Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How to Make a Legend of Korra Costume (when you suck at making things)

This past Halloween, all three of my kids decided that they HAD to be something extra special. Something so special, in fact, that it was not possible for me to buy them costumes because they did not exist. Because apparently costumes this geeky are not manufactured for children. Which means I was faced with making three separate costumes. Which means I wanted to cry because I'm not actually very good at making things.

Here's who they wanted to be:

(If you want to see the Hunter or Weeping Angel costumes, check out this post right here.)

How to Make an Awesome DIY Weeping Angel Costume (when you're bad a making things)

So last Halloween I promised my Facebook friends that I would blog about my 5 year old's desire to be Korra (from Legend of Korra) because I would have to make her costume and I suck at making things and maybe I would crap it up so badly that it would be funny. Then my other two children decided to be obscure characters for whom kid costumes did not exist. And my oldest daughter of course chose something from Doctor Who.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dora and Friends: So Where the Hell is Boots?

So last summer, my youngest daughter (age 5) began seeing previews for a new Dora show called Dora and Friends: Into the City! Gone was the babyish, lame Dora with her ill-fitting tee shirt (that clearly needs to be like 2 inches longer). She's been replaced with the new, cooler, older Dora. With longer hair! And snazzy clothes! And a cell phone! And a gang of friends to run around the city with!

For the next few weeks, I listened to a rather tedious stream of: "MOMMY, I HAVE TO WATCH THE NEW DORA. IS IT ON YET? WHEN IS IT ON? CAN WE GET IT ON DEMAND? NEW DORA NEW DORA NEW DORA NEW DORA."

Then we actually watched it. Here's a quick run-down/review of the new Dora show.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Brutally Honest Kindergarten Form

I have a real problem on my hands. My daughter Mini just started Kindergarten and I have a ton of paperwork to fill out for the school. One of the things I need to do is fill out a form for her new teacher (who I hear is fabulous). The form has a couple of basic questions (child's name, date of birth, siblings, etc). Then there's the hard part. I'm supposed to answer the following question: "What can you tell us about your child?"


Monday, September 8, 2014

Rare Bird by Anna Whiston-Donaldson

Three years ago today, a 12 year old boy was killed in a freak flood one town over from mine. I didn't know the family, but had several friends who did. His mom, Anna, was a blogger and when I heard the news I clicked over to her blog. I saw her beautiful kids smiling at me in back to school pictures. It seemed impossible that this beautiful boy was gone.

I kind of lost of my shit. It was too sad and too real and far too close to home. I've written about how much Jack's death affected me since it happened. It's not just me - friends, family and strangers from across the country have been moved by the loss of this special boy.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Horrifying Conversations with Mini: Not ANYTHING

I was taking a late summer swim with Mini recently, when she said something horrifying. I was trying to encourage her to work on her backstroke and I was telling her all the fun things you could do while floating on your back and kicking your legs. 

But she was having none of it. She kept telling me that when you race backstroke at a swim meet, you could hit your head on the wall (which is of course very true). So she was never going to do that.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Prayer for the First Day of School

Dear God,

I have three kids and today they all went to school, the smallest one for the very first time. You already know that, though, because you're omniscient. Now that the big yellow bus has consumed my children, I'm sitting here alone in a  quiet house, trying to distract myself with work and Facebook. It's sort of working, except for the fact that my stupid eyes keep leaking.

God, I really wish I was one of the moms skipping back from the bus stop humming "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year." I thought when this time finally came, I would be. But I don't feel like celebrating. There was no skipping home. I spent the whole time trying not to ugly cry in front of my neighbors, so I just kept making a weird face and sniffling.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Daddy, My Pillow Smells

This post is several years old but in honor of the author's birthday, I am re-posting it today. 
God bless you, sir. You are a fine American.

This post was actually not written for us. It was written up as Facebook note by a friend of mine. Since he and his wife are my very close buddies, I asked them and THEN I TOTALLY PINCHED IT. 

OK. I asked first. You see, my friend Beatrice told me the story of what happened and I nearly peed myself. So then I asked if I could write it up for MommyLand and they were all "It's already written!" And when I read the story on her Facebook page, it was even funnier than when his wife told it to me.

If you're drinking anything, put it down.  Otherwise, you may spray your computer. 

Enjoy! xo, Lydia

Friday, August 15, 2014

Horrifying Conversations with Mini: The Spot

Welcome to this installment of Horrifying Conversations with Mini, where I'm about to share possibly the most horrifying thing she's ever said. Seriously. Worse than what she told people at Disney World or the joke about the baby duck.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Horrifying Conversation with Mini: Click.

Last week, Mini did what she always does. She waits until the worst possible moment in the middle of the night and then she crawls into our bed and wiggles until she's snugly nestled between me and her father. She then waits stealthily until we both fall back to sleep. At that exact moment, she turns into a starfish. This effectively ends my night's sleep. Sometimes it happens at 1am and sometimes it happens at 6am, but no matter when it happens  - it is not my favorite.* 

*When an adult female tells you in a nice voice that something is not her favorite, it means that she hates it. A lot. But she's trying to be nice about it. Now you know. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Quinoa Summer Salad - So Yummy!

I don't usually do recipes but I shared this a couple of years ago on Facebook and people still tell me all the time how much they dig it.

This recipe makes a gigantic bowl  -  enough for a week's worth of lunches, to bring to a big pot luck, or for sharing with hungry, vegetarian neighbors. Oh yeah! It's also gluten free. If you want to make less, just cut the proportions.

It's really yummy, it sort of tastes like the inside of a burrito. My husband and kids eat this and like it (though I have to serve it with some sort of grilled meat or the Cap'n doesn't consider it dinner because he's from Ohio).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Anatomy of a Swim Meet

I have three kids and they all swim on a swim team every summer. I decided to capture my experience at a morning swim meet, for those of you not in the water cult.

6:00am: Wake up, drink coffee. Wake up grouchy children.

6:45am: Arrive at pool. Parking lot is already full. Let the kids out and park far away. Carry/drag chairs, bags and a cooler as if I were large pack animal. It occurs to me suddenly that as mother of three there is no denying that I am a large pack animal.

6:58am: Small miracle occurs. I find a great place to set up chairs, etc. Next to friends. With a good view of the pool. In full shade. Wish I'd brought a sweatshirt actually, is kind of chilly.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Tao of My Dad

Happy Father's Day! Let me tell you all about my dad and by extension, all about why I am the way I am. This post originally ran about 18 months ago, but I thought it might be time to dust it off. 

My dad is a handsome old geezer named Ed Miller. He lives in the woods in Maine. If the truth be told, he is a bit of a character. There is really no way to describe him, so I won't try. Instead, I will share with you some of his bon mots which over a lifetime have collectively become (what I call) "The Tao of My Dad". If you've ever wondered why I am this way, perhaps this will give you some insight.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Horrifying Conversations with Mini: The Sharp Stick

Last week I had a long conversation with my kids about being nice to others, things mean kids do, what to do if you see something cruddy going on, what to do if you find yourself involved in something cruddy, etc. I tried to impart some wisdom, give them a chance to talk about what's going on at school, and overall - I thought the conversation went pretty well. But apparently it did not, because the take-away for my 5 year old was that MEAN KIDS ARE EVERYWHERE SO CONSTANT VIGILANCE IS REQUIRED.

This morning we walked to the bus stop. The three kids, the dog, and I all tumbled out of the house like we were coming out of a damn clown car because some people have never learned to walk through a door one at a time. Mini paused and stared at the stick that lives on my front porch.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Little League Parent Pledge

My son has been playing Little League for years. He really likes baseball and even though it can be a major time suck and occasional pain in my keister, so do I. I love watching the kids play, seeing them come together as a team over the course of the season, watching them improve, take risks, fail, and succeed. I like meeting new families and reconnecting with old friends.

Given my over-all warm and fuzzy feelings about Little League, it might surprise you that I've got some rants in my pants about it and I'm about to unload a little bit. Because one of the things I like the most about baseball is a little something I call the "The Statement of Parental Non-Assholery" that our League requires us to make at the beginning of every game. That's not it's real name, by the way, officially it's called "The Parent Pledge".

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Truth About Teacher Gifts

Guru Louise and I asked you about what most teachers really want for end of the year gifts. We got hundreds of answers on Facebook, Twitter and in the comments section. Many of the comments were from teachers. We asked for the truth and we got it. Thank you.

Here was our goal with this:
Figure out what teachers really want and need, so that we can all avoid dealing with stuff that is expensive, stupid and unnecessary. 

Here's what we learned:
Teachers like gifts and the thoughts behind them very much. They're extremely grateful when parents take the time to think of them and appreciate their hard work.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Horrifying Conversations with Mini: Her least favorite number

Mini is learning to read. More precisely, Mini is learning to sound out words. I don't want to rush her into reading (she doesn't start kindergarten until the fall), but the Cap'n thinks she's an evil genius and we should get her literate ASAP so she can begin collecting minions. So he's been working with her and she's getting pretty good at it.

The other day in the van on the way to preschool, Mini and I made eye contact in the rear view mirror. And things got weird.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Most Disgusting Thing That Has Ever Happened

My dog almost died today. Because he ate some fabric. Maybe a sock? They don't know. In any case it was gross and it was not even food of any kind so why did he f*cking eat it? I'm broke now but he's going to live. Because none of us could handle the idea of losing our very young dog a couple of weeks after losing our very old cat. OH MY GOD. Dogs, man, dogs.

With that in mind, I've decided to re-run this post:


If you have a weak stomach, or have a bad reaction to things that are disgusting (particularly in relationship to dogs and canine behavior), THIS IS NOT THE POST FOR YOU. You should probably click away. Because it's about to get all kinds of nasty up in here.

Here's the thing about having a dog. It's gross. Having kids is gross too, of course, what with the being puked on and never knowing where that smell is coming from. But dogs are worse. Last Friday, I greeted the early morning with an enormous, steaming pile of dog vomit that was in considerable danger of being re-consumed if I didn't clean it up fast enough.

Because dogs are gross.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Cat Died and I Hate Feeling These Feelings

This amazing picture was taken by the
very talented, kind and cat-loving Kristin Merten
A couple of weeks ago my cat died and I'm so mad about it I could spit. Nothing actually happened to him. That's not why I'm mad. He was really old. His kidneys failed. He slowly faded away and on his last day, he sort of looked at me like: "Woman, it's time. Let's go." So I took him to the vet who confirmed that it was time and he died quietly in my arms a couple of hours later.

My arms still feel empty. They want to hold him one more time. My house seems weird without him in it. I hate that he's gone and I want him back and I hate that I had to tell the vet to kill him and I hate being a grown up sometimes and it all sucks. That's why I'm mad.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Things We Never Have Enough Of

I recently noticed that we have this weird dichotomy in our house. We have way too much of some stuff and never enough of other stuff (usually the stuff we actually need). 

Here's a little chart to explain what I mean:

Oh, Sophia. Lay off the spray tan, sweetie.

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

TMI with Johi

I'm sure you're wondering why these precious and adorable young men are the mastheads of today's post. It's because I did an interview with my very talented friend (and co-author) Johi Kockjohn-Wagner and she asked me who my celebrity free passes were. At first I was like, what the hell is a celebrity free pass? I get a free movie? Or is it like a fast pass at Disney? So I googled it and then I was like AW SNAP. 

Andy Dwyer shocked
Andy and I are basically the same person. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Rules of Singing Frozen

Like every other family in the world, my kids are obsessed with Frozen. We downloaded the soundtrack right after Christmas and have enjoyed hours of sing-alongs and fun. HOURS. And hours. Let me be very clear about this - I love the songs from Frozen.  I think they're clever, funny, moving, beautiful - pretty much perfect. And I've never seen so many children connect to music like this. I loved the movie, too - the characters, the story, the messages (big and small) - all of it. I sincerely love all of it.

But as much as I adore these songs, I've heard them a lot. And my kids' connection to this music is starting to get a little weird and proprietary. My 5 year old thinks they're her songs now - that they belong solely to her. A couple of months ago, she would hear another little girl singing "For the First Time in Forever" and she would light up and squeal about how much she loved that song, too. Then they'd sing it together and twirl in circles and be so adorable and sweet that my heart would explode.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Don't Talk to Me About Camp.

You may be asking yourself: "Why did this idiot write a blog post about summer camp right now? It's February. I'm still secretly pilfering leftover Valentine's Day candy after my kids go to sleep and wondering if the Polar Vortex is actually going to plunge us into a Narnia-like eternal winter."

I TOTALLY AGREE. It seems insane.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Horrifying Conversations with Mini: Kitty Academy

This conversation isn't actually horrifying. It's just typical of the randomness of living with a preschooler. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentines for the Real World -- For Our Kids

Last year, we made a series of Valentines for the Real World. They were all for husbands because the cards I saw at Target were both stupid and really expensive. You guys liked them a lot and so I decided to make some more this year - except this year, they're for our precious, beloved children.

I know we all love our kids so much. So much that if we really think about it too hard, it's pretty easy to start weeping and squeeze hugging them while they tell us to stop and try to wiggle away. But let's be honest, kids are also kids and none of the Valentines out there actually reflect real life. These do. Enjoy!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Best Rants of 2013

I'm totally late on this! But here's the best stuff from 2013. The two fan favorites were:

Dinner with Judy (about eating dinner with a 4 year old who is so tried she's drunk) and
The Sweet Spot (about realizing my kids aren't little anymore, they're medium, and that's awesome).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Texts from Snowmaggedon

Note: I originally posted this on February 2, 2011, a few days after the ill-fated "Snowmaggedon" that took over the metro DC area. Given that the exact same scenario is playing out in Atlanta and all over the South right now, I thought it might be a good time to share it again. By the way, that night it took my husband 7 and a half hours to drive less than 20 miles. 

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