Parental amnesia

Parental amnesia — it’s a thing. Honestly, without it the world would cease to exist. If we didn’t forget lots of things (the swollen feet, contractions, sleeping in 20 minute intervals, discovering crusty spit up 2 hours into your work day) we’d never venture back into the baby making business. But it doesn’t stop at those early first few months. Oh no…

Just the other day, Michael and I were having a rough day and I thought, “We should go out to dinner, a nice treat.”


I know, I know, I know. Those of you not suffering from parental amnesia or in the throes of living in my world who haven’t blocked out what it’s really like know how silly of a thought that really was.

“Honey, let’s go out to eat. It’ll give us a break from dishes, cooking. You wanted Mexican the other night. Let’s go!”

We walk in and are immediately seated in the “kids section” which started to rouse me from my parental amnesia.

I looked over at the nice couple with the well behaved, I’m guessing 6-year-old girl, dining quietly. There was an entire row of empty seats and the host sat us literally RIGHT ACROSS FROM THEM. Owen could nearly swat them with his grubby little hands.

“I’m so sorry,” I said.

This is the kind of dining we'll stick to...

This is the kind of dining we’ll stick to…

I didn’t say this with my eyes. Nope, I meant it so much I said it with my words, an apologetic smile and my eyes. Throughout the meal as my amnesia quickly cleared away I was tempted to apologize by pulling out my wallet.

There was running around. There was lots of non-inside voice usage. There was food tossing. There were beans smeared in hair. Very little food was eaten. Very little adult conversation was had. The only thing I think Michael and I felt treated to was some judgement from other diners.

How quickly we forgot our pledge to never leave the house with toddlers again. If I look back on this very blog I will see similar posts written about similar outings taken with just one kiddo. Now that my amnesia has lifted I recall one trip quit vividly… there were several spilled drinks, countless tantrums and I can’t count how many times I picked his cup up off the floor… But the other day, I’d blocked that out completely. I’d blocked out the promise Michael and I had made to ourselves and all Tri-State dinners to stay home so everyone could eat in peace.

So, once again, we take the pledge.

Until parental amnesia sets in again…



Nickel for your time?

Anytime a conversation starts out with, “Do you want me to tell her or are you going to tell her?” from my husband referring to our precocious four year old I know it isn’t good.


My head jumps to all kinds of conclusions — did he get sent home from school for bad behavior? What’s broken? What condition is the house in?

I hear a sheepish Miles whining.

“You tell her,” he says.

“Your son,” Michaels says (as if his son would never do such a thing), “just swallowed a nickel.”

“Yeah momma, I swallowed a nickel,” he proclaims. There was both pride and shame shining from that statement.


I was surprisingly cool during this exchange.

“A nickel, eh. It couldn’t have been a dime or a penny?”

The irony of this situation (am I using irony correctly, Alanis has ruined me for life) is that just the other day Miles had a coin close to his mouth and my mom warned him about that saying, “You don’t want to put that in your mouth. You might get surprised and accidentally swallow it.Your aunt Sarah swallowed a coin and had to go to the hospital.”

Still on the phone with Miles: “So, why’d you swallow a nickel buddy?”

“Aunt Sarah swallowed a nickel so I can swallow a nickel too.”

Sigh. There are plenty of things about Aunt Sarah we should strive to emulate… this is not one of them.

“OK, well, Miles, we don’t swallow coins.”

“But Aunt Sarah did!”

“Well we don’t!”

I called the doctor just to get some direction. The nurse laughed; I even laughed too. I can definitely see the humor in this.

Our orders from the doctor: “dig for gold,” or I guess silver may be more appropriate. I don’t want to be too gross but we are to keep tabs on his poo with the mission of finding the nickel. If we don’t find it in a week then we are headed into the doctor.

No more “monies” for the kiddo!

Antsy for chickens

My husband rolled his eyes when I first approached the idea of getting backyard chickens.

We were still renting so he didn’t worry too much about it saying, “Sure, you can get chickens one of these days.”

Well, that day is finally here!

It’s been nearly a year since we bought our house (I still can’t believe that) and the chicken-keeping requirements are falling into place. And while Michael is far from excited he’s on board as long as he doesn’t have to deal with said chickens.

The biggest chicken tool — the coop is almost here. I have spent the last several months scouring Craigslist and online yard sales looking for secondhand coops but found none that would work so I switched my research over to the best coop I could get in our “beginner chicken” price range.


I am certain I’m going to love having our own sweet, little flock of hens in our “urban” setting but Michael isn’t so certain. So while I wanted quality, I didn’t want to break the bank on something he isn’t yet convinced will be around for more than a month or two. I read blogs, message boards, countless Amazon and eBay reviews, consulted my resident chicken guru and friend Stephanie and even went to a few brick and mortar stores to check them out first hand.

We finally, well I finally, settled on one. It’s adorable and green and looks like a little house. Seriously this thing is cute.

It is supposed to be here today (my tracking is telling me it is in Evansville but there’s a “delay in delivery due to weather or natural disaster”) so I’m hoping maybe we can get it assembled as soon as this silly white stuff is gone.

My Facebook ads always revolved around baby topics such as cloth diapers and breast feeding but now it is all chicken coop and feed. It’s like the ads are taunting me making me even more eager to start my feathered adventure.

The next step is more research. I need to determine what breed of chicken to get. I’ve done a little research but haven’t quite decided what’s the most important factor — egg output, egg color, appearance, friendliness, heartiness … I can’t decide. My dream flock would be diverse and fluffy giving me a lot of a variety of different egg colors (cream, brown, blue, green), could handle warm summers and cold winters and would love to be held by me and Miles.

I know, I know … if wishes were chicken poop I’d soon have whatever I wanted.

Speaking of chicken poop …

Thinking healthy

Last week, I wrote a story about a very nice man, Larry “Ox” Townsend, from Henderson, who has recovered from a stroke he had earlier this year. It got me thinking about a few things, mostly that I need to start taking better care of myself.

I’m 35, staring down the barrel of 40, and some days I feel like I’m 80. Too much bad food, not enough exercise, poor sleep habits, too much stress – all those risk factors that I am sure affect a whole lot of us.

As Mr. Townsend told me his story, I knew exactly what he was talking about.

The main thing is food. I like food. I really like meat, and salty things, and spicy things and cheesy things and fried things. And sugary drinks. Pretty much all the stuff you’re supposed to stay away from.

Of course, as I type this blog, there’s a commercial on the radio for Subway’s new pastrami melt sandwich. See, I love pastrami. I am kind of obsessed with it, actually.

I haven’t even really started the “health kick” and I’m already feeling like it’s going to be an uphill battle.

It’s not like I haven’t tried before. I’ve gone on diets before, dropped 20 or 25 pounds and thought, “Hey this is not hard at all.”

But I’ve never really stuck with it. That’s the hard part. You start to think you have control, and hey, I lost all that weight. I can eat that whole pizza, just this one time. But then one time becomes twice, then three times, then before you know it you’re supporting the Tri-State pizza industry all by yourself and back to your old weight.

I know what you’re thinking. “Hey this guy is talking about starting a diet with Thanksgiving coming up, good luck with all that.” And you’re probably right.

But I think if I start slow, cutting down on the soft drinks …

(Down south we call them “cokes” regardless of whether it’s Coke or Dr. Pepper or whatever, but that’s another blog entry for another time)

… I think I can build up to a better overall plan. Cutting out a few things at a time, instead of just dropping everything at once and expecting a miracle.

With two little kids around, I need to do a better job this time. I’m not committing myself to a “full body transformation” or anything crazy. I won’t be doing P90’s or crossfit or any of that stuff right now. I just want to start eating a little better.

Now if they’ll just stop running that darn Subway commercial…

Peach cobbler anyone?

How is it that something currently the size of a sweet potato can wreak such havoc on my body?
And I know this is just the beginning.
The 18,000 trips the bathroom are one thing but the insane, uncontrollable cravings are a whole other thing. I see a picture of something on Facebook and I NEED it (cobbler for example.) I overhear a co-worker talking about her lunch the other day and I instantly cannot go another day without eating that exact same thing (salad and breadsticks from Olive Garden.) Or I drive by a billboard advertising something and my car magically takes me there (my first McDonald’s Big Mac in about five years).
And sometimes it doesn’t take anything. I can just be sitting in my living room minding my own business free from the distractions of talk and pictures of food and I have an insatiable need for a hot fudge sundae, pickles and olives.
What’s wrong with me you ask — that sweet potato-sized fetus is taking over my brain. It’s also making me puke eight times (twice at my desk even) all before 9 a.m. on a Monday morning. And making my back and inexplicably (to say it delicately) gluteus maximus ache.
My husband, family and friends have to put up with the complaints about back aches, requests for crazy food runs at odd hours and the smell of pickles and ice cream.
There’s a little less than 24 weeks to go, and I’m sure the cravings will get weirder and more intense and the aches and pains more frequent. But, the light at the end of the tunnel is an adorable little guy or gal who will make me worry and get no sleep for the next 100 years but will also love and adore me more than anyone can imagine being possible.
It’s worth it.
What were or are your pregnancy cravings? Did they change from pregnancy to pregnancy? (With Miles I craved shrimp and grits, calamari and creme brulee.)

You can never go back home again

We returned this weekend from an amazing trip to Louisiana. The two-day road trip was exhausting but worth every minute of time with family and friends.

The three of us stayed the majority of the week with Michael’s parents but had the opportunity to see nearly everyone in the family as well as friends and former co-workers.

PawPaw and MeMe with Miles, Eli and Jhett

PawPaw and MeMe with Miles, Eli and Jhett

And of course much of our trip focused around the amazing food and beautiful weather that Louisiana has to offer. There was boiled crawfish, shrimp Po’boys, my hubby’s favorite chicken, burgers from the tiny little shack Michael grew up patronizing up the street from his parents, his mom’s famous and rich chicken and sausage sauce piquante, Miles’ first wienie roast, boudin, brisket and so much more. I think I gained about 10 pounds from our week there!


Miles helping great-grandpa Monroe play guitar

Miles helping great-grandpa Monroe play guitar

Great-grandpa Monroe and great-grandma Nellie

Great-grandpa Monroe and great-grandma Nellie

Wagon ride with Jhett

Wagon ride with Jhett

Much of the days were spent outside with Miles enjoying one of the many wagons he fell in love with, playing on the swing set and trampoline at MeMe and Pawpaw’s and going on crazy four-wheeler rides. Michael and I got a kick out of watching Miles reacquaint himself with family, most of which he’d only ever met one time when he was just 9 months old. He called out for his MeMe and PawPaw, snuggled with his great-grandparents, giggled and played with cousins and enjoyed tickles from his aunt.

Miles helped give Ray a ride in the wagon

DSC_1154 Miles helped give Ray a ride in the wagon

Miles' wild ride with his cousins

Miles’ wild ride with his cousins


Miles, Jhett and Eli

Miles, Jhett and Eli

Eli and Miles

Eli and Miles

In addition to spending a ton of time with family, Michael and I had a chance to show Miles our old stomping grounds — where we met (the newspaper office we both worked), where we lived together and our favorite places to hang out.

The trip home for Michael and back to the place I loved and called home for nearly four years for me made us both very sentimental. Of course I love being back “home” in Indiana and being close to family, but there is so much I love and miss about Louisiana. We talked about what it would be like if we moved back.

The good ol’ days had Michael working with his best friend Ray, me with one of mine David and our house being THE PLACE to be for a great social gathering. It had a huge kitchen, a spacious backyard with a privacy fence, a covered patio and an awesome hostess (me). We had an amazing time in that house with a great group of friends.

But when we went back to visit the paper it wasn’t the same. Our closest of friends had already left. When we drove by our house you could tell the last couple of years hadn’t been kind to it. It had fallen into some disrepair.

The whole place, the whole idea of going back to that place at that time seems like an amazing idea. But going back now really has no appeal. There wouldn’t be a place for us where we would feel we belong, where we’d be happy.
And in some ways that feels really sad, like our memories and times there have lost some of their shiny appeal. But that’s not it at all. I think it makes that time and place even more special and magical, makes the memories even more precious. It was a great snapshot in time, some of the best.

Have you ever tried to “go back home again?” How did it work out?

Happy Carnival

Eating traditional gumbo after Mardi Gras festivities in Mamou, La.

Eating traditional gumbo after Mardi Gras festivities in Mamou, La.

Mardi Gras is one of those days that makes me miss my Louisiana family and friends so much more than normal.

I tried to give my south Louisiana native husband a taste of home with a Cajun dinner out last night. My sister and brother-in-law watched Miles so we could enjoy the special Mardi Gras menu at Franklin Street’s Lamasco Bar and Grill.

mg1 mg2

We had a great time and indulged in some really tasty food. I got a pound of boiled crawfish, Michael a shrimp Po’boy and we split an order of jambalaya.


Hope everyone has a great and safe Mardi Gras.




Traditional Mardi Gras parade in Mamou, La. from several years ago.

Traditional Mardi Gras parade in Mamou, La. from several years ago.


French Market shopping was always colorful.

French Market shopping was always colorful.

There were plenty of street performers.

There were plenty of street performers.

Cupcake queen

I think we all have these dreams of some other kind of career, even if we are quite happy with the one we are currently in.

Chocolate cupcakes filled with peanut butter topped with a chocolate-peanut butter ganache and then peanut butter butter cream!

Chocolate cupcakes filled with peanut butter topped with a chocolate-peanut butter ganache and then peanut butter butter cream!

One of the jobs I’ve fantasized about is to be a cupcake baker. I don’t really like to bake much else, but LOVE to bake cupcakes.

King Cake and chocolate covered cherry cupcakes

King Cake and chocolate covered cherry cupcakes

At nearly every newspaper I’ve worked I’ve for I’ve kind of been a one man “sunshine” committee. It drives my husband nuts. But I enjoy making things a little brighter in the places I work and for the people I work with. It makes them happier and in return makes me happier.

Cupcake swag I got for my birthday a few years ago from co-workers who appreciate the treats.

Cupcake swag I got for my birthday a few years ago from co-workers who appreciate the treats.

In Dothan, Ala., at the “Dothan Eagle” my friend and co-worker Christie and I would bring in yummy treats or have all night goofy craft sessions and make silly gifts for our co-workers like birds made out of pompoms, pipe cleaners and googly eyes. In Alexandria, La., at “The Town Talk” I made sure each of my co-workers got special treats for every holiday. And about a year into my time there decided everyone needed birthday cake on their birthday.

I quickly discovered I wasn’t a great cake baker. And plus, cake requires forks, knives and plates. Cupcakes became the solution.

Funfetti cupcakes baked inside cones topped with cotton candy frosting.

Funfetti cupcakes baked inside cones topped with cotton candy frosting.

So when I switched jobs to Anderson, Ind., at “The Herald Bulletin” it seemed like the thing to do — cupcakes for everyone birthday. And I took things up a notch. There were no more tubs of mediocre vanilla or chocolate frosting getting slathered on cake mix cupcakes. Nope, this chick started taking special orders and made all from scratch cupcakes.

Coconut filled chocolate cupcakes topped with snowmen.

Coconut filled chocolate cupcakes topped with snowmen.

Peanut butter and jelly. Chocolate orange. Dark chocolate raspberry. S’more. Peanut butter chocolate (a favorite). The list goes on and on. I had so much fun trying out different combinations. And with each one I got a little bit better.

Dark chocolate and orange and key lime cupcakes

Dark chocolate and orange and key lime cupcakes

This most recent job has me at a much larger paper and my hands continue to get fuller and fuller by the day as my toddler gets more active. So I scaled back my cupcake efforts and bake cupcakes to order for the birthdays of those in my department.

Making my aunt darcy's top secret buttercream receipe.

Making my aunt darcy’s top secret buttercream receipe.

But here I am, on a random Tuesday with a serious NEED for cupcakes. A gander at my calendar shows no birthdays until July! Ack. I may just have to make some Flag Day cupcakes for Monday!

What’s your daydreaming job?

I’ve lost a toddler (at least in weight) but am winning a war

Like many of us, I’ve been unhappy with my weight most of my life.

When I first wrote that sentence it read, “I’ve battled with my weight most of my life.” But when I reread it I knew that wasn’t really accurate because the majority of the time I didn’t put up much of a fight. There were skirmishes; and when I lost them it made it too easy to just give up, wave the white flag and have a cupcake. I told myself, “You are just going to be heavy. No reason really going all out with the diet and exercise.”

So I didn’t. And my weight would go up and down five or so pounds but really not ever change much. The only “diet plan” that had ever worked for me in the past was getting deathly ill in a third-world country. I lost nearly 75 pounds in mere months. Obviously this wasn’t sustainable or healthy, and much of that weight came back on.

Most of my life, while I haven’t been engaged in battle, I have at least put up some resistance. I ate pretty well, I’d exercise a little. And a year ago I committed to doing more exercise and consistently did Zumba two days a week. It was a good, fun workout.

But my “resistance” did little to nothing to move the scale.

In October, a friend and co-worker told me about a sugar fast she was planning to try. I’m anti-fad diet, but this one seemed like a “nothing to lose” kind of effort. Cut out sugar. Even if I didn’t lose a single pound, it wasn’t like I was eating all meat or drinking just green juice or anything crazy like that. I was still getting a balanced and healthy diet — lots of veggies, brown rice, meat, etc.

In the 21 days of the fast I lost about 10 pounds. It wasn’t anything crazy, but it was pretty exciting. And I felt better. It also cut my crazy sweet cravings and seemed to kick my metabolism in gear.

Since then, mid-October, I’ve continued to keep most sugars out of my diet and continued my two days of Zumba and added a few extra days of walking/jogging or working out on an elliptical in my work’s fitness center. But I’ve let myself indulge in the occasional dessert, overindulge in a Chinese buffet or two and eat some cheese. I don’t feel like I’m obsessive about my eating or exercise but instead making healthy choices with my food and activity. And I’ve finally gotten to the point where when I miss a Zumba class I actually missed being there.

And I’ve seen some results. I’ve lost 23 pounds — a toddler. My goal is to lose a small child but it will take continued effort and work, something I’m ready to do.

But you know what, if I didn’t lose another pound I’d be OK with it. What I’ve learned in the last few months is that while sliding the dial on the scale down a few notches every week feels good, what feels even better is not having to stop mid-dance party with my toddler to catch my breath, having more energy and leading by example for my son in what a healthy lifestyle looks like.

While I’m certain I couldn’t say “I’ve battled with my weight most of my life” before, I’m happy to say I still can’t say it. At 33, yes I turn 33 on Sunday, I’ve learned it isn’t about weight. (It’s taken me long enough to come to that conclusion.) I’m battling the sluggishness; I’m battling the early heart disease; I’m battling my self-confidence issues; I’m battling to have a long, healthy life with my family.

What are you battling?