Summer is here and I love it.

Guys, I haven’t posted here in like crackamillion years.

Wanna know why?

I shall provide you with a neat graphic:

service.png

Go ahead. Pin that graphic to your Pinterest boards. I dare you.

By the way, I don’t wear a bikini but I didn’t have the patience to try and draw anymore.

So, we have been busy, y’all. The calendar in the kitchen is so loaded down with stuff that I tried to add something to it the other day and it shrank away from me and started weeping. “Go away,” Calendar said, rocking back and forth. “I just want to be alone!”

On Tuesday, we were so busy that by the end of the day, after the boys were upstairs in bed, I found myself looking around in a panic, wondering where my keys were. It’s like when the cool army people jump out of planes, you see? You know… they’re all lined up, jumping out, all “Go GO GO GO!!” – that’s us. We are the army, people. We are being all that we can be.

I’m exhausted.

Ok, granted there has been pool time, and this is when I get to sit in one place for a prolonged period of minutes. I sit there, and then I slowly start to sweat into the plastic back of my chair and it imprints itself all over my white backside. So, then, of course, I go gingerly into the pool and swim around with my head above water, all old-lady paddling, and then get back out. And go sweat again. Sometimes I read. A lot of times I just stare at the blue water and try to remember where it is we are going to next.

By the way, I TOTALLY get it, Mom. You used to take us to the pool? I remember you had a leopard print one-piece swimsuit that was very Mrs. Robinson, except you weren’t really into seducing anyone. You were a good woman.* But the swimsuit still was so Anne Bancroft. ANYHOW… I totally get it. Sitting at the pool, watching your daughters prunitize themselves in the water for hours… You are a saint. We moms, we are SAINTS.

Plus that swimsuit was very cool.

Yesterday, I took Blonde and Red to the pool after some sort of thing they had (I think it was play practice? Because they are in the summer musical? I dunno anymore. I just drive them places and pick them up. I’m a Mom Uber. A MUber, if you will.)

So, we’re at the pool, and I have just head-outta-the-water paddled my sweat off, and plunked myself back down with a book. Red approaches. He’s all wet and drippy and has that peculiar wet-kid walk that is part waddle with his hands all clutched up under his chin. I don’t know why my children walk like this when they go to the pool. It’s like the water makes them all self-clutchy and I guess I should be happy they don’t clutch any other body parts. They look all wet and shrunken, like little wet rabbits, and it’s kind of cute.

ANYHOW.  (Didn’t you miss this? Momsie’s brain while writing is like watching Rocky and Bullwinkle, I tell you.)

So, Red approaches and stands by me, too close, as every seven year old must stand next to his mom, and drips all over my book. “Whatcha doin?” he asks and I bite my face off to not respond with sarcasm.

“I’m… reading. This. It’s a book.” (Ok, that did have a whiff of sarcasm but trust me, people, this was the softer, gentler version.)

Red nods and then asks, “Why aren’t you swimming? Why did you bring THAT *nods derisively towards the book* to HERE *gestures widely to the water.”

I see where he is going with this. His brain cannot understand that I am not in the water the entire time, until I get pruny.

Also, it was adult swim. This is pool-jail for little kids. And here I was NOT SWIMMING WHEN I SO COULD BE.

In other words, I was being glib. I was being all glib about the POOL. This was hard for him.

I tried to explain.

“Honey. I’m an adult. That’s what adults do. We bring books to the pool and we don’t like to get our hair wet.”

He dripped a moment, and nodded, staring off in the distance.

And that’s how my child learned that growing up is awful.

The end.

 

By the way, I took them home and fed them ice cream bars for dinner. This is because I am glib, but I am not crazy. It was necessary.

original-32625-1436979056-4.jpg

*ARE. You ARE a good woman, Mom. The verb tense is important.

Take Heart: Family Game Night Will Save Us All

stock-vector-vintage-summer-postcard-vector-illustration-106391222.jpg

We have just finished our first day of summer at this house. Here are some highlights:

1. One child woke up at 6:40 am. Never in the history of forever has he woken up at 6:40. But today, he did. I heard him start to thump sleepily down the stairs just as I sat down with my coffee and bible. Impeccable timing.
2. The other kid slept until 9 am and then demanded to know what he had missed, like we had all jetted off to Vegas while he was gone.
3. Boredom is the great leveler. Both boys found themselves tortured with boredom by 10:00 am, and were forced to ACTUALLY PLAY A GAME together.
4. I’m not gonna make it to June, y’all. Pray for me.

This whole summer thing is interesting. We love it, in theory. You know, pools and sun and trotting around in sleeveless tops and fifty-thousand baseball practices, and so on.
But, in reality? My arms are still floppy from the baby weight (the baby is now seven) and the sun gives you wrinkles.

I don’t think my children think this way. They are not concerned about the wrinkles. Bless their unwrinkled hearts.

Red and Blonde are of the opinion that every summer day should be Big Fun. It is my job to vanquish this dream, and I think today did the job.

However, there is hope. There is something called:

Family Game Night!!!!!!!! Woop Woop!!!!

Here are the rules:

  1. Dinner is popcorn, apples, cheese, and milk. Sometimes I totally go all out and make chocolate milk. This momma plays hard.
    2. Games are selected based upon playing time (cannot exceed bedtime) and are nixed if there was crying the last time they were played (Monopoly. It’s always Monopoly)
    3. Dad has to play. He is the comedic relief. He is always comedic relief.
    4. The cat will try to lay on the game board. This is essential.
    5. We stay up late (because we always break rule #2), laugh a lot, and forget that earlier that day one kid tried to teach the other kid how to burp. (Oh, yes, they know how to burp, but now it can be cued.)
    6. There will always be a Royals baseball game on the radio. If the Royals are not playing, then we are allowed to cue up our funkadelic Toby Mac station on Pandora, but there is always a Royals game on. Always. It’s magic.

I know Family Game Night is not a new idea, in terms of fun family activities. I know it’s not really imaginative or has cute, Pinterested crafts involved, or involves a trip somewhere fabulous.

But that’s just the point. It’s simple. We drag out our Jenga and Life, and the other games that we forgot we had, vote on our favorites, and play. Democracy in action!

And, did I mention? It’s really fun.
The one thing I will never forget about this weekly tradition is that there is never any clamoring for screen time, or tablets, or anything, essentially, that has buttons to push. Well, we play Outburst Kids, and that has buttons, but you know what I mean. Our kids would rather just be with US than anything else. We are even cooler than Lego Star Wars on the Wii.

Who knew? I am cooler than Lego Leia who jumps straight up a lot, and can never shoot anything with her light saber except the useless potted plants*

Last week’s Game Night was a rousing marathon of Sorry, which lasted about five hours. Sorry has an apt name, my husband and I have decided. As in, “This game will last about five hours. Sorry.”

f71ac92aff13b381d971bf475413a80f.jpg

Well, of COURSE the British made up this game. So polite. So apologetic. And, evidently, with lots and lots of time on their hands.

Finally, FINALLY, at the end of all the Sorry-ing, our youngest, Red won the game. He popped up, wiggled his hips in a Macarena sort of victory dance, and I considered throwing the yellow flag, calling a penalty on the play for celebration. But, it was cute so I let it pass. And as we finally pried the children away from the popcorn and mess, and managed to get them both into bed without too much chaos, Blonde reached out and grabbed my neck.

“I love you, Momma,” he said. And all was right in the land.

“I love you too, sweetie.”

“And next time I want to play Uno.”
I twitched a little. Uno is also the game called, “Wait, What? Whose Turn is It?” because it makes my synapses itch. All that switching around! Reverses! Skipping players! This kind of stuff is not good for a woman who has been multitasking all day and her brain is tired.

pureflix2.jpg
By the way, sometimes we do watch screens. We are great fans of a movie night, especially if it is also paired with popcorn for dinner. If you’re interested in a great Christian movie resource, I recommend Pure Flix. It’s got a kajillion movies, shorts, and shows for the whole family. Also, Pureflix is partnering with Convoy of Hope, helping to feed Americans in need. It’s a great cause.
* It’s possible that Princess Leia only hits plants because her handler, Momsie, CANNOT PLAY THIS GAME. IT’S HARD. User error. It is what it is.

Leia.jpg

I kill plants, not people.

This was not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. Guys, you know I’ll tell it to you true. 🙂

Honesty. It’s such a lovely word.

Everyone is so untrue.

Honesty is hardly ever heard.

And mostly what I need from you.

hqdefault.jpg

I think I’m just going to have to hand this to Billy Joel today. He said it better than I ever could.

But, not “everyone,” Mr. Joel. Not at all.

Linking up tonight with Five Minute Friday. And the theme? truth-600x600.jpg

Here is what I have learned about honesty in the Life of Dana (which is sooooo super interesting, I know):

Life of Not Sober Dana:

I’m totally honest because I would hate to ever make anyone mad at me, and people get mad when they are lied to. I know this because I have watched a lot of gritty cop dramas and those bad people on there LIE, I tell you. And everyone is always so MAD about it. And gritty.

Also? The ‘truth’ is a completely relative term because to make sure that people like me all the time I might lie to you at some point after completely manipulating and controlling every eensy, meensy, single tiny dusty corner of this situation.

Did you know? Controlling every single eensy meensy tiny dusty corner of the situations? It just makes you dusty. And mad.

So…

Life of Sober Dana:

*taps mic* Ahem? I’m all about Rigorous Honesty in All My Affairs.

*silence*

This sounds SO impossible but honestly? It’s not so bad. Did you know? If you are just honest in the beginning there is NO DUSTING. I SO LOVE THIS.

DUSTING IS FOR MAIDS AND BUNNIES, NOT ME.

Ok, I don’t even know what that means.

But, I do know THIS:

To be honest, this honesty thing is SO MUCH EASIER. Why doesn’t everyone do this? Why? Don’t they know? We need to alert the media. And Congress. And small children. All of them.  

Perhaps I have such a handle on honesty because I am just so much more spiritual than most, and have my stuff together more. That’s totally it. *

What? I’m just being honest.

*Disclaimer: Sarcasm often takes honesty and dresses it up in costume. Usually something rather silly. I am not spiritual. I am a recovering alcoholic. This just means I used up all my lies in my 20’s through my 40’s, and so if I say any more dishonest things I will be smited and sent straight to H-E-double hockey sticks.

Disclaimer to the disclaimer: I don’t think God smites in that fashion, with actual bolts of lightening and immediate passage to that hockey sticks place. That kind of thing only happens in the movies. Or Congress.

But there would be smiting in my head and heart and that, as we all know, is much, much worse.

1987165-Stephanie-Klein-Quote-Tell-the-truth-or-someone-will-tell-it-for.jpg

 

 

I Tweet, Therefore I am.

6edf23771437fddb0fb300e25a03c6ae.jpg

Y’all. I’m supposed to be fasting from social media right now.

See? See how well that’s going? This is me… fasting.

Allow me to explain:

When I started the Congo fast because my evil friend Kate suckered me into it without my full knowledge, comprehension, or understanding, and I did it out of the goodness of my heart and because I am totally spiritual and my goodness this is all a load of hooey.

ANYHOW. When I started the Congo fast w/ Kate for our Sunday school class… I thought… Well. Food. I have to fast from food for 40 days. That’s nearly impossible and as we all know I have caved like a Neanderthal about twenty times in the 40 days, but who’s counting?

As God is my witness, I thought the tortillas were going to be it.

But, as Kate has so patiently reminded me, also about twenty times, the Sunday school class does exceed 40 days. So, what are we gonna do for the other portion? Just sit around and talk about how fabulous we were for fasting?

Ok, so along with Chris Seay’s A Place at the Table, we read this gem:

41PSauik+aL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I use the word “gem” because I have so few of them now, BECAUSE JEN KEEPS TELLING ME TO GIVE STUFF AWAY.

Ok, seriously. Here’s more explaining: We decided to also tackle, along with food the other items that Jen mutinies against. There right there on the cover for you: clothes, spending, waste, stress (har har har), waste, and MEDIA.

MEDIA.

YES IN ALL CAPS.

Guys. You can take my clothes and help me recycle and give me a budget and make me eat corn tortillas ’till the cows come home (that we can’t eat)

BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO PRY MY MEDIA FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS.

Here is the very real conversation I had with Kate about this whole media thing, yesterday:

Kate: I’m fasting from media and it’s going okay. How about you?
Me: *leans forward to the microphone* I cannot recall.

That’s a pretty fabulous Ollie North, right? And for those of you who are too young to understand my cheap mimicry of the general and his memory recall issues, what I REALLY said is something like this:

Me: NOOOOOOO. This is so HARRRRRRD. I’m eating rice and beans – you can’t make me NOT watch Netflix TOOOOOOOOOOO.

The wailing, I tell you, was heard one county over.

I ask you, what about all my quips? Where will the quipping go, if I cannot post about it? It will be like I don’t even exist.

Really. How can I live without the tweetings?

What if my children do something adorable? (rare, granted). Or the cat? What if the CAT does something adorable (hourly). How will I live without talking about it?

So, here is my announcement: Our Congo fast and its 40 days is over this Sunday. After that, I will be walking away from my computer for a week.

I will miss you *she waves weakly* Don’t you worry about me… *fading away* I’m sure I’ll be… just… fine *drops to the floor in a heap and makes sure her pose is flattering for a selfie*

Social media, y’all. It’s addictive stuff. I mean, really. If a tree falls in the forest and no one takes a picture of it for Instagram, does an angel lose his wings?

Or something like that.

Now, the only people I have yet to tell are the children. They’ll be joining me in this fast. No Netflixes. No Wii Rockband.

The cries will be heard from two counties over.

Pray for us.

Save

Momsie is a G rated blog. And she’s recommending an (almost) X rated Netflix show.

StreamTeam_Red&White_BlackBackground.png

 

WAIT. Just stay with me, here, Ok?

This was me about five minutes prior to posting this:

Me: NO DON’T DO IT. CRAZY SAUCE. WRITE ABOUT PUPPIES.

Y’all. I’m not gonna write about puppies.

With the help of Netflix, I’m going to get serious with you.

I meant to post about some great Netflix shows for kids and teens and other heartening options, because yes, there are many there. I have gobs and gobs of things on Netflix that I watch that warm my soul and make me smile and make my children chortle with laughter…

Today is not such a day.

Today, I am recommending this:maxresdefault.jpg

Guys. This show broke. My. Heart.

Two years ago I spoke at the Whole Women’s Conference – a gathering for women who felt broken, lost, addicted, and all of the above. There, I met Annie Lobert, an ex porn star who had found Jesus, and whose mission is to offer assistance and ministry to women stuck in this industry.

And, yes, “stuck” is the right term.

I think… I think this post is going to upset some of y’all. I am so sorry. I’m going to post it anyway.

In this era of social media, amateur porn is blowing up. Did you know, Twitter still has NO sorts of filters, so basically anyone who has a Twitter account can access porn, free and easy, whenever they like?

The minimum age for a Twitter account is 13. The average age for a person to be exposed to porn? 11.

That’s in three years, for my oldest.

Amateur porn is here, and here’s one of its spokespersons:

“Amateurs come across better on screen. Our customers feel that. Especially by women you can see it. They still feel strong pain.”

So, here’s the deal. This show does not take an easy look at this. It’s not clearly anti-porn or pro. It is fairly unbiased. And for that, I am kind of grateful. Because… the girls’ faces. They don’t need to ask the leaning questions or mess with the dialogue or twist the events or MESS WITH IT AT ALL. THE GIRLS’ FACES.

Nobody really wants this life. And yet, it’s happening.

 

The website Fight the New Drug tells us: The main job for these girls? To look young. “Teen” is one of the top keywords in porn searches.      (http://fightthenewdrug.org/10-porn-stats-that-will-blow-your-mind/)

Guys. The IWF tells us: “Child porn is one of the fastest growing online businesses.”

It. Is. Everywhere.

I’m not a fan.

Maybe… you disagree. Maybe you see it as a choice, as a part of healthy human sexuality, as a part of expression and just being plain honest with ourselves. Maybe it’s empowering.

Maybe. But. Just look at their faces, ok? And, there’s so many of them. These girls. They don’t look like victims. They’re smiling. There’s hundreds of them. Or more. So… how can they be victims if SO many of them are signing up to be a click away for someone?

Just watch Hot Girls Wanted. And, there? Just look at their faces.

I do warn you – there is nudity and all the rest of it here. The film does not show the porn in action, but yes, nudity happens.  It’s not an easy film to watch. But, I did. And I cried. And, then I asked God three things:
I have two boys, and I cannot help but wonder – what will this industry be like when they are 11?
And also,  is there any way I can help those girls? Is there any way I could just hug on them, and tell them, somehow, what they’re worth? What they are really, really worth?
And, God, there are so many. Why? Why did we let this go for so long? Why weren’t we paying attention?
Ok, finally.
I read up on the definition of “exposed.” You know, to reveal, to uncover. To leave cold.
The antonym for exposed is “protect.”
And the final definition? Waaaaaay down the page, at the bottom, where you would miss it unless you’re an English teacher like me and kept reading?
Exposed: to leave a child to die.

Life has a soundtrack. What’s yours?

Everything has music built in. I just know it.

I came to this realization long ago, when I was about six I think, watching the Muppet Show. As it started, and that bouncy Muppet Show song came on, I just knew:

This song was strumming my pain with its fingers.

You know, telling my whole life with his words.

Perhaps, not, however, killing me softly with his song. Because, they’re Muppets you know. It’s a happy thing. They don’t do killing.

Linking up with my favorite people today! Five Minute Friday. And the theme?

sing-600x600.png

Oh, I have a lot to say about this. But, alas, I have to pick my children up from school in a bit so I’ll keep it short.

So, yes, I realize that sounds like I’m alas-ing about the kids showing up here. Not quite. They’re the ones that bring a lot of noise and all. Chaos. Child-chaos, the most mind-fizzling kind. Like trying to stuff a bunch of small kittens down a swirly slide while a small parrot sits on your head and repeats the 10 Commandments at you.

YES REALLY THAT’S JUST WHAT IT’S LIKE.

But, back to singing.

I sing a lot. I have my Jesus music on all day, because if I don’t I start to listen to what’s going on in my head, and no  one wants to do that. I sing along. I tend to think I could very well be a backup singer for Journey, if they needed one, you know. Don’t worry – I know very well I can’t actually be the headliner, but totally could nail backup, right?

There’s a band, Travis, from the 90’s that came out with a song called, (you guessed it) “Sing.” I love Travis. They’re all ironic lyrics and tousled British looks and jangly banjos. They were hipster before hipster was cool. And the lyrics tell us:

“But the love you bring, won’t mean a thing,

Unless you sing.”

am971982.jpg

It’s true. We need to sing at life. Every day has a soundtrack. Some lyrics are AC DC, some are Neil Diamond.

Some are ABBA and you KNOW those are gonna be good days.

My children have a propensity for singing, especially Red. He likes to sing in the bath, and often makes up his own lyrics. A few nights ago he was in there singing something about Luke Skywalker and I so wanted to video it, but artistic license, you know. They both have it in their contract (renewed when they turned six-ish, that no more videos of bathing time would occur. The lawyer had that instilled after one unfortunate incident involving some gospel, the cat, and a naked Red. Lawyers are such a pain.)

One night, while I was trying to scrape together dinner (literally because I had spilled the pasta and by God we were GOING to eat pasta, even floor pasta. Don’t judge.) it seemed that we were going to have a particularly musical evening.

Musical, not so much in an Andrew Lloyd Webber way, but more in a Bludgeoning You Upside the Head Way.

It involved a lot of noise from Red who was asking me, in operatic style, to build Tatooine with him in the living room. Because he NEEDED TATOOINE RIGHT NOW IN THE LIVING ROOM HOW CAN YOU, MOTHER, IGNORE MY PLEA (insert endlessly repeating chorus here).

On the radio, was the twanging of Johnny Cash. He goes with everything, as you know.

And then, Blonde decided to go upstairs and get his recorder. “Do you want to hear a song?” he asked and I looked at him, wide-eyed, because what? Like a song ON TOP  of all the other songs going on right now? I mean, maybe some harmonies would be doable but really? MORE song?

If the dog had started howling the moment would have really defined itself as The One Time That She Ran from the House with the Dishtowel Over Her Head, Screaming.

I didn’t. The dog didn’t. We soldiered on and I think I did the most logical mom thing:

I snatched that blasted recorder right out of Blonde’s hands and hid it where the sun don’t shine.

There’s only so much music one can take, y’all. I’m not Julie Andrews.

We sing, because we have to. The soundtrack of my life is very Muppet Show with a little Les Miserables mixed in. As well it should be. I regularly sing Master of the House to the babies as their lullaby.

That explains a lot, actually.

So, also, is this little gem  – it’s a part of our soundtrack on the repeat around here:

 

Birthday Boy

Sucess-Kid-Paleo-Birthday.jpg

My son just asked me if we could build Tatoinne in our living room.

Also, I am now looking up on the youtubes how to put the buns in the sides of mah hair. Because Princess Leia, you know.

Also, Darth Vader will be coming over, Saturday. I do hope the house will be tidy enough. He likes a tidy house.

Also, I am now trying to staple Yoda ears to the dog.

Ok, just kidding about that last part but the doggie Yoda ears are sooooo cute and they will not STAY ON because preshums doggums keeps shaking his doggie head.

HE IS MESSING WITH MY PLAN.

Birthdays follow a basic template. It goes like this:

Screenshot_2017-04-13_11_45_59.png

I can’t help it. I have this weird propensity to always say, “Let’s just keep it simple,” and then something in my brain sort of snaps and fizzles and I start creating a Death Star out of paper mache and hope. Red’s birthday is Saturday and I’ve been tweeting at Harrison Ford for TWO days now to make a surprise appearance and he STILL hasn’t gotten back to me.

Here is the culprit behind all this:

d:Screenshot 2015-09-10 12.03.38

The bat costume is there because I was in a hurry and couldn’t find a picture of him without a costume. Also, we do costumes a lot around here. Keeps it real.

But, the cuteness? Don’t let it distract you. He’s a master at manipulation.

I must go. Tatoinne wasn’t built in a day, you know.

hanawesome.jpg