christmas list: 2013 edition

I’m sure there will be plenty of Christmas list suggestions out there in the coming weeks, I’m sure there’s already plenty out there — but a friend asked me to put mine together again because apparently she and I have similar taste. Mine’s pretty simple, nothing crazy, fancy or super hipster — that’s for sure. There’s a lot of cats as well. Because cats are the best, in fact, this is how Wink slept on my while I made this list, clearly he approves. (By the way, if you have a cat you should get them a Tickle Pickle.)

Things I Would Put On My Christmas List if I Didn’t Already Own Them:

Clarisonic: ($99-$200) Seriously, why don’t you have one of these yet? Mine is almost three years old and there hasn’t been a single moment I’ve regretted buying it.

This Dress From Athleta: ($138) Best. Dress. Ever. Dress it up, dress it down, it looks amazing on every shape, size, color and curve.

Yu Be Lotion: ($24) Once you get over the fairly ugly packaging, this is hands down the best lotion I have EVER found for taking care of rough, dry and cracking skin. I put it on before bed and before I put socks on in the morning and my heels are like baby buttocks.

GlamGlow Super-Mud Mask: ($39-$69) This stuff works better in one application than a month of regular facials. I like the one in the white jar myself. Seriously, best.

This White Balance Lens Cap: ($45-$65) Cody gave me this one in a bigger size, and I can hand hold it over my smaller lenses to achieve white balance nirvana.

Frozen Soundtrack: ($14.99) Bought this yesterday, listened to it on repeat 14 times today. If you’re a Broadway nerd? Idina Menzel. If you’re a Disney nerd? Disney.

Brookstone Nap Blanket: ($39.99 BOGO 50% off) I have two of these and Addie and I fight over them constantly. I could easily replace every blanket, surface and piece of bedding in my house with this fabric. The best.

Kindle Paperwhite: ($119-$139) Tiny, self lit, easy to read in the bright sun, easy to read in the dark, easy to navigate. Love it way more than my Kindle with the buttons at the bottom and prefer reading on it over a Kindle Fire or iPad (but if we’re talking Candy Crush, iPad all the way.)

Bite Beauty Lip Pencil: ($24) Pomegranate is my favorite, and people have been posting pictures of them with their Bite color of choice on Instagram and they all look amazing. The pigment in these pencils is a DREAM. (Plus they’re gluten free, cruelty free and food grade.)

This Jacket from Athleta: (Nevermind, in the time it took me to write this post this jacket sold out. But I swear to you it was magical (clearly, because sold out.))

A Cat: Everyone needs one. I thankfully have two.

Things On My Christmas List This Year:

National Geographic Magazine Subscription: ($15) I want it for the pictures. It’s been too long since I’ve had National Geographic in my hands on a regular basis.

This Book of Mary Blair Art: ($30) I’ve seen actual Mary Blair art at the Animation Research Library twice, and while a book will never come close to the real thing, I’ve never seen something of hers I haven’t loved.

This Cat Hoodie: ($54) Because, duh.

One of These State Pride Necklaces: ($42)How pretty are these? I have a pair of Kris Nations earrings that I love and adore. I’d also take one of their new bracelets. They do good work.

Another Cat: There’s just so many that need homes, and I can’t really cover myself in cats until I have enough to actually cover myself.

Things That Would Be On My Kids’ Christmas Lists if They Didn’t Already Own Them:

(Vivi) Toddler Sized Shopping Cart: ($29.99-$49.99) This thing gets played with daily. Bunny rides in it, she shops for diapers with it, sometimes it even becomes a party wagon for every random animal in the house.

(Addie) Snap Circuits: ($20-$80) Addie found out about these from her cousin last year and they’ve been one of the few toys that holds her attention and teaches basic science, physics and electronics without her even realizing she’s learning everything. Sure, Goldie Blox are getting all the press, but this is something that is good for girls or boys.

Addie is currently obsessed with Legos, the big huge kits with thousands of pieces and full novels in place of simple instructions. Vivi is obsessed with play food and dishes. I can tell you that both their Christmas lists reflect these obsessions this year.

She will make you food, she does not take custom orders, you will say please, you will eat it, and you will say please for more.

I also made this list over at Babble about 20 toddler toys you could buy for a boy OR a girl. No pink powertools here, folks.

My dad is also selling his handmade ornaments again this year, he has a special 4 pack of ornaments for $20. You can get a 20% discount with the code MERRY20.


I’m quite satisfied with myself to have completed all of my holiday shopping before the calendar even moved into December, which means I can hibernate from now until March with nary a worry (except for food. These people still need to eat, and while I have an impressive collection of freeze-dried and emergency meal rations, I don’t sense them being satisfied with powdered milk and MREs for the next four months.)

If you need a giggle, I present you with these 18 quotes about toddlers that are dangerously accurate. (Lately if Vivi sees me either holding pants or near her dresser she screams “NO. I DON’T WANT TO WEAR PANTS.” and when it’s time to go to bed she yells “NO. I DON’T WANT TO GO TO BED. I WANT TO EAT YOGURT.”

sad, tired, weak and kind of scared.

I’m not feeling very brave lately.

I don’t like myself very much right now, but I don’t admit that out loud partly because saying something out loud makes it more true and also because I’m trying REALLY hard to be a good example to my girls. But to be honest it’s chewing away at me and despite knowing I’m a pretty decent human I still just feel inadequate — physically, mentally, emotionally, culturally, educationally and all they other -lly adjectives I can’t think of right now. I’m really tired.

Being as sick as I was for as long as I was really did a number on me — once I came home I got a formal diagnosis of pneumonia, and that was after a week of antibiotics on the ship.

One more week of antibiotics, coughing so hard I did something drastic to my ribs and an Albuterol inhaler that makes me shake and I’m not so sure how strong I’m capable of being in the face of illness.

I just feel, blech. I haven’t really wanted to say anything about it because it’s getting old, this whole back and forth of “I’m good! Just kidding, no I’m not.”

I do seem to be functioning at a slightly higher level, albeit on autopilot. I’ve already finished all of my Christmas shopping and I’ve planned, ordered and finished everything for an actual birthday party for Addie four weeks before the big day. This kind of planning for me is unprecedented.

When pouring out my woes to a friend via email this came out “I’m okay. I wish I had more friends close by me, but I’m okay. Well, I mean, I feel like I’m a complete and total failure to Addie and that she’s going to have an eating disorder and unhealthy relationship with food, money and materialism for the rest of her life…but thankfully I don’t even know where to even start with that one so I just eat my own feelings on the subject once she’s in bed. (Currently my feelings taste like peppermint ice cream.) Toddlers are nice, you can’t totally screw them up just yet, or at least you can’t tell where you’re screwing them up for a few more years.”

Copyright Cody and Casey Est. 2001

And that pretty much sums up where I’m at. I have no idea what I’m doing so I keep doing the best I can and planning my apologies for all the damage I inevitably do.

My very wise friend wrote this back to me: “I have a hard time believing that you are failing Addie.  She is incredibly polite and she’s really an empathetic girl.  She got that from someone-  these are traits that don’t just spring up on their own.  All I can say is be consistent with her and try not to fear her anger.  She gets mad at you because she knows you’re a safe person to be mad at- you’re going to love her forever, no matter what.  So all the school related girl angst, the stresses of life, and everything else all come to a head when you say no to her and they bubble out.  All over you.  She still loves you under her anger and, if you hold true to what you say to her, she will respect you- begrudgingly and eventually, but she will.”

If you don’t read her blog already, you should. She’s quite possibly the most wise and wonderful woman I have the privilege of knowing.

So that’s where I’m at. A lot of you have been wondering, thanks.

butterfly farms and and too much filet

Did you know that cruise ships are designed to withstand and recover from a 45 degree tip in either direction? But the most degree of tip any regular passenger can handle without ralphing over the edge is about 4 or 5 degrees. I am full of so much random cruise ship knowledge I barely even want to be friends with myself right now.

In case you haven’t been following along, I spent last week on the maiden voyage of the re-imagined Disney Magic and am currently on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. TWO CRUISES BACK TO BACK? LUCKY! Well, kind of, yes. It’s become a myriad of first world problems for me, “Please, no more filet and lobster, I’ve had enough.” and “I didn’t pack enough sunscreen for all this sun!” and “Sometimes a girl just wants to take a nap without having to unmake her bed, AGAIN.”

I’m doing very real research for my very real job while here but I also managed to come down with a very real sickness that landed me in the ship’s version of an ER. They’re still not quite sure what happened to me, but something inside me went terribly rotten and my lungs all but gave up functioning the night before last. My blood pressure tanked, my pulse ox was the equivalent of a C+ and I landed myself in an area of the ship not often seen or even thought about by most passengers. I received some crazy high doses of antibiotics (HURL!) and my first ever nebulizer treatments. (Which I do not like. At all. I mean, I’m all for feeling better, but nebulizers are rough. Solidarity to all of you who have to administer them to your little kids.)

This morning I woke up actually happy to be alive for the first time in four days and practically skipped off the ship straight to a butterfly farm where this happened:

"Please just take the picture, this is terrifying. I can feel it licking me." - @cb_ute

His exact words were “Please hurry up and take the picture, this is terrifying. I can feel it licking me.” Did you know Cody’s fear of bugs doesn’t just end at spiders and moths but carries over to butterflies as well?

In order to get the butterflies on our fingers they gave us a little cup of rum punch to dip our fingers in. “Don’t worry about giving the butterflies rum, they’re already the most drunk insect out there — I mean, who’s ever seen a butterfly fly in a straight line?”

Two points to the funny English butterfly farmer in St. Maarten.

Five points went to our tour bus driver who said “Over there is a nudist colony, they all wear their birthday suits, but none of them are ironed very well.”