Happy Birthday from Netflix #Streamteam!


Every year, it happens.

October. October happens. October, with its leaves and its crisp weather and its pumpkin spice all up in my biz..

All good things. Yes.

Also, the birth of my husband, some six million years ago. And the wee first born, my preshus wee angel, WILL BE NINE YEARS OLD. (Hashtag howdidthathappen? timeisweird hewillbeshavingsoon).

The husband does not get the hoopla. He gets a cake, some really crappy cards from my kids, and a golf shirt. That, my friends, is the holy trinity of birthdays when you’re old and boring.

But, did you know? Nine year olds like to think their birthday is going to be second only to when Moses parted the Red Sea, except there will be no drowning and tragedy, and also, no biblical prophecy, so you know. Not as cool. But close.

I have failed birthdays before, y’all. This is daunting.


Birthdays Infographic.jpg

Friends, it’s not often that my television speaks to me in Old English, but when it does, I listen.

Here’s the deal – Netflix has created Birthdays on Demand. This feature offers your children their favorite characters in cute short clips wishing your kids a Happy Birthday.


I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes? A little bit of help really… helps.


Notice the oven mitt. It’s fitting.

So, how does this magic happen? Just open your Netflix and search “Birthday”! From there you can watch anyone from Barbie to Lego Friends to My Little Pony celebrate with you. Our personal fave? King Julien. Of course. (King Julien is kinda my spirit animal.)


Thank you, Netflix, for giving me yet another reason to convince my children I am a magical, wondrous woman who has Ninjago at her fingertips. This totally makes up for my frosting abilities.




As a Netflix SteamTeam blogger, I get to watch the awesomeness that is Netflix, and chatter about it on my blog. It’s a great gig.







Bedtime Breakdown and #5MoreMinutes

This is how bedtime goes down at our house:

After we have all enjoyed some family time by the fire, and my boys have finished working on their homemade Christmas gifts while softly singing “Stille Nacht” I put down my knitting and tell them, “Boys, it’s 7:00. Bedtime!”

“Gut nacht!” they trill, clasp hands, and head up stairs. And then, they go to sleep.

The end.


Ok. Once. Maybe that happened once.

No, no it didn’t. Not once. Not at all.

It almost happened one night but that’s because we had all been dosed up with Benadryl and we get a little crazy that way. They might have spoken some German. Perhaps there was lederhosen. I don’t recall.

That’s a blog for another day.

In reality, friends, here’s me heading up with my boys to bedtime:


And so it goes.

After the boys are wedged into their beds with water, jammies, shirt off because tags make Red think he is going to die, music, prayers, seventeen books, more prayers because God is super important of course, more blankets, cat tucked in, night lights on full blast, and yes, more water, I back away slooooowly.

And then, I hear it. A plaintive, sweet, adorable little voice that, at this point in the evening, makes me want to bang my head up against something like a very bitter woodpecker:

“Mom? Mom? Mother? Mom? Mommy? I canna sleep. I am thinking about the sad things.”

I am torn at this point between being, you know, kind and mother-like, or just snarling, all angry woodpecker, “Well. Ima bout to MAKE YOU SADDER.”

I know. It’s a life fraught with weighty decisions, this mothering gig. Thankfully, Blonde just up and interrupted all thinking on my part by informing me, “I’m SO SAD. There is no more cats in this house. We need more cats. Der are so many many kitties. Ders striped kitties. And kittens with, you know, all the fluffy tails…”

And on he goes. He embarked on a total Bubba Gump shrimp breakdown of every brand of cat out there.

Kids and bedtime – it’s an epic battle. I’d like to say I go all heroic and  Braveheart on it every night, but you know what happened to that guy at the end of the movie, right? Not good.

Here is where The Wonderfulness that is Netflix comes in:

Screenshot 2015-11-23 16.44.13

Now, I’m all for messing with my kids’ heads. I famously participated in Netflix’s brilliant “make ’em think it’s midnight” thrillfest with King Julien. (All hail King Julien!) Yes, there were a few questions about “but the clock says nine? How is that this midnight you keep talking about?” but I just handed Blonde (Red had no clue) another streamer and told him to decorate the cat.

This year, Netflix offers 5 Minute Favorites: A great way to offer a show at the end of the day without, you know, losing what’s left of your mind.

Save losing your mind for more quality moments, like when you come out side to the back patio to find your five year old has clutched to his chest a stray cat with less than two ears, a bent tail, and many angry meows.

He wants to name him Princess.


Bedtime. It’s not for the faint of heart. And it just keeps happening. Know the enemy:

Netflix Bedtime Staller Infographic USA

We are mostly a King Julien household around here.

I do admit, this bedtime stalling is kinda cute when paired with a cape and a cowboy hat which happens on a regular basis.* That’s how we roll.

*The husband would like to interject at this time to make SURE you know he has NOT, at any time, participated in these King Julien shenigans in any way. I guess it’s not that kinda blog. Which is a bummer because, you know, it could be romantic.

Nope. Still not that kinda blog.

T is for Training Days. And Tenacity.

10567109-vintage-typewriter-letter-t-isolated-on-whiteToday I would like to talk about rejection.

In honor of this “throwback Thursday” thing, I am going to post an article I wrote over a year and a half ago (back when wee Red was learning to use the potty.  It was a joyous time.)

So, I wrote this really cute little article called “Training Days” and when I finished it I thought, “And LO, it was GOOD.  And I shall send it out to yonder literary magazines, and BEHOLD the Editors shall calleth and insist on a BOOK DEAL and there will be much rejoicing.  And a paycheck.”

This is where the rejection part comes in.

No editor has ever, ever liked this piece.  My rejections have run from “Please keep trying” to “Good luck with this writing thing, you naive, starry-eyed, navel gazer. I would consider a day job.”

So.  Writing is a great career choice for sensitive souls like me.  It’s like a daily kick in the shorts, paired with endless waiting and some really cutting edge attempts to decipher rejection letters on a deeply analytical level.*  “When they said, ‘We enjoyed reading your submission’ does that mean they REALLY enjoyed it?  Or just somewhat?  And what DOES ‘we find your ideas to be compelling’?  Just my IDEAS?  I got LOTS of ideas!  And compelling, like, Sophie’s Choice compelling?  Or an episode of Cupcake Wars?  WHAT DOES THAT MEAAAANNNNNNN?”


One might never know.

So, I’m putting this little story out to pasture.  What I mean by that:  it is one for the blog.  Where I can publish any bit of mediocrity I want to!  So THERE.  (And also, it’s just possible I didn’t have a thing to post for today, so into the archives I dove.  Sometimes it’s good to hoard things.)


Training Days  

A navy seal recruit goes through 30 months of brutal training before graduation and deployment.  Only a few will make it to a graduation celebration.
Clearly, no Navy Seal has ever gone through an evolution of potty training.

     When I embarked on the decision to potty train the Redhead (our second child) I had, I thought, an excellent battle plan.  First, I recruited The Husband.
I start with a simple bombshell.  “We need to talk.”
The Husband actually puts down his spoon, so it is clear I do have his attention.
“We are going to potty train the Redhead starting Monday at 0800.”
The Husband then smiles broadly and starts shoveling ice cream again.  “Great!  What can I do to help?”
I eye him sternly and try to look pained, strong and confident, and deeply concerned simultaneously.  He licks his spoon and asks, “What’s wrong with your face?”  The Husband is always like this.  I try to inflict him with drama and chaos, and he grins and laps it all up as some grand adventure.  He is, to my deep disappointment, a golden retriever.  For all their unadulterated trust and good will, I find this breed deeply misguided, or at least a little blank.  I’m much more accepting of some breed that shivers and leans on people a lot.

He doesn’t remember.

Potty training the Blond was over two years ago. I still shudder when I recall the massive amounts of bodily fluids that sweet child was able to strew all over our wood floors.  It was like he just simply allowed himself to become one of the criminally insane.  He created Rorschach tests.  He discussed them with me.  I considered an orange jumpsuit.  For me, not for him.  We did survive, but I was naive. Weak.  This time, I would be ready.

Day one:   No one got left behind. Lots of talk about potties and poopies and endless charts with stars.  Toddlers are suckers for stars and stickers.  If it’s adhesive, it’s a big deal.  This is one of those unwritten bylaws in the Toddler Manifesto, along with If It Can Fit in My Nose, I’m Up for the Challenge, and What Is in My Bum Is Always Very Important to Discuss in the Wal-Mart Restroom.

Note:  Wal-Mart restrooms have tiled walls.  They echo.

Day two:  37 cups of coffee for me and numerous glasses of juice for the Redhead. I had to demonstrate using the potty numerous times before anyone else in the household seemed even the slightest bit inclined.  Two small mouth-breathing toddlers crowd around me, and as I squint into the spotlight of their stares, I swear one of the boys has a clipboard and is taking notes and making a diagram.  Then my dignity slowly curled up on its side and whimpered softly while I discussed wiping techniques.  All in all, it was difficult to concentrate and there was a lot of pressure to perform.

Day three:  Enthusiasm is waning. The Redhead is having a blast with all his stupid stickers, but Momsie has started questioning her joie de vive.  I’m getting twitchy.  Sometime in the night, I dream about Pampers, and when we wake I promptly tell my husband.  He rolls over whispers sweetly with his doggy breath, “As long as you weren’t wearing them, dear.”

Note:  It would be best to plan ahead and make that appointment with the marriage counselor about midweek in the potty training cycle.

Day four:  I don’t want to talk about it.

Day five: I grimly wish that the Redhead would start to view the toilet as hidden contraband.  I consider strewing it with chocolate and dollar bills, but I overwhelmed by what the plumber might say.  Because, and I know this deep in my soul, there would be a plumber. Again, I am overwhelmed.  And at this point, I could totally go for just feeling… whelmed.

Day six: See day four.

Note: Cease and desist ANY addition of raisins or grapes to any meal forthwith.  And corn is from the devil.

Day seven:  I greet my Redhead in the morning with a hug and a kiss and assess the situation.  Morale is down.  Rations are low.  I could start drinking wine at 7:45 in the morning, but that would be another story.  The Redhead pulls on his Thomas the Train underwear and then looks pensive for a moment.  He tilts his head, looking sweetly just like a golden retriever puppy.  And then he says, “Mommah?  Potty?”

That night we feted our child’s wonderful accomplishment by going absolutely batty over his tiny white bottom perched on the potty.  The small Blond lectured him on his delivery and dismount.  Redhead just held on for dear life and grinned.
And then, we abandoned him.  (We did wait for him to get off the potty first).  We hired a gullible babysitter, got the heck out of our soggy house, and celebrated with a steak.  I only had to cut it up for myself.