Chocolate Cupcakes and Fishing for Brown Trout *Warning—This is way, way, way TMI*

Not the prettiest cupcakes.  Hopefully frosting will help.

Not the prettiest cupcakes. Hopefully frosting will help.


It all started with the cupcakes.


I volunteered to help a friend make cupcakes for her son’s birthday party.  I decided to make soy free cupcakes, so Barefoot could enjoy their chocolatey goodness.  I figured, what could be easier. Well, pretty much everything.

Barefoot and I whipped up the Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake Recipe.

LIARS!!  Lair, liar pants on fire!

I knew something was wrong when the recipe said, “batter will be thin.”  My batter was soup.  It looked like the mud puddles I splashed through this afternoon. However, I chalked it up to a difference of opinion, and I imagined a Mississippi Mud cake from my childhood.

After our baking foray, Barefoot was covered in cake batter, and she needed a bath.  I decided that since my husband was out for the evening, we’d have a mother-daughter spa night.  Since chocolate was the theme of the evening, I looked up directions for a chocolate spa bath, and I made some hot chocolate.  Barefoot and I had a wonderful hot-chocolate tea party in the living room, and then we headed for the chocolate tub.  I poured in the chocolate and milk, and Barefoot dove into the tub.  She was giddy and splashed in the chocolate water like a fish.  Since the cupcakes were in the oven, I decided I’d join her after I pulled them out of the oven.  The timer beeped, and I headed for the kitchen.

Now, before anyone gets all panicky about me leaving a child in the tub, you should know that our bathtub is as close to being in the kitchen, as it can be, without actually being in the kitchen.

Well, I pulled my chocolate cupcakes out of the oven and realized that the acrid smoke smell was not an annoying reminder that I needed to clean my oven, but it was instead, my beautiful cupcakes spilling over the sides of the muffin tin on to every oven rack and heating element in my “efficiency apartment sized” oven.  As I started to chisel the cupcakes from the pan, I heard Barefoot splashing in the tub like a seal with ADHD, she was having an incredible time.

“Splish Splash.  She was taking a bath.”

(Bobby Darin, if you’re still alive, please don’t sue me.  As you’ll see in a moment, I have real problems.)

I then refilled the muffin tin, being careful to only fill the liners 2/3rds full, like the recipe recommended.  (As if I have any idea what 2/3rds full looks like.  I am NOT a visual person.)

Then I heard the words that will haunt me for the rest of my life.


“Mommy!  I pooped.”


As I dashed to the tub, I hoped and prayed, with all my heart that maybe, hopefully, Barefoot meant to say, “I NEED to poop.”

When I reached the chocolate tub, I knew my prayers were in vain.  We had floaters bobbing in the chocolate milk water.  I ripped Barefoot from the tub.  I placed her on the toilet and wrapped a hooded bath towel around her that partially obscured the confused expression on her face.

I started to drain the tub, and that’s when I realized it.

We had sinkers too.

They were clogging the drain, trapping the tainted water in the tub.  I knew what I had to do.  I grabbed a paper towel and started fishing through the chocolate milk water.  It was the most disgusting thing I have ever done, because even though I knew that the water was tinted brown from the chocolate, it looked like the worst overflow gas station toilet you can imagine.  Again and again, I plunged my hand into that water, to clear the drain, and again and again I retched.

Finally, the bottom of the tub was visible.  Then out came the bleach.  (I know that bleach gets a bum rap these days, but believe me, in this situation, there is not enough bleach in the world to make it ok.)  I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed.  I rinsed, and then I scrubbed some more.  I washed my hands about 50 times.

I returned Barefoot to a clean tub, with crystal clear water, just in time to pull another batch of perfectly smashed cupcakes from the oven.  However, this time I couldn’t make myself pour more of the mud-puddle looking cake batter into the pan.

Now I’m worried people will mistake me for a racist when I say, “This household only makes white cake.”




Speaking to Your Children About Wildfires and Natural Disasters

Credit to Soda Springs Ranch

“Please rain.  Please rain, but don’t lightning,” seems to be my daily chant. This summer has already proven to be a very dynamic fire season, and by all accounts, it will get worse, not better, over the next few months.

As a family, we have already had our first, minor, fire scare of the season.  Our home was about 10 miles from the Big Meadows fire in Rocky Mountain National Park, and while I didn’t necessarily have concerns about the fire, I was concerned about the possibility of evacuation or closure of the highway to our home.  The fire was the topic of discussion in our community for several days, and it wasn’t long before I noticed Barefoot acting apprehensive anytime the topic was discussed.  I realized she was intuitively picking up on the stressful and animated tone of voice, and it was causing her some anxiety. Fortunately, the winds shifted, and the fire became less and less of a novelty.  However, as a parent, I started to wonder about the best way to approach a discussion about a wildfire or natural disaster with my child.  How do you express appropriate concern, without scaring your little one?

That’s why I was thrilled when I happened upon this information from Children’s Hospital in Denver.  I wanted to pass the information along, as I believe it is timely.

The first article, Help your Child Stay Calm During a Natural Disaster, provides a sample script or “social story” that can be adapted to provide security and comfort to a frightened child during an evacuation.

The second article, 10 Things to Remember When Talking to Your Kids About Wildfires, provides some phenomenal advice to help you look at a fire from your child’s perspective.  It hadn’t occurred to me that some children could be worried that they’d starve to death or be forced to live on the streets, after an evacuation.  The article also provides a helpful reminder to limit a child’s exposure to media coverage of an event.  In today’s sensationalized information age, it’s easy to forget how overwhelming these events must seem to our little ones.

I just wanted to quickly get this information out. I hope to write about emergency preparations for families on another day. Best wishes to everyone and may you never need these websites.



Breast Wasn’t Best


I have done everything possible to avoid writing this post.  In fact, when I started writing this post, I expected it to be about unrealistic expectations and the cruelty of other women, and in a way, it is.  However, I’m plunging ahead, bravely. I feel this is something that must be said.


I watched a friend breakdown into tears yesterday.  The pressures of being the perfect wife, mother, full-time employee and citizen of this planet had momentarily carved their way into her strong façade.  After breastfeeding for 7 months, she’s decided she needs to start weaning. Breastfeeding is no longer working for her and her family, but she is feeling immensely guilty over her decision.  She’s questioning whether she’s a good mother.


The breastfeeding decision should be a personal one, but we have taken a natural process and turned it into a controversial and guilt-laden matter that women are using to determine their entire motherhood self-worth.  Yes, research has shown that breast milk, probably, is best.  I use the word probably, because during the limited time I have been a parent, many, many, many things that we have held as longstanding truths have been disproven or oversimplified.  Are we really so arrogant as to believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that breastfeeding is best for every child and every situation?  I know, in my heart, it was not best for my family.


To be honest, I went into my pregnancy with apprehensions regarding breastfeeding.  I struggled with taking the two items on my body that I had previously used solely for decorative purposes and making them a source of sustenance for a living being.  That said; I was committed to breastfeeding, because “Breast is Best.”  I was made to feel that if I loved my daughter, I had to breast feed.  I mean, who wants their child on formula, which according to the breastfeeding movement, will make them fat, sick and stupid?  Adding to the pressure of my decision was my employment.   I work for Public Health. I hear almost daily the benefits of breastfeeding from co-workers.


Then Barefoot was born.  We started breastfeeding immediately after birth.  She latched fine and the feeding went well.  However, as the day and subsequent night continued, I knew something was wrong.  She screamed constantly and kept spitting up.  She’d scream, demanding to be fed, and then she’d scream louder afterwards.  We had the most agonizing night of our lives.  We felt so alone.  The pressure of being Barefoot’s only source of nourishment hit me like a train.  I was overwhelmed, and there wasn’t anything my husband could do to help.  Believe me he tried.  The next morning, I acknowledged that something was wrong.  I told the nurse that breastfeeding wasn’t working for us, and she lit into me.  She informed me that “the breast tenderness would get better,” and she basically told me I was being a wimp, who didn’t love her child.  I tried to explain that my concerns had nothing to do with “the discomfort.” I tried to explain that something about breastfeeding, for us, wasn’t right.  The nurse informed me that “She’s just cluster feeding. I’ll get you a lactation specialist.  You want to breastfeed.  It’s the best thing in the world.  You can’t bond with your child any other way.”  I had never felt so small in my life.

Nurse Ratchet

Nurse Ratchet

The Lactation Specialists (we ended up seeing 3 different specialists, throughout our hospital stay) were wonderful.  They showed us new techniques, provided specialty breastfeeding items and support, but eventually even they suggest supplementing with formula.  They could see that, for some unknown reason, it wasn’t working for us.  However, Nurse Ratchet continued to belittle me, and my lack of breastfeeding fervor.  When we finally requested a pacifier, you’d have thought I requested a Meth starter kit for my child.  I’d been a parent for 36 hours and had already ruined my child beyond repair.



Meth Starter Kit

Pacifier or Meth Starter Kit?


We left the hospital demoralized, but determined to continue breastfeeding.  We decided we’d only supplement 2x in a 24-hour period.  The rest of the time, it was up to me.  Everything about the experience was awful.  Every time she fed, I drowned her.  It didn’t matter if I pumped before or after, she always got squirted in the eyes and then drenched. She’d gag.  She’d cough, and she’d retch.  She just couldn’t keep up with my torrential breasts.  There was no bonding.  No poster perfect moment of content self-satisfaction.  At every feeding, she’d cry and I’d cry.  I felt so alone.  I dreaded every feeding with the passion of a root canal.  To make matters worse, after every time she fed, she’d spit up most of the milk.  She drown during the feeding, we’d clean her up, and then she’d drown herself with spit-up.  The entire process felt fruitless.


I sought advice from my mother and mother-in-law, my friends and my coworkers.   Eventually, the consensus was that I’d pump and we’d bottle feed.  This alleviated two problems: 1) The isolation I felt being her only source of food and 2) The waterboarding. Unfortunately, we quickly learned it wasn’t just the method of feeding that was the problem.  She’d happily suck down bottle after bottle of breast milk, only to start screaming and spit up everything she’d eaten.  I remember seeing Barefoot in her crib, drenched in such a large puddle of breast milk, that if she’d have been able to roll on to her stomach, she’d have drowned.   The only relief we had was after our 2 daily bottles of supplemental formula.  It was the only thing she’d hold down.


Now here’s where the ongoing self-blame begins.  I knew it was me.  I knew I was defective somehow, and I was destroying my child.  I tracked my diet like an overzealous statistician.  “Maybe it’s the meat.  Maybe it’s the potatoes.  Maybe it’s the…” It didn’t matter.  I was making myself crazy, and it didn’t change a thing.  It became apparent that we had to increase our supplementing, and after about 2 weeks we were supplementing 50% of the time.  That’s when things started to get a little easier.  There were, at least, some breaks between the screaming.  The pattern became clear.  Breast milk = vomiting, formula = reprieve.  However, we stubbornly continued breastfeeding.  I fought through it for 6 weeks.  I had never failed at anything before, and I was not about to start with my child.


It took a lot of soul searching, but after 6 weeks, I realized that I was not bonding with my Barefoot. When feeding is your primary interaction (goodness knows it wasn’t sleeping,) and it’s a miserable experience, you start resenting your situation. You start resenting your spouse, and you even start resenting your baby. I couldn’t let that continue.  We made the difficult decision to stop breastfeeding.


The formula made our lives so much better.  Feedings were no longer our most miserable experiences.  She kept more of the formula down.  I say more, because she continued to have major digestive issues until she turned 2, and we discovered she was soy intolerant.  (Strangely, even the soy-laden formula was better for her than my breast milk.)  We started to bond and connect.  One night, as we fed Barefoot her nighttime bottle, my husband and I looked at each other and said, “We can do this.  We’ll be ok.”


However, the breastfeeding guilt remains.  Every time I opened a can of Enfamil, my eye would catch the statement on the can “Breast milk is best, but if you must use formula, buy Enfamil.” Every time someone asks formula or breast?  I reluctantly admit formula, but I feel compelled to add, “But we breast fed for 6 weeks.” When I say this, I feel the judgmental eyes of the breastfeeding movement upon me.  I feel the people thinking that I chose not to breast feed because I’m selfish, because I didn’t like the discomfort, because I’m lazy, because I didn’t love my child enough.  I should feel the pride of knowing that I did what was right for my family, but I don’t.  That’s my problem with this breastfeeding crusade.  We make women feel unworthy.  We throw them into two categories, those who breastfeed too little and those who breastfeed too much.  We should support the mothers in our lives.  The mothers who make choices based on their own situations and what’s best for their family.  Lets stop judging and start supporting each other.

Homemade Slime Turned Silly-Putty and Bubble Painting

Two weekends ago, we had a Pinterest weekend.  I chose a few of the projects I’d been dying to try and we let our creative flag fly.  Here are a few of our adventures, and the lessons we learned.

Homemade Slime/Silly Putty

This project was fabulous!  We will be doing it again soon.

Project Ingredients

Laundry Starch

White glue (We used Aleene’s Tacky Glue)

Food Coloring

Glitter (Was there any doubt?!?)


Combine roughly 4 Tbs of glue to a splash and a half of laundry starch.  I have an aversion to exact measurements, and that did not upset this project at all.


Mix in your favorite food color and glitter.

add color




Let the gooey squishiness begin.




Pull like taffy



Barefoot loves blue and purple, and this determined the color theme of our day.  It also generated a painful lesson in color mixing.  We made 3 batches of silly putty, a blue batch, a purple batch and a pink batch.  Inevitably all 3 batches were mixed together by an enthusiastic Barefoot, leading to cries of “Where my blue and pink dough?” New batches were made leading to the same result.  Two weeks later, Barefoot still sighs forlornly and informs, “Blue and pink make purple.”   Thus another fun and educational project.

We rank this 4 feet out of 5.

Bubble Painting

I can’t tell you how excited I was about this project!  Bubbles? Check! Paint? Check!  Disappointment? Check!

It seemed like such a simple idea.  Mix food coloring and bubble soap to create art.

I hung up cardstock outside, hoping to create some special paper for Thank You cards.

hang paper

We dyed our soap, grabbed our bubble wands and made a giant mess.  Wind wrecked havoc on our project, and we quickly discovered how difficult it is to get a bubble to gracefully land on a piece of paper. We did, however, drip colored bubble soap all over our paper, the weeds and ourselves.

blowing bubbles

I consider myself a champion bubble blower, and yet, I have no idea how previous Pinterest creators made such beautiful designs.  We just made a frustrated Barefoot.  We rank this project 1 foot out of 5.

Sign of a fun day!

Sign of a great day!

Amanda Rens-Moon lives in Grand Lake, Colorado with her perfect husband, exceptional daughter and opinionated cat. Most of her writing is completed balancing an upside-down child on one arm and a cat on her lap, so please pardon her preference for words that are easily typed one-handed.  Visit for assistance with Résumés or freelance writing/editing.

Why a Trip to the Dentist Led to a Dismantled Bathroom Door


I have a confession.  Despite working at Public Health, and “knowing better,” I haven’t take Barefoot to the dentist until today.  She hates anyone touching her teeth, and I didn’t want to see a dentist’s fingers amputated.  It just wasn’t something I was prepared to do.

Today was The Day, and I must say, I was nervous.  I found an excellent dentist. Dr. Andrew Burns, at Granby Dental, won my business after a nonjudgmental “emergency dental appointment.”  I thought I had a cracked tooth. It turned out to be swollen glands from my allergies.  When he didn’t flat out call me an idiot, I knew we had our new family dentist, and I scheduled an appointment for Barefoot.

I dreaded today for 2 weeks, especially once I realized I had scheduled the appointment squarely in the middle of naptime.  Yes, that’s me.  I live for danger.  A 10:00 am appointment is for pansies.

I picked Barefoot up from childcare at 1:30, and we headed to Granby.  Barefoot’s eyelids kept fluttering shut, and I kept yelling  “STAY AWAKE” to frustrated cries of “NOOOOOOOOO!” for 10 miles.  When we arrived at the office, I knew we were in trouble.  Barefoot kicked her boots off and demanded, “I walk barefoot!”  As soon as I unbuckled her car seat, she dove into the driver’s seat of my car.  I can only imagine what it looked like, a frantic mother dragging her toddler out of the driver’s seat and shoving her unwilling feet into the snow boots that Barefoot insisted on this morning.

After we made our way into the office, life became a little easier.  She remained calm in the waiting room and even visited with a fellow patient.  She handled the exam room well, until Dr. Burns arrived.  Then it was on like Donkey Kong. She didn’t care about his blue gloves, his funny glasses or his dental tools.  She wanted to be done.  He quickly examined her teeth, a process made easier by her wide, open-mouth screaming.  He instructed me on proper toddler oral hygiene, and then he gave Barefoot the gift that would eventually be my undoing, a toothbrush and toothpaste.  Barefoot LOVES toothbrushes.  She loves, loves, loves them.  Dr. Burns was immediately deemed her new best friend, and she left with a sticker and promises of a photo in the Cavity Free Club.  Life was good, or so I thought.

On the way home, Barefoot took a nice, long nap.  When we got home, she carried her prizes into the house and immediately demanded we brush her teeth.  I told her she needed to wait until after dinner.  This threw her into the depths of despair, and she crumpled into a heap on the bathroom rug.  I again explained that we would brush her teeth, but we had to wait until bedtime.  She screamed at me again, and I turned off the light and walked out of the bathroom to change my clothes.  Apparently, she thought that meant she should slam the bathroom door, to express her displeasure.  Well, when she grabbed the doorknob, she accidentally locked the door.  Suddenly, all screaming stopped.

“Mommy, Mommy, please open the door.  Mommy, help.”

At this point, I calmly walked to the toolbox and grabbed a screwdriver.  I shoved the tip of the screwdriver in the doorknob emergency release hole.  Nothing happened.

“Mommy, Mommy, please open the door.  Mommy, help.”


After another 5 minutes of rooting around in the doorknob, I decide I need to try to talk Barefoot through unlocking the door.

“Barefoot, turn the flat, little hootey, in the middle of the door knob.”

“Mommy, it no working.”

“Try it again, honey.”

“Mommy, it no working.”

It soon became apparent that I’d have to take apart the doorknob.  After a few minutes, Barefoot was free, and complaining “Mommy, you BROKE it.”


Before I could reassemble the door, I dropped a screw on the floor.  It rolled under the washer, necessitating a clever MacGyver moment with a magnet and a curtain rod. As soon as the screw was recovered, I heard, “Mommy, I brush my teeth.”

We’ve created a monster, but hopefully, a monster with great teeth.



My Not So Silent Plea to Car Seat Manufacturers


Last week was rough on this introvert, so I decided to meet a friend to celebrate my new hair cut, new outfit and my awkward social interactions of the week.  What can I say?  Drinks were required.  When I picked up Barefoot, she informed me that she had a tummy ache.  Silly me, I assured myself she was just hungry.  I met my husband in town, and he took Barefoot home.  This left me to an evening of grown-up talk and drinks without sippy cups.  Did I mention how incredible, sexy, helpful, and wonderful my husband is?

Well, apparently Barefoot wasn’t hungry.  Apparently, she decided to start the Memorial Day weekend off with the stomach flu.  Poor kiddo didn’t even make it 2 miles, before she christened her car seat with partially digested cherries.  My incredible, sexy, helpful and wonderful husband managed to not only keep the vehicle on the road during this barrage to his olfactory senses, but he drove the remaining 10 miles to the house without gas mask or sympathy vomiting.  He proceeded to care for and clean up the sickly Barefoot, until I returned, wrought with Mommy guilt.

I tell you the above story, to tell you this.  Whoever designed our car seat should be buckled into said car seat and placed in the direct line-of-fire of 50 puking toddlers. I really, really appreciate safety.  Don’t get me wrong. However, there is no reason that it needs to take 45 minutes to disassemble a car seat to wash it.  Do the designers not realize that they are creating safety items for children, creatures that will inevitably get motion sick after exploding a Gogurt and grinding Goldfish into the upholstery?  Seriously, I’ve had more luck with a Rubik’s Cube than I did trying to take apart that car seat.  Did I mention it was covered in vomit, and I’m a violent sympathy puker?  I had to disassemble the stupid thing, while holding my breath. I inevitably ended up cutting the last few strings.  Even now, I have no idea to what they were attached.  I never did figure out how to disassemble one strap for cleaning, and despite my best attempts, I think it still smells like sour cherries.  You’d think my herculean efforts to rid the world of foulness would have ended after getting everything washed.  Oh no, no, no, no, no.  Then I had to figure out how to put the stupid thing back together.  You know what’s awesome? Awesome is trying to thread a 3-inch strap, backwards, into a hole the size of quarter, while standing on your head.  Yes.  That’s how I want to spend my day.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

So here’s my plea.  When designing the next generation of car seats, make it so it can be taken apart while holding your breath…before you pass out.

Amanda Rens-Moon lives in Grand Lake, Colorado with her perfect husband, exceptional daughter and opinionated cat. Most of her writing is completed balancing an upside-down child on one arm and a cat on her lap, so please pardon her preference for words that are easily typed one-handed.  Visit for assistance with Résumés or freelance writing/editing.

Mobile Office


I am writing this post from the front seat of my car.  If I had known how much work I would attempt from my vehicle, with Barefoot sleeping in her carseat, I’d have purchased a car with seat warmers and a built in cappuccino machine.  We run errands.  She falls asleep.  I drive home, park in our lot, whip out the laptop for some frantic typing and hop on our Wi-Fi.  Glad we bought the expensive router, even if it means we kick the neighbors off their network.

Today proved a bit more adventurous than usual.  As I frantically typed an email to a potential client, I looked over to see a giant raccoon.  I looked at raccoon.  Raccoon looked at me, and we both went about our happy little business, at least until I saw him meander his way over to our condo.  Suddenly, it occurred to me that I had left our window open.  I knew that as soon as Rogue Kitty saw Mr. Raccoon, he’d be puffed up the size of a small deer, and he’d start straining against a precariously placed window screen.  (Window screen might be precariously placed, because I’ve had to use it more times than I’d like to admit to break into our house, after accidentally locking myself and an impatient child out.)

Long story short, I ended up chasing a raccoon with a stick, again.

I snagged a nearby tree branch, ran after the raccoon, chased him under our deck, went to open the door, found door to condo locked, ran back to car for keys, unlocked condo door, closed window, locked condo door, dropped stick and returned to my car to work.  Now raccoon is between the car and the stick.  Here’s hoping the raccoon has ADHD and he wanders off before Barefoot angrily awakens from her nap.  Now I have to decide. Do I disturb the potentially rabid raccoon or the potentially rabid toddler?  Either way, at least I got some work done.

FrankenBaby Hook—When Bad Things Happen to Good Lovies

Baby, post amputation

Baby, post amputation

Please note: This post, in no way, is intended to make light of the difficulties real amputees face.  

When I pondered the ways my life would change with kids, I never expected that it would be in the form of untapped creativity.  It never occurred to me that I’d have enough misadventure to write a story, much less a near-weekly blog.  I also never expected to have to fashion a doll prosthetic.

We had a doll emergency about 2 weeks ago.  Barefoot’s favorite lovie, “Baby” (not the most original name, I admit) suffered a mauling from a great cat.  No, this time it wasn’t a mountain lion, but it was instead our oversized Rogue Kitty.  Apparently, our cat was jealous of the daily squishing hugs and slobbery kisses that Baby was getting, and he decided to bite off her left hand, much to my horror.  Barefoot took the news like a champ, although she did recommend Rogue Kitty go to timeout.  I couldn’t disagree with that logic.  Bad Kitty. Bad!  Unfortunately, this left me with a heartbroken child, Baby in need of a doll orthopedist, and chewed fingers covered in cat saliva.  I quickly deemed the amputated fingers un-attachable, not because they hadn’t been packed on ice, but because, apparently, hollow fingers will not glue to hollow hand.  It doesn’t matter how much Super Glue or hot glue you use.  So I had to proceed to plan B.

Plan B consisted of trying to make doll mittens to cover Baby’s severed stump.  Somehow, I thought hand-sewing micro-sized mittens would be easier.  I had visions of petite gloves complete with elastic (hair ties) to make them easy to take on and off.   Not so much.  I cut the glove too large the first time, and then I chopped them so small that only one mitten was salvageable, and it had to be stitched on to the doll.  It’s misshapen.  The red embroidery floss that I used for the blanket stitch, looks like cinnamon dental floss, and that’s the best thing I can say about my “decorative” stitching.  The entire glove looks like an oven mit from a frat house.  I was not impressed, and I knew my fashionista daughter would be disappointed.

Captain "Baby" Hook looks like a bad ass

Captain “Baby” Hook looks like a bad ass

I had to get creative.  I had to abandon any hopes of political correctness.  As I mentioned before, Barefoot loves Jake and the Never Land Pirates.  It was at that moment, I knew I had to turn Baby into Captain Hook.  It was the only way she’d ever forgive Rogue Kitty, and I need peace in this household.  I fashioned a small hook out of aluminum foil and presented Baby Hook to Barefoot at bedtime.  Barefoot was overjoyed, and she snuggled her pirate baby throughout the night.  Crisis averted.

Well, crisis averted until later in the week.  I purchased a change of clothes for Baby, complete with shoes.  Apparently Baby has abnormally small feet, like creepy small feet.  Baby’s shoes were about 5 sizes too large, and Barefoot was not about to dress her without a complete outfit.  I did what any ex-ballerina would do.  I stuffed the toes with all the cotton that would fit, grabbed 4 pipe cleaners and wrapped them around Baby’s legs like pointe shoe ribbons.  Baby looks like an unemployed birthday clown.  Her shoes flop on and off her feet, with every movement.

Clown feet?

Clown Shoes?

Barefoot carries her like a Faberge egg, making sure the shoes remain on her feet, but she is thrilled with the results. Thank goodness!  Here’s hoping things go a little easier for Baby the next few weeks. I’m not sure how much longer my creativity will hold out.

This is Baby today.  Note: Barefoot supporting Baby's head.  Hopefully, Baby will remain head trauma free.

This is Baby today. Note: Barefoot supporting Baby’s head. Hopefully, Baby will remain head trauma free.

Amanda Rens-Moon lives in Grand Lake, Colorado with her perfect husband, exceptional daughter and opinionated cat. Most of her writing is completed balancing an upside-down child on one arm and a cat on her lap, so please pardon her preference for words that are easily typed one-handed.



Showered by Thoughts—Why my Husband Hasn’t Had a Hot Shower in Over Two Years

Bonus points, if you ponder the existence of the Molly bolt next to the shower head.  I do daily.

Bonus points, if you ponder the reason for the molly bolt next to the shower head. I do daily. It was here when we moved in.

I realized four things after my shower this morning.

1) It’s my fault, not the hot water heater’s, that my husband hasn’t had a hot shower in about 2 years.

2) I’m easily distracted.

3) My husband knows both #1 and #2 and loves me anyways.

4) I’m a lucky woman.

We live in a small 1-bedroom/1-bath home.  We have a very rigid morning schedule designed to maximize sleep and morning efficiency.  We all awaken.  My husband feeds the cat and Barefoot, and I get the luxury of the first shower.

I stumble into the shower, an empty shell of a person.  The water hits me, and I’m immediately bombarded with thoughts.

“It’s quiet.  It’s so peaceful.  I have a moment to myself. No one is asking me for anything right now. *sigh*  It’s just me and my thoughts. I’m so glad it’s Thursday.  This week seems to be flying.  I wonder what I will make for breakfast.  I think we still have some coffee.  I really should cut down on my coffee. Oh, I should shampoo my hair.”

I grab the shampoo bottle and lather, rinse, repeat.

“Crap!!! Today’s not Thursday.  It’s Friday.  I need to get my time card completed at work.  I should pack a lunch.  Hmmm..what should I eat for lunch.  I wish I liked salad more.  Hmm…can you have a salad without lettuce?  Wow, I’ve been in here awhile.  Have I shampooed my hair? I doubt it.  I should shampoo my hair.”

I grab the shampoo bottle and lather, rinse, repeat.

Ducks or evidence of self-defeating personality disorder?

Ducks or evidence of self-defeating personality disorder?

Oh look at those ducks.  I wonder why one of them is upside down?  It’s too high for Barefoot to have turned it.  I must have done it.  Why would I put a duck upside down?  Maybe it’s like the Amish quilts. I purposely put in a mistake, so nothing will ever be perfect.  Am I unconsciously self-sabotaging myself?  Is this duck a cry for help?  Have I shampooed my hair? I doubt it.  I should shampoo my hair.”

I grab the shampoo bottle and lather, rinse, repeat.

"I know what you ate last night!"

“I know what you ate last night!”

“The Elmo bath scrubby seems to be staring at me.  Elmo looks a little self-righteous, too.  I get it Elmo.  I need to lose some weight, but your buddy Cookie Monster is a heck of a better vice-dealer than you are.  I get it.  I get.  Have I shampooed my hair? I doubt it.  I should shampoo my hair.”

I grab the shampoo bottle and lather, rinse, repeat.

“Crap.  Why is the water getting colder?  Stupid hot water heater!  I thought they were supposed to last 12 years.  Just our luck it would crap out in 6.  Have I shampooed my hair? I doubt it.  I should shampoo my hair.”

I grab the shampoo bottle and lather, rinse, repeat.  The water gets colder, and it encourages me to quickly condition my hair and wash my face.

I jump out of the cold shower, dry off, and I wonder how 20 minutes could have passed.  After pondering the existence of a minor time warp, I think back and realize that I’ve shampooed my hair, at least, 4 times that I can remember.  It’s at this moment I realize that this happens, in some variation or another, almost daily.  There appears to be a reason I go through 3x more shampoo than conditioner.  Just like that, all the mysteries of the world are solved.  I get dressed, eat a quick breakfast and walk out the door, while leaving my lunch on the kitchen counter.  Looks like I’ll be able to question my self-sabotaging behaviors, again, during tomorrow’s shower.  I hope I have enough shampoo.

Amanda Rens-Moon lives in Grand Lake, Colorado with her perfect husband, exceptional daughter and opinionated cat. Most of her writing is completed balancing an upside-down child on one arm and a cat on her lap, so please pardon her preference for words that are easily typed one-handed.

Tick Tock Crocodile Ate My Deck

Tick Tock and Barefoot

Ah second spring, you bring such hope.  Our first spring turned out to be a total bust, and it left us disappointed by the feet of snow that we expected to enjoy in January.  Ah, but second spring, this time, I’m sure you’re going to stick around.

My optimism led to snow removal on a massive scale today.  The metal roof above our deck is perfectly designed to dump ice and snow, avalanche style, onto our deck.  The mound of ice usually stays for months, until the weather is nice enough to chip away the glacier.  Today was that day.

As I shoveled, chipped and dragged away slush, ice and snow, I realized that our mound of winter mess was starting to resemble a lizard.  A few shovelfuls later, and I was able to carve out a rough crocodile.  That’s when I “un-earthed” our family project for the day.  We would turn the mound of snow (the bane of our winter existence) into Tick Tock Crocodile from “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” Barefoot’s favorite show.

I dashed in the house to find a spray bottle.  I filled said spray bottle with fizzy bath colors, as my snow-dyeing agent.  Barefoot’s skin is too sensitive for the bath colors in the tub, so laziness is the only reason they are still around.  According to the packaging, Fizzy Tub Colors are nontoxic, and they should be safe for the environment and the angry raccoon we have hanging around.  Also,  I assumed the tub colors would be cheaper for a giant dye project than food colorings.  They worked beautifully.  We took a blue and yellow bath fizzy, added some warm water to the spray bottle and set out to color a crocodile.

Fizzy tub Colors

We each took turns spraying the mound of snow a bright green.  Barefoot enjoyed coloring the snow with reckless abandon.  I enjoyed the workout my hands and forearms received from spraying, and spraying, and spraying, and spraying our oversized croc.  We finished the croc with 2 yellow bath fizzies for eyes and rocks for teeth.  Barefoot was overjoyed with our masterpiece, and she gave Tick Tock a giant hug.

Tick Tock croc

Good news: I now have a new winter project for our repertoire and a new use for  our left-over Fizzy Tub Colors.

Bad news:  How am I going to shovel our new “friend” off the deck?!?

Oh well, bring on the sun!

Amanda Rens-Moon lives in Grand Lake, Colorado with her perfect husband, exceptional daughter and opinionated cat. Most of her writing is completed balancing an upside-down child on one arm and a cat on her lap, so please pardon her preference for words that are easily typed one-handed.

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