Game Changer: OXO Good Grips Bag Cinch

Posted On June 24, 2018| Leave a reply

Call me crazy, but I cannot stand those twist ties that come on a loaf of bread. The worst are the ones made out of that cheap paper and the wire pokes through the first time you untwist it. Gawd. And don’t get me started on the hard plastic square ones with the little hole in the middle.  These…….

 

I am never able to twist the bag tight enough to fit it into that little hole. I end up cursing and just shoving it. Not. Any. More.

Whilst wandering through Bed Bath & Beyond I can across these in the kitchen food storage section:

God was smiling on me that day. Now my bread and rolls are secured with ease. Which means less cussing and less squished bread. And they look cute in my bread basket!

Definite Game Changer. Buy your own here and instantly become a happy bread owner. They are a 5 star product, buy with confidence!

Live Creatively,

 

 

 

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{07.10.04}

Posted On July 11, 2017| Leave a reply

I am documenting how I spent my day so I can remember it always. Last night as I slept I must have signed on with a temp agency and that temp agency secured me a job as an uber/taxi/shuttle/bus driver. According to Doc, my vehicle is a bus. He’s cute like that.

Today was Monday. Mondays tend to suck in general, right? I never seem to have my shit together. Late last night I wrote down my morning and afternoon schedule. Laugh if you will, but I’m kind of visual so it helps to ‘see’ where I need to be and when. Here’s my morning post it note:

My morning stops.

I was up by 6:30ish, standing in the kitchen dazed and confused by 6:45 and somehow had packed two lunches by 6:58. I woke up Boy Wonder first. He was semi pleasant. Boy Wonder rides to baseball conditioning with a friend and his Dad. The Dad is also a Coach. Boy Wonder really likes this Coach, so a quick reminder that he needs to be on time for Coach is all he needs to hear to jump out of bed. Oh how I wish Coach was also going to be a 7th grader teacher this fall! Next stop was to wake Sunshine. Sunshine had taken up temporary residency in my bed due to a bad dream so I grabbed her leotard and snuggly jammies and headed back to my room. I also took my secret weapon….Jagger! It’s funny how when I wake Sunshine up with kisses, she swats me away and growls. When Jagger licks her face from one side to the other she grins and grabs him for a hug. Un. Fair.

I stay with Sunshine until she is upright and getting dressed. I’ve learned my lesson. I’m ready to kindly holler upstairs to Boy Wonder to HUSTLE, but he is already sitting at the kitchen island. Ahh. My heart swells for an instant. And then I realize he is SITTING and WAITING for me to PREPARE his breakfast. My heart unswells. But, it is Boy Wonder’s lucky day because I am in a good mood.

Sunshine joins her brother and they both eat waffles prepared with love. #momoftheyear

Teeth and hair are brushed. Backpacks are loaded. Sunshine is sent off to snuggle Jagger and Boy Wonder is sent to load his gear into the bus. It’s 7:50. I am on time. Boy Wonder is delivered to Coach and I head back home to grab Sunshine and Jagger. It’s 8:10 and I am driving to the gym with a happy gymnast. We pull into the gym. The parking lot is empty. Yep, empty. I park and check my calendar. Hmmmm. Gymnastics practice on Mondays begins at 9:30, not 8:30. Well shit. We were an hour early. 60 minutes. I fessed up to Sunshine. She sort of laughed but I am pretty sure her eyes were rolling.

Jagger had to be to the groomer by 9am. So, off we went. Let me explain. The gym is 20 minutes west from my house. The groomer is 20 minutes north from my house. So now I am 40 minutes from the groomer but I am determined to make it there and back to the gym and still be on time. Back roads are my friend and I know my navigation will not lead me astray.

My secret back roads were being heavily traveled by a series of Mack trucks. These Mack trucks were unaware of my schedule and my desire to be on time. And today, TODAY the road to the groomer was closed. Not a problem in the city, but in the country this road closure required me to drive about 5.3 miles out of my way. Sunshine was convinced we had crossed state lines.

We made it to the groomer but were 10 minutes late. I pretty much tossed Jagger to her and jumped back in the car. I had 20 minutes to get back to the gym. I changed my route a bit in hopes to shave off a few minutes. Guess what? I ended up behind a huge tractor. Yep, a tractor. Did I mention we were in the country? Sunshine thought it was cool. Luckily it turned into the tractor store and I was back on my way.

Jesus must have taken the wheel because we arrived at the gym at 9:29. No joke. I felt like Hermione in Harry Potter when she used her time turner! Now my schedule was all mucked up. I was near my allergist, so I decided to get my shot now instead of at 11:30.

To sum up my allergist experience, here is my Facebook post after leaving the office:                             #smh
Lady at allergist office this morning….. walks into a waiting room with approximately 8 patients waiting for shots. Asks (from her seat across the room) the receptionist to turn up the tv so her son could hear Moana better. Receptionist does. Lady asks for it to be even louder. Receptionist turns it louder. Mind you, my seat is directly under the tv. Ugh. For the entire 25 minutes I am in the waiting room this lady talks non stop. She’s talking to her son (about 2 years old) so loudly! Clearly fighting to be heard over the crazy loud tv that she asked to be turned up! Her son watches not one minute of the movie….
#omg #myheadhurts

#stoptalking

My allergist is about 10 minutes north from where I need to pick up Boy Wonder at 12:30. It is now 10:20. If I go home, I will be home for about 50 minutes. Doesn’t make much sense, so I run a few errands. Those errands include 2 stores and end up costing me a couple hundred dollars. I’m certain Doc is wishing I had just driven home. Sorry. I’m about 15 minutes from the boys, but guess what??? The road is CLOSED! Once again I am following detour signs and cursing the never ending road construction that takes place on every road I need to travel.

I get the boys and take them to the pool. Because I am a cool mom and it’s only 30 minutes away. The sky is getting darker, but I drive on. Pool is under a thunder delay, but will reopen in 10 minutes. I wait for a few minutes, check the radar, ask the boys one last time if they really want to stay and then take off.

I am home for approximately 75 minutes before Boy Wonder calls me. It’s raining. Back in the car. Pick up the boys. Take Boy Wonder’s friend home and then turn around to pick up Jagger from the groomer. Remember the road closure from earlier? I didn’t. Until it was too late. Detour signs were sprouting up and I was pretty certain I remembered a short cut from when I was in high school. Boy Wonder and I traveled the same section of road FOUR times before my high school memory served me right and I found Pittsburgh Rd! #forthelove

Jagger is groomed and smells good. Back in the car. Determined not to get lost again, I take a different route home. Guess what?? Another effing road is closed! I cannot make this up. I follow the big orange signs and eventually get home.

Handsome boy.

I have 5 minutes to change clothes for my tennis match and race to be on time for my manicure. Yes, I said tennis match and manicure in the same sentence. I am a girl. I like pretty nails and I like tennis. I also cuss, drink beer and shoot guns. So there.

Mani was complete after 35 minutes.

Strawberry Margarita

I had 10 minutes to stop home before my match. On my way home the sky opened and it rained like God was really serious. This led to my match being cancelled and me cracking open a cold beer.

The bus stayed in the garage for the rest of the evening. She was happy.

The bus.

I drank beer, did some batting practice with Sunshine and made crepes for dessert. The bus and I logged approximately 107 miles for a total of 2 hours and 42 minutes in the car. According to Mapquest, the IRS owes me $57.51!

Mama said there’d be days like this. #peaceout

Live Creatively,

EIGHT More Days Of Faking It

Posted On May 14, 2017| Leave a reply

Today is Sunday, Mother’s Day in fact. So, Happy Mother’s Day to all you earth dwelling saints who keep your households afloat. One of my gifts from Doc was 45 minutes of the house to myself. Its quiet, too quiet. And I see dishes in the sink. Anyway, today is Sunday which means in a few short hours it will be Monday. Monday means school and school means it is time to fake having my shit together for another 5 days in a row. It’s exhausting. Thank Sweet Jesus that my favorite part of the school year is 8 (school) days away….Summertime!

Sunshine’s Countdown to Summertime!

Truth is; I don’t have my shit together. By mid May my shit is everywhere. Why is May so hard? Perhaps because of it’s name….May.  “May I be jam packed with ‘end of the year’ crap?” “May I eff with your schedule with my unpredictable weather?” “May I cause your eyes to itch and nose to run?” “May I stay brighter longer to ensure late bedtimes?” “May I be the month of projects, recitals, field days, graduations from EVERYTHING, banquets, every sport known to man, moms, finals?” “May I all of a sudden make your yard look unloved and neglected?” “May I nickel and dime you with gifts for mom, teachers, coaches, bus drivers?” “May I tease you with my sunny days when you have 16 places to be that are all inside?” “May I drive you absolutely bat-shit crazy?”

May. It’s my reason for becoming a Grand Champion F.A.K.E.R. By May I am faking everything. The lunches I pack. The emails I respond to. The volunteer roles I accept. The enthusiasm of attending concerts. The excitement over another soccer tournament. I fake it all. Why? Not because I don’t enjoy a good choir concert with lots of voice-changing boys singing songs I don’t know or planning Pioneer Day for 125 third graders where I get to dress in a bonnet and apron. Not because I don’t want to celebrate the incredible souls who educated my children all year or chaperone a field day for a bunch of kids hopped up on sugar. I love all of those things. Just not in May. By May I am tired. Like dog-tired. So I fake it. I smile and say yes. I throw some lunchmeat on a bun and remind myself which kid eats which brand of applesauce. I fill the water bottles and kiss my babes as I usher them out the door. Then I roll my eyes and prioritize my list of things to do. Not my list for the week or even the day, my  ‘what the hell do I need to have completed and dropped off, mailed, wrapped, signed, ordered or baked in the next few hours’ list. I literally fake having my shit together. And until now none of you were the wiser because I rarely fail or admit defeat. I will cry in the shower (if I managed to leave time for one) or complain to my bff’s. But I will complete the task and complete it on time. I may wrap the gift while sitting at a red light or charge the video camera while at the concert. I cannot let behavior like this bother me or I will literally combust.

So for the month of May I embrace my Fake Self. I make it to all of the events with everything I am supposed to have and I smile, hug, laugh and genuinely enjoy myself. But please get the hell out of my way because I need to rush to the grocery for a snack I signed up to bring to the next event and if I don’t leave right away I will be late. And worse, snack less!

Live Creatively,

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Game Changer: Sweat X Sport

Posted On January 31, 2017| Leave a reply

Do you live with an adolescent boy?

Does your boy wear sneakers?

Do his sneakers emit an odor that takes your breath away?

IF you answered yes to these questions, then this Game Changer is for you. Sweat X Sport Spray is the extreme odor eliminator….really, it says so on the bottle. And the bottle doesn’t lie. It advertises that it ‘gets the funk out’ and does it ever.

8oz_odor_new

Boy Wonder’s shoe drawer smells disgusting. And once he left his soccer cleats in my car overnight. Dry heaving commenced. His life was threatened and he is no longer allowed to take his shoes off in said car. Cleats are kept in the garage at all times. No exceptions.

I keep my bottle of Sweat X Sport in the mudroom…just a few feet from his shoe drawer. A few sprays into the drawer every few days and we can continue to live in harmony.

God Bless the mama who invented Sweat X Sport! It’s $12.99 a bottle. Go ahead and stock up!

Live Creatively,

mamaSig

 

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Yoga Farts

Posted On January 21, 2017| Leave a reply

No-one warned me that yoga induces farting. Before you get all excited, no I wasn’t the one who broke wind. In order to fully enjoy this post to its fullest, read the preceding one here.

Anyway….I returned for my second Beginner Yoga Class last Sunday. I arrived 15 minutes early and was not forced to sit in the front row. I opted for the second row. Ghandi scared the shit out of me. She was sitting behind a desk in a dark corner of the room. I didn’t notice her as I unrolled my mat, grabbed by foam brick and gracefully lowered myself to the floor. Just as I settled in, she said “Hey, what was your name?”. It took me a second to locate her. I informed her she scared me, she laughed. Apparently I had not made a lasting impression on her in Class #1. After scoping out the room and noticing how freakishly quiet it was…no one was talking to each other. I was dying to chat with someone. Everyone was stretching. So, I stretched too. As I stretched I noticed the tray of salt was back. None of the intents from last week had been completely absorbed into the salt. Whew. Some dude took the spot to my right. He had a whole system for setting up his yoga space. He unrolled, re-rolled and unrolled his mat a couple of times before placing it on the floor. Then he repositioned it a time or two, moving it about a quarter of an inch each time. He took 2 foam bricks and stacked them on top of each other between his mat and the wall. Once he sat on his mat he moved his bricks closer to his mat. I thought he was finally settled so I turned my attention to the couple who were landing in front of me. Dude to my right popped up on his mat, and stripped off his pants in a single, swift motion. Thank Buddha he had shorts on. Praying to Buddha that he was also wearing compression unders! In case you’re wondering I have incredible peripheral vision. This allows me to stare at intriguing strangers without being noticed. It comes in handy.

Ghandi started our class by apologizing for last week. Apparently she was all hopped up on cold & sinus medication and she hoped she taught us the poses correctly. Like we would know….. BEGINNER YOGA! Remember last week how I told you the room was packed? Not a single space open? This class was a different story. We were easily down 6 Yogi’s. Maybe Ghandi’s pit hair was too much for them?  Ghandi taught us how to meditate. Meditating is not easy. How does one let their mind go blank while remembering to do the special yoga breathing? Since my lower body instantly rejected lotus pose, I sat criss cross applesauce. I decided to tease my chakra by having one palm face up and one palm face down. Half receiving energy, half closed off. I quickly switched to all receiving because it was more comfy. And my criss cross applesauce was starting to hurt so I stretched out my legs. I glanced around and everyone had their eyes closed, so I added that too. My mind was still very busy. Ghandi told us to give all the crazy monkeys in our brain a job. Crazy monkeys? Loved it! Pretty much described my thoughts perfectly. I told my monkeys to just breathe. Of course I spent a minute picturing little monkeys in my head! I will definitely need to revisit this meditation gig.

As promised Ghandi taught us Warrior 1 and 2 and as a gift threw in Reverse Warrior. Being a Warrior was fun. I was secretly hoping there was a Warrior Princess pose, because I would have rocked it.

Ghandi was so pleased with our progress that she took us through several vinyasas. Vinyasas are the flows…the way the moves/poses run together 😉 Are you ready? I thought I was. Here is what our ‘flow’ consisted of: Chair Pose-Standing Forward Fold-Half Forward Bend/Half Lift-Plank-Cobra-Downward Facing Dog-Crescecnt Lunge, via lifting your leg high and swinging it under you with your foot landing between your hands which are firmly planted on the mat. My foot rebelled and landed more under my belly. G suggested I use my hand to get my foot in place. Ugh. Next was Warrior 2-Reverse Vinyasa (which is back to Downward Facing Dog, then into Cobra, back to Plank. Here is when Ghandi got bat-shit crazy….she told us that from Plank we could just hop our feet back to our hands (which were on the mat) I had to laugh. Hop my feet up to my hands which were pressed onto my mat?? Hell no. One day maybe, but not today. I ‘walked’ my feet into my hands and finished out my Reverse with Half Forward Bend/Half Lift to Standing Forward Fold and finally back to Mountain Pose. Oh, did I mention that we did this like THREE times in a row? My special yoga breath was replaced with “oh my God, I’m going to die” breaths. Sweat was rolling down my back and my palms were getting slippery on my mat. Yoga IS a workout. Definitely not an hour of stretching on a padded mat in a dark room while pretty music plays in the background. I liked it.

G said we looked good, but a little practice on our own this week would be awesome. Cooling consisted of some Easy Seated Twists, Seated Forward Folds…aka…touching your toes while seated without bending your knees. Funny. She threw in a Happy Baby (still not my favorite), a Supine Twist to both sides and the good old Savasana, the corpse pose. YAY! Let me go back to that Supine Twist I just mentioned. Here’s a pic of what it looks like:

Very satisfying stretch. And unfortunately too satisfying and relaxing for the Dude who took up residency to my right, remember him? We ‘supined’ to our left and then to our right. From here we went into fetal pose. I’ll let Homer show you what it looks like:

So, we are facing to the right, which means from my fetal position I can see Dude’s backside. G tells us to rock a bit and just enjoy the stretch. I’m in yoga bliss when Dude farts. It wasn’t a loud, dramatic one. It was an airy one, but with force. You know what I’m talking about. Loud enough for me to hear and for Dude to know with certainty that I heard it, but quiet enough that no one else was privy to it’s existence. For the love of Buddha! I quickly rolled out of Fetal Position and up to my feet. I kept looking his direction as we rolled our mats and gathered our belongings. I was ready to give him my “REALLY?” face. He didn’t look my way. I’d like to say it was because he was mortified and scared of me. Dude was just too busy going back through his detailed routine of packing up and putting his pants on.

Next class I will arrive 20 minutes early and position myself between two nice ladies who wouldn’t dare toot in yoga class. Namaste my ass.

Live Creatively,

 

 

 

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OMG Natalie’s 9!

Posted On January 18, 2017| 1 Reply

Emojis have invaded our everyday life and Sunshine is so emojinal that we HAD to celebrate her 9th year on earth with everything emoji!! I bought her shirt from madgrrl on Etsy. Leggings from Justice. Headband from local shop, Cute As A Button.

Sidebar: Sunshine’s birthday is September 26th, so this post is indeed a bit tardy!

Myself, Mama Moji had a ball planning this shindig.

I started with the invitation. Sunshine’s favorite colors are teal, pink & purple.

OMG, right? Buy it from invitationsbyKATRINA on Etsy. The shop owner even made me these matching Thank You cards:

And these bag tags:

Somehow I forgot to snap a pic of what went in the bags. Emoji Pez, a cookie and a small Emoji keychain!

Thankfully my mom was in town and was my DEO (Decorating Executive Officer). Nothing was left undecorated….

 

 

 

Look closely…Emoji faces replaced Sunshine’s face in all of her pictures.

I found the Emoji faces, etc. at our local teacher store. Score!

 

We spent months collecting these pillows!

Those pillows above inspired Doc to come up with the craft. I like crafts. Boy Wonder is too cool for party crafts now, but not my Sunshine. Doc said the girls should create their own Emoji pillows and that my mom could sew them together. GENIUS! One call to my mom and she was off and running. She made small round pillows from yellow fabric, left them unstuffed and with enough room to fit a piece of cardboard between the fabric layers. She’s pretty awesome like that. The girls used fabric markers to decorate their pillows and then stuff them. My mom later stitched them closed and Sunshine delivered them a few days after the party. TA-DA!

The girls began crafting their pillow as they arrived.

 

As the girls finished they moved to the living room and worked on an Emoji puzzle that we had set up.

Next on the agenda: GAMES!

I like stations. They provide order and ensure everyone gets to play each game. I assigned an adult (or older brother) to facilitate each game and keep track of when to switch. This allowed me to clean up the pillow-crafting table and turn it into a dessert table!

Games:

Mystic Ball & War: Emoji themed Magic Ball & Emoji playing cards.

    

 

Twister: I lovey-faced a few of the yellow twister dots! Buy a Twister Ultimate game for your next party!

FYI: This is a double Twister game…

Memory: I used an old Memory game, painted the picture side black, attached an emoji sticker (2 of each) and decoupaged it to the card.

 

 

 

 

 

Ping Pong: Regular rules, using an Emoji ping pong ball of course!

 

Pin the Sunglasses on the Emoji: Bought this cute poster at the Scholastic Book Fair.

Pass the Poop: Using an Emoji poop pillow and some music!

Boy Wonder represented with the Poop Emoji shirt. The girls “hated” having him and his friend Z at the party! 😉

Where to Buy:

Mystic Emoji Ball

Emoji Stickers

Emoji Puzzle

Emoji Playing Cards

Emoji Poop Pillow

Emoji Ping Pong Balls

Emoji Pez

Emoji Toilet Paper

Emoji Balloons

Time to EAT!

Emoji food was easy. I just scrolled through the food emoji’s on my phone and picked a few items that would work. I printed the emoji’s on a label, slapped it on a table tent and was done. Easy Peasy.

 

 

Emoji Napkins courtesy of Party City: I always buy themed/fun napkins, but plain colored plates, cups and cutlery. Saves a ton of money and you can reuse the plates & cutlery later.

Emoji Plates courtesy of Me (a sticker attached to the underside of the plate with packing tape!):

Girls used these for snacks.

Drink Cups! Each one had a different emoji.

And what Emoji party would be complete with out some Emoji gum balls?

Buy: Emoji Gumball Machine and Gumballs

Emoji Cookies courtesy of Cookie Crumbs:

Emoji Cake courtesy of Oh My Gosh Cake!

 

And for Sunshine’s friends with allergies, Emoji Rice Krispie Treats:

 

Sunshine doesn’t really like being the center of attention, but she puts on a brave face while her sweet friends serenade her.

 

 

The birthday girl with her Gramma:


And with my in-laws:

Even Jagger had an Emoji shirt: I made it at Uber Prints. Super easy. Super fun.

Emoji Pup!

And of course Team Mathis represented the theme…

Aren’t we silly?

 

Doc, Gramma & Boy Wonder’s shirts came from Target.

Here’s a close-up of the shirt I designed for myself, again at Uber Prints:

 

I really, really cannot believe she is NINE. OMG! #bestpartyever

 

Live Creatlively,

 

 

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{nah-mas-tay}

Posted On January 9, 2017| 2 Replies

Yesterday I took the first step in becoming a real life Yogini. I’ve been an imposter for years. I wear the yoga pants, the yoga pull-overs and the yoga scarves. I even own a pretty nice yoga mat. So why did I actually take a class you ask? Because Sunshine can touch her toes and pull her leg up behind her head. I cannot. She thinks it’s funny that I can’t. I was able to at one point in my life, but not anymore. I’d like to silence her giggles, so off to Beginner Yoga I went.

I only decided to do this last week, so the Yoga Studio in my town was booked. I took it as a sign from Buddha that I should maybe learn at a studio where no-one knew me! So, I traveled a few towns away. I allowed PLENTY of time so I could arrive early and grab a spot in the back of class. No-one needed to see my booty in my worn out yoga pants. My plans were spoiled because I couldn’t find the studio. Seriously the sign on the door was so tiny. I drove by it twice before noticing it. I guess big, sparkly signs are not very yogaish.

I had about 5 minutes until class was due to begin. I rushed to the door and flung it open. Guess what? There’s no lobby. No reception area. Not even room for a door mat. The door opened INTO the actual studio. Bam! And the room was full. Heads spun to see who was blasting through the door. Ugh. I half-smiled and assessed the room. There were at least 20 people sitting on their mats. Barefooted and ready to honor the universe. I noticed a small cubby and coat rack to my left. Off came my boots, my scarf and my coat. I stuffed my over-sized, non-yogaish purse in a cubby, grabbed my mat and had no choice but to head to the front of the room. By front, I mean mere inches from the instructor’s mat. Hi Yogis, I’m Mandy. For the love.

My teacher (I’ll call her Gandhi) looked to be about 24 years old. She had a ring on her toe, one on her thumb and a very large one going through the center part of her nose. She’s way cooler at her young age than I will ever be. Guess what else she had……

Hairy Armpits. Not hairy as in hadn’t shaved in a few days or even a few weeks. Full on bushy hair. And lots of it. I’ll admit I had to stifle the church giggles and was so thankful I hadn’t dragged a friend with me to class. I just don’t get it. I actually think men should shave their pits as well. Not pretty. But very yogaish I sure. Did I mention how close my mat was to hers and her hairy pits? Awesome.

Gandhi was very cool. She said ‘shit’ and ‘hippy dippy’, had a bunch of tattoos and rolled her eyes. If I was 20 years younger and had an ounce of her coolness we would be best friends. With Gandhi’s guidance in 4 short weeks I am going to develop a deep and lasting sense of awareness for my body, find my satya (truth) and become ahimsa (non-judgmental). Girl has her work cut out for her!

First thing Gandhi had us do was write our intent on a small piece of paper and put it in a tray of salt that was adorned with a candle. I’m not kidding….

Thank Buddha she explained what the hell she meant by our ‘intent’. Basically, why we are taking the class. The paper wasn’t big enough for me to tell my story about Sunshine’s crazy flexible legs and my jealousy of them, plus I am pretty sure jealousy and ahimsa do not go hand in hand. I tried to cheat off my neighbor, but he was quick to fold his paper in half and head to the salt tray. I wrote “To get out of my comfort zone”. Not exactly my intent for joining the class, but it was true. I stuck my card in the salt tray and headed back to my mat. In case you are wondering, the salt is going to absorb our intents and remind us of something which I cannot remember for the life of me. Gandhi will have the tray out at each class. I am too practical to buy into the whole ‘salt absorbing our intents’, but it was pretty to look at and looking at it will remind me that being out of my comfort zone is good. I’m certain Gandhi is going to read our cards….I should have made mine more profound. Dammit.

Gandhi taught us how to breathe so we sound like we’re a bunch of sighing teenagers. The yoga name is Ujjayi. Man, did it feel good to breathe like that! She chose me to be her model for Mountain Pose. I was pretty awesome at it. So thankful she didn’t choose me to model the Plank. Ouch. Gandhi assured me that it was totally normal to shake uncontrollably while holding Plank. Throughout the hour I was a child, a cobra, a dog, a happy baby, a boat, a cat and a cow. Whew! During Child’s pose she told us to push our belly into our thighs. Instant success on that part for me…they were already touching each other. Boat pose was a total bitch. It reminded me of  when I had to reach up and grab behind my knees while in labor. Gawd. Gandhi encouraged us to “challenge” ourselves and remove our hands from behind our knees and just hover there on our tailbones with our core all nice and tight. No amount of ujjayi breathing could make Boat pose easier! Happy Baby pose made me feel really fat and in Downward Dog I was forced to stare down my own shirt. I am sure by the end of week 4 all of this will work itself out, right?

I was however a rockstar at the Sun Salutation and even made it through a vinyasa more than once. I have to admit that my favorite pose was Savasana. It’s the corpse pose. Flat on my back, all stretched out, eyes closed and breathing. If Gandhi would have quietly left the room I think we all would have fallen asleep!

I really liked the class. I felt relaxed and stretched. And maybe a bit taller. I brought home my cheat sheet so I can practice before next week. Gandhi has promised to teach us Warrior 1, Chair and Crescent. Sadly I’m pretty sure Crescent does not involve those yummy rolls.

Namaste…..we are united, we are the same, we are one.

Live Creatively,

 

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Sending You a Merry New York Christmas

Posted On January 5, 2017| 1 Reply

To know me is to know that I like love New York City. My babies do too. You can read all about their first trip to the Big Apple here.

Doc and I were fed up with the present portion of Christmas. He was tired of paying for them. I was tired of searching for, ordering, hiding and wrapping them. On a whim we asked the kids if they would rather take a trip or have presents under the tree on Christmas morning. They both quickly answered ‘trip’ and so the planning began.

NYC was an easy decision. The kids have been asking to go back, Doc had never been at Christmastime and for me it was a no-brainer! I booked it for the first weekend in December. Friday to Sunday.

This weekend ensured 4 important things:

THE tree would be up.  Santa would be at Macy’s. The Thanksgiving crowds would be gone. And hopefully it wouldn’t be face-freezing cold.

I will never grow tired of seeing Lady Liberty from the sky.

Hint: If you are flying into LaGuardia, sit on the left side of the plane (left as in when you are seated and looking towards the cockpit) to get incredible views of the city.

I chose the Dumont NYC for our hotel. The location was perfect and I am a big fan of the Affinia Hotels in Manhattan. Located at 150 E. 34th Street, it was just a few blocks from Macy’s Herald Square. The most famous Macy’s in all the land.

Dumont NYC

Funny story….see those coats my blessings are wearing? They were purchased a few hours after we landed in NYC in DECEMBER at the famous Macy’s I mentioned. Why? Because both, not one, but both of them forgot their coats. Yep. Left the house to go to the airport in DECEMBER without a coat. Needless to say it was the running joke of the weekend. Here’s a look at them freezing on our walk to Macy’s….

We may have taken the long way.

Once they were properly clothed for the weather, our first stop was SANTA. Here’s a little tip: Book your time with Mr. C before you arrive.  Starting in November, visit this website. You will get a confirmation like this:

And when you arrive you get to skip the mile long line, go straight to the Express Check-In, find an elf and enter Santaland.

We BELIEVE!

If you like a good deli. Head across the street from Macy’s to Herald Square Market. You can order the sandwich of your dreams.

We spent the rest of Day One milling around the city and checking out the holiday window displays. Gorgeous. Check out this one at Sak’s:

We ate a yummy dinner at Parker & Quinn. It’s on West 39th at 6th.   Make sure you ask for one of the cool booths and order the Fried Chicken Sliders!

No day in NYC is complete with out a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery.

We visited the Grand Central Terminal location so we could eat our dessert in one of our favorite spots!

The kids loved the “little baby trees” for sale on the corner by our hotel.

I loved how they stopped to admire the flowers every time we walked by….

Day Two had an early morning wake up call! We had tickets to the 9am show of the  Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall! We headed to Rockefeller Plaza early and ate breakfast at the Panera by the Today Show. Noah saw himself on TV and got barked at by a security guard!

The real bonus of being up so early??

Getting THE tree all to yourself:

The Rockettes were crazy good. We sat in Orchestra 3 about 30 rows back. I wanted to SEE the dancers and boy did we. Before the show we wandered around Radio City. It’s very cool. Classy, clean and so pretty! And the ladies lounge is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen!

Did I mention that we met an actual Rockette too??

The show started with Santa. He told us to put on our very chic 3D glasses and ‘enjoy the ride’. We boarded his sleigh and he flew through Manhattan decorating it for Christmas. It was wild. Don’t we look cool?

The show was flawless. My favorites were the reindeer dance and the nativity scene with live animals. We will definitely see this show again. Bravo!

We left Radio City on a high and topped it off with another cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. Then we walked. Boy Wonder was insistent on checking out Niketown. Which meant a trip to Trump Tower. Which meant walking a few blocks out of our way because everything is BLOCKED OFF. I led my troops around the back and in we went. Security was tight. But the Secret Service were too kind.

My people are not afraid of heights…therefore we went up and up and up. As far as we could until we were stopped by Secret Service. Taking a peek up even higher, it was cool to be visiting the home of the next POTUS.

No doubt Donald and Melania were up there having tea or a Dr. Pepper or something!

We toured all 5, yes 5 levels of Niketown. Boy Wonder tried on several sweet sneaks, but ultimately decided to spend his money on these:

Next stop: Central Park. By far our favorite spot in the city. Pretzels, treats, giant rocks, street performers, famous landmarks. Central Park has it all. We play. We stroll. We enjoy. And this trip….a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. A bucket-list item for Sunshine and myself.

Friendly Travel Tip: do NOT wait in the extraordinarily long queue for a carriage ride. Instead, enter the Park at Columbus Circle and hail a carriage driver down before he turns the corner back up Central Park West. You can thank me later.

I will never get Doc in one of those row boats after I made him row around the River Thames in London!

Praise the Central Park gods, we even found Alice in Wonderland this time. It’s not as easy as you think. The Park is kinda like a corn maze. You can walk in circles without even noticing. And you’ll swear you are headed in the right direction only to end up back in the same spot. But I was hell bent on finding Alice. And I did.

So pretty, even from the back:

Reaching Alice took us from 59th Street to 75th Street. 16 blocks. We headed a bit deeper into the Upper East Side and ate dinner at  JG Melon a local place with yummy cheeseburgers and cold beer! After dinner we walked down 3rd Avenue to 68th to Vineyard Vines so the kids could get VV NYC shirts. After shopping we needed a bit of sugar. No place better to fill that need than Dylan’s Candy Bar! Luckily it was only a few more blocks past Vineyard Vines. With Lemonheads and Sour Patch Kids in our bellies we trekked back to our hotel for a little down time.

Around 8pm we bundled up and took a cab to Rockefeller Center. We skated at The Rink at Rockefeller for two hours. Long or short hours depends on which family member you ask! We had reservations for the VIP Skate which is pretty swanky.

You skip the line. The line is very, very, very long and it is outside. Brrrr. As VIP Skaters we had a heated hut on the rink with comfy benches, a place to store our shoes and bags and all the hot cocoa and cookies we could devour. Life as a VIPer was good.

My skaters!

Such a great memory!

While skating an adorable couple got engaged. Guy was down on one knee. Girl had no idea. Some stranger taped it. OMG, I just said ‘taped’, I meant videoed! It was sweet. Sunshine was appalled. She informed me that was embarrassing. Lord help her future fiance-to-be! The children could have kept on skating, but Ma and Pa were whipped. We handed in our skates, grabbed one last cookie and bid Rockefeller Center a good night.

Day Three, our last day. Always a sad day. No-one wants to leave. Boy Wonder and Sunshine planned this day. They wanted to ride the Subway.

No benches left? No problem for Boy Wonder!

We took the Subway to Gramercy Park and were greeted with walls filled with Post-It Notes. Subway Therapy. We added our own note to the wall.

It was beautiful in spite of some very ugly comments.

We brunched (I’m certain that is a real word!) at Friend of A Farmer. It was DELICIOUS x 10. So good. So filling. We waddled out of there and none of us complained about walking in the cold!

Of course they chose to visit Times Square. When in Times Square I must do a few things. 1) Purchase a Swatch watch. 2) Find the Naked Cowboy. And 3) Take a few minutes to observe the gobs of people enjoying NYC. Really, I must.

Sunshine, Boy Wonder and I picked out new watches while Doc waited patiently. He doesn’t get the whole “Swatch Thing”. I feel sorry for him. I chose a sparkly silver one. Boy Wonder picked out a red one. And Sunshine won the prize for coolest watch….one with a seal and fish! Priceless.

Next on my list:

What is that lady looking at?

And finally, resting my feet with Boy Wonder and enjoying the commotion around us.

From there we stopped in the biggest and busiest Starbucks, purchased over-priced hot chocolates and headed back to Central Park.

The kids climbed their favorite rocks and tossed a football while Doc and I whispered sweet nothings. We actually probably talked about how cold our bums were from sitting on the freezing rocks, but a girl can dream, right?

That football travels everywhere with us!

Me in my favorite city with my favorite guy.

Yeah, I’m sending you a Merry New York Christmas,
And a prayer for peace on earth within our time.

Live Creatively,

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Dear Pre-Pubescent Spawn,

Posted On April 29, 2016| 4 Replies

Dear Boy Wonder….I love you. I love you. I love you.

But, you are seriously testing my decision of choosing motherhood over the sweet life of a gypsy. I prayed to Jesus for you. I prayed to Jesus while I was carrying you. I prayed to Jesus on your BIRTHday and I have prayed to Jesus on your behalf every day since. Lately, I’ve decided to pray to Jesus that I will not harm you when you look at me head slightly cocked with those beautiful blue eyes in a narrow squint and those precious lips tightly pursed. Lucky for you, I was born with the “DoNotEverHarmYourChildrenChip” in my brain. For real, you are quite lucky.

Sometimes I think you are really a twin and I am on the receiving end of a terrible prank. There must be two of you. How else can it be explained? One day minute second you are my sweet angel, happy to be alive, singing with the birds, grinning in delight, clearing your dishes, saying ‘thank you’, emitting rays of sunshine from your butt. In a blink of an eye you become possessed by the Puberty Demon and all hell breaks loose. The rays of sunshine have turned to lighting bolts, your experiencing the ‘worst day of your life’ (over and over again!), your smile has turned up-side-down, chairs are being broken, insults are being thrown. It’s exhausting. One day I will find the hidden cameras in our home as I am positive that I am being Punk’d! Perhaps meeting Ashton Kutcher would make it all worth it. Maybe. Probably not.

I will push through. I will carry on. I will not lose the fight. I will pray. Just as my mama prayed for me and her mama prayed for her. Because you are worth it. And, I will need you to take care of me some day 😉

I see you. I see you looking in the mirror obsessing about your hair. I see you agonizing over the little pimple on your chin. I see you checking your phone to see if “she” likes you. I see the sadness in your eyes when you’ve been left out. I see you repeatedly fall on the slopes. And… I see you snuggle your dog. I see you hug your sister. I see you mouth “I love you” to me when I see you at school. I see you hit a home run. I see you sing a solo.  I see you all the time. 

I hear you. I hear you sigh. I hear your anger. I hear your frustration over homework. I hear you cry. I hear your ugly words to your sister. I hear you slam your door. I hear you mumble under your breath. And… I hear you ask to have dinner altogether. I hear you laugh with your friends. I hear your sing in the shower. I hear your talk about your day. I hear you cheer on your teammates. I hear you pray to Jesus. I hear you stick up for your peers. I hear you say “I love you, Mama”. I hear you all the time.

I smell you. I smell your Dorito breath. I smell your BO. I smell your sweaty head. I smell your rancid shoe drawer. I smell your poisonous toots. And… I smell your Axe body spray. I smell your lavender shampoo. I smell the brownies you baked on your own. I smell your pillow. I smell you all the time.

I feel you. I feel you tense up. I feel your struggles as if they are mine. I feel you ball your fists. I feel you smack your sister. I feel you stomp in your room. I feel your heartbreak. I feel the daggers you shoot into my back. And… I feel your soft cheek while you’re sleeping. I feel your mop of unruly hair. I feel your tight hugs. I feel the muscles forming under your skin. I feel your determination on the mound. I feel the love you have for life. I feel you all the time.

I will not fail you. I will frustrate you and hold you accountable. I will love you unconditionally. I will let some things slide. I will lose sleep over you and remind you to be kind. I will pray for you always.  I will not give up on you. I will not fail you. You are my son and I will never take that for granted.

Now, please put your dirty boxers in the hamper, get your big-ass binder off the kitchen counter, stop depleting our cellular data, wear deodorant every day, hang up your wet towel, stop wearing your $15 socks without shoes and give me a hug; a real hug.

Love, Mama

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Several years ago…toothless and full of love. (can you see the rays of sunshine?)

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Last week…fast asleep at 5:00PM. Sent to his room to cool off and this is how I found him a few minutes later.

Live Creatively,

mamaSig

 

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4,320 Minutes!

Posted On November 17, 2015| 1 Reply

 

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Sometimes a minute feels like a lifetime. Just ask a toddler who has to ‘wait a minute’ for his mama’s attention. Last weekend 4,320 minutes flashed by. I was on a Girl’s Trip. Those two words together make my heart sing. This little trip was born several years ago when one of my BFF’s decided to move herself to Minnesota. I’m still bitter, but I have forgiven her for the most part.

This year 3 of us met her in Chicago. By noon on Thursday I was sipping a Bloody Mary while Southwest was preparing my flight. I came armed with 3 magazines for the 50 minutes I would be unable to check Facebook. One of my travel companions brought at least 20. My fave was the one with the crazy/creepy/one-of-a-kind gifts you never knew existed. Seriously, that was the name of the magazine: Things You Never Knew Existed. I was tempted to purchase the hairy caveman feet slippers that were worthy of the front cover, but I did not. If someone of your list is pining for a Willy Warmer or Fart Spray, you are in luck. This company offers rush shipping and a money-back guarantee. I guess if the Willy Warmer doesn’t fit you can exchange it?!

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My reading was unproductive. I was interrupted by a steady stream of laughs and reassuring my panic stricken pal that a little turbulence does not mean the plane is going down in a blaze of glory…….

The Park Hyatt gods were smiling upon us at check-in. Two big beds, lots of towels, a great view, free toothbrushes and a closet that was straight out of The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe….you could start in the bedroom and walk through to the bathroom! It’s the little things.

Approximately 100 paces from our hotel was this lovely little place:

We decided it was in our best interest to visit every day. To be honest, once we went in twice! Pretty sure the guy handing out the free samples was on to us!

To fill our afternoon, we ate flaming cheese while perfecting our Ms Pac-Man skills at Bar Toma, made a sizable contribution to Anthropologie and consumed a huge dinner at 10pm at Bavette’s. When you go, and trust me, you should go….sit in the basement and ask for Johnny. You will need the flashlight on your phone to see the menu, but Johnny will entertain you with his f-bombs and sweet tattoos and will most likely supply you with a FREE birthday dessert complete with a crackling sparkler! (Even though he totally knows you are lying about it being your bday.)

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Bavette’s

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Tell them Mandy sent you! For the record….this is NOT Johnny!

The next day we pretty much just ate our way through Wicker Park. It was divine. Burgers for lunch. Jeni’s for a snack. Donuts for another snack……

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They don’t have Jeni’s in Minny!

By this time we are high on sugar and decide to take our comedy act to Vintage Underground. Their basement is filled with bargains from days gone by. Varsity sweaters. Grandpa’s flannel. Hats. Bedazzled cocktail dresses. Shoulder pads. Patterned sweaters. It was awesome. For your enjoyment, here is a glimpse of our favorite basement finds:

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Settle down PeTA, we did not purchase these beauties.

I think the red clutch really seals the deal. And, yes, I am holding my jacket closed….apparently fur-wearing ladies of the 70’s did not have boobs.

Feeling revived from our vintage shopping, we hailed a cab and headed to The Bean. You are all very lucky that I am alive to write this blog. We managed to hail the one cabbie in Chicago who had a death wish, no concept of what a yellow light means and was under the impression that if he delivered us faster he would get a bigger tip! Upon arriving at The Bean we quickly bailed out of the cab and thanked Jesus for sparing us.

THE BEAN: God bless the sweet man who humored us by taking no less than 17 pictures on 2 different phones. Pretty sure we have ruined him on marriage.

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As punishment for the thousands of calories we consumed in Wicker Park, we walked from The Bean to Eataly. It is Chef Mario Batali’s “sprawling, modern outpost featuring a range of Italian eateries & food markets”. Amazeballs. We wandered for at least an hour. The food looked so good we decided to shop and have an intimate dinner in our room. Here is what we dined on:

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In my opinion it was our best meal. Take a minute to appreciate the $7 bottle of EVOO. I may have gotten in a tiny altercation with very grumpy Eataly server while attempting to ‘borrow’ some EVOO from the server station. He was hostile. I was cocky. He was left with a plastic to-go container of EVOO he was going to have to pitch. I was forced to shell out $7 for a bottle that I am sure the maid was thrilled to find! Humph.

Pippin’s Tavern was calling our name. We bellied up to the bar, became friends with Matt the bartender and settled in for the night. We swore he was skimping on the vodka in our drinks, but perhaps not. We took a few dozen photos while trying to perfect our Kardashian smiles…..you know, teeth slightly apart, tongue pushing on our top teeth and head cocked either down or up. Enjoy….

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Pretty sure Kim will not be calling me to hang out….

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As good as it gets!

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OK, there might have been a little vodka in our drinks!

We greeted Saturday morning with a trip to Bliss Spa. We kind of love this place. Comfy robes. Cucumber water. Top-notch therapists. Steam shower. True. Bliss. No paparazzi in the spa, so just take my word for it. We looked totes adorbs in our robes and slippers and emerged relaxed, oiled, scrubbed and blemish-less. And hungry. Very hungry. We filled our bellies with Chicago style pizza, packed up the leftovers and headed to the Skydeck. Because, how long could the line be? On a Saturday afternoon……..

Apparently hundreds of other people thought the same thing. Three hour wait. Notsomuch. We bailed. We hailed. Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap was our dinner choice. We scored a seat at the bar for a fantastic view of the OSU game. Our husbands would be proud….wings and football on a girl’s trip! Our pillows were calling our names, so off to bed we went. One of us fell asleep immediately. The other three chatted, giggled, commiserated and solved the world’s problems before joining our sister in dreamland.

It was time to say good-bye. This part always sucks. We shared one last meal in terminal A before boarding our flights back to reality. It’s crazy how a mere 4,320 minutes with three of the finest ladies I know can restore my soul and inspire me to tackle the world. Thanks friends.

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Live Creatively,

mamaSig

 

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