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The Stuf of Urban Legends…

Mega-Stuf

I was in Target the other day, and spied something that, for me, until that moment, was only an urban legend.  I’d seen blogs, and internet images, but nothing with my own eyes.  Like Big Foot or the Abominable Snowman, I had heard stories, I had even seen postings on Facebook, but I had no firsthand knowledge.  I was skeptical.

And there it was, out of the corner of my eye, a package of Mega Stuf Oreo Cookies.  The packages of Mega Stuf Oreos were mixed in with the huge variety of Oreos that exists today, so I did a double take to ensure I was not mistaken.  I carefully retrieved the package from the shelf, making certain I did not accidentally grab a package of Double Stuff in all my excitement.

I paid for my groceries and quickly and headed home.  Lucky for me it was one of those times when my kids were in bed and asleep, so I could dedicate my energy to what, as I am writing this, seems like a ridiculous caper for a grown adult.  But if you consider the fact that I dedicated an entire week of my blog to Marshmallow Peeps, I imagine it probably makes sense.

Once home, I grabbed a glass of milk and opened the pull tab exposing the Mega Stuf Oreo beauties.  I immediately noticed that the extra filling costs you some serious numbers in terms of cookies, but clearly this was a sacrifice I was willing to make.

I selected my cookie, my very first Mega Stuf Oreo Cookie. I submerged it in my milk for about 10 seconds.  My way is not for everyone, I am just a dunker by nature.  I lifted the cookie to my mouth and bit down into a soft creamy Oreo perfection.  Perhaps an excessive amount of cream for others, it was the perfect amount of cream center for me, Oreo Nirvana.

As I had my third of the three cookies I allotted myself, I had a thought.  After this, will I ever be satisfied with a Double Stuffed Oreo…let alone an ordinary single stuffed Oreo again?

So here lies the question that marries Nabisco and Tennyson.  Is it better to have loved Mega Stuf Oreos and lost than never to have loved Mega Stuf Oreos at all?

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Next time, I’ll stay on the road…

 

runner-cartoon

If I haven’t mentioned before, I run.  I have misgivings about calling myself a “runner” at this point, because I have a definition in my head of what a real runner is, and I’m not quite there yet.  But that is a blog for a different day.

Yesterday I went running in a park near my home.  It was a beautiful day, a little chilly, which I really like.  Only planning on 3.5 miles, I was running a simple out and back.  My last segment before I turned around involved running on the street, facing traffic.  The road had a shoulder and the speed limit is 25, so it was relatively safe.

As I neared my turn around point, a man on a bicycle was headed toward me.  I figured he had the right of way, so I hopped off the pavement and into the dirt to give him the road.

As I moved into the dirt, I must have clipped a branch because my feet got tangled and I began falling to the ground like a human domino.  I landed flat on my knees and stomach in wet dirt and leaves.  And the man on the bike just zipped past me.

I was on hands and knees, level with his spokes and he zoomed right by without so much as a pause.  Nothing.  Not like I was expecting him to stop and give me a ride to my car on his handlebars like two aged members of the Von Trapp family, but a drive by, really???

I think it would have been easier for me to understand if he was dressed head to toe in biking gear.  Then, I could have told myself that he was training for some important event and couldn’t afford the distraction.  But this guy was wearing khakis and a fleece jacket, not quite a performance bike uniform.

Shocked, yet still capable of a little snarkiness, I blurted out “Just trying to make it easier for you, Sir.”  I’m not even sure where that came from, calling him sir as I picked myself up off the ground.  No reaction, again, nothing…

I stood up and assessed the damage, some dirt, and another minor dent to my ego.

“You’re okay,” I said out loud as I began to run again.  I felt fine and I wasn’t hurt, so I continued.  It was then that I noticed a strong and very yucky smell.

“OMG, did I fall in dog poop?!?!?”

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***Apparently it was a false alarm, I kept running and the smell of dog poop went away.

Two Cookies, Two Toddlers and Some Sprinkles

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I began my day at the bakery with my children.  Before the young girl behind the counter could offer them each a reasonably sized Italian cookie, the kids and I had sized up giant sugar cookies littered with rainbow sprinkles.  As soon as I paid for them, I presented one to each excited child and we were off to the car.

The cookies were crumbly and messy, and it seemed like as soon as we crossed the bakery threshold, one sprinkle yelled “abandon cookie” and they all began hopping off into the stroller and a few minutes later, my car.

If I’m being honest, it’s not my car, it’s my minivan.  Shocker, right?  I drive a minivan.  Probably a fairly predictable car for me to have.  But, for me, my minivan is like the sweatpants of cars, not at all sleek or sexy, but comfortable and functional.  Now, let’s get back to my story.

I took a second or two to reflect upon what was about to happen to my car as I loaded my cookie crumb covered kids into their car seats.  I knew I had options, but I wasn’t going to hang outside the car until the cookies were finished, and I certainly was not going to take the cookies away from the children.

So, imagine that you took many many cookies and deliberately crumbled them over the floor and seats of a minivan.  Then, if you added a bunch more cookie crumbs and threw in some cheddar and pretzel Goldfish crackers– this is probably close to an accurate picture of the mess that was my car.  And as I looked at the back of my car, when I was unloading the kids, I felt shame.  It was messy and unkempt and looked like I don’t value my things, or a thousand other shameful thoughts.

I decided that the sprinkle cookies were my tipping point, and the next weekend, I had to clean my messy car.   I was too embarrassed to take the car to the car wash, so, my husband and I wiped clean each surface and vacuumed up every morsel of food and speck of dirt we could find.

As I was climbing in and out the world’s boxiest car, someone made a remark that I might try to keep the car neater in the future.**  And then I began to think about how I am in life.  No, the car probably wouldn’t be much neater. I could absolutely see myself, six months down the road, cleaning and wiping the exact same messes.  It was then that I felt my shame dissolve.

When I thought about it, a messy car was nearly inevitable for me, especially with children.  Because when given a choice between sprinkles or not, in life, most times, I choose sprinkles.  Sprinkles are fun, colorful and sweet.  And sprinkles are messy.

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**It must be said that the person who made the remark was not my husband or a family member.

Two Cookies, Two Toddlers and Some Sprinkles

iStock_000020594239XSmall

 

I began my day at the bakery with my children.  Before the young girl behind the counter could offer them each a reasonably sized Italian cookie, the kids and I had sized up giant sugar cookies littered with rainbow sprinkles.  As soon as I paid for them, I presented one to each excited child and we were off to the car.

The cookies were crumbly and messy, and it seemed like as soon as we crossed the bakery threshold, one sprinkle yelled “abandon cookie” and they all began hopping off into the stroller and a few minutes later, my car.

If I’m being honest, it’s not my car, it’s my minivan.  Shocker, right?  I drive a minivan.  Probably a fairly predictable car for me to have.  But, for me, my minivan is like the sweatpants of cars, not at all sleek or sexy, but comfortable and functional.  Now, let’s get back to my story.

I took a second or two to reflect upon what was about to happen to my car as I loaded my cookie crumb covered kids into their car seats.  I knew I had options, but I wasn’t going to hang outside the car until the cookies were finished, and I certainly was not going to take the cookies away from the children.

So, imagine that you took many many cookies and deliberately crumbled them over the floor and seats of a minivan.  Then, if you added a bunch more cookie crumbs and threw in some cheddar and pretzel Goldfish crackers– this is probably close to an accurate picture of the mess that was my car.  And as I looked at the back of my car, when I was unloading the kids, I felt shame.  It was messy and unkempt and looked like I don’t value my things, or a thousand other shameful thoughts.

I decided that the sprinkle cookies were my tipping point, and the next weekend, I had to clean my messy car.   I was too embarrassed to take the car to the car wash, so, my husband and I wiped clean each surface and vacuumed up every morsel of food and speck of dirt we could find.

As I was climbing in and out the world’s boxiest car, someone made a remark that I might try to keep the car neater in the future.**  And then I began to think about how I am in life.  No, the car probably wouldn’t be much neater. I could absolutely see myself, six months down the road, cleaning and wiping the exact same messes.  It was then that I felt my shame dissolve.

When I thought about it, a messy car was nearly inevitable for me, especially with children.  Because when given a choice between sprinkles or not, in life, most times, I choose sprinkles.  Sprinkles are fun, colorful and sweet.  And sprinkles are messy.

Jill signature

 

 

**It must be said that the person who made the remark was not my husband or a family member.

Oops, I did it again…not the Britney Spears song

liberty-bell

Last year, when I did the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November, my day was all about finishing the race.  I had completed more than a half a dozen 13.1 mile journeys, but this was my first attempt since having my children.  Acutely aware that races are littered with women mere weeks after childbirth, I operate at a different pace.   This was challenging enough.

I enlisted my sister in law as a running buddy. She was and is far more disciplined in her training and workouts than I was.  Infinitely patient, she put up with me and my ambivalence about the race.  On and off, I followed a very rough plan to get me to the necessary mileage.

On Race Day, we showed up, we ran and we finished.  Despite being slower than ever, it was the most enjoyable half marathon I have completed.  Crossing the finish line was a huge personal victory for me.  The feat was mine.  I had carved out a space in time that was for only me.  I had not anticipated how powerful it would be to be reminded that I was still a person, a mother, of course, but a person first and foremost.

Armed with my taste of personal victory, I vowed to maintain my mileage so that next year would be less of an uphill battle.  I would practice and train all year.

Well…not so much.  Here I am again.  The Philadelphia Half Marathon is 7 weeks away.  And I am once again, piecing together my training to get myself to the finish line on race day.  Not ideal, it’s just where I am, again.  I struggle to accept my next sentence.  It is okay.

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My blog is getting a Makeover!!!!

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So, with all the free time I have, I’ve decided it’s time to makeover my blog.  Yes, the Baby Gifts and Goodies Blog, with the very blah blah blah title that even I am struggling to remember as I type will be no more.

Yes, I know that change is sometimes difficult, but let’s remember that we must get rid of old and lame blog titles, to make room for new and improved titles like– Nonstop in Flip Flops.  Stay tuned for more of my misadventures!!

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Do I owe Caillou an apology?

 

charlie-shoes

In typical toddler form, my kids are growing.  And I am starting to get the hang of the reality that each season brings almost an entirely new wardrobe and shoes for each of my kids.  It took me a bit to get the hang of it, but I’m learning.  Typically this process unfolds without as much as a whimper from Charlie or Giuliana.  (Yep, my kids have names!)

In the past, the children have humored me by trying on clothes and shoes, wiggling throughout the process, but doing it anyway.  This year, shoe shopping proved to be a bit different.  In my first attempt to buy shoes for Charlie, he began fussing and pulling his foot away from me as I approached with the offending shoe.  Okay, not today, I figured, dismissing the experience to not being in the mood.

Despite taking a different tack by talking up the opportunity for big boy shoes and trying to generate some positive buzz around shoe shopping, our second attempt was a bust as well.

By the third try, I was determined to make the shoe purchase happen.  I prepped everyone in the car, on the way into the mall and finally on our approach to the shoe store.  Washington spin doctors don’t do as much positive spin as I was working.  And it began very well.

“Charlie, do you like this shoe,” was met with enthusiastic and repeated nodding. Still thinking I was getting it done smoothly, I whisked him down the aisle and assumed the Al Bundy position and began to slip the new shoe on his socked foot.  Not so fast, Mom.  Charlie began waving his foot up and down, in some sort of toddler game of keep away and repeating the word “big” like it was a bad thing.

“Right, big, like a big boy” I repeated.  Still not getting that apparently “big” is code for something a guy really doesn’t want on his foot.  It didn’t make sense to me.  My little boy, the one who sat quietly on his father’s lap enduring a blood draw without so much as a peep or a tear was crying over trying on shoes???  Were we really related?  I mean, we were talking about shoes here.

It was then that I remembered him, my most unlikely ally.  The yellow shirt, blue short wearing, whining four year-old cartoon, the little cartoon boy who is the bane of my existence, where my toddlers and television meet.

Caillou….the Joker to my Batman, the Darth Vader to my Luke Skywalker, the calories to my chocolate.

Darn it.  Caillou could help me here.

I started by reminding Charlie how at first his buddy Caillou didn’t want to get new shoes.  But he tried them on and liked them.  And for my finale,  “Didn’t Charlie want to be a big boy like Caillou?”

Charlie’s resistance melted and it wasn’t long before he was proudly marching around before the sales women repeating his hero’s name.  My son had new shoes, and he was smiling.  Thank you Caillou.

But, I still don’t have to like him, do I?

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Big Bird’s Basket of Terror

Sesame-Street

After a successful family trip to Hershey Park, my husband and I figured it was time to bring our children to Sesame Place. Huge fans of Elmo, like most kids their age, we figured they’d like to meet him and see his face plastered on nearly every light post, sign and dinner plate we encountered.

Our day went off fantastically. We took our time getting to the park, had a leisurely breakfast and missed the rush hour traffic. After a few meet and greets with characters, we headed for the rides.

On the first two rides, my husband and father were the adults in charge. As expected the kids were a little antsy waiting in line, and very enthusiastic on the rides. Smiles and waves were plenty.

For the third ride, my mother and I stepped up to accompany the children on a balloon ride featuring Big Bird. For those unaware, it’s the equivalent of a slow moving teacup ride which elevates to what seems like 20 or 30 feet off the ground.

No problem, I thought. I now know, I thought wrong.

Because what I learned is this.  The problem with a ride that slowly elevates and swirls at a snail’s pace is that it gives little kids a chance to wiggle around in their seats, attempt to stand up and move around– at 20 or 30 feet above ground. It gives new moms a chance to envision all sorts of terrible outcomes. And it gives grandmothers a chance to join in the mayhem of worry.

No way would there have been time to entertain my inner Nervous Nelly if I were whipping around in Grover’s Tea Cups trying to keep down my lunch.

My logical brain knows that our ride was no longer than any other. But at the time, it seemed like we took a lifetime to get back down to a scraped knee’s distance from the ground. If the Gods of Amusement Park Rides were smiling down upon us with extra ride time—thanks, maybe next time.

Then, as quickly as it began, the ride was over. We were all on land again, laughing. And if I’m being fair to the Big Yellow Bird, I know, the terror is mine. I brought it into the basket with me. Most likely, I brought it into the delivery room with me.

And while I’m sure next time I could just duct tape the kids to the inside of the basket, or bubble wrap the ‘em individually, I know that the worry is part of my job. Like it or not.

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Pinners…Pretty pretty please…

Pinners-pretty-pretty-please

Well, as the title of my blog implies, I have an account on Pinterest.  It’s a very visual form of social media and image sharing which appeals to me.  I find Pinerest inspirational.  Since joining, I’ve gotten some great new ideas and served some tasty new recipes.  My Pinterest feed showcases a multitude of categories of images, including recipes, travel, architecture and more.

Of the many categories is Tattoos.  Now, I am not a person with a tattoo.  I think they are totally fine if you like them, but for me, they’re just not my thing.  I have given thought to what I would have tattooed if the urge struck me.   But in the end, I can hardly pick a salad dressing, let alone an image that will be indelibly applied to my body.

That being said, I still have an appreciation for the art involved in well done tattoos.  I am amazed by the detail, creativity and talent behind the images of tattoos that appear in my Pinterest feeds.  However, I have recently noticed a trend.  And here it is.

What’s with people taking and posting pictures of their brand new painfully swollen tattoos?

It feels like now, I can’t get through my feed without seeing a pin of someone’s recent tattoo surrounded by a halo of irritated pink puffy skin.  Ouch.

Maybe it is the Pinners that I am following.  Maybe it’s the time I log on to Pinterest.  I am even willing to accept that it’s me and that I notice this because it’s something about which I have an awareness.  You know, like when you buy a Honda then all you see on the road is Hondas because they are in your brain.  The number of Hondas on the road hasn’t gone up, rather the number you notice has.

Regardless, I find this behavior very confusing.

Is this some kind of badge of honor?  Because I’ve run a mile or two, and once I had a toe that unbeknownst to me bled through my sock and sneaker during a long run.  It was a mess, I ran for miles, and  only became aware of it when I noticed blood on my carpet.  Inwardly, I was super proud of myself, I called it my version of the Curt Schilling Bloody Sock.  And I felt like this made me hardcore, but I didn’t hop on my computer and post it on my Pinterest feed.  (And yes, I’m aware that it can be seen as bragging about my toe right here–but I am just trying to make a point.)

Anyway, I mean, it’s not like that moment you get out of the tattooing chair is the last time you’ll be near a working camera, is it?

All I am saying is to take a beat.  Wait a few weeks.  Let your skin heal and Pin away!  But that’s just me.

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