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    Brothers

    November 14, 2011

    Ethan: NATE!!!
    K: Be nice to your brother.
    D: Ethan!
    K: he is the best brother, Ethan.
    E: No, he is NOT!
    D: Ethan, your brother loves you and sticks up for you.
    Nate: but I DO steal candy. That’s not good.

    ….

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    And that one time, Mom sold my favorite cement mixer

    August 13, 2011

    When you have a yard sale, sometimes you just have to let go of the past. You fill boxes with crap that meant something at one point but you haven’t looked at it in three years and vacation is a week away. That bad boy ain’t paying for itself, so something else had better.

    So imagine my dismay when Ethan began sobbing hysterically in the back seat of the truck as we were leaving to take our yard sale items to our friend’s house for the community yard sale the next day. Ethan never cries and he was out of control.

    K: Honey, what’s wrong? Why are you crying? How can we help you?
    E: WHY do we have to sell the CEMENT MIXER?
    K: Uh, what?
    E: THE MIXER, MOM. (insert body wracking sob) Why do we have to sell the CEMENT MIXER?

    Before you wipe a tear from your eye for the sadness that is my dear, sweet, feeling six-year-old, I’ll remind you that when I made 2,500 pounds (you read that right) of cement for the shed floor, that “sensitive” child watched 4 hours of Scooby Doo in lieu of helping me. To my knowledge, this was not only his first time declaring his undying love for the mixer, it was also the first time he had MENTIONED THE MIXER EVER.

    K: We need the money and we don’t need the mixer anymore.

    It was a cheap shot but having done family marketing research on my family, I’ve determined that crying poor is a very effective way to shut down the “I wanna” train.

    E: But we PAINTED THE MIXER.
    Nate: We could paint a NEW MIXER, E-fan.
    E: It won’t be the SAME.
    Nate: I have four dollars. I could pay someone to paint it the same.
    K: (because I am a bitch) Ethan, you could buy the mixer. Do you have $100?
    Nate: I’ll give you my $4 and then you’ll have $100 and can buy the mixer.

    (sidebar: I love Nathan more than life itself)

    Ethan: Mom, why don’t YOU make some money if we need money?

    If you live within 200 miles of me, that gust of wind you heard at 7:42 p.m. last night was my husband’s swift intake of breath at that exact moment. This did not deter my precious little heir in the least.

    E: If we need money, why aren’t you selling more shirts? You haven’t had a craft show in a long time. You aren’t even TRYING to find more craft shows to do.
    K: ….
    Derek: SHHHH!
    E: (sobbing yet remarkably unfazed and emboldened by the truth) All you do is relax and be on your computer. You should find a show so we could keep the cement mixer forever, just to look at.
    K: ….
    Derek: SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
    K: Relax? This is what relaxing is? Because l feel like if this is the definition of relaxing than I’m done relaxing.
    Derek: Eee-than.
    E: I’m just saying if Mom sold more shirts we wouldn’t have to sell the mixer.

    Derek tore him a new one for being fresh and we arrived.

    We got to our community yard sale location and Ethan climbed into the back of the truck and draped himself across the mixer so Derek couldn’t untie it and take it out. It was kinda like Greenpeace trying to ram the fishing boats in the Pacific Northwest, except without a noble goal of the saving of endangered wildlife. At that point Dan came out and offered him all manner of treats as salve for the wounds that are the crises of our childhood. With a wailing “No, thank you” he held firm in his defense of the plight of the mixer. I was proud.

    He wailed all the way home and from his top bunk. We now found ourselves drunk with parental power and the ability to send our children to therapy for the most mundane things. Plus, we didn’t have enough stuff for the yard sale.

    D: We should get rid of The Baby’s toddler bed. His mattress doesn’t fit and we’re going to move him in with the boys anyway. When are we going to do another yard sale anyway?
    K: But we put him to bed already. Ah, screw it.

    We turned The Baby’s light back on. He was still awake. I cleaned a spot on the floor and with his chubby little hands gripping the sides of his mattress, we lifted it out of the frame and onto the floor. And had the floor been free of toys and the mattress found a level resting place that would not have resulted with him rolling off the side of the mattress, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have cried himself to sleep saying “bed.’”

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    Texts with the babysitter

    August 10, 2011

    My babysitter deserted me to be a do-gooder in South Dakota for the summer. My children drove her to public service.

    Me: How’s SD?

    Her: its different alright, but im really glad im here-there are so many old people in this town though! it makes me miss the boys lol

    Me: That’s a tough one. I’ve been there. Resist the urge to hook up with someone twice your age. It won’t end well. lol

    Her: And that’s why you are my favorite person to babysit for. Thanks for the advice ;)

    Me: No, I’m your favorite person babysit for because I rarely leave you with awake children for longer than an hour.

    Her: well that is a plus. i cant lie

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    A BlogHer how-to guide to not being that jerk everyone talks about next week.

    August 2, 2011

    In case you were wondering…

    1. The drinks in the hotel lobby bar will be $15. You know now. Don’t be shocked about it and for the love of God and all that is holy, do not express your shock via Twitter. It’s a hotel lobby bar in a metropolitan city. If you can’t afford it, drag your cheap ass to The Wine Bank 5 blocks away and buy a bottle of Jack. Problem solved.

    2. Parking is $26 a day. You know, $25 a day cheaper than parking at a hotel in any larger city in the United States (see NY, San Francisco). It is either the cost of doing business if this is your business and you have a nice write off or you are on vacation with your lady friends and need to live it up a little.

    3. No one wants to hear how many delays your flight has or how crappy your airline is or how the guy beside you stole the arm rest or that you have/don’t have wireless. Even my father says that airline travel went downhill after Pan Am went under in ’91. It’s summertime. There will be thunderstorms and delays and oversold flights but no one cares about yours. And if anyone expresses care, they are blatantly lying to you. If someone is waiting for you, DM them. Do not crash The Twitter with the Great Airline Injustices of 2011. See also, tweets about your feelings or emotional state or how “SAD” you are that you can’t seem to catch up with someone. This does not include any tweets regarding what you are drinking at either airport bars or on the plane. We like to know how hammered you are getting. Keep those coming.

    4. Hunt down your favorite bloggers at Blogher and talk to them. Don’t worry if they are going to be an asshole or not. Almost everyone comes home with a “you won’t believe who was a cast-iron bitch to me in the elevator” story. Yes, you’ll cry after it happens but you’ll be the hit of the next tweetup, so there’s that! I am positive that girl I yelled at about taking the plate of blueberries before the Chocolate Fountain Fairy Godmother was finished setting up the fountains at the Mommy Needs a Cocktail Party two years ago is still poking a voodoo doll that looks like a 50s retro chick with a drink in her hand. See also, every single person who came up to me after I had pregnancy vomited in a toilet or was trying to calm down a screaming 4-month old I brought to a blogging conference–all 3 of my children). I apologize now to all of those people. Point is, it’s exactly like high school. You are going to have some of the BEST TIMES of your life and possibly some of the worst times of your life.

    People generally won’t surprise you at Blogher. If they typically write 5 posts a week about taking anti-anxiety meds to survive carpool, they are probably going to freak the fuck out if you run up, give them a huge hug and quote them verbatim from that post they wrote in 2005. I’m not saying not to do those things. I’m just saying if they are unable to make eye contact or smack you in the face, you’ve been warned.

    5. The Bloggess will actually be in the hotel bathroom outside of the People’s Party. No one is making that up. If you don’t know which bathroom at the end of which hall, just ask. Even the hotel staff will know where she is. The valet guy will know. I DEFY YOU to find one person who doesn’t know. Head over to the bathroom, queue up and wait your turn. That line out the door will not be for the stalls. I promise. Have your camera ready and you can say anything you want to her. She’s very good about taking fistfuls of her meds beforehand to get her thru the night and will not punch you if you hug her. But you should ask before you do. Tell her about that time when you really needed hope or a laugh or both and she brought it. She puts too much out there to not get acknowledged that it matters. Also, she’ll look into your eyes and wipe your tears. She’s good people and not even remotely as crazy as she thinks she is. Odds are good you’re meeting with her will be one of your top 5 Blogher 11 moments.

    6. We know you’re hungover. We saw the pictures on Flickr from the night before and frankly are shocked you’re standing today. Just go down to the lobby and buy the $3 2-pack of Motrin from the gift shop. Don’t ask Twitter for Motrin. And rehydrate with one of the 20 swag bottles you got. It’s not that complicated and there is no award for most hungover. It’s not a bad thing to be hungover. We just don’t care about it.

    7. Thank your wait staff and hotel help. Look them in the eye and thank them. Even if they aren’t doing something for you and are just walking by, thank them. Having thrown a party during Blogher, I cannot begin to tell you how horrible people are at these events. That person doesn’t make enough money and doesn’t want to hear how many followers you have on Twitter if you don’t get what you want. Unless you have been stabbed by a hotel employee, are screaming for help from hotel employees and hotel employees are refusing to help you, chill the fuck out. Blogher is running out of cities willing to host so don’t be the person who permanently takes San Diego off the map for future years. I kid. (blinks rapidly) Don’t forget to thank the hosts of parties and sponsors too. They put a lot of time and effort and money into making it happen.

    8. Don’t do anything you don’t want to see on Twitter in 2 minutes. I’d say it’s a no-brainer, but apparently this goes unheeded every year. Good for the gawkers but bad for you if you’re trying to get that toilet paper ambassadorship with Charmin. It’s the Mardi Gras trip of the 80s, people. We’re glad you are comfortable enough (read: drunk enough) to flash but the internet is forever.

    9. Even if you don’t like someone, be kind with the flickr uploads. There is no reason to be posting someone’s third chin or their “not best” side. Use that cropping feature liberally. It’s called paying it forward. And makes you look like a nice person. We can tell if you’re posting bad pictures on purpose and gossip about it behind your back.

    10. Your swag bag won’t be perfect. It will offend you or you won’t be the target audience or won’t meet your dietary needs. Whatever way it goes, don’t whine about the free stuff. Just recycle it. I’ve given out shitty swag bags because the money ran out. It is what it is. And everyone gets creeped out when you take a twitpic of all of it on your hotel bed. Just FYI.

    10. Everyone makes their own good time. If you aren’t having a good time, figure it out. Go back to your hotel room with a bag of chips and catch up on all those movies you’ve missed on PPV. Take a cab out to the beach in Coronado. Take a chance talking to someone in the lobby. You can totally do this. It’s a business conference, not cheerleading tryouts.

    And if you are staying home this year, don’t break Twitter with your tears or jealousy. Just go next year.

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    Target Paved Paradise and Then Stole My Shopping Cart

    June 28, 2011

    targetstolemyadvice

    Edited to add: I sent this email to Target on Tuesday night, June 28. I will post a response if and when I receive one.

    Edited to add #2: Thank you SO much for your orders and your support. I’m going to give some of them to my closest retailer, Anna-Kate’s Closet in Arlington because she’s being hit hard by this as well. If you get your order in her packaging, don’t be surprised!

    Dear Target,

    How cute are these kids? They are both mine. As is the shirt on the left. And, I guess according to common law trademark or another business tort, possibly the saying on the right.

    On Saturday night I found out through a mom board on Cafemom.com that a “my mom doesn’t want your advice” tee was being sold for infant girls in your stores. What a clever idea for baby tee! At least that’s what we all thought when my friend Sky came up with the idea when I crowdsourced my pregnancy and kids line for Baby Brewing in 2007 in my large blogging community (back before crowdsourcing was trendy). I debuted MY “My mom doesn’t want your advice” onesie on my indie mompreneur site Babybrewing.com in January 2008. I even went to the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas in 2008 and 2009 and found twenty-five independent mom-and-pop retail shops who bought them to sell in their own stores. Target buyers were at ABC too, but I never had anyone self-identify as a Target buyer. I did have a few interested customers who raved about the tees but declined to give me a business card. I heard from my fellow mompreneurs that “the bigs sometimes do that.”

    Imagine my surprise when I drove to Target on Sunday and found the baby girl tee with my complete saying in the exact same font I use. Had you used a boring font (please, no more Curlz or Lucida Hand), I would have just spoken ill of you to all my friends. When you took the time to copy the fairly rare font I used, I felt the need to speak ill of you to the entire Internet. Chowderhead is not a free font nor is it included in any design software of which I am aware. I chose it because of the look and feel of it as well as my desire to have a unique look to my quality clothing for children. Not surprisingly, the other novelty tees you had for baby girls were the same old tired fonts that everyone else uses for novelty tees. Had you just lifted the hilarious saying and changed the font, only your buyer and I would know that you took it from me. I was torn because my initial thought was it was one lazy move but then I realized it would take some work to track down the font.

    So you took the look and the feel (emotional, certainly not quality) and you updated it with color, underlining to accentuate the SERIOUSNESS OF TONE (I believed that YOUR MOM DID NOT WANT MY ADVICE!!!) and some of the saddest print quality out of China. It’s nearly impossible to screw up screen printing but by golly, you guys gave it the old college try. My $20 onesie certainly cannot compete with your $4.50 one. Sure mine gives jobs to U.S. cotton farmers and workers, manufacturers, shippers and distributors, mom-and-pop shops and one of the hardest working mothers of three boys ages 2, 4 and 6 who screen prints ever single shirt herself on her manual press in the basement, but whatever.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that while there is no honor among thieves, I’m disappointed in you, Target. No one likes a dumb competitor. I would have at least expected an opponent who covers his tracks. Tsk, tsk.

    Kristen Hammond
    Baby Brewing Company
    Mommy Needs a Cocktail
    @Mommy4Cocktails

    P.S. Don’t worry. When the storm hit on Twitter, I called off the boycott dogs. Why should the thousands of my community members be punished for your bad behavior? Heck, I don’t think I could ever give up my Target obsession. But just so you know, they would have done it for @mommy4cocktails. Because our online community? We stick together.

    To every single person who tweeted, retweeted, facebooked, bought my tees, emailed me to tell me to keep the faith (including industry insiders), called and asked how you could help or just kept me from heading over the ledge, thank you so much. To my DC Mom (Mafia), thanks for your empathy, advice, calls to trademark attorney friends and RT the hell out of this. You kept me going.

    If I could ask for one more thing from you, Internet, it would be to share this on Twitter or Facebook. I’d be grateful.

    Button courtesy of Johnny from Hero Dog Design.

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    Extreme Bed and Breakfasting

    June 20, 2011

    God bless Cousin KateI take pride in my hospitality skills. Grant it, for some periods of my recent life it’s been hit or miss (“my what a lovely mushroom lasagna with homemade pasta” or “Is this delivery? NO, it’s DiGiorno!) but when I’m on, I am ON! Okay, the house might be trashed but your sheets will always be 600 thread count, clean and have a ridiculous amount of fabric softener and you have your own bathroom. Ear plugs upon request.

    Now that it’s summer, your bed and breakfast stay may include an evening of zip lining, Swing of Terroring, bottles and bottles of home brew, a hammock, a dozen tiki torches, a fire pit and hours of conversation. You may even get a few moments of peace when your hosts go to bed.

    If your host’s last neighborhood suffered from home invasions before the move, you quite possibly will meet a habitually locked door when you finally attempt to go to bed. You will round the house and find the garage door open (???) but every door will be locked. You may knock on the door but no one will hear you. You’ll return to the comfy hammock and think, “this isn’t so bad.” Until the blinding rain comes. You’ll seek cover on the back porch on a chaise lounge where you will weather out the night and the storm until your six-year-old second cousin once removed sneaks downstairs to watch t.v. at 6:30.

    Chateau Cookie. Always an adventure. Wouldn’t you agree, Cousin Kate?

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