the smell of my desperation has become a stench

2010 in words and photos

In classic Heather Armstrong fashion, I have ended the year with a bang. Meaning, an emergency trip to the chiropractor. I pulled something in my neck yesterday at the gym and have been an unbearable human being ever since, as opposed to the delicate asshole I usually am.

Tyrant was the one who suggested I go, even recommended his own chiropractor, and since I haven’t ever been to one I was honest with the guy when he asked if I had any questions. I was like, look, my sadistic assistant is the one who told me to see you, so for all I know you’re going to kill me and store me in a freezer out back so you can sell my organs.

You’re not going to do that, right?

Isn’t that how most villains kill people in the movies? They twist their necks and BOOM, DEAD. I’m not voluptuous enough to be the female sex object who is spared in the Bond movies, so for all I know that’s how I was going to go out. Luckily, I survived to sit here and write this, but WHOA was that neck snapping weird. Like cracking my knuckles, except IT WAS MY BRAIN STEM.

So, it’s the end of another year, another twelve months full of CRAZY. A new assistant, a broken tailbone, a trip to see the President. A new house, an infant with hand, foot, and mouth disease, a child starting first grade. Oh, and then there was that mythical bobcat.

I’ve gone back and picked out my favorite posts from the year in case you missed anything, and then I’ve put together my annual Year in Photos. I hope everyone has a wonderful new year, and may we all strive for bigger and better with a little less extortion and fewer injuries. See you in twenty eleven!

There’s a blonde joke in here somewhere
“At precisely this time Leta calls out from the bathroom, ‘I’m done! I’m done!’ And I look up at Cami and I’m all, dude, take one for the team, go in there and tell her she did a great job. And Cami goes, sweetie, I love you and your family, but I am not going to go into that bathroom and tell your daughter that her poop is awesome.”

Three sets of ten
“This trainer would talk to the other trainers and say, wow, you should have seen this Armstrong woman. I had to make up a new grade because A++ just doesn’t describe how well she aced this test. And then I would give a speech at fitness graduation, and in the middle of it I’d flex my forearm, grunt and chest bump the podium.”

Getting the soap ready to wash out her mouth
“Right. As if she had any business being shocked at a tutu as she sat there in knee-length, opalescent blue basketball shorts. Like the fancy material you see lining high-end caskets.”

In order to leave a comment, you must take sides
“I was suggesting a certain facade that he couldn’t wrap his head around, so I grabbed a pen to draw my idea. Please pay attention to the previous sentence, because it lies at the crux of this story. That pen. The pen that I grabbed. A grievous and heinous gesture. I bet Hitler didn’t even grab pens.”

Staring at six weeks of recovery
“A helmet would not have prevented this injury. You know what would have? Abstinence! NOT EVER GETTING UP THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Jon says that when everything has healed I will want to head back up again, and I was all, um, not until that mountain gets a vasectomy. And even then I won’t go any further than foreplay.”

Just another beautiful day
“So there I am in the driver’s seat of a BMW 3 Series. You guys, I have absolutely no business being anywhere near a BMW. I am from the country. We ride horses and plows.”

Mrs. Armstrong goes to Washington
“Seriously, I get invited to the White House, and he’s all NO BURPING, NO FARTING, AND BY ALL MEANS, WOMAN, DO NOT TALK ABOUT POOP IN FRONT OF THE PRESIDENT. Well then, why did he call?”

“A six-year-old who refused to touch grass for the first four years of her life. A six-year-old who thinks cake is gross. A six-year-old who won’t pet her own dogs because it feels weird. And now she’s going to have to wear equipment on her face all day? This isn’t going to be difficult at all!”

Spinning right wrong
“But then an alien spaceship flew down from the sky, aimed a laser at my head and sucked my brain out through the top of my skull. Leaving me no option other than to join the spin class that had just started. The one being taught by General Patton.”

Working our angles
“And the Internet always knows what it’s talking about. You can trust that the Internet would not lie to us about chickens. If you do a Snopes search on chickens, turns out THEY ARE REAL.”

Will certainly be added to Sarah’s list
“I also despise whistlers.”

Next, part one
“It’s like some giant alien found the valley, unzipped his pants and shit TUSCAN into every crevice and nook of this county.”

Wherein I return to my roots
“He was doing the satan ventriloquist thing, stringing together obscenities under his breath, and I made him promise me that when I found Coco and brought her through the kitchen to the back yard that he would not fling his cereal spoon at her head.”

“I hadn’t checked any of those closets yet, so I moved some boxes out of the way, flung open the door to the closet at the far south of the house, and standing not a foot away from my face was a very large, very hairy animal with giant shining eyes.

“Okay. What would you have done in this situation?


“That’s what I thought.”

In the running towards becoming
“I waited at the end of the hall for her to come around the corner, a jillion incoherent syllables jumping around in my brain, and when she appeared, when the blinding light from her blonde hair and towering frame came into view, I saw the terrified look on her face. Like: OH MY GOD. I AM ABOUT TO BE ASSAULTED BY PETER PAN IN A BATHROBE.”

The night of the missing dogs
“We have raised this dog, fed her, treated her when ill, improved her behavior, taken her outside in the middle of the night because that’s what was required. Yes, she is a total shit, but I love her shittiness. She wouldn’t be Coco if she wasn’t a shit.”

A Jon Armstrong sized tangent
“The universe is totally screwing with me. I was totally kidding about this becoming the savage wild animal blog. KIDDING. Except I guess the Universe doesn’t have a sense of humor like some of my more vocal critics and is all DON’T YOU KNOW FEEDING VODKA TO INFANTS IS DANGEROUS.

“Actually, vodka is very good at numbing the gums when the infant is teething, MOM.”

A tribute to Uncle Doug
“I would rather spend another semester at BYU than an hour chasing my toddler around a waiting room where her sole goal was to put sick people in her mouth.”

Danger ahead
“She is making fun of us. Like she’s a grown woman visiting her mother’s house and going, ‘Hey, Mom. When you wake up and see that giant ceramic rooster staring at you, do you run to the bathroom or just shit your pants in bed?'”

Miss Manners
“Ethkah. Translation: ‘You know exactly what the hell I want, dickhead.'”

The lowest of lows
“Tryant is a vegetarian — sometimes self-righteous, sometimes not self-righteous at all, depending on his mood and how badly he wants to make me feel like a monster.”

“Noah said he needed a break and that I should sit under here and count to sixty, five times. So that’s what I’m doing.”

All she wants for Christmas
“How about we tie a string to that tooth, give the other end to Marlo and let nature takes its course?”

Just in time for Christmas
“Suddenly Chuck let out a fart that had to squeak its way out of his butt, past the hardwood floor and out into the open air. Like a perfectly tuned trumpet solo of one note:


Music is “My Girls” by Animal Collective

  • Pixie

    2010/12/29 at 4:59 pm

    And may 2011 be full of more wonder and awe…

  • Laura Jones

    2010/12/29 at 5:10 pm

    It was an entertaining year to read about. Loved the video. Hope to hear more Tyrant stories. And Marlo, you mooned Grandma? Loved it.

  • Becky Cochrane

    2010/12/29 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks for another great year of Armstrong stories–and the excellent video. Happy new year to you all.

  • greeblemonkey

    2010/12/29 at 5:47 pm

    The video is catching because you just tweeted the link so I will come back and look later, but what a GREAT IDEA. I may need to do a 2010 fotomontage for the grandfolks.

    2010 was a really, really harsh year for me, so looking forward to 2011 with lots of hopes and dreams.

    Hope you guys have a great new years!

  • Jen Cottrell

    2010/12/29 at 5:55 pm

    I started following you 18 months ago after reading It Sucked and Then I Cried. I loved your video last year (you got me into Hotel Lights…yea!) and this video was great, too. I’m looking forward to following the Armstrong’s in 2011!

  • sly

    2010/12/29 at 5:59 pm

    This is absolutely beautiful. What a wonderful year for you and your family!

  • ljnelson

    2010/12/29 at 6:09 pm

    Made my year a good one. Don’t underestimate the happiness you bring the rest of us, even when things seem too crazy to be believed. All the best.

  • sabina

    2010/12/29 at 6:22 pm

    Please tell Leta that while I of course respect her right to privacy, I think she is SO BEAUTIFUL (in a super-smart supergirl kind of way) and hope to see more pics of her in 2011. I’ve been reading Dooce since just after her birth and love seeing her growing into such an exceptional little girl.

  • dragonfish

    2010/12/29 at 6:22 pm

    I would love to read this whole post, but I cannot get past delicate asshole without belly-laughing (a much needed laugh on this day!).
    Beautiful photos. Thank you again for sharing your crazy lives and families with us, it reminds me I’m not the only one with both.
    Happy New Year Armstrongs!

  • RoseTattoo

    2010/12/29 at 6:30 pm

    Happy New Year!

  • writtendad

    2010/12/29 at 7:10 pm

    And it was one hell of a year. Nice post and fantastic photo recap at the end (the video to close it all was classic). I do, however, have one question (and if I missed the answer a while back, feel free to verbally blast me): When did Leta again become okay with appearing on your blog? She struggled with it for a while and I’m wonder when the tides turned and what pushed her over the edge?
    I’m glad, because I always enjoy reading about her, but I’m curious.

    Happy 2011 Armstrongs!

  • tullisjen

    2010/12/29 at 7:14 pm

    What a beautiful year and family you have!

    Thanks for making me laugh throughout the last few years!

    Happy New Year!

  • Lauren3

    2010/12/29 at 7:19 pm

    Oooo, NICE song selection! Perfect for a year end montage that depicts a couple of beautiful Armstrong young ladies. You did it H-dawg, you kicked another year’s ass.

    Now come and do some ass kicking in the multitalented Lancaster, PA please. We have things the childrens will like! And bars with wonderful selections of bourbons and tequilas and beer and all kinds of lovely tummy warmers.

  • Aunt_Lala

    2010/12/29 at 7:43 pm

    Fantastic Year in Pictures, and thank you for the video at the end! I’m cracking up over here, just what I needed to make me stop being pissed off for no reason.

  • Marianne

    2010/12/29 at 7:49 pm

    Love the year in pictures and love the ending with Marlo wearing a helmet….your daughters are beautiful.
    Happy New Year, Heather and Jon.

  • julesmb

    2010/12/29 at 7:53 pm

    I’ve only been following the blog for about 5 months now, but LOVE it! I hope your 2011 will be filled with more laughter, stories, and blessings!

  • transientxpress

    2010/12/29 at 7:55 pm

    Helmetted, wobbly, nekkid toddler with swollen belly over bird legs. Can’t see through my tears! Thank you for the countless laughs this year. Looking forward to many more. Happy New Year!

  • christinePC-UT

    2010/12/29 at 8:02 pm

    Happy New Year Armstrongs!

    I’ve read you since before you were “Dooce” and still enjoy it everyday. Leta is morphing in to a beautiful little girl. I look forward to reading you because you always make me smile!

    Love the song…love the pictures…

  • christineanela

    2010/12/29 at 9:37 pm

    I love doing a slideshow to recap the year! It’s such a cool way to glance back at all that has happened. Your year has been amazing! Here’s to 2011. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  • PunkinP

    2010/12/29 at 10:21 pm

    Oh my gosh, that was so cute. And the ending? Classic! So damned cute!

  • Truthful Mommy

    2010/12/29 at 11:12 pm

    I absolutely adored the video. I love your blog and your style of writing.You have been an inspiration to me with your honesty and openness. I am wishing you and your family a brilliant 2011 with so much wonder and awe to come.Live is beautiful and it is what we make of it.Happy New Year.


  • kristanhoffman

    2010/12/29 at 11:29 pm

    Ditto what sabina said, and OMFGROFL at that last clip!! I think Bobo’s going to have a bone to pick with you someday…

  • brittbak

    2010/12/30 at 12:21 am


    You must play that video @ Marlo’s wedding one day. Heh

  • Shea

    2010/12/30 at 12:27 am

    you people, you dogs, you kids, you, the writing, the photographs, must I go on, are simply awesome.

    thank you for being so awesome.

  • terranova

    2010/12/30 at 12:48 am

    *US owners of border collies can now rent a flock of sheep for their dog. The breed are compulsive herders, with instincts so intense they sometimes search for livestock behind the television when sheep appear on screen. Left unoccupied, they’ll dig up the garden, chew up the doggie bed or persecute the cat. Herding experts say it’s increasingly common for people who get border collies as pets to wind up renting or buying sheep just to keep their dogs busy.

    -saw that and thought of you and Coco 🙂

  • Schnauzie_Mom

    2010/12/30 at 6:20 am

    Great video. Thanks for sharing your life with us, Armstrong Family!

  • jessiCat

    2010/12/30 at 7:48 am

    Love the video. Thank you for sharing the crazy with us. You have brought countless belly laughs, tears & new ideas to us all. And I agree with one of the above posters, you have so got to play that clip at Bobo’s wedding one day. Happy New Year, Armstrong family. You guys are the best!!


  • SweetPeaTwins

    2010/12/30 at 9:32 am

    What a year – I thought mine was pretty eventful, but I think you guys win. I loved the video! I am in awe at how stunningly beautiful Leta is becoming… and of course, love to look at the meat that is Tyrant! 😉 I hope that your 2011 is more settled and easier… but not too much or the reading won’t be nearly as entertaining.

    Happy new year to all of you – Heather, Jon, Leta, Marlo, Chuck, Coco, Tyrant, and the rest of the crazy family! 🙂

  • csreilly

    2010/12/30 at 10:36 am

    great video – I have a dorky question though — what font was used for the title of the video?? I love it, want it and need it!

  • lbnassar

    2010/12/30 at 10:54 am

    What they ALL said! Thanks for a great year – that video at the end was priceless and reminded me of things my own kids did when they were little like that. Happy New Year – hope we all have a fantastic 2011!

  • Renhoeck

    2010/12/30 at 11:30 am

    OMG what hwave I done! Dooce I thank the Twitter for meeting you and your sweet sourness. The post I liked the most was when Marlo turned one. It made me cry and made cry the people I know. Have a wonderful new year from far far Peru. (It is not Mexico and we do not celebrate 5 de Mayo, just in case).

  • Tam4797

    2010/12/30 at 12:24 pm

    Happy 2011 Heather and Jon,

    I hope this year brings a little less tooth-breaking, skin flaking, and emergency doctor appointment making.

    Love to see more of Leta when she feels comfy. I’ve watched her grow up and it’s a special treat when she lets up glimpse her now and then.

    Bobo is gorgeous as usual, as are all of your adult people…Tyrant…sigh…. Keep up the good work guys!

  • Jillsy

    2010/12/30 at 1:12 pm

    Love, love, love it! My kids know when I’m reading your blog cuz I’m laughing and crying uncontrollably. Wishing your family, friends, and followers a GREAT 2011!


    P.S. This may be weird but, I think you have such a cute, petite head. Your current haircut really accentuates it.

  • desiree.mac

    2010/12/30 at 3:05 pm

    “I pulled something in my neck yesterday at the gym …” At the gym … riiiigggght (I can’t believe no one has said this yet). Happy New Year!

  • Little Nikolette

    2010/12/30 at 3:57 pm

    As always, the video at the end was beautiful. Gorgeous. Thanks for helping me remember what’s good in life. Always keep that Joi de Vie (apologies for bad spelling).

  • JakeDonohoe

    2010/12/30 at 4:28 pm

    I loved the picture montage (and the song is lovely) and am now looking at my dog and thinking, my god–you don’t do shit for me except pee on the floor when the mailman comes. Stupid dog.

  • Jen in AZ

    2010/12/30 at 5:54 pm

    Wow!! I must admit, I really come here for the Daily Chuck so I’m not a commenter but THAT slideshow?!!!! That song? I had to bow and praise. You have serious skills Mama! Bat-shit-crazy-ass-TALENT. Have a great New Years with your beautiful family, in the beautiful new home with the adorable pups.


  • DooceFan4Eva

    2010/12/30 at 6:02 pm

    Never mind the New Years ball drop in Times Square. I know the year has come to an end when the Armstrong’s release their year in photos. Your montage brings such joy and inspiration. I LOVE your music choices! L-O-V-E IT!

  • Justine Taylor

    2010/12/30 at 8:26 pm

    I created a Dooce account for the sole purpose of asking you what camera(s) you use. Your photos are gorgeous!

  • kateastrophe

    2010/12/30 at 8:46 pm

    What an amazing life you lead, Heather! Thank you for continuing to put yourself out there for all us on the interwebs.

    If it wouldn’t cause a stroke and/or divorce, I would LOVE a music feature on the site…your selections are always so unique. If I’m ever in Utah, can I please raid your iTunes?!

    Happy New Year to the Armstrongs and Tyrant too!

  • witchuponastar

    2010/12/30 at 9:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing your family with mine. Checking your blog is a daily ritual for me and checking on Leta, Marlo,Coco and Chuck is a daily ritual for me and my 5 year old daughters. A very happy, peaceful, joy-filled 2011 to the Armstrong family.

  • socalchickonawire09

    2010/12/31 at 5:30 am

    “Ethkah. Translation: ‘You know exactly what the hell I want, dickhead.’

    That’s my fav! So funny. And you KNOW it’s true!! Love it! Great photos. I’ve been reading for awhile and I have to admit, there were times when I thought, “This is bullshit. How does this woman come on the internet blog about daily life and suddenly become a friggin’ ROCK STAR?” And, then, I kept reading, I kept coming back, looking at the pics, and I found myself smiling, laughing, a few tears, gasping, a few “WHAT the HELL is wrong with that woman?” thoughts! I can’t really tell you what it is…I just keep coming back! 🙂 Good luck this year and much love to you and your beautiful family. Happy 2011!

  • Jennyville

    2010/12/31 at 8:59 am

    You made my year more entertaining in a small but meaningful way. Especially the community. Thank you!

    Happy New Years!


  • NolaMomma

    2010/12/31 at 9:43 am

    That’s so awesome!! Wishing the Armstrongs a very healthy, prosperous and accident-free new year! Great laugh, Heather. 🙂

  • luv and kiwi

    2010/12/31 at 11:03 am

    man i want your guys’ computer skills for 2011. great photo/video montage!

    happy new year armstrongs!

  • dolphy36

    2010/12/31 at 11:10 am

    Thank you for all the smiles you bring into my life and the sense of community…even though it’s miles and miles away. Have a wonderful 2011, my cyber friend!

  • Kim Hosey - AZ Writer

    2011/01/01 at 12:38 pm

    LOVE the video; I have really got to try that. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  • clinetj

    2011/01/01 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks for all the love, fun and laughter you sent our way in 2010. You’ll never know how much your words help us. Happy New Year to you and yours.

  • foggymorningjewelrydesigns

    2011/01/01 at 9:53 pm

    Beautiful!!!! I loved it

    Foggy Morning Jewelry Designs

  • Figtron

    2011/01/03 at 10:05 am

    Simply fabulous…I don’t get to catch up very often, but this post/vid synopsis was just the thing. Happy everything to the Armstrongs…oh, and to Tyrant as well.

    p.s. the new masthead is larupping.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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