Bringing Sexy Back to St. Louis

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For years there have been battles between the helicopter mom and the free range parent. The co-sleeper and the cry-it-out devotee. But through it all, there’s one thing almost every mom can agree on.

The appeal of one Mr. Justin Timberlake.

That’s why I’m recruiting all moms in the metropolitan area for a special joint mission – to get Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z to divert their stadium tour to St. Louis this summer.  We have a long, hard road ahead of us – recently the duo announced the twelve dates for their tour, and St. Louis is nowhere on the list.

We work hard all day, we sacrifice and struggle – it’s about time we’re rewarded with two straight hours of Justin Timberlake on a St. Louis stage, preferably shirtless.

Even more important, we owe it to our children. Anytime I mention “Justin,” to my daughter, her immediate response is “Justin Bieber,” to which I silently weep. Do we really want our daughters growing up in a world where the number one Justin is a doll-faced 19-year-old who has yet to grow chest hair?

It’s us moms who have been there for JT every step of the way since N’Sync debuted in 1995. We’ve been by his side through the highs and lows. For every “D*** in a Box,” The Social Network and “Cry Me a River” moment, there’s been Yogi Bear and the Britney Spears matching denim horror of 2001. We made it through the cornrows and boy band overalls, and our prize has been “Senorita” crooned by a manly man in a skinny suit and grown-up beard.

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The past few weeks have been filled with joy as “Suit & Tie” hit the airwaves and we were treated to his swoon-worthy Grammy performance. (Me: “Justin’s going to be on the Grammys tonight!” MJ: “Justin Bieber?” Me: “No, for the thousandth time, Justin Timberlake. Timberlake!!” Mr. P: “You know she’s six, right?’) And seven long years of waiting, we’ll finally get our greedy little hands on JT’s third studio album on March 19. Even more exciting, he’ll host Saturday Night Live on March 9 and become Jimmy Fallon’s sidekick for five glorious nights starting March 11.

For JT, I would even break my no-stadium-concert rule. I’ve always loved concerts, but now that I’m old, it’s no longer fun to sit a million miles from the stage in a seat that’s mysteriously shrunk since I was 25. Not to mention the hipsters make fun of you when you bring your hemorrhoid pillow to The Black Keys concert so you can handle the rock-hard chairs for two hours. I prefer my concert going as if I lived on the Axiom starliner from WALL-E – I want a cushy chair to sit in and giant drinks brought before me. But for JT, I would tolerate Smurfs-sized stadium seats and $10 beer lines for just one minute of “What Goes Around…Comes Around.”

Now that JT has been named “cultural curator” for Bud Light Platinum, he has a direct connection to St. Louis. I mean, really, in a town this size, each one of us is probably just two degrees separated from him. Ask around at your playdates or church small groups – someone has to have a connection at InBev who could get us a meeting with JT at Ted Drewes. Just one hour with us and a Fox Treat concrete and he’ll immediately scratch Vancouver or Hershey, Pa. as stops on his tour list and replace them with St. Louis. You owe your Bud Light constituents this, sir!

As moms, we can make miracles happen. We squeeze actual human beings out of our lady parts. We braid hair and change diapers at the same time. We bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan – or, let’s be realistic, zap the microwavable bacon. Surely, we can use our feminine wiles and motherly negotiating skills to get two platinum-selling superstars to bring “Sexy Back” to St. Louis.

Now, who’s with me?

Miss Communication

With the weather finally starting to get cooler, I decided to take the Little P’s to the park one night to celebrate. And by celebrate, I mean me sitting on the bench reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter while the little ones threw mulch at each other and licked the jungle gym.

As we headed downstairs to leave, KT asked me to pick her up since girlfriend still hates it when her precious little feet touch the ground. I made my way down the stairs with KT in my arms when suddenly, the vacuum cleaner accessory brush someone courteously left on the steps seized my foot and threw KT and me down on to the landing.

With pain gripping my ankle and tears starting to flow, I looked over at KT who was sitting calmly on the floor until she realized “Hey, we fell down the stairs!” and began screaming her head off. Since I could barely crawl over to her, MJ raced up the stairs to alert her dad who was busy vacuuming.

Over the din of the vacuum, I could hear the two of them talking, and any second I expected Mr. P to race down the stairs, distraught with worry and concern.

But he kept vacuuming.

Oh no, I thought, maybe he hasn’t grasped the seriousness of the situation. Or maybe he’s tracking an elusive hairball under the bed he needs to suck up before he comes downstairs. I get it – I have the OCD as well.

But nope, he just went on a-vacuuming.

At this point, I am pissed. Between the anger and the tears, I have two little girls demanding to go to the park like I had promised. So, being the incredible martyr I am, I hobbled to the van with my flip-flops in hand and steam pouring out of my ears, cursing all the way.

The kids raced to the playground while I sat on the park bench with my ankle propped up. I began mentally shopping for all the Christian Louboutins I was going to purchase with my sweet, sweet alimony money and trying to decide which Magic Mike actor I was going to take as my lover.

Of course, my imaginary date at Macaroni Grill with Joe Manganiello was interrupted by one of my children accidentally peeing on herself, which disintegrated into my explaining to two wailing children that we had to go home because 1) no, jeans do not hide urine – in fact, jeans accentuate the fact you peed your pants, and 2) the other kids don’t want to Superman down a urine-soaked slide.

After we arrived home from our five-minute park escapade, I sent the little P’s up for a bath, and I finally collapsed on the bed. That’s when Mr. P and the dogs bounded in.

“Oh, Keely!” Mr. P cooed. “Are you ready for Mommy to take you on a walk?”

What the…?

“What the?! Are you f***ing kidding me?! Why are you f***ing teasing them? I can’t take them on a mother***ing walk!! I twisted my ankle!”

At that point, the dogs made the sign of the cross on their chests, and Mr. P looked at me in shock.

“When did you twist your ankle?”

“Um, before I went to the park. KT and I fell down the stairs.”

“I didn’t know that!”

“Yes you did – MJ went up and told you. And you just kept vacuuming.”

“She didn’t tell me anything! She started bouncing on the chair and told me you and KT were swinging. Then she went to her room and watched TV. Oh my god – do you think I would leave you at the bottom of the steps?”

“Ummm….”

“Wow. I can’t believe you thought I’d do that! I’m so sorry!”

“Well, uh, don’t let it happen again!”

As Mr. P turned around to help the girls, he paused and slowly spun around.

“Hey – wait a second! Remember that time I fell off the roof, and I was lying in pain on the ground, and you forgot to come check on me like you promised you would since I was working on the roof?”

Oh yeah. Crap.

“You’re forgiven now.”

If You’re Happy and You Know It…

My sweet little spitfire recently turned three.

It’s a bit of a relief. The terrible twos had been, well, terrible at times. The year saw a multitude of epic battles in the P house that rivaled the Hatfields and McCoys, except free of all the pig stealing and Bill Paxton’s gift of monotoned overacting. But there was whiskey. Lots of whiskey.

On the other hand, the past year has been wonderful. It has been incredible to see my little two-year-old grow into an independent, yet reserved, intelligent little lady who has a heart of gold and falls in love with everyone she gets to know. KT gives the best hugs and her choreography to “We Are Young” – exquisite.

Another amazing thing is witnessing KT find her voice. A year ago, she could barely squeak out the word, “mama” – but today, she talks non-stop, and two-word answers have morphed into full-fledged conversations. However, in talking with her the past few weeks, I have learned a few lessons that will come in handy over the next year.

Three-year-olds are dramatic.

When KT woke up on her third birthday, she rolled over and looked at me very seriously.

KT: So, I’m three, right?
Me: Yes, sweetie, you’re three.
KT: So, I’m not two.
Me: Correct – you’re not two.
KT: Oh, thank god!! (accompanied by a dramatic Southern Gothic waving of the arm)

I’m pretty sure I said the same thing on the day I turned 21, so I can only assume she thought she was eligible for a free Alabama Slammer shot at Applebee’s for her birthday. Or that she was finally going to get to see R-rated movies because Brave just didn’t have enough cursing for her tastes. Either way, I felt like the world’s biggest Debbie Downer by telling her the trip to Boxers and Briefs would probably have to wait another year.

Three-year-olds require a translator.

One of the best things about having two kids is that the older one is young enough that she can decipher the more confusing phrases that come out of KT’s mouth.  There have been so many conversations that leave me pulling my hair out because I don’t understand the deep meaning behind the phrase, “hamster shoes!”

One instance occurred when we were driving in the right-hand lane of the interstate on the way to my dad’s house.

KT: Backwards! Backwards!
Mr. P: KT, I can’t drive backwards!
KT: Yes, backwards! Go backwards!
Mr. P: I can’t drive backwards! It’s against the law.
KT: Backwards! Backwards! (Repeat 50 times at ever-increasing decibels).
MJ: Daddy, she thinks the car’s going backwards because the semi-trucks are passing us so fast.
Mr. P: Ohhhhhhh…..now I get it.
Me:  Dude, how slow are you driving?

A second occurred at Bobby’s Custard stand when I asked KT which topping she wanted on her sundae. This time, Mr. P had to translate for me.

Me: Do you want chocolate or strawberries on your sundae?
KT: Snakes.
Me: Snakes? Don’t be silly – do you want M&M’s?
KT: Snakes.
Me: You can’t put snakes on a sundae. They’d slitter around in your mouth…
KT: SNAKES!!!!
Me: Be serious – tell me what you want!
Mr. P: I think she means gummy worms.
KT: Yes – gummiy worms.

Three-year-olds take everything literally.

A lot of times when we’re hanging out at home, I’ll lie back on the couch and sit KT on my knees or place her on my feet and bounce her in the air. I get reminded every time I do it that Rudy Huxstable had to get stiches after Theo did the same thing to her, but after two years, we’ve had no major incidents. Until recently, and I’m the one who suffered.

As I was bouncing her on my knee into the air, we began to sing endless versions of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Having the sense of humor of a 12-year-old, I began to sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Poop Your Pants” just to make her laugh. Heh, heh – poop.

But the moment I said it, she scrunched up her little face and proceeded to break wind directly in my face as she descended back to my knees.

While it is humiliating to endure a toddler fart in your face, it did lead me to realize that this taking everything literally phase could have its advantages. Now every time every time we sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” the lyrics will encourage KT to show her happiness by 1) cleaning the toilet, 2) giving mommy a foot massage, or 3) mixing a martini.

Happy belated birthday, KT! I love you little girl and wish you nothing but sunshine and sausages over the next year! You make me laugh harder and harder as the months pass, and each day, you make me love stronger and stronger than I ever thought possible.

My Favorite Beard

Little factoid for you – I love a beard. And by beard, I mean an actual hair-on-your-face beard, not a covering-for-a-superstar-actor’s-penchant-for-male-masseuses type of beard. Though if Neil Patrick Harris had never stepped out of the closet, I gladly would have jumped into a beard role for him.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m older or the fact that my IUD causes my lady hormones to go all out of whack, but give me a man with a beard, and I’ll swoon. When I was in my twenties, my head was turned by a more metrosexual fellow – a Channing Tatum type if you will. Now that I’m 35, seeing the Gorton’s fisherman in the frozen food aisle of Target will give me the vapors.

It’s why I love The Amityville Horror Ryan Reynolds. And the band Alabama. And Zach Galifianakis. And when Mr. P gets all hairy in preparation for deer hunting season.

But since Mr. P has shaved up for summer, my favorite beard is the one worn by Nick Offerman, otherwise known as Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation.

Why do I love Nick Offerman (other than the beard?) Because he’s hilarious. Because he’s a fellow U of I alum. Because he has his own woodworking shop. In fact, just today I read a passionate piece from Nick on his obsession with building works of art out of natural materials, which totally touched my heart and maybe my lady business just a bit. Since I’ve been on the hunt to find my own passion, I love to read stories from people who have found happiness through creativity.

But above all else, I love Nick Offerman for this:

Don’t It Make You Wanna Scream?

Remember my pal Milton Verret? Or should I say, arch nemesis Milton Verret?

One year ago, he outbid me for the one article of clothing I’ve wanted since I was six years old – Michael Jackson’s Thriller jacket.

I know what you’re thinking – 1) Nicole, you couldn’t afford the balled up tissue Michael stuffed in the Thriller pocket, and 2) You didn’t even place a bid on the jacket, and 3) Verret used the jacket to raise money for children’s charities while you were going to use it as a swim cover-up.

All valid points, but the fact is, my intent was there. And when someone screws me over, I tend to hold a grudge. It’s why I disowned my brother after he left my skateboard in a field to be run over by a tractor 23 years ago. And I didn’t even skateboard.

So when Julien’s Auctions announced it was auctioning off a new batch of MJ costumes, I did a little moon walk. Granted, the lot isn’t nearly as exciting as last time – it’s more “MJ wore this when he presented an award at some ceremony” – but there are two articles that piqued my interest, and now I just have to make a heartwrenching decision between the two.

The Captain EO shirt – At first, I was all excited thinking it was the actual full military ensemble from the movie, but alas, it’s just the rainbow motif Spandex shirt he wore underneath it. But I thought I could use it to my benefit – it has to be affordable, considering it’s just a t-shirt. Plus, the rainbow would allow me to coordinate the shirt with all the shades of hot pants in my closet.

The downside –  it’s a t-shirt and one that begat thousands of mass-produced copies. I could easily order one for $34 off eBay that doesn’t smell like Bubbles and could actually fit over my boobs. In fact…***running off to eBay***

The Scream Spandex – Ok, so I will be bidding on the Scream outfit, which is really a more fitting choice anyway. There are so many nights I lie awake pondering what I’m going to wear clubbing the following weekend. And by clubbing, I mean happy hour at Chili’s. The Scream ensemble is ideal because:

  • Dark colors are slimming. So is Spandex – it’s a full-body Spanx.
  • It’s perfect for mixing and matching. I can pair the pants with an apron shirt just like all the girls at Joe’s Brewery circa 1997.
  • Nothing screams summer in St. Louis like head-to-toe black Spandex.

So, between my can recycling money and the credit I got for taking a belt back to New York and Company, I think I’m good to bid on December 2.

Watch out, Milton. I’m coming for you, baby.

Going Blue and Green

I hate, hate pictures of myself. That’s why I only post fuzzy pictures or cover my face with Paula Deen riding things.

However, today is National Blue and Green Day – a day to show your support of eye, organ and tissue donation by wearing Donate Life America’s colors of blue and green. In honor of the event, I reached out to some local bloggers to ask them to show their blue and green, so I needed to jump on board as well.

So, here’s my look for Blue and Green Day. Yes, they were taken on Easter morning because it’s the one day both of my children are clean at the same time. And yes, my children are in the picture to not only show our family’s support of donation, but to take attention away from my mug.

Why do I support donation?

  • 113,000 Americans, including 1,600 in Missouri, are waiting for organ transplants. Thousands more require life-enhancing cornea, bone and tissue transplants.
  • Each day, 18 people die from the lack of available organs for transplant.
  • Since 1995, 3,200 Missourians have died or become too sick to receive a transplant while waiting.
  • One donor can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of up to 50 recipients.
  • Of the 25,000 people who pass away in the St. Louis region each year, only about 200 are able to be organ donors.
  • It only takes two minutes to register at www.donatelifemissouri.com or www.donatelifeillinois.com.

The biggest reason? I support donation because I’ve met so many people whose lives have been impacted because of the gifts of others. Growing up, I knew a couple of people who had received transplants, but since I’ve become involved with Donate Life Missouri, I see these stories on a day-to-day basis. And each day, I’m humbled by a donor family who has found strength through donation or a recipient who is taking Taekwondo with her two kids because she received a heart transplant 20 years ago.

In honor of Blue and Green Day, I urge you to post your own blue and green looks to the Donate Life America and Donate Life Missouri Facebook pages to show your support of donation and enter to win great prizes from both organizations.

And be sure to visit these incredible bloggers who are showing their support today:

CoMo Style – Inside Columbia magazine
Crazy and Cool with a Side of Crafty
The Cubicle Chick
Economy of Style
Original Cyn (Check out Cynthia’s incredible story on living donation)
Rung Boutique
sKIDmarks

I’m Solo, I’m Shoppin’ Solo

There are certain out-of-the-house activities which suit my two lovely daughters.

Movies are good. They’d sit and watch a French documentary on linguistics if you threw them in a darkened theater with a bag of popcorn and a Coke.

Anything with animals is a successful outing as well. MJ and KT would spend hours in the cat adoption area of PetSmart if I let them. I’m pretty certain that one day they’re going to run their own vet clinic or have their own sister lion tamer act.

But shopping – even if it’s a 10-minute run-in – is officially out from now on.

When MJ was three, the girl loved shopping. She would pick out clothes for me, and in the dressing room, she would exclaim how fabulous everything looked. Talk about boosting the old ego. But now that she’s five, there are so many other things she’d rather be doing, and picking out shoes for mom just isn’t as fun as it used to be.

KT has never been able to handle shopping. Ever. So I always leave her at home with Mr. P, especially when I go grocery shopping since she insists on riding in the ginormous car-shaped shopping carts with the wonky front wheel. It’s pretty much like pushing a Toyota Tundra up a mountain with David Lee Roth screaming in your ear. She also enjoys peeking underneath the dressing rooms at The Limited to say hello to the other shoppers.

However, last week Mr. P was out of town, and I had a couple of errands to run. Quick ones – pick up some dog food at Target and exchange a dress. Twenty minutes total – tops.

I did everything I could to prepare KT – I warned, I bribed, I begged. I showed her my C-section scar to guilt her into behaving. She nodded with everything I said, so I thought we had a mutual understanding. But within two minutes of entering the store, she:

  • Pulled every shirt off the rack she thought was “bootiful.”
  • Yanked the size stickers off five pairs of jeans, because OMG, “STICKERS!!!!”
  • Grabbed a handful of glass beads from a jewelry display.

I should have known better. I should have grabbed her and made a run for the door. But then MJ saw a very inexpensive, yet very cute, dress she wanted to try on. And well, I did too. So I caved. How much trouble could she get in a dressing room?

Me: KT, please don’t open the door when Mommy and MJ are changing clothes, ok?
KT: K, mommy.
Me: KT, I mean it. Don’t open the door.
KT: No open door.

I gave KT my iPhone to keep her occupied, and MJ and I began whipping off our clothes in the world’s fastest attempt to try on two dresses. That’s when I saw a little butt and two size-eight Nikes shimmying out the room under the door.

Covering myself with my jacket, I stuck my head out, shouting KT’s name, but she was nowhere to be seen.

That’s when I heard the half-naked woman scream in terror in the dressing room next to me.

And then I heard a two-year-old scream in terror after coming face to face with a screaming half-naked woman.

I could just leave her there, right? I mean, I knew where she was.

Me: Ma’am, I am so, so sorry. KT, crawl back under, honey.
KT: WHAAAAAAAAAA???
Me: KT, crawl under the door and get back here.
KT: WHAAAAAAAAAA???
Me: (sticking my hand under the dressing room door while trying not to flash the male dressing room attendant my lady lumps). Here, grab my hand and crawl under.
KT: WHAAAAAAAAAA???
Half-naked stranger: Here…I’ll just…open the door (shoves KT out the door while trying not to flash the male dressing room attendant her lady lumps).
KT: (Wipes her tears, gives me a sneer and proceeds to run out of the dressing room).

MJ, with her catlike quickness, somehow managed to get a reasonable amount of clothes on and catch KT before she hightailed it out of the store. I threw the rest of my clothes on, left the store’s clothes in a pile on the bench, gave the attendant my sincerest apology, and ran through the store while putting on my sandals at the same time.

I seriously owe MJ a dress.