Vote for Beef’s Band!


For those of you who read regularly, you know that Beef is my husband.  He’s also the lead singer and guitarist of a cool band called Cassettes on Tape.  They’re in the running to be named Best Emerging Chicago Artists of 2012, so if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, please visit the voting site and click on the “VOTE HERE” (that’s really hard to find on the page– it’s above the list of nominated bands on the right side of the page.)

Thank you!

7 Reasons Not to Hate Me for “7 Things On Mom’s Holiday To-Don’t List”


I am so blessed and proud that my Huffington Post Parents piece was not only “bigger” news than Kate’s pregnancy yesterday, but that it was– and is still– featured on their homepage today.  The comments, however, are kind of surprising me.  I know, people saying mean things on the internet? Well, I never!!!!  My intent with the post was to poke fun at the pressure parents put on themselves to produce (and yes, PRODUCE– parenting is no different from pulling off The Oscars, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians or Wheel of Fortune) the Perfect Christmas for their kids.  I, more than anyone I know, am guilty of planning things out in my head one way… only to completely fall apart when things don’t go according to plan.

This happens a lot.

Writing about my personal life has taught me to toughen up and not take too much personally– even though people calling me a lazy mom or suggesting that I drink a lot is pretty personal.  And only half true.  But I know what these people don’t– I’m a great mom, and Mom Who Loves Christmas.  I can prove it!  Would a Bah Humbug Mom go to Home Goods every other day to Ooh and Ahh over the seasonal hand towels and bundle up their daughter for a joyous six-minute stroll through Zoo Lights before the reindeer poop hit the roof?  Here’s the “real story” behind the 7 Things on Mom’s Holiday To-Don’t List.

  1. Bake. No, I’m not hosting a cookie exchange.  Yes, I did make cookies with my mom growing up.  And they were TERRIBLE.  Raw on the inside, burnt on the outside.  My mom is a lot of wonderful things, but she isn’t a baker.  So for me, the meaningful holiday memory is what my mom DIDN’T do– and I love her more for it.  Besides, I made Rice Krispie Treats last weekend, and Posey and I shared one together.  She liked it.  That counts, right?
  2. Make Martha Stewart crafty homemade gifts. I believe that there are lots of folks out there who are making gifts this year.  I also believe there is a .01% chance that you are one of them.
  3. Get a real Christmas tree.  My fake-ass cheap tree looks glorious.  It’s also my cat’s most favorite place on earth to sit beneath.  The baby is too young to care yet, but the cat is seriously at peace under that thing.  I’m also an excellent cat mom.
  4. Remember to light the candles on the first or even second night of HanukkahI looked it up.  Hanukkah starts at sundown this Saturday.  If there is an accident resulting in the baby getting singed, it’s on you.  A good mother doesn’t allow an open flame in their home.
  5. Watch Miracle on 34th StreetWhy would I watch this when the world has given me Blake Shelton’s Not-So-Family Christmas as an option? Why, I ask? (Side note: Yesterday, Beef mused aloud, “I wonder if there is going to be another Michael Buble Christmas special this year?”  A boy can dream.)
  6. Take a seasonal family photo.  Just last week, I got super-mad that we have no professional family portraits with Posey yet.  I saw so many leaf pile shots of my friends’ families frolicking– the kids all smiles, the moms all sassy in new boots– that I demanded my husband book us a session as my Christmas gift.  Then, we took Posey to get her photo with Santa.  I’m not going to say that Santa dropped her, but I’m not going to say that he didn’t.  She squirms a lot.  I think I’m going wait til I have a better guarantee I won’t get super-mad that we spend money on super-bad pictures. (PS– Didn’t people see the picture of us that accompanied the post?)
  7. Mail out holiday cards before December 26th. Fine.  Send me your address.  But I really will have to ask you for it again next year.

And to all of you nice people out there who’ve been writing me kind comments and emails:  Santa is sure to put you on his “nice” list this year! Thank you!

4 Things I Am Not OK With

I am kind of paranoid.  And due to said paranoia, I was pretty certain I was doomed to be an over-protective parent. It’s how I was raised (don’t deny it, Mom & Dad), and I reckoned it was encoded in my genetic makeup. And when she came out a preemie? I expected myself to have 8,000 items in my cart at

This week, Posey will be 8 months old. I’m happy to report that I’m not as cuckoo as I expected myself to be.  Wanna hold her? Sure! Dirty hands? That’s cool– it builds up her immunity.  Nap time is lax– it happens every day, but not at the same exact time– and nothing is baby-proofed yet. However, there are a few things on my list that have recently floated to the top of my motherhood ocean, and I cannot skim them off.

They are:


When I push the stroller past a dog on the street, my whole body tenses.  I am sure the leash will snap when that pit bull mistakes Posey for a Cornish game hen.  Today, we went to a barbecue, and the host’s giant pooch came a-sniffin’.  Beef didn’t react, so I decided to take his lead and not freak out.  Then the dog stuck its schnoz in the Pose’s face… and licked her.  She smiled. I did not. Later, Beef told me he didn’t jump because he didn’t want to scare the dog, but he was pretty sure our baby was gonna get dingo-ed.             So dogs = baby eaters.  This is a proven fact. Horrifying.


At this same barbecue, some friends were toting their infant in a fabric sling. The baby was so happy. She was sound asleep, curled up in fetal position– which is the first time I’ve ever used that phrase about someone who was recently an actual fetus.  It was so Mother Earthy. My baby, on the other hand, was sweaty and mad, strapped in her heavy-ass car seat that’s giving me forearm wrinkles from the increasing weight.  I was so jealous of the sling. But I have to stick to my guns. Slings = Baby Suffocators.  Also a proven fact.

The Sun

Huge sun hat, gobs of baby sunscreen.  Her skin is so perfect– how would I ever forgive myself for ruining it? All winter, I looked forward to taking her to the pool. She might have to wear a swimming snow-suit. For the coverage.


I am nutty about nuts. Beef is, too. We also eat a lot of granola bars. I can’t tell you how many times one of us has eaten a peanut butter granola bar, smooched the baby, freaked out, and ran to wash her face. At least I’m not alone in this behavior, because it’s pretty specific.

What weird is that last week, we were both totally okay with her putting a pacifier in her mouth that had fallen on the floor of a church. You know, the kind that’s never had its floor washed ever since being built in literally 1899.

113 Year Old Dirt = Puts Hair On Your Chest.

The Top 3 Things My Husband Said Today

1. “I saw a baby at the grocery store that looked exactly like Posey!!! She was Asian.” (Posey is made up of genes that come from every single Eastern European country that ends in “-ania.”)

2. “I bought these because he was wearing a monocle. I mean, there’s a monocle on every single one.”

3. “Wait, is the Women Tell All on tomorrow night?!”