August 14, 2014
by Meredith Bland
6 Comments

Blogging for Books: Dad is Fat

My favorite thing on this earth besides Mallowmars…and my kids, who are a close second…is laughing. I love all of the funny people and the funny things they say. So when the pale and hilarious Jim Gaffigan wrote a parenting book, I said, “Sign. Me. The Fuck. Up.”

dad is fat

Gaffigan perfectly captures, in just a few sentences, many of the most ridiculous parts of parenting. Since the seller here is him, I thought I’d put in a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

On “cool” parents:

So parents who want to be considered cool, give it up. Even if you put your three-year-old in a fedora, we all know you are still getting barfed on and wiping noses and butts like the rest of us.

On kids learning how to walk:

What amazes me is that once they actually learn to walk, they are immediately trying to get away. You just say, “Time for a bath!” and they scoot away like they have an escape car outside. I don’t know where they think they are going. They can’t even reach the doorknob. I am always like, “What are you doing? You only know us! Think it through!”

On not knowing the answer:

Of corse, these never-ending questions require answers you are not qualified to give…When my son Jack was four, he pointed to a car antenna and said, “Look, Daddy, stick.” I clarified: “Actually, that is an antenna.” Jack then asked, “What’s an antenna?” After realizing I had no idea how an antenna worked, I explained, “It’s a…stick. A metal stick. You nailed it, buddy.”

On kids needing to use the bathroom:

…when a three-year-old tells you they need to use the bathroom, she does not mean in a couple of minutes. She means at that moment. Actually, before that moment. They always tell you at the last possible moment.

THREE-YEAR-OLD: I need to use the bathroom.

ADULT: Now?

THREE-YEAR-OLD: Almost done.

See? Hilarious. In fact, there were only two downsides to this book for me. First, part of the joy of Jim Gaffigan is his delivery, which you obviously lose in the book. There are parts I didn’t laugh at that I thought I probably would have if I he were saying them. And second, there are a couple of moments where he talks about him and his wife’s decision to have five children and deliver them at home and ends up sounding a little defensive. No doubt that’s because he has to explain those decisions to people constantly, but it still took me out of the rhythm of the book a bit.

You don’t have to explain anything to us, Jim. Just do you. Talk to me more about why kids scream.

Rating: FOUR STARS

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my review. All views are my own.

August 12, 2014
by Meredith Bland
5 Comments

Car-versations: This is why we’re married.

This weekend, the family drove about an hour and a half away from Seattle to go to my husband’s company picnic. The conversations on the way over made me remember why I enjoy him so much. It’s never a bad time when you’re hanging out with Mr. Bland.

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(after passing a sign for a U-CUT CHRISTMAS TREE farm)

Me: “U-Cut Christmas Trees. No thanks, that sounds hard. And sticky.”

Mike: “How about I pay you an extra few dollars and you cut it for me?”

Me: “Our family just isn’t adorable enough to pull off cutting down our own tree.”

Mike: “You know what would be funny?”

Me: “Oh lord…”

Mike: “If someone grabbed one of those day laborers from Home Depot and brought him to the U-Cut Christmas Tree farm.”

Me: “And they’re standing there in their hat and mittens, sipping on hot cocoa…”

Mike: “Outside of their Lexus SUV…”

Me: “They post a picture on Facebook and write, ‘Here’s the family getting our Christmas tree! Huh? Who? Oh, him! That’s Manuel.'”

****

(after passing an Alpaca farm)

Mike: “Hey kids! Who wants to hug an Alpaca?!”

Kids: “No, Daaaaaaaaad.”

Me: “You guys are nuts. Who doesn’t want to hug an Alpaca?”

Mike: “Should we bring one to the picnic?”

Kids: “No, Daaaaaaaaad.”

Daughter: “Besides, he wouldn’t fit in the car. He would press all of the buttons with his feet.”

Me: “Good point. He’d probably mess up all our preset radio stations and stuff.”

****

(after passing a public pool)

Mike: “If you ate a mermaid, would that be considered surf n’ turf?”

Me: “….”

Kids: “….”

Mike: “Never mind.”

****

Do Good, Do-Gooders!

I got an e-mail over the weekend from a company called MRI Ingenuity that has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for what they call, “Courage Gowns.” Anyone who has ever had a kid in the hospital knows how every very scary it can be (for everbody!) Courage Gowns will let pediatric patients dress up as a police officer, astronaut, fireman, pilot, princess, or ballerina, and maybe make their visit just a little less scary.

Courage Gowns PO

Courage gowns FM

I think this is a terrific idea. I encourage you to read more about them on the site link above, and donate to their Kickstarter campaign!

August 8, 2014
by Meredith Bland
5 Comments

Netflix for kids: Kindness is Magic

The number one lesson I try to teach my kids is that kindness is the most important thing in the world. That, and Mallowmars. Now, if Mallowmars were sentient and could be kind, THEY would be the most important things in the world. Also, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this. I’d be out there hunting Mallowmars.

But I digress.

This month’s Netflix Stream Team theme is “Kindness is Magic.” I was pretty excited to see that, because all summer my kids have been playing this game where they smack each other on the back as hard as they can until someone gets hurt. It’s a game I don’t understand, and would loved to see replaced with something a little more…what’s that word? Where you’re really nice and you care about not leaving handprints on your sibling? Oh yeah. KINDNESS.

Here are the titles recommended by Netflix to teach them abut kindness:

1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Vol. 1 Ep. 6: Friends Help Each Other

2. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Season 3, Ep. 4: One Bad Apple

3. Arthur, Season 15, Ep. 8: Muffy’s Classic Classy Club / Best Enemies

4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

5. Super Why, Season 1, Ep. 61: The Ugly Duckling: Becoming a Swan

6. The Fox and the Hound

(image via PBS.org)

(image via PBS.org)

Now, we have watched the hell out of My Little Pony. I have seen every episode at least twice, so I had to put the kibosh on that one. So my kids picked the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episode, a show we had never watched before.

I had no idea that this show was produced by the Mr. Rogers company! And Daniel Tiger is a little animated Fred Rogers only as a baby tiger! I mean, this little baby tiger puts on the cardigan and the shoes and the whole nine yards. It’s awesome.

The show also has that cat family that talks with a lot of “meows.” This always reminds me of a scene from one of my husband’s favorite movies, Super Troopers.

That movie, by the way, is NOT for kids. Unless you’re cool with your kids seeing a fat naked man covered in powdered sugar. And maybe you are. I’m not going to judge.

Anyhoo, Daniel Tiger is a little young for my kids (they are six and know what a circle is, thank goodness) but they liked it so much that we watched two more after the recommended episode was over. I was surprised, especially since they are starting to develop the fine art of sarcasm, so whenever Daniel asked the viewers a question, they became smart asses.

Daniel: “Mommy’s going to love this, don’t you think?”

My kids: “No.”

Daniel: (to the screen) “I love you.”

My daughter: “He doesn’t love us.”

This was not really in line with the whole kindness theme. But then, after watching an episode where Daniel and his Dad make a surprise for his mom to show her that they love her, my kids said, “Hey Mom, why don’t we make something for Daddy from all of us?”

Huh? But you said…no wait, never mind, say nothing. Let’s do this.

Thank you, Daniel Tiger. You reached their tiny little hearts.

Thank you, Daniel Tiger. You reached their tiny little hearts.

 

August 5, 2014
by Meredith Bland
9 Comments

I use the new Diet Coke cans to amuse myself, because summer.

This summer, Diet Coke came out with these new bottles that have words on them. The commercials make it look like you can just go to the 7-11 and find one with your name on it and then go party in the middle of the street completely sober with your Diet Cokes.

This is a lie.

I got my first 24-pack of named cans last week, and immediately took all of them out to see what I had. No Meredith. No Sergeant Kick Ass. No, Diet Coke hedged their bets and made cans that say the following:

  • Friend
  • Star
  • Mom
  • Dad
  • BFF
  • Go-Getter
  • Buddy
  • Pal

BOO. So I can sit around and say to myself, “Here you go, pal. How about a Diet Coke for me, my own pal. Pal party of one. *sigh*”

I decided to mix the cans around to amuse myself. As is my custom, I decided to go creepy with most of them.

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photo 3

 

SEVEN friend cans?! Diet Coke, you overestimate the number of friends I have.

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photo 1

 

Two Dads and only one Mom in my 24-pack? Ok. No judgment. Nothing wrong with a little Mom sandwich every once in a while, right? Wrong. That’s super gross.

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photo 2

 “Buddy…pal…friend….” This is exactly what someone says before they tell you they’re sleeping with your wife.

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IMG_1555

“Yeah, Dad. Go get ‘er. You and Mom  got divorced three years ago; it’s time to jump back in the saddle. Thanks, Diet Coke, for this awkward barbecue at my college orientation.”

 ****

That’s all I got. But it was a half-hour of fun times for Meredith while the kids built a fort and screamed at each other. Hurray, summer! A few weeks from now I’ll be rearranging cans in the grocery store to spell FARTS. Or MURDER. Or worst of all, MURDER FARTS.

Four more weeks, people.

July 31, 2014
by Meredith Bland
8 Comments

Three terrible business ideas, and a brief recap of Blogher 2014

While I was away at the Blogher conference last weekend, I had a lot of time to think. And during that thinking, I came up with three terrible business ideas. So terrible, they might just work! Or not at all. Just hear me out.

1. Boat-Based Daycare

Ahoy, matie! Kids get to enjoy the wonders of the sea aboard Davy Jones’ Daycare! With a fine mesh netting to protect the wee ones from stumbling off the side to their watery deaths*, your children will enjoy running in circle for hours while musing about sailing off the end of the earth.

*Lifejackets are extra.

2. Cemetery Vegetable Garden

Because we are taking up a whole lot of land that has got to be chock-full of nutrients by now.

3. Gran and Gramp’s Taxi Service

When you aren’t in a rush and like to stay alert during your trips to the airport. While going 45 MPH down the highway, enjoy discussions about:

  • That new road.
  • The latest disease.
  • Your driver’s gay grandson.
  • That new building.
  • Why you are going where you are going and what you plan to do while you’re there. It might also be helpful to make note of how much you spent on your airline ticket.

I’ll be accepting seed money via Paypal. Thanks for your support.

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Last week I went to Blogher’s 10th annual conference in San Jose, California. This is the second year in a row I’ve gone, because I always get to meet awesome people that I have never met in person. This year I got to meet Maria, Emily, Linda, Jaime, Katia, and a bajillion other lovely people. I also got to have my twin sister go with me so we could celebrate our birthday together on vacation, which was a blast. She is quite the mythical creature, my sister.  I don’t know anyone else who can talk about how full they are from their salmon dinner and then disassociate and eat an entire piece of chocolate cake in what professionals call a “fugue state.” I am not even a little kidding, people: one minute there was a piece of cake, then next minute — and I mean I didn’t even see her fork move to her plate, we were having a conversation, and we maintained eye contact — the cake was gone. That’s a weird kind of magic.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 2.30.01 PM

Me and Piper. Super buds. In secret though. (image courtesy of Norbert Von Der Groeben Photography)

Piper Kerman and me 2014 This year’s Blogher had a few super special experiences for me. First of all, as a member of Netflix’s Stream Team, I got to go to their headquarters! Netflix is housed in a large, tan hacienda that smells like popcorn. All of their conference rooms are named after movies, so you can have a 10am in the Sex and the City room, followed by a lunch in the Kill Bill room, and then end the day with a brainstorming session in the Zombies Versus Strippers room. (I’m pretty sure I’m kidding about that last one, but I didn’t see all of the conference rooms so I can’t say that for sure.)

I got to hear some Netflix honchos talk about where they’ve been and where they’re going, and I got to listen to Piper Kerman of Orange is The New Black fame speak about her life. Then I got a picture taken with her. It was slightly above kick ass.

Thanks to the awesome Linda Roy (www.elleroywashere.com) for the photo!

THAT’S ME!! Thanks to the awesome Linda Roy (www.elleroywashere.com) for the photo!

Then, the next day, I had one of the most awesome experiences of my life when I got to read my post Nine Awesome Things About Having a Physical Disability in front of hundreds of people at the annual Voices of the Year celebration. It is a huge honor to get picked to read, and I was psyched. That said, I was also freaking terrified. In fact, I was super nervous all day…right up until I got up on that stage and started speaking. The room was so welcoming, and I am such a ham, that the second I started talking and people started laughing, I felt as cool as ice…VANILLA ice. Wink wink.

Being up there, reading my words, and listening to people laugh at something I wrote — no kidding, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Thanks to Blogher for getting me there, and thanks to the people who were in the crowd for giving me the biggest high I’ve ever had without needing to eat chips afterwards.

Now, it’s back to just me and my audience of dog. He’s a much tougher crowd.

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