We Interrupt This Blog…

To bring you the OLYMPICS!!

Just kidding. I haven’t seen a single minute of the Olympics.

But seriously though, I finally get the television hooked up again and everything is on hiatus for the next few weeks.

Which is kind of fine because I am STILL not finished unpacking.

boxes

And I’m also working on setting up Hulafrog Boulder (yay!) and I’ll be the Managing Editor which is super cool so please tell all of your Colorado friends to subscribe. (It’s free!)

I’ll be back soon. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not.

Monday’s Mama is Inspiring AF.

**This month I’m dedicating all of the Mondays to Mamas in Colorado. Hey, y’all, hey. Let me infiltrate, please and thank you.**

Please meet Shabana Waheed of Fierce Living. Shabana lives in Denver, Colorado, and she is pretty freaking cool. Shabana is married to her very first match on eHarmony, and they have one daughter and she’s currently knocked up with another sex tbd. (Congratulations, Shabana!!) Also, check out that title picture. This chick can wing her eyeliner like WHOA.

shabana 2

Shabana really does live her life fiercely. She has Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Celiac disease, both autoimmune diseases, but they do not stop her from pursuing her fitness goals and staying active. She has lost seventy pounds so far which is AMAZING. She’s currently growing a person using only her body, but still hopes to stay active and healthy during her pregnancy.

And because everyone likes a before and after pic, check this out.

shabana 3

Also check out that super fly unicorn hat. WANT.

Shabana is all about fitness (obvs), health (double duh), product reviews (she is also a HUGE contributor to Guidance Guide), electronic dance music, dancing, and staying as fierce as possible. Fierce Living encompasses most of this, though I haven’t seen any videos of her dancing at a rave yet. Maybe next week.

Shabana was nice enough to  answer some questions from this Colorado newbie. Thanks, girlie!

1. What is the coolest thing about Colorado? What is the most annoying thing about Colorado? What is the Colorado-est thing about Colorado?

The coolest thing about Colorado is that we have the mountains not that far from Denver. There are so many Winter and Summer activities to do. Our weather changes a lot but most of the time it is sunny, which is great. But again the most annoying thing about Colorado can also be the weather as well. It can be 75 degrees one day and snowing blizzard the next. It’s crazy but cool. The most Colorado-est thing about Colorado is people who are from Colorado are proud to be from Colorado. We love our state flag, displaying it, stickers on the car, shirts, hats… we love it all, we are proud!

(Darlene here. Note to self — gotta get a flag.)

2. I love the name of your blog. I love the idea of living fiercely. What is something we mamas can do everyday to live fiercely?

One thing that moms can do to live fiercely is to remember to take care of themselves. So often we treat ourselves last or forget about ourselves altogether and we are left feeling empty. I believe in taking time for yourself. Whether that’s going to Target alone and leaving the kids with your husband or partner or tag teaming with another Mom friend. I like to get my hair dyed, go out with friends or just relax in bed alone. Making sure you get “me” time to recharge is a way to stay the fiercest version of yourself! You are important! Take care of YOU!

3. Everyone outside Colorado wants to know: are people here walking around high all the time? What are your thoughts on the legal weed?

Are people walking around high all the time? Well, I’m not. I mean, there are definitely people who are but I haven’t really seen a huge difference in my interaction with the public. I am not opposed to legal weed use. I do hope people are being responsible but you know there are always those few who make everyone else look bad. That comes with the territory, I think. I did vote yes for the legalization. I have seen it help people in their day to day lives and I believe more research needs to be done on the benefits of  cannabis. There are huge possibilities, I believe.

4. It’s the PTA Bakesale: homemade, store bought, or NOPE?

I’m usually a nope mom but I LOVE TO BAKE so I’d probably bake some gluten free cupcakes that are decorated. I particularly love decorating cakes and cupcakes, so that’s my jam.

Darlene again. OMFG I love the phrase ‘nope mom.’ We should all strive to be ‘nope moms.’

Read her blog or follow her on Instagram. Get some Fierceness in your life.

Wild, Wild West Part Two.

The Colorado Saga continues as our three heroines drive west out of Kansas City in search of dinner. Have you ever driven west on I-70 in Kansas? Almost immediately, we were forced onto a toll road with only one gas option and one food option. We accepted our fate, filled up the gas tank, and ordered our Chicken McNuggets.

(P.S. WHAT are the toys that McDonald’s is handing out in their $2.99 Happy Meals these days? Some kind of anthromorphic line of furniture? I don’t get it. But ok. Babystar’s washing machine probably WILL have opinions in the future so she may as well pretend all about it now.)

I digress.

I broke our family’s cardinal rule about ‘no screens at dinner’ because 1) road trip and 2) fast food. Princess Buttercup aka Navigator Extroidonaire pulled out her phone to check our route ahead and figure ouT where we would sleep. We watched the sun set from our sweet window seat at McDonald’s and calculated the distance to Topeka.

Kansas is wide af, y’all, so we knew we wouldn’t get to Colorado that night.

Princess Buttercup is ambitious, though, so she checked the distance to Denver just for fun. Eight hours. We would arrive at 12:35am if we drove to Denver. And that’s AFTER the time change when we cross into the Mountain Time Zone.

Nope. Nopenopenopenopenope.

Except YEP. Because we also discovered that there was a huge winter storm warning for Colorado and parts of Kansas starting at 1am that night. Snow AND ICE was predicted after midnight and throughout the following day. We had two choices: stop in Kansas and get snowed in for two days or race the storm to Denver.

We are idiots. We raced the storm to Denver.

The sun had set by the time we got back on the road. Has anyone driven through Kanasas? What does it look like? I genuinely want to know. As far as I can tell, the state is pitch black and full of UFOs. An hour or so into Kansas, we noticed bands of red lights blinking in unison. They would disappear and reappear, always blinking the same alien codes.

I’m pretty sure NOW that they were wind turbines. But we were pretty sure THEN that earth had been invaded.

Also, it was before midnight on a Saturday night and there were like five other cars on the road. I was under the impression that I-70 was a major highway but I felt like I was driving through an episode of True Detective: X Files. There were gas stations about every twenty to thirty miles but when my needle dropped under a quarter tank, I started to worry. We drove through a long stretch of road seeing nothing but aliens, so when I finally saw an exit with a sign that promised gas, we stopped. We drove almost a mile down a dark road before finding the gas station.

Y’all. OMFG.

We pulled up to one of the four pumps. There was a guy in an older pick up truck pumping gas already, so we obviously waited for him to drive away before even unlocking the van. When I did get out to pump gas, I left the keys in the van with Princess Buttercup and Babystar and gave strict orders that they should lock the doors while I pumped the gas and went inside the gas station to pee. If I was abducted by the aliens, Princess Buttercup was to hop in the driver’s seat and speed away without looking back.

When I got outside of the van, I noticed that the gas station was actually closed. Great. We were alone with the aliens. And there was nowhere to pee. Also, they only sold two kinds of gas — diesel and not diesel. There were no pesky octane levels or anything from which to choose. I hurried to fill the tank and then got back on the interstate as quickly as possible.

Two miles later we stopped at the most glorious, brilliantly lit gas station and convenience store combo in all of Kansas. We got caffeine and chatted with the lovely WOMEN that were working there and finally peed and got back on the road to Denver.

Fun fact: the border town between Kansas and Colorado on I-70 is called Kanorado.

We crossed into Colorado eventually, and somehow drove 180 MORE miles through the worst fog ever to our hotel near the Denver airport. By midnight, we really were the only vehicle on the road. Well, it was us and the trucks salting the highway. Everyone else had enough sense not to drive in ZERO VISIBILITY conditions. But we did finally make it to our hotel that night. We had booked two nights at the Embassy Suites because we wanted the extra space and we wanted an on-site restaurant since we knew we would be stuck for a little while.

The hotel had given away our room.

Y’all. I straight up cried right at that poor night clerk. I didn’t yell at him. I just started crying at him like a soap opera diva. When I finally pulled it together, I learned that they had held a room for us at the hotel across the street. We packed our things back into the van and drove across the parking lot. The snow started about fifteen minutes after we finally checked into our room for the night.

Everything turned out all right in the end. We ended up in a two-bedroom suite for two nights, paid for by the Embassy Suites that bumped us. (Thanks again, jerks! Actually, they weren’t really jerks they were just oversold like every hotel. And they paid for our stay across the street so that was cool. They would not bring me wine though. I asked.)

And then on Sunday morning, after having slept only about four hours, I got a miracle phone call that our furniture was going to be delivered the following day around noon. PERFECT.

The Alien Fog drive though hell was worth it.

This was almost two weeks ago and we are still unpacking.

We also just got internet. Like, five minutes ago. And we still don’t have television, though I’m sure we could probably stream something if we had time to sit down.

I still have no decent pictures. Please enjoy this picture of the inside of our moving truck.

moving truck2

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,054.61

Wild, Wild West.

We made it to Colorado!

(Actually, we made it to Colorado over a week ago but we are still unpacking and we still don’t have internet so I blog from a coffee shop down the street when I can convince the older kids to hang home with Babystar which is not as often as I would like since they both are getting over the DeathFlu. Anyway.)

Let’s see how much I can fit into this forty-five minute coffee break.

The girls and I left Arlington on January 15.

Oh, but before that, we spent all of January packing and also taking Babystar on a Farewell Tour of her favorite parks and friend’s houses and indoor play spaces (because it was super cold!). I used up the rest of my passes to Nook and Busy Bees and we played at Scramble a few more times. (We spent $38.00 at Scramble that last week including snacks).

We didn’t get far on January 15, but the movers were really mean to me and I had to get out of Northern Virginia for my sanity. Plus we didn’t have any beds to sleep in anymore. We spent the night near the Virginia/North Carolina border and the drove to my brother’s house in Ashboro, North Carolina, the next day.

My brother works at the North Carolina Zoo so we got an awesome behind the scenes tour. Dude. DUDE. It was amazing. We met a bear and some zebras and an ostrich and a rhinoceros. Princess Buttercup and I were awestruck. Babystar was so casual about the whole thing. She fed a freaking BEAR and was like, “Next!”

Toddlers, dude. I can’t wait to tell her the story when she’s older.

She really did love the ostrich, though. They are super silly birds, and she laughed and laughed. She also loved the flamingos. Because they were pink. And the sea lions, because they were on a rock and she was super jealous because she loves rocks.

TODDLERS.

Anyway.

We got snowed in at my brothers for an extra day but finally got on the road again eventually. We made it to Tennessee and had dinner with friends before stopping for the night.

I bought Babystar a $7.00 pint of Haagen Daaz from the hotel snack bar.

The next day we got up early-ish and drove to the Parthenon. Did you know there was a Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee? I did not. We found out about it while lying in the hotel bed the night before.

It was super awesome. Babystar’s admission was free, but I did buy her some little toys in the gift shop for $13.40. We all adored the 42-foot Athena statue, and Babystar kept asking to go back upstairs to see ‘the tall lady.’

athena

Eventually we got some Chick-fil-A ($3.49 for Babystar) and got back on the road and drove through bits of Kentucky and Illinois and past St. Louis before stopping in Missouri for the night.

We drove to Wonderscope in Kansas City the next day to let Babystar get some quality playtime in and some wiggles OUT.  Wonderscope is a super cool children’s museum and I’m really glad we stopped. Admission for the three of us was $24 ($8 per person) but it was totally worth it to let the toddler play. We all played a bit, actually. I preferred the Art Room, Princess Buttercup was obsessed with the huge play grocery store, and Babystar loved the Vet Office. We did lots of check-ups on ‘Tillie’.

We finally left Wonderscope at 5pm when they closed, and we decided to drive out of the city before stopping for dinner.

The plan was to eat, drive a little ways, and find someplace in Kansas to sleep for the night.

Things did not go as planned.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,051.62

Monday’s Mama is Flossy Flossy.

Please meet Flossie, the awesome flossy flossy mama blogger behind Super Mom Hacks.

Flossie McCowald bio pic

Omg she just might virtually murder me for that title but I CAN’T HELP IT. I tried to think of another title but all I can hear is Fergie. (Flossy = super amazing.)

And Flossie IS super amazing. She was a teacher before becoming mama to Kimmie (age 8) and Essie (almost 6). Flossie is a country girl who married a city boy, and she and her family now live in Suburbia, U.S.A. She enjoys bicycling, cooking, crocheting, volunteering, and chauffeuring her darlings to Scouts or swim lessons or church choir. Flossie shares all her parenting tips, tricks, and hacks to save busy parents time, money, and sanity at supermomhacks.com. Her blog is full of really useful information. You will find simple recipes, easy home DIY that a regular person can actually pull off, and lists of vacation tips, cleaning tips, and organizing tips. She even has a post about getting melted crayon out of laundry.

And just in case you wonder ‘what if’ or maybe you are super into schadenfreude, Flossie also tells you all of the ways she tried that DID NOT work. It is refreshing to know that even Super Moms sometimes take two or three or fifteen tries to get something right.

Flossie is so good at work-arounds that she has figured out a way to show us a picture of her and her kids without actually showing a picture of her kids. Behold her genius.

Kimmie-Flossie-Essie Halloween 2017

Flossie rocks so hard, and she was nice enough to answer a few of my questions.

1. Your blog is SO FULL of helpful information. How do you know everything? Are you a genius? Why aren’t you President?

Sure, I’m a genius lol. No, seriously, I’m actually pretty dense sometimes – but I like to problem-solve, so I find myself thinking “There’s GOT to be a better way!” Whenever I stumble across something that makes my parenting existence easier – whether it’s a recipe hack, a super-useful product, or a better way to do something – then it’s going to be posted on the blog, sooner or later. I actually started my blog when a friend of mine who was always running her parenting questions by me, told me, “you should start a parenting blog with this stuff.” So I did. I was a teacher until Kimmie was born, so it’s fun to get up on my soapbox and tell everyone how NOT to make the same mistakes I’ve made. (And unlike teaching, there’s no essays to grade – yay!) 

And hey, what the heck, any native-born citizen can be President, right? I briefly considered being President when I was little; one day I learned at school that the president’s salary was $200K, and that sounded close to millionaire-dom to my seven-year-old-self. But then I decided it would be too much work.

2. Do you have any Super Mom Hacks about unpacking? Asking for a friend.

Haha, unpacking after a move. Yeah, I last moved almost a decade ago, and I *still* have a few boxes that I haven’t touched since packing them up! My favorite hack is to pile them all up together until you either A) need something in them or B) get sick of the pile sitting there. Once you get through all the A boxes, someday you’ll get to the Bs and when you open each B box, you’ll be like, “no wonder I lived without all this stuff for so long!” It’s remarkably easy to let go of the contents at that point. (The ideal hack, of course, is to get rid of as much of your $#!+ as you can BEFORE you move, so there’s less to unpack. Or so I’m told – can’t say I’ve ever truly pulled that one off.)

3. What is your most top secret, nobody else knows, super awesome mom hack? We won’t tell anyone. 🙂

I’m afraid you’re too late, because I’m not very good at keeping ANY hack secret (hence my blog). Probably my all-time FAVORITE parenting hack, for which my dear husband gets credit, is the Mommy Potty. It was the only way to get out of the house with my children for the 3 or so years I had a kiddo working on toilet training.

(Darlene here interrupting: OMG go read the Mommy Potty Hack. Brilliant! I would have never thought of that!!!!)

4. It’s the PTA Bakesale: homemade, store bought, or NOPE?

Definitely homemade – seriously, when do I have time to go to the store? BUT you have to give me at least a month’s notice. Three to six months is better. That way I can bake it ahead (preferably with the girls’ help – something to occupy them on a Sunday afternoon, double-win) and stick it in the freezer. I probably have some double-chocolate zucchini bread hiding in my freezer that’s almost as old as Essie.

You need Flossie’s wisdom in your life. Really. Definitely check out Super Mom Hacks. And follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Help HER help YOU. Really, dude. Trust me.