Apr 232014

Add 16+” of gorgeous brown hair and this is SO ME

Easter was a very loooong day in these parts.  A day that started well before the sun rose and quickly frenzied its way into frenetically strewn Easter grass, multiple egg hunts, and at least one toddler crawling on my head during the church service. Topping off a week with a very sick husband, Mommy had reached her Maximum.  Grouchy Time In a Serious Way.

When my husband suggested swinging by Bass Pro Shops after a couple of “fun” hours in the car so he could make a return, I was thrilled.  You know, since I love languidly looking at fishing poles and all…

After an adorable twenty minutes of hefting my children in and out of display boats, I snapped and stumbled/stalked off in my obsencely high heels (they had seemed like an important vestige to my pre-mom self at 6am that morning; less so several well-developed blisters later).

With absolutely no interest in anything the store sold, but in the unique situation of being in a physical place where things are sold without my younger companions, it seemed a dishonor to not at least make a pass at bargain hunting. The clothing section.  I could do this.  I could at least find a well-fitted sweat-wicking tee on clearance, right?

I was on a mission.

I found nothing in the sale racks except bizarrely off-blue sweatshirts with pictures of grizzly bears on them.  As it turns out, I didn’t need any such tops at this point in time.

But darnit, I was in a Bad Mood and I was going to troll this clothing section like it had never before been trolled.

And then too-fun stuff like this starts showing up in my sidebar.  Craaaaap...

And then too-fun stuff like this starts showing up in my sidebar. Craaaaap…

And then craaaaaap.  I saw it. The Perfect Dress.  Adorbs in its design, but in person, it’s ideal washable summer-cool cotton/linen blend?  To lust after, trust me.  Did I mention it has pockets?

I pictured myself skipping through grassy fields in well-matched sandals while my children peacefully played and giggled in a nearby patch of wildflowers.

It is possible I was conjuring up the dress addiction I paid homage to in You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth. It’s also possible I didn’t care.  Suddenly, the excursion to Bass Pro was redeemed. Screw that, the entire Easter day-long extravaganza was redeemed.  I had found a dress.

Proudly, I looped back to my husband and showed him my find.  He looked at the price tag, said no, and stashed it on the nearest rack.

DONE. Stick a fork in me.  Cue up the Mommy Temper Tantrum.

Dude, he brought me into Bass Pro on a Holy Holiday after I sacrificed the last shards of my sanity to small plastic eggs for hours on end and then denied me the perfect purchase?

Listen up, Dr. J’d best be shoving aside the fishing poles and making room for these cute rustic dresses or it could get ugly up in here.  Real quick.   The way I see it, it was his fault for taking me in the store in the first place, after all.

It’s also possible I was very far from a logical sane place at this point.

You’ll excuse me while I go enjoy a time out.

Mar 102014
In their glory

In their glory

Did you know that in Oklahoma it is illegal to wear your boots to bed? True story. While hitherto, I may have howled over the ridiculous of such a law, I’m now giving these mid-western legislators the benefit of the doubt.  You see, I have now witnessed firsthand the effects of boots on a marriage.  Not sure exactly what was going on in those Oklahoma bedrooms, but hey, maybe some legal intervention may have been necessary if things got stressful enough.  Boots are no joke in a relationship.

It all began when, in my blind loyalty to anything Target-branded, I snagged a pair of “leather” boots on the cheap in the fall.  They were adorable, trendy, and surely, they were meant to be.  Six months later, I’m cursing the ripped-up toes and air-leaky soles of my bargain find.  Huh.  Who knew? Quality, apparently, sometimes must be bought.

Thus started a dedicated hunt for the perfect pair of hip, comfy, top-notch kickers. Honestly, it was a smart-shoppers dream.  There were endless tabs pulled up on my laptop, promo codes were flying around, and I was riding an an adrenaline rush of excited glee as I worked out the most economical choice to the penny.  I know, it was the most fun I have in ages (not joking, sadly).

But I kept coming back to the new line of shoes from The Sak.  If you remember, I fell hard for my The Sak tote in October, and haven’t put the darn bag down since.  If it ever gives out, I will cry, and cry hard.  My favorite feature of my tote is the Teak Multi leather accent–the subtle sheen is gorgeous and distinctive. So when I saw that The Sak made boots that incoorporated the same leather

Yeah, the mixed reviews citing the beauty of the shoes, but the near impossibility to actually pull them on your foot? Be darned.  I had a friendship with this particular Teak Multi material, you see.  I alone would certainly be able to overcome the fit problem of the boots.  The other purchasers were clearly pansies.  This Mom of the Year was on it.

Rocking my coupons and discounts, I walked around for days preening my feathers for scoring my new footwear for $33.  Boo-ya! My husband was less enthused, these being the second pair of brown boots I bought in the same season and all…but…

Then the boots came. I sweated through my shirt so badly to get them on I had to put on a new outfit. And then I sobbed a little from the sheer effort.

The reviews were perhaps not written by weak lunatics.

After a week of refusing to say anything in a fierce protection of my dignity, the hopelessness of a solo dressing effort could no longer be denied. The Day of Reckoning had come. Head hung low, I went to my husband, “So you know those boots you didn’t want me to buy?”


“Can you put them on for me?”

EXACTLY the blissful scene in our home.

EXACTLY the blissful scene in our home.

I would like to pretend it was a very Cinderella-esque scene, with the calm, gentle man putting the shoe on the delicate princess’ outstretched foot.  It was not.  There was more grunting and under-the-breath comments.  Very few princesses. Some heavy “questioning” of spousal wisdom and the like–you get it.

It was a really neat scene for my neighbor to witness when she came to pick me up for breakfast the other week.  A true testament to the marital bliss that goes down around these parts.

We now find ourselves two months into ownership of the sweet boots. Things are better. I have accepted I can usually only wear the shoes on Saturdays, when my husband is here to help me dress.  They have started to stretch a teeny bit, so now there is only about five minutes of vigorous group dressing effort.  Really, it’s going well.

Sunday my husband leaves very early for worship team practice. As a general rule of habit, I never dress immediately upon getting up.  This past week, I was determined to sport my boots at church, so I threw my clothes on quickly and ran downstairs, boots in hand, hoping to catch him before he peeled out the door.  He looked at me, baffled by my attire and the switch in routine, “Did you sleep in your clothes?”

And then he saw the boots. And started to laugh. “Okay,” he said, holding out his hand, “Okay.”

As it turns out, these boots really were an awesome deal–they just have to be donned with a heavy, heavy dose of lovin’ patience.

Feb 242014

Friends, I eked my way into another book!  The title of this book, I Just Want to Be Alone, is so gloriously appropriate, I considered ending my post by just sharing it’s name with you.  I think it speaks for itself??

But then I remembered this was a prime opportunity for me to lament about The Bees.  What are The Bees?  The Bees have become the defining element of my marital relationship for the coming spring season.  I introduced them before, but in I Just Want to Be Alone, Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat humored me and let me rant and rave about them in a full-blown essay.  An essay that professed my husband’s obsession with The Bees, my official non-love of The Bees, and the sticky situation we now find ourselves in–replete with honey and buzzing hives.

I know, I know, it’s a nail-biter.  WILL THE SPIDELS SURVIVE?  Honestly, the jury’s still out on that, but snatch up the book.  Our plight makes me snort, and did I mention there are 36 other essays from some really funny women?

Yeah, it’s that cool.  And it’s coming your way on March 22, but is available now for pre-order!  It’s selling quickly, so go reserve your copy–consider it a gift to yourself to open later ;).

Add it to your Goodreads shelves too–and then bump it to the top of of your to-read list.  You don’t want to miss this gem.

The second volume in the best-selling I Just Want to Pee Alone series is a collection of humorous essays from a bunch of the most Super Cool Lady Writers you’ll find on the web.

Don’t get us wrong, we love the men in our lives – we do (most of the time). It’s just that sometimes we would like them to go away. Not forever or anything like that. Just for an hour … or a day … or a weekend. We want some time to ourselves to read a good book or take a walk or do anything other than try to make a dent in the never ending mound of dirty clothes that keeps piling up on the floor on his side of the bed. We just want to be alone. All alone. Is that too much to ask?

I think not–go treat yourself to not only some laughs, but a some precious ALONE minutes while you read the book.  With love from all of us to you. xo.

I Just Want to Be Alone @meredithspidel #justbealone back cover

Feb 142014

The Two Cards @meredithspidel matching Christmas cardsWe’re simple people around here.  Before kids, Valentine’s wasn’t that huge of a deal.  Now? Like any parent knows, step aside major holidays, because there is an exorbitant display of  glitter-glued heart-shaped cards that need to squeeze their way onto the fridge before it gets ugly. Put down the red construction paper before Mommy gets cranky.

But is celebrating love such a bad thing?  After we sift through all the kids’ parties, the primary truth remains: my husband and I got ourselves to into this messful of sparkly cupid-themed events because we love each other. Our kiddos are the result of a relationship that has bloomed and grown and seen more burned pasta dinners that I’d like to admit.

We met in college, young, foolish and full of crazy suburban dreams. He was the swoon-worthy hot thing on roller blades and I was a goner.  Fifteen years later, I still get pretty light-headed whenever he gets snuggly. He’s hot stuff, and he’s my hot stuff. He’s also a gem that annoys the crap out of me when he makes his random paper piles throughout the house, but that’s another matter for another time.

My husband and I are different people.  Very different people.  He sees black and white; I’m all shades of grey.  He delights in the idea of keeping bees; I would rather shoot myself than tend buzzing insects. He understands things like science; I run around asking, “But really, how do you feel?” and acknowledging silly things like emotions.  We shouldn’t work together, but somehow we do.

There are many moments I look at the man and wonder if we are speaking the same language.  I am guessing my Urban Decay obsession makes little to NO sense to him.  Also, could he please not take up 3/4 of the bed? I’m not entirely sure I won’t strangle him with our decade-old duvet cover before the end of another day.

But the thing is, even when the stuff of life makes it seem so fantastically unlikely that we will still be able to love on, much less like each other, I will get some sort of a reminder.  A reminder like two cards.

You see, Christmas came this year, and we exchange cards. There are quite few fancy stores around here, places like Target and the grocery store and the Dollar Store.  All of which sell cards.  Different cards.  So how unusual that when woke on Christmas morning, we discovered that we gave each other the exact same card.  Out of all the dozens upon hundreds that were out there for sale…

Or maybe, not so unusual?  Because when it’s a match, however unlikely it may seem, it’s a match.

xo, Dr. J, and happy Valentine’s Day.

Jan 152014
Source HAWT!!


With the official month-to-Valentine’s countdown on, there’re going to be a lot of floaty hearts and cupids whizzing around.  Fantastic if these shades of red and pink do it for some couples, but I’ve discovered the real secret to marital success–at least my marriage success.  For us, there are two careful components to keeping that wedding band twirling around the ring finger: respect and room for numbers.

You see, about a year ago my husband became obsessed with bee-keeping. OBSESSED. I have many, many, many thoughts about this. Many thoughts.  But since he reads every single one of my posts (check that good guy!), we’ll leave it at that for now.  As this interest morphed from a potential hive-keeping project 15 miles away from our home to researching how to get the best queens for a band of buzzers in our very own backyard, unusual items started showing up in our Amazon cart.  Things like: Mann Lake HD620 Steel Frame Lifter and Scraper, 10-1/2-Inch and Flexible Light Strip 200 SMD White LED Ribbon 5 Meter or 16 Feet by Ledwholeshales, 2026wh. What is the common denominator with these products (aside from the fact that I don’t understand how a single one of these things could be useful?). NUMBERS. They all have these abstract numbers integrated in their title, usually with some bonus letters to boot.  This makes me want to roll my eyes more.

Except…then I began dabbling with some of my own numbers. It all started with a rather significant fascination with Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils. I blame Frugie for this. The thing is, these eye liners are the bomb. And I love them. And there are numbers in their name (albeit ones that are easier to understand than those identifying the goods for this crazy bee-keeping jazz).  Mmmhhhh…

Source So, so much prettier

So, so much prettier

And then I snagged a table through my online yardsaling group.  I am majorly crushing on this table.  I have no idea what I will use it for. I have considered jewelry or legos or some unknown crafting project that I will suddenly dive into with a bizarre fiery intensity. In any case, I am BEYOND THRILLED to be claiming this table.

But then I had to tell my husband about it.  See, as online yardsale purchases go, I basically have free reign. Since I always make sure that I am bringing in more than I am spending out, Dr. J doesn’t usually have any objections.  However, as a general unspoken rule in our marriage, furniture purchases typically merit collective approval.

I broached it cautiously, “I found a really cool table.”

He gave me that amazing blank stare which translates into, “I am terrified, but don’t want to offend you.”

“It’s 3′ wide x 3′ deep x 18″ tall.”

He remains speechless.

“We can do so many things with it!”

Silence perseveres.

“Maybe a lego table for the kids!”

“How much was it?”, he ventures.

“It’s solid pine!”, if I speak in exclamations, it has to sweeten the prospect, no?

You see, this is an example of numbers.  And giving them room.  While his numbers make no sense to me, they matter to him, so I give him space to love on them.  And more than space, I actually need to get on board with some respect. They are important to him, so they need to be important to me.  He might not get my table and it’s quirky dimensions, but I’m over the moon about it, so he’d better work up a good squee over the whole affair.

Source Welcome, new neighbor

Welcome, new neighbor

So for Christmas, in a very symbolic show of solidarity, I got him a bee-keeping book along with a special freebie: I am vowing not to say anything negative about his new love. Ever. Crap this is going to be hard.

In the meantime, I’m going to work really hard on controlling my eye rolls. And I’ll let you know if I ever figure out my purpose for my perfect-to-be table.

Dec 302013
movie reel going to theater @meredithspidel

Queue it up, we’re having a movie night

I know, I know.  I’ll give you a minute while you try to digest this and recover from any instantaneous hyperventilation you may have launched into…

But it really happened.  My husband and I broke our 2+ year blue streak, rented a teen for the evening to watch our little cherubs and settled ourselves and our discount bag of popcorn in front of the silver screen.

It was a very cool night, but I was left utterly baffled by the whole experience.

The first fifteen minutes were pretty chill, but then I started to get a little confused when the man beside me remained seated.  Not once  did he hop up and randomly start screaming that he needed a juice refill in his sippy cup.  He just sat there.  And watched the movie.  Huh.

And the movie itself…there was absolutely no animation.  None.  No one sang the hot dog dance song, spoke in rhyme or tried to find any hidden gold doubloons.  Whaa???

Obviously after 45 minutes into the film, I started to gather up my belongings and dust popcorn off my pants, preparing to leave, but then noticed that no one else was movie.  What was wrong with these people?  Don’t they know that every movie ends after 45 minutes?  By every movie, I mean Bob the Builder Christmas and A Very Monkey Christmas.  So yes, truly every movie ends after 45 minutes.  Except this one didn’t.  It kept playing for a whole additional 2 hours (obviously, were seeing The Hobbit).

Then a really strange thing happened.  My husband reached over and held my hand.  No, he wasn’t giving me a gentle nudge that it was beyond time to get off the couch and go to bed since it was pushing 9pm.  He was not making a mad grad to jerk me out of the way of a flying plate at the dinner table.  He just wanted to hold my hand.

It’s official.  The most bizarre night in history just went down.  Good thing we can’t afford another sitter, because I don’t think I can handle any more of this crazy movie nights.

Dec 272013
paper bag irrelevant @meredithspidelpaper bag irrelevant @meredithspidel

My new headwear of choice

I loved this post because it was so honest…yes, I really am this lame…

So, it happened.  I was casually bribing my daughter’s cooperation with animal crackers while in line at the Target Starbucks when I saw him.  Him being the teenage hottie who was taking my order for a Skinny Vanilla Latte (aka a dieter’s winter nectar of the gods).  This kid was so freakin’ beautiful that instantaneous blushing and nervous giggling commenced.  Praise God my daughter is only 17 mo. old, so no awkward explanations of why Mommy was acting like a giddy schoolgirl were necessary.  With eyes only for the animal crackers, she had no idea what was going on.

Goodness knows what I actually ordered as I busily fumbled for my change (read: panicked digging through my monstrous wallet packed to the gills with coupons in search of my Visa debit card, as I haven’t been pulled together enough in years to actually remember to get cash out).  As I shyly paid Gorgeous and mentally fussed over saying the right thing, I had a blinding flash of reality: He had no idea I even existed.  I was just a number, a customer, a mom.  If my ancient age wasn’t enough, carting around my infant/toddler daughter deal officially booted me into No Man’s Land.  I have become irrelevant.

Now, let’s be reasonable, people.  I’m a happily married woman and not actually looking to land the teeny-bopper at the coffee shop.  (I’m pretty sure that just using the term “teeny-bopper” makes me at least 105.)  But it wouldn’t be so bad to be “noticed” once in a while by a cutie.  Not happening any more, though.  I’ve officially crossed the line into oblivion.

This is clearly a good news/bad news situation.

Good news: doesn’t matter if I rock 3-day-old sweats and put a paper bag on my head.  No one will take note anyway.  Tossing unecessary make-up bag to the wind.

Bad news for my husband: Since no one else on earth will ever glance my way, by default, he’s stuck with me.  Sorry, babe.  Looks like we’re in this for the long haul.

Irrelevant?  Sure.  But I’m going to call it aging gracefully and chug my latte in the solitary peace of knowing no one else is checking out what I’m doing.  Sounds pretty darn perfect to me at this point.

Nov 282013

The time has come.  While you have read about him for ages, and maybe seen a pic or two, please let me introduce The Husband, or Jared, J, Dr. Spidel, whatever works for you.  In any case, he is a treat.  And we both have very firm opinions about Black Friday shopping, or pre-Black Friday (but God forbid, NOT Thanksgiving Day shopping).  So I thought that while the More than Mommies Mixer sadly is no more, I could still share our family pastimes with you in the form of a vlog.

Watch up below, enjoy, and happy Thanksgiving!

And please be kind as I haven’t washed my hair in an embarrassing number of days and I am still incredibly self-conscious about whether or not I can actually rock the leopard print–in any form.  xo, readers.

Nov 272013
Source A magical place indeed

A magical place indeed

Previously, when I heard this tagline from Home Depot, I never gave it much thought.  I presumed it had something to do with drills and bits and building houses or some such business.  Probably making people’s dreams come true through a lot of hand-on hard manual labor.  You know, the stuff that I love. (If you didn’t catch the sarcasm there, please just give up on today, go start eating turkey and drinking beer now please–it’s probably best for everyone).

My husband adores the store.  I think he wants to live in the tool department, and honestly, with how often he’s there, it would probably be a gas save.  By the way, what is an appropriate Christmas gift for Christine who works at the Return Counter?? For someone so important in our lives, a fruitcake just won’t suffice.

In truth, I kind of like the store too.  It’s bright, smells fresh and clean, and somehow makes me feel kind of boss to be trolling the aisles and kind-of know what I looking at.  A weekend trip to The Home Depot?  Sure, count me in.

Source Kids love it.  Seeing things like this? Same thing as Disney, really...

Kids love it. Seeing things like this? Same thing as Disney, really…

Then something happened to throw a bit a of wrench in the game.  We had kids.  Two of them to be exact. Two who need A LOT of attention, and lately have really been driving Mommy bat-crap crazy. It became a thing, when the first Home Depot run of the day was announced, I would suggest my husband grab one of the munchkins to take along.  I would stay home and enjoy the vacay of running herd on only one cherub.

Then one day, when it had been a very, very long time since I had taken a private dump, I asked my husband to take both of them with him.  He looked at me and said, “It’s really hard to shop with two kids.”

I just stared back at him.  Maybe there was some way to silently emblazen all the grocery store trips from hell I had endured into his brain with sheer will?  I tried.  It did not work.

He took one child. I pooped with an audience of one and we carried on.

Then this past weekend, we made a family trip of it.  I had to meet some people from my online yardsaling group there, so he would take the kids in the store until I finished peddling second-hand jeans in the parking lot and could join them.  Some people ended up being late, so I had time to just sit in the minivan and watch.  Watch all the dads with children. Screaming children. Trying to launch themselves out of the cart.

It looked genuinely hellacious for the dads.  No doubt.  But you know what I saw the most? NO MOM.  Genius women who set aside their Saturday guilt and cheerfully pushed their kiddos out the door with dad so they could clean the toilets in peace.  Or write blog posts, what-have-you.

And Home Depot?  I fell further in love because I saw at least 3 different kinds of carts that had fun seats for the kids.  Step aside, beastly grocery store car carts, this is the new generation of belting your kids into a metal cart.

Don’t get me wrong; my husband is a fantastic father and husband.  He is incredibly hands-on and does so much around here to help out.  But any future references to shopping with kids being a horror?

Yeah, I know.  DO IT ANYWAY.

Source Exactly what I was thinking, Home Depot.  Except maybe in a slightly different way...

Exactly what I was thinking, Home Depot. Except maybe in a slightly different way…

And this is my hope for you, dear readers, on this elongated weekend of thanks and kicking-off the holiday season–may you find yourself with a moment.   That perfect moment of guilt-free ALONENESS while someone else manages the sippy cups, snack bags, and the impossible joy of taking little ones to pee in public bathrooms.

Somehow, eek it out.  Find it.  Grasp it.

And if it happens courtesy of Home Depot, feel free to hop in on the thank-you gift to Return Counter Christine with me.

Nov 132013
Source I would give anything to look this cute while sick.  And to have such awesome highlights, but that's beside the point, I suppose.

I would give anything to look this cute while sick. And to have such awesome highlights, but that’s beside the point, I suppose.

Last week I thought I was going to die.  I woke up in the middle of the night to a raging fever, pounding migraine, and the overwhelming sense that I needed to empty the contents of my stomach IMMEDIATELY.  Upon standing up to address the situation, I fell over.  I then crawled to the bathroom.  And then crawled the entire way downstairs to grab the ibuprofen I had stashed in my purse.  To add to the pitifulness of the scene, I even stopped and rested on the cool floor a few times, whimpering in pain.

Definitely one of those moments in life I was shining.

When my husband woke in the morning, my fever had yet to abate and the trips to the toilet continued.  It was clear that he would have to take the day off, or my 2 yr. old would have to fend for herself while my 4 yr. old walked the 5 miles to preschool alone (I am sure this would have boded well with Child Protective Services).

And God bless my husband.  He made not a peep about having to totally overhaul his work commitments at the last minute and did his best to keep the kiddos out of puking range.

At one point, after he had them securely settled with an engaging princess movie, he came upstairs to check in on me, “Can I get you anything?”.

“I think I am going to die.”

“You are not going to die.”

“But I think I am; should we go to the ER?”

He exhaled to summon patience, “You do not need to go to the ER. You are just sick.”

“But this is the worst pain I have ever been in. And the last time I felt this bad, my appendix had burst.  You told me then that I didn’t need to go to the ER and you were wrong.”

“Yes.” I couldn’t see him under the pillow I had over my head, but I could sense his jaw clenching in possible/definite frustration. Not that I have ever thrown this appendix situation back in his face before.

“My appendix may have burst again”, I suggested.

“This cannot happen; they took out your appendix.”


“Okay, so I’m going to go back down to make sure the kids aren’t killing each other.”

Still firmly gripping a plastic trashcan beside the bed with one hand, I reached desperately for his hand, “Just sit with me for a moment…”

He humored me.  Such a good husband, that guy.

“Listen”, I breathed, pausing for dramatic effect, “If I don’t make it through, please make sure the kids know that I loved them.”

“Oh for pity’s sake–”

“And remember to wrap the gift for Isaac’s friend’s birthday party next weekend.”

“Yes, because if you die, we will still go to the birthday party.”

“So you think I am going to die?”

He stands up, “Okay, I’m done.”

“And make sure Elyse marries well.”

“You sure I can’t get you anything?”, he asked while leaving the room, not looking back.

“Just my phone so I can call 911 for an ambulance”, I hollered after him.

Shockingly, a couple days later, I felt fine and had not died.  But I see this as less the point.  There was definitely a risk.  And my husband can be just so darn dramatic in his insistence that everything is fine.

Gosh; someone has to be the practical one in the relationship, right?


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