Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Hi guys, I hope your Christmas was full of magic.

Merry Christmas from the Erikssons!
View the entire collection of cards.

You have to click through twice, but there is a back side to this card ;)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What does it mean?!??

I logged into my email this morning. I do this a lot. If I don't, it gets overrun with Babies R Us ads, and Totsy previews. I didn't really expect anything exciting. So I just wasn't prepared.
"With one another although by utilizing aid of those satisfying sexual film match titles for adults, you happen to be capable to absolutely carry the chance to revive the fires of lust and adore inside of your specific man or woman every single evening each day life. It's possible you'll also enlarge your perspectives when it involves imaginativeness and creativeness. Seriously a quantity of corporations inside the globe present in these varieties of a segment" -a comment left on my I-Hate-Cycling post
What does it mean?!?? I am being very careful NOT to click through the name and see where it came from- I'm pretty sure the site will be both illegal, immoral, and full of computer-eating viruses.
Any ideas? At first it sounds like they have taken an interest in my sex life. But then, they start talking about corporations and globalizations and I am so confused.
Well played, spammers.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My very first (and last) cycling class.

I was sitting on a bike in cycling class the other night, when I realized- I will never be the kind of person who voluntarily goes to a cycling class.

"Turn it up one full turn! One full turn!"

I smiled grimly at the blond, ponytailed drill sergeant screaming at us, and turned it down a notch. Because she needs to just calm down.

Kurt turned to me, exhilarated. "Isn't this awesome??"

I stared back in disbelief. And turned it down another notch.

"Position 3!! Position 3!!"

I stood up with the rest of the class, sweat dripping down my neck. I looked around the room, realizing that I was pedaling about half as fast as they were, and- "you know what? I'm over it," I thought to myself.

Then I stepped off my bike, and back into happiness.

"I can tell if you are cheating!!" I heard her scream as I smiled apologetically at Kurt, and walked out the door to go spy on my baby in the daycare.

The smile was a lie. I wasn't feeling apologetic at all.

I felt invigorated.

Monday, April 1, 2013

".....April fools?" He asked, hopefully.

"Syndil, your Dad is so jealous of your diaper. He wished he could just stand here and pee without anyone knowing."

"Right?? I was just telling Syndil we should buy some Depends!"

He stared at me in astonishment. "Wait, that's not..."

"They would be perfect on long car rides! Or even short ones. We would hardly ever have to stop. We could chug illegal amounts of Coca cola, and just pee all over the front seats. Well, I mean pee, and it wouldn't go all over the front seats. Just in our pants. But I draw the line at poop, Kurt. Don't even think about it."

"I wouldn't..."

"And how convenient would they be during nap time? Syndil sleeping on me, and I have a sudden urge- do I wake her up and run to the bathroom? Stay as still as possible and hope I don't start leaking? This wouldn't be a dilemma anymore. I could just go right there in bed."


"Or in the movie theater! You know that mad dash down the hall? Then you duck in a stall, pee as hard as you can, flush with your foot, rinse your hands, and dash back in 30 seconds flat? Well, those days are over!"

"'ve put a lot of thought into this, haven't you?"

I handed him the grocery list I wrote yesterday. And halfway down? Depends.

"I was going to let you discover it in the store, and see how you handled it in the moment. But since we are on the same page, let's just go buy them together."

".....April fools?" He asked, hopefully.

"You wish."

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What songs do you blast when you want to shake your booty?

I'm in a grumpy mood today. It started when I woke up and there was still some snow sticking to the ground.

It got worse when I searched and searched, and there was only healthy food in the kitchen. Obviously, I've been letting Kurt do the shopping a little too often.

And then my frustration boiled over when I read an email from Shutterfly telling me to update the links in a post I wrote YEARS ago. I may have overreacted to that one... But in my defense, THE POST IS 2 YEARS OLD. It felt like a slippery slope.

So in an effort to get over myself, I am going to blast some Spotify tunes, and have a dance party with my baby.

Any suggestions on tunes? What songs do you blast when you want to shake your booty?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Teething is gross.

My teething baby is like a snot fountain. How can someone so little drip so much?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

...because she is sitting on my lap? And her butt vibrated?

Kurt was organizing our coat rack.

(I want you guys to think about that for a second. And then think about me. And then wonder how we ever got married.)

But, back to my story.

Kurt was organizing out coat rack.

Syndil and I were watching him do it, when I heard/felt a distinct rumble in her pants.

"Oh hey, guess who farted??"

Kurt looked over, surprised.

", what?  How do you know that?"

"Gross, it's smelly. And I know because I felt it."

A strange look crossed his face.

"...because she is sitting on my lap? And her butt vibrated?"

"Oh! Syndil farted. Crazy timing. I was farting right then, too, and was really confused. Like, how did you feel it?"

And then it was my turn to be speechless.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You never know when your greasy self will be sitting outside, talking to a fireman.

I crawled behind the couch, squinting at the carbon monoxide detector. It shrieked in my ear.


I hit the reset button, but it kept on beeping- not constantly, about every 5 seconds.

"Ok Syndil, what do you think?"


"Good idea. Google will know what to do."

I opened the kitchen windows as I passed by, and turned the furnace off. Then I opened the front door, and hit the lock button on the screen, to keep it propped open.

Syndil shivered as a gust of 20-degree air blew into the room.

I braced her on my hip as I leaned in to type.

"Ok, google, what should I do?"

"Why are you googling this? Call the Fire Department and get out of your house!" Google answered.

I called 911, and explained that I wasn't sure if this was an emergency. They said they weren't taking any chances.

We bundled up, and headed outside. Syndil in her snow suit, me in my pajamas and Kurt's brown hoodie. Because I'm classy like that.

I could hear the sirens long before they pulled up. They made quite a few wrong turns, and I listened as they wound their way through the neighborhood.

"Maam, would you like to wait in the engine?"

I should have said yes. It would have been a lot of fun.

My neighbor ran over to see if we were ok. That was really nice.

"Syndil, remind me to bake him cookies."

In the end, it was just an old detector. But our stove is "unacceptable", so they are sending someone out from the gas company, to officially demand that we get a new one.

"Also, remind me to call the landlord."

As they were leaving, one of the men asked if I could come and dust his house, because ours is one of the least dusty homes he has seen.

You guys, I haven't dusted since we moved in a year ago. What does that say about the rest of Pittsburgh??

And then they all stopped to admire our porch screen. For about 3 minutes.

"It is such a good quality door! Look at this thick glass!"

"And see how it holds open like that? It is so well made!"

"Let's try to figure out who makes it!"

Bemused, I watched them crowd around it, searching for a logo.

And then they left.

Moral of the story? Take that shower you've been avoiding. Even if you don't plan on seeing anybody, you never know when your greasy self will be sitting outside in the light of day, talking to a fireman.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I've never known fear like this before.

Syndil's sharp little tooth terrifies me. Nursing is really scary right now.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I reached down inside myself, found a smile, and put it on my face.

Blearily, I opened one eye. Blinked. Blinked again.

He was still there.

"So, yes? You'll come down?"

What..? Why wasn't I still napping?

"Helena, come on. I've already mixed the dough. I just need your help for this next part."

Confused, I sat up and looked around the room. It was still daytime. I checked my phone. One hour since I had crawled into bed, hoping to get some uninterrupted Z's.

"Wait, so...cookies?" Was that what we were talking about?

"Yup, it's all ready! I'll meet you down there!"

I crawled out of bed, and put my slippers on. I thought about pants, Too tired for pants.

Stumbling into the kitchen, I saw Kurt carefully scooping cookie dough out of the bowl with a tablespoon, evaluating it, and then meticulously emptying it onto a cookie sheet. He paused, looking closely at the tablespoon. Then, shaking his head, he took a regular spoon, and scraped any leftover bits of dough into the little pile of future-cookie. Then he went back for another tablespoon.

I watched in silence for a minute. Our differences had never been so clear.

"It said I could use a rounded tablespoon, so I'm hoping this is right. I want them to be big."

"Sure....I'm sure it's.........fine."

I was completely engrossed by this display. He was scraping another tablespoon clean, getting every last bit off and into that perfect little pile. It was so.....irritating.

"...and then we can drop them off at people's houses! Like that old couple that haven't been to church in a few years. Remember them? They are really nice. We could swing by, let them know we are thinking about them. And then we could head over to..."

I tuned back out, thinking about my nice warm bed upstairs. 'This will be really cute in retrospect.' I mused. 'But right now, I kind of want to kill him.'

Syndil screamed happily from her swing.

He scraped out another precise tablespoon of dough.

I really wanted to punch him.

"So, what do you think? Will these be ok?"

I looked into his eager eyes, and realized that he was nervous. Was it because he had next to zero experience when it came to cookies? Or because he was trying so hard, and afraid I would shoot him down before storming back off to bed? Am I that scary?

Probably all of the above. Especially the scary part. I sighed deeply, silently. Then I reached down inside myself, found a smile, and put it on my face.

"Yes! These will be great. You did a great job. But, they are a little close together..."

I helped him move his perfect little piles apart, so that it wouldn't turn into a single, perfectly even mass of cookie all across the sheet.

After that batch went into the oven, I mixed up the chocolate chip batter.

"I just picked up 3 bags," he said, apologetically. "I didn't know which ones would be best. It seemed like it would be quicker than doing them from scratch."

"Yeah, these look great."

He watched closely when I scooped the dough out with my fingers, measuring it by sight.

"Whoa Syndil, mom has a crazy technique! Look at that, she's just eyeballing it!"

I sometimes forget that he grew up with only a single brother. Things that I took for granted are new and foreign to him.

And when it came to the peanut butter, my awesome rolling-the-dough-into-balls technique? Blew his mind.

I felt like a master chef, sharing my secrets to a captivated novice. It was electrifying. Almost made me forget about the nap I was supposed to be taking.


When they were cooling, we stood there munching, burning our tongues on the steaming-hot chocolate bits. Syndil watched from her swing, pretending to chew along with us.

After we divided the cookies out into plates covered with saran wrap, we looked at the leftovers. Tons of peanut butter, some chocolate chip, and only 3 of his large, tablespoon-size chocolate chunk cookies.

We each grabbed a chunk, and as we finished Kurt said, "You know, we are going to have to fight over that last one."

"Nah. You can have it."

"No. We are going to fight over it."

"It's ok. I don't mind. It's all yours."


I looked up, surprised at the intensity.

"We are going to fight over it."

He stared me down.

I blinked. He didn't. I swallowed. He kept on staring. It was...intense.

".....ok. yeah. we will."

Satisfied, he grabbed our daughter, and headed towards her carseat.

"Now, go put on some pants."

Yes, sir.

I'm still not quite sure what that was all about.

But that cookie? Is mine.

Right after I nap.


How sacred are your naps?

Does your spouse do anything adorable, that secretly drives you crazy??

And am I really that scary?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why I named my daughter Syndil.

My daughter, Syndil Willow

Some of you have asked how to pronounce it. It sounds just like "spindle", without the "p". Sin-dle. Or Sin-dil.  And it means "Strong, beautiful child of Helena."

That's the official meaning.

Well, it could be. There is no meaning, actually, that I've been able to find. It is too new. So I think that means I get to make one up. Maybe "Gassy child who loves feet." Or "Strong of heart". I'm open to other suggestions.

Most people like it. Some people hear "Cybill" or read "Sydney." Which is not a big deal. And a lot of people, mostly old ladies, look at me like I'm crazy.

So, where did it come from?

I've always liked it. I first heard it when I was a teenager. I told my mom about it (we were always talking about baby names), and she loved it. She was a fan of unusual, pretty names, and this one was both.

She died when I was 19.

It has been in the back of my mind, and the top of my list ever since.

I'm so glad Kurt liked it, it meant a lot to me. She would have loved any name, I'm sure, but it made me feel close to my mom to use it.

And Willow just sounded perfect with it.

A few days after we named her, Amber, my sister, mentioned something that surprised me.

"You know, Syndil Willow sounds a lot like your favorite word."

".......Huh. Yeah, it does. But I swear I didn't name her after the word Windowsill."

"Sure you didn't."

You guys, I really didn't. Yes, Windowsill has been my favorite word since high school. I love the way it sounds. The hollow W and O sounds. The delicate "Sill". To me, it is the perfect word.

(Whatever, I'm not that weird. You have a favorite word too. Right?)

...and yeah. Syndil Willow does sound a whole lot like Windowsill.

But it is a coincidence.

And that's it. that's how I came up with her name.


So how about you? How did you come up with your kids names? You can write about in a comment here, or do it on your blog and link it up to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Also, any suggestions for what Syndil could mean?

And what is your favorite word?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

These brownies are just a delicious side note.

This is a Wordful Wednesday post. Because sometimes pictures need a thousand words.

"Hey Kurt, I made you a brownie." 

"Wait, "A" brownie? Not a whole pan?" 

"...It's been a rough day." 


Yes, if you follow me on Instagram, you have already seen this photo. Such is life.

Have you ever done something like this? And did you regret it? Because, my biggest regret about the whole thing happened the next day, when I realized that if I had hidden that last brownie? I could have been eating it right then. Sometimes being a kind, sharing wife has its drawbacks...

And no, I don't think this is why I haven't lost all the baby weight. I'm thinking it's mostly genetics. And the fact that I've been looking at my Jillian Michaels DVD's and thinking "I should really start that," since October. These brownies are just a delicious side note.


By the way, I am hosting a giveaway on the Life in the Pitts Facebook page right now. It's for Valentine's baby leg warmers. Have you entered? Here is the link!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

So this is what it's like to be a mother.

"Dear Father,

Please take every thought or wish I've ever had for my own health, safety, and happiness;

and replace it with a prayer for my daughter,

that she will live a long, full, and happy life."

It is my plea every night, and my prayer every morning.

.....So this is what its like to be a mother.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I pulled my pants down, and squatted in the passenger seat. LIKE A LADY.

I made a quick run up to Ohio today. It's an hour and a half drive, and I left at 6:30am, in hopes that Syndil would sleep. She did.

Life in the carseat is SO much better now that she is older. If you have a tiny newborn who hates her carseat, know that I've been there, and it's awful, but even though it seems like it lasts forever, it really doesn't. There is light at the end of that dark tunnel.

But, I digress.

Syndil did great, and on the way home, I had to pee. I would have just toughed it out, but Syndil also had to eat, and was making it known that she would not be waiting the extra half hour until we got home.

I pulled over after the turnpike, and cruised through a little town. I was looking for somewhere with a big enough parking lot for me to nurse her without an audience.

I don't mind nursing in public, even without a cover. To me, this is what boobs are for, and Victoria's Secret is more of a secondary benefit, if you know what I mean.

Still, with a child who gets distracted by the ceiling, it is better to have a little seclusion, since I can't always grab my nipple before it makes a sudden appearance.

(breast feeding is going much better, btw)

I pulled into a McDonalds parking lot, and thought through my options. I could get Syndil out, carry her inside, pee with her on my lap, juggle the whole toilet paper and flush aspects, and pray she doesn't touch anything. Then I could try to use my wrists to hold her up as I awkwardly open the stall with my knees, turn the water on with my elbow, and dispense the soap with my chin, all in an effort to keep from touching her until my hands are washed. Then I'll have to scrub down my knees, elbows, and chin, since who knows what flu-ridden person has sneezed (or worse!) all over the bathroom fixtures.

I'm not usually a paranoid person. But I've cleaned enough bathrooms in my on-campus college career to know that people are gross.

So, after thinking through those options, I made a choice. One that I stand by.

I grabbed my empty, very large coke cup (don't judge, I'd been driving since 6am), pulled my pants down, and squatted in the passenger seat. Like a lady.

My Go Girl would have been useful in this situation. Remind me to put that in the dashboard.

(Yes, Annie got it for my birthday a few years ago, and I really recommend it for times like this, especially when you don't have a large coke cup, and have to improvise with a water bottle. Have you ever tried to pee into one of those? Ladies, don't do it. Our equipment isn't easy to aim.)

Then I opened the door, and poured it into the bushes. If anyone was looking (which I'm pretty sure they weren't) they would think I was getting rid of some accidental diet coke. It looked about the same color.

I need to be better hydrated. My new goal: when I pee in a cup, it should look like Sprite, or possibly Mountain Dew. Diet Coke pee is a problem.

Then I nursed Syndil (it took about 30 minutes because, yup, that ceiling sure is interesting.), and headed home. In a monsoon.

It's 12:29pm. What have you done today?

Edit: Kurt read this, and somehow got the impression that I had spilled pee all over the car. I didn't. Not even one drop. 


Anyone else have a child who seems determined to make you flash the world every time you nurse? Also, what's the weirdest place you've ever peed? 

And head on over to the facebook page for a lively discussion on what kind of soft drink your pee most resembles. "Lively" is a goal, guys. I'm going to need your help with that one.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Well, THAT was awkward. A link up.

We were outside the Dr's office. It's in a shady area. Not dangerous, but this is Pittsburgh. So my"shady" might be your "Too scary to walk alone in the daytime." It's all about perspective.

"What a cute little boy. How old is he?"

I looked over at the older lady asking me that question. She was in her 50's, and pushing a stroller. In the stroller was a cute little girl, maybe a few months older than Syndil.

I could have corrected her, but like I said yesterday, that gets really awkward. Since she was headed in the other direction, I just smiled, and said,

"6 months."

There. Noncommittal, gender-neutral answer.

"And your girl?"

"Oh, she's my granddaughter! She's 9 months."

I congratulated her, smiled, and started walking inside.

"Wait, I want to see him!"

Oh dear. I stopped, and, nervously reached down to tuck Syndil's blanket a little closer to her chin.The blanket may be gender neutral-ish, but her outfit was not.

"Oh! He is adorable! Look Kaneesha, he can be your boyfriend! You'll be the cutest couple! He is so handsome!"

Oh dear. Do I say something? I can't say something. I should have said something.

"What's his name?"

Now what do I do??

"Um, Ch-Charles?" I gulped out, a flash of pink catching my eye. Was the blanket creeping up over the edge?? I quickly tucked it back down, hiding the pink.

"Well, we'll call him Charlie, won't we? Hi Charlie! Come meet your your girlfriend Kaneesha! Oh, I just have to touch those cheeks!"

WHAT?? It's flu season! No way! I'm not going to let her... but yup, there she goes, touching "his" cheeks.

"Hi Charlie! You are one good lookin' boy! You's just the sweetest..."

She paused.

"Wait, why he wearing flowers on his shirt?"

OH NO. The blanket had slid down, revealing a very not-boyish outfit.

"Oh, uh..."

It was like watching a train wreck. I didn't know how to stop it.

She pulled the blanket down farther, and looked up confused.


 "...Well, uh, so... I'm late!"

I almost ran into the Dr's office. Where I died of mortification.

But the worst part? On the way out...

"Oh hey, Charlie's mom! Hey, why he wearing flowers? Why he wearing flowers?"

And I ran away.


Ok, your turn. Link up your most awkward post, past or present, into the linky down there.

And here is a button you can put in your post (if you want to), so other people can come and enjoy the awkward party.

Life in the Pitts

If the turnout to this party is good enough, we'll do it again- at least 4 times. Like I mentioned the other day, I have 4 EVEN MORE AWKWARD stories to share, but I don't want to do it alone. Ones more along the lines of this post I once wrote.

And if you do post, and you have a few minutes, please visit the person who posted before you. You'll probably want to, since who doesn't like an awkward story?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Calm down. She would be a cute boy.

I usually stick a flower on Syndil's head. It's not so much that it looks cute (it does), but that it makes her look like a girl.


Definitely a girl.

But when I forget to put one on? She looks like a boy. I know, because people always come up and tell me how cute my little boy is (even if she's wearing pink). It's ok, I mean, she would be a cute boy. I really don't mind.

But they do.

"Oh my gosh! I am so sorry! Of course she's a girl- look at those eyelashes! And those lips! I've never seen a more girly girl! Hi little girl!!!!!" All with a frantic look in their eye.

Calm down, people. I'm not offended.

I even get it. See?

 (This picture is a couple months old, but I think it illustrates the point)

She would be a cute boy.

But, to avoid the awkwardness, I usually just go with it.

"Cute boy!"

"Oh thanks!"

And we all move on with our lives.



Have you ever made that mistake? And how do you feel about giant flowers on a baby's head?


Be sure to comeback tomorrow, for a really awkward story. And a linky full of other awkward stories. I hope. You've got one too, right?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Would you like to hear an awkward story?

Hey guys, I'm thinking about doing a linky party this Thursday. I have a VERY awkward story to share, and I was hoping you guys would have awkward stories for me to read, too. And we could all share in our embarrassment.

I would give you a badge. This one.

Life in the Pitts

And then you could put that somewhere on your post, so other people can find the awkward party. If you want to. You could also link up, and not use the badge. It's not going to be one of those hard-core full-of-rules parties (like this one I once did).

If you have read, well, any of my blog, then you know that awkward is not a new thing for me. But this takes it to a whole new level. And here's the thing- it's not even my most awkward moment. I have at least 4 more stories that are worse. So, if the party is a hit, we can do this at least 4 more times, and every one of my entries will get worse and worse...

So, what do you think? Do you want to read my story? Would you participate in the party?

You could link a new post (that awkward story you've been thinking about writing, but were a little nervous about), or link up to an old cringe-worthy post. One like this, or like this. Or, gosh, like this.

Please comment and tell me if you would participate. I usually don't mind playing to what feels like an empty house, but if I'm going to do this post justice, I need some encouragement. See, I would have to draw stick figures. And it's been about 2 years since I've done that. It's daunting.

What do you think?

Monday, January 14, 2013

My list of things I want to do before I die

Recently, someone asked me what's on my bucket list. I didn't know what to say.

I've thought about it before, but never for very long, because all I can think of is skydiving.... and I've already done that. But it just seems like such a bucket-listy thing to say.

So I shrug it off, and move on.

This time, though, was different. It stuck in my mind. And so here is a list of things I've come up with. It is in no way complete, but it is a start.

Helena's list of Things-I-Want-To-Do-Before-I-Die.

I want to travel travel travel! Italy, Egypt, Ireland, Greece, etc etc etc. I have a very long Pinterest board dedicated to beautiful places I want to visit. And not just for a single day. I want to go for a few months, and really immerse myself in the culture, and explore every relatively safe nook and cranny.

Be a famous writer. Maybe from my blog (I'd probably have to write a bit more regularly to see that happen) and maybe from a book. Probably both.

Have a large, beautiful house designed by me, cleaned by someone else. I'm thinking libraries, reading nooks, secret passages...

Adopt a child. At least one. I want a large, happy, loud, diverse family.

I want to get caught by the police, being naughty in the backseat of our car at a local makeout point. In my 70s.

I want to be invited to (and able to afford) a Ted Talks weekend.

I want to cook thanksgiving dinner in my large, designed-by-me kitchen, surrounded by my children and grandchildren. Laughter and teasing, baking cookies together.

I want to go to a BlogHer conference!!

I want to be a professional photographer. And I want to do at least one session/event for free each month for a family in need.

And...that's it. So far.

What are some things on your bucket list?

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Anything that smells better than my armpits."

We left the airport, and headed to my Dad's house. Exhausted.

"Bad news, we have to stop."

He looked over, irritated. "Can't it wait?"

"Well, probably. I mean, I haven't worn deoderant in 3 days, so what's a few more?"

Horrified, he crossed 3 lanes, and pulled over immediately, into the grocery store parking lot.

I elected to stay in the car with the sleeping baby (as her food source, I am the first line of defense against grumpiness).

"What kind should I get you?"

"Anything, really."

"But which one??"

"Anything that smells better than my armpits."

I'm pretty sure he puked a little in his mouth.

Ah, marriage. Where you tell the truth, and the other person can only run so far...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"Well, that's unfortunate. I didn't even feel it."

We were chilling on the floor together. Kurt was lying on his back, flying Syndil in the air above him. I was looking on fondly. Then I noticed something.

"Uh oh, looks like someone peed!"

I reached over and felt the dark spot on Syndil's pants.

"What? I did?!?"

Horrified, Kurt reached down to check.

I stared at him in silence for a moment.

".....No. Syndil peed through her diaper."

Relief washed over his face.

"Oh. Good. I thought you meant me. I was like "Well, that's unfortunate. I didn't even feel it.""

And he was serious.

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