Sep 262014

Tri County Chiropractic Massage Adjustment @meredithspidel @DrKennedyTCCI have lived most of my adult life with pain.  Neck pain, back pain, headaches–all too familiar.  Yuck.  It hurts.

Yet I remain very wary of any medication that might tax the liver.  I’ve become invested in alternative pain-reduction methods.  Chiropractic care and massage?  Right up my alley.

When I saw the Groupon deal for Tri-County Chiropractic, I Googled it right up.  It got superb reviews.  It was close to our home.  Why not?  I decided to give it a go and snatched up the deal.

This deal-grabbing happened a year ago.  Since my first visit, I have fallen head over heals for Dr. Kennedy and her staff.  Dr. Kennedy and the rest of the Tri-County Chiropractic of Exton staff are committed to providing chiropractic solutions to address your unique needs, whether you are experiencing back pain, neck pain, headaches, or even muscular tightness and tension.

She’s so excellent at meeting you where you are and helping you attain improved wellness and health.  But it’s not only her extreme competence and skill with adjusting my spine, it’s the fact that she’s nice.

That she has young kids of her own, is so easy to chat with and gets it.

That the office looks so pretty and smells relaxing.

Tri County Chiropractic Treatment Room @DrKennedyTCC @meredithspidel

That her massage staff have tackled the knots in my neck with incredible expertise.

Tri County Chiropractic Massage Room @DrKennedyTCC @meredithspidel

That each chiropractic adjustment includes heat therapy, muscle stimulation (if needed), and a mini-massage to loosen things up.  Yes, this means I lie with my head face-down for 20 minutes and am forced to do nothing.  It totally sucks, I know.

But listen, don’t just take my word for it, read this testimonial (and read many more glowing reviews) on their website:

“Dr. Kennedy and her staff are the BEST. I can’t say enough good things about them. They treat you like family when you come in. They are attentive to your needs and I do not rush the adjustment process. Starting with the massage, heat, and electrical muscle stimulation…I feel like I am at a spa instead of a doctor’s office. I would highly recommend Tri-County Chiropractic in Exton. They will take amazing care of you.”
–Carrie G

I am incredibly impressed with Tri-County Chiropractic of Exton and am very grateful to have connected with them as a patient.  Check out all that they have to offer and follow along with Dr. Kennedy’s savvy on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest.

And then…enter below to win a massage!  That’s right, a free 1/2 hour massage is up for grabs!  While I sit here and try to figure out ways to unethically win my own giveaway, throw your name in the hat and get ready for the most relaxing and healing 30 minutes of your life…yes, it’s that awesome, truly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Go snag your own wellness and health, friends.  Pain doesn’t have to be a way of life.  There are wonderfully talented people like Dr. Kennedy who can help get you back in shape and feeling better.

*****Thank you to the staff of Tri-County Chiropractic of Exton for sponsoring this post and giveaway.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my very positive experience!****

Sep 042014
EXACTLY my morning...

EXACTLY my morning…

I would be lying if I said this whole starting school business wasn’t slaying me.  After I finished supporting the Kleenex industry on the first day, I did figure on a general schedule upheaval.  I assumed my son would be more tired than usual.  I did not, however, count on how emotionally rocked we would all be by things like erroneous pencil grips, bus seating arrangements, and the tricky necessity of afternoon rest periods.

Nor did I figure that this would be one of the times in my life when I would entirely lose my capacity for reasonable thought.  It started on the eve of the First Day of School. I burned my hand trying to steam green beans, cried and vowed to never again serve veggies to my family.  This adorable inability to perform simple tasks continued throughout the week.  In short, I became stupid.

In this delightful state of mind, I found myself on my birthday morning, decidedly unbathed with yucky morning breath.  But I had gotten my son on the bus!  On time!

Feeling cocky from this intense victory, I became foolish.  What if I celebrated my day and tackled my grossness with a bath?!

I could do this, right??

I felt like I was running a covert op for the CIA.  I cued up Daniel Tiger, stashed up my daughter with Goldfish crackers and spoke in soft tones, lest I disturb the gods of potential baths.  I crept up the stairs, turned on the faucet, shut the door, and sank under the suds.

The door immediately slammed back open. My daughter walked in with That Face. She didn’t!  But in one sinking moment, I knew that she had.  She had pooped in her underwear.  Endless curses on this potty-training nonsense. Wear diapers until you are 25, for the love of God.

That situation, very wet and very nakedly, sorted out and I found myself back in the bath.  Albeit, a great deal grumpier.

Woe, the tragic injustice of electively having children and then having to care for them…

I relaxed back into the warm water, closed my eyes and worked to listen to the sweet silence of nothing.  I heard a small voice, “Mommy, can I watch you?”

My eyes flew open. “Um…sure?”

Does the lock on the bathroom door not work?  What insane person is running this house?

“I’ll help wash your hair.”


“Can I help with the razor?”

I madly searched for a paper bag in which to commence proper hyperventilation.

“I’ll draw pictures of the ocean for you!”

I especially enjoy the teal bathtub crayon, as it dyes everything a lovely aqua hue for at least a solid 24 hrs.

I love my kids. I do. A lot.

I also love baths.

Someday, perhaps, in the near 15 years, the suds and I will meet up again.

For now, it is certain that I must be locked in padded rooms whenever my children start Kindergarten vs. being allowed to make any decisions–at all.

The good news: I’ve got a “helper” who works a mean shampoo service.  And really, my skin is the most pretty shade of teal…

Aug 132014
What ALL afternoons look my dreams ;)

The someday bliss?

I have gone on before, at length, about how much I crush on our deck.  It truly is a lovely place.  I often consider moving in out back.  Maybe I won’t dramatically dismantle and relocate our bed, but I could set up a nice cot or something.  Maybe get a sweet lava lamp and milk crate night stand to set the mood?

The thing is, I love the deck, but moreover, I crush on SOLITUDE.  I don’t think I actively started craving this bliss until it was gone.  I love my privacy, I love my peace.  I love being able to think a thought and hear it in my own head without Daniel Tiger jingling a catchy tune in the background (though, dang, I do love that little dude–he’s adorable, smart, and does a far better job of raising my children than I ever will).

You may remember when I fell in love with a personality test several months ago.  And then talked about it endlessly ad nauseum and refused to shut up about it.  Why was I so taken with this quiz?  It defined me.  It reinforced that my need to be alone wasn’t some bizarre quirk, but rather an inherent component of my being, that was, in fact, part of an established personality type.  Ahhh…

Sweet revelation, but not a whole lot of room to go anywhere with it.  I was and am still up to my ears in Pull-Ups, messy dog drool, and kids who still can’t unpeel the plastic from their own Lunchables (again, I am Mom of the Year here).  While my husband feeds on being around others and socializing (doesn’t Dr. J’s peppy friendliness just exude this??), I am an introvert.  And I like being an introvert.

I try not to be stupid, to recognize there is stuff about every age and stage that will trip me up.  I do talk to friends with older kids and know that things, so many things, will get trickier.  That said, I remain convinced that one of the pleasures of this particular phase of my kids is that I am never alone.  There are no silly things like naps or entire days of school.  Nor is there the decided joy of peeing alone.  We get to be together all the time!


So here I remain, fantastically longing to be near NO ONE, but in fact, solidly running show as a trio–from sun-up to sun-down.  That’s fine; I chose to have kids and I love them.  But…

One day, one singular unique day, I thought, “Why not?  Let’s let Daniel Tiger earn his keep.”  I cued up Netflix, plunked lollipops in their hands (again, Mom of the Year), and slipped out to the deck with my laptop.

I felt covert.

I felt sneaky and smart.

I felt awesome.  I was alone.  I did all sorts of sordid thing like checking my Facebook status and writing a new post.  It was fabulous.  It lasted approximately 19 minutes.

Not exactly enough time to write one’s life story, but oh well….we’re on our way, and isn’t the direction in life the only thing that really matters?

Aug 062014

Clothes Mentor West Chester @meredithspidelMy husband has adapted very well, with a general acceptance, to my endless string of crushes.  These crushes range in subject from Jesse Pinkman to new TV shows (Orange is the New Black, anyone??) to an incredibly pretty shade of Urban Decay lipstick.  Most recently, my fashion obsessions have been raging, finding exciting territory in StitchFix, maxi skirts and collectively, anything found in People Style Watch.

The only slightly sticky wicket of all my fascinations is that they cost money. Snap! It just feels like rocking out sweet styles should be a given freebie or something, right?

Mmhhh…sadly, looking gorgeous isn’t necessarily an easy no-cost-given on this earth.  Enter Clothes Mentor.  Self-advertised as “a huge walk-in closet for fashionable women”, I started swooning immediately upon learning of this local shop.  I have long been in love with consignment and re-sale.  The truth?  I like brand-names and adorable stuff, but our still-paying-endless-school-debt/WAHM salary doesn’t allow for a lot of first-pass Kate Spade and Micheal Kors.

I like Kate Spade and Michael Kors.

A lot.

So it was time for a Clothes Mentor-intervention.  Could my budget really meet my high-brow taste?

Shopping at Clothes Mentor @meredithspidelI grabbed my friend Sara for the Christmas in July sale and we were off to discover the depths of money-saving/brand-name snagging glory at the West Chester location of Clothes Mentor.

And…Holy Cow!

I was wowed by how huge the store was and how very-filled the racks were.  Throw in a brand-new Free People dress in my size? I was swooning. It wasn’t entirely pretty.  When the Ann Taylor new-with-tags dress entered the scene, the drooling got rather intense.

This store was HUGE and packed to the gills with sweet finds.  Moreover?  The staff was so very friendly and helpful.

In Main Line suburbia, there are a boatload of excellent consignment shop finds, but the pleasure of uncovering a store that not only has so many nifty items but also excels in customer service?  I’m a goner.

Check out this sweet staff...ready to help you! Carrie, Juli & your service!

Check out this sweet staff…ready to help you! Carrie, Juli & Aly…at your service!

I have already scheduled my return to Clothes Mentor in my personal calendar and am counting down the days to my next visit.  I’m also sort-of crushing on an adorable brown leather clutch I saw in the shop, but don’t tell my husband this; cool?

Clothes Mentor @meredithspidel

As the Clothes Mentor website says, “Clothes Mentor is a resale store like you’ve never seen before.  At 70% off mall prices, we carry current women’s fashions in sizes 0-4x, plus athletic wear, petites and maternity–with thousands of better name-brand clothes under one roof. We also carry jewelry, handbags, shoes, wallets, belts and so much more! You’ll find a huge designer selection, from handbags to jewelry.”

Clothes Mentor is also a great place to sell any extra items you may have: “How do we build our fabulous inventory of like-new women’s fashions? By paying our customers CASH-on-the-spot all day, EVERY day for their items…We understand that life changes–so bring those fashions that no longer fit, whether they are the wrong size or just don’t fit your personality any more.”

The selection was endless...

The selection was endless…

Ready to try Clothes Mentor for yourself?  Locally, they have shops in both West Chester and Springfield, but check out their shops nationally.  And the owner of the local stores, Chris, is so very cool.  She is offering one of my readers a free retail therapy party.  What is a retail therapy party and why is it such a neat event?

Local shop owner Chris explains her philosophy, “Clothes Mentor is a store based on a community of women.  Women who support each other and who empower each other—no matter how big your budget or how important your job, everyone is on a level playing field in our store and our team makes you feel like royalty even if you are not.  Women do not spend enough time building each other up.  We need a place to celebrate and throw “attaboys” at each other—with a high-five and a butt bump or two!  Here is what the give-away of a retail therapy party for 6 or more includes:

  1.  Appetizers and beverages of choice
  2. Personal stylist assigned to the party to help with outfit/clothing selection and to help with party set up.  This stylist will support the entire party at the dressing rooms to make trying on clothes easier and will take photos to share with the hostess after the party.
  3. 20% discount for everyone who attends the party—but there is no requirement to shop or to buy, just come and have a fun evening out with girlfriends.
  4. If the party (at either the Springfield or West Chester store) is scheduled before September 1, the hostess also receives a $25 shopping credit to use during the party.”

I love the way this party is set-up as a way for women to celebrate each other and enjoy some fun with fashion!  Are you also swayed? Ready to check out Clothes Mentor for yourself?  Enter to win this retail therapy package!  Pop in the Rafflecopter below.*  

Another great reason to head to Clothes Mentor soon?  Chris is also offering all my readers a 20% discount through September 1 if you mention “The Mom of the Year” at checkout!

Friends, when isn’t it time to update your wardrobe?  Having some fun, new, affordable cool clothes and accessories is within reach.  Go find your inner-fashionista at Clothes Mentor.  Fall in love with a new item…or two or a bunch.  I’ll be here cheering on all of your adventurous money-saving shopping from the comfort of my jazzy new leopard-print pants!

Appalling, I know.  But I really like that consignment-pricing afforded me the chance to rock these pants that I would never have otherwise-looked at...

Love that consignment-pricing afforded me the chance to snag these pants that I otherwise wouldn’t have even tried on!

And make sure to follow Clothes Mentor on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to stay tuned on the latest store items and events!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*E-mail addresses entered in Rafflecopter will be added to Clothes Mentor’s mailing list.

Our total haul? 7 (yes, SEVEN!) dresses (tags still on Ann Taylor and Free People), 2 pair of shoes, 2 pair of earrings, and a pair of jeans and a pair of pants for $119!

Our total brand-name haul? 7 (yes, SEVEN!) dresses (tags still on Ann Taylor and Free People), 2 pair of shoes, 2 pair of earrings, a pair of jeans and a pair of pants for $119!

****Clothes Mentor has compensated me for reviewing their store, but my awe of their business remains 100% genuine!****

Jul 232014

International Self-Care Day @meredithspidel #selfcareday14 #OTCSafetyDid you know that International Self-Care Day is July 24?  I’m all for the big holidays of the year, but in my opinion, we should raise the roof for this particular day.

Self-care is so very important, especially as a momma.  Caring for young kids is an endless task.  And while I would do anything to keep my kids safe, fed, and feeling loved, sometimes I look at the magnitude of the task and just feel…exhausted.

To me, being Supermom means being able to ignore the piles of laundry long enough to take a second and feel good about at least a couple things that happened that day–even if it was just remembering your daughter’s sippy cup and stashing the preschool payment in the mail before it was too obscenely late.  It’s hard; I want to ace this gig out, but the pace can be stymieing.  That’s why self-care is so valuable.

I am a firm believer that in order to care for others, we must first care for ourselves.  That can be a really, really hard thing to do as a mom. Oftentimes we have to sneak it in the corners of everything else.  Oftentimes while we long for a spa day and solid nap, we only have time to pour ourselves a fresh glass of water or steal two extra seconds in the shower.  However you do it, it’s vital to refresh and rejuvenate to gain the energy needed to be there for our kids.

Before becoming an OTCSafety Ambassador, I hadn’t considered managing medications to be part of my self-care routine.  The World Health Organization defines self-care: “what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene, nutrition, lifestyle, environmental factors, socioeconomic factors, and self-medication. “

Huh.  Go figure that all those vitamins and supplements I stuff in my fridge are a way of loving on myself.

Have medicines or other pills in your home?  Make sure they are a healthy part of your own self-care regimen.  Mark a date on your calendar to go through your medicine cabinet and get rid of anything expired, and of course, make sure to keep everything up and out of the hands of kids.  And consider if there’s a supplement that might benefit you or your family.  If you are responsible about your meds, they are a super-easy way to sneak in some self-care!

To help further explain the value of self-care and give us some cool ideas for how to do it, I got the input of some very smart ladies about what self-care means to them.  The smart, real ways they embrace this concept are down-right inspiring:

Jenn of Coolest Family on the Block–“As a mega introvert above all else “self care” means quiet alone time.”

Kathy of My Dishwasher’s Possessed–“For me I find writing a few things that I’m grateful for has the power to instantly change my mindset. When I do it, not only does my day improve, but the whole mood in my family changes. When I don’t it’s not very pretty here!”

Jenn of Something Cleaver 2.0–“Since my son was born, my husband and I have had a deal: I get to sleep until 10 on Saturdays, and he sleeps until 10 on Sundays. As parents, it’s important to have one day a week where we don’t get up earlier than the birds!”

Kristen–“Self-care is being late to my therapist because I took an extra 5 minutes in the shower to shave my legs – life is full of choices!

Stephanie of When Crazy Meets Exhaustion–“I used to think healthy meant a killer bod; since having kids, healthy means being able to keep up with them. So I don’t have the abs of my former self? But I can play a mean game of street hockey and a mind-numbing game of princesses.”

Kathy of Kissing the Frog–“Nowadays, self-care simply means doing something that makes me happy. It could be a long walk, it could be reading a novel, it could be writing something I’m really proud of, it could be lunch with friends or dinner alone with Hubby, or a spa service all by myself. Stephanie Barone Jankowski is right, the definition of self-care changes after motherhood and the demands on one’s time.”

Adrienne–“Extra minute in the shower. Plucking my eyebrows. Painting my nails once in a blue moon. Being alone, being with others. Walking/Running. Spa days with my sister :)”

Janine of Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic–“I admit I probably don’t take care of myself as much as I should will be pulled in so many different directions daily, but the one thing I do try to make time for is a quick workout when I can and even (I know it may sound crazy) but doing my nails, just polishing them myself makes me feel a bit better and it is the quiet alone time that does it for me…”

Meredith of From Meredith to Mommy–“ I take a bubble bath with a book almost every night. It’s how I relax and unwind from being “on” all day. Productive use of child free time? No, but a happy mom is a better mom!”

Jessica of Domestic Pirate–“I think self-care evolves with us. When I had an amazing support system and my depression was under control, self care meant working out, eating well, and writing every day for me. Now? It means showering whenever I get the chance, giving myself the green light to sit and take my time to enjoy my coffee in the morning, and getting out of the house by myself at least once a week.”

Kari of Rhymes with Sorry–“I think “self care” is very fluid, because every person has different needs, just like the difference between extroverts and introverts.”

Melanie of The Not So Super Mom–“‘Self care’ always makes me think of hygiene or a beauty routine. Since (for me) there is no such thing as a beauty routine, sometimes those extra minutes in the shower/bathroom make all the difference. Showering without rushing, shaving my whole legs (not just below the knee)…”

Laura of Squeezed Fresh 4U–“Self-care to me, means making sure I get the people I take care of…to pay attention to me, too. To know that, hey yeah I just cooked all the last meals, been doing the dishes…and now it’s your turn.”

Amanda of Questionable Choices in Parenting–“Now that I’m a mom, self care tends to be my last priority but I’m working on changing this. The truth is, if Mommy gets sick, this whole ship goes down! So I’m eating better, working out, and finding time to get to doctors appointments.”

Jennifer of Outsmarted Mommy–“I can often be seen running with my ipod smiling like I slept with a hanger in my mouth. It’s not pretty but man alive does it relieve my stress. A less stressed mom makes for happier children. :)”

I hope you caught the important message that how self-care looks is different for everyone.  Notice too how several of these ladies noted that the way we self-care is not stagnant; it will change as we grow and move through life.  But whatever you figure out works for you, do it!

To care for others, we must first care for ourselves @meredithspidel

Join us on International Self-Care Day to redefine the notion of SuperMom as being a mom who takes the time to care for herself. And let us how YOU care for yourself below.  Jump on the self-care bandwagon–it’s a very cool place to be!

****I am compensated as an OTCsafety blogging ambassador for this post, but my opinion are my own.****

Jul 072014

MomAssembly @momassembly @meredithspidleIf I had to guess my most oft-said phrase in my parenting journey, “I’m losing my mind” would probably go for the win.  From the moment my son let loose his first wail, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of being completely clueless.

I had read all the books.  I had friends. I even managed to find the phone under some of the piles of burp cloths so I could call them. I still felt alone.  I still felt lost.  I still longed for someone to hold my hand and tell me exactly what to do.

Five years later, I now have a daughter in addition to my son, but overall, there are far less diapers to change and food doesn’t need cut in quite as small pieces.  It’s a bit less never-being-able-to-sleep-more-than-an-hour-at-a-time, but there are other fun things.  Like trying to figure out discipline and making decisions about preschool.

The truth is, I don’t feel like I know anything more than when I first started being a mom.  I have questions every day.  I find myself longing for an instruction manual…

Enter MomAssembly, the world’s first online video-education site for moms.  It’s an interactive university, available 24-7 from the comfort of your home, that gives you all the information you need to raise happy, healthy kids. Whether you are interested in child-oriented topics like baby development, sleep or behavior or want to focus on more parent-focused goals like finding work/family balance, losing the baby weight or childproofing your marriage, it’s all there. MomAssembly was co-founded in 2012 by Jill Spivack, LCSW and Jennifer Waldburger, MSW , who have nearly two decades of experience as family and parent educators.  These ladies are experts at knowing what help moms need, and they are bringing it to you in this incredibly convenient format.

I’ll admit, when I first heard of  MomAssembly, I was a bit skeptical.  A site full of expert parenting video courses sounds fantastic, but the idea of taking a course was somewhat intimidating.  Would there be grades?  Was there a weekly schedule to keep up with?  Exams?  I have trouble finding time to shower, so wasn’t sure if I could handle going back to school.

But how wrong I was.  MomAssembly couldn’t be easier.  There are no exams, schedules, or grades.  It is super user-friendly.  You log into the site, and the menu of courses immediately pops up.  You click on the age and stage of your children, and all the available courses of interest appear. To take a course, you click on it and then press the play button.

@MomAssembly @meredithspidel

Courses are broken up into class segments, average of about 8 classes per course.  Each class is typically around 5-10 minutes.  You can start and stop them at any time. Read: sippy cup emergency?  Hit the pause button and it’s fine.  Come back when you can–or wait a few hours (or even days if need be!) and come back when you can.

I love that the courses are audio-friendly, meaning that I can set-up my laptop on the kitchen counter while I attack the dishes and still take my classes.  If you’re a bit more modern than my old school self, you can also snatch up the learning from your phone/iPad/etc while you are on the go.  It’s all online, so whatever is easiest for you.

The price of this assistance is minimal.  For only $7.99/mo., you receive access to over 500 classes, over 50 downloadable handouts & workbooks, and you can add up to 4 family members & caregivers to your account for free.  Ready to sign up for the whole year?  It’s only $3.99/month with the annual plan!  Both options come with a 7 day free trial to make sure than MomAssembly is a good fit you.

And as a special offer to my readers, the first 10 Mom Of The Year readers who sign up for a MomAssembly plan from THIS LINK will get their first month of membership free!

Mom Assembly‘s user-friendliness is fantastic, but my favorite part of the courses is that they soothe me.  I know, this might sound a bit odd, but it’s true.  The first course I took was Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting 101.  More than any other course, this title appealed to me (My stress level of late managing my 2 and 5 yr. old has a “bit” high), so I eagerly selected this course.  As I listened to the the instructor speak, I felt myself relax, normalize, if you will.  I was feeling like someone got me and was giving me welcome advice on how to manage my life better.

Once I started, I kept taking more and more courses as I realized how helpful the classes were.  Raising Children that Other People Like to Be Around?  Yes, please!  Please help me figure out a way for my kids not to be the weird ones at social gatherings.  Coping with Preschool Panic may actually be more for me than them, but my family needs this course.  It’s a really hard and sad/happy things sending your kiddos off to school for the first time and I’ll take any help I can get.

And The Discipline Do’s and Don’t’s course has been a blessing–am I the only one who never received the clear instruction manual on how to raise kids?? Check out one of the classes from this course for a sample of how MomAssembly works:

Remember my longing for an instruction manual?  This quote from MomAssembly sold me, “Good news! Babies do come with instructions!”.  The truth is, as a new mom, as a current mom of toddlers/preschoolers, this remains the promise I most want to hear.

Thanks to MomAssembly, the instruction manual is here, and I am grateful.  So, so grateful.

Jun 302014
Source aka Fantasy Land

aka Fantasy Land

It was the stuff of fantasies–a Saturday, kids at the zoo with my in-laws and my husband and I were left peacefully alone to tackle our massive to-do list.  Despite the stymieing length of the list, there was hope in the air.  We had a boatload of errands to run, sure, but we could attack them without having to dedicate 16 minutes after every stop trying to wrangle children back into their car seats.

The mood was light, giddy with the potential of completing an entire task before the sun set.  Stopping on our way for coffee to celebrate our good fortune, we were off.

Two hours into all our running, we were still cheerful as we pulled into Sam’s Club.  Upon walking through the doors, I proudly yanked my membership card from the depths of my wallet and flashed it front of the bouncer.  “Look at me! Leaving the house without kids! Getting things done on a Saturday morning!”, my head shouted.  I was majorly bummed when the sweet elderly lady didn’t seem as impressed with me as I was.

Whatevs.  This shopping trip was ON. We had driven in separate vehicles, as we thought the van might have to be left for the day so it could be suited up with new tires. Surprised to learn it would only take 45 minutes, my husband suggested we leave, cross a few more things off our list, and then return to pick up the van.

Yes! Me! I want to be organized!

Yes! Me! I want to be organized!

“But,” I ventured, wild possibility boiling inside me, “Can I stay?”

“You mean stay here while I leave? What would you do?”, he struggled to make sense of the insanity.

“I think I would shop.”

“Will you get bored in 45 minutes?”

Eyeing up some adorable new oven mitts in the corner of my eye right next to a fabulous pile of margarita-maker ball gadgets, I breathed, “No, no I don’t think I will…”

Shooing him away, I immediately realized my error of not grabbing a cart.  What a fool I’d been!

Cart the size of a small flatbed secured, I dove into my glory and BEHOLD.  The things!  Clothing!  Not all of which looked like something my grandmother would have worn in the 70s!  And the most adorable pair of flipflops and a perfect baby gift for my sister.

Speaking of my sister, I’d better check to see if she needed any road atlases. Or cucumbers.  So very many cucumbers.  Do I eat enough cucumbers? Lots of quick texts sent to her.

I’d better send my husband and his friend a pic of the beekeeping novel I found too–might be fab for them to do some light hobby-relevant reading together?

And the Lysol–Holy Cow!  What an amazing price on Clean Linen scent spray.  And such a super deal on kids’ vitamins…now, actually, I was starting to get a little ticked, feeling as though I’d been thoughtlessly left in the dark.  I called my sister, “Why have you never told me how awesome this place was?!”

“I thought you knew.”

“Well, I knew in the way I knew all things before I had kids.  You were supposed to keep me updated.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You should be.  Do you want more books about The Civil War?”

“I don’t have any. I don’t want any because I don’t read about it.”

“Fine. I’m stocking up on pizza in case you get hungry.”

“I don’t live with you.”

“You still might get hungry.”, Gracious, I hate it when she’s so illogical.

Blissful meandering continued, delightful treasures at every turn. This was the best Saturday morning of my life.

And then, right there before my very eyes, I saw It.  The Post-it aisle.  I think my heart actually skipped several beats.  I whipped out my phone and immediately texted my husband and my sister, horrific feelings of being foolishly unaware flooding my being, “WHY HAS NO ONE EVER TOLD ME SAM’S CLUB SOLD SUCH CUTE POST-ITS?!”

Can you EVEN IMAGINE all the cute notes I could write with these?

Can you EVEN IMAGINE all the cute notes I could write with these?

Here's the thing: if you can stash your Sam's Club haul in the passenger side of a Honda Civic, you're a good woman.  A very good woman.

Here’s the thing: if you can stash your Sam’s Club haul in the passenger side of a Honda Civic, you’re a good woman. A very good woman.

My sister wrote back, “Jared, I’m so sorry.”

As I continued to shake my head in disbelief before the glorious stock of Post-Its, my husband returned from his errand run and walked up beside me.

“Jared…,” I exhaled and grabbed his arm.

“I know,” he said, “I know.”

Beautiful, beautiful Sam’s Club.


May 232014
Source The Shining Hour

The Shining Hour

Logic has never been my strong suit.  That’s okay with me.  I have other positive traits, like being a whiz at online bargain shopping and falling for products then snagging them on the internet for a song. Wait; those may be the same things.  Mmmh…like I said, logic’s not really my thing.

Except when it’s the middle of the night.  That’s when I shine.

You see, I have been a chronic insomniac for as long as I can remember. I have tried everything under the sun, from prescribed meds to warm milk to on-my-knees praying.  It appears that restful sleep and I just aren’t meant to be. I raged over this for years, debated the merits of illegally pursuing horse tranquilizers, then finally picked up a book and settled into a homey wee-hour reading addiction.

It’s lovely.  I love my books.  A bit tired, but that’s beside the point.

The tricky part comes in the foggy moments, before I fully realize that I am awake and will not be going back to sleep.  This is when I Figure Out The World. I am aware, and I am inspired. My husband refers to this as “paranoid”, but let’s not mince words here.

These mid-night moments are when I realize the All Astounding Truths:

There is surely someone breaking into our house downstairs. Unless, of course, it is the friendly raccoon.

Source Why sleep when you can panic?

Why sleep when you can panic?

I am 100% out of nylons.  I have no foreseeable occasion that requires nylons for the next 3 decades, but I must remedy this situation ASAP.

What if I run out of people to follow on Twitter? This could happen! And, since there are only about a bajillion Twitter users, I must prepare myself for the inevitable.

Thank God I organized all the Sharpie markers in the house today.

Definitely someone in our house. Oh gosh, I hope they don’t see the pile of dishes I left in the sink. So humiliating. I am the only person in the world with dishes in their sink.

When should I mail the invitations to my daughter’s birthday party in July. What should I wear? Will my husband grill burgers? Should I wake him to ask?

Speaking of my husband, does he care about the robber laughing at our dirty sink downstairs? Is this an appropriate reason to wake him? Surely…

Also, I haven’t made my Christmas to-do list yet.

Probably cool, it’s only May.  Crap!  It’s May. I must change us over to spring clothes. Where is the box? Can I even lift the box? Should I wake my husband to ask him to go get the box?

I really want to eat eggs.

Do you think we could keep the raccoon as a pet?

You’ll excuse me, friends, but I may need to go get a bit more rest…

May 192014
Source Babe, don't look at me like that.

Babe, don’t look at me like that.

Facebook is a funny beast.  As in, it doesn’t show your stuff to anyone and it’s totally depressing.  Also, it does neat things like make helpful recommendations.  For example, I might go to a simplistic home decor site and it will subsequently suggest I start following  a death-metal band who dresses entirely in metallics.  Sure.  Makes sense.

So when a couple Facebook friends started telling me that Zuck was paralleling those who were interested in my site with the likes of John Stamos, I laughed.  When a half dozen more friends told me the same thing, it was time to draw the obvious conclusion: John Stamos was obsessed with me and had bribed Facebook to start linking his page with mine.

On a basic level, I have no objection to John Stamos.  Yes, Uncle Jessie was definitely a bit wild for my tastes, but praise God, Danny Tanner reined him in and it all worked out.  In 23 minutes, every episode.

In truth, I was inspired by the lovely Snarkfest, who had a dream of meeting Mike Rowe and made it come true. She was the original informant who had tipped me off on John Stamos’ obsession with me.  And as she proved through her diligent meeting-of-a-celeb-in-real-life, fascinations with famous persons are best done when taken very seriously.

Granted, in my situation, the tables were turned.  I was clearly not nearly as taken with John as he was taken with me.  But still, there was a considerable level of obsession and a reasonably differential level of fame in question.

What was one to do?

Source Have mercy, indeed! (I do not understand all the upward arrows?)

Have mercy, indeed!
(I do not understand all the upward arrows?)

Should I social media stalk him in return? I don’t want him to humiliatedly feel his efforts have been rebuffed.

Should I call Rebecca Romijn to fill me in on where she went wrong with John so I don’t replicate her errors? Could I also ask her for the proper pronunciation of her last name while I have her on the phone?

Should I just call a public meeting and lay it all out on the line while flashing my wedding ring? It would hurt at first, but might be best for everyone in the long run. Rip the band-aid off.

In the end, I have settled on assuredly the very most appropriate action for any WAHM of two young kids: heroically accepting the truth of a man’s love and commiting to carrying the burden stoically.  It won’t completely temper the fervor, but this is okay; the knowledge of his passion will most assuredly give one something to think about while stirring the steamed veggies come dinner hour. = TOTAL WIN

John Stamos, I get you.  I see the advances you have been making, and I appreciate them.  I appreciate them on behalf of all the tired yoga pant-covered 5pm-exhausted moms everywhere.  Together, we are refusing to ignore your overtures and will keep believing in your love.

It keeps us viable. It will keep us interesting (at least to ourselves).  And it will light the fire under our dinner peas.

Most sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for obsessing over me. xo

Apr 162014

You may recall that whenever a book signing event is on the horizon, I tend to lose my crap a bit.  Specifically, I start running around the house in heels, obsessively emptying the garbage and fighting with my husband over birdbaths.  I repeatedly send selfies of myself in different dress choices to my friends and force them to weigh in when they really don’t care.  You see, it’s all fun and games until you hear the UPS man muttering curses under his breath when he hauls yet another box of books from Createspace out of his truck. Hey, I didn’t want to run out.

Ladies Night Out @meredithspidel @sproutsconsignment 5/1/14

But listen, I’m playing it cool this time around.  I made myself wait until AFTER April 1 (a month away from the signing) to pack my “book signing tote bag” and threw in only ONE new pack of sharpies.  I totally don’t want to go overboard on the preparation for this signing.

All this said, in case you couldn’t tell, I’m a little excited about the Ladies Night Out on 5/1/14 from 7-9pm at Sprouts Consignment Boutique.  

To celebrate the release of our best-selling book,  I Just Want to Be Alone, Bethany Meyer of I Love Them the Most When They’re Sleeping, Christine Burke from Keeper of the Fruit Loops and I are going to be hanging out, selling and signing copies of our best-selling book, and looking forward to meeting YOU.

To make it even more fun, a bunch of talented ladies got on board to sell their fantastic items and help us put on an event that will leave you throwing chicken nuggets in front of your kids while making speedy tracks out the door.  Not that you’d ever want a night away from your family or anything…

Ladies Night Out @meredithspidel

Here’s the deal.  Come.  Treat yourself to a night out with a glass of wine and a gourmet cupcake from Cupcakes Gourmet.  If you need more a of a reason to head out?  You’ve gotta get your Mother’s Day gifts bought soon, right? And isn’t the end of the year with all those needed teacher gifts coming up just around the corner? Tell your husband you need to take care of some essential shopping.  He’ll be thrilled, I’m sure.

Not only is Sprouts Consignment generously hosting the event, they are offering 10% off all shop merchandise that night.

Looking for a few special gifts?

You’ll completely fall for the delectable scents of the homemade soy candles from Candle Krazy.

Five Forleys decorative headbands and belts are one-of-a-kind accents for the ladies in your life!

Ring in spring with a quality handmade purse, tote, or bag from Jenny Lynn Bags.

I can’t stop buying the sweet little bows and clips from Elephants on Parade for my little girl.

Valerie Ames will be there tempting us with all the too-gorgeous pieces from the latest Stella and Dot line.

And I’m pretty scared I will begin drooling immediately upon seeing the fab Matilda Jane Trunk Show.

Need even more love about this event? 10% of all these ladies’ proceeds are going to support MOMS Club International, an organization that has blessed my family in so many ways.  Also, all of your purchases will be supporting small-business women, something I think is incredibly boss.

So come on out, get your shopping in, kick back with a glass of wine and look for me–I’ll be the one nervous-hyperventilating into a paper bag in the corner, and trying to hide all the loot I bought in my tote bag. Hey, I have to at least try to make it look like I’m there on business, and not a shopping fest, right?

See you there!

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