Just Like Goober

A working suburban mom, a curious baby boy, and a whole lotta life

Books books books August 31, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 9:43 am
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I mentioned before how I consider myself to be a Reader. I capitalized that because I like to create proper nouns. It’s a thing. Ever since I was very little, I’ve been obsessed with books. Mostly fiction- I love losing myself in a really great story. Growing up, I was never without a book. I’d bring them to school, put them in my purse, leave one in my car. I’ve been known to pick up a book at a long red light, read while walking to and from the parking garage, and stay up way to late to finish my latest obsession. My husband was fairly annoyed when I brought 6 books on our honeymoon (I finished 4.)

However, when I had Goober, I started finding myself leaving books by the wayside. I barely had time to shower, much less sit down for an expanse of time just to read. I was still up at all hours of the night, but it wasn’t a book I was holding. I quit going to the library and bookstore. There just wasn’t time.

Enter Kindle. Well, not an actual Kindle, those things are expensive! No, when I got my Android phone, I discovered that Kindle made free applications for phones and computers. And they have free books too! And the paid books are cheaper than their paper counterparts! This was all very exciting news to me. I always had my phone with me, it was light and I could use it one-handed. I started reading in tiny tiny spurts. The walk to the car. Standing in the grocery check-out line. I put it on my computers and I was suddenly reading on my lunch break. While I didn’t have long luxurious book binges anymore, it was better than not reading at all. As Goober gets bigger, my opportunities for reading have grown. We go to the library again, which really helps. Buying books via phone somehow makes you forget how much you’re really spending.

Anyway, my purpose of this post was actually not to ramble on about why or when I read, but rather to talk about what I read, and ask for some recommendations. I tend to defer to the same genre of books (chick lit) over and over again, which is fine, I like it. However, when I have stumbled upon something new, I generally love it. I just have a hard time choosing things. Also, I want to start tracking how many books I read on an annual basis. Pretty soon I will be creating a page dedicated to books I’ve read and books I want to read, based on recommendations from others.

Here is some basic info about my book history:

Favorite book ever? East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Which I read BEFORE Oprah’s Book Club!

Favorite non-pretentious sounding book? The Gift by Danielle Steel. In my defense, I read that for the first time in 7th grade, which made me more than vulnerable to the sickly sweet romance.

Favorite series? Harry Potter, without a doubt.

Favorite author? Changes regularly, but for the last couple years I’ve been following Jennifer Weiner, Jen Lancaster, and Jodi Piccoult.

When I get the new page created, I’ll update this post here. (Page is up!) In the meantime, I need your recommendations! I’m finishing up a Jodi Piccoult book and I also have a biography on Cleopatra that I grabbed at the library last week (probably because I could reach and swipe it in the time it took Goober to climb some shelves.) I haven’t decided if I’m going to read it or not. I need to start making requests to our library since they don’t keep too many bestsellers on hand. So please, if you’ve read something lately that you loved, tell me! I’m open to new genres, fiction or non, and I’m very interested to hear what other people are reading.

Note: None of the companies or authors above know I exist.


Monday Pinning August 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 12:22 pm
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I mentioned earlier that I’m doing the HabitHacker 90 day Nest challenge. I get little prompts each day to do something to better the state of my home- either cleanliness or organizationally. This has inspired me to rethink some of my home organization techniques and look for ways get things in better order. This morning I decided I needed to organize my organization ideas on Pinterest, so I created a “Get Organized” pin board to keep better track of these ideas. Here are few of my favorites:

Photo courtesy of http://makeandtakes.com

Menu planning is one place I definitely need some organization (and motivation). This is just a black picture frame, with some scrapbook paper placed where the picture would usually go. Print the days of the week and the “Menu” title on the paper, and BAM! You’ve got yourself a cute little dinner menu whiteboard!

Photo courtesy of http://u-createcrafts.com

Speaking of organizing meals, here is a fantastic idea.  You can create your own personalized grocery list with the items you regularly purchase. Then just check off the items as you run out of things and when it’s time to go to the store, you have a grocery list ready to go!

Once I get all those groceries home, I run into another problem in my pantry. Cans are stacked in all sorts of places and they are hard to see and hard to see around. Using a magazine holder may be just the ticket to freeing up some space for more important things. Like chocolate chips.

Photo courtesy of http://marthastewart.com

Leaving the subject of food, I want to show you this easy piece of brilliance that you can do immediately. If you were to look at the top shelf of my bedroom closet (please don’t), you would feel the need to guard your head in case the teetering tower of sheets and pillow cases were to come tumbling down at you. Marthastewart.com has solved this problem by suggesting that we take one of those pillow cases and use it to keep the matching sheets and pillow case(s) all tucked in together nicely. This is something that requires no materials or tools, yet I still haven’t done it. Bad Merrsidotes.

Photo courtesy of http://bhg.com

One last thing. I’m sure you remember that I’m going to South Carolina- considering that I mention it pretty much everyday. So with a minimum of 30 hours in the car with a toddler and, more likely the bigger problem, my husband, we’re going to need some tools to keep things from getting gross. The brilliant people at Better Homes and Gardens thought to use a plastic cereal container to keep the trash contained. I usually just hang a grocery bag over the stick shift and toss stuff in that way. It works, but things fall out without a lid. I prefer this idea.

So that’s what I’m thinking about this week. What about you? Anything you’re pinning that you want to share? Any great organization ideas that I should try? Let me know! Also if you have a Pinterest account, share it in the comments! I’m always looking to pin more great ideas!


Saturday Sentiment August 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 7:30 am
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We had no idea his hair was so long until we ran electrical current through it!


Friday Bullets August 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 9:29 am
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I got this idea from Rhi and I love it because it allows me to think in short spurts, which is generally how my brain works.

  • Last night we had our 14 month visit from our Parent Educator with Parents as Teachers. Not only did Goober do all of the things that he was supposed to do for the 12 to 14 month checklist, but he can already do 90% of the items on the 14 to 24 month checklist. I interpret this to mean that my son is as smart as any two year old and perhaps the next Doogie Howser.

  • I made fried rice last night from a recipe online that called for Oyster Sauce, which I happened to have but never used. Fast forward 1 hour, when Goober and I were coming inside from playing in the yard and I noticed my house had a weird smell. A weird smell that I had noticed in other people’s homes when I was a kid. I always thought those folks just smelled weird. Apparently it never occurred to me that it was something they were cooking with frequently! Feeling sheepish about that.

  • This morning I woke up to the sound of my phone ringing (LOUDLY), only to realize that it was 7:15. I usually leave the house at 7:15. Whoops.

  • Do you ever drive by someone in their car who is singing at the top of their lungs, like they wrote that song or something? Yeah, that’s me.

  • I need coffee.

  • Only 3 more weeks until my feet are on the beach. I’m still waiting on your tips for making a 30 hour round trip in the car with a toddler. Let’s get on that people!

  • This morning, Hubby has an appointment with a new sleep specialist. Hubby has sleep apnea and is supposed to wear a mask at night to help him breathe. Supposed to is the key phrase here. As in, he doesn’t. He hates the mask, so he’s heading to the sleep specialist to hopefully find some alternate treatment for his sleep apnea. I really hope they can help, as his snoring does not help me sleep.

  • Cheryl is coming into town this weekend! I’m hoping we can juggle our schedules enough to see each other and hopefully let the boys play. It’s really hard when they’re here less than 48 hours, and I know they try to fit everyone in, which has to be more exhausting. If we miss each other this trip, it’ll be okay. I told her I was getting a little spoiled, seeing so much of her lately.

  • According to Hubby, Goober has started riding the dog while she lays on the floor. Like a pony. He claims this has happened several days in a row, but since he has yet to produce photographic evidence, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Happy Friday everybody!


A Typical Day August 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 7:30 am
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Ginger from Ramble Ramble threw out a fun post challenge: Write about your typical day. Okay! Here is what my typical Wednesday has looked like lately

6:37- I hear Goober hollering from his crib

6:39- I decide he’s not going to miraculously return to sleep, so I actually get out of bed and head into the kitchen. I poor his vitamin supplement drink into a straw sippy, grab him out of his crib and take him into our bed so I can lay down while he slurps it down.

6: 44- Goober slides off the bed and he’s off and running. I follow behind him, shutting the bathroom door and the bedroom door so he doesn’t get into those while I’m half asleep and slow to keep up.

6:54- I shout at Hubby to wake up so I can take a quick shower.

6:55- Repeat shouting

6:56- Hubby stumbles into living room with his pillow to *watch* Goober. I try not to imagine what he might miss and I jump into the shower

6:59- Get dressed (I’m a quick shower!) (That included shaving under my arms too!) Today is Day 2 of my HabitHacker Nest series and my email tells me to do my do- aka wear something pretty and do your damn hair for once. I take this as twice worn capris and a ponytail won’t cut it, so I put together a skirt, ruffled tank, and calf high boots. I actually comb and mousse my hair into some wavy curls. Go me!

7:06- Brush my teeth and let Goober brush his (which he loves). Wrestle his toothbrush away from him after he runs through the house with it in his mouth.

7:09- Make my iced coffee. Throw a plum, two yogurts, and 5 cookies into my lunch bag. (I have other stuff I keep at work)

7:15- Kiss the boys good-bye and head to work

7:54- Arrive at my office. Work.

12:00- Make my lunch. I keep sandwich stuff at work so that I don’t “accidentally” forget to make lunch. It keeps me from sneaking off to eat out.

12:30- Resume working

4:30-Head to my car, drive home

5:10- Arrive home, kiss my boys, spend a few minutes catching up with Hubby and playing with Goober. Swap my cute skirt and boots for some kid friendly jeans and flip flops.

5:20- Start dinner. Rice in rice cooker, saute chicken, remove, saute veggies, throw together with stir fry sauce.

5:45- Dinner’s ready!

5:47- Drag dog outside for trying to eat off of Goober’s tray. Remind Goober that we don’t feed our dinner to the dog.

6:00- Clean up Goober, get him dressed to go to the Magic House. 9 times out of 10, I come home to find the boys hanging out in their boxers/diaper. Why do these boys always feel the need to be naked??

6:15- Head to Magic House to meet up with my mom, leave dishes to Hubby

6:30- Magic House play time!

7:25- Carry my overstimulated and exhausted toddler back to the car. Drive my mom back to her house. Drive home

8:02- Carry sleeping toddler into the house, try to soothe him as I change him into a nighttime diaper. Put him to bed.

8:05- Collapse Seethe over dirty dinner dishes on the counter. Make snide remarks about cleaning habits to Hubby, then do the damn dishes myself.

8:23- Polish my place

8:25- Finish load of diaper wash that Hubby started earlier in the day

8:27- Sit down with Hubby to check over bank account. We’re trying to force ourselves to talk every night about what we spent that day and look at the bank account together. We’re really trying to keep our finances in good shape and daily check-ins seem to help.

8:40- Resume reading library book I picked up last night

10:58- Reluctantly put down book. Brush teeth, take out contacts, wash face.

11:02- Sneak in and check on Goober. I do this every night, sometimes more than once. I love that little boy.

11:03- Lights out! Good-night 🙂


Library Cardio August 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 9:40 am
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The last few weeks, Hubby and I have been taking Goober to the local library on Tuesday nights. Why Tuesday? I don’t know. Because  Mondays are the nights we pick Goober up from my dad’s house and we always stay and eat dinner, and Wednesdays are Magic House nights, where Goober can run and scream and throw things without getting in trouble for FREE. We needed something to do on a Tuesday, it was air conditioned, and we check out movies there, which are due in 7 days, which means, Hey! We gotta go back by Tuesday! So Tuesdays it is.

When I think about libraries, I think about the dank, smelly library built in the basement of a civic building in the tiny suburb where I grew up. I think about my elementary school library room with my teacher following us around making shooshing noises. I think about my university library, where the chairs were designed so that the minute you sat down with your Bio 101 text, you immediately passed out. I think it was a covert operation to force a fifth year of tuition out of us. Nowhere in the depths of my memory, however, do I associate a library to a sweaty, full cardio workout.

Enter Goober.

First a little back story: I am a reader. My husband is not. If you were to look at side-by-side photo albums of our childhood, you’d see the following.

Merrsidote’s Album: Grandma reading to Infant Merrsidotes, Toddler Merrsidotes flipping through a picture book, Preschool Merrsidotes sitting in a chair in the middle of the yard in winter reading some Dr. Suess, 2nd Grade Merrsidotes reading in her room, 5th Grade Merrsidotes reading some Danielle Steel swiped from step-mom’s nightstand, High School Merrsidotes at the homecoming game with a book in her bag, College Merrsidotes plowing through three Harry Potter books during final’s week.

Hubby’s Album: Baby Hubby holding a ball, Toddler Hubby kicking a ball, Preschool Hubby kicking a ball, 2nd Grade Hubby kicking a ball… you get the idea.

So you can imagine, as a reader, I have always wanted Goober to become a reader. Books were my favorite shower and baby gifts. I started reading to Goober as soon as he was born (I tried the whole reading to my belly thing, but it felt weird) and we have always had lots of books available. He’s sort of kind of interested in looking at a page or two, he points out the pictures, but he won’t hang out long enough for me to read a whole book. This makes a reader like me very sad. (I know I’m not supposed to wish him to be like other kids, but I REALLY want him to want to sit with books! Like this! Meredith, tell me your secret!) So when Hubby suggested we start taking Goober to the library, I was SO ON BOARD.

When I walk into a library, I see possibilities. I see brand new novels and favorite old stories. I see an afternoon spent in silence, delving into a world far away from my own.

When Goober walks into a library, he sees a playground. There are shelves to climb and books to pull down. There are racks to spin, tables to stand on, computers to click, and stuffed animals to throw oneself onto. THERE IS A LOT OF QUIET TO BREAK WITH SOME GO OLD FASHIONED YELLING!!!! Over all, it’s a cool place to be a toddler. To the toddler. To the parent of the toddler, it’s a way to burn a couple hundred calories. It’s not an experience for the meek. If you plan on trying to take your own rambunctious toddler to the library, here are some tips of the trade:

  1. Do not go alone. I repeat, DO NOT GO ALONE. If you have any plans on taking anything out of that library, you’re going to need a partner. This is a group workout.

  2. Bring the right equipment. Baby wrangling is a tough business, a shoulder bag is only going to get in your way. I like to take our bookbag diaper bag. Strap that puppy on BOTH shoulders. This will minimize the likelihood of you smacking some 4th grader in the face with it as you weave through the stacks.

  3. Dress appropriately. This is no time for a skirt and heels, even if your husband has a thing for Naughty Librarian. 20 minutes in, you’ll be sweating like a pig and your shoes will be in the backpack. Save yourself the hassle.

  4. Interval training. You want to look for some books for yourself, great. Your 5 3 minutes starts now. Get in, grab the books, get out. Tag your partner and get back on baby duty so he can have his 3 minutes to pick some DVDs. Repeat as necessary.

  5. Keep your eye on the ball. It’s easy to get distracted by your surroundings. But if you’re on baby duty, maintain focus! One quick skim through the board book section and you’ll be dealing with 15 shredded magazines and some pissed off librarians.

  6. Know when to stop. If they’re kicking you out, you’ve waited too long.

That about sums it up. Well, one last thing.

       7. Do it all again next week!

No, I’m not insane. Not any more than any other parent at least. However, I’m convinced that the only way for Goober to learn how to behave at the library is to continue to go to the library. Kids are experiential learners: they learn by doing, in my opinion. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen. I’m hoping that consecutive visits will show some decline in his feral tendencies. I’m still determined to make this kid a Reader. If that means being ushered out of the library on a weekly basis, so be it!


All About Me August 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 10:17 am
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Imaginary Person: So, Merrsidotes, why don’t you tell us a little more about yourself?

Merrsidotes: Oh, sure Imaginary Person, since you’re inquiring, I guess I could tell you a little about me…Where do I start?

Imaginary Person: Always start at the beginning, that’s what I say.

So, hi, I’m Merrsidotes. I was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1982, just days after the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series. It would be 24 years before they won again, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, days before my 24th birthday. My husband-to-be was at that game with his mom and his two siblings. I, on the other hand, was stuck serving soup and sandwiches at St. Louis Bread Company, the part-time job I’d taken to help save some money for our wedding. I’m not bitter or anything. Anyway…

I was born to Eileen* and Leon*, two crazy young twenty-somethings.

Me, fresh out of the oven

I love my parents very much, but those two were NOT supposed to be together. Took them about 5 years after I was born to figure it out before heading over to Splitsville. The summer before I started Kindergarten my parents separated and divorced by the 1st Grade. To their credit, the split was mostly amicable and they did a really good job of keeping me out of their disagreements and drama. While my mom had primary custody, I saw my dad twice a week, plus alternating weekends. They made it work.

My childhood was fairly run-of-the-mill. I was less than popular in school, but I had good friendships with the kids of my parents’ friends (you probably know Cheryl…we go WAY back).

Cheryl and I, circa 1985

I also always had a best friend that lived near my dad. My parents remarried, one stuck, the other not so much. I survived childhood and adolescence with minimal scarring. I was a good student, took advanced classes and got good grades. Senior year I decided I needed to go to college somewhere far enough away that I wasn’t eating dinner at home, but close enough for regular visits. I chose Truman State University, a self dubbed “Harvard of the Midwest”, that required a high enough ACT score to make me feel smart, but was the least expensive state university, to make me feel like I was getting a deal.

Going to Truman was the best decision I ever made. I really came into my own there, figured out a lot about myself, and who I was and was not going to be. The only regret I have from my college years was a long-term, long distance relationship that should have ended as a summer fling. I wish I would have been a little crazier during those years, but c’est la vie!

I came out of college with a B.A. in Psychology and no plan for a career. I ditched my long time plan of becoming an elementary teacher during my last semester. I had some ideas about getting into higher education, but I needed money asap, so I became a nanny. I loved the boys I watched, but those 6 months reaffirmed what I figured out in college, that while I love kids, my career could not revolve around them. I don’t have it in me.

Around this time I also met Hubby. By the way, online dating works. We met and we both knew by the second date that we were done looking. We weren’t perfect, but we were perfect for each other. It was kind of a joke between us about having to wait an appropriate amount of time before getting married. On September 14, 2006 he asked, I said yes. Game over and we both won. We got married a year later, on October 6, 2007. My wedding was one of my most favorite days ever. Lots of little things went wrong, but I didn’t care. It was my wedding for cripes sake! As long as I could wear my pretty pretty dress and dance with my favorite guy, it was going to be a good day.

Don't we look like we're having a good time!

Favorite people on my favorite day

We were married almost two years before we bought our house and gutted it. It originally was owned by my great aunt, who had moved into a retirement facility. She owned that house almost twenty years and lived there all alone and let it go to SHIT. The whole place smelled of cat urine and twenty years of chain smoking. Really really awful. Which is why she sold it to us for a very nice price. We had the whole thing revamped in less than three months, including all new subfloors, flooring, redesigned kitchen, new deck, new yard, new driveway… you get the picture. We moved in on our second wedding anniversary. 9 days later we found out we were pregnant. It was a busy year for us. 9 months later we had our beautiful baby boy and 5 months after that I started this here blog. That pretty much brings us up to date.

So now you know a bit more about me. Tell me a little about you!

*not their real names