Photoshop is the new Baby Wipe

Cleaning Up a Messy Toddler With Photoshop

I took this picture at the park earlier this week and LOVED the way the blue eyes just POPPED. Unfortunately, his cracker/snot/drool face was a bit disgusting. So…I used some photoshop tools (the bandaid…which probably has a real name) and some of MCP Magic Skin and ta da! Instant napkin! Not perfectly clean, but now the beauty of his eyes is not overshadowed by the crumbs on his face. This went from a kinda cute picture to one of the millions I have hanging around my house. I’m still such a novice but it really is amazing what you can do with Photoshop. I just wanted to share this with those of you who have been around since the days of my Pre-DSLR camera use. I’ve come a long way, Baby!

Although…I still have to constantly look up what SLR stands for. So, you know, not completely awesome yet.

My Daughter. And Future Ruler Of The World.


My daughter is a teenager now. In case you were wondering. She described something as, “Freaking KRAZEE!” the other day. She twirls her hair and smacks her lips when she talks. She flips her hair behind her shoulders when she is trying to charm you. She demands freedom of wardrobe selection. She gets together with her friends at school and pretends like their talking on the phone to their boyfriends.

I have no idea if this is normal or not, but I find myself constantly torn between cracking up hysterically or locking her in her room for the next 10 years. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because there’s a steady supply of teenagers coming in and out of our doors. Other times I wonder if it’s the preference of iCarly to Dora. Mostly though, I just think she was born this way. Born with this tenacious attitude that demands attention and a little bit of admiration. I feel like she’s going to be a lot more confident than I ever was, and she already shows having more of a spine than her mother. It’s one of those many times, as a mother, that I find myself both hating a behavior, and admiring it at the same time. As her mother? I feel like this Type-A Confidence is the stuff straight from my nightmares. But looking ahead to her future? I also hope the same traits will allow her to be more headstrong and driven than I am. I’d love that.

As long as – somewhere along the way – she maybe starts to tone down the patterns a bit. I don’t want her to impair the vision of those she works alongside with her bold outfit choices.

Someone is NOT afraid of patterns

So cute I sometimes don’t mind if he pees on me.


That last post was a little serious and I hate leaving that tone as the first entry on my blog so I thought I’d add this cute bathtime photo of AndyZ to lighten the mood a little. Because…Come On! How hysterically adorable is that smile? It almost makes me forget he woke up at 4:20am this morning. FOR THE DAY. And it almost makes me forget that, when I got him out of his crib, he was soaked indicating his diaper was beyond full. And it almost makes me forget that I was too tired to change him so I just put him on my lap (soaked in urine) and fed him his morning yogurt while I drank some coffee to wake up a bit. Evidently Exhausted Zoot does not mind the smell of urine as much as Well-Rested Zoot does.

Admiring Others, Criticizing Ourselves.

Andrea wrote a great post yesterday (Well, aside from the part where she closed down her store…) about making a clearing. However, the part that stuck out to me the most was the following excerpt:

And then I surf the internet and see what everyone else is doing— the blogs, (how do they write so often?) the Etsy stores, the books published… their pretty houses with dinner on the table every night… and the shame seeps in and the critical voices start howling in my ear. Hurry up, you’re falling behind, you’re blowing it, get your sh*t together…

And then I remember that wait, I am one of those people that others see this way. The superhero character that appears to have it all together, who is doing all that cool stuff (how does she have time for all of that?) and I see how all of these projections are a fiction, something I made up, something we all make up. It is the way we gather evidence, our proof that we are the ones who are not good enough.

I get that SO MUCH. I often cruise these blogs (including hers) and wonder how they do it all. How do they find time to keep such a beautiful home, and how do they know how to make it so beautiful? How do they find time to cook such amazing meals and how did they learn how to do that? How do they write so beautifully and dress so stylishly? How do they keep their eyebrows so groomed and they children so clean? I look at blog after blog (Yes, YOURS TOO) and see something on it that I’m just NOT DOING. And I feel really shitty about that.

But then I think about the other half of what Andrea says. That some people see ME that way. I’ve had plenty of comments and emails asking me how I do it all. I never answer because I don’t know what to say. I either want to say, “I’m not doing anywhere near what I need to be doing…” or I want to say, “Eh…I’m not doing as much as I make it look like I’m doing.” I want to correct them. They are complimenting me and I want to say, “No…no…I’m not worth your praise. But Blogger X,Y, and Z? They are. Look what they’re doing.”

Why DO I do that? Why do I feel like I spend every minute of every day DOING something? And when I do have down time in a day, I criticize myself for it. AndyZ is sleeping and NikkiZ is still at preschool – so I could be doing something like paying bills, or labeling photos, or folding laundry. But I get wrapped up in something on TV and don’t move for two hours. And then…here’s the kicker…I hate myself for it. So, when I run, run, run the other hours of the day – and I’m obviously not going, going going to justify the periodic break – why am I doing it? Why am I constantly doing if I’m not going to let allow myself to have breaks. And if what I’m constantly doing doesn’t make me proud, why am I doing it? Why is it that when I see that YOU made dinner 5 nights in a row, I think you deserve praise and compliments and adoration. Yet, when I do it? I don’t even allow myself some downtime without feeling guilty? Or why don’t I compliment myself more? Or feel PROUD of myself? If I’m going to spend my day DOING THINGS…I should be PROUD of them and of MYSELF, right? Even if it’s just getting the laundry put up for the first time in a month. (What? Don’t you use your laundry room as a closet too?) If I’m going to spend the energy DOING…then I should be PROUD of what I’m doing. And if it doesn’t make me proud…then maybe I should try to find something else to keep me busy.

What do you think? Do you constantly find yourself amazed by other people online yet can’t see yourself in the same glowing light? Do you allow yourself pride in your work? Pride in yourself? Or do you give that pride to other people who are probably struggling with the same things you are?



What Are The Little Things YOUR Kids Love?

Don’t you love it when you find something your toddler just loves? Like the first time I tried Criss, Cross, Applesauce on AndyZ and immediately asked for MO! MO! I’ve loved that so many people have emailed or commented about tried that on their child and being so entertained by how much they love it. Well, it occurred to me, what do YOU do that I may be missing out on? What are some of the cute little games or gestures that you do with your child that they love so much? I would love to have some new little things to introduce to my kids. I mean, you can only toss a kid in the air so many times before they start to get bored with it. Let’s face it – sometimes getting through a day with a toddler is all about variety and the little things. It’s not necessarily about big trips to the library or park. We know our kids love those big outtings. But, sometimes you just need some of those small moments to get you from hour to hour, and if you have different small moments than I do? I’d love to steal some of yours. But before you tell me some of yours, I’ll give you a few of the others we do to illicit smiles around our house. Anything to break the monotony of the endless piles of laundry I have to tackle.

  • AndyZ loves butterfly kisses. You know, the one where you bat your eyelashes against their cheek? Instant giggle inducer. Often he kisses my eyes afterwards, which is so cute it makes my heart melt. He doesn’t do it every time, it’s like he saves it for when he really wants some ice cream.
  • If I can’t get him to come to his room for a diaper change? I get down on all fours and offer him a ride on my back. He always obliges then. (And it’s a good workout!) Although, there is a downside to this as he likes it so much sometimes, if I’m just sitting on the floor, he tries to jump on my back for a surprise ride. This often hurts.
  • Sometimes NikkiZ and AndyZ are too busy to give me kisses. When I finally get them to come to me for a kiss, I’ll zerbert their lips. They find this hysterical and often will come back for more. AndyZ even tries to do the same to me, but it often just results in me with a mouthful of spit. GLAMOROUS!
  • When I drop NikkiZ off at school, sometimes I demand an upside-down kiss. This is me bending at the waist, over her head (from behind her) so that my face is upside-down from hers. Then we kiss. It’s getting harder the taller she gets (as I’m only 5’3″ on a TALL day) but she still gets a kick out of it.
  • AndyZ loves, loves lotion. He calls it “Moe-Dee” for some reason. I keep a tube at the changing table and give him a skirt to keep him occupied while I change his diaper. He thinks it’s really funny when I put some on his belly.
  • Sometimes I let NikkiZ wear old shirts of mine to bed. She thinks this is a really special (and funny!) treat. I did this the first time out of necessity as we had forgotten to get her PJs out of her room before he brother went to sleep. Now? It’s almost a reward.
  • AndyZ also loves chapstick. But this is sometimes a BAD thing as he finds it and eats it when I’m not looking. He actually sees it somewhere now and says, “Eat Eat Chapstick?” (Which, actually sounds like, “Eat Eat Daddy?” – a completely different sentiment.) So, before you introduce this, make sure you know where all of the chapstick you own is. Chapstick poop is gross. TRUST ME ON THAT ONE.