Dirty Hair Diaries

I stumbled via Pinterest onto a fun little blog that has some good beauty tips. I first watched Pink Pistachio’s video on straight hair and used her techniques for fixing my hair on Sunday. I was happy with it. I also watched her video on dirty hair, and after the good hair day on Sunday, decided to give the no shampoo, dry shampoo a try, too. I ordered some dry shampoo on drugstore.com and announced my experiment on Facebook:

I am attempting to move to twice-a-week shampooing with the help of dry shampoo. If you see me, to avoid uncomfortable criticism, please use the following codes: If you like what you see: Your hair is so shiny; If you don’t: Oh, I really like your earrings.

I got lots of interest and positive feedback and one friend suggested I keep a dirty hair diary. Here it begins.



I shampooed and styled on Sunday morning. My photo log begins at the end of Monday, from left to right.

Monday evening, doing fine. Just brushed out.

Tuesday morning, I’m happy. A little dry shampoo and a few hits of the flat iron.

Wednesday morning. Still happy. Same routine as Tuesday.

Thursday morning. Probably could have gone with a washing this morning, but I stretched the limits.

Friday morning. Shampooed and styled and started over with day one. Rosemary and mint never smelled so luxurious!

I think a Thursday morning and Sunday morning washing and styling will be the routine. I liked not having to rush through a shower and blow dry every morning. (Or in reality, a shower and let it dry on its own.) I took baths in the morning, some short, some long enough to read a chapter in my book, and then touched up my hair and put on a full face of makeup. Really, skipping the wash and blow dry only saves me ten to fifteen minutes, but when you’re trying to keep your kids from killing each other or themselves, fifteen minutes is a long time. I felt better taking those minutes to make my hair and face look more pulled together than spending in hiding in the shower. Honestly, I try to hide there, but my three year always manages to find me, strip herself down, and jump into the shower while my eyes are closed lathering up and rinsing my hair. Oh, wow. Is that what they call a breakthrough in therapy? Maybe *that* is the reason I like this less frequent shampooing thing. I don’t feel hunted when I am vulnerable with a soapy head. Amazing. And now we can move forward.

What I did over summer vacation


During the last days of school, after having been on a freelance hiatus for the entire school year, I spent the morning sending out my resume. I just really wanted to find another freelance gig. I had stumbled into a really sweet arrangement while the girls were tiny. I started doing some freelance editing and proofreading for an educational publisher for ELA assessments (That’s English-Language Arts.) My journalism degree plus teaching experience plus master’s degree was the trilogy that got my foot in the door, but as my name was passed around to editors of other content areas, I gained experience editing science, math, and history. And one day I got a call from an editor who had a novel she needed copy edited. I admitted I had never done it, and she admitted it was new to her, too. Then, as often happens in the publishing biz, that company was divided up and sold–the fiction was sold to one publishing house; the educational to another. Boom, I had two clients. And I was very busy. And then pregnant again. And tired. I wound up on an item writing assignment, and that was great pay, but when it ended, I declined the next project with the educational publisher and just focused on fiction. We fell into a routine of one novel due every two weeks. That went on for about five years until they pulled copy editing in-house, and I got canned. I decided that I’d just enjoy time with the girls and volunteer at Caroline’s school. But suddenly, as summer loomed and I realized I had not worked the whole school year, I was frantic to find something. I didn’t think that morning of resume emailing would amount to much, but it did. This time, the trilogy of my desire, my experience, and a publisher’s immediate need got my size 8s in at an independent publisher. I edited several novels over the summer, and four of those are about to be released! (covers and links above)

Opportunity knocked again when the publisher asked me to step in to finish up ghost writing a book that needed to ready for a fall release. I’m listed as editor on the book, but I collaborated on the writing. And I think that may be what I want to do for a while. It’s storytelling and journalism rolled into one with the material provided (by the “author”).

Finding Daddy is an amazing story of a sweet family in rural South Carolina. The two little boys got off the bus on their first day of school to find their daddy murdered by crack-heads. The daddy had just given his life to Jesus weeks before and been baptized with his sons. The book is his wife’s story of their lives before, of the details of the murder, and of their lives now–especially their journey to remember their daddy and how their faith helps them through.

There are more great titles coming, too! I love my job!





Call me, maybe, Free Range Tiger Mom

I think one of my favorite things about being a mom to no-longer babies is that I don’t need the labels anymore. It’s no more breastfeeder or not, sleep-trainer or not, media-free or not (because pretty much everybody has given up on being media-free by the time the kids are seven…well, come to think of it, all of that has past by seven! Imagine that, they wean and sleep, eventually.) But, there are still labels. Stay-at-home or working-mom. (I manage to be both, lucky me, sort of…I feel that I don’t fully embrace either label since I work just a little for pay.) Free-range mom or helicopter mom or tiger mom or French-style mom or homeschooler or special needs mom or PTA-mom or . . . what am I missing? . . . drunk mom? (or is that universal?)

Seriously, I am often torn looking back on my early parenting years. I never embraced all the judgement that was involved. After all, I was a c-section mom in the world of gentle disciplining extended breastfeeding cloth diapering stay-at-home-moms, so I understand that we all may not make the same choices given the knowledge and circumstances we have, but I did surround myself with like-minded mamas–the “attachment parenting” crowd. They kept me sane. They taught me. I kept them sane. I taught them. I know for many, that is a lifelong, or at least child-rearing-long, label. I guess I took off the tag when mine were all weaned and enrolled in (pre)school. Still, some of the moms I met in those years are my closest friends.

When I took the girls to the drop-in Friday Fun Day at the neighborhood gymnastics studio today, I saw the moms finishing up the mom-and-me open gym time that I loved attending when each of my daughters was a toddler. I saw the moms with babes in carriers wrangling toddlers out the door. And, though those really are days that I look back on fondly and will always cherish, I was relieved that I was not in their comfortable mom shoes anymore. I had showered, fixed my hair, put on makeup AND JEWELRY and was about to drop my kids off so I could get some things done on my own time. Indulgent things like a trip to Target, lunch at Chipotle by myself, and packing up my Sunday School classroom for our church’s impending move.

And then we came home and the girls ran next door to retrieve their neighbor-buddy to play. I know in my last post I waxed nostalgic about cousins, but indulge me again, if you will. My next door neighbor growing up was a boy a few months younger and one grade below me in school. We were the best of friends. We had so many amazing and dramatic adventures. I remember fondly the “abandoned Indian village” we found in our backyards. Well, the kiddos asked me to pull up ancient writings online so they could translate the engravings they discovered in some rocks in our backyard. It made my heart smile. All drama. All the time. I like to think of myself as a Freerange Mom in that regard — allowing the kids to roam and create and imagine (and kill some aliens, as they were doing earlier.)  Really, in the summer, they have endless time for that, and even during the school year (I know because I just outlined our routine for the fall) they have a few hours a day for that, too.

But, alas, since I *did* outline our fall routine, I suppose I have to embrace a bit of the Tiger Mom label, too. They are not antithetical, you see. My girls have booked schedules for the fall: with second grade public school for Caroline every day plus Tuesday ballet, Wednesday piano, and Thursday gymnastics; and with Tuesday and Thursday nature preschool for Elizabeth, Wednesday ballet/theater lunch program on Wednesday, Monday Bible study with mom and Friday library storytime plus Tuesday afternoon swimming lessons and Thursday afternoon gymnastics. We are booked solid. I know all of these activities PLUS time for homework and reading AND free play time are only possible because I keep our activities within my triangle of one to three miles.

The labels still exist. They didn’t disappear. What has disappeared (I hope) is my need to segregate myself from people who make different choices than I do. We can be friends. We can disagree on some things and agree on others. But whatever, we love our kids and we are all doing what we believe is best for them and our families.


One of our summer highlights has been visits with the cousins. This past weekend, when we made our semi-annual trek to Wichita Falls, my sister-in-law Carlye told me how great it is that we bother to visit like we do (considering John’s less than idea family situation growing up). I told her that it is for the kids–I want them to have time with their cousins, and the kids had nothing to do with bad decisions adults made when he was a kid. Carlye didn’t really get it. She just has one cousin and didn’t really grow up with her (or him…not even sure which.)

But for me, my cousins were such a part of my childhood. I cherish those memories of swimming, playing in the yard, sleepovers, putting on shows, going to the lake or hunting or Turkey Creek, singing loudly in the backseat of the car. We all lived within minutes of each other, though. I want my girls to enjoy their cousins, too, even if it involves a five hour drive a couple of times a year.

Me, I had sixteen cousins on my mom’s side. These were the ones in town that I really grew up with. My dad’s side is a little more complicated (my dad and my husband share the bond of screwed up childhoods). On his side, I have eight cousins, but we really only knew of three of them at the time. (Two of my dad’s younger siblings were put up for adoption at birth and found him later.) I have fun memories of visits with them, too, every couple of years–vivid memories of three-day car trips to California!

My girls have two (girl) cousins on my side. And on one of John’s sides (two families due to adoption), they have six (girl) cousins. And on the other side, they have ten cousins (and one on the way.) Again, we don’t see one of these cousins (again, due to adoption) or another six, since they live out of state. So on that side, of the three we see: two girls, one boy.

Basically, GIRL COUSINS ROCK! Caroline has three same-age cousins (all five to six months younger than she is). Elizabeth has one same-age cousin and two more within a year. These girls have fun together!