Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Haunted. Or punk'd. One of those.

Last night I was violently ripped from a sound sleep in the middle of the night.  So what?, you ask.  You have kids.  Aren't you used to that?

Yes, I am.  But this was different, you guys.  I wasn't awakened by my evil adorable children.  I was awakened by a ghost.  A ghost with an alarm clock.

At exactly midnight, on the dot, an alarm woke me up.  Not my alarm.  Not an alarm belonging to any clock or phone in our house.  A mystery alarm, a strange and foreign alarm.  It was loud, and insistent, and I had no idea where it was coming from.

As you know, I'm a strong, fearless woman.  I sat up, gathered my courage, and did what any strong woman would do:  I woke up my husband.  Shut up, you would have done the same thing!

"Babe!  BABE!  [yes, we call each other babe, like some kind of insufferable '80s power couple.  Not the point.  Stop getting distracted.] What is that??"


"That!  What is that?"


"Wake up, we're about to die."

"Is that an alarm?  Turn it off."

"What is it??"

Eventually we both stood up and realized this alarm sound was coming from the baby monitor.  OH MY GOODNESS MY BABY IS BEEPING.  We both went for the door, and as I opened it...the noise stopped.  Seriously.  Abruptly, at the exact moment I opened my bedroom door.  Gone.

We (ok, he...I went back to bed) launched a search for the offending piece of technology and turned up nothing.  And the baby didn't even wake up, you guys!  I mean he did eventually.  It's not like he's still sleeping today.  That would be worrisome.  But the alarm didn't wake him up, is what I'm trying to say.  Even though apparently this noise was coming from inside his bedroom.

Possible answers:

  1. We got punk'd by our infant son last night, and he's hiding a tiny alarm clock under his crib mattress and cracking up.
  2. We have a carbon monoxide sensor we don't know about, it tried to warn us, we ignored it, and we're all dead right now.  It's totally possible.  Didn't you see Beetlejuice?  
  3. Ghost.  With an alarm clock.
We have to move.  Again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cutest. Flower girl. EVER.

My Princess was a perfect flower girl.  I don't even think I have any funny stories to tell on her because she was just so pretty and well-behaved.  

Look at that Princess!

Rocking, in her words, "Cinderella's wedding dress."

The bridesmaid behind her fed her M&Ms throughout the ceremony.  Smart bridesmaid!

Just....awwwww.  Right??

I see you there, Mom.  Was I awesome, or what?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

UPDATED: I'm one of those awesome housekeeping bloggers now.

Last night, for the first time, I went to bed in my new house with all the dinner dishes still scattered across my kitchen, food dried to a crust on them.  Woke up, wondered what that smell was.  Oh right.  I'm a lazy pig.  

Aaaaaand...this house is now our home.

It's not a total loss, though.  I'm still making considerable progress towards the life of my Pinterest fever dreams. What was I doing instead of washing dishes last night, you ask?  Why, I was unpacking dozens of small, coordinated storage boxes and baskets, labeling them, and stacking them neatly in the spare bedroom.  I now know where the glue is at all times, you guys.  It's in the green Rubbermaid shoe box labeled "Glue & Tape."  Elmer's glue, glue sticks, Super Glue, Gorilla glue, hot glue gun?  All there.  Duct tape, Scotch tape, packing tape, masking tape?  CHECK.

This post really needs photos.  I don't think you're getting the full picture here of how gorgeous my labeled storage containers really are.  I have green IKEA boxes:
My pretties.

One is labeled "Instruction Manuals," and believe it or not, it actually contains instruction manuals.  So Martha, right?  The others are happily empty, waiting to be filled by my highly organized crap.  And the plastic shoe boxes!  I have one for "Batteries."  And one for "Post-its & Note Paper."  And one for "Pens & Pencils," and one for "Craft Markers."  And one for "Magnets."  Yes, I have that many magnets.  I don't know.  But they have a place, and a label, and all is well.

I'll post photos.  You guys have no idea.  Just wait.

Watch out, Jen at IHeartOrganizing.  I am so moving into your turf.  (I love that blog, btw.  Read it obsessively. It fits perfectly into my fantasy life where people wash dishes and decorate their homes.)


Here are some photos.  Brace yourselves for the awesome, ok?

OK that's totally underwhelming, now that I look at it.  Shut up.  It's a work in progress.  For a reminder of what I'm working with here, please see this post.  Now.  Isn't this amazing?  Thank you.

Oh, and just because, here's a shot of another corner of that same room.  My reading corner.  It makes me happy.

Pay no attention to the, um...Princess.  This is one of those times when the title is ironic.

Here comes the flower girl.

There's a wedding today! My cousin is marrying a girl I wish was my cousin. And now she will be. So it works out. For me. Which is really the most important thing.

The Princess shall be providing her services as flower girl. Photos to come, I'm sure.

Sorry, this post is not funny or terribly interesting but I wanted you to know what I'm up to so you didn't think I was ignoring you.

I've somehow agreed to cook a real breakfast this morning to get us all fueled up for the big day. I'm not so much a breakfast person... so I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into. The Princess just came and told me if I do the pancakes, she'll do the faces??

Here we go.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Napless Wonder, and my one and only failing as a mother

Today the Monster chose not to nap.  He's 11 months old.  He needs naps.  He'll tell you he doesn't (well, he won't tell you because he doesn't speak English in any recognizable form, but he'll growl at you in a way that makes his intention not to nap perfectly clear).  But he does need to nap.  I know because I'm his mother and I know better than he does.  At least, that's what I tell myself every day to keep myself going.  Possibly this is just a lie that mothers since the dawn of time have been telling ourselves to keep from just sitting down and crying and not stopping.  "I'm the mother.  I know.  Better.  Than.  These.  Children."

So anyway, we went to church in the morning, and he never sleeps in church, forget about it (he's far too busy worshipping and soaking up all the spiritual goodness, obviously. Also pulling my hair, using me as a trampoline/jungle gym, and making car noises even when there are no cars in sight, anywhere).  So Sundays are always wonky from a nap perspective because he misses his morning nap.  Usually he makes up for it in a sort of midday-afternoon nap, but not today.  Today he decided to just go all out, nap-free, cold turkey, The Napless Wonder!

All of this culminated with me in the car on the way home at 7 p.m. listening to him cry a sort of hopeless, confused cry (I don't understand!  I was sure I didn't need a nap!  I was so sure I'd gotten the calculations correct, and yet here I am, sleepy and wild-eyed and out of my 11-month-old mind!  WHAT IS GOING ON???).

So I did what any rational, caring mother would do.  I popped in my Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of the Beatles CD and cranked it up to FULL VOLUME, effectively drowning out his pitiful cries for comfort and explanation and replacing them with the sweet, dulcet tones of Yesterday, gently yet firmly and loudly imploring him to BE SOOTHED NOW BABY! YOU! WILL! BE! SOOTHED! IF! IT! DEAFENS! US! ALL!

It worked.  I bet you thought it wouldn't, didn't you?  Well.  Shows what you know.  He's asleep right now.  Mother of the year.

Once he was asleep I was free to turn the music down to non-lethal levels, which was obviously the Princess's cue to begin talking nonstop engaging in valuable mother-daughter bonding.

She likes to tell jokes.  Here's the thing.  I'm a good mom, ok?  No, really.  I think I am.  But I have one major weakness, one area in which I fail miserably, and that area is:  Fake laughter.  I can't do it.  Cannot.

I can pretend other things all day.  Yesterday she made streamers with printer paper, markers, and scissors.  A huge pile of 11-inch streamers.  I taped them up, one by one, all the way around the perimeter of her room and we had a birthday party for her Pinkalicious doll.  I brought a present.  A wrapped present.  I sang happy birthday.  I provided pretend cake.  OK?  I'm a good mom.

But look.  I have a sense of humor.  I like things that are actually...funny.  Sample joke by my 5-year-old:  "Why did the cow go into the house?"  "I don't know, why?"  "Because he was sick!"

If you're laughing right now, please, please, explain to me what I'm missing.

First of all.  Cows are female.  If the cow was a he, it was a bull.  Secondly, who lets a sick cow into their house?  Nobody, that's who.  Thirdly, why would going into a house even help a sick cow?  Sick cows need a vet, and fresh air, and probably hay or something.  And medicine.  Bovine medicine.  Nobody keeps hay and bovine medicine in their house.  A house is the last place a sick cow needs to go.

And what exactly is the punchline? Is it like, an irony thing?  Is it funny precisely because a house is the last place a sick cow needs to go?

I just don't get it.

I'm sorry.

So I grit my teeth and kind of force out a really obvious, truly awful fake laugh.  "Ha. Hehe. Hm. Harumph."

the Princess, giving me the evil eye:  "...was that a fake laugh?"

me:  "...yeah."  What do you want me to do??  Lie?  Lie to my child's face under direct questioning??

the Princess:  pouting in the backseat as if I just told her she can never have chocolate milk again, ever.

me:  "what?!"

the Princess:  "I just want you to laugh."

me:  "I did."

the Princess:  "A real laugh!"

How do you explain to a 5-year-old that you cannot force a person to laugh a real laugh?  That 98% of the time she's the most hilarious person I know, but right at this moment, sweetheart, you're just trying too hard.

Seriously.  How?  Somebody tell me, please.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Celebrating my 21st birthday

Tonight my husband and children took me to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. The Princess takes great and gleeful joy in throwing her peanut shells on the floor, treating it as if it's an Olympic event and she is in direct competition with every other table in her line of sight. "My mess is WAY bigger than that guy's!" Yes. Yes it is.
I ate the most perfect filet mignon of my life. Also a loaded baked potato. And approximately 27 of those disgusting sweet fluffy hot rolls with honey cinnamon butter.... Uuuugh.
At the conclusion of this meal, our very lovely waiter appeared at our table with an enormous hot fudge sundae and a SADDLE. And made me sit on the saddle in order to receive said sundae. And led the wait staff in a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday culminating in a shower of salty peanuts over my head.
But here's the important part, you guys: as he drew the crowd's attention to me (seated on a saddle, remember) he announced, in his booming circus announcer voice, before dozens of witnesses: "Alyssa is here celebrating her... 21st birthday!"
It's official. They SANG on it. People CLAPPED and I ate ICE CREAM. And would our Texas Roadhouse waiter, I think his name was Ian, would Ian lie to you? Would he?? Of course not!
It's almost 8:30, and I ate a whole lot, so this 21-year-old is thinking about going to bed.

When I go outside, these will be visible from space.

Thanks to my beautiful coworkers (and friends), it is now abundantly obvious to everybody within a 20-mile radius that I AM 30!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Visalus? Jenny Craig? Leg amputation?

A few months ago I made a public promise to myself to lose 20 pounds before I turn 30.

So...does anybody know of a way I can lose 20 pounds in 24 hours or so?

The clock is ticking, people.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm losing her.

On Monday the Princess started kindergarten.

Can you BELIEVE they're making this baby go to kindergarten??

OK.  OK.  Fine.  So maybe that photo is slightly outdated.  Maybe these days she looks more like this:


And this:

And this:

And (SOB!) this:

Look how little she is in front of that big scary building!
She didn't cry.  I didn't cry.  Seriously.  I did not cry.  I know.  I'm a robot.  I might cry now.  But I didn't cry then.

After her first day she told me she loved kindergarten, and I asked her if it was the same as preschool or different and she said it was different "except they have the same rug!" and when I asked good different or bad different she said good different and then she said she didn't need me anymore and she was moving into an apartment with her new friends and she'd see me at Thanksgiving unless she decided to go skiing with her motorcycle-riding, musician boyfriend instead.  OK I might have imagined some of that.  Possibly.

Then we came home and she went outside to play and she caught a butterfly.  She loved her butterfly with everything she has and then she came in and made the following announcement, with great pride:

"Mom.  I trained my butterfly.  Guess what it can do.  I trained play dead.  And it's doing it right now."

And I breathed a little easier, because there's no way her sophisticated new friends are going to put up with dead butterflies littering their apartment, however well-trained they may be, and maybe she still needs me a little bit after all.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I'm still here...

I'm alive! I still have no Internet but I am alive and getting all moved in to my lovely new home!

In other news, today kicked off The Week in which my Youth was First Shot Summarily in the Head and then Run Over by a Truck Just for Kicks. Yes... The Princess started kindergarten. Nobody cried.

More (funnier) stories when i have Internet and can type on a computer instead of this highly inferior Blogger for Android app.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sorry, the molecular transporter you reserved is not available.

Our rental truck company doesn't have the 24' (single trip!) truck we "reserved" so we're getting a 16' (multiple trips!) instead.

This has happened to us before. I'm beginning to suspect 24' moving trucks are a myth perpetuated by moving companies to suck you in.

"Oh i know you reserved our helicopter-and-unpacking-fairies special but we're fresh out this week! Maybe if you'd called instead of going online. Hmmm. I can offer you a really nice horse and buggy! 5% off for the inconvenience."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Martha Stewart's Tips for Successful Packing

1. Avoid mixing things from different rooms in the same box; it will make unpacking more time consuming.

This stuff is all in the same room, so it's cool if I just sweep it into a box, right?  Martha?

2. Refrain from noting anything valuable, such as silver, on the outside of a box.

So don't let on that this box is full of awesome.  Got it.

3.   Wrap small items that can be easily lost in brightly colored tissue paper before placing them in boxes.

What if I want them to get lost?

4. How to pack a lamp:
  • Remove the bulb, harp, and shade.
  • Pack the base of the lamp in an upright position in a well-padded box.
  • Wrap the shade in tissue paper (never packing paper) and place it upright in a separate box,  lined with crumpled tissue.
  • Wrap the harp separately and affix it to the inside of the box containing the shade with a piece  of tape.

Martha, you lost me at "harp."
I think I'll just roll the whole thing in newspaper (NOT packing paper) and put it in a box with this birthday gift bag and a random mix of laundry (clean laundry! I'm not an animal!).

5.  Most electronic equipment is best moved in the manufacturer’s original packaging. If you don’t have it,  double-box them.

Um.  Is that a jar of homemade apricot jam?
Yes.  Yes it is.
Martha would be so proud.


This is really happening.

We're MOVING.  No, I'm totally serious.  We really are this time.  Not like all those other times.

We got that house I mentioned we were going to look at (it's on that page, I promise.  Scroll down).  It's beautiful, it's perfect, and most of all, it's EMPTY!  And it's not across the street from people who think I'm a felony waiting to happen!!  And the kitchen looks like THIS!!

We move in Friday, so if I'm M.I.A. for a few days it's not because I don't love you guys.  I'll be back with lots of fun moving-related stories as soon as I find my laptop.  In the meantime, amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Text Message Tuesday

Ashley is my funny friend.  Adam is her husband.  A. and R. are her daughters, ages 4 and 2, respectively. She's a stay-at-home mom and amateur photographer and generally all-around wonderful human, and she makes me laugh on a daily basis.  And these are our text messages.

 Ashley says
Trying to keep a very unhappy kid quiet at target while I wait for her rx.
Alyssa says
aw. ok. tell her I said I love her and also if she doesn't behave for you Mickey Mouse will die.
Ashley says
I already told her that if she didn't cooperate for the doctor today her owie would get worse and she'd have to go to the hospital and get a shot in her butt. How many times can you lie to your kids in one day?
Alyssa says
poor sick baby. stop being so mean to her.
Ashley says
She has coxsackie virus. All they could do is prescribe me a big bottle of lidocaine cream for her ulcers and warn me not to let her swallow it or she could choke and aspirate.
Alyssa says

[later that day]

Ashley says
What are you doing today?
Alyssa says
Cleaning. And sitting around avoiding cleaning. You?
Ashley says
rocking R. in her daddy's chair. And brushing off my healthy child and feeling terrible about it.
Alyssa says
Tell A. I love her and if she doesn't behave for you Mickey Mouse will die.
Ashley says
What is it with you and making the children think they have the power to kill Mickey Mouse?? That might not actually be a deterrent for R., you know. She's kind of different.
Alyssa says
You should really be concerned if your toddler isn't bothered by the thought of causing the sudden and tragic death of Mickey Mouse.
Ashley says
A. has been begging me for days to put on my renaissance dress and play princesses with her. I'm going to have to do it eventually.
Alyssa says
Wait.  WAIT. you have a renaissance dress????
Ashley says
Yeah I do. I made it in high school for my senior project.
Alyssa says
You dress up like a princess. You're a better mom than me, but we knew that. I'm more concerned with this dress.  You made it at 17...and it still fits? I officially hate you.
Ashley says
Hahaha. Well, let's just say I can't wear it for very long or blood stops flowing to my brain.
Alyssa says
I think that's just a natural effect of motherhood.

You'll notice our conversations often end rather abruptly.  This, too, is a natural effect of motherhood.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Harrassing children and tampering with mail in a neighborhood near you.

So.  Remember the story about how we continually and spectacularly fail to move into a new house?

This is Part II.  Kind of.  Remember, when we were days away from "moving," and I filled out change of address paperwork?  Well, I also enrolled the Princess in kindergarten, in "our" new school district.  We were able to reverse the post office change of address and stop our mail from forwarding, but the school is another story.

This is the school we want her at, the school she will attend if we have to drive her in from Siberia every day.  I don't care.  We love this school.

But in order to enroll her at this school, we needed an appropriate address.  And since we were imminently "moving" into this new house in the school's service area, we used "our" new address.

We didn't move.  She starts school in a week.  We still don't know her teacher's name, her classroom, what supplies she needs, nothing.

Meanwhile, our would-be landlady has been avoiding me or something, not returning my calls or text messages for the past week.  But I need to know if we have mail from the school!  She mentioned at one point that she would leave any mail she received for us under her doormat.  So Friday afternoon we swung by and checked under the mat.  Nothing.

Now, would-be landlady is living out of town (remember, she moved to L.A. for work?) but her stuff is still in her house here, I don't know, OK, it makes no sense in general.  It's craziness.  This irrationality is the reason we have not yet moved.  But anyway the gist of it is that she's not here, a neighbor is collecting her mail, and she comes home on the weekends.

Again:  She's not returning my calls.  She's MIA, incommunicado.  I need my mail.  So...what choice do I have, really?  I have no choice, that's what.  So I suck it up and I go knock on the neighbor's door!

I start with the next-door neighbor, a woman she once mentioned being friends with.  A very lovely young woman answers, says no, she's not picking up would-be landlady's mail, maybe it's the woman across the street.  Uh huh.  OK.

So at this point I'm just wandering the neighborhood, knocking on strangers' doors looking for a piece of mail which may or may not exist.  tHe O.G. waits in the car and pretends not to know me.

I jog across the street and knock on that door, and a little girl answers.  She's maybe 10.  "Hi, is your mom or dad home?"


Wait.  No??  Are you home alone?  And are you telling a stranger you're home alone?  This is not wise, little girl.  OK.  Whatever.  Not my problem, I need my mail.  Focus.  Eyes on the prize.  "Um...I'm Alyssa, I was supposed to be moving in across the street?"

"OH!  Hi!  I'm Jenny.  When are you moving in?" (This little girl is so friendly and adorable.  Somebody might be tempted to just pick her up and carry her away.  Forever.  In his windowless van.  Because she's home alone and answering the door.)

"Um...I don't know if we are.  Anyway is your mom picking up [would-be landlady's] mail?"


"OK.  I know this is weird, but do you...happen to know if there's been anything addressed to me in that mail?"

"I don't think so.  Hang on!"  She runs back into the house, then returns with a key.  "Here's her mail key, you can check!"

Um.  OK.  Jenny, honey, I need to have a talk with your mother about leaving you home alone and not teaching you about stranger danger.  But not today.  Today I really just need my mail.

I go check the mailbox, and no, there's nothing for me.  Great.  I return the key to Jenny, say a silent prayer that she'll lock the door and no child predators will wander by on this particular day, and head home.

Two days later, I get a text from would-be landlady:

"my neighbor told me u went to her house and asked for my mail key to get ur mail. her daughter was made very uncomfortable because she didn't have my notification or approval. in the future please do not do that. i'll text you if you have mail."

Really?!  Really, would-be landlady?  You'll text me?  You, who live 6 hours away, will text me when I have mail?  You, who have consistently avoided my calls and text messages for the past week?  Really?

Really?!  Really, Jenny?  I asked for the mail key?  I made you uncomfortable?  Is that what you told your mommy when you got in trouble for throwing your life and your neighbor's mail into the hands of a stranger?  Oh, Jenny.  I thought we were friends, I really did.

It's a good thing would-be landlady is a flake and we will not be moving into her house, because a police sketch of my face is no doubt being posted all over the neighborhood as we speak.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Things I want to make Angela say out loud.

My friend Angela lives in Australia.  Don't ask me why.  She belongs here with me but insists on living there where I just learned they don't even have graham crackers.  True story, you guys.  No s'mores.  Read that again.  No.  S'mores.  Try to wrap your mind around that.  It's not pretty.

Also?  What do they feed their babies and toddlers when they're trying to cook dinner?  I would get nothing done without graham crackers.  Nothing.

Other things about Australia:  It's winter over there.  It's also tomorrow.  Seriously.  It's like a parallel universe.  Plus a time warp.  All in one.  And while they don't have graham crackers, they do have dingoes.  Dingoes, as you know, eat babies.  So maybe they don't actually need graham crackers, because all the babies have been eaten by dingoes and so the mothers are able to cook dinner in peace. This would also explain why Australia needs to steal my friends.  It's how they keep their population up.  It's all coming together.

Anyway, she's living over there, going to school, being glamorous and international.  And the other day she told me that she reads my blog aloud to her glamorous, international roommates!  And sometimes they laugh.  So I can now accurately say that I am internationally acclaimed.

You guys:  I am an internationally acclaimed blogger.

But that's not the point of this post.  The point is: did you notice that I said Angela reads this blog ALOUD to her roommates?  That means I've been offered a prime opportunity here.  And so I'm introducing a new segment:  Things I want to make Angela say out loud.

Now, I won't actually be able to hear her say these things, but I'll imagine it, and that's good enough for me., it's not.  Note to Angela's roommates:  please comment on this post and let me know if she said all these things out loud, and if so, how funny it was, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not funny at all and 10 being so funny you snorted your chocolate milk (you do have chocolate milk there, don't you?  I really hope so or this whole scale is meaningless) out your nose.

Without further ado.

Things I want to make Angela say out loud:

(With feeling, please, Ang.  Come on.)

  1. I only moved here because I'm, like, sooooooooo in love with Crocodile Dundee.
  2. I.  Love.  Peanut butter.* 
  3. Great green globs of greasy, grimy gopher guts; mutilated monkey meat; little birdies' dirty feet; great green globs of greasy, grimy gopher guts, AND I FORGOT MY SPOON.
  4. "Love You Forever" is the creepiest, most inappropriate book of all time.  I will never buy this for a child again as long as I live.  What is wrong with me?  Why would I buy this for Alyssa's children?  I am a sick, sick individual and I need help.  I hang my head in shame.
  5. Honestly?  Australia kinda sucks.  U! S! A!  ...  U! S! A! ... U! S! A!
  6. If Jeff Probst had to choose between marrying me or marrying Alyssa, he would totally choose Alyssa, because she is awesome. 
Aw!  Thanks, Ang.  I'm glad you finally admitted that Probst would fall in love with me at first sight.  But you know what?  I'm taken.  Duh.  You were in my wedding, remember?  So he's all yours.  But only if you promise to come back to California and live next door to me so we can hang out and eat fried cheese and so I can, you know, enjoy Probst's, um, company.

*She hates peanut butter, you guys.  That's why it's funny.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Take that, Photoshop

Look.  At the top of the page.  A custom header.  I did that myself.

Is your browsing experience not drastically improved by the decor?  You're welcome.

movin' on up. OR NOT.

This is a really long post.  I'm sorry.  If you have ADD, just skip to the end, ok?  Nobody will ever know.

We're moving.  Or something.  I don't know, dude, all I know is that I spent the first part of the summer packing up everything we own into boxes, labeling said boxes, and filling out change of address paperwork.  Because we had a house lined up. And we were moving.  But then we didn't.  But we still might?  We still need to!

Let me back up.  Yeah.

January 2009: tHe Original Guido (O.G.), the Princess, and I move from our apartment in Turlock, the city we love, the city we both work in, and go to a house (a house!) in Los Banos, where tHe O.G.'s parents live.  We're renting this house from his parents.  It's 40 minutes or so from Turlock.  And from anything else.  It's in the middle of nowhere.  It's the boondocks.  It has a Target though, so I figure I can deal, right?

We spend a couple years living there relatively happily; it's nice to be near his family (I mean near; they live across the street).  The town isn't awful.  And we still come to Turlock every day for work, so whatever.  We've got a pretty good routine worked out, carpooling to work, dropping the Princess off at preschool, all heading home in the evening one happy family in one happy car.

September 2010: The Monster is born.  Hurray!  Seriously, we love this little Monster and our family is now complete.  I spend 5 blissful months on maternity leave.

February 2011: Maternity leave ends and I return to work.  And suddenly: our old rainbows-and-unicorns, happy-family-in-a-happy-car routine is a distant memory.  It's been replaced by the Routine from Hell.  Now I have, all told, a 2-hour commute to work.  No joke. Yes I know lots of people commute on a daily basis but look, it was never my intention to be one of those people!  How did this even happen?  This was not the plan.

Here's a recap of the Routine from Hell:  I wake at 4:30 a.m. to nurse the baby, shower, dress, wake the Princess, do her hair, pack everybody lunches, leave the house by 6:00.  I drop tHe O.G. off at work first, at 7:00.  Then I have to drive another 15 miles or so to my aunt's house in yet another town to drop off the Monster, because she's the only human on the planet I will trust with my infant.  Then I come back to Turlock to drop the Princess off at preschool, and I get to work, finally, at 8:00.

At 4:00 I do it all in reverse and we get home around 6:00 p.m.  And now I have to cook dinner.  And do dishes.  And bathe the children.  And do laundry.  Oh, tHe O.G. is here, too.  He helps, he really does.  But still, you guys, the main burden always falls on mom, right?  You know this is true.  Either way though, we both fall into bed at 9:30, exhausted, so we can get up and do it again the next day.

March 2011: At the end of one particularly brutal day, I remove random detritus from the couch (blocks, binkies, barbies, what have you), sit down gingerly beside my husband, and pose this question: "Why don't we move back to Turlock?"

It's a lightbulb moment.  Yes!  It's so obvious.  Why don't we?  Why did we move here again?  What were the benefits?  I forget, because I haven't slept in weeks and I can't see the floor and is the baby crying again?  And I have to get up in 6 hours?  Wait, did I eat today?

So we hit up craigslist and start the house hunt.  And here's the thing, you guys: we're just renting.  We're renters, we may always be renters.  We enjoy calling a landlord when the A/C breaks and kicking up our feet while somebody else sells his prized baseball card collection to fix it.  Plus we have terrible credit, but that's neither here nor there, ok?

So we're looking at rentals, thinking, this should be a snap.  A piece of cake.  Find a house, rent it.  Bam.  Done.


April 2011:  We've now fallen in love with and applied for 4 different houses, and each and every one has failed to become our home.  In between those 4 houses we've viewed, toured, and researched approximately 3,489 rejects.  It's hopeless.  It is never going to happen.

But wait!  We find one.  The one.  It's perfect.  It's beautiful.  It's two blocks from my work in one direction and two blocks from the school we've chosen for the Princess in the other.  It's big and airy and custom painted and it has a landscaped backyard and an upstairs laundry room.

And the owner loves us.  L-O-V-E-S.  US.  She's like my mother's age, divorced, she falls in love with my kids, she hugs me when we leave.  It's a done deal.  We sign the lease, we agree to the terms; she's still living there.  But she's moving to L.A. in June for work, her new house is just about to close, and then this one is all ours as of July 1st.  Yes.  Plenty of time to pack and prepare, and we move in and get settled before the Princess starts kindergarten.  Perfect.  It's destiny, you guys.

June 25, 2011:  We're packed.  The children each have one single box of toys left out; everything else is sealed up and out of reach.  We have a truck reserved.  We have various friends and family roped into helping us move.  I've submitted our change of address with the U.S. Postal Service.  I'm giddy with anticipation.  I'm counting the commutes.  I text the landlady: when can we pick up the key? when can we bring you a check?

Cue "screeching record" sound effect.  Her response text: sorry, escrow hasn't closed on my new house. can't move out yet. your move in date will probably have to be mid-July.


Mid-July comes and goes.  It's now August, in case you hadn't noticed.  School starts in one week.  Oh, and?  Hello, we were packed.  Everything we own is now in a box and no you cannot open that box you play with what you have do you hear me? We are not. opening. boxes.  I don't CARE if your dolls are suffocating in there, they. will. wait.  And what do you MEAN you're sick of pizza, nobody gets sick of pizza, yes we are having pizza again on paper plates because I AM NOT OPENING ANY BOXES IN THIS HOUSE!  We are MOVING.  We ARE.


Tomorrow we're going to look at another house.  I'm still stupidly holding out hope on the original house.  Because I'm an optimist.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Now coming at you with no blogspot!

Ha!  OK loyal readers, guess what?  Today my hubby's favorite website,, had a very slick deal: a one-year domain registration at GoDaddy for $1.18!  Even tHe O.G. could not deny me my domain for $1.18!

So yes, I am now officially available at  Aaaaaah.  It's so clean.  It's so classy and grownup.  It's so the real deal.  The old blogspot address still works, too, so if you've got it bookmarked you're all set.  And I know you ALL have it bookmarked, right?


If I were you, though, I would totally update my bookmark to reflect the shiny new URL.  Go ahead.  You know you want to.

Maybe the zombie apocalypse will start next week. A girl can hope.

I've just made a discovery.  Or had a realization. One of those. I don't know, you guys, I'm too freaked out to think straight!

Two events coming up in my life:
August 15, 2011: the Princess starts kindergarten. The child born of my own loins. My infant daughter. Starts. Kindergarten.
August 19, 2011: I. Turn. 30.
Check your calendar. These things are both happening in the same week!

Make no mistake, says the Universe. This woman is now OLD. In case you missed the first message, here's another, right on its heels.

Just get out your mourning gear, ok? Because the week of August 15, 2011 will henceforth be known as The week in which my youth was first shot summarily in the head...then run over by a large truck just for kicks.

Oh, also?  Also?  This morning I turned the TV to Disney, and the Princess looked in disdain at the programming before her and said to me..."I'm too old for Mickey Mouse."

I'm just going to go dig a hole and die in it now.  Before I'm too old and frail to lift a shovel.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordy Wednesday. Because that's how I roll.

I haven't posted today because I've spent the last 24 hours or so trying to dress up my blog.  If you look very closely, you'll looks exactly the same.  Yeah.  Hey I'm not a graphic designer, ok?  And Photoshop was clearly designed by a sadist.  That's all I have to say about that.

There is one new feature:  an all-new About Me page!

My wonderful IT-dude husband* spent some time last night wrestling Blogger to the ground in an epic battle for the right to place a picture on that page without a border around it.  Victory!  I knew I kept him around for something.

Now I'm trying to customize my header a little, add a graphic, a little bling, you know.  For you.  To make your browsing experience more aesthetically pleasing.  I wouldn't hold my breath, though, if I were you.  Seriously.  That's dangerous, and it's not going to get you what you want.  I do not respond to emotional manipulation.

I have no transition for this so I'm just going to say it.  Last week somebody googled "harry potter overanalyzation" and Google sent them straight here!  How amazing is that?  I mean, that is one incredibly specific search.  And here I was, ready to meet needs.  You're welcome, random googler!

In other news:  Google Analytics is a very dangerous tool in the hands of somebody even slightly obsessive.  So if you know anybody like that, keep them away from it, ok?

Question: is Google always capitalized?  I mean, if I use it as a proper noun, as in "I used Google to find these 4,700 John Stamos photos for the shrine in my closet" (as a totally random, entirely fictional example, you guys), I obviously capitalize it.  But what about when it's a verb?  Do I Google myself, or do I google myself?

Answer:  I never Google myself or google myself.  That would be really self-absorbed of me.  I am a self-actualized individual far above such trivial matters as who is saying what about me on the Internet, ok?  I have faith in my flawless and upright behavior that my web presence reflects only a spotless reputation.  Just as a matter of interest, though, if I did G/google myself, Google would return 1,070 results, and approximately 1,065 of them would be directly related to my Pinterest addiction.  Fun fact!

*See, guys? I told you he had redeeming qualities.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Text Message Tuesday

Ashley is my funny friend.  Adam is her husband.  A. and R. are her daughters, ages 4 and 2, respectively. She's a stay-at-home mom and amateur photographer and generally all-around wonderful human, and she makes me laugh on a daily basis.  And these are our text messages.

Ashley says
So, R.'s room is all stripped bare, white walls, nothing on the windows. Her room is bright and clean looking with lots of natural light. In other words, a perfect studio space.
Alyssa says
do you need children to photograph in that space?  cuz i have some.
Ashley says
My question is, how terrible of a mother would I be if I took R.'s room over as my studio?
Alyssa says
if you let me blog about it, i am totally in favor
Ashley says
I just put R. in there with a huge slice of watermelon and a yellow polka dot shirt. Adorable.
Alyssa says
ack.  see?  that's better than a bedroom.  she'll have that photo...forever.
Ashley says
Where am I supposed to put her though?!
Alyssa says
sharing a room is SO GOOD for kids.  think of all the valuable lessons they'll learn about sharing, and not killing each other!
Ashley says
Adam would never let me do it.
Alyssa says
why does Adam hate your kids?
Ashley says
I don't knooooow!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Kindergarten-related panic attack

My daughter starts kindergarten two weeks from today.  Two weeks, you guys!  14 days!  Until she grows up and leaves me forever!

I mean technically she's still 5 years old and like, requires help tying her shoes, and she can never remember how to spell her last name all the way through, and she doesn't have a Facebook account and she's not allowed to cross the street or eat candy in the morning or drink caffeine ever and these are all required activities for independent living.

But she's going to kindergarten, and I don't know if you knew this, but they have kindergarten at the very same school as like, 5th and 6th graders!  Under the same roof as my baby!  Those kids are huge!  And mean.  And corrupt.  I'm pretty sure they all sell drugs and watch True Blood.  And worship Satan.  You think I'm being dramatic, but this is public school, ok?  And my innocent child is about to be exposed to these degenerates for hours at a time.

Also?  The first day is two weeks away and I have received NOTHING from her school.  I don't even know her teacher's name.  We have no supply list, so naturally I googled "kindergarten supplies" weeks ago, you know, "to get an idea," and I read approximately 13,000 different lists from schools across the nation, and I'm now fairly certain I'm going to have to furnish her entire classroom myself including desks and drywall and electricity, and they're not going to give me a list until the school supply sales are over, and I might have to sell her brother just to afford to send her to public school.


Because who is going to want to buy her brother?  He drools, he bites, he requires you to mash up all his food or at least dice it really small, and he pees everywhere.

So basically, I have no options at this point, and I'm about to lose both my children, one for sale to the highest bidder (if there are any), and the other to a drug-addled cult of streetwise 6-year-olds.  Are you happy, California public school system?

MTV is 30. I'm not. Yet.

MTV turns 30 today, you guys.

That means I'm not far behind, because yes, I am the same age as MTV.  Well, I'm 19 days younger than MTV.  So I'll always have that.

I must say, I've aged so much more gracefully than they have.