Will Work for Chocolate

July 15, 2013 at 7:00 am | Posted in Family, Me, Serial Commas | 17 Comments
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Raise three kind, creative, patient, helpful, empathetic children while maintaining my sanity, marriage, and hidden cache of chocolate.


  • 7+ years of experience growing, birthing, and raising children.
  • Expertise in multi-tasking, resource allocation, conflict management, customer service, program development, scheduling, chauffeuring, and train-track assembly.


  • Successfully completes numerous tasks simultaneously, including talking on the phone, digging a red Matchbox car out of my purse, wiping someone’s nose, and cutting off sandwich crusts (after washing my hands, of course).
  • Arbitrates disputes over who ate whose Cheerios, who squished whose roly poly, who isn’t sharing the paper-towel-tube telescope, and who pulled the dog’s ear first.
  • Teaches manners to otherwise caveman-like children who resist learning to pee in the potty, share their toys, and color on the paper (and only the paper).
  • Utilizes educational resources including television, computers, and video games to prepare children for school.
  • Possesses uncanny knack for knowing location of missing household items including left red rainboot, yellow cupcake eraser, favorite stuffed bunny, froggy sippy cup, and library book due tomorrow.
  • Treats boo-boos from keeto bites and cat scratches to goose eggs and stubbed pinky toes.
  • Manages four laundry baskets, three toilets, 56 markers, 56 marker lids, and one husband.
  • Able to overcome a variety of obstacles, including sleep deprivation, wasp nests, and refusals to eat broccoli or anything green for that matter.


  • Clean floors if you don’t look too closely.
  • Record WWF score once of 114 points for the word “zouk,” obtained while children were feeding Play-Doh pizza to the dog.
  • Children who sleep through the night in their own beds. Mostly.
  • Recipient of lifetime supply of rainbow drawings.


Are you hiring? What skills are on your mothering resume? And would you like to be paid in Cookies & Creme Hershey Kisses, too?


I is for “I’m an innovator in my industry.” See more I’s at Jenny’s.

Jenny Matlock


Bag Lady

May 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Posted in Family, Me | 18 Comments
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I got a new bag. It’s big. It’s cute. And it was on sale!

It’s the kind of bag that looks like it might hold exciting things like designer lip gloss, breath mints in a fancy silver tin, an iPad, or a chic planner with entries like “Mani/Pedi” and “Drinks with J.”

But no. Not my bag. While stylish on the outside, inside it’s all business. Okay, it’s mostly business with a smidgen of chaos. Because my bag is a mom bag.

Here’s an inventory:

  • 1 cloth sunglasses case with green marker stain (and, surprise, the sunglasses are actually inside!)
  • 1 brown paper bag snagged from restaurant in case my sick child needs to puke in the car
  • Girl’s size 6X red sweater
  • Craft store flyer and coupon (Bonus: coupon not expired)
  • Receipt from recent merchandise return stapled to original receipt stapled to temporary store membership card because real membership card is … not in bag
  • Wallet (whose contents include a Romanian bus ticket, the Clean 15 list, a dental floss coupon, and a heaven-sent Starbucks gift card)
  • 2 bottles hand sanitizer
  • Tissues (unused, I think)
  • Shout wipes (unused, I think)
  • Fancy bottle of sunscreen from infamous weekend in Florence
  • 3 tubes chapstick (Carmex, Blistex, and cherry-flavored)
  • 1 large package baby wipes
  • 1 pair 3T Thomas the Tank Engine undies
  • 1 pair 3T Batman undies
  • 1 set of instructions for a “Kids Herb Planter”
  • 3 packages fruit snacks
  • 1 empty fruit snack wrapper
  • 3 pieces Super Bubble gum
  • 1 rubber duckie
  • 2 reusable grocery bags
  • Keys
  • More keys
  • Orange emergency whistle
  • 3 Wendy’s coupons that expire tomorrow
  • 1 “Best Smiles Dental” pen
  • 1 rusted penny from the playground
  • 1 rusted washer from the playground
  • 1 cell phone, 14 Words with Friends games in progress, 20% of battery remaining
  • 1 Sleeping Beauty cell phone with 3 dead AG13 batteries (Note to self: find and purchase AG13 batteries)
  • 1 library book (Bonus: not overdue)
  • 1 Sheriff Woody toy hat
  • 1 green bouncy ball
  • 1 Blue Bell ice cream lid

What’s in your bag? A puke bag? Thomas undies? Expired coupons? Rusted washers? And what else??

March Madness

April 1, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Posted in Bun, Family, Giggles, Lollipop | 5 Comments
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March madness? At our house, it doesn’t involve basketballs or brackets or neon yellow sneakers. It’s all about the eggs. And the chocolate. And making sure your siblings don’t get one more string of crinkly fake grass than you in their baskets. Not to mention jelly beans.

The hunt for eggs is mostly complete before Mommy drags herself out of bed toward the gleeful shrieks coming from downstairs.

The dog finds eggs, too. And eats them. This does not turn out well later.

Small children devouring chocolate bunnies results in sticky fingers, chins, cheeks, eyebrows, elbows, nostrils, knees, toes, and ear lobes.

As if more sugar was needed, there is syrup for dinner. Oh, and, bunny-shaped pancakes.

But … No yucky black-licorice jelly beans enter the premises under any circumstances.

Three sets of small fingers search all baskets a minimum of seven times to ensure that tribute has been distributed equally.

The cat protests the bunny ears forced on his head by eating some faux purple fur.

No one falls asleep until at least two hours after bedtime. And, somehow, there is no leftover Easter candy for Mommy and Daddy to sneak.

If I get to the grocery store early enough Monday morning, there are always a few teeny-tiny bags of heaven-sent Cadbury mini-eggs hidden behind the giant generic chocolate coins on clearance.

And that one last dyed egg? Will just not be found.

What signals Easter at your house? How do your pets involve themselves in the celebration? And where did you find that last egg?

With this Ring …

March 21, 2013 at 6:21 am | Posted in Bun, Giggles, Lollipop, Photo Tuesday | 16 Comments
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To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.
— Ogden Nash

My little ring bearers lost a shoe and forgot their way. My sweet flower girl forgot to sprinkle her petals. And they all went to bed with icing in their hair. The day couldn’t have been more perfect.

What funny things have your children done in family weddings? How do you get buttercream out of taffeta? And why do little boys look so stinking cute in suits??


“R” is for “with this ring” … See more Rs at Jenny’s.

Jenny Matlock

Birds, Bees, and Bunnies

April 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Guest Posts, Haiku Friday | 4 Comments
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Today, Rachel’s here.
She ferments. And eats road kill.
And grows stuff. Green stuff!

She shares 800
Feet with her man Dan and her
Two kiddos. She’s brave.

Her poem? “Bee”ware.
It’s rated PG-13.
You’ll snort your coffee.


By Rachel at 6512 and Growing

New life pops and darts
Blossoms beckon honeybees
Green grass stitches up

In our warm bright room
I lay Dan down with a kiss
Outside, insects mate

While inside, we try
not to make anything as
precious as new life


Don’t forget …
Comment in haiku
And you could win something cool …

From Transylvania!

Bun: A Dictionary

April 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Posted in Bun | 12 Comments
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bah n.
bath, or ball, or occasionally button; determine by context.

beh n.
denotes an animal of any kind, usually a dog, sometimes a zebra, once a flamingo.

cookie n.
the only acceptable choice at meal time.

Can you spot the bah and kuk?

gaga n.
popcorn, to be eaten at snack time or fed to the dog.

gwee v.
an abbreviation for “Give me some of whatever it is you’re eating, and give it to me now”; usually accompanied by finger-pointing and feet-shuffling.

kuk n.
1. a vehicle of any kind, most often a truck. 2. sidewalk chalk, esp. when smeared on hands or pants.

mommy n.
the sweetest word in the English language; guaranteed to turn your heart into a puddle.

nah adv.
no; usually enunciated as a growl.

num n.
a pacifier; also known as “baby’s first addiction.”

wawee n.
waffle, the second most acceptable choice at meal time; see also “cookie.”

wee-wow n.
the sound a kitty cat makes; see also “beh.”

What’s your little one saying these days? Why is “no” such a powerful word for the toddler set? And do you like wawees??

Gooooooaaaaal: An Expat’s Guide to Soccer in Europe

March 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Posted in Photo Tuesday, Transylvania | 12 Comments
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1. Whatever you do, don’t call it soccer. It’s fotbal.

2. Mostly men will be in attendance. The line for the ladies’ room will still be twice as long. (Some things are universal.)

3. Cheer when everyone else does. Conversely, shake your first in the air and shout obscenities when everyone else does.

4. Even though it looks like the players are running pell-mell across the field, the game is one of detailed strategy. When I figure out exactly what that strategy is — aside from maximizing the number of times the ball bounces off any player’s head — I’ll let you know.

5. Don’t expect beer. Or hot dogs. Paprika-flavored potato chips? Of course.

6. The game will go on, rain, shine, snow, wind, fog, sleet, or apocalypse. Dress accordingly.

7. The number of times the paramedics rush onto the field with the stretcher is not indicative of how many injuries there are. Rather, it reflects the acting ability of the players.

8. Red cards are bad. Yellow cards are an opportunity to direct certain hand gestures at the referees.

9. Don’t, I repeat, don’t ask which guy is David Beckham.

10. Let yourself be awed. It’s a pretty amazing spectacle.

Have you ever been to a soccer, I mean football, match? Ever had paprika-flavored chips? And why is the line for the ladies’ room always so much longer?


Freezing Points: A Survivor’s Manual

January 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Posted in Bun, Family, Giggles, Lollipop, Transylvania | 23 Comments
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Do you know what the dash thermometer read when I got in the car to take the kids to school this morning? -14.5°C. (Yes, that’s a minus.) And the windshield was iced over. On the inside. The five-liter bottle of water I had left on the floorboard? Frozen solid.

All this is to say, it’s cold here. Nose-numbing cold. Ear-burning cold. Booger-freezing cold.

We are so out of our element.

To prepare others who may one day find themselves in a land where no one thinks twice about icicles hanging off their bumper, I have drafted a survivor’s manual* with tips and tools for staying warm — and conserving your socks — through the winter season. Toss your earmuffs on the radiator, wrap your non-mouse hand around a mug of hot chocolate, and enjoy.

1. Buy snow chains.
Put them in the car before you drive two hours to the wilderness to go sledding.

2. Buy mittens. In bulk.
Your children will lose one approximately every 3.72 days.

3. Listen to the teacher.
When your son’s teacher sends a note home that he needs weatherproof pants to wear at recess, don’t ignore it. If you do, she’ll tell you, in detail, how he cried his beautiful brown eyes out over his wet jeans and socks.

4. Follow the New Yorker’s lead.
When driving in treacherous conditions, make sure to have a New Yorker in the car. Watch her. If she’s not flinching, gripping the armrest, or dialing a tow truck, chances are, you’re going to be okay. (Stop flinching, gripping the armrest, and wondering if you should call a tow truck.)

5. Bake for the neighbors.
When you back your car into the bushes and the tires refuse to free themselves from the roots and snow, it will become crystal clear to those around you (and possibly those on the next street over, depending on how loud your engine is) that you have no idea what you’re doing. Neighbors will come to your rescue. For more than an hour.

Bake for them. Bake lots. And use your super-secret-and-scarce cache of chocolate chips.

6. Boycott Facebook.
Do not, under any circumstances, read Facebook updates from friends who are wearing shorts, getting their RDA of Vitamin D, and walking to the mailbox without dodging icicles.

7. Look for the sleigh.
Your car is stuck in the snow near a picturesque village. Your children are either (1) unhappily frozen to their sled seats or (2) flailing in knee-deep drifts. Odds are even that a horse-drawn sleigh will come to your rescue. (In Romania, at least.)

8. Beware of the sun.
One day, the sun will finally burst through that gray infinity of sky. It will. And you will give in to the temptation to hang your laundry out. Then? You will get busy doing dishes, chauffeuring tiny people, rearranging boots to minimize snow meltage, sneaking spoonfuls of Nutella, and worrying about the snow-laden power lines outside.

You will forget your laundry. And, yes, it will be frozen.

*These tips may or may not be the direct result of personal errors. I’ll never tell.

Have you ever learned about winter the hard way? Ever gotten a talking-to from your child’s teacher? Ever frozen your skivvies?


Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
See the photos.

Are We There Yet?

January 2, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Posted in Family, Transylvania | 66 Comments
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13 days. 4 countries. 3 kids. 1 car. We did it.

All we lost was a pair of earmuffs, a hat, and a black crayon. And maybe a few shreds of sanity.

What we gained was an unforgettable international adventure that included buses, subways, trams, a horse-drawn carriage, a thermal bath, monkeys, seals, a giant Ferris wheel, ice skates, ketchup-flavored Cheetos, glue guns, castles, and butterflies.

And two shots of Slovakian moonshine.

Here’s what made the top 10.

Austria, Slovakia, Hungary: Kid Favorites
10. The longest, fastest escalators in the history of the industrialized world in the Budapest metro.

9. The baboon at Vienna’s Natural History Museum. And his colorful butt cheeks.

8. The big pile of dog poop in the square with the giant Christmas tree.

7. Any machine that involves inserting a coin and watching it get squashed into a souvenir, voilà!

6. Kinder eggs. (Seriously, the U.S. is missing out.)

5. McDonald’s. Anywhere.

4. Graffiti. Anywhere.

3. Elevator buttons. Anywhere.

2. Their first water slide. And bumper car. And can of pineapple soda.

1. The rotating, self-sanitizing toilet at our first hotel. (Hours of fun. Hours.)

Austria, Slovakia, Hungary: Grown-Up Favorites
10. Aforementioned Slovakian moonshine.

9. Kids who refuse to eat anything except single-serving packs of peanut butter. (More mushroom soup, sweet cabbage, schnitzel, and strudel for us!)

8. 38-degree-Celsius heated pools. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

7. Gone with the Wind. And Legends of the Fall. And The Lion King. In Slovakian.

6. Hotel balconies and windows with wide ledges … For dirty-diaper storage, of course.

5. Locals. Who speak English. And offer directions. And help lift strollers onto buses. And return dropped mittens. And offer gingerbread to cranky children.

4. The espresso-cappuccino-hot-chocolate machine at the hotel breakfast buffet. Refill? Yes, please.

3. Highways, glorious highways. Romania, take note.

2. Being quiet and still so the kids can fall asleep. Then accidentally falling asleep ourselves. Before 9. Three nights in a row.

1. The five of us. Together. No matter what country we’re in.

What did your children enjoy most about Christmas vacation? And you? And have you ever had a Kinder egg??


Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
See the photos.

Haiku Friday

September 23, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Posted in Haiku Friday, Me, Transylvania | 9 Comments
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Haiku Friday: An Open Letter to Halle Berry

Dear Halle, It’s me,
Stacia, from Romania.
I just heard the news.

You broke your foot in
Spain. And I’m here to tell you:
I know, girl, I know.

It hurts. You don’t know
what anyone is saying.
And you want your mom.

Here’s some advice, from
Someone who’s been right where you
Are not long ago.

Take the drugs. Don’t be
Tough and try to ride out the
Pain. Just take the drugs.

Hire someone to give
You daily pedicures. (Casts
Make your feet gnarly.)

When you can’t sleep, read.
Or sing songs or do puzzles.
Don’t lie there and think.

Make ’em serve tapas
Or something. Just enjoy Spain
Any way you can!

I won’t lie, healing
Is slow. Slow. You’ll hate your foot
Before it’s over.

You’ll hate the doctor,
Therapist, pharmacist, and
Olivier, too.

They get it. It hurts,
And you’re frustrated. Cry. Curse.
Throw things. Get it out.

Think of your little
Girl. When you can’t be strong for
You, be strong for her.

What’s your advice for Halle? What’s your favorite thing about Spain? And how do your kids help you find strength?


Fluffy Bunnies in Romania:
Read the tales
See the photos.

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