Suburban Snapshots

Giveaway: I'm Too Hungover
to Make a Bag Pun

Monday, June 25, 2012

Personally, I don't care much about handbags, but I've been on a quest for the perfect tote forever — leather messenger bags, canvas bucket bags, backpacks, roller bags, free bags from supermarkets and street fairs — name it, I've got one on the top shelf of my hall closet.

So when Bob from Simply Bags emailed to ask if I'd review one of their beach totes I was all, "Yes! This will probably not end up in the pile on top of my closet!" A week later my monogrammed beach bag arrived and within 24 hours was filled with a towel, sunblock, water and some crap for Anna to snack on (note: cheese sticks are a hot weather snack fail). My favorite feature is the inside zip pocket that kept my iPhone and key fob out of sandy little hands that can't just play with their damned bucket and insist on rummaging around the bag when for the 100th time I TOLD YOU, MOMMY FORGOT THE GOLDFISH! Ahem. Also the carry straps are very comfy and sturdy enough to drag a 33-lb. 4-year-old who insists there are Goldfish in there somewhere all the way back to the car.

Want one? Simply Bags created a sweet little code that gets you 10% off their stuff, just enter SNAPSHOTS at checkout. And because I felt crappy about reviewing a bag I got for free without giving something away, I'm buying one of these for you guys:

The winner will be picked at random on Thursday at 9 a.m. EST and entry is easy (that's what she said — zing!):

1. If you don't already, please go and like Suburban Snapshots on Facebook
2. In the comments below, tell me what you collect

Good luck and happy summer!

Maybe He Won't Notice
There's No Gift

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Since I stole my Mother's Day post from an idea Mommy Shorts sparked, I'm also plagiarizing her very sweet Father's Day meme. (Thanks, Ilana. And congratulations!)

I'm Dealing With the Dad Who...
Gets Anna's teeth brushed and puts her to bed every night
(and sometimes at naptime).

Does all of our laundry, including folding.
Washes the dishes after dinner, even if my recipe totals the kitchen.
Makes a mean Sunday breakfast.
Works with his hands, without complaint.

Refuses to use turn-by-turn driving directions.
Is strict about Anna's eating habits, but lenient about bedtimes.
Is one of the most genuine people I've known.
Is figuring out the skills he can teach his little girl.

This week, Anna asked to have the training wheels taken off of her bicycle. Steve did it, then spent half an hour hunched over, holding her upright as she circled the block. This will be our job for a while, helping her find her balance and then watching her go. I hope when she's old enough she'll realize how lucky she is that this man — the one who gave her those big, brown eyes — will always be right behind her.

I Was More Smug Before
a Person Came Out of Me

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I used to be impermeable to the cloying, sappy lyrics of popular country songs. I used to be smug about morning news showings of the typical feel-good tearjerking clip, or heartwarming miracle pet stories. I never, ever watched childbirth documentaries on cable channels I didn't have, and ugly news items were just more fear mongering for higher ratings.

And then this tiny female human squeezed her way into the world, and everything went awry.

After Anna, I still recognized that the lyrics to "I Saw God Today" were targeted toward new parents like me, written to sell us iTunes downloads and CDs, yet I'd sit there in my car without changing the station, bawling as hard as the hungry 2-week-old behind me in her infant carrier. It was a weird sort of internal conflict.

When Anna was still tiny we rented Knocked Up, and if you haven't seen the part where the fakest baby ever emerges from the fakest vagina ever, then maybe you'll think I'm slightly less lame for stifling sobs when it happened at the end of the movie. What had I become?

I cry watching television characters getting ultrasounds, I cry rivers watching YouTube videos where kids fighting cancer sing along to Kelly Clarkson (I actually can't even listen to the song anymore without bawling — true story.), or dogs reunite with soldiers returning from duty. Today as I sat through a kindergarten "graduation" ceremony that my pre-procreative self might have dismissed as gratuitous, I barely contained the waterworks during a photo slideshow featuring narration by the children of complete strangers.

Next Wednesday Anna has her own moving up ceremony at school. She'll be going from the classroom at one end of the building to a new one, about 50 feet down the hall. Most of her classmates will go with her. Yawn, right? But this is her last room before kindergarten, one more year with these familiar faces in this basement daycare that smells of olive oil and diapers. Over the past few weeks she's muttered lines from the poem her class will recite, it's something about "I am somebody." My professional critique of the chosen materials is Oh God, I am going to fucking lose it. 

Parenthood is a strange new world of surfaced emotions, unique sets of worries, milestones that seem as big as the moon landing. It's true, I cry easier — admittedly sometimes at really stupid shit — but I'm learning to think less about it, to relinquish my old cynicism and adopt a new code of smugness.

I don't cry more now because motherhood has made me a sucker, but because motherhood has made me so much wiser.

Another Giveaway Where
I Continue to Fatten You Up

Thursday, June 07, 2012

When Heather from So Lucky Gifts got in touch with me about doing a giveaway, I checked out their website and everything looked so classy and legit I figured she'd accidentally emailed the wrong blogger. Gorgeous packaging around delicious food, and everything is gluten free! Turns out, she'd actually emailed me on purpose.

Heather sent me the So It's Grill Time Medium BBQ Box. It arrived beautifully packaged and full of good things I immediately sampled with every single one of my fingers. I don't even think I can write about the bourbon pralines without risking censorship in several states.

I don't need to entice you with details about how the gourmet salts blew my tongue's mind, or how Steve is finding excuses to use the wing sauce on things that are entirely inappropriate for wing sauce, or how I regret ever casting a side-eye in the direction of the onion jam because I could get totally NSFW talking about it. Just trust that if this wasn't worthy of you guys, you wouldn't be hearing about it from me.

Here's the part where you can try it for yourselves. So Lucky Gifts will ship the So It's Grill Time Petite BBQ Box (shown above) to one completely random very lucky reader.

The requirements are simple:
1. Leave one brief comment below about the most memorable food you've eaten, good or bad.
2. If you don't already, please "Like" my Facebook page

I'll choose a comment at random on Monday, 5 p.m. EST and make the announcement Tuesday morning on my Facebook page. Good luck!

This is Why We Fight

Monday, June 04, 2012

Generally, Steve and I don't argue over much. We're not yellers and are careful in choosing battles. This morning for example, I knew I was in a foul mood. The weather's been crap, I feel bloated and I woke to a full kitchen sink. When I started to make our bed I noticed that Steve had clothes hanging over or crumpled up on almost every surface of our room. There was a t-shirt slung over the door, pajama bottoms draped over the change jar, a pile of Carhartts stacked on a storage bin, another pile in the closet and as I headed for my phone I spotted a pair of his dirty socks hanging over a chair. This is the stuff those episodes of "Snapped" are made of.

What I wanted to do was photograph every incident of Do These Look Like They $%*#&$ Belong Here?! and text them to him one by one. Instead, realizing I was headed for Shrewsville, I took a breath and called, calmly asking, "Honey, what's happening with the Rubbermaid in our bedroom, and the pants folded on top of it?" My technique worked, because he apologized for leaving such a wreck without once getting defensive about it. Usually, that's how we operate.

Except when it's time to do the motherbleeping bills.

For a little while I handled the bills, but Steve is so anal orderly about his process that what I paid and when constantly caused arguments. I gladly handed the duties back to him, knowing this would lead to the monthly scrutiny and questions bellowed from the office; "Honey? What's this $32 at 900 Lafayette Road? Did you go out to breakfast on Thursday? I need the password to your Gap account." I hear the frustration in his voice, I get defensive, like I have to justify every penny spent on a lunch out here or there, a morning working at Starbucks, a $16 shirt from Marshalls, a party gift.

I don't spend much but I could spend less. I'm glad that one of us is so meticulous in overseeing the household budget, even as I sit annoyed while Steve verbally itemizes the outgoing bills and balances, then notes the figures on a whiteboard chart. I appreciate that he's on top of it. And despite his frugality, he found a way for me to drop significant money on a timing belt and upgraded camera last month.

I suspect that bill night will always be tense because dealing with money causes Steve immediate stress. I plant myself as far from the office as possible, anticipating the interrogation, and though I'm not good at disguising my aggravation with the whole ordeal, we both know it'll be over in an hour or so…for at least another four weeks.