By Me:

5 tips for overcoming the winter photography blahs.

How to be a happier person for the rest of your life.

On surviving high school and finding grace.

A four minute video of the very best parts from the first half of our Disney Cruise.

By Cody:

Cody gets all misty about Addie getting bigger.

Scientific proof that two girls are the recipe for a happy family? We totally agree.

A legal explanation of what President Obama did in his plan to reduce gun violence.

Should gun owners feel guilty for owning guns?

Cody got his gum stuck in Vivi’s hair, Vivi ended up with a very crude haircut.

Finally? Vivi calls apples ‘bapples’ and it’s adorable.


My grandma is allergic to chocolate. While I’m not a chocoholic, I can appreciate good chocolate and appreciate a bit here and there to feed my emotions when necessary.

We all know the term “Like a kid in a candy store.” But what I never understood about the term was A) sure, you can put a kid in a candy store but who’s going to buy the candy? (the parent, that’s who, and that’s me.) and B) no one is going to let the kid eat all the candy they want because that’s just a terrible idea for a lot of reasons.

Tonight however, I was an adult in a candy store, a See’s Candy store to be specific. I didn’t quite understand what the big deal was, a See’s Candy opening in Indianapolis. Doesn’t everyone have See’s Candy? I know I grew up with it and their dark chocolate caramels are the way to my mom’s heart (she grew up in Southern California where See’s started, in her words “See’s Candy is what everybody gave to everybody when I was a kid.”) Turns out it’s a big deal because Indianapolis never had a See’s Candy, until now.

I went to a media preview grand opening thing tonight not knowing what to expect but hoping there would be at least a few pieces of chocolate involved.

You guys? Once I realized they weren’t going to say no to any of us asking to try any of the chocolates I carpe-d the absolute diem out of tonight.

Scratch “Like a kid in a candy store” and change it to “Like a PMSing girl at a See’s Candy grand opening event.


I won’t admit specifics to how many pieces I actually ate (I ran out of fingers to count on, but not toes…so there’s that) or that I was shaking and talking really fast by the time the evening was over, but I can report back to you in full confidence that I did not put a single terrible thing in my mouth tonight, even the things I thought I wouldn’t like, I LIKED. Some of the things sounded super iffy, but ended up being my favorite (Pineapple and dark chocolate? Winner of the night, Possibly year, followed closely by lemon and dark chocolate.)

While the other people there were fairly dainty about their samplings (Emily, Jen, Sarah and Shireen) I didn’t say no. How often have you walked by a candy counter and wanted to TRY THEM ALL? How often is someone given the opportunity to go to a candy counter and try them all? Not very often. If at all. It was a bit of a childhood fantasy come true to be honest. I even got to pack a box with Emily, Lucy and Ethel style. (Fun fact: The episode where Lucy and Ethel stuff their mouths, hats and shirts with chocolate? Filmed at the See’s Candy factory in L.A.)

Emily and Casey pack chocolate Lucy style as Mary See looks on. (Probably in horror.)

(photos by whomever was holding our phones while we participated in the intense competition of chocolate packing. (how cute is Emily’s dress?))
See’s Candy? Amazing chocolate, adorable staff, well run family oriented company, American made. (not paid, just honest opinion after spending an hour and a half with them tonight.)

If you buy a five pound box you get ONE OF EVERYTHING. I vote for the Pineapple, Blueberry and Lemon truffle. The dark caramel, the milk Butterscotch square, the dark California brittle and the Scotchmallow (rumor is you put one of these on a s’more and angels sing.) Most popular is their Dark Bordeaux, it was good, but it was super rich and had a bit of a maple flavor (although there was no maple in it, it was brown sugar) if you’re into that kind of thing? You’d like it. If you’re a milk chocolate lover the Milk Chocolate Butter is your best friend.

Clearly I had to try as many as possible, RESEARCH!

(Also, I’m good without eating chocolate for awhile. Thanks. Also again? I may have turned into a TOTAL chocolate snob tonight. ALSO ALSO? Free sample whenever you come to any store, they give away over a million pieces of candy a year. A MILLION. (They sell 31+ million, if you need perspective.))

Are you a See’s Candy fan? What’s your favorite? Would you be dainty with your sampling or TRY IT ALL?

Disclosure: I was invited to the event as a media representative. I was only compensated in copious amounts of chocolate (Which I’m sharing with Cody, somewhat reluctantly.) Opinions, as usual, totally my own. If you’re in Indy, the new store is in the fancy new food court of the fancy new Keystone at the Crossing mall.

Something snapped in me this week.

The clutter that surrounds me is overwhelming at times.


My mantra lately has been “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Right now everything does not have a place.

I have been reading articles about de-cluttering and the psychological reasons clutter.

It’s a rough one, if someone wanted to come do it for me (or at least hold my hand) I wouldn’t hate it.

I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I know it will be worth it.

Hello Kitty, Hello Addie

I took before pictures of my bedroom last night. When I look at my bedroom, I just see my bedroom. When I look at the pictures however…whoa man, that’s an entirely different story.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” -William Morris

I’m working on it Will, I’m working on it.

Do you have any clutter advice or words of encouragement?

Perhaps some of you notices Vivi’s sweet new wheels in recent pictures. The bike is a Smart Trike Dream and it’s kind of amazing. I wrote up an entire post about it over at Babble, complete with photos, red leopard boots and Vivi’s chubby little knuckles. The best part is I get to give one away.

For the full review, check out my article on Babble, then come back here for bonus entries for simply checking out where Vivi stores Bunny and how your child can get even more use out of the Smart Trike Dream. (Sorry it’s kind of a funny way to do a giveaway, there’s a reason, but it’s pretty boring. I’m just excited for one of you to win this sweet bike for someone little in your life!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided one Smart Trike Dream in purple in order to facilitate my review. Opinions are my own, as usual. The Smart Trike Dream is available at Toys R Us for $129.99.

a bunny and a glove.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

Addie at 8

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny and a glove.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

try some snow!

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

Addie at 8

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

a bunny, a fox, a kitty, a bike and some snow.

Saturday – Hang out with Shireen, eat copious amounts of food and leave our server Shireen’s number because I know fireworks when I see ‘em. Come home, terrible things happen to my stomach but I keep them hidden because as far as Cody is concerned nothing terrible ever happens to my digestive tract. Keep calm, carry on. Uh-oh. Sulfur burps. Gross. I mean honestly, is there anything grosser? Fall asleep fitfully, sleep terribly from stomach discomfort.

Sunday – Sleep in (thank you) awake to Cody mumbling “You need to be with the girls. I have a stomachache.” Oh dear. Two down. Kind of want to say something snide to Cody about the flushable wet wipes he makes fun of me for buying, realize now is not the time. Somewhat uneventful day, realize through twitter and Facebook it seems as though EVERYONE has or has had stomachflupocalypse. Perhaps Saturday night was the worst of it for me and Sunday the worst for Cody?

Monday – Normal day, bit of a rumble in my tummy but nothing major. Urban hunting and gathering at Costco and Nordstrom Rack. Normal night. Cody has recovered.

Tuesday – Wake up and realize I’m not doing better, dry heave a few times because dry heaving is totally amazing (not.) Rely on horizontal parenting from the floor and Sesame Street to keep everyone happy and out of the knife drawer. At night Addie sulfur burps ten feet away from me, “Addie? Do you feel okay?” turns out the kid has felt horrible, barfed in private because she didn’t want to bother me and is having backend issues as well. Three down. (This is where I mention that Vivi is the one that started all of this last week, she’s exempt from this terrible list.)

Wednesday - Addie sleeps in, feels better. I ask Cody to take Vivi to daycare so I can catch up on SO MUCH WORK. As soon as they leave a wave of nausea hits me. “Oh no.” Vomit. Crash on the couch. Wake up at noon. Attempt to eat, realize eating was a horrible idea, vomit, crash back on the couch until 3. Try to watch TV but realize that would involve sitting up to get the remote, I don’t watch TV. Cody brings home pizza, I manage to eat a little something bland, surely the worst has passed.

Thursday – The worst has not passed. Sobbing is involved as soon as I awake. Vomit, so much vomit. I have a bruise on my forehead from where I smacked it on the faucet in the midst of a terribly powerful heave (fun fact: while pregnant I learned that when it comes to dry heaving and/or vomiting bile the kitchen sink is a much more accommodating place to toss cookies (or lack thereof in this case.) Realize I cannot parent. Call Cody. Call the doctor. Cody takes Vivi to daycare (bless you drop in daycare) and I collapse on the couch. Call confirming a prescription of Zofran comes at 1, beg Cody to pick it up for me at 1:01. Zofran on board around 1:13 and *knock on wood* so far so good.

Silver linings:

Zofran. Bless you Zofran and bless you Dr. C for giving it to me.

Drop in daycare. Seriously. When you don’t have family or friends around? Drop in daycare is pretty much the best thing ever.

Cody’s job. He’s five minutes away and the pharmacy is right between his office and our house.

My job. One instance where work from home wins everything.

I am really good at vomiting. All that practice from pregnancy, you know? So while I may hate it, it’s really no big deal as long as I’m not expected to be a functioning human being.

Birth control. Yeah, I haven’t been this sick outside of pregnancy ever. But what I went through yesterday and today would be considered normal days during pregnancy. Guess who’s staying on birth control for a REALLY LONG TIME? This girl, right here.

Cats. Wink and Percy have probably had the best three days ever, a warm body to sleep on for at least 18 hours out of the day? I’m such a cat person and I love mine dearly.

If you simply have to be sick, be sure to have a couple of these guys  around.

So how about you and yours? Have you made it through the stomach flu of 2012/2013 or are you next?

Over on Babble: It’s the start of a New Year, time to look back at some of the best bits of the old one, in little square photos from my phone.
Episode One.

Episode Two.

Perhaps you’ve heard it’s the worst flu season in a long time? YAY 2013, way to kick things of right (wrong.)

As a seasoned vomit expert, I’ve compiled 10 things all parents should know/do/be prepared for in case the barfs come to your house. While it may not make it any less gross, it will make it a lot easier to clean up (you’re welcome.)

Meet Joe Horrigan,vice president of communications and exhibits at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Joe is considered one of pro football’s foremost historians and has worked for the Hall of Fame for over 35 years, 19 of which he was a curator and researcher for the museum. Joe is also a loyal Bills fan.

Meet Scott Sillcox, previous president and owner of Toronto-based Maple Leaf Productions where “over a period of almost 15 years, Sillcox spent many thousands of hours researching the history and evolution of NFL uniforms. Sillcox, a meticulous record keeper, created research files for every single season of every NFL.” -Source Heritage Sports Art

Curious what half a century of Broncos uniforms looks like? Scott has compiled them all. From the terrible first version in yellow and brown to the much hated blue uniforms of the 90′s back to the current day orange uniforms worn every game this season. Heritage Sports Art has every uniform of every NFL team in one place in case you’re curious to see how your team’s uniforms have evolved.

What do these two fellows have in common? Tide and the NFL brought them together to make short videos about the evolution of every current NFL uniform. I’ve only watched the Broncos video, and to be honest I didn’t think I’d care a whole lot about it. Truth? It was kind of fascinating. Next thing I’m going to do is find out about those awful Steelers throwback uniforms. Sheesh. Those things were terrible.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Two weeks ago when we packed up to leave for Utah, Cody’s orange jersey was still hanging in the laundry room. “Aren’t you going to bring that?” I asked

“It takes up an awful lot of room considering I’d only wear it twice.”

“If they lose it’s your fault. Are you ready to deal with that kind of guilt?”

You see, the Broncos hadn’t lost since Cody became jersey guy the week of his first ever NFL game in Cincinnati.

He brought his jersey to Utah and guess what? The Broncos now have home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

The orange jersey I didn’t understand has become a bit of a talisman in our house. The orange jersey that cost an awful lot of money has come to symbolize Sunday afternoons. The orange jersey Cody searched high and low for may very well be with us through a Superbowl win. Thanks to a little two minute video from Tide? I now completely understand why the jersey had to be orange.


Curious about the evolution of your team’s colors? Click here to see all the team videos available now.

Disclosure: Special thanks to Tide for sponsoring this post. I have been compensated for my time in promoting the NFL “They’re Not Just Colors” campaign, not for promoting a particular product. I’ve loved Tide (and the NFL) for a long time for free, always will.