Bye-Bye Pixie Check In 2

The mane as of 10/2/14


Long time no see. It’s been a brilliantly busy couple of months. The fall semester started, so that means I trudged back to work again. I’ve been lost in the crazy of prepping and teaching and meetings and everything in-between I’ve barely had time to sit for a minute to myself. Little man turned TWO back in August. (Two, can you believe it?!) I’ve been chasing him around too.

But that’s not why I’m here today. I’m here to update y’all on the status of my ever-growing mane of hair. I am very near that stage of “UGH! why can’t I just chop it off again?!?” but I’m holding strong. The photo you see on this post is from today. Half my bangs are pinned to the side cuz I didn’t feel like dealing with them, but the top layers are almost past my ears now, which means they are catching up to the sides!! A few hair appointments ago, I had my lovely stylist crazy-up the color so I kinda look like I have blonde and brunette stripes on my head. I needed that to get me through my previous stage of groaning through agony of trying to grow out super short hair to a less than super short, but still short hair style. So here it is. This I would say is approximately 5 months of pixie “growth.” We’re getting there. Slowly but surely.


Go ahead, judge me for my iPhone Obsession

10489867_10100733393715188_6488503348203863776_nDo you find it hard, like me, to focus on getting things done at home like you should? Right now, the little man is napping. I should be taking a shower, cleaning up the kitchen, finishing laundry that was started yesterday, and picking up toys from this morning’s play. Instead, here I am, on the interwebz. Facebook- 20 minutes. Amazon- 10 minutes. A freebie offer- 15 minutes. Blogging- well… I guess that’s ok. 

I’ll probably finish this, shower, and then read. Before I know it, the 2.5 hour nap that started just a few minutes ago will be over. Then afternoon playtime, cooking dinner, eating, bath, and bedtime. Where did the day just go? 

Clean up, go to bed, wake up between 5-7am, rinse, repeat. 

I know I should get us out of the house and do more, but some days it just feels like more of a chore to pack up and meet for a playdate or go to Target than it does to clean the kitchen at home. At least then, the little guy can play without me having to hang around him like a fly. There’s the other thing, he’s only JUST RECENTLY going off and playing by himself. He’s almost 2 years old and FINALLY I don’t have to constantly be by his side while he is playing. I passed the time sitting next to him playing away on my phone, and yet I still have my obsession with internet shopping and Facebook on my phone. My iPhone. Why did I think I needed to get another one of these? I just upgraded. Why couldn’t I get a basic phone? Well, I use the iPhone as my appointment calendar, my coupon book, my GPS, my alarm clock, my camera my reminders, my social network, my…… everything. My husband hates it. I hate to admit I hate it. I hate that sometimes I get judged for it. But… this tiny little computer that fits in the palm of my hand is my life. Pre-smartphone I would spend hours upon hours in front of my computer. It’s just the way I was after college. Crap, at least now I can still interact with my son while obsessively remaining in contact with the data waves that float everywhere through the air. I even jump on the impulse to take pictures and video of him BECAUSE IT’S THERE. It is accessible. 

I’ve seen a few blogs float around speaking to the mom to get off her phone and play with her kids. I’ve seen a similar one preaching to not judge the iPhone mom because maybe she’s taking a picture of her kid, or scheduling a doctors appointment because that moment she remembered and was able to do it from her phone. I’ve also seen a blog about how a mom messing around on her phone almost cost her her son’s life. 

I’m all of these moms. Well, I haven’t endangered my son’s life by being too obsessed with my phone (yet- and I pray it never does happen). I’m not going to stop. It’s too hard to. And, well, in these times I find that it’s hard to set the phone down. For anyone. Not just moms. Get over it people. It’s just the way we are nowadays. Stop judging others. We all find balance in our own ways.

I have “off the grid” places to go where I can’t be glued to my phone: yearly vacations to the lake, my parent’s cabin, swimming in the pool for a few hours, picnics at the park chasing the little man around the playground. 

So go ahead, judge me if you like. Sure I’m on that thing more than I like to most days, but my phone is an integral part of my life now. I can’t let go, but I do find balance.

Bye-Bye Pixie (Check-in One)

For anyone who has known me in the past 15 years, you probably cannot think of a time when you have seen me with long hair. In fact, I can definitely say that you have not, nor have you seen what my natural hair color is. You will probably never see my natural hair color (unless you’re my hairdresser or have easy access to my roots before I smack you away from my head) because I plan to keep coloring it until my last day. Once upon a time, however, I had stick straight hair that fell at least midway down my back. In the eighth grade, I had it cut to shoulder length and it just kept getting shorter after that. My junior year in high school I started dying my hair. It started with burgundy, then went black, then brown with blonde streaks, and several other color combinations since then. I like to have fun with my hair.

But this is not a story about my short hair. This is my story about growing out those locks that have never been given the chance to get longer than barely whisking across the tops of my shoulders for the better part of 2 decades. I’ve sported various cropped cuts, bobs, shags, and pixies over the years. You probably best recognizes me as this: This was probably as close as my hair has ever gotten to my scalp without ever actually shaving it. This picture is from a year ago, but not exactly when my journey started. I maintained this look until a few months ago when I told Kelly, my stylist, that I wanted to grow it out. I told her not only did I want to grow it out, I wanted to see how long I could grow it past my shoulders. I told her to tell me no when I ask her to “chop it all off!”

Step one: inform the person who wields the scissors of my goal.


I have been to one other appointment since that day, making it approximately 12-13 weeks of time. With a minor trim to keep the mullet from forming, I have looked like this:

photo 1






photo 2


Today, my hair looks like this:20140611-150054-54054549.jpg

My biggest challenge so far has been getting my bangs to grow out. I absolutely hate this awful in-between stage. It feels like the hair on the front of my head grows faster than the hair on the back of my head- where I actually would like it to be longer. I’m due for another trim and shaping in a week. I think I’m going to add a pop of color to take my mind off my terrible styling skills. (Thank the gods that I’m done with work for the summer so I don’t have to care how nice my hair looks. Did I even really care anyway?)

So this is where I am at. I expect a lot of hair accessories and mornings screaming at my hair until it is out of the awkward phase and into the “hey I can do something with this” phase. Just a few more inches. I’m here writing this down to stay focused and motivated and to gain support in this endeavor of mine. It’s been 15 years… let’s see how far I can let it grow.

Why, Hello!!

Sorry, folks, for being on such a long hiatus without actually giving any notice that I was going to be gone. As with any household with a small child, life happens and there just never seemed to be much time for anything other than sleep at the end of the day. The little man is now almost 21 months old. WHEN THE HECK DID THAT HAPPEN!!?? We are currently in the midst of a growth spurt of some sort because the tantrums and sleep irregularities are at an all-time high this week and last, but I feel the end coming soon.

My job has also been keeping me busy. The semester took off really fast and just never seemed to slow down. It is now over, and has been for 2 weeks now, but I am covering for my boss for a few weeks during the first summer session while she is on maternity leave. Normally, I would be off for all of the summer. Being my “boss” for this little while has certainly been a challenge in itself. I was expecting most of her duties to be taken care of by her boss, however, because I am in the lab directly, many decisions have come to me because “I know more.” Well, if I know more, then give me the manager position when it opens up at the new campus. Oh yes, did I mention my university is opening another campus almost identical to the one I am at now next year? I have been in constant email contact with the contractors and designers for the new campus since my boss has been on leave, ultimately making the hard decisions for the new buildings. I was a job I assumed without necessarily being told that I was going to assume it.

Oh, and we are moving too. My husband made the official decision back in February that we should try to sell our house and move into something bigger. We placed our house on the market and it sold within 55 days (yay!) but we still hadn’t found a place to call our new home (boo!). Thankfully, after the efforts of our fabulous realtor, and TONS of multi-day, multi-house hunting, we were able to find a nice new-to-us house to buy. We close on both contracts in a few short weeks.

So there is my explanation for my disappearance from the past few months. I hope you are ready to hop on board with some more pirate mama fun as I journey through this move, this toddler, and this summer. I have lots of new blogs ready to go soon!

Lots of love,

A Pirate Mama

How to Survive Your Toddler’s Cold (when you’re also sick)

Hi everyone! Sorry it has been so long. The little man and I have been battling colds since Christmas, and I think we actually passed the same one back and forth a few times. Here we are, three weeks into January now, and I finally can muster up the strength to get back on the computer and type out a blog. The little man is finally starting to feel better, too. He ended up with double ear infections. We are on round two of antibiotics now and the worst thing is when he gets so worked up that he coughs so hard that he barfs. All over me. And the rug. Oh the joys of motherhood.

I figure you’re asking, how do you do it? How did you get through the little man’s illness while you were feeling crummy yourself? Well, I’ll tell ya, it’s not as easy as your young-and-single days when you could drug yourself up with cold meds and hide under your covers all day long. No. You have another tiny human who feels just as crappy as you to care for and feed and cuddle.

Here are my 5 tips to survive your toddler’s cold when you’re sick yourself:

1) Survival is your number one priority. How do you normally feel when you’re first getting sick? You’re drained and you’re tired. You want to do absolutely nothing. However, your mini-me despite feeling crummy himself still wants you to get up and play with them. My solution: lay in the middle of the floor and pull a huge fuzzy blanket over your head. You can easily drift in and out of sleepy consciousness this way, and your kiddo thinks it’s the COOLEST THING EVER because you’re hiding… under a blanket-fort! Just make sure you have your baby-proofing up to date and close any doors you don’t want your kid venturing behind. I made it to nap time two days in a row of doing this, I just had to turn on Elmo’s World and shift every 20 minutes or the little man would get bored. (p.s. make sure he has access to plenty of toys too. Oh and don’t worry, hubs was in the other room sleeping off his night shift in case anything emergency-like would happen).

2) Speaking of naps… sleep when they sleep. Now’s not the time to stay awake during naps or burn the midnight oil cleaning up the day’s mess after they go to bed. You’re sick. They’re sick. Chances are, if they’re not feeling well, you’re little one will get up multiple times during the night in pain or coughing or sore throat or just plain scared because they don’t feel top notch. Even if your kid was sleeping through the night prior to this cold, 9 times out of 10 they will be waking up throughout the night. You need your sleep to get well! I’ll admit, I was taking 4-hour naps on the couch while the little man dozed in his crib and you better believe I was in bed by 8:30 after putting him down for the night. Shhh! Don’t tell my husband. He doesn’t know a thing about how much sleep I got that first week of sickness.

3) Share each other’s food. Now, this may seem counter-intuitive just because most people are like “don’t spread germs,” but I found this incredibly useful considering we were both already sick to begin with and having the same cold, if I didn’t want to eat it, neither did he. If I thought it was pretty tasty, he did too. The thing to remember with this, however, is that the moment you start to sense that one of you is getting better, STOP sharing food and start making separate meals. Wash utensils like a germophobe. Use hand sanitizer every 5 minutes. If one of you is getting better, you don’t want sicky to get the other sick again. I made the mistake of sharing a bite of oatmeal one morning when I was feeling better and got a third round of feeling yucky for a day.

4) The one thing about being sick that makes it so hard to get over having a cold is that you don’t feel like going outside or going anywhere to do anything. You stay cooped up inside. You both are constantly breathing in the same germy air over and over again. Your noses are stuffed up and either you can’t have a decongestant (the little man) or you’ve already exhausted your supply (this pirate mama). It is important to get outside. Get some fresh air. If you can’t make it outside, take a shower together with your kiddo and let the steam help clear your sinuses and wash all the gunk out. By this point you both should start feeling somewhat better, so go for that long afternoon walk. Let the shower water stay on for longer than your normal rinse. Toddlers are pretty resilient. Yours probably feels much better than you do because he is young and spritely and can bounce back quicker. Who knows, maybe watching him run around at the park or stomp all the puddles in the shower makes you feel a little better emotionally too.


5) Lastly, my favorite tip to surviving your toddler’s cold when you’re also sick is: the moment you start feeling better, relax with a movie on the couch with a BIG GLASS OF WINE. Or a hot toddy. Or [insert feeling-better drink of choice here]. If you’re feeling well enough, a glass of vino may make you relax enough to just not care much anymore about your lingering cold and tend to your still-recovering toddler with a smile. Instead of feeling frustrated because- ohmigosh, he woke up again with a nasty coughing fit!- you calmly walk into your child’s room with some pain meds or milk and gently soothe him back to sleep. You breathe shallow so you don’t stir up the tickle in your throat that could put you into a coughing fit, lay him back down, and slink back to your couch to unleash the tickle into that fuzzy blanket you started out with two weeks ago.

And there you have it, my friends. These tips are probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but heck, they sure helped me through the little man’s first big cold. And you know what, we both survived!

-pirate mama

WWWW: Christmas 2013


Merry Christmas 2013!
Merry Christmas 2013!

Merry Christmas on What We Wore Wednesday! In the Pirate Household, we celebrate with family on Christmas Eve. Each year we have a themed dinner. Past themes have been Italian or Mexican food, hors d’oeuvres, last year was BBQ, and this year was our own version of “comfort food”- homemade turkey noodle soup, broccoli-cheese casserole, baked apples, and biscuits. Yum!

We also pose various versions of the family around the Christmas tree for pictures. I seized the opportunity for the little man and I to be all matchy-matchy for a WWWW.

On the little man: white button down dress shirt and blue argyle sweater vest from Baby Gap, jeans are actually unknown (they were hand-me-downs with the tags removed), and Dockers loafers

On Pirate Mama: purple argyle sweater from Merona at Target, Refuge jeans, Colin Stuart brown booties (not shown)

We hope you and your loved ones had a very Merry Christmas and if we don’t see you before then, have a Happy New Year as well!!

Check out my friends’ blogs: Toronto Mama, A Life From Scratch, Just Another Day in Our Shoes, and Pretty + Small to see their WWWW.


Christmas Cream Cheese Mints


Back in high school, I went to a Christmas cookie exchange party with some of my friends. Some of us made treats other than just cookies cuz, hey, it’s the holidays, right? I fell in love with these cream cheese mints that my friend, Katie, had made. I made them the following year for my family at Christmas and at least one person has requested them each year since, so I’ve been making them for over a decade. They are fairly easy to make and can be fun to do with younger kids.

Here’s the recipe:

one 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened- I just leave mine to sit outside the fridge for about 20 mins)
1 tsp peppermint extract
4-5 cups powdered sugar
5-6 drops each food coloring (if desired)
1/4-1/2 cup granular sugar

When the cream cheese is softened enough, mix in the peppermint extract. I actually add a little more cuz I like mine more minty but the original calls for 1 teaspoon. Slowly knead in the powdered sugar until the mixture is no longer sticky. If you’re using food coloring separate out the cream cheese- sugar mixture into portions for each color. In my case I used red and green for Christmas. Add 5-6 drops of food coloring and knead to mix. (Optional: place the colored portions in bowls into the fridge for 5 minutes to firm up.) Use a spoon to portion out small bits of the mixture and roll them into 3/4 inch balls. Rolls the balls in a shallow dish of granular sugar to coat and set the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten the balls lightly with a fork and let set at room temperature for approximately 30-45 minutes to dry.

Store mints loosely covered in the fridge. Makes approximately 12 dozen mints.

Baby Dinosaurs, oh my!


My boss has this thing where she goes around to some of our offices and draws T-Rex doing something crazy on our whiteboards. One I remember is poor T-Rex trying to make the covers on a bed. When classes started up this fall, she found out she was pregnant. She and her husband found out they are having a girl and are decorating her nursery with a cute dinosaur mural.

I missed out on posing the little man in a cutesy crocheted hat in his newborn pictures, but I remembered seeing dinosaur hats and one of my other friends even sells some. I figured they couldn’t be that difficult to make, and since I’ve been giving crochet a try I thought I would make one for my boss for when her daughter is born. I did a quick google search and found this blog that had a simple pattern to make a dinosaur hat. I surprised myself and finished this in less than a week, but really it only took me maybe 3 hours tops to do all the crochet-work and then attached the spines to the hat and cape. Not bad for a beginner!! I just gave the hat to my boss this week. I can’t wait to see pictures of it on her little girl!

The Power of Community

What would you do if you found out your toddler has a tumor?

Your heart would sink, I’m sure. Mine did, and he’s not even my child. One of my dear friends (and I call her “dear” even though I have never met her, but I have known her for over a year online and through social media) posted to my mom-group earlier this year that it was discovered that her son has a tumor in his brain. She wrote that it is near his medulla, that because of the location it is risky to operate on to remove or even biopsy, but their doctors seem to think it is benign. Fast forward to this December, she posts again after a follow-up appointment. This time the news is more bleak. It has grown. There were talks of treatments to see if the tumor would respond and stop its growth.

Within hours, our little online community reached out our arms and sent out positive thoughts and prayer’s to our friend, her son, and their family in support. In less than a week, she heard from the doctor that there was hope for treatment and the possibility of surgery with a doctor at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We continued praying for them and we became “Team Liam” in support of Liam, her son. One member created a logo, another created a fundraiser site for t-shirts with the logo. We all have banded together and spread the word about this little guy’s situation and the response has been astounding. My friend heard from a neurologist at St. Jude’s that Liam was accepted for surgery! They are on the road to the hospital in a few short weeks for his surgery.

created by K.J.T. 2013
created by K.J.T. 2013

My friend has been amazed by the works of social media and the support we have shown and spread for her son. Within an hour, Team Liam’s facebook page hit 100 likes. Eight days later, it is within 200 likes of hitting 2000. I’d like to see it reach that before Christmas. The goal for shirt sales was 100 shirts. The site has surpassed that and is close to hitting it’s goal of 350 shirts, and still has 7 days left before the fundraiser closes. I am honored to be a part of this community where women have banded together and started something for a good cause. I know that living in this day and age of social media, anything can be an overnight sensation, but this is personal to me. This is someone I know. Two thousand likes doesn’t seem like much, but when out little group consists of less than 100 moms, that kind of number is amazing. I hope that if I need this kind of support for anything in my life, I receive even half as much love and prayers that this little guy has received. If I do, I will be fine. These ladies are my friends, my sisters in mommy-hood. I love each and every one of them and all of their children too. Just like my heart reacted when hearing the news about Liam, I have been floored by the support from these women, and this isn’t even my son we’re talking about. And I’ve cried tears of joy.



If you would like to know more information about showing support for Team Liam, visit his Facebook page. A link to the site to buy t-shirts in support is included on the page. Other comments, please add them to my blog here.

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