Bedtime Breakdown and #5MoreMinutes

This is how bedtime goes down at our house:

After we have all enjoyed some family time by the fire, and my boys have finished working on their homemade Christmas gifts while softly singing “Stille Nacht” I put down my knitting and tell them, “Boys, it’s 7:00. Bedtime!”

“Gut nacht!” they trill, clasp hands, and head up stairs. And then, they go to sleep.

The end.


Ok. Once. Maybe that happened once.

No, no it didn’t. Not once. Not at all.

It almost happened one night but that’s because we had all been dosed up with Benadryl and we get a little crazy that way. They might have spoken some German. Perhaps there was lederhosen. I don’t recall.

That’s a blog for another day.

In reality, friends, here’s me heading up with my boys to bedtime:


And so it goes.

After the boys are wedged into their beds with water, jammies, shirt off because tags make Red think he is going to die, music, prayers, seventeen books, more prayers because God is super important of course, more blankets, cat tucked in, night lights on full blast, and yes, more water, I back away slooooowly.

And then, I hear it. A plaintive, sweet, adorable little voice that, at this point in the evening, makes me want to bang my head up against something like a very bitter woodpecker:

“Mom? Mom? Mother? Mom? Mommy? I canna sleep. I am thinking about the sad things.”

I am torn at this point between being, you know, kind and mother-like, or just snarling, all angry woodpecker, “Well. Ima bout to MAKE YOU SADDER.”

I know. It’s a life fraught with weighty decisions, this mothering gig. Thankfully, Blonde just up and interrupted all thinking on my part by informing me, “I’m SO SAD. There is no more cats in this house. We need more cats. Der are so many many kitties. Ders striped kitties. And kittens with, you know, all the fluffy tails…”

And on he goes. He embarked on a total Bubba Gump shrimp breakdown of every brand of cat out there.

Kids and bedtime – it’s an epic battle. I’d like to say I go all heroic and  Braveheart on it every night, but you know what happened to that guy at the end of the movie, right? Not good.

Here is where The Wonderfulness that is Netflix comes in:

Screenshot 2015-11-23 16.44.13

Now, I’m all for messing with my kids’ heads. I famously participated in Netflix’s brilliant “make ’em think it’s midnight” thrillfest with King Julien. (All hail King Julien!) Yes, there were a few questions about “but the clock says nine? How is that this midnight you keep talking about?” but I just handed Blonde (Red had no clue) another streamer and told him to decorate the cat.

This year, Netflix offers 5 Minute Favorites: A great way to offer a show at the end of the day without, you know, losing what’s left of your mind.

Save losing your mind for more quality moments, like when you come out side to the back patio to find your five year old has clutched to his chest a stray cat with less than two ears, a bent tail, and many angry meows.

He wants to name him Princess.


Bedtime. It’s not for the faint of heart. And it just keeps happening. Know the enemy:

Netflix Bedtime Staller Infographic USA

We are mostly a King Julien household around here.

I do admit, this bedtime stalling is kinda cute when paired with a cape and a cowboy hat which happens on a regular basis.* That’s how we roll.

*The husband would like to interject at this time to make SURE you know he has NOT, at any time, participated in these King Julien shenigans in any way. I guess it’s not that kinda blog. Which is a bummer because, you know, it could be romantic.

Nope. Still not that kinda blog.

Cliff Dwellings

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today!

The theme?

Screenshot 2015-11-20 10.31.41

You know, like “Dwell in the house of the Lord?”

Nope. That’s not the kinda “dwell” we’ll be dealing with here today, folks. But, maybe, a little…

Oh never mind, just read! I never promised you the blog would make SENSE, did I?


When I was a teenager, my parents piled us in their station wagon and we drove through the night to Colorado. For a vacation. For fun, family times.

We did a vacation every year. Most of the time it was to a small cabin down by in the Lake of the Ozarks. There was a lot of fishing and so much swimming in a swimming pool so chlorinated that if we swam at night we glowed on the walk home. That was cool.

Anyhow, this time we were gonna try something new! Colorado! Mountains! Hiking! No catfish!

Needless to say, I hated it. It wasn’t my fault. I was a teenager. I hated everything. That was my job.

Ok, but there was this one part, that involved us going to a park that had cliff dwellings. I don’t remember what tribe, I am sorry to say. It was a lot of climbing around and exploring, and as per my usual lack of enthusiasm, I found it a bit boring. BUT, there was this: Dad made the epic mistake of referring to these wonderful, historic, very important markers of nation’s past and humanity as: (wait for it…)

“Cwiff dwewwings”

I know. You probably had to be there. It’s not very funny, is it? I mean, now after all this time, it isn’t all that amusing.

But to me it still totally cracks me up. My dad and my sister and I, scurrying about all the artifacts, in our best Sylvester the Cat imitation, among all the cwiff dwewwings.

Ok, I tell you that story to tell you this:

I will never forget that vacation. I will never forget the silly laughter. My dad, very John Wayne, very General Patton, has a SUPERB sense of humor (I like to think he got it from me) and I love him. And even though our family vacations were sometimes a bit, uh, like those crucible challenges they put the Navy SEALS through before they can go out and get the bad guys, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because, when I saw the prompt for this, I was IMMEDIATELY hit up with that memory and also, with such love and warmth.

It’s an honor to have the family that I do. My mom, my dad, my sisters. My brother. It’s an honor to call them family. They are nutball, totally (they don’t get any of that from me. It’s all their fault. They started it.) but I love them.

Now, let me tell you about the time my dad decided to QUIT smoking during a family vacation.

Seared. Into. My Memory.

Dwell: to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing. Dwell on the lovely. Linger over it. Ponder the past. Learn from it, the good and the not so good. I am so grateful.



We go to Colorado every year now. Our children look about as excited as I did, way back when. The tradition continues.

6 am is never a time to argue with anyone. #Mommitment

I am not gonna lie.

I am terribly judgmental. I am completely up in arms about how some moms could do it better. Do it nicer. Neater.


And by “some moms” I mean, uh, me.

I cannot even hear the noise of what other moms are saying out there over the bellow emanating from MY inner umpire.

Let me introduce you to what I stared down in the mirror this morning:


I was gonna try to add some cute graphics to this pic but holy hand gestures, I am not risking ticking this guy off. He seems upset.

Anyhow. My situation in the morning is this:

I stumble down the hall and end up brushing my teeth to this guy. It’s not a good way to start the day.

Me: Oh hi. You again. So, how’s things?
Disgruntled Judgy Umpire Guy: You suck.

Me: Wow. You’re just gonna jump right in there. Huh. Dude. Let me get some Crest on my toothbrush first at least.

The yelling continues… The bags under my eyes could be checked by United Airlines. My breakfast for the boys was festooned with too much syrup and no wheat germ. The morning did not involve yoga.

And on and on…

Here’s the thing. When we judge ourselves this mercilessly, the next step is to find some other mom out there who doesn’t seem to be doing it any better than us.

It’s the classic bully thing – we find the mom on the playground who struggles, and we think, “I am better than THAT.”

So, my angry umpire dude is basically an agent, searching out some hapless rookie to join my team.

Team Loser Mom. I am the captain, the mascot, the owner and also, the umpire.

I know, this is getting weird, but I know you get what I mean.

So, this morning, as I am walking in to school with my boys, I see this other mom, in her faded Sponge Bob jammie bottoms and hoodie, unpacking kids from a mini van. And Umpire Guy thunders: “You didn’t wear pajamas to school! You actually have on real clothes that have buttons! You win. SAFE!”

And just like that, I have become the Loserest of them all. I just won the World Series of Loser.

So, spray some champagne on me and call me done. Or, well, maybe not. The champagne thing. I have an allergy. Not a good idea. But that’s a blog for another day.

Ok, listen up. I got a bit of wisdom for you:

Judging begats judging, y’all. I think that’s in the bible.

(Tweet this)

It is USELESS to start the day with all these arguments! Nobody should be yelling at anything at 6 am. In fact, I would venture to say, my umpire should just take a flying leap off a short home plate and shut up forever.

So, Vito says, “You are ugly. You need to lose like forty pounds. Today.”

You say: “Uh, dude? Your voice is uglier. God made me. And what He tells me is that I am beautiful.”

Vito: “Yea, but-”

Me: “My God is bigger than you. He trumps you. He trumps your ump. YOU’RE FIRED.”

“But here. Let me hug you first.”

God makes beautiful things. even at 6 am.-1


I am making a commitment, a #mommitment, to take part in this very important Kindness Campaign. Want to join me and #EndMommyWars. Most importantly, end the ones on ourselves, because:

Judge yourself and you will eventually cave and judge elsewhere, to take the pressure off. It’s Vito’s favorite little spin cycle called:

Team Nutball.

Let’s join a new team. Besides, the Nutball uniforms make me itchy.

Want to know more? Click here to sign the petition and learn about The Mom Movement!

2f8d69866ab50c011295cc076dd9d71b Continue reading


Linking up with Five Minute Friday today.

As I literally have just about FIVE minutes to write this, I am totally and completely following the rules. This is usually hard for me.

The theme for today is:


I couldn’t get my computer to download the cool graphic. Thus, the theme is so much more fitting, don’t you think?

I lost it on my son this morning. Lost. It.

We are driving to school, which seems like a crime against every P.E. teacher out there because we live TWO BLOCKS away, but yes, we are driving.

I bet you can’t guess why?

Yep. So. We’re rushing and getting hats and gloves and sanity and stuffing it in our backpacks with healthy lunches and lots of well wishes and then, Sweet Red, my dear baby, starts to whine because his hat is itchy.

So we trade the hat out for another hat. Our winter stash drawer is full on into that weird level of nookie where it is fairly bursting with hats and gloves and socks (socks?) and lo, in about two weeks we will be down to one hat and two mismatched socks and some cheese sticks. Because.

So, anyhow, NOW I triumphantly have a hat to give him and I am all, Here ya go sweetie! Put this on! and he’s all:

It makes my hair hurt.

And I look up at the sky and say, Lord give me patience. PLEASE.

It was one of those prayers that was not so much a prayer, but more like a nice spiritual snowball, lobbed AT someone to make them get it in gear get out the door get it together get GOING.

It was not a prayer at all, really. And then as I realized this and grumpily stuffed my child into another hat because he is shivering like there are polar ice caps floating by and I really can’t wait to see how he deals with December for pete’s sake, I got all set into my grump and I yelled and we were all subjected to The Lecture About Being Not Late once again and even I was sick of it.


This blog post is probably like a million other mom blog posts out there today. We are tired out and we mess up and I know we are supposed to be gentle and forgive ourselves and yep.

Kinda weary.

Here’s the only part of it that I can offer as a bit of a plot twist:

We get to school and I am helping Red with the hats and the gloves and the coat and the lunchbox full of Guilt and Healthy Choices, and I get down on my knees, put my hands on Red’s shoulders and look him in the eye and say,

Sorry. I am so sorry. I yelled at you and I was a total grump. Do you forgive me?

And he says yes because of course he does (what is he gonna say? No?)

But then he leans in with those impossible eyelashes and such a soft kiss and gives me three kisses and THREE hugs and as I walk to the door he hugs me again, and tells his friends,

This is my mom.

And I understand how Jesus operates, really get it, in those two seconds and 6 hugs and kisses. And the math of it is astounding.

My attempts + my weariness – my failings / God’s forgiveness and grace = infinite love

Or something like that. I don’t really want to do math here. That’s not my thing. But I know you get it, because you are a mom. And we get those little moments. And then we write about them in our millions of mom posts.

A million mom march.

Even though we are so weary.

March on, mommas.


Tiny Humans.

So, I don’t want to write today. I don’t. I have a living room that has decided its decor theme is “Random Piles and Despair” and I have a cold, and there’s that last episode of the Great British Bake Off that is just yearning to be cuddled up to. Oh, and these. I have a bag of these:


if I’m going to watch a bunch of Brits make the most tantalizing desserts this side of Great Ben, I might as well pair it with nature’s candy. Corn syrup and red dye #40. What’s not to love?

So, in lieu of writing something fantastic and utterly life-changing for you, my dear readers, I will instead relate the latest from my children.

I like to call this:

Backseat Conversations with Two Small Children.

Driving Miss Crazy.

Blonde: We need to buckle up.

Red: Yes.

(Bear with me. It gets better.)

Red: I’m all buckled.

Blonde: Yes.

(Well. Sorry. I know. It’s been a slow week.)

Red: Fork is da strongest guy out there?

Blonde: What?

Red: Yep. Da strongest. He has his hammer, you know.

Blonde: Wat?

Red: And then WHAM! He just has to, you know, like HAMMER at the things! All the things! And they do it!

Blonde: What do it?

Red: The things! All of them! Except Spiderman. He has a web. Webs are stronger than hammers.

Blonde: THOR.

Red: No, Spiderman.

Momsie: I think he meant- (and then I stop myself. Because this is better entertainment than I have had in a while. And yes, I know, that statement right there pretty much sums up the level of funtastic at my house.)

Red: Webs are SUPER STRONG. And there is the flying!

Blonde: His web only can shoot out two feet. I know.

Red: Yes, he CAN. He can too fly. But you’re right. Only two feet.

Blonde: THOR. T-H-O-R. It’s THORRRRR.

Red: Four what? (Could also be “for” – we will never really know. But I am gonna hazard a guess that it truly DOES NOT MATTER.)

Blonde: THOR!

Red: I KNOW! And his hammer. He’s the best A- … Av-… What is he?

Blonde: He is a super hero. He’s with Captain Merica. A plunger.

Red: Captain Merica is just from here. He is not from a whole nother planet. If you come from another planet then you are way cooler.

Momsie: Thor. He an Avenger. And he is really cute.

Both: …

Red: He is not cute. He is not. HE HAS.  A HAMMER.


(“Scuze me. Sorry. Let me just quickly interject to tell you we’re passing a store with an “Open” sign that is lit up. That’s all. Now you may go back to reading this post.)

Red: Yep. Der they are!


The end.

I know. It’s not an episode of Seinfeld, but it’s all I’ve got. So, let me also leave you with a picture of a Corgi dressed up like Thor. Because the internet:

funny-dog-dressed-up-costume-corgi-thorgi-picsBut wait! There’s more. I am gonna offer you this bit of knowledge:

Cars are the best way to really listen to your kids. They will ask you questions and talk to you about stuff in the car when they won’t elsewhere. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because there is no eye contact. Maybe because there is all that stuff going on outside the windows and it can make the stuff you’re talking about seem not quite so FULL of stuff.

Containment is key. They are strapped in. They cannot escape. We can end up talking about deep things – things like why we need to be nice to that one kid that keeps saying all the bad words at school and shoves a lot, and why mommy and daddy need to go out on a date tonight, and why mommy goes to meetings on Sunday nights.

And why the Royals are the most wonderful team ever in existence of the whole world forever and ever, amen.

But NOT IN THIS POST. No sirree!

No deep stuff today. Just Fork’s Hammer!


IMG_4727 IMG_4729

Life Sentence.


Something lately has been really really really bugging me.

No. It’s not the coffee cup thing. Don’t leave the post.

Here is my issue: Lately I had a review of The Book (I wrote a book. Did you know?) in a local paper. The review was really nice and well written and we had a great interview prior. It was, all in all, great press and great information about the book.


The final paragraph or so was about my brother. This was a fitting place to end because his story intertwined with mine is really important. He died from alcoholism. I didn’t.

Well, there’s a lot more to it than that – but that’s not the problem. The problem is the final line of the article. It says something like: “After what happened to my brother, I was cured forever.”

No. Just. No.

I don’t think I said it, but to give proper credit to the writer who did a good job (I am not trouncing him – interviews are tough and he did a great job of fact checking and making sure most was copacetic prior to print.)

But, no. I am not cured forever. Chris would certainly understand that.

I understand this: I am an alcoholic. After all this press and marketing and “Wow, I read your book” from my small town peeps, I still have a hard time saying that, ‘out loud’ here for you. After all this time. Still bugs me to say it. Still kinda bugs me to have people say, “Yea you! Good job! You’re awesome! You are in recovery! Woo hoo!” I know. That isn’t quite the way they say it, and I KNOW it’s not quite the way they mean it, but humility is really important in my program, and sometimes all the pats on the back can be a way to forget.

That I’m an alcoholic.

Forever. It is a life sentence. It can be a death sentence if I forget. And it’s a sentence that has given me more freedom than I ever thought possible.

So. Nope. Not cured.

But, forever grateful.

Thus is the essential paradox of my situation. If I think about it too long, I get a big wonky, so most of the time, I just mutter the Serenity Prayer and get a coffee and do the next right thing.

Thank you for listening, readers. Does it sound mushy to say I am grateful for you? Well. I am.

And now, I’m gonna go get a Starbucks and while I stand in line I’m going to lay hands on the barista and speak and pray to Jesus to save her soul.

This should go well.


Conference Calls Make Me Twerk

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today!

The theme?

Screenshot 2015-11-06 11.15.44

So, there are moments in my life where I am astounded by the simple fact that I have made all the way here. For all this time. For this long. I mean, I’m not gonna get all mushy or fatalistic or weird on you (insert obligatory eye roll from the lawyer here), but here is the deal:


Here’s what I mean for all you poor slobs out there who are reading this thinking, “Well… uh… yea. She’s surprised by aging? By how the days go by and then, uh, birthdays? This blog. I give up.”

No, I mean it. I really am surprised sometimes that I am not still 18.

And I am also very VERY grateful I am not really 18.

It’s a strange paradox. Being me.

Anyhow, I KNOW there are some of you out there who get this, right? For example:

  1. You get the mail. Inside the mail is a letter from the IRS.

Adult self: Opens letter, maybe even with silver letter opener thingie like they use in soap operas, reads contents, and goes on with your day.

Surprised That I’m Not 18 Self: Gasps, sets letter down as if there is a spider on it, looks around. The IRS is hunting you down. By MAIL. You are in trouble. Walks away quickly to eat a Snickers.

2. The phone rings.

Adult Self: You answer it.

Surprised by… you know: Gasps. Looks around. You are probably in trouble OR someone has died. Walks away quickly to eat a Snickers.

3. Someone is at the door.

Adult Self: You answer the door. LIKE A BOSS.

Surprised Loser Self: Runs and hides with Snickers.

For some reason my lack of adulting always reverts back to chocolate? This is good and bad.

Anyhow. Lately, I have had to do a number of things called: Conference Calls with The Big Kahunas At Central Recovery Press.

These people are wonderful and lovely. They are smart, and really good at what they do, and also, I think, super cute.

But they keep making me do CONFERENCE CALLS. THESE ARE HARD.

You have to listen to others, and not interrupt too much or breathe too heavily or snicker at them (laughing, not eating) because no one really gets why they are all talking business stuff and you’re over there chortling at something someone said like two minutes ago.

Also: they use words like “marketing” and “talking points” and “live radio interviews” and all this makes you feel rather jangly.

Oh, and there is a teensy bit of time delay with conference calls. So things like this happen:

Boss at CRP: Let’s talk again soon.

Me: I’m fine, and how are you?

So last week I had another conference call with my publisher about The Book*** (I wrote a book.Did you know?) and it went rather well, actually. And here is why:

I twerked before it. While waiting for my other conference callers to get on the line, I stood, in my pajamas in the kitchen, with my dog and some coffee (I had the coffee) and listened to the Muzak version of “Hips Don’t Lie” and my hips, they just could NOT lie. They had to get down. So, I walked around my house, rumping up against things and confusing the hell out of the dog, but it was HOT, I tell you. I was on FIRE.

No, not really, but it was good for my 18 year old soul to shake what my momma gave me (thanks, Mom!*) and get over myself for two minutes before Big Important Business.

Sometimes? You better twerk.

And then, totally slip on the linoleum because fuzzy slippers, and spill coffee on the dog** but you know, you managed to recover with hair flip and no groin pulls.

*My mom is mortified by this thought.

** No sweet pweshum doggies were harmed by the making of this post. At least physically. I did catch him on the phone with his therapist later asking if he could get in for an “emergency appointment.” The twerking. It’s gonna cost him.

*** Yes, I wrote a book. Bottled: A Mom’s Guide to Early Recovery.


Want to order? Click here or here!


The twerking. The horror.