Labor Day Picnic


What are you doing this Labor Day Weekend? Me and the fam and some friends are going to Red Top Mountain for a picnic and a hike. We’re auditioning the location for a family camping trip sometime later this Fall. Have you taken your little ones camping? Let me rephrase…. would you ever take your little ones camping… again?

PS I am thinking about making these coconut macaroons

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

{Image via BHG}

Soap Box

Typical London Photo

I’m not one to get all soap box-y, but after re-reading this New York Times article, I wondered if the Britons might add to the list of Things They Don’t Admire About Americans how Syria can be on the brink of a civil war, and yet the biggest scoop to hit US headlines this week is Miley Cyrus’ twerking episode on the VMA’s.

PS. Spell Check still flags the term “twerking”. Does this mean that I can get away with being a little sudsy today?

Have a great Thursday!

{Image via Harshit Verma Photography}

Death Wish Coffee


Oh, what I wouldn’t give today for a cup of Death Wish Coffee. The name might sound like caffeinated poison, but DWC claims to pack twice the caffeine than your average cup of joe. I was up late last night working on a deadline, but the kids didn’t get the memo to sleep in this morning. Hence, the need for Death Wish.

How much coffee do you drink in a day?

{Image via The Dropp}

Let the Games Begin

baby shower balloons

What are you doing this weekend? I am coordinating the games and activities for a baby shower on Saturday. Let’s face it. Baby shower games are usually lame, but not on my watch! I think the best activities are those that somehow involve Dad, don’t you?  After all, he is a key player in this whole Baby Gig. I’m still on the fence with a few activity ideas, so I thought I would ask you: Played any good shower games lately?

Thanks for the suggestions, and have a great weekend!

{Image via The Indigo Bunting}

A Pinterest-Worthy Family

Oh the Places 2
A few years ago, someone gave Salem a cloth-bound, slip-cased edition of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! I had his preschool teacher sign it, and I plan to have all of his teachers inscribe the inside cover from now until he graduates from high school. Wouldn’t that be a special keepsake? Looks like I’m going to need an extra copy.


Today is Mia’s first day of preschool. Before I could even hang up her Disney Princess backpack, she said, “Bye, Mom. Thanks for coming!” Translation: “Get lost, Mom. You’re messing up my game.” This image captures Mia’s truest self– confident, social, independent… a party looking for a place to happen. If there were any First Day Jitters to speak of, they were felt only by Mom and Dad.


Caption might read… “Seriously, are these people ever going to LEAVE!”

I had high hopes of getting a Pinterest-worthy-first-day-of-preschool photo, but clearly it was an epic fail. Then again, we have never been a Pinterest-worthy family, and I have to admit… that’s one of the things I love most about us.

Happy first day of school, my darling Mia. I can’t wait to see all the places you’ll go!

Happy Monday!

jillie flickr

It’s a stay-indoors-and-listen-to-the-Beatles kind of day.

{Image via J Schwartz Flickr}

Free Time


What are you going to do with all that free time?

This is the one question that everyone immediately asks me when I tell them that both of my children are going to school this year. “All that free time” really only amounts to about 15 kid-free hours a week. Nevertheless, that is more free time than I’ve had in the last five years. Why didn’t anyone ask me what I was going to do with all my free time before I had children and I had roughly 17 hours a day of self-directed time to do whatever I chose? Last night, Clark and I were discussing such mystification when the dam of my dormant desires broke and out came gushing all of the fantasies about my upcoming 15 hours a week of free time. He encouraged me to jot it all down.

Things I Am Going to Do with ALL That Free Time:

Vacuum my car
Run after the sun comes up
Pee all by myself
Make a phone call
Brew a mid morning pot of coffee
Place a full mug of mid-morning brew on the coffee table and walk away
Listen to the news without headphones on
Eat brunch somewhere that doesn’t have chicken nuggets on the menu
Watch Live! with Kelly and Michael
Not write
Enjoy my scrambled eggs while they are still hot
Visit the adult non-fiction side of the library
Get my hair cut without hiring a sitter
Run a quick errand
Clean out my purse
Shop for a smaller purse
Take my smaller purse to places like Teavana and Yankee Candle Company
Unpack the garage

Oh dear. That may only last me until noon, at which point I may end up staking out the preschool playground to spy on the children.

What do you do with all your free time?

{Image via KnitBranda’s Etsy shop}

Paradise Valley


John Mayer’s new record comes out August 20th!

After a long and successful day of potty-training Mia, I laid down on my bed in the dark last night and listened to a free pre-release streaming of Paradise Valley on iTunes. Suddenly, I was transported to a magical land far away from potty seats and princess panties.

The sound reminds me of the Room For Squares/Heavier Things John that we all fell in love with before he took attempted a career at stand-up comedy and pop-celeb dating.

It’s nice to have you back John. Oh, and just in case you were wondering how training was going…


A Potty-Training Lament

kid underwear

I have often wondered why I’ve put off potty training Mia this long. When I re-read this post from my potty-training days with Salem, I suddenly remembered why:

I have to admit, when my mother sent me the book, Toilet Training in Less Than A Day, by Nathan H. Azrin and Richard M. Foxx, I promptly put it in the “things-to-be-sure-to-pull-out-and-leave-lying-around-when-mom-comes-to-visit” bin.

Until last Sunday.

For nearly four days, Salem {and Mia} and I had our mail forwarded to the bathroom where we sat waiting…. waiting….. waiting for that magic moment that would never come unless I promised to buy them each a pony. I was desperate…. desperate enough to humor my mother and read the bathroom heresy book cover to cover in…. ironically enough…. less than a day. Three-quarters of the way through, I started to believe that this might actually work. That’s the funny thing about books like Toilet Training in Less than a Day, Three Minute Abs, and The One Minute Millionaire… One moment you’re a critic and the next you’re a disciple… sort of like what happens after a good Amway presentation. So, bathroom heresy turned potty gospel claims that one of the most effective ways to encourage your child to do his business within the proper purlieu is to create a “Friends Who Care” list. Now, this list includes anyone {real or fictional} that the child looks up to and respects that not only puts their pee pee and poo poo in the potty, but who would also be proud of his or her bathroom accomplishments. Our “Friends Who Care” list included but was not limited to:

Harry Potter
David Gray
Eric Clapton
Dave Matthews
Jeff Beck

By day two, our list had grown to include Phil Collins, Jesus Christ, Buddy the Elf, and the arctic penguins of Disney’s Earth. I figured we could sort out the different bathroom habits of animals, humans, and elves later, but for now, I was happy to expand our fan club to include anything or anyone that inhaled oxygen if it meant that my son would be inspired to toilet himself.

I wouldn’t dare spoil the book as it is soon bound to become a nail biting mini-series, but the one-day training method also restricts the commode-courting duo {in this case, Salem and I} to one room in the house for the duration of the training. The book strongly recommends conducting Bowel Boot Camp in the kitchen to better contain any accidents and spills. I’ll admit this is particularly disgusting, however, if the two of us were held prisoner for two days in our hobbit-sized bathroom, I am quite certain one of us wouldn’t have made it out before severe psychosis had turned our brains to pâté. Oh, and did I mention, this method involves no television or entertaining distraction such as books, siblings, or anything that has buttons and lights up which for a pre-schooler is an unusual form of medieval torture. For a mom, it is confirmation that Dr. Foxx and Dr. Azrin are, in fact, Al Qaida terrorists. So, by the end of day one we had learned the the oven door opens with a creak in B flat, there are approximately 32 linoleum tiles between the fridge and the kitchen sink, the faucet drips every 2.4 minutes and most importantly…

The book lied.

Now I have great kids. Exceptional, in my mothering opinion. But even my little angel was so over the whole accident routine which involves not one, but TEN practice runs to the potty seat from various points in the house lifting and lowering Thomas the Tank Engine underpants reciting “pee pee in the potty”. During one of our rehearsals, wet Thomas underpants went hurling across the kitchen at Mommy which under normal circumstances would have resulted in immediate disciplinary action, but these were far from ordinary circumstances. This was hell.

At one point, I glanced at my university degree hanging in the hallway next to a framed picture of Clark and I with President Bush. That was the moment I became painfully aware that raising children, while it is one of life’s great joys, is in fact one of Life’s Great Equalizers. No amount of education, world travel, or rubbing shoulders with the most powerful man on planet Earth was ever going to get my son to keep his pants dry. And so, there I am, a college grad, on day TWO/hour six of doing the “dry pants dance” {which sort of looks like wacky jacks only you spin in circles and say “dry pants dance” over and over until you lose all dignity and self-respect}. Upon completing this life lesson, I promptly put the kids to bed and proceeded to drink more margaritas than what is legally allowed in six states. Before you start to worry, I was amongst friends and Spouse. Friends don’t let friends drink post-potty training margaritas alone.

And so, I am reporting to you live from the fish mat.

The fish mat: one obnoxiously bright vinyl sheet covered in neon angler fish that harkens back to the days of Spring Break in Panama City Beach. It no doubt originated from the same highbrow establishment that specializes in air-brushed T-shirts and bedazzled navel rings, but it is waterproof. So far it has served nicely as a duvet, a futon cover, a floor rug, and most importantly, a barrier between Salem’s training accidents and every fabric surface in the Beasley household. I am considering having it matted and framed when this ordeal is all over.

The good news is that diapers are history. That’s one down and one to go. It didn’t take a day like the book claimed, but my little champ is well on his way to becoming a potty pro sans a few oops… {three and counting since the inception of this blog post.}

Now Mommy, stop blogging and do the “Dry Pants Dance”!!!!

{Image via Goat Milk}

A Slice of Anger in the Pie of My Brain


I didn’t say it, but I wish I did. This is one of many brilliant imageries used in Nora Ephron’s book, I Remember Nothing. I just finished it, and all I can say is only Nora can describe meatloaf in poetry. If you’ve read the book, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, and you’ve struggled with either getting older and/or recovering from childhood, this is a helpful read.

Have a great weekend!

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