Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lying To The Neighbors At La Bodega.

I've lived in this neighborhood for a little over four years now.

It's a heavily Hispanic neighborhood and granted, I took Spanish from 8th grade until senior year (with a bit of wandertacular time/lost course hours spent in the theatre corridors), but in the face of people who Actually Speak The Language Fulltime...well, I get what I refer to as Shy Spanish.

Meaning I can easily (and quietly) say hola, wish some a buenos noches, and give directions to el discotheque...but other than that? I smile like a moron and lead more than a few of my neighbors to think that I'm either thoroughly kept or thoroughly stupid.


No, the other day I went to our neighborhood Cermak Produce (where both the labels and the clientele are of the Spanish persuasion) and struck up a conversation with a guy.

Who spoke only Spanish.

That's right, P.J.- better watch out. Six months pregnant or not, I still got it.

Okay, he was roughly 85 years old.

And wanted to ask where Susannah got her hair color.

So we chatted for a bit. And you know what? I held my own. I was extremely proud of myself for my decently intelligent conversation and only a few moments where we both realized that is not a real word in the Spanish or any other language.

My favorite part? When he asked gestured towards my blonde child and asked what inspired me to marry a gringo. Because- and I'm not sure what nationality and/or mental capacity level I called my own within that culture- but he totally thought I was vaguely Spanish.

Yes, he was geriatric. But I was flattered.

So I went with it, shrugged in a what're you gonna do manner, and murmured something slightly apologetic.

In Spanish.


And now it's time to play everyone's favorite game called In Favor Of What Was Keely Neglecting Her Children This Week:

Crazy week, right Mom?

Last Friday, I made dinner. And Country Crock helped. But not as much as me.

On Monday, I told a story about how I got peed on and my children weren't even in the same state as me.

Tuesday brought a rather personal review of all things Cottonelle. Plus a really cute picture of Zuzu.

My first piece for Chicago Parent went live yesterday, with some pretty helpful tips on how often to check in on your children.

Wednesday also showed me busting out my best Bob Vila and attempting to do something vaguely structural with my girls' closet.

And now it's Thursday. (Right?)

Happy almost weekend. Celebrate however you feel is most appropriately festive.

Meetcha at el discotheque.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Organizing My Kids' Closet Out Of Necessity (And Not OCD).

As many of you know, I am currently 82 months pregnant with my third child. Thusly, the Big Girls (as they are suddenly/weirdly being referred to) are going to share a room. 

This means they need to share a closet. 

And being as this is still the fixer-uppiest home on the northwest side of Chicago, I have yet to fix up Nora's closet. We've been way too busy with things like exploding sewers and rats in the kitchen. (Come visit!)

I mean, we definitely [immediately] re-painted her closet and room from its garish hot pink, black, and obscene graffiti combo to its current Sunshine Yellow and white...but that's about it. 

Here's what it looked like a few days ago:

Sure is a poor use of space!

Hot Messville.
And since- as it turns out- babies are expensive, our budget was limited for this closet project. Thankfully, The Container Store was having an Elfa sale. (I swear I'm not getting paid by The Container Store or Elfa or People Who Hate Bad Design.) And the kind folks at The Container Store promised me that this whole shebang could be done in a cinch.

WE'LL SEE ABOUT THAT, I said to myself. And to P.J. And to the girls.

So I stripped everything out of the closet and got to work. (Because P.J.'s agreement to "take care of it" sounded way too vague and in the future.)

Not a bad space, size-wise. But good Lord, is it scufftacular.
Turns out, there was a bizarre trim around the center of the closet (mid-board? Non-ornate wainscoting?) that needed to be pried off.

By hand.

Yes, I'm aware that I make the weirdest faces in the whole world.
And honestly? That was the hardest part. Clearing out my own junk. Because the framing went up in under ten minutes.

Why yes, I should have painted. But I'm pregnant. And lazy.

Pro tip: "Leveling" means nothing if the "house" and "floor" aren't "level."
And once the framing went in, the shelves snapped into place like Whoa. And I organized two little girls' impressive collection of tunics, jumpers, and tutus into one smallish and extremely organized space.

Why yes, they are better dressed than I am.

And obviously they're gonna keep this space immaculate.

Because I've just put everything within arm's reach.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cottonelle Clean Routine, AKA She's Talking About THAT?

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cottonelle.

Friends, it seems like this is my week to talk about bodily functions. (Ha- you say- week?)

Yes, but this time it's legit and sponsored and not just me crying about being peed on in the wee (womp, womp) hours of the morning. At least it's not only that.

Cottonelle has unrolled (good Lord, I'm on fire) their new Cottonelle Care Routine, which pairs up their toilet paper with Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths. They've even brought in London-based immersive journalist Cherry Healy to get the word out about giving your bathroom routine a makeover. And we ain't talkin' marble vanities and autumnal eye shadows.

Boldly Go...and all that.

Now, I've always thought that Cottonelle was the Cadillac of toilet paper. (Not that I equate cars with wiping. 'Cause I don't. I actually don't think about cars all that much, bathroom care-notwithstanding.) It's super soft and rather pleasant, insomuch as that sorta thing goes. And as for the Cleansing Cloths? So great. Some of you folks- you know who you are- feel a bit of weirdness talking about personal care routines. NOT SO MUCH ME! My entire existence (or at least a goodly fraction of it) has been overtaken by the bathroom; potty training, sure, but it's also become that place with the functional lock where I can just hang out for a bit and everything will be a-ok as soon as Daddy (or some other reasonably responsible adult) comes home.

And as for the uninitiated to the glory of the personal cleansing cloth- ohmigawd, you guys. It's not weird at all. It's fabulous. You don't hear babies complaining about being gently wiped, do you? (I mean, you do, but not because it's odd. They're probably just gassy.) Using Cottonelle's Flushable Cleansing Cloths in addition to Cottonelle toilet paper is like getting a bonus shower, you end up feeling so clean. And who'd willingly turn down an extra shower? (Unless you're a hippie. Then, I guess you've made your choices, haven't you?) But for the rest of you- and I'm totally looking at you, parents- sometimes using a Cleansing Cloth is the closest you're gonna get to have some spa/alone time, youknowhatI'msayin'?

These great cloths now come in a sleek, newly designed, upright container- just perfect for placing out in the open, leaving your bathroom guests to think to themselves "Wow, she really cares about me." (Say it with a clean bum, that's my new motto.)

Doesn't that just yell "I care about you and your bathroom habits?"
Not the janky grout. No, that distinctly says "Stay away, friends."
But the cleansing cloths, those are nice.

Wanna join in the Cottonelle Clean Routine conversation? (Quite obviously, you do.) Check out the buzz on Facebook and add your own two cents. And go pick up your own Cottonelle products to see for yourself how fantabulous you'll feel!

You can report back to me and everything.

Or not.

We can just wink at each other and know that we both know.

It won't be weird at all.

Cottonelle wants to get you talking about your bum and on a better way to clean “down there” by using the Cottonelle Clean Routine. By combining the use of Cottonelle Toilet Paper and Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths, the Cottonelle Clean Routine is a revolutionary way to keep your bum cleaner.

Are you ready? Don’t be shy! Visit to learn more about the Cottonelle Clean Routine and join the clean routine conversation.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cottonelle.

Monday, September 16, 2013

You Can Take The Mom Outta The Diaper Zone, But...

On Saturday, I got to drive up to Green Lake, Wisconsin, and take part in a beyond-terrific bachelorette party. (Okay, technically the party started the night before- in Madison, at the bars n' such- but out of respect to The Roo, I kept my pregnant self home until the lake house part of the festivities.

And it was festive. Seriously. The gals were a great bunch, and we did all sorts of lake house-y things such as sit on a dock for hours, have a wine tasting, eat n' eat n' eat (until it became downright laughable how much I had consumed), play games around a table until the wee hours, and even did crafts for the upcoming wedding. (As P.J. responded to me when I said we were doing bridal crafts: "...Ah." Why, don't guys usually do this kinda stuff at bachelor parties?)

I was even given a ridiculously awesome king-sized bed in my own room with an attached bathroom. (At this point in the pregnancy, those gestures alone reduced me to tears.) I WAS SO EXCITED for a solo night of opulent, decadent, glorious sleep.


Sometimes you just need to chill with your girls, amiright?

In fact, it would rank up there as one of the best overnight/get outta Dodge/gal times I've had in a looong time...except for the minor fact that, as I was climbing into said king-sized bed in said solitary room (with private bathroom)...

...I realized that I was not alone and that someone was in fact in my bed...

...and that someone was very drunk...

...and mistook the edge of the mattress for a toilet (same with the floor...and part of the hallway)...

...and so my hedonistic plans of sprawling in a bed and not gettin' up for no one were halted for about an hour...

...while I placed said drunk gal back in her bed, cleaned said pee-peed bed, cleaned said pee-peed floor (with help, oh, I had lots of help from just about every other non-drunk, non-pee-peed gal at the party) and cleaned my pajama pants because ohmyGodallthepee.

But it was fine. Because I [eventually] got to sleep. (Alone.) And it's like that old adage: If You Must Erroneously Pee On Someone In The Middle Of The Night, It Might As Well Be A Mom. (No one has ever actually said that.)

So yes, you're reading correctly. My oh-so rare chance to get a lot of sleep (alone) and not clean up a peed-upon mattress (and person) in the middle of the night was upended when I didn't get a lot of sleep (alone or otherwise) because I was cleaning up a peed-upon mattress (and person) in the middle of the night.


But I'll still chalk it up to a really great time away where I got to hang out with awesome ladies, talk about non-toddler things, replace all of the city air in my lungs with fresh air caught straight off the dock, and listen to British books on CD during the drive (because I am approximately 97 years old).

And when I came home to my girls and P.J.? I appreciated them so much. Because it's good to have a lengthy drive and [most of] and evening without tending to someone and time to actually miss them the people with whom I live.

Best of all? P.J. had put new sheets on the bed.