Friday Movie Night. This is the Story of a Snail with a Dream.

No, really. It is.

Children’s movies these days have run quite the gamut in leading heroes. There’s mice and moose and, of course, scrappy hamsters, rats, and sponges.

If it can cutified and has a mouth (yes, who knew? Sponges have ‘em. Unfortunately.) it can be made into a movie and a whole barge full of McDonald’s merchandise will follow.


I have to tell you… When Turbo showed up on my Netflix stream, I added it to my children’s cue, and then forgot about it. We were busily ensconced in Thomas the Train and his Escapades in Not Listening, and I was quite happy with that. I like the music. I can’t help it. It has a rad beat.

Anyhow. During the Time of Sickness at our house, we leaned in on our Netflix account. We went all Sheryl Sandberg on that thing. We abandoned our Thomas and even his lowly stepbrother, Chuggington. We left the nutball baldness and primary colors of Caillou’s house.

We were at the end of our rope. We needed new material, ya’ll.

And so, along came Turbo, The SNAIL WITH A DREAM.

Screenshot 2015-02-27 08.00.52


Here’s a list of reasons why I love this movie:

1. Paul Giamatti. He plays Chet, the brother of the main character. Yes, he is a snail. He has a total insecurity complex and is phobic about nearly everything. He does NOT have a dream. He is afraid of his own snail shadow. I am pretty sure if he knew about his snail trail he would gross himself out and insist on hand sanitizer for everyone. ‘Course, that would probably kill him. I didn’t say he was the smartest. He’s just the most neurotic.

Which means… I LOVE HIM.

Because.. me! Me TOO. I, TOO, AM THE MOST NEUROTIC! Twinsies!

2. Samuel Jackson. He basically plays the same character he plays in every movie: crazy, Die Hard-ish, left of center. Kinda ready to snap at any moment. But, yes, also a snail.

3. “White Shadowwww.” I am not going to explain. You just have to see it. He is an enigma.

4.  Paul Hader. He plays the annoying French guy, Guy (pronounced Gee. No, not ‘jee,’ but GEE. Stay with me.)

5. And of course, Turbo. The SNAIL WITH A DREAM.


Let me circle back to reason #1 here. Chet, it seems, has a longing for safety and security. He is a snail, after all. Shell on back. Fear of salt. It’s his thing.

I too, am a bit of a security lover. I have a hard time paying our utility bills, for Pete’s sake. I get out the checkbook, and immediately think we’re all gonna end up in a van down by the river.

I too, fear salt. Heart attacks, ya’ll.

I don’t like dreams. Dreams are scary. They cause change. Change can be about as comfortable as a polyester thong after you’ve gained a few pounds.

So, as I watched Chet harangue his brother for daring to enter the Indianapolis 500 (What? So? He’s a snail, so what? It’s an animated movie. Snails can be speedy. They also can have great teeth and talk a lot. It’s OK) I could identify. I really could. It’s so much easier to just stay home, stay in your shell, and avoid the crows.

I’m wondering if you can tell which snail is the Chet? The neurotic one? The Dream Killer? Small hint: He’s on the right.


I won’t tell you the ending. I know you are all rather intelligent readers, so you’re probably guessing that Turbo does not get eaten by a crow in a bloody, snail trail. That would be a whole different type of movie.

This movie made me laugh. It also, just for a minute, just a skotch of a minute, it made my eyes fill with tears.


Dreams. Scary things. But sometimes, with a lot of hard work, friends, and a firm belief in yourself, dreams can be realized.


PS. My book is supposed to be heading to the printers in May.





Fifty Shades of Momsie



50 Shades of Bad Metaphors and Unrealistic Dialogue


Oh, come on. You know I couldn’t leave it alone, right?



Momsie is upstairs, when she hears him. Her beloved (also known as Tall Blonde Husband) is approaching.

Her palms are sweaty.

She is, of course, in the bedroom.

It is, also, possible that her palms are not sweaty, but that she just helped Red with a bathroom explosion, and she is still a bit damp from all the soap.

But, shhhhhhhh…. (places finger on lips of reader) let’s not talk.

We are here because …. Why are we here?

Oh, yep, right. Seduction.

True, it’s 5:30 in the afternoon, and she just might have a to-do list that involves things like: chop onions for burritos,  make sure Blonde helps Red clean marker off the cat, and maybe try to remember to put mascara on other eye because she only did one, for some weird reason, and it makes her look a bit… unbalanced, whenever she catches a glance of herself in the mirror…

But maybe, you know, she could use that to her advantage. Unbalanced is good. It looks like she’s winking. Surely, winking is seductive?

She tries it in the mirror.

No. No, not really.  It really just looks like she has a facial tic. Or that she’s some grandpa at the store who is offering her kids a Tootsie Roll, all har-dee-har-har, little creepy, jovial-ish.

Ok. So, it is noted that winking is not sexy.

Where were we?

Shhhhhhhh. (finger on lips again, which, also, might be a bit annoying to the reader. Who really likes that? Have you washed your hands recently? Do you KNOW how many germs have been walking around our house? So, duly noted. Finger on lips thingy- STOP IT.)

She calls, seductively, “Honey, come in here a moment. I’m in… (wait for it) the bedroom.”

Tall Blonde: “What?”

She clears her throat, and goes for seduction, only a little louder: “I’m in here, darling. The bedroom. You know. Where all the magic happens?”

Both Red and Blonde magically appear,  because, you know, Momsie SAID THE WORD “MAGIC.” BIG MISTAKE.

Red and Blonde: “Wer? Wer da magic? Der’s magic in HERE? Where, Mommah? Mom? Mother? Mommyyyyyyy?”


Husband shows up. Finally. Small children are ushered out. Finally. She leans against the dresser. This is not a seductive move. It is because she is tired, ya’ll.

“Here, honey. I have something to show you.”

Tall Husband is wearing Superman boxer shorts, a flannel jacket of the homeless man variety (he calls it his smoking jacket, but who is he kidding? I didn’t marry Hugh Hefner, and I think we can all thank God for that), and the coup de resistance: Black socks. Pulled UP. It sorta reminds me of this:


I am so sorry. The visual will stay with you for at least an hour.


Also, Momsie is wearing YOGA PANTS because did you KNOW? They’re unbelievably SEXY!!!  Any man who looks upon them will just burst into flames of longing, I tell you.

Husband does not burst into flames of longing. Perhaps the socks are flame retardant.

“Here sweetie,” she pulls open a drawer…

“I rearranged your T-shirt drawer. Now all your K-State t shirts are on the TOP.” (This is not, as some would imagine, code for something. The t shirts are just, really, on the top.)

Husband smiles and starts to put his finger on her lips, overwhelmed by both the yoga pants and her organizational skills. She heads out of the room, because someone just tried to use Windex on the cat.

The yoga pants will have to wait.

But wait! There’s more!

Later… (For some reason, seduction uses a lot of ellipses. Who knew? This is, of course, breaking my writing rule about only ONE use of ellipses per paper, but I doubt any of my old students are reading this, the poor dears. Also, who are we kidding? I’m not going for a Pulitzer here.)

She is slowly stirring frosting. Peanut butter frosting. The yoga pants are still on, but are now paired with a sweatshirt the size of Milwaukee that seems to be covered in… you guessed it, peanut butter frosting.


Husband approaches and swipes a taste. Evidently, the frosting is really good because he starts groaning and then, the yoga pants embolden him to utter,

“This frosting is yummy, honey. Makes me want to smear it all over you and just gnaw it off.”

(I know. He doesn’t really get points in the imagination department, and also we must take small deduction for use of the word, “gnaw,” but well, he’s trying.)


Momsie stops stirring long enough to hitch up yoga pants. Who knew yoga pants could actually sag? It’s possible that’s because she has worn them for two days in a row now.

She leans back against the husband and smiles. The moment is hers.

“Well, yes dear. We could do that. But, I was just thinking, why not just use a graham cracker?”


End scene.

Now, if that’s not good literature, I don’t know what is.



I Got a lot of Questions.

This morning, I woke to two small boys in my bed. One was laying across the other one, like a small, mouth-breathing version of a Jenga game. The husband was long gone to work, and I have to say, he’s a smart one to have escaped. The bed was capsizing under sleepy squirming, and at one point I think the cat got into the game. “Jenga!” he meowed with a vengeance as he found his way up on the mountain of children. “Jenga!!!! Now, get up and get me some kibbles, Tall Owner. I’m hungry!”


Obligatory shot of cat with underpants on head. Why? Because, that’s why.

So. This morning I read in my devotional about drawing close to God. He’s here, you know. Like, all the time. Or so the bible tells me. And who am I to argue with the bible?

Me. Me. I am one to argue with the bible.

I totally have God ensconced up in an office in the sky somewhere. Somewhere pleasant, with soft droning phones and lots of great art work on the walls. And really great coffee. He answers the phone with brisk ease and saves the day.

Except, in my head, he can only answer one call at a time.

And then there’s such sadness and pain – drums of war are pounding all around us. Truly horrific images of martyred believers fill my eyes and fill me with more pain than I even know what to do with.

Why didn’t He answer that call? All those men, marched to the beach? Wasn’t that call, you know, a really important one?

I am questioning so many things lately. I am adrift in an ocean of rather angry questions.

I decided to be brave and ask my husband about all this. He is an engineer, and his brain works in ways I can’t understand, but for some reason he is able to explain God to me. He’s not able to explain anything else. Just God stuff.

I asked him this rather silly question. “How does God answer all our prayers? All of them? All coming in at once? Billions and billions? Doesn’t this seem rather… ludicrous? How can He HEAR it all? It must be a noisy mess.”

He answered thus: “We don’t understand Him at all. We can’t. But we know He’s good and He’s powerful. And He loves us more than we can ever know.  And, as far as prayer goes? We can trust Him, with the wanting and the answers and what is right.”

Seems kinda loosey-goosey to me.

This from a man who wants to understand exactly how every gadget in our house operates and reads instruction manuals recreationally. He reads Popular Science for fun. And yet, he is all, “Trust and obey” on me?

So here I am.




I am watching two boys twist into the sheets of my bed (they both ended up here last night due to sickness and coughing, and oh I wish I could tell you we’re all better, but it’s a slow road) and I wondered at them. They were so perfect. All long lashes and soft hands. And a million prayers for them go floating up to God every day. How can He get to them? He’s really busy.

And how do I pray for this world when doing so just sort of… terrifies me?

So, here’s the kicker. I can just throw up my hands and not pray at all. Walk away. Quit. Give up on the supposition and sickening evidence from the television that all is lost.

Or, I can lean in and listen. Because I really do think, deep down, from my scared soul, that God is good. He is powerful. And he loves us more than we can ever know.

That small faith, paired with a good hot cup of coffee and some tangled groanings from psalms will keep me going today.

Just for today.






Linking up with Five Minute Friday today.

Today’s theme:

When .


Oh boy. I think I might get cranky on this one. Now remember, readers, this is MY crabby. All mine. You do not have to own it in any way. In fact, if you are all, “Oh no… she’s gonna get all crabby here and I don’t have time for THAT,” then you have complete permission to back away slowly.

It’s just how I’m feeling today.

So, here goes:


When are we going to stop fighting about yoga pants?

When is the polarity about that 50 Shades movie going to end?

When can we stop yelling at each other about immunizations?

When will there be some quiet on how much we hate our governor?

When will we be able to meet and talk?


I deal in social media. It’s my job. But sometimes, I think social media has created a whole lot of shouting heads. And not the good kind. I prefer the kind of shouting where you’re at a great church service and “I’ll Fly Away” is the hymn, and the band is going crazy, and we just shout along with the love of all of it.

Sometimes, I go on the great interwebs, and I come away thinking, “Everyone is so darn mad.”

And you know? We totally have every right to be mad. I get it. And even express it.

But today? I would like for us to just be able to realize one thing (and yes, I realize too, that I am now giving MY opinion and am stepping hard into the irony of all this. But I’m not yelling. When I yell, my voice gets all shrill and I kinda sound like Meg Tilly, but not in a good way.)

Today: I would like for the great interwebs to ask:

When could we meet for coffee and talk about all this? I’ll wear my yoga pants and you’ll bring your immunization flyers and we will try, somehow, to talk politics.

Or maybe, form a book club for that 50 book.

Or not… I think I would blush so hard I wouldn’t even be able to speak; book clubs like it when you talk, I think.


When are we going to get there? The talking part, instead of the shouting?

As my sister would say, “Honey, when Jesus comes, I imagine.”


True, yes. Especially the book club part. But, it’s nice to think about, isn’t it?


Talking is So Easy When You’re Married

fva-1000-wedding-portrait-a-cat-shutterstock-83582038-600wI am married, did you know that?

I know. Sometimes it even surprises me. He (The husband. The Married) shows up all unannounced and is skulking around in the refrigerator, and I turn around and think, Wow! There’s this dude in here, all up in my refrigerator! How did that happen?

I would also like to make clear: “All up in my refrigerator” is not code for something. In case you were wondering. We DO have codes for things, like, “Honey, you are the BEST.” This is code for, “I’m going to write about our relationship again today. Please forgive me.”


Recently, my beloved and I went out on a date. Like, a real one. With a restaurant and cloth napkins and no complaining about the green stuff in the sauce. I stared at him from across the table as he sipped his water. He is tall. Blonde. Blue eyes. He is a cutie. And right at that moment, as I stared into those sweet, blue eyes, I batted my lashes and realized something rather important:

I had absolutely nothing to say to the man.

It had happened. We have been married for all of eight long, grueling years, and now? We had used up all our conversation.

Don’t worry. We made it through. We faltered through some banter about the Royals. No, not the ones in Great Britain. The baseball team. Hubs happily informed me about all the trades and pine tar, and I gave my brain a moment to take a full on vacation, knowing that if I nodded here or there, hubs would be all, “This is conversation! And it includes baseball stats! This woman completes me!

All is not lost, ya’ll.

Because, as the date continued, and we listened to some rather amazing music – Phil Keaggy; have you heard of him? He’s awesome.  I sat next to Tall Blonde, and put my head on his shoulder and thought,
There is no one I would like to tune out to baseball statistics with than this man.


As the evening was drawing to a close, Hubs and I were heading home. A song came on the radio, and I hummed along.  And then what followed was what I like to refer to as:

The Ninth Inning Grand Slam of Talking:

Me: I love this song! Is it Cat Stevens, or James Taylor?

Him: No. No… It’s that guy that wrote that ship song.

Me: The Doors? Crystal Ship? This isn’t even in the same genre!

Him: No.. NO! The ELLA Fitzgerald one.

Me: Wait, What? Ella who?

Him: (slowly) ELLA. FITZGERALD.

Me:  (Sitting up. We are at critical mass here because I have found Something To Correct Him About.) Dude. Ella Fitzgerald is a jazz singer.

Him: …

Me: You know, like that Wonderful World Guy

Him: …

Me: YOU KNOW! Like that guy? The great Sassmo? Something Armstrong.

Him: Lance Armstrong?

Me: Yes! Maybe. No. I don’t know.

Him: Livestrong.

Me: What? Me?
Him: No. That’s Lance.

Me: (Looking around the car as if Lance was with us). NO. He sang that song, that one song. YOU KNOW. THE ONE AT OUR WEDDING?

Him: (Fearful. He is in scary territory. If he admits to not remembering this song, our marriage is a total fraud.) Right. That song. It’s a good one.

Me: Louis! LOUIS! He sang, “What a Wonderful World!” We DANCED TO IT AT OUR WEDDING! (Volume helps make me right.)

Him: Yes. Yes. We did.

Me: I am going to ignore the fact that you have no recollection of this song because we need to go back to the earlier part where you are also wrong. WRONG-O, buddy. The jazz singer lady. It’s Ella. She sang… she sang jazz stuff. A lot of famous stuff. And I don’t remember any of it.

Him: (Reaching for radio. Perhaps baseball on somewhere.)

Me: BUT wait. WAIT just a minute, buster. It’s not her. The one that wrote about the ship. About that poor ship that drowned.

Him: Gordon Lighting! (He is ecstatic! He is right! Finally!)

Me: You are not right.

Him: Ok, well Lightening something…

Me: McQueen?


Me: (Going for diversion). So, what did Cat Stevens sing, then?

Him: He’s a Christian.

Me: NO. He’s a Muslim now. You are WRONG AGAIN.  But he sang that song about the cats.

Him: In the cradle!

Me: Well, that’s just sad. To sing a song about cats and then not being able to keep your name, “Cat.”  He changed his name, you know. After he converted.

Him: (Still rather hoping we could just talk about baseball.)

Me: If he coulda kept it, it woulda been purrfect. (Punching him in the arm because I am funny, but he didn’t laugh. Punching him informs him to laugh. That’s how we operate.)

Him: Ouch. You just call out my name.

Me: Huh?

Him: James Taylor. He wrote some stuff. You just call out my name.

Me: Honey?

Him: And I’ll come running! Wherever you are…

Me: Oh. You’re singing. You’re singing the song now.

Him: Yep. And he sang that Mockingjay song.

Me: Mockingbird.

Him: That too.

Me: Well, now you’re just trying to be funny.

Him: I’m not trying. It comes natural.

Me: Ella Fitzgerald wasn’t even born when that ship went down.

Him: Well. It’s something like that. Ella FitzSimmons?

Me: No.

Him:  Elmer Fitzmerald?

Me: …

Him: Ugh. This is really gonna bug me.

Me: …

Him: The Ship of the Elvis FitzPresley?







Keep the peace.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The word is:

Screenshot 2015-02-06 10.47.17







Well, here’s another post about the never-ending story of sickies that has descended on our house. It’s a suspenseful tale of all night cough fests and very little sleep and, at one time, a great plot twist involving poop.

I KNOW. Can’t wait to read it, can you?

Wait. WAIT. Before you leave me for something vastly more interesting on the interwebs, let me apologize. I have tried at numerous points all week to write something really fascinating or inspirational or at least solidly funny, but each time I had a thought like this: “Well, look, the boys are doing something rather adorable, it will inspire millions, I should post about this!”

Then THIS would happen: Something involving children’s Mucinex all over the bed, or I would forget the cuteness because I haven’t, you know, SLEPT in about five days, or the cat would catch on fire*, or something.

The doctor had told me that Blonde was no longer contagious, and we simply had to wait it out.

And so. We are waiting. We all still feel a bit under the weather.


I know. This may be a bit dramatic. But it really is kinda how we are feeling around here.

I do love it, that waiting. I’d put it right up there with doing my taxes. Or constipation. Or doing my taxes while constipated.

So, yesterday, I woke up with the blonde firmly shellacked to my side in a sticky pile of six-year-old grumpiness (sticky – because I tried to give the kid some cough medicine at three in the morning. This is never a good idea. Six year olds seem to lose all fine motor skills after midnight. You can look it up in the DSM-V under Annoying Inability to Get Medicine in Mouth Because Tired.)

Ok. I was a bit…off kilter. Off balance.

Ok, I’ll admit, I was GRUMP-Y.

So, I did what I always do when I am grumpy (also, when I am sad, tired, overwhelmed, impatient, freaked out, or basically any other sort of wack emotion) – I prayed. Rather listlessly, and with a heavy side of whining, but I prayed.

And then, I got up and put on skinny jeans. This helped too, somehow. First of all, they sort of lift and tuck all the bits and pieces that need, um, lifting and tucking. This makes me feel like a real person.

And so here’s what happened next:

1. My morning devotional was about being a slump. Yes, the kind where you feel all blah and tuckered and just spent, like the world is a big huge puddle of sadness. I read it over twice and felt heartened.

2. I got a letter from my Mom. It was about step work. No, I’m not talking square dancing (which would be fun, wouldn’t it?) It’s about 12 step recovery; some notes she had written down when I was a kid, and KEPT all these years and then sent to me. I felt encouraged.

3. I was able to lend a hand to a student with something for class. And I felt… helpful.

Life is hard. It involves sickness and tiredness and sometimes the occasional mornings of grumpitude. I guess all I have today to add to that is that we need to hunker down and stay close to God at those times.

Well, don’t we always? In good and in bad? We need to keep close and He will do the rest.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.

Isaiah 26:3, KJB

Not, “so-so peace,” or “kinda-sorta peace,” or “peace in pieces.”

Nope. “PERFECT PEACE,” people! (Say that fast three times!)

That bible, it seems to have a lot of answers, doesn’t it. Perhaps, all the answers. To all of it. Even for tired babies and tired mommies and tired mornings.









* Ok, no cats were actually IN FLAMES at all during this post. Or at any other times. Like ever. Back off, PETA.

Monday and Monty Python

My darlings, all of them, have been a bit sickie lately.

Don’t worry, it’s not really dire or anything. It’s just this:

A never ending, wet hacking that sounds like a seal with smoker’s cough. I tried to google that, and you would be shocked, SHOCKED at the images that popped up. Thank you, interwebs.

The boys walk around in a sort of pleghmy haze, coughing and hacking like that happy “Bring out your dead!” plague scene in Monty Python. In fact, if my little urchins learned how to speak in a Brit accent and dressed in rags and cheeky British satire, we could audition.

‘Course, Monty Python’s Flying Circus is no longer. It is an EX-Monty. The Flying Circus has ceased to be.

(You see what I did there, right?)

Anyhow, I really have nothing more to tell you, except that with all this pathetic wheezing, I am feeling a bit tired. Also, it’s just possible I haven’t had a normal night’s sleep in about five hundred days. Or three. Somewhere in there.

And I told you that to tell you this. After six years (plus nine long months, but who’s counting) of being a mom, I have learned an important truth:

Mothers, you can give sleep a big fat kiss goodbye.

Yes, I have learned other things as a mom, like how to get eyes in the back of my head and quelling tantrums with one withering glance (this took practice, but it works like a charm on the hubs, every time), and how to refer to broccoli as “little trees” to amuse your children into eating it.* But the sleep thing? That’s been a tough one.

Let me illustrate for you (since I am really, really tired and pictures are easy)


Young woman sleeping










What? Oh. Well, all RIGHT. The lawyer would like me to state the following,

Disclaimer: Woman in bed is not actually me. She’s a stunt Momsie. And while we’re at it, my bed is not, nor was it ever, that white. And the hubs is not pictured above because, well, he would be sleeping with ANOTHER WOMAN and that is NOT the kind of blog I am running here, ya’ll.

And, also, I think she really needs to wash her makeup off at bedtime; that is so not good for your skin.

But I digress.









Yes, I know I have written about this no sleep clause after childbirth thing before. I apologize. There are two reasons for this:


2. It never ceases to amaze me, children. They are, like, relentless. They just keep AT you, like for food, and endless drinks of water, and because they want to come cough on you at three in the morning. Why must they cough on us? I don’t know. (I mean, I get the food part, sustenance and all, but the coughing? Does it have to be with another?  Coughing alone is not as… fun? Coughing likes to bond?)

I once did try to convince the boys that coughing on the cat was the way to go. I mean, Steve is about the mildest, most sweet tempered cat on the planet. And so, expectorating all over him at three am seemed like a good option.

A wee problem with this was that Steve the Cat was in our bed the first time that Red attempted this. So, of course, Red got up out of his bed, grabbed his blanket, and walked his cuteness right over to the edge of our bed, and then unloaded a huge, rattling whoop on Steve, us, and the entire four state area.

All this startled Steve a bit, and he decided to exit the bed rather quickly. The other wee problem here was that he was tightly wrapped in sheets (What? He looked chilly.) and so, he got a bit zealous with his claws to get the heck outta there.

No wee Reds where injured in the coughing incident. I, however, was woken to a wired cat who decided to use my stomach as a trampoline to catapult (I AM AWESOME. YOU SEE THAT? RIGHT?) himself onto the floor.

Don’t worry, I was fine.

It was just a flesh wound.


*”Little trees” ? Really? This so did not work on Blonde. He just gave me a withering glance. I was so proud. He has learned from the master.