two weeks. And yesterday I heard Hawk say this as he was getting off the (very crowded) school bus: "PARTY AT MY HOUSE ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT!!!!"

This is just so bad for so many reasons. Also, Cap'n Coupon - if you're reading this? Honey, I forgot to tell you that we're having a few of the kids' friends over for snacks on Halloween. I LOVE YOU...

fruit for Halloween party at school - Love it!

Clementines and a Sharpie.
Pretzel and Cheese Broom Sticks by mjohnmeyer 

Cheesesticks and pretzels. Adorable.

Apple slices, peanut butter, and marshmallow! 

Apple slices, peanut butter and marshmallows.

Bagel or English Muffin Pizza Mummies
Mummy pizzas made with English muffins or bagels. Olives for eyes.

Banana Ghosts 
Banana ghost on a popsicle stick

halloween party food
My favorite - mummy dogs with mustard eyes.

Wish me luck!


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

There are JUST SO MANY to Choose From

Today you can find me awkwardly scratching at Rants in my Britches Pants

You know that awesome post Guru Louise did earlier this month about six inappropriate yet awesome baby shower gifts? Well based on some giggling we did back and forth and your amazeballs suggestions, we expanded the list and turned it into a post.

Here are some of the things that made the cut:
  • A six pack
  • Many bottles of Febreze
  • One handed food
  • Carpet cleaner
  • A large vat of Purrel
And many other wonderous and magical items that new moms actually need.

I hope you'll check it out. You can find it right here.


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What Are Your Kids' Favorite Words?

Last night, my son looked at me and asked me what my favorite words were. I told him I didn't know even though I totally do know. I just can't say them in front of him. Once in really bad traffic, I said all of my favorite words and then the kids told their father because they're a bunch of damn tattle-tales. They're lucky that they're so cute and that I love them because that's not even cool.

And then of course, last week Mini dropped the F-bomb and I got in trouble. But whatever - moving on.

So I asked my son to tell me his favorite words and he got very excited and said:
  • Kerfluffle
  • Flicket (not actually a word but whatever)
  • Pie
This is funny to me because - kerfluffle? That's awesome. It means "disturbance or fuss". IT IS PERFECT. Flicket may not be a word but when he was describing it to me he made a motion with his fingers like he was flicking a booger across the room and I was like "YUP, that works. It can stay."

And pie. In any given conversation that my two older kids have, the following three words will be spoken: "I like pie." They'll just walk into a room and start saying that to each other. They'll have a whole conversation that is comprised of only that sentence, over and over again.

I have no idea. They're a bunch of weirdos.

Then I asked Mini. She was like "Oh. Dat's so easy." and then said:
  • Poo
  • Pee
  • Clean
Does anyone else see some dissonance in this selection of words? Yes. I thought so. Mini found the whole thing hilarious and watched my reaction with a sardonic expression on her chubby face, with one small brow raised. She then smirked and walked away, as if to tell me - You wondered if I understood the irony. You are an idiot, Mommy.

So then I asked Thumbelina. She said:
  • Unicorn
  • Fluffernutter
  • Great Scott! (also not a word but for the purposes of this conversation an exclamation will suffice)
I have to say, these words are so perfect for her. On the one hand she remains (at nine years old), as sweet and sprinkled in fairy dust as ever. But she has also developed a certain mad scientist quality to her.

She enjoys doing advanced math. She creates potions that we are not allowed to touch, even when (especially when) they begin to turn rancid or grow mold.

And fluffernutter? It can be used as an expletive, as an affectionate nickname, or to describe a somewhat disgusting sandwich that Elvis might have enjoyed. It's versatile and awesome. So honestly, these three words describe her perfectly.

Then I decided to tell them my favorite words (that are OK to share with small people):
  • Pants
  • Sleeping
  • Home
Working backwards, "home" is my favorite because it's where ever they are. It's the place I most want to be. I also really love the word "sleeping" because I haven't consistently done it in about ten years and also it means that when the small people in my house are doing it, I can finally sit down for a few minutes.

You already know that I think "pants" is the funniest word in the entire world. I explained to my kids that the word "pants" is so powerful that you can combine it with other words and make them better. I gave a couple of examples:
  • Kitten becomes kittenpants.
  • Pudding becomes puddingpants.
  • Turd becomes turdpants.
Then Thumbelina was like: "Yes. But you can also do that with the word "britches" and I really think that makes all those words way funnier." Then she said: "KITTEN-BRITCHES. Pudding-britches. Turd-britches. Do you see what I'm saying? You should have called your Babble thing - 'Rants in my Britches'. Now THAT would have been funny."

I told you that kid was a mad genius. She's so right.

The the Cap's chimed in with:
  • Jib
  • Haberdasher
  • Flibbertyjibbet
The children stared at him as if he was speaking total nonsense. Then they burst out laughing. Of course we all know that these words are perfect for him because no one who is not a curmudgeonly septuagenarian grandpa would ever even think about saying them out loud. And yet, they are the Cap's favorites.

This small adventure reminded me of all of the words the kids used to say when they were very small. And how they captured perfectly who they were, at that moment of being little. My son at about age 3 would scream the word "PORKCHITTER!!!" as his battle cry. And four years later, we had totally forgotten about that. I mean - how you can forget a preschooler creating the world's perfect non-nonsensical, all-purpose curse word? I need to reincorporate that word into my vocabulary immediately.

It's important to remember this stuff, I think. To keep track of it somewhere. I take their pictures constantly, trying to capture images that represent who they are and what our lives are like. But I never kept up with their baby books and the only place I write down the awesome things they say is here. And really - "here" is for me and for other mommies, not for them. But I want them to be able to remember later in their lives that even though I sometimes yelled at them or sent them to bed early or said "no" more than "yes", that we were often a happy family. A family of fluffernutters.

I hope they will remember that, and not just the parts where we all yelled "porkchitter".
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

When Mini Said The F Word

Last week, my husband Cap'n Coupon was trying to get the children off to bed. I was completely passed out from being sick with a rotten cold. At a certain point, he comes in and says: "Lydia, your baby just dropped the f-bomb". But honestly, it barely registered with me until later because I was in a haze of sickness and cold medicine.

So the next day, he tells me the whole story and here it is:

The Cap'n is succeeding in slowly getting 9 year old Thumbelina to go to bed and is now asking 7 year old Hawk to follow suit. It takes Thumbelina approximately one hour and 67 steps to go to bed and all of them are excessively tedious. Mini is tagging along with the Cap'n, like a tiny enforcer. He tells one kid to brush her/his teeth, and then she does the same (often with hands on hips). 

Example: the Cap'n says "Please floss" and then Mini steps in front of him and says like a small, ill-tempered prison guard: "Yah. You floss now. And hurry up."  

So the Cap'n and Mini are in the hallway outside Hawk's room, trying to get him to turn down his CD player (which is playing the audiobook of Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince loud enough for our neighbors to hear).

The Cap'n tells him once to turn down his radio, using a nice voice.
Then he tells him again, still using a nice voice.
The Cap'n waits a minute and deals with other kids.
He then tells him again, this time using a stern voice.
He waits another minute.
This time, he's yelling it. "TURN DOWN YOUR RADIO!"

At which point, Mini taps her father on the arm and says gently: "F*cking".

He looks at her in surprise and says: "What did you just say, sweetie?"

She looks at him like he's an idiot. "I said FAH-KING".

He blinks at her. Unsure of how to respond.

She gives him a head shake as if to imply that he'll just never get it and says patiently: "Turn down your fahcking radio."


Needless, to say, I am in still in trouble, and it is obviously all my fault. Truly, the Cap'n never curses in front of the offspring. But I promise you, that's only because he doesn't have to drive them everywhere. It's that time in the car that's the killer. I am not proud of this parenting failure on my part. Not at all. But at least she got the context right, which is something. From now on when I'm with my kids, I will be making a concerted effort to replace the words I may have possibly said TOTALLY BY ACCIDENT. 

Yours in shame,

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Heart Smartphones

This afternoon I took my kids to the playground after I got home from work. It was a pretty typical trip…we got there and my children happily scampered off in opposite directions. I waved hi to a few moms across the mulch and then decided I would sneak a peek at my smartphone.

See, I have one of those jobs where you have to keep your phone shut OFF the whole time and I make a point of not reading emails/texts on my drive home because I am already an easily distracted driver, even without a smartphone in the mix. I’ll be driving along and suddenly be like, “WHAT THE CRAP! WAS THAT A WOODCHUCK?!” And then I almost die on 95 North craning my neck to see the same type of animal I can see anytime I want in my own backyard because there’s one living under my shed right now.

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah, I get easily distracted. So I was at the playground looking at a few texts when I heard/felt this thump in front of me. And then I glanced up and saw my friend Cate’s little boy on the ground in front of me. He took a classic toddler digger, so his pride was hurt more than anything else. And as Cate was hoofing it across the mulch with her tiny baby in the carrier on her chest, I just stood there like an idiot because I was still texting. When Cate reached her son a moment later it hit me that I could have offered a tiny bit more help in the moment than I had mustered. So I started apologizing for being on my phone and she waved it away, saying no big deal, she's on hers all the time, too. But then she said, “You know, my mother called and told me last week that some study found that the hospital treatment of injuries of children is up, like, 500% due to how often we use smartphones while watching our kids.”

I exclaimed something like, “Shut the front door! That’s just a bunch of stuff. That’s malarkey.” (I watched the VP debate last week and was reminded of some sweet expressions.) And I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  So when we got home I got on my computer and sure enough, there was an article out earlier this month called “The Perils of Texting While Parenting”. Shiiiiiiit. The accurate statistic is that nonfatal injuries were up 12% from 2007 and 2010, but that seems significant given that the rates had been declining for decades prior to that. Of course, this just happens to coincide with the years when the number of people owning a smartphone went from 13 million to 114 million. Yowza.

So this is just an association, not proof of causality. As the article suggests, maybe one reason this statistic increased is that parents are now more likely to drag their kids to the ER after any injury. But honestly, since I read the article I just haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I mean, I consider myself a decent parent. I’m fairly capable and I try to take good care of my kids. Do I look at my phone while parenting? Of course! Do I text while my kids climb the slide? Sure I do! Do I check my email on my phone while my kids are "busy"? Oh hellz yes. 

But…then I think about this video:

I think that could totally be me. (Or you, Lydia. That might happen to you even if you aren’t texting.) So clearly if playing with my phone is so distracting then maybe I shouldn’t be doing it while I am watching my precious small people.

But checking my phone throughout the day is a little window to the outside world. I like getting email. I like getting texts. Sometimes a text from Lydia at 4pm about something asinine will get me laughing so hard that it revives me enough to get me through the rest of the witching hour. Would I really be a better parent without this active link to other adults during the day?

When our parents were doing this they had their own distractions and obstacles—for example, the phone was stuck in the kitchen by a spiral cord so they literally could not supervise me if they were on the phone and I wasn’t in the kitchen. But that didn’t stop my mom from talking to her best friend while I was smearing paint on the walls of the living room or stealing real food from the cabinet to play with in my 80s play kitchen. She needed that outlet. She needed to connect with another woman during that long day at home with three kids. As Lydia so aptly pointed out, when our grandmothers were parenting they got to smoke, drink *and* take valium. All we get is f-ing Angry Birds.

So where’s the balance? Have any of you given up smartphones while parenting? Have you replaced it with some other form of adult communication/connection during the day? Or are you still using it but you've just set limits on it? Please, fill me in! Oh, I gotta go...Lydia just texted me a photo of another boobstain...

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Photos are Hard - Help Me

Ha! I could totally see myself doing this!
I pretty much did this, you guys.
I needed some photos recently for my blogging work and I sort of freaked out about it.  Because - let me be honest, here - I hate having my picture taken. HATE. As in, I'd rather try on bathing suits. I'd rather try on bikinis at Walmart. But I swallowed my fear and begged my friend Kristin (a professional photographer) to help me.

"Please help me look not heinous", I begged. "But also not so much like a grown up that it doesn't look like me anymore. But also not too much like me, because recently I see myself in pictures and I'm like - "Who is that older fat lady? She looks nice. Oh wait. Shit.""

And I really wanted these to be different than a regular portrait because, for the purpose of blogging, I want people who don't know me or have never read my stuff to be like: This woman is obviously insane but I would still hang out with her.

So, that's what I was going for - crazy in a way that is fun, not scary. My pal, the amazing Kristin Merten, totally got it. She also really liked my cat. So she came to my house and took a million pictures of me (but mostly of my cat). Anyway, I narrowed them all  down to these ten pictures but then I got stuck. Can you help me pick the photo I should use for my new profile picture? 

Now, you may be asking yourself - why do nearly all of these pictures that Lydia picked have her cat in them? Here's why: 
  • He is adorable.
  • He distracts from my face. 
  • Sometimes, he even tries to cover up my face for me, which I consider a favor. 
  • Also? When he looks angry it makes me want to laugh out my mouth hole. Because he is so angry but he is also so fluffy. 
 Now I need your help. Can you please select the best picture for me? There's a poll at the end.

#1: My cat wants to murder me, isn't that precious?

#2: I look like the hoarding task force just left and they told me I get to keep all my cats.

#3: Barbie was a Fairy and her head popped off.

#4: I honestly didn't realize the sign was upside down. Because I'm awesome.

#5: Slap fight. Cat wins.
 #6: He's just petting my face. Because he loves me.

#7: You know that thing where words come out of my mouth? He wants me to stop doing that.
#8: Yes. It is a Dora Microphone.
#9: Time for a drink. He's pissed he didn't get one.

#10: I'm a respectable hooker. And you can see my whole face. ::shudder::

I would like to ask you separate polls such as (topics suggested by Guru Louise): 
  • Which of these photos makes you want to lock your doors in case I might murder you?
  • Which of these photos makes you think we could be best friends? 
  • Which of these make you think you could be best friends with the cat?
  • Which of these makes you think my cat has the soul of the recently departed dear leader Kim Jong Il?
But honestly, I need an answer to just one question and that is - which one of these is honestly the best for my new blogger profile?
Here's how you vote:
If you would like to caption any of these photos, please feel free to. I would LOVE to see what you come up with. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! 
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

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