Anatomy Lesson

When we began teaching Nellie her body parts, we agreed that we wouldn’t “rename” any part of her anatomy. We taught her eye, nose, mouth, elbow, so when the time came that she asked, we decided we wouldn’t find cutesy names for genitalia. I’ve never quite understood why people are uncomfortable with the words “penis” and “vagina”. For crying out loud: that’s what they’re called! Why is an adult human calling a penis a “wee wee” more socially acceptable than calling it what it is? I’m not going to teach my daughter that her knee is a “leg bendy-thing” or that her mouth is a “chompy place”, or that her ear is a “hear-y hole”. So why would I teach her that her vagina was anything but a vagina?

I digress. Nellie learned what a penis was when she walked in on Josh coming out of the shower one day. When she pointed at Josh and asked what THAT was, we answered her honestly. We told her it was daddy’s penis. She tilted her head to the side and asked, “I has penis?” We told her that no, she is a girl like mommy, and that she has a vagina. She accepted our answer and bounced off to do whatever it is toddlers do.

A couple of weeks ago, I took her swimming. When we came home, I stripped off her bathing suit (or “baby suit” as Nellie calls it) and pulled her swim diaper down. I threw it in the trash and her suit in the washing machine, and walked into the bathroom. I was sitting on the toilet when my naked bundle of joy came running in.

Me: “What’s up, kiddo?”

My delightful flurry of curls and cute bent her legs at the “leg bendy-thing”, pointed between her legs, and yelled,


She swatted her hands at the empty space between her legs where her imaginary penis was.

Once I’d picked myself up from the floor where I’d fallen off the toilet laughing, I composed myself.
Me: “No, sweetheart. You have a vagina, like mommy.”
Nellie: “NOPE. I HAS A PENIS.”
Me: “Remember how we talked about this? DADDY has a penis, because he is a boy. Mommy and Nellie have a vagina, because they are girls.”
Nellie: “I HAS A PENIS.”
Me: “Vagina, Nellie. You have a vagina.”

She stood up straight, looking at me thoughtfully. She nodded slowly, absorbing my words. She spoke, affirming to herself what she’d finally worked out in her head:

Nellie: “I has a pin-gina.”
Me: “Yes, Nellie has a vagina,” I echoed once I’d collected myself from another fit of giggles on the floor.
Nellie: “Bye!” she ran out of the bathroom, leaving me sitting there and shaking my head, still laughing.

So, my daughter has a pin-gina.  Pin-gina isn’t 100% accurate, but at least she’s getting the right idea.

How do you feel about teaching children about their bodies and using anatomical terms? Am I the only person whose kid has a pin-gina?

Ten Things that Make Me Angry

The prompt I chose for this week’s Writer’s Workshop is “Ten Things That Make Me Angry”.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Oh, boy. There are so many things I could list here. There are so many really heavy things I could list here. Discrimination. Hate. That asshole that shot up the movie theatre in Colorado. But I try not to get overly heavy and doom and gloom here on my blog, so instead, I chose to try and keep this “angry list” light and funny. Here we go.

1. Orange cars. OH MY GOD. I hate orange cars. HATE. I actually just kind of overall hate the color orange. But every time I see an orange car I am all like RAGE WHY ARE YOU DRIVING A BIG GIGANTIC ORANGE? ORANGE IS FOR FRUIT. IT IS NOT FOR CARS. GET OFF MY ROAD.
2. Judge-y bumper stickers. I’m all for letting the world know who you are and where you stand by plastering sticky phrases all over your car. Sticker it up. Whatever. But when I see ones that are all “Marriage = Stick Figure Man + Stick Figure Woman” or “If you abort babies you’re going to hell” (ok I made that one up, but some stickers aren’t far from that) it makes me kind of stabby.

Maybe I’m just being hypocritical by saying I don’t want to see bumper stickers that contrast with my own personal and political beliefs, but whatever. It still makes me angry.
4. Bradford pear trees.

Wow, look at nature’s splendor! Harbingers of Spring! They’re so beautiful! You know what they also are? EVIL. They make my eyes water, my throat burn, and my face feel like it’s going to fall off. And the best part? Chattanooga is LOUSY with them. They’re usually the first things to bloom in the Spring. The parking lot outside my office is literally LINED with these things. GTFO TREES OF DEATH. GTFO.
5. People who say “working hard, or hardly working?”.

7. 100+ degree weather. I know almost everyone in the country feels me on this one. What’s the point of having weather that hot? THERE IS NO POINT. IT’S USELESS. It is conducive to NOTHING. No one enjoys walking outside and instantly being drenched in sweat. NO ONE. It just makes me irrationally angry and want to throw a tantrum.
8. When my iPhone takes too long to do something. I know, I know. It’s going into space. I should be a little patient. BUT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. It’s an IPHONE. GO. FASTER. I want my Facebook updates NOW. Not in 10 seconds. NOW.
9. People who interrupt. This one. OMFG this one. Nothing makes me angrier than a consistent interrupter. Like, when you’re talking, and they just butt right in and talk over you. I’m sorry. Are you deaf? Did you HEAR me talking? I know you did, because YOU JUMPED INTO MY CONVERSATION. There is no excuse for someone over the age of five to interrupt. It’s just bad manners. It makes me want to throw something at the interrupter. WAIT YOUR TURN.
10. Bad drivers. Because who likes bad drivers? Some idiot tried to zip into my lane the other day without looking and I wanted to chase her down and smack her. Tailgaters, people who drive too fast; if they’re bad, I can’t stand them. HULK SMASH.

Whew! I feel better venting all of those angry things. Thanks, Mama Kat, for giving me a platform and an excuse to be totally ranty on my blog.

What are some things that make you angry?

Childhood Crushes: The Weird Kid Edition

I’ve blogged about how I was a weird kid before when I divulged my favorite games as a child. I was getting my hair done at my favorite salon last weekend, and we got on the subject of boy bands somehow. One of the stylists was talking about how One Direction is her daughter’s first “boy band” and how that endears them to her somewhat. I got to thinking about MY first boy band, and realized that when N*Sync and Backstreet Boys were popular (I was in my early teenage years), I didn’t give a rat’s ass about them. I actually made fun of them. My first boy band? The Beatles.

Then I got to thinking about how I never had a crush on Justin Timberlake, or Nick Carter. I got to thinking about my early crushes, and figured I’d share them with you so you can either nod your head in agreement because you were/are a weird kid too, or wonder what’s wrong with me. Either way, I hope you enjoy my list.

1. Sam Neill.

sam neill as alan grant from jurassic park

You never forget your first love.

Okay, so, Jurassic Park came out when I was nine. I was obsessed with this movie. I saw it three times in the theater. That’s a LOT for a nine year old kid. This is my earliest memory of a crush. I was madly in love with Sam Neill A.K.A Dr. Alan Grant. My crush on him continued into my teen years, when I fell in love with him again when he played Merlin on that T.V. miniseries that no one remembers. So what if he was like, eighty when I was nine? It was true love.

2. Paul McCartney circa the 1960s.

I stand by this one.

My mother was a bonafide Beatlemaniac. Screaming, wailing, flailing; she was a genuine crazy fangirl. My love for the Beatles was born when they aired the Beatles Anthology on T.V. in 1995. After that, I became a genuine crazy fangirl as well. My favorite Beatle was Paul (it has since changed to John), and I was madly in love with him. Well. I was madly in love with 1960s Paul. I would swoon whenever I watched A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, imagining myself dancing with him and being his girlfriend. I wasn’t into modern-day Paul; just 1960s Paul.

3. Bill Pullman.

Maybe it was his… Er… Or.. His……. I got nothin’.

After Casper came out, I fell deeply in love with Bill Pullman. Why? I don’t even fucking remember. I mean, I guess he’s OK looking? But I was seriously moony over him. I guess I had a thing for older guys, which was kind of foreshadowing because my first real boyfriend was 9 years older than me. Casper leads me into my next crush, who was slightly more age-appropriate..

4. Devon Sawa.

Can I keep you?

What Tween girl in the mid-nineties WASN’T in love with Devon Sawa? Even though he was in like, three movies, he was just gorgeous. Then he was in Idle Hands and kind of looked like a sweaty crack addict, and then he was in Final Destination and died (in the movie, not in real life) and wasn’t attractive anymore. The end.

5. Leonardo DiCaprio.

I stand by this one, too. JUST LOOK AT THAT SMOLDER.

Because, DUH. Titanic came out when I was 13, and I saw that movie SIX TIMES in the theater. SIX. TIMES. That is almost an entire DAY OF MY LIFE that I spent watching that movie. Doesn’t matter. I bawled like a baby every time I watched it, partially because it was sad as fuck and partially because I was really upset that Leo was 9 years older than me and at the time, hadn’t met my older beau. I don’t think he’s so adorable now, but he is one of my favorite actors.

Those were some of my earliest celebrity crushes. As I got older, my taste in men changed. I’ll post about that another time. I’ll tell you this: you might think I’m insane for some of the guys I crushed on when I hit my early twenties.

Who were your first celebrity crushes?

Vintage Mommy Boots


Mama’s Losin’ It
I haven’t done a Writer’s Workshop in a few weeks, so I thought it was time to jump in and tackle one again. The prompt I chose was relatively easy: Recycle a favorite post from July of any year you’ve been blogging.

While this one I’m about to share isn’t necessarily a favorite, it takes me back to a reflective place. This post from four years ago embodies where I was back in the summer of 2008: still grieving from my miscarriage, dreading the arrival of my due date, and in a place of heartache and pain.

July 31st, 2008
It’s the Little Things

It’s amazing. The smallest things that went unnoticed before my miscarriage now carry the power to reduce me to tears.

A baby’s laugh. A commercial featuring chubby-cheeked, wobbly little toddlers running around a living room. A mother planting a gentle kiss on her newborn baby’s forehead.

These images, these sounds can catch me completely off guard, and make me feel like my world is tumbling in around me. In these moments, I look down at my belly, which should be swollen to the point of discomfort. I should be waddling like a duck. I should be wincing as my baby gouges me in the ribs, kicks me in places that I never thought I could be kicked before. I look longingly down at my belly which is, by no means a flat thing, but is not round as it should be.

My due date is next weekend. Next weekend. How did it get here so quickly? How did it get here at all? For the past 9 months, it’s been so far in the distance, I suppose I never really thought about dealing with it before. But here it comes, looming ever closer. I wonder sometimes if once it’s passed, the pain will lessen. I wonder if once it is behind me, I will stop looking down at my stomach with a wistful gaze….

I just heard an old man say, “Hope springs eternal” on the TV. I don’t know how that became my mantra, but I find myself using that quote everywhere.

I’m ready to be a mommy. I’m ready to hold my baby, to love my baby, to be a mother to my baby. I want my babies so much. I love them, all of them, and they aren’t even conceived yet.

Sometimes this grief feels like it’s going to swallow me whole. I feel like my heart is so swollen; it’s a wonder that it hasn’t burst. My eyes are so heavy with tears, I am amazed that I can keep them open.

Sometimes, all I can do is hang my head, hug myself, and cry.

Originally posted July 31st, 2008 when my blog was still called Hope Springs Eternal. You can find the original post here. 


Math is the Devil.

I want to thank everyone who commented, “liked”, Tweeted, or supported me in other ways regarding my post “outing” myself as a high school dropout. I was in no way, shape, or form prepared for the outpouring of love and support that I received regarding going to get my GED. I’ve carried this secret around with me for so long, and have been so embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I never finished high school that I wasn’t sure what to expect when I posted about it on my blog. But my friends, my family, my coworkers and my blog readers have been cheering me on through this whole thing so far, and for that, I thank each and every one of you.

So, what’s happened since I posted? A LOT. Last Wednesday, I took my Fast Track course. Which was, in a word, interesting. In two words, it was interesting and scary. In THREE words, it was interesting, scary, and mind-numbing. In FOUR words, bacon.

The Fast Track course was four hours long, concentrating on two specific portions of the test: the essay-writing and the math.


The word “math” is enough to send me into a corner, curled into a fetal position and sobbing like a little bitch. I am just awful at math. I’m not exaggerating. I didn’t mention my scores from the assessment test in the last post: very high in English and Literature and in math? 5th grade. I’m. Not. Kidding. Grade 5. Naturally, after receiving the piece of news that my math skills are on par with a TEN YEAR OLD CHILD,  I was eager to get into the Fast Track class and brush up on my math skills.

We tackled the essay writing portion first, which was not a problem for me. I scored the highest score possible (on a scale of 1-4) and then steeled myself for two hours of math. In the course of those two hours, my brain was assaulted with terms like hypotenuse, isosceles, acute, parallelogram, area, perimeter and STABBING FOREVER.

Okay, so that last phrase was just in my head. Whatever. The interaction in the class went something like this:

Teacher: Okay, so now we’re going to figure out the hypotenuse of this triangle.
Teacher: To figure out the Hypotenuse-
Teacher: – you take *insert Charlie Brown teacher “wah-wah” noise while I stare at her in wide-eyed terror* Got it?
Teacher: Now, who remembers Pythagorean’s Theorem?
Student Who is A Robot For Remembering: a2 + b2 = c2? (AUTHOR’S NOTE: I had to Google “Pythagorean theorem” to remember what the actual formula was. I WIN AT THE MATHS)
Teacher: Correct!

You get the gist. That’s pretty much how the Fast Track course went. I won’t say it wasn’t helpful, because it did make the Official Practice Test slightly less intimidating and I did feel a little more prepared to tackle some of the problems I encountered on the test (more about the practice test in the next post). When I walked out of the classroom that afternoon I felt like someone had been bouncing a basketball off my face for two hours.

After Thursday’s class was over, I had one part of the process down and had two more to go: The Official Practice Test, and providing I passed that, the actual GED test. Stay tuned to see how my Official Practice Test went!

P.S. in case your math skills are amazing like mine and you were wondering, this is a hypotenuse. No judgments. Fifth grade math skills UNITE.

Potty Training with Pull-Ups!

So remember when I wrote this post about Nellie and potty training? I’m going to assume that you said “yes” and move along.

A few days after venting my frustration toward my daughter’s lack of toilet motivation, Pull-Ups contacted me with some encouragement  which was just awesome. She sent me a cool infographic about potty training, and asked if I’d like some special Disney character Pull-Ups to help get Nellie excited about potty training.

I got my Potty Break Package last weekend and when I opened up, I was absolutely floored! Not only did they send me two packs of Pull-Ups, but they also added a Cinderella Pull-Ups Potty Timer, a reward chart with Disney Princesses on it,  Minnie Mouse stickers to go along with the chart, AND a $25 American Express gift card to spend on potty training supplies! As soon as I pulled the Cinderella watch it out of the box, Nellie was practically dancing around me with excitement.

She wore her “potty watch” for the rest of the night and is so proud of it. Her potty chart is great – it’s divided into five categories (pulled pants down, sat on potty, etc) separated by different Disney Princesses, and each category has several spots to place stickers when they complete the task! Nellie’s chart is almost full.. Well, minus actually peeing on the potty.. We haven’t gotten there yet. But the chart is helping to motivate her where she didn’t really care before, and the watch is DEFINITELY helping. She is also always asking me to wear her “big girl Pull-Ups” with Cinderella on them.

Pull-Ups’ website has a lot of great resources for potty training for all stages of the potty-training process! They have a community of parents for support, great tips and tricks for potty training, and they even have a very special way to help get your child excited for potty training: an encouraging phone call from a Disney character! We haven’t set up Nellie’s Cinderella call yet, but we will be doing it soon. I know she’s going to be super excited.

Pull-Ups has generously offered to host a giveaway here, and one lucky reader will win a Pull-Ups Potty Break Package containing:

  • A pack of Pull-Ups Training Pants with either Cars 2 or Cinderella & Minnie Mouse designs
  • A Pull-Ups Potty Timer
  • A Pull-Ups Potty Training Chart with Stickers
  • A $25 VISA gift card
How can you win? Easy! Just enter with the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And remember, everyone can visit Pull-Ups’ website and check our their great potty training resources, tips, tricks, and schedule a special phone call from a Disney character to motivate and encourage them!

Good luck!

A New Chapter

I have a secret to share.

One that’s really scary and a little embarrassing for me to put out there where anyone who lay eyes on my blog can see. For over ten years, I’ve carried this little secret around in my pocket, only giving those I’ve known for a while and who I really trust a peek. My secret?

I did not graduate from high school.
And I have never gotten my GED.


I tend not to divulge that information until I’ve known someone for a while because I’d like for people to get to know me without judgment. Let’s face it – people tend to view high school dropouts a certain way. I have to admit, I glean a bit of satisfaction when I finally do tell someone and see the surprised look on their face. I’m an intelligent woman. I don’t fit into the idea a lot of people have in their heads about what a high school dropout looks like. I’ve done well for myself in life so far without even so much of a high school degree. Until recently, not having a diploma wasn’t an issue for me; I got by with my intelligence, my ability to learn quickly, and my technology skills.

Something inside me changed recently and I’m not entirely sure what it was. I think that it was, in part, motivated by my mother’s death. My mother obtained a Bachelor’s degree in psychology when she was in her early forties, but never did anything with it. She was one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met in my life, but her mental illness and life choices spiralled out of control so quickly she never reached her potential. She was capable of so much more, and one day I realized…

So am I.

I realized that I didn’t want to look back on my life when I am old and regret never pursuing a higher education. There is something inside of me that I haven’t tapped into yet. I don’t know what it is, but something awoke inside of me yearning for more. Suddenly, I found myself desiring a diploma. I want my daughter to look at me one day and see that I accomplished something that wasn’t necessarily easy. I want to be an inspiration to her. I also don’t want to be defined as someone who didn’t finish high school – I’d rather be seen as someone who succeeded despite the choices she made early in her life.

So I’ve begun the process in getting my GED. I’ve taken my assessment test and scored high enough to follow what’s called the “Fast Track” process. I will attend one “refresher” course, then take the official practice test and if I pass that, I will go on to taking the official GED test.

If all goes well, with a little studying and luck, I could have my GED by the end of this month. From there? I’m planning on enrolling in college. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet – I am drawn to something having to do with writing or editing – but I’m just not sure. I may not even end up pursuing a college degree. I may just take some courses to hone my writing skills and keep my mind sharp. Who knows? I just know that I’m excited. I can’t wait to see where this takes me. I have gotten amazing support from my husband, my family, my friends, and my coworkers and bosses – which means the world to me. More than they all know.

Wish me luck, friends.

college graduates throwing caps into the air

(img credit GettyImages and Digital Vision)

Man on Fire – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Happy Monday! I don’t have a lot to say today, so instead, I wanted to share my current favorite song. It’s called Man on Fire, and it’s by one of my current favorite bands, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros from their new album Here. This video and song makes me happy. It makes me want to grab everyone I see and make them dance with me. Enjoy!


eMeals Clean Eating Summer Tacos with Avocado Corn Salsa

I haven’t posted about clean eating in a while and to be honest, I haven’t been practicing it much. I have been trying, but sometimes buffalo wings and cake are REALLY tempting and, well, I’m weak. I also haven’t been meal planning very efficiently, which is frustrating because when I do take the time to meal plan, I save money and our food goes farther. Luckily, a fellow blogger of mine told me about emeals, an online meal planning resource that have proved to be AWESOME.


When you purchase a monthly subscription to eMeals, you gain access to an entire month’s worth of meals- one week at a time! Each week contains several meals and side dishes, the recipes for said dishes, and to top it all off it provides a shopping list for every ingredient you’ll need so you don’t even have to think about what you need to buy – it’s laid out right there for you!

I decided to give the Clean Eating meal plan a whirl and in my first week’s menu I was delighted to find amazing recipes for Lemon Herb Roast Chicken with Baby Potatoes, Chilled Red Pepper Soup, and the recipe I decided to share with you all – Clean Eating Summer Tacos with Avocado Corn Salsa.

clean eating summer tacos emeals

eMeals Clean Eating Summer Tacos with Avocado Corn Salsa
Recipe Type: Main Dish
Clean eating summer tacos with avocado corn salsa, served with black beans and rice.
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob (may also use 1 cup of frozen/canned corn instead)
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil (optional)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 package whole-wheat tortillas
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Juice of 2 fresh limes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed
  1. As brown rice takes 30-45 minutes to cook, I recommend you do this first. While your rice is cooking, you can chop up your avocado, tomatoes, etc.
  2. Shuck & clean corn. Boil for about 7 minutes.
  3. Cool and cut kernels off ears.
  4. If using frozen corn, cook on low in a pot filled with a small amount of water.
  5. Heat oil in skillet (optional).
  6. Add taco seasoning to ground beef, and cook until no longer pink.
  7. Remove from skillet & warm tortillas in same skillet.
  8. Place ground beef, tomatoes, and onions in each tortilla.
  9. Combine avocado, corn, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl. Season with salt. Serve with tacos.
  10. Combine your cooked rice and black beans. Season with salt to taste. Serve alongside or in tacos for a vegetarian option.

I used frozen corn instead of whole ears – it was just easier on me that way. I left out the tomatoes because I hate tomatoes! If you want to make this super clean, nix the pre-packaged taco seasoning and make your own. It’s hard to come across clean eating tortillas, so I bought Ezekial sprouted grain tortillas – that’s about as clean as they come unless you want to make your own. If you’re being hardcore about clean eating, be sure you choose grass-fed, local beef bought straight from your local butcher.


I was amazed at how delicious these tacos were. I’ve actually made them more than once since acquiring this recipe! My husband isn’t the biggest fan of clean eating, and he even liked these. The Ezekiel tortillas we got weren’t my favorite ever – I compromised the second time I made these and went for normal “not clean” whole wheat tortillas. I ended up eating my leftovers by just mixing the beef, avocado & corn salsa, rice and beans for a few days. Delicious!

I highly recommend getting a subscription to eMeals. The price cannot be beat – depending on how much you purchase at once, the price is between $5-$7 a month and you get access to weekly meal plans! We’re all busy, and eMeals takes a lot of the work out of planning meals for your family. They have more than just the clean eating plan – they also have gluten free, vegetarian, low carb, and many other “special” options. Go over to eMeals and give it a whirl – you will NOT be sorry!



The First Rule of Fight Club

So I have this cold thing that’s been hanging around in my face for almost a week now. It started with a little bit of a sore throat that made me say, “Boy, this sinus drainage is making me have a little bit of a sore throat.” And then it continued with a tickle on the left side of my throat. Then it just sort of hung around, making me tired and feel just bad enough to not want to do anything, but not bad enough to not actually do anything.

It finally manifested into something yesterday – which is good, because now I’m hoping it will go the hell away by the weekend. I got plans, yo. No time for colds in my faceparts.

I don’t have anything funny, witty, poignant, or ranty to say so instead I will leave you with a video of my 2 1/2 year old informing us about the first rule of Fight Club.

I am Jack’s smirking revenge.