Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'm Still Not Used To Life In Texas (Or Maybe I'm Not an Alcoholic After All)

Exchange between Dr. T. and me at the grocery store.

Me: We should get some rum and make mojitos

T: We should. Can you run over to Spec's and get some?

Me: We're in a grocery store. The liquor aisle is right over there

T: Don't you remember where you live? You can't buy liquor in grocery stores in Texas. That's why there's LIQUOR STORES.

Me: {Long pause.} But you can buy mixers. Why would they make you go to another store for liquor?

T: It's just the way it is here

Me: Fine. I'll go to Spec's. But I'm playing video poker on the way out.

T: {Face palm, eye roll, head shake}

L.E.: I get to spin the wheel, right? {There is a gambling-type game for kids in the grocery store. Think Price is Right's big wheel}

And that's when it took me almost a year to go into a liquor store.

On another note, I'm over on Austin Moms Blog today talking about getting organized. {Pause for laughter} No, really. If I can do it, you can do it.

And scene.

Friday, June 14, 2013

BlogHer Food 2013

BFFs: Bloggy Friends Forever!
This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be a volunteer for the BlogHer Food conference here in Austin. It was my first blogging conference; usually it takes a lot for me to commit to something, let alone three days of something. I always want to know if food will be served. Well guess what? BlogHer Food has food right in the title! I was set!
I got lucky in that my only official volunteer duties were working registration and mic wrangling. But some of my fellow volunteers were in charge of live-blogging, which is commendable because they had the responsibility of blogging the sessions. If I had to live-blog the sessions, there would have been at least five different times that I would have typed "section omitted...I was thinking about cheese..."
In between sessions, there was an expo set up with tons of swag and samples. All of the brands were clamoring to get me to blog for them. I had to smile and say no; my empire is doing just fine on its own. OK, that's a lie but I did learn about some blogging opportunities that I may eventually have time for in 2017.
Overall, the experience was amazing. I never went hungry or thirsty and met some pretty amazing people.
Here are the live blogs from the sessions I attended:
Write to Be Read
Video Bootcamp # 3: Editing
Food Stories Through Visuals
Making Mobile Photographs That Are Print and Cover-Worthy

Food Blogging for the Next Generation - Finding Solutions at the Intersection of Childhood Obesity and Food Insecurity in the USA

And here are the amazing people I met who made the weekend so extraordinary. If you get a chance, please visit their blogs.
Hill Country Cook
Redd Party – I took them to meet Dr. T and L.E. at my favorite Rainey St. place, Banger's. What I love about Lee and Winter is that they weren't afraid to try the antelope and boar.
Being Cheap Is Easy – She did not judge me when I wanted a beer before the open bar was open.
Mile Hi Mama
The Chatty Momma – Our fearless volunteer-wrangler and all-around awesome chick.
Local Belle
Spritti Bee
Charm and Sass – She did not judge me when I ate an entire bowl of queso fundido by myself
Pan Fusine
The Cooking Mom
AvengerOfSexiness – This site is way more fun than her food blog but you can check that out, too.
San Jose Food Blog
Blog Con Queso – She's my Facebook friend despite having never met in-person until I almost tackled her when I saw her in-between sessions.
They're Not All Gems – another friend who led our taco tour and fortunately missed seeing me face-down in queso funded

The big food celebrity was Ree Drummond – aka the Pioneer Woman. She is very tall. I never saw her up-close except for when she was surrounded by a gaggle of admiring bloggers and that's how I know how tall she is. Her husband The Marlboro Man was there, too. Winter from Redd Party told me a funny story about how the Marlboro Man went up to her husband because he was the only guy there at that particular time. Also, I had to explain to Dr. T that The Marlboro Man really wasn't a Marlboro man – "They're all dead, aren't they?" – Funny stuff.

I know I'm missing a bunch of people and for that, I apologize.
Even though I didn't win any of the huge prizes, I walked away with a HUGE bag of swag. I don't have to buy sugar for a while and I discovered Keurig Pour-Over-Ice K cups.
The best part about BlogHer Food was being around other people who truly love food as much as I do. We get so caught up in dieting and fads and nutrition that we forget the basic tenants of food: it's delicious and what brings us together.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

For My Pregnant Friends

I've mentioned wanting to write a parenting book.
I rarely finish what I start.
But I have a lot of pregnant friends who genuinely seemed interested in my parenting expertise, you know, because I have one child and that automatically makes me an expert in all things baby and toddler.
When I was a new mom, anyone who'd been a mom even a day longer than me was a trove of information that I couldn't wait to glom onto. So to my first-time-mommy-to-be buddies, this is for you.

  • Bring your pets a present home from the hospital so they adjust a little bit easier.
  • Fix your hair and makeup before the first post-birth photos. They're going to be around a lot longer than that blissful moment of having just produced a person.
  • Make sure your chest is covered up during said photos. 
  • Everything doesn't have to be organic. Sure, there's better packaging and you feel like it will make a difference, but chances are you'll be wasting money on organic washcloths when normal cotton ones are just fine.
  • Despite the above statement, these are the best burp cloths. You will use them a ton.
  • Observe other moms. If you see a stroller you like, ask them what kind it is and if you can try it out. It's a big investment and you want to know first-hand if it's a good one. Or just listen to me and get a Graco baby carrier with the stroller frame. Once they're out of the carrier, either get a Bob jogger – if you plan on jogging or hiking – or a Chicco Capri.
  • If you want your husband to carry the baby more, get a Bjorn.
  • Pampers Swaddlers are the best newborn diapers. When they're older, just get what they have at Costco.
  • Always carry spare clothes for you and the baby.
  • You don't need wipe warmers, a shopping cart cover, or baby mittens.
  • Tell your parents not to visit the first month, unless they live nearby.
  • Breastfeeding is hard. Study up on it now before you realize it's not the natural thing you expect it to be.
  • Prenatal yoga didn't help me with delivery but it was nice to hang out with other pregnant ladies and you can have snacks the whole time.
  • Get an iPad.
  • The same rules apply to parenting that apply to home repairs: everything will cost twice as much and take twice as long as you think.
  • People in public may not go ape-shit over how cute your baby is. It's ok. They just don't get it, but other moms do. We all know who the cutest baby in the world is.
  • This one.
  • Shit happens. Literally. Soap and water exists for a reason and your Facebook friends don't ever need to know about it. 
  • If you ever find yourself typing the words poop, fart, pee, vomit, barf, puke, boogers, moist, chunky, snot, anal, rash, breast infection or scabies on social media, you may want to think twice about hitting the "Update Status" button. Although Blair Koenig is my Twitter friend, I still don't really want people I know to end up on STFU Parents.
  • I know giving your kid a kooky-spelling name is the thing to do to make them yoo-neek, but think about who actually has to spell it the rest of their lives. Give them a break and let's take the "y"s and extra consonants out. Little Kattnyss will thank you for it.
  • There is nothing wrong with cloth diapering or making your own baby food. There's nothing wrong with Huggies and Gerber. My point? What works for some may not for others and there's nothing wrong either way. We're all in this together, people. Don't judge.
  • Except for vaccines...seriously, vaccinate your kids. We don't need to reintroduce polio, for crying out loud!
  • Make sure your pediatrician checks for hip dysplasia.
  • There is a such thing as being overly sanitary. Did you see this study that just came out about moms who suck the dirt off of binkies that fell on the floor? Those are the kids who don't have asthma. I'm not one to brag, I'm just someone who's always out of wipes. So L.E. has had one ear infection and two fevers in three years. It could be because I sucked the dirt off of her pacifier instead of washing it off. Score one for the lazys!
  • You will always need wipes. Buy them in bulk and keep them in every room of the house.
  • A leather diaper bag is stupid because it's heavy. Canvas is the way to go. Everyone says to get one that doesn't look like a diaper bag but guess what? That baby you're holding is pretty much a dead giveaway that you're packing bottles and wipes in that Kate Spade Stevie.
  • Yes, you need a glider. No, you don't need the ottoman.
  • An inflatable exercise ball is necessary for those days when you can't get the baby to stop crying so you just bounce. It also doubles as an ottoman.
  • The Arm & Hammer diaper pail is the worst. Ours has been broken for two years. I should have gotten another one but I had potty-training delusionment.
  • What do you mean delusionment isn't a word?
  • People will give you unsolicited advice – not that I know anything about that. You asked me for this, remember? But take it with a grain of salt. Or come up with a trove of witty retorts about domestic abuse and people will leave you alone.
  • Don't get rid of your maternity clothes. Even though I never plan on being pregnant again, I really miss some of those dresses. 
  • Yoga pants are real pants.
  • Your feet may never return to their pre-baby size. But your ass will.
  • Hold your husband accountable for his share. I can't tell you how shocked I am to hear that "Daddy isn't ready to handle the baby on his own yet." That's bullshit. Mommy needs to get out or perhaps Daddy will end up with a shovel blade impaled in his skull.
  • Remember that you're not quite the same person you were before you became a mom and that's ok. You now have an amazing little person that will be your best friend and your worst enemy. It's ok to be all over the place and a little bit crazy for a while. You'll bounce back but you'll be slightly different. Wiser, more sensitive, more tired and with a way better sense of humor. You'll need it for all of the times you leave the house with spit-up on your shirt and forgetting to wear pants.
Tell me: what piece of advice was priceless for you when you became a new mom?