Thursday, December 30, 2010

Short Fat Vacation

The Short Fat Dictator and his minions are on vacation this week. We are working on our tans and drinking fruity things on the patio in between desperate attempts to stop Crinkles from rolling towards the pool and halfhearted efforts at preventing Snoodie from menacing the local alligator population.

The blog returns next Thursday - see you then!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Holiday Card

Yeah, so I live in Los Angeles...

...where it is currently raining INSIDE MY HOUSE.

This means that in between bouts of wrapping, shipping, packing, and cleaning I am now using each free moment to exchange caulking tips with friends and neighbors in an attempt to keep our roof extant.

Which means this week's blog will be brief.

Last year I sent out exactly zero holiday cards. Mostly because I was pregnant and I sort of figured that since I'd be sending birth announcements in just a few months I was justified in taking a pass on the whole enterprise.

But when other people's Christmas cards began arriving in my mailbox...I had a change of heart. As I gazed upon friends' children -- duded up in jaunty caps or smiling sweetly on Santa's lap -- I was filled with regret that I had missed a GOLDEN opportunity to foist the cuteness of my own offspring upon others in a socially acceptable manner.

And so I vowed that this year I, too, would produce a Christmas card --- and it would be PERFECT!
First, I purchased highly whimsical footsie-pajamas complete with highly merry stocking caps. Next, I convinced my brother-in-law (a skilled photographer) to capture my children looking adorable in said outfits. Finally, I meticulously laid out the greatest of these shots on a festive background and placed my order for 100 cards to be delivered post-haste.

The shots I chose were, I thought, perfect. They captured Crinkles' jaunty grin wonderfully. Even the Snood, a reluctant subject at best, looked delightful - his impish grin full of anticipation of the holiday season to come!

The cards arrived a week later, and I grabbed the box from the mailman's outstretched hands, anxious to take in the wonder of each card...

Only to discover upon viewing the blown-up final prints that the impish grin on Snoodie's face was not, in fact, in anticipation of the holiday season to come, but rather in anticpation of the incredibly enormous river of snot that was streaming from his left nostril, milliseconds away from dropping into his eager, open mouth.

Hoping that I might be overreacting, I showed the cards to my sister.

ME: Do you notice anything odd about these?
MY SISTER: You mean the giant and repulsive stream of snot coming out of Snoodie's nose? Uh, yeah, I notice it. I think I'm gonna be sick.

So it is that we find ourselves now mailing out a second set of holiday cards - snot carefully removed via photoshop.

As I told my husband, don't think of it as spending money that we could be putting towards a new roof or, say, towards our children's college educations.

Think of it as doing our part to stimulate the economy --- one holiday fail at a time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


What can I say people? I love Christmas

Ever since I was little, Christmas has been where it's at for me.

My fervor for Christmas was so fervent, in fact, that at some point in early adolescence it began to cause some concern amidst friends and family members that I might be a tad........behind.

While my middle school classmates were busy putting away childish things like Santa in favor of more age appropriate activities like, say, sexual exploration and drug use, I clung stubbornly to the belief that it was the man in the red suit who'd lovingly placed the puff paint sweatshirt I'd had my eye on at the mall safely under the tree.

Sure the handwriting on the TO/FROM card looked familiar - because MOM HAD WRAPPED IT FOR HIM, and so OF COURSE she filled out the card. OKAY!!!!????!!!!????

And while the years have perhaps diminished my belief in Santa, they have done little to dim my passion for all things Christmas!

This presents something of a conundrum as it means that in the month of December I add to my regular job as:
  • Chief Snoodle Wrangler
  • Director of Crinkle Relations
  • Part-Time Writer
  • Head chef
  • 5:30am Soother
  • Main Diaper Changer
  • Central Husband Squeezer
  • Prime Photographer
  • Lead Laundress
  • Head Maid
  • Primary Grocery Purveyor
  • Overseer of Big Boy Bed Escapees
  • Supervisor of Snot Containment
the additional Holiday-themed responsibilities of:
  • Purchasing Agent in Chief
  • Superintendent of Shipping
  • Jolly Music Supervisor
  • Executive Travel Officer
  • Director of Decor (aka Head Festiveness Producer)
  • Co-Ordinator of Christmas Entertainment, General Merriment and assorted Santa-themed Propaganda
  • Creative Director of Christmas Card Production and Delivery
So, as my dad might say, I'm busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest!

So while I long to tell you the tale of my attempt to produce the PERFECT CHRISTMAS CARD this year (*spoiler alert!* it turns out somewhat less than perfect)... shall have to wait until next week. Because for now CHRISTMAS IS CALLING! As First Officer of Cookie Creation.............I've got GingerbreadMen to ice!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...Right?

It's that time when we find ourselves decking the halls, dressing our spawn in whimsical footsies, and turning all known rules of child rearing upside-down by firmly insisting to our toddler,

"Go sit on the lap of that strange man offering you candy immediately!"


This year, with the Snood just over two, I figured he was old enough that I might begin to share some of my own beloved childhood holiday traditions with him.

Starting with the advent calendar!

I LOVED the advent calendar when I was little. Mostly because of its magical ability to combine all the excitement of the Christmas countdown with the simple awesomeness that is - daily chocolate.
(actual advent calendar)

I'll tell you right up front that we have this totally kickin' advent calendar that my sister-in-law gave us a few years back. It has twenty-four the little cubbies around the outside which each hold a piece of candy and a figure from the manger scene.

Each day leading up to Christmas you open one of the cubbies and remove a figure and place it in the center to join the Nativity all while enjoying a chocolatey treat.

I figured that as Christmas rituals went, this one would be right up Snoodie's alley, and so I journeyed to the playroom to invite him to play along!

Here's how it went:

MOMMY: Snoodie, come over here and let's do the advent calendar together. It's really fun!

SNOODIE: Rait! Rait! Rait!!!!!!

(Translation: Please wait, mother. I do not wish to participate in your proposed activity as I am far too busy attempting to place my infant brother in this toy box despite his protests.)

MOMMY: Come on now, leave Crinkles alone and come experience the fabulous merriment that is the advent calendar!


Mommy forcibly drags prone toddler toward manger scene by one arm while attempting to rebuff said toddler's wildly kicking feet.

MOMMY: It's going to be awesome! You are going to love it! Ouch!

SNOODIE: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

MOMMY: Please stop kicking Mommy! There's candy inside!

All of toddler's motion and sound immediately cease. His eyes focus like a laser beam on the advent calendar.


MOMMY: That's right! This is the advent calendar. It tells the story of Jesus' birth. You see, Mary was ready to have her baby, and she and Joseph....

SNOODIE: Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!Candy!

MOMMY: Yes, there is going to be candy, but what I was telling you was that there was no room at the inn for poor Mary, and so Joseph took her to the stable and.....


MOMMY: OK, well, I will tell you that story some other time.


MOMMY: Let's open up the first cubby and see what's inside!


MOMMY: Oh, it is a beautiful angel!


Snoodie grabs the angel and attempts to ingest it.

MOMMY: No! Snoodie! Don't eat the angel! Oh God, did you swallow it?!

Mommy digs around Snoodie's mouth in search of the angel and is bitten repeatedly by the chewing Snood.

MOMMY: Ouch!

Mommy extracts the angel.


MOMMY: OK, Snoodie, fine!

Hands Snood the candy from cubbie #1, which he devours without removing the wrapper, leaving mom to dig said wrapper from his maw with already bleeding fingers.

The wrapper retrieved, Snoodie flees to chew his candy in peace as mom places the now bite-mark-marred angel upon the nativity scene while attempting to stem the bleeding from various fingertips.

So that's one beloved holiday tradition imparted!

Next up, decorating the Christmas tree. I'm thinking I'll let Dad supervise.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

If It's November, It Must Be Plague

I am having my traditional Thanksgiving week bout of pestilence.

Too weak to venture from my sickbed to create new Snood and Crinkles themed content, I instead offer you the following account of last year's plague.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there is a sick bed of doom with my name all over it.

From November, 2009:

Now that the Christmas insanity is beginning to wind down, I've finally found the time to sit down in front of my laptop and tell you all a little tale I like to call: "What I Did on My Thanksgiving Vacation".

What I did on my Thanksgiving vacation was --- I contracted the plague.

I realize that I have previously claimed in these pages to have contracted the plague, but to use one of my husband's favorite expressions....I WAS WRONG! That was not the plague. That was a mildly terrible head cold.

What happened to us the week of Thanksgiving....THAT was the plague.

It all started on a Friday, the morning before we were due to fly to Texas for the holiday. David got up to collect the Snood from his crib and the next thing I heard was the always terrifying exclamation, "Uh-oh." I sprang from bed and headed for Snood's room, secure in my knowledge that nothing good could be afoot. I arrived just in time to see David extracting el Snoodo from his barf-covered crib, which he had thrown up all over some time in the night.

It was deeply grotesque.

BUT! We managed to de-pukify Snoodie in the bathtub and he seemed no worse for wear. He ate a huge breakfast and didn't have any fever, so David left for work and I got busy packing for our trip.

Things were still looking good as I put Snoods to bed that night, and I thought we might be in the clear......until David arrived home from work looking decidedly green and announced he "wasn't feeling so good." I banished him to the couch in a sad attempt at quarantining the virus and settled down to get some sleep...

...only to be awakened at 10:30pm by a sudden and overwhelming need to projectile vomit out any and all food I'd ingested since 1983.

I won't go into too many details about the next several hours. Instead I'll simply quote my father, who describes the experience saying, "The thing about the stomach flu is you're afraid you're going to die until you become afraid that you are not going to die." Yeah, it was kind of like that. At some point during the night David was awakened by my sounds of distress and opened the door to the bathroom...

...he took one look at me and uttered a horrified, "" before retreating to the relative safety of the couch.

By 6:30a.m. I'd given up on any hope that the sweet relief of death might take me away and I peeled myself up from the bathroom floor. I told David that we could still make our flight, if he would take full charge of the Snood. In response, he began vomiting in my general direction.


Realizing we could neither travel nor remain upright for long enough to care for our own offspring, we begged Snoodie's babysitter to take him for a few hours. She agreed, simultaneously proving the existence of a loving God and allowing us to head back to bed for the remainder of the morning.

I now interrupt this blog entry with a little segment I'll call HELPFUL HINT TO THE AIRLINES: If you make it your policy that people must fly the same day that their ticket is issued OR face a quadrupling of the price of their ticket, you practically force families with sky-high viral loads to board your planes. And that's annoying. Thank you.

Nine hours after I first woke David up, we limped like so many deranged zombies onto our flight.

Luckily, the flight was uneventful and three hours later we poured ourselves out of our seats and into the loving arms of my husband's family.

And the horror came to an end.


Have you ever read the above book about 10 people who arrive at a mysterious island, only to be picked off one-by-one by an unseen killer? Our Thanksgiving was kind of like that.

After some debate about whether or not we should cancel our trip altogether, David and I put our collective imaginary medical degrees together and surmised that since Snoodie was already showing symptoms that probably meant he was no longer contagious. Yeah, that was not so much accurate.

One by one the members of my husband's family fell. My mother-in-law was the first to go, throwing up the whole way home from a visit to Dallas. David's dad succumbed next, spending all of Thanksgiving day curled up in bed, his occasional moans our only assurance that he was still alive as the rest of us feasted. My brother-in-law then spent that night with his own gastro-pyrotechnics. My sister-in-law came home the next night, excited to announce her engagement. She barely had time to flash the ring to the assembled family before heading off at a full sprint for the nearest toilet.

Then the calls began to come in:

"You know, just after we came over to see you guys poor Melissa got terribly ill....."

"Uncle Bob was barfing for two days after you stopped by with the baby....."

By the end of our time in Texas we calculated that the Snood has claimed upwards of twelve victims. Not bad for a guy still in diapers. We apologized profusely as we packed up our belongings for the trip home...

...the only one of us who seemed immune to the shame was patient zero himself, the Snood. As he looked over his assembled victims, waving weak goodbyes from their sick beds, I could almost swear I saw a glint in his eyes.....

Monday, November 22, 2010

The War at Home

There have been some trying times of late for my husband and I....

First, of course, there was the series of unfortunate sporting matchups throughout the fall and all the bitter recriminations that ensued.

Then, just when it seemed we'd survived the football-themed fire that is intra-divisional play, there arrived an all-new marital mishap I like to call "Awake Baby Chicken".

"Awake Baby Chicken" is a fun game you too can play with your spouse!

All you need to get started is a jet-lagged baby who regularly wakes up for the day at 4am. The object of the game is quite simple: pretend you are asleep and therefore deaf to said baby's cries for longer than your partner.

Can you force your partner to exit the bed first, thus allowing you to fall back into blissful slumber? CONGRATULATIONS! You are the winner of "Awake Baby Chicken"!

And, for the record, I understand that repeatedly ignoring my lovely baby so that my husband will be stuck with him in the middle of the night is likely NOT the path to lasting marital bliss.

But what can I say? Warm in my bed at 3a.m., such logic rarely applies.

But just when things seemed darkest for my husband and I...

...things got significantly darker.

Because David and I decided to face down the happy marriage torpedo that is "Honey, Let's Clean Out the Store Room!"

The problem with us cleaning out the store room together stems from the fact that David and I are, in fact, the WORLD'S LEADING EXPERTS on proper store room cleaning-outing. Yet tragically, our equally perfect methods of organization are somehow diametrically opposed.

Let me provide you with some sample dialogue from the event:


Husband enters with giant TV.

Husband: I'm just going to put this down.
Wife: No! That's not where that goes!
Husband: OK, well it weighs about 900 pounds so I'm just going to put it down for a second.

Despite his burgeoning hernia, husband gets dreamy look in his face as he imagines a life alone after running off to Rio.


Wife: What are you doing?
Husband: I'm moving all the things you put over here to put all the things I think should go here over here.

Smoke begins emitting from wife's head.

Wife: Why are you doing that?
Husband: Because it will be so much better my way!

Wife surreptitiously pouring antifreeze into husband's cool, refreshing glass of Gatorade.


I tell ya, folks, the marital hits just keep on comin'!

But before you start PayPal-ing me funds for the divorce lawyer, there is some light on the distant horizon. This morning we leave for three days of Thanksgiving merriment in Sacramento.

Is my brother-in-law a chef who will be preparing all the Thanksgiving food himself?


Are my children staying with my in-laws while my husband and I stay alone in an undisclosed location?


Does there remain a sliver of hope that my husband and I can cease our elaborate schemes to off each other in the night?


Monday, November 15, 2010

Dark Night of the Snood


I've always hated the end of Daylight Savings Time (hereafter referred to as TEODST).

But I'd managed to forget over the course of a year just how exponentially crappy TEODST is when you have really young kids.

Because as we all know, there is a SINGLE upside to TEODST, and that is, of course, the extra hour of sleep. In fact, whenever you complain about TEODST people will inevitably say,

"But at least we get an extra hour of sleep, right?"


Because, unfortunately, no matter how many times I tried to explain to my 2-year-old Snood and my 6-month-old Crink that once a year there is a VERY SPECIAL and VERY SACRED day where Mommy and Daddy get an extra hour of sleep...

...they refused to get with the program and insisted on waking up at 6:30am (Now known by its cool new name: 5:30am!)

You got me good, TEODST, you got me real good.

Now, having officially missed the upside of TEODST, we have moved right on to experiencing its epic downsides.

Basically we've left behind our happy lives as People of the Sun and transformed into the Wintry Mole People that the season necessitates. No more the days of playing ball in the yard when Daddy arrives home at 6:45pm! Instead, each evening at around 3:45, the children and I begin our nightly ritual of huddling together for warmth on the cold linoleum floor of the playroom. In case you think I'm exaggerating, I must tell you that it now regularly dips to UNDER SIXTY DEGREES each evening in Los Angeles!

Having anticipated the looming darkness, I attempted to stock the playroom with exciting new toys, aiming to renew Snoodie's interest in this indoor wonderland.

Yeah, that was misguided.

Only days into the time change Snoodie is officially over it. He'll push his shiny new trains around contentedly for a little while, sure, but it is a rare day that we'll make it past 4:45 before the Snood starts hanging from the doorknob yelling at rapidly increasing volumes, "I want to run! I WANT TO RUN!" And so it is that we often find ourselves running through the neighborhood in the darkness, Snoodie's blond hair glowing in the streetlights as he darts amidst the shadows.

When we return home we pick our ways toward the backyard swingset so that el Snoodo may fly about in the darkness, occasionally nailing me in the head as his feet fly forth from the gloom.

I've composed the following summary of my feelings on the subject:

Hey, end of Daylight Savings Time -

You suck.


Now that that unpleasantness is out of the way, we can move on to some more unpleasantness.

Having participated in some light-hearted taunting of my husband's football team, the Dallas Cowboys, when they fell to the Giants last month, I feel I must acknowledge this Sunday's game.

You should know that David got to the Snood before I did (for the record, because I was in church WITH JESUS) and therefore got to outfit him for the game.

And then fine, Dallas won 33-22.

So, if you are the type of person who likes the Dallas Cowboys, in spite of the fact that recent scientific research has shown that Cowboys' pass completions are directly related to incidents of blindness in puppies, then I guess to you I say, "Congratulations."

And next time I'm getting up earlier and putting my sons in blue and red.

Justin Tuck Blue Reebok NFL New York Giants Toddler Jersey

Monday, November 8, 2010

Do You Like 'Short Fat Dictator'?

Folks, if you are anything like me, you love the blog Short Fat Dictator with the incandescent heat of ten thousand suns.

But for many of us the joy of this simple adoration is too often coupled with a feeling of frustration that there are so few opportunities to express our joyous adulation for 'Short Fat Dictator' in a simple yet straightforward manner.

Well, dear readers, I am happy to tell you that thanks to the good people at Babble this frustration is no more!

If you like the blog 'Short Fat Dictator' I urge you to CLICK HERE and give us the old thumbs up!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Very Spooky Snood

This Halloween I saw some truly frightening monsters out and about in their ghoulish hunt for candy. There were goblins; there were vampires; there were witches and mummies galore.

But none of them could hold a candle to the terrifying creature that lives at my house - - - THE 2-YEAR-OLD SNOOD!



Snoodie's spook-tacular rise has reached new heights recently, most markedly after I decided to utter the following phrase out loud to my husband:

"You know how you always hear about the terrible twos? I just feel like maybe Snoodie got a lot of that out of his system when he was one. I'm thinking the twos might not be so terrible after all."

Yeah, that was dumb. Because ever since those words escaped my lips the Snood has been BRINGING THE PAIN!

Let me provide, for reference, a few sample interactions:


MOMMY: Hey Snoodie! Let's go to the playground! What do you say?

SNOODIE: Whaaaaat? NOOOOOOOOOO! I will NEVER bow to your nefarious playground-going scheme, woman! Can't you see that I am currently occupied in gnawing on this old shoe for my personal merriment? To suggest that I would give all this up for a trip to the playground is nothing short of absurd!!! How DARE you???

(The above conveyed primarily by high-volume wailing and pitched floor rolling)


MOMMY: Snoodle bear. I made you some dinner! Come on up and have a seat.

SNOODIE: Whaaaaat? NOOOOOO! You insult me on the deepest level with your offer of chicken fingers, knowing as you do that the only food I will deign to ingest is YOGURT! How DARE you???

(The above conveyed primarily through food tossing and back arching)

EXAMPLE THE THIRD (a Holiday-themed favorite):

MOMMY: Snoodie, it is time for Trick or Treating! Now we ring this lady's bell and say 'Trick or Treat!'

*INSERT: Kindly unsuspecting woman opening door*

UNSUSPECTING KINDLY WOMAN: Oh! Aren't you so cute! Here is some candy! ....Uh-oh!

MOMMY: Snoodie NO! We just take candy and leave! We don't run into strangers' houses! Snoodie come back! Snoodie get out of the nice lady's bathtub! We really don't belong in here...

SNOODIE: Whaaaaat? NOOOOOOO! Can't you see that having my own groovy Snoodie party in this strange lady's bathtub is the fulfillment of my ONLY TRUE DREAM IN LIFE??!! NOOOO!! Stop attempting to extract me from this location of wonderfulness! I SAID NOOOOOOOO! How DARE you???

(The above conveyed primarily through ear shattering screams and the occasional bout of biting)

Yeah, so that's what's going on at our house. Oh, and I haven't even touched on the horror that is nap time. Suffice it to say that when it comes to trashing rooms, Charlie Sheen's got nothing on my kid.

It's gotten to the point where I have given up reading parenting books and/or searching the web for advice on handling "the difficult toddler" and am now devoting myself solely to seeking out a skilled exorcist.

Please do let me know in the comments section if you've had a good experience with one, won't you?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Are You Ready for Some Marital Strife?

Every marriage has its problems.

When my husband and I attended pre-marital counseling, we discussed in great detail the myriad of challenges we might be forced to face in the years ahead. We looked deep into our souls and shared with each other our most shameful flaws in an attempt at full disclosure. We spoke of hurdles large and small and how we might overcome them. We discussed our expectations regarding money, careers, and child-rearing. After this exhaustive personal journey there seemingly remained only one insurmountable impediment to lasting martial bliss.

This being the fact that even though the New York Football Giants are the greatest team in the history of human everything (and, according to several leading Biblical scholars, also Jesus' favorite team) my husband insists on being a fan of (let's all say BOO! together) the Dallas Cowboys.

Now, I know what you are going to say. I should never have married such a character in the first place. But what can I say? He's ridiculously handsome, wildly intelligent, and fantastic with kids, so, like so many brides before me, I turned a blind eye to the warning signs and went ahead with the wedding.

Maybe I thought he'd change. Maybe I allowed myself to believe that someone so wonderful couldn't really mean it when he said he'd go to his grave rooting for a team like the Cowboys. Even my father, a great fan of my husband's since their first meeting, shook his head sadly when I announced our engagement and asked,

"You're sure you can't at least find someone outside the division?"

But as Woody Allen will tell you, "the heart wants what it wants". And so it was that Monday night found our household thrown into a state of marital crisis as the Giants v. Cowboys MNF event loomed large.

Having been in a mixed marriage for almost three years now, at least I knew what to expect.

The matchup day begins with hostile glares over the breakfast table. Then, after some time apart at our respective workplaces, we reconvene for the ritual changing into team colors before kickoff. The children are, regrettably, fair game. Whichever one of us reaches them first outfits them in jerseys of our choosing. Has the phrase, "Do you love mommy? Then you must put on this Eli Manning t-shirt immediately!" ever been uttered? I won't say no.

At this point, it is time for a review of the ground rules
, which include but are not limited to the following:

1. No taunting,

2. No excessive celebration. (including any and all "in your face" style hand gestures or dance moves, see above)

3. No pity cuddles should be offered in the event of poor performance by the opposing spouse's team.

The list goes on and on, but let's face it, the reality of being in a marriage like mine is that one of us is going to end the night deeply unhappy. That's why it is so important to remember that while football games will come and go, it is the the deep and abiding respect with which we treat our partner that will be the trait which truly defines our marriage.

And we are totally going to start that next week. Because first I need to tell you that THE GIANTS WON!



"Boo-ya! In your face hubby! Giants RULE forever! WOOOO-HOOOO!"

*insert unsightly butt shaking dance here*