Dec 082014

Socializing and partying this time of year are BIG EVENTS!  And knowing how to do it with grace and class can be daunting. Check in here for some tips--and a few laughs to help take the bite out of the nerves!It’s a big night around these parts, friends. To restate, I am leaving the house. Before you fall over in shock, let me tell you the whole story–it’s to ATTEND A GALA. Okay, now I’ll pause a minute while this sinks in…

Not sinking in? I know, I get it.  This is truly an unbelievable occurrence. Mostly for me, who has never, ever attended a gala. Has never even imagined attending a gala. Will never attend a gala again.

But you see, my husband got an invite to a fancy-pants one at The Philly Art Museum tonight. For a machine. That’s right, a machine. In his science world, apparently new machines warrant celebrations of epic proportions. While I remain marginally concerned about hanging with a crowd who likes to dress-up on a Monday night to celebrate machines, the simple fact remains: I am being offered a night out. AT A GALA.

So while I madly fret over what to wear and prepare to meet Condoleezza Rice (In my understanding, there is never a gala that Condoleezza Rice does not attend, correct? This notion is partially fueled by my obsession with People magazine and limited awareness of galas, but I’m pretty sure I’m right), I remain very aware that I might be screwed.

I do not know how to behave at galas.

Should I start stroking the machine in awe immediately upon seeing it? On the other hand, will I be arrested if I touch the machine?

What if I accidentally knock over the waiter’s tray when grabbing a champagne? Please God, tell me there will be champagne.

Forget Condoleezza, will I have to shake hands with Angelina Jolie? I am strictly Team Jennifer and will always be; for this I will not apologize.

The eventualities are daunting.

Knowing how to act and what to/do say at a work holiday party can be tricky. Here are tips for not only surviving, but having a fantastic time out amidst all the glitz and glitter!

In any case, I have decided I need to commit to a few ground-rules to help see myself through the night. I always function better when boundaries are firmly in place.

1) I WILL NOT robot-dance if there if fast music. I am really quite good at The Robot, but I am not sure this will be fully appreciated at this event. Best saved for a more appropriate occasion.

2) I WILL order a fancy drink–because I can. And I will feel fantastically elaborate when I do–because I owe it to the yoga pants I wear ever other single day of the year.

3) I WILL NOT fantasize about going home and watching Hallmark movies. I WILL appreciate that I’m in the company of other adults and this can be pleasant even if there are no Santa Clauses in snow globes winking in the background.

4) I WILL NOT sneak into the ladies’ room to check in on my Amazon lightening deals. Horribly tempting, but potentially better done at another time.

5) I WILL allow myself to soak up the sweetness of a night out, flirt with my husband and enjoy the gift of a fancy night out during the holiday season. It’s a total win–how could I go wrong?

Friends, I’m SO acing out the gala–I can totally feel a shining moment coming on ;)


First image credit:, image ID:6584928, copyright:nikascorpionka

Second image credit:, image ID: 10709258, copyright:pressmaster

Jul 252014

Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus #WonderBottle @meredithspidelI remember the good old days.  The days when we had a “Laundry Day”.  When I would put something in the washer and then actually fold it and put it away within the same 24 hr. period. When there was less constant need for stain stick.  When there was very little, if any urine-frangranced dirty clothes.  When I knew where my iron was.

Not only did I know where my iron was, I used it.  I ironed my husband’s shirts for work every day.  I know; I was totally shooting for Wife of the Year.

Then some things happened–two little human things, to be exact–and my iron and I parted ways.  Instead of neatly laying my husband’s clothes out for the week it became more of “just grab a shirt out of the hamper and shake it out–it’s probably mostly clean” kind of situation.

I try to keep up with my family’s clothing, but let’s be honest: it will be nothing short of a miracle if I reacquaint myself with my iron.  So when Downy asked me to check out their new Wrinkle Releaser Plus, I was stoked.

You mean, there is a way to get wrinkles out of clothing without ironing?!

Yes!  And not only does the Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus smooth out your clothing, it removes odors and freshens up furniture, pet beds, car seats…any less-than-pleasantly-scented place around your home.  It’s also super for eliminating static cling.  And if you’re really into the whole ironing thing (God love you), the Wrinkle Releaser Plus is actually a better ironing aid than water and doesn’t have the residue of starch.

This product is so versitle in fact that Downy calls it “The Wonder Bottle” and lists 101 uses for it on the Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus website.  Check all the ideas out and then share your own trick or tip to enter the monthly drawing for a free DWR Plus Package.  Get your friends and family to vote for your tip for a chance to win $100 Target giftcard!

So does this stuff actually work?  Let’s give it a whirl…

My work uniform--the beloved #BlogU14 tee with mandatory pajama pants. (and really, the pants actually were this wrinkly).

My work uniform–the beloved #BlogU14 tee with mandatory pajama pants. (and really, the pants actually were this wrinkly).

Part of the reason Mommys clothes are so wrinkly is that she has such a good laundry helper...

Part of the reason Mommy’s clothes are so wrinkly is that she has such a good laundry helper…

Post-Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus spray, this blogger is reporting for duty in style!

Post-Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus spray, this blogger is reporting for duty in style!

My husband opts for a slightly dressier option for his work...

My husband opts for a slightly dressier option for his work…

Her skill set is endless.

Her skill set is endless.

Smooth and ready to roll!

Smooth and ready to roll!

In short, I am wowed by this product.  It is so easy to use (that even a 3 yr. old can do it ;) ) and super-quick.  You spray and then let it air-dry.  The scent is refreshing too.  Truly a wonderful easy time-saving fix for busy moms–a total win in my book!

Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus is available in 1-liter bottles ($6.99), 500 mL bottles ($4.19) and in purse-friendly 3 oz. size ($1.99).

Isnt the mini bottle so adorable??

Isnt the mini bottle so adorable??

So you’ll excuse me friends, but I’m off to stock up.  I’m a goner for Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus and think it may have just replaced my iron for good!

Proud to shamelessly promote Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus!   also, this is the softest tee I have ever owned--the #BlogU14 tee has a run for its money!)

Proud to shamelessly promote Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus!
(Also, this is the softest tee I have ever owned–the #BlogU14 tee officially has a run for its money!)


This post was sponsored by Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus, but my love for this new product is 100% genuine.

Jun 252014
Welcome, bees!

Welcome, bees!

Long about 3 months ago, my husband officially delved into his bee obsession.  The hives were bought.  The sidelong expressions were initiated.  In short, I thought he was crazy and he knew it.

In I Just Want to Be AloneI wrote about all the “fun chats” that went into “our” decision to go forth with the bees.  It might now be time for an update since this little venture began.

I’ve talked about Dr J.’s partner in this whole bee business, but have not yet introduced my own partner through all the buzz.  You see, my husband’s bestie’s wife is a dear friend, and while the guys are in hot pursuit of honey-making, I get to shoot her lots of those sidelong “are they crazy??” glances.

Sidelong glances really do make everything more fun.

They are especially useful in the aftermath of trying to shield our children from the tremendous bee attack my husband staged in our living room.  One day, all 4 of the young kids between our two families were innocently hanging out by the couch, when Dr. J ran hysterically into the room, batting his arms against a swarm of bees he felt led to lead into our home.  I’ll let him tell his own version of how this happened and why he then chose to publicly strip off his clothes, but let’s just chalk this up as one of the “more exciting” times we’ve had since adding the bees to our family. ***

It's a family thing

It’s a family thing

This looks "less manly" to me, but what do I know??

No, really, it’s not so bad…

Featuring The Bees as an exhibit at my son’s recent 5 yr. old camping birthday party was also an interesting choice on my husband’s part.  The guests loved it.  I panicked thinking of the potential liability lawsuits and rapidly downed smores in the corner of the yard to self-soothe.

He swears his bee stings aren’t really that bad.  Absolutely.  Really, being able to see out of both eyes is probably overrated.

The thing is, while I am busy coaxing stray bees off our curtains, enforcing safe distance parameters at parties, and driving my temporarily blinded husband around, it remains apparent that my husband has committed goals in this life.  And that I’m in this for the long haul.

So, Dr. J, here’s to you, your bees, and my pledged support of all your insanity.  I’m with you, babe.

My eyes just might get stuck in a permanent sidelong glance while I’m offering all this support, but hey, small sacrifices.

***It should be noted that despite any levity, bee-safety is taken very seriously at our home, and aside from this one initial incident, children are not exposed to any threat from the bees. The stings that Dr. J incrues are part of the bee-keeping process as he works to better understand his hives and be less stupid about provoking them.  And trust me, his wife has made very sure that while he’s not actually allergic now, this is a situation we will continue to monitor.  I’d sort-of like to keep him around, weird hobbies and all.

Apr 092014
Trust me, dude, I was going to be way more shocked than you.

Trust me, dude, I was going to be way more shocked than you.

One night last week when my husband was gone, I was jolted from a deep sleep at 1:45am by the dog barking.  Except, my chocolate lab warrior wasn’t just barking, he was growling, with hackles raised and he was warning me.

Only minorly terrified and completely panicked, I reached for my phone beside the bed. But it wasn’t there.  In my exhausted finally-got-the-kids-in-bed stupor, I had forgotten to bring my phone upstairs.

I said I survived the week as a parent.  I didn’t say I did it smartly.

Now definitively without means to communicate and an increasingly disturbed pup, I gathered up all my non-existent courage and started cautiously down the stairs.  No shouts or muffled footsteps…this was going well. I pushed myself on, wildly flicking on every light within reach as I forced one step after another.  I made it to the kitchen. And there was…nothing but a bunch of scattered papers all over the floor?

I poked around for any other signs that something was off.  Nada.  No doors ajar, no broken windows, the checkbook still in place.  No scary monsters in the closet.  Utterly confused, but too tired to care, I left all the lights on, moved a chair in front of the basement door, made sure I had my phone in hand, and promptly passed out again.

Next morning, our internet was also wonky, so I called my tech-savvy brother-in-law first thing to check in on that.  Then I casually mentioned that something had been in our house last night. “I think it was an animal”, I ventured.

He immediately countered, “It was probably a raccoon.” Thanks, Jeremy.  So incredibly helpful because now I won’t be completely obsessing that there is a rabid racoon loose in my house waiting to devour my children.

Source We were going to die.

We were going to die.

I decided an alarmed call to Austria to interrupt my husband’s business trip was just the thing. But I couldn’t reach him.


Right.  Now just where to start on that…

I remembered we had mouse traps…somewhere in the house.  They might be a bit small though.

Perhaps I could capture the creature under a trash can and nicely ask him to sit quietly until animal control arrived?

I thought of the metal bat we had in the garage. And then I considered actually using it for a millisecond before a ridiculous combo of shuddering and snorting commenced. I think perhaps this option was out.

Maybe the raccoon would be cute, cuddly and goofy like Meeko in Pocahontas? Please tell me someone else remembers this movie.

I picked up my phone, texted my husband’s bestie, and told him would have to come help, “I was able to fix the internet [I was very, very proud of this, so felt this was important to reference], but I don’t do raccoons.”

Source Nothing but racoon fighting warriors around here

Nothing but racoon fighting warriors around here

As it turns out, there may have been some slight overreacting with very little actual evidence that a ginormous monsterous racoon was raging through our home. The dog settled down, no further mysteriously moving of papers, and we continued to survive out the week.

But fear not, dear readers, vindication did come. Two days after my husband came home to be exact.  You see, I had reached him via phone during his trip and he had listened, but I don’t think he believed.

Yet, low and behold, after fiddling around in the basement upon his return, he reported to me, “An animal got in the house.”

“I know. I told you that.”

“Right, but there was a hole in the dryer vent and shredded insultation is all over the place, so an animal got in.”

“You didn’t believe me when I told you.” I know his game.

“I didn’t say that.”

“Go back to Austria.”

I have no idea why Dr. J would entertain the option that I had overblown a situation. Nor do I comprehend how he could doubt my prowess when battling wild creatures. The mere notion of his lack of faith makes me so savagely irate, it probably would be safer for all if he simply remained out-of-country.

Raccoon warrior, carry on.

Apr 072014
Source Send that dude packing...

Send that dude packing…

Blow me away; I survived my husband’s business trip last week.

Survival defined as 1)keeping my children alive and mostly fed, while 2)significantly limiting the mental explicatives that flew when my husband called and announced that the whole of Germany’s airline pilots were going on strike, thus potentially delaying his return home by 3 days.  Excellent.

We made it through.  While it would be so easy to focus all of the moments I earned my Mom of the Year award a million times over, it would be wrong if I didn’t come clean and admit the truth; I actually enjoyed parts of his trip.

I know; maybe you’d better sit down for this very uncharacteristic announcement?

But it was kind of boss to just give up one day at 12noon and tell the kids we were going for an ice cream lunch. Plus, I felt like a genius mom for sitting at the booth farthest away from the spinny Children’s Miracle Network coin slot thing and only giving them one coin at a time so they kept having to run back and forth to get a new coin.  Energy burn and supporting a worthy cause? Go me.  I only cringed in minimal shame when my son asked me if he could have a marshmallow for dessert when he got home.  And I let him.  

Obviously, the catching up on a month of Revenge after I stashed the kiddos in bed.

Delighting in my cheap pink moscato wine without the judgemental eyebrows of my booze snob husband? Pass the bottle.

The minor incident one morning when I decided to wake early, be productive and order some undies for my daughter and a new bra for myself using Kohls’ coupons, ended up getting wildly lost in online intimate wear for 2 hrs. and then spent $400 (with plans to return most).  I got confused, panicky, and just ordered everything.  Seriously, if you want a bra from Kohls, don’t bother–it’s probably sitting in its package in the return pile in my kitchen. That said, if my husband had checked our credit card bill from Austria, he may have given up on me and decided not to come home. That said, it was wicked fun to be stupid and not have anyone there to notice.

Ice Cream Lunch Date with Kids @meredithpsidel

…we’ve got this!

Making a shrimp dinner for the first time in ever because my husband doesn’t eat seafood.  Yes, tragic, tragic circumstances in which to conduct a marriage.

Telling the kids they can sleep in the same room on the floor in their sleeping bags because, let’s be honest–I don’t care where the heck they crash, just so long as they are no longer talking to me.

The very real and very empowering realization that my dear friend predicted–I may be stronger than I think and not need my husband for the day-to-day as much as I think I do.

The very sweet and true fact while I can do it alone, I’d much rather him be here because I like my husband and enjoying having him around–after getting in my full course of Revenge and several stupid late-night hours of playing mindless word games on my Kindle, that is.

So his next business trip?  It might not totally suck either.

***Disclaimer to all friends–I will still most likely annoyingly whine before, during, and after my husband’s next business trip.  So sorry.  xo*** 

May 132013

Listen, just because I’m rockin’ my 30s, does not mean I can’t be served a good education once in a while.  My recent tag-along to my husband’s business trip to Boston was slammed full of great lessons.  In fact, I can’t think of a recent time when I learned so very much.  Since I love learning and am just chock full of extra energy for new experiences, this has to be a good thing.

What did this Mom of the Year learn on her educational foray?

1. When husband implies that The Freedom Trail is “only 2.5 miles” he really means “it will take us 3 miles to walk to the start of the trail, we will then walk the trail, and then hike the 3 miles back to the hotel” and I will feel justified looking up grounds for annulment be it as my marriage is obviously loaded with false pretenses.

Source And then I died...

And then I died…

2. When I discover there is no hot tub in the hotel, I will cry.  Nothing like an immobile way to heat up and relax your muscles.  Screw notions of hopping on the treadmill.

3. I don’t miss my kids when I’m not with them.  I know, skewer me now.  I’m skewering me.  I’m also a mom of two 3-and-unders and I’m tired…

4. When you see really good wine on clearance at the 7-Eleven for $3, buy it in bulk.  THIS IS THE TIME TO ABANDON YOUR SENSE OF SHAME.  In fact, grab a taxi to help you haul the cases back to your hotel.  The cost will far make up for it in the end.  Did I mention the wine was good?

Freedom Trail Boston

Because there is nothing I like better than looking at the grave sights of ancient people I never knew

5. Husband will get ticked off when I see a Bath and Body Shop along the way to the Freedom Trail and want to pop in to “stock up”.  How much soap do potty-training children seriously need??  And dude, Husband, admire me for the time economy.

6. You cannot overpack on cute dresses.  No, you will likely not wear ANY of them, but the sense of security with having a selection of several adorable choices cannot be overstated.  Load up the garment bag.

7. Subscribing to HuluPlus under an extraneous e-mail account does not guarantee unlimited access to the current season of Mad Men.  Not that I’m bitter.  And not that I’ve tried.

8. When one does persevere through severe and harsh said totalled 9 mile march to freedom, you have got cards.  Significant cards.  Yes, Husband, I can be bought off with the pitcher of margaritas at adorable cheap Mexican place we chanced upon.  As a bonus, I will continue wearing my wedding ring.

9. If the hotel offers a 10-option pillow menu, abandon your life savings now and just move in.  A water pillow??  I am in bliss.  I will also not move from the bed.  Can you pass me the remote?

10. There have been highlights and lowlights in our marriage.  If you couldn’t tell, none of them will be as oft-discussed as our day on the Freedom Trail.  Yes, I will still be whining about those 9 miles a year from now.  Also, I am right and you were wrong, Husband.

Go to Boston.  There are a lot of people dressed up like Ben Franklin, and it’s good for the soul.  Trust me.

2013-04-28 17.55.00


Mar 042013
business trip husband leaving @meredithspidel

Yes, in theory I understand this is not a vacation. I’m jealous anyway.

I had a near-death experience last week.  My husband went on a business trip.  I thought I was going to die.  I may have.  It went that well.

I am fully aware that there are parents who do this all the time.  Parents whose spouses travel on a regular basis and manage to get through the week without acting as though as national crisis of epic proportions has touched down within their home.  Moreover, there are those amazing souls who raise kiddos alone, 24/7, 365 days a year.  I bow to them, am in awe of them, and am left resonating the one single question, “HOW DO SINGLE PARENTS DO IT?”.  Without exaggeration, you deserve a standing ovation every time you manage to leave the house.  I understand that this is nothing short of an act of God.

I don’t entirely know what happened last week.  I remember a lot of screaming and a lot of Curious George.  I recall feeling like it was a major accomplishment when I saw that the refrigerator door had been left open and not only did I notice it, I actually managed to close it too.  Yeah, I’m just that amazing.

I learned some things this past week though, so it wasn’t a total wash.

I learned that my bladder is stronger than I previously thought.  During desperate attempts to sneakily check my e-mails before rolling out of bed in the morning and chance waking the kids, I was able to sustain my wanting-to-be-fed 70 lb. chocolate lab repeatedly jumping on my gut without peeing my pants.  Maybe it’s not yet time for those Depends after all?  Good news!

I learned that the silent treatment can still be a very effective relationship tool.  As in, when my husband told me he was eating breakfast on a pier in LA overlooking the water and catching up on e-mails, it was more effective for to not speak to him for the rest of the day vs. sending a hit man to kill him.  Excuse me darling, while I go scrub some poop off my hand, honey, and then I will be tickled to hear more about your paradise.

I learned that I will not scare away my friends when I text them and tell them that they are going to have adopt my children.  I have fallen completely in love with the sweet, sweet friend who offered to bring me dinner, the friend who let my kids crawl all over her at Chick Fil-A, my sister who is willing to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks for the 300th time, the friend who reassured me that my daughter was not dying of a brain tumor (hey, she had a bump on her neck), and the friend let me babble my woes over e-mail all week without telling me to shut up.  Crap, I’m a drama queen and now hate myself.

I learned that a glass of wine and catching up on old episodes of Revenge by yourself late at night when you are too tired to sleep is a lot of fun.  A lot of fun.  Oh darn, am I actually saying that I might look forward to parts of this if my husband abandons me again?

I learned that it’s kind of neat when my husband comes home.  I sort-of missed him.  And how I sort of get a free pass to sleep in the next day?  Um yeah, that was kind of cool.  But not worth it.

And yes, I am now seeking PTSD counseling after the whole ordeal.

Dec 072012

Welcome to anyone stopping by from the More Than Mommies link-up!  I’m glad to have you are visiting and and happy to be cohosting again this week.

Tell me I’m not alone on this. I really struggle with the fact that my husband just doesn’t get it.  He is a very good man, and a very smart man, but the fact remains that our lives are just entirely different right now.

He gets to leave the house.  Alone.  Without kids and moreover, without sippy cups.  Could you imagine leaving the house without the brightly colored plastic vessels that have become the bane of your existence?

Sometimes it seems like a lonely path

I digress.  When I get frustrated with handling the upteenth temper tantrum of the day, I try to explain things to him, but it doesn’t really work.  The thing is, our day-to-day couldn’t be more different.  He goes out and participates in the world and I take care of our world, who lives inside our home.

He is very active and involved with with caring for our kids, but even if he would rock out a whole Saturday alone with the kids, he would still not have the same experience as I.  Summoning up the patience for one day is unlike summoning it up for 5 days in a row.  So despite my best efforts to communicate my feelings, he can never really understand how it feels because he never really walks in my shoes.  And I never really walk in his shoes either.  I can only imagine trying to balance between work and family.  I know he works hard, so hard at this.

So are we just screwed with never really being able to understand each other?  Maybe we never will fully “get” each other, but I’m learning that this is okay.  While we may never  fully get what it’s like to be someone else, whether we’re married to them or not,  I don’t think that’s the point.  I think we each try to do the job in front of us and then just try our best to support those around us.  God gives us each the exact load in front of us that He knows we can handle.  My husband isn’t ever gonna really “get” my load, but that’s okay.  I’ll just need him to help me carry it once in a while, right?  Especially when the laundry basket is really heavy ;)

I think a lot of people are in this boat of not feeling “got”, so at least we’re in it together, right?  Parenting, life in general, or whatever you have in front of you can be a tricky, lonely road.  But there are others who are are walking down it at the same time, trust me.  And in the meantime, I’m going to try not to be too insanely jealous that my husband gets to pee alone.

Link up below to hop in on the More than Mommies Mixer!

 More than Mommies Mixer @meredithspidel @morethanmommies #MTMmixer


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Apr 102012

Thanks to my friend C for reminding me of how much this topic desperately needs to be discussed.  Let’s break it down: BK–I LOVED The Business Trip.  Bye-bye, hubby–bring on the girlie movies, plain white rice every single night of the week, and I’m good to go.  See you next weekend.  AK–shoot me, shoot me now.  Seriously, SO was not ever meant to be one of those super-amazing single moms.  Apparently am lacking quintessential endorphins required to do such a job, not to mention significant stamina and and energy.  So when Business Trip Time now rolls around, definitely more than a few panicked nights prior to hubby’s departure locked in my bathroom, crying in Fear of the Anticipated.  Somehow (read: significant amount of potent self-medication), we make it through.  But I don’t like these business trip things, basically am super-envious of my husband and his in-room movies and his freedom to sleep through the night.  So I now understand my facilitating his business trips to be an Act of Love on my behalf–perhaps an overly self-sacrificial view, but thinking Wife of the Year award coming through??

Feb 162012

…don’t exist in the life of a SAHM, plain and simple.  I was seriously ticked when my husband came home and announced that his company was now giving them 3 sick days per calendar year.  Retraction: I was jealous!  Here is the thing: as soon as you decide it’s a good idea to push a being out of your vagina or suffer through an insanely tedious adoption process and then subsequently commit to a 24 hr/day routine of diapers and sippy cups for the foreseeable future, you can kiss any thoughts of getting sick goodbye.  It’s a luxury and don’t let anyone tell you differently.  Even if you are so flu-ridden that your spouse HAS to take a day off work, you are still “on”.  Let’s be honest, what mother, however sick, is going to ignore her child’s desperate screams for “Mommy!”?  And who else in the world knows what the very exact post-lunchtime/pre-naptime sequence of events is (read: toddler throws ginormous temper tantrum if even one thing is “off-kilter”)?  Regardless of whether or not someone else is on duty, you’d better believe that your bedroom door is getting knocked on (screw that, just barged in through).  And when no else can be there–lucky Mommy.  No matter if you can’t breathe through your nose or walk upright without puking, it’s all you, Mom.  So yeah, when my husband gets a PAID pass to curl up in bed when he’s “feeling under the weather”, it’s very possible I may be ruminating on some seriously unfair covetous thoughts…

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