Perhaps I’ve been hitting the chlorine a little too hard lately.

 

longform-original-21106-1414672565-10.jpg

 

I’m sitting in the concession stand area during pool lessons. I have my computer, my super cool Netflix thermos of coffee, and a kitty coffee mug. I am fully outfitted. The other parents are sitting around talking or playing on their phones, but I’m pouring coffee into my cup like some weirdo epicurean coffee lady who doesn’t drink coffee straight out of her adult sippy cup thing like everyone else.
Here’s why I have the thermos: Netflix GAVE it to me and I am not one to look a gift thermos in the mouth.
Also, I spill. I spill horribly. Adult sippy cups are hard.

It’s summer. Did you know?

There’s this smell here, at the pool. It’s chlorine and sunscreen and heat on concrete, and I remember this smell from my own childhood.
I remember when I was fifteen I had a white one piece that I bought at The Limited. I never could do the two piece thing. I didn’t even ask. A bikini on me would have been equal, I am sure, with my mom sewing a big red G (for “grounded”) on my white one piece.

Oh the memories.

It’s cool here in the shade, and as I pour more coffee like a weirdo and smell the chlorine I am filled with peace.

IMG_6694.JPG

There are two reasons for this:
1. My children are over THERE. I am over HERE.
2. I am writing, which is my happy place.
3. That thermos really makes good coffee and yes I know that’s three but the peace doesn’t equal fully firing synapses in my case.

I know I’ve already talked about how summer can be crazy busy. But it’s a different kind of busy.
I realize this is like saying it’s a “dry heat” when the sun is melting your eyebrows off, but still. I stand by my “crazy but different” explanation. I think it’s because the phrase “Crazy, but different” sums me up, so perfectly.

If I was ever to get a tattoo, it would be that, “Crazy, but different” all scrawled across my lower back because that is JUST how I roll. In my alternative universe where I get huge tattoos on my lower back.

(Don’t think for a minute that I am judging you, Tattoo People. I am just admitting that I am powerless over any sort of pain and needles and if anyone wanted to even TRY to poke at me with an inky needle all over my lower back for an hour or so there would be lots of crying and dramatic behavior. I can barely manage to pluck my eyebrows, for Pete’s sake. Pain is to be avoided, at all costs.)

Ohhhh that explains a lot, doesn’t it?
Perhaps I should get a tattoo: “Pain is to be avoided at all costs.” Right? Very cool and ironic? Also, long. A long sentence. So, so painful.

Somehow this post ended up being about skin art. How did that happen?

Every once in a while I look up from my screen and take a deep breath. The smell is soothing and energizing, at the same time. It’s like my oil diffuser back home, that I always have loaded up with buckets of lavender because of all the running and animals and endless Star Wars. Lavender oil does only so much, when it’s 6:30 am and your boys (WHO NEVER WOKE UP THIS EARLY DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR MY LORD IN HEAVEN CAN THEY NOT JUST LUXURIATE IN A BED FOR ONCE) are ready to tussle and also have a full on conversation about The Hulk. At 6:30 am.

I think I figured out why my synapses aren’t always firing on all levels, folks. Children beat the synapses right out of you. They do, at 6:30 am, as they stand in front of you in Lego Star Wars underpants, wishing to discuss the merits of The Hulk and his anger issues. He’s still a Good Guy, you know. Even though he gets so Angry. But his powers are nothing in comparison to Wolvering (yes, that’s how we pronounce it at our house. It’s cute but messed up. OH MY GOSH THAT COULD SO BE ANOTHER TATTOO.)

Anyhow. Picture me, standing over my oil diffuser, sucking in lavender mist like I need to go to oil diffuser rehab. That’s how I start my days.

The pool, and ten am swimming lessons? A much better substitute.

IMG_6688.JPG

Thank you so much for reading this post.
Obviously the pool fumes are making me a bit drunk on summer. There’s a lot of feelings but not a lot of logic.
Logic is for winter.

(AND JUST LIKE THAT. ANOTHER TATTOO. BOOM.)

longform-original-28323-1414672571-23.jpg

 

 

 

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. 🙂

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

Enough, Already.

Linking up with my favorite people over at Five Minute Friday. The theme?

It’s a good one.

Totally fitting.

Kinda scary accurate, actually.

It’s like Kate Motaung totally knows me. That poor woman.

 

define-2-600x600.png

 

Ok, so this week I explained to you my Congo fast, right? I think we’re at almost half way, and so far it’s been a piece of cake.

Cake. I miss you.

And, if you know me at all, you realize that all this glib talk of pastry is just a call for help. This is tough, people.

This Congo fast? There’s not really a truly hungry element here. I am not starving. In fact, the author of the book we’re using, Chris Seay, makes it very clear that quantity is fine. It’s just WHAT we’re eating makes me kinda… itchy for cake. It’s not a hunger we’re dealing with here. It’s a restlessness.

So, also: I cheated.

Last Saturday, something snapped and that night I found myself scarfing graham crackers, off-brand cheezits from Dollar General, and marshmallows.

Y’ALL. I DON’T EVEN LIKE MARSHMALLOWS.

Also, my husband was in the other room, and I found myself SHOVING FOOD IN MAH MOUTH as silently as possible, like a stealthy chipmunk.

A very guilty chipmunk.

So, way back, long ago, when this whole thing started (that was thirteen days ago, my friends. It seems like it was 2014), my friend Kate (Aka the master manipulator who totally bamboozled me into this whole thing) told me it was ok to write about all this. Wow, that is a humdinger of a sentence.

I asked her if the Congo fast had a place in my blog. Would writing about it be too “HEY LOOK AT ME I AM FASTING HOW COOL AM I? SUPER CHRISTIAN WOMAN IN DA HOUUUUUUUSE.” Because whenever I blog about anything I like to channel 80’s hip hop diction. It’s how I roll, yo.

Kate said it would be fine. It might help others and there’s always accountability.

Sigh. Accountability Shmacountability.

So, I had two choices today. I could tell you how marvelous the whole Lenten Congo Fastapalozza is a spiritual walk in the park. And… therefore…

This would be me:c4ecc05d66ba61b6ce0a2590f6efd0e8_well-isnt-that-special-feb-19-well-isnt-that-special-meme_736-649.jpg

Instead, I am gonna fess up and tell you how a graham cracker and some stale marshmallows broke me like a twig.

Oh my goodness. GUYS. I just realized. I  coulda at least made a S’MORE with my rebellion. WHAT is wrong with me? If I’m gonna screw up I should make it COUNT.

s'moresblog.jpg

MY PRESHUS.

 

See? Isn’t it a good thing I’m being accountable here? Because then you are welcome to watch me unravel before your eyes. I’m a cautionary tale, in human form.

I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully there will be no more marshmallow shenanigans.

THE POINT:

I have Enough. We all have more than Enough. We don’t even know. I was so used to always having MORE than Enough that I lost sight of Who is Enough.

Enough is enough.

more-than-enough.jpg

 

I’m pretty sure they don’t have chicken nuggets in the Congo.

 

83232447.jpg

Ok, here’s the deal.

I never have done Lent.

There. I said it.

I have, perhaps, said I was going to do Lent… you know, chocolate. Or Coke. That kind of thing.

But then… I would go home and open a Coke and eat some ring dings and my brain just kinda went, “La lala la la laaaaa, Jesus loves me it’s all good,” and carried on.

I just have a really, really hard time with discomfort, y’all.

Discomfort is so… uncomfortable.

So, some of you may know that this Lenten season my pastor’s wife totally suckered me into teaching a class on fasting. I don’t like her anymore. She is manipulative and our friendship is done. DONE, I tell you.

No, not really, but still. She has a newborn, and I think I was cooing at her (the baby, not Kate) when she asked me to co-teach, and honestly, I woulda said yes to anything at that moment because babies are all sparkly so basically SHE USED HER BABY TO GET ME TO DO THIS.

I’m eating like the Congolese for 40 days. Lord help us all.

The Congolese do not have:

  • chicken nuggets (that’s a kid thing, but more on that later)
  • butter.
  • La Croix
  • Strawberry jam
  • and the worst – hazlenut creamer

They also do not have clean water and readily available medicine and soft mattresses and schools on every corner and, oh my goodness. The Congolese are so far away from my heavily coffee-creamered life, I tell you.

Every morning, as I drink my black coffee (which they do have, thank you, Jesus from whom all blessings and caffeine flow), I am reminded of this. Also, as I eat rice and beans for lunch. And, as I eat rice and beans and a banana for dinner.

The book that we’re using for the class is Chris Seay’s A Place at the Table.

IMG_6492.JPG.jpeg

Notice, there’s a cup of coffee in the background. WITH NO CREAMER.

Ok, so either this Seay guy is nuttier than a fruitcake (which they also don’t have in the Congo, go figure), or he is onto something here.

Because here is what I am learning, on day eleven of my fast:

  1. Comfort is an idol. It’s actually just as big and hairy and hulkie as food or alcohol or shopping or any of those other, more see-able ones.
  2. I thought I could not do this because I gave up alcohol, so how DARE anyone ask me to do MORE – I did my Lent. I do it all the time. I don’t drink anymore, Ok? So I’m good down here!
  3. I’m not good down here. The weeks and months prior to this had been a tangled time of leaning on a bunch of things for comfort and they were taking over.
  4. Rice and beans are not that bad.

Sometimes I like to think that my life is this giant checklist, and that once I get one big God task done, He checks it off, gives me a star sticker and we’re done. I like star stickers. I live for them. Uh-oh. That might be another idol. If there’s anything I’m addicted to, it’s the great big Star Chart of You’re Awesome. This whole fast has taught me that as well.

Seriously. This fast has taught me about fifty majillion things. I will be sharing them with you once in a while, as well as my newfound and very deep love for bananas.

Bananas, y’all. Did you know? They are soooooooo good. I never really KNEW. I used to think they were just a vehicle for ice cream and hot fudge but when you’re really hungry? They are all yellow and delightful.

And don’t even get me started on the avocado. Praise you, Jesus.

Ok, so I’m going to say here, on day eleven, that Chris Seay is not nutty (also not a lot of those in the Congo. Especially hazlenuts. Of course.) And my friend Kate is not evil (she’s a pastor’s wife, so evil is not a part of her genetic make-up.) And that I will continue to be smushed up, and stretched out, and pulled and pushed in all sorts of ways because God doesnt really do star charts. “We’re not done here,” God tells me. “But I love you like crazy, so if you really want a star chart just grab a banana and go out at night and look up. Boom. Biggest one you’ll ever get.”

God is a bit of a smart aleck sometimes, isn’t he?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embrace the addict

Linking up with my favorite people again today for Five Minute Friday. The theme?

embrace--600x600.png

I know. Writing about addiction again today.

Where, Momsie? Where is your funny self? Where are the cat pictures and endless throwing of children under the proverbial bus because they are maddening and adorable? Where ARE you?

Oh, don’t worry. I’m here. Hanging out with my inner addict.

We all have one. We do. You can argue with me all you want, but then I might say, very annoyingly, “Well, perhaps your addiction is control. Or being right. Or, God help you, some combination of both which we all know WORKS SO WELL.”

I wouldn’t say that to you because it would be rather self-righteous and, as I said, annoying, and we are friends. But you better believe I’d be thinking it.

I have an inner addict. I named her Esmerelda, and she likes to speak up at times when I am Hungry. Or Angry. Or Lonely. Or Tired.*

Sadly, I am any combination of these at about forty majillion times a day because life is not fair. Life is hard. Sing it with me folks. Oh blah dee, oh blah da… life goes on.

Yesterday Red had a total conniption because Blonde did not help him clean up EXACTLY EQUAL TO HIS CLEANING UP after lunch. If you have kids, you know. Anyhow, if I could have split the dirt and crumbs and smears of peanut butter down the middle with yellow crimezone tape, it would have helped, but … dare we go back to that wonderfulness that is:

LIFE IS NOT FAIR.

It was day four of our spring break together. Red was underslept and oversugared and basically? He lost his sh%T. Sorry. It’s a bad word but in this case – nothing else really suffices. I, as Mother In Charge of All the Things, had a few choices on how to deal:

  1. Smiting
  2. Timeouts with the Smiting
  3. #2 paired with a lecture, possibly a powerpoint presentation on Life Really is So Unfair.
  4. Run away.

I did none of these. I don’t know why. I was just… tired myself. So, I sat down on the floor, dusted away some crumbs to make room, and patted the floor for Red to come sit with me.

He eyed me, suspiciously. This was a different tactic. Perhaps I was gonna hog tie him when he approached and take him away to Military Unfairness School?

Nope. I just patted the floor, and when he came over, I grabbed him and held on. Then, I smushed his little fact in my hands (not too hard, but the good, Mom smushing) and I looked in his eyes and said, “Breathe. Just breathe in. Breathe out. I love you. It’s ok.”

The kid slowed down and looked at me, and remembered who he was.

And stopped freaking out.

I know. Perhaps he needed a timeout or some sort of discipline, but right then? I needed to hug him.

We behave badly sometimes. We grip onto things that are wrong. We rail and rant. We do things that are awful and unfair and shameful.

We want and want and want some more.

And… repeat.

It’s the whole bashing up against our sinfulness that is life, and did I mention? Not very fair.

But He is fair. And right then, He told me to hug my boy. Amidst his mess.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is be kind to the one who grips onto something too hard. He might just be falling apart with all the unfairness of it. Embrace him. Embrace yourself, if that’s who we’re talking about here. You better believe, I’m who we’re talking about here. (It’s my favorite topic, you know. Me.)

Embrace the addict. She knows it’s not fair. She needs a lot of love.

funny-quotes-about-life-not-fair-death.png

*HALT. One of those acronym thingies I learned in recovery. If you start to fizzle out on your day? Are you HALT-ing? Or, if you’re me, are you SHALT-ing (sarcastic, hungry angry… etc)

Recovery has all sorts of those thingies. Like, One Day at a Time. And …Keep it Simple.

And, Be still and know that you are so not God.

I kinda made that last one up. But I did kinda steal it from a higher authority.

Walk Away from the Quinoa

Guess what day it is????

It’s FRIIIIIIIIIDAY! And you know what that means, don’t you???

Linking up with my Five Minute Friday with the lovely Kate Motaung today. There’s no place I would rather be.

Today’s theme?

abandon-600x600.png

There’s some options with this one.

I could go all grim and literary and “ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE” ish. It would be literary, I guess. But heck, I don’t really feel like going for Dante’s Inferno today. Life is hot enough.

Or, I could go all biblical and talk about living life with Jesus with abandon, and then providing seventeen thousand memes from Pinterest on what that means. Some of those memes will have a smiling woman with perfect hair smelling daisies in a field, because this is what you do when you start living your life fully. You smell daisies in a field. And you get good hair.  Or, there will be at least one with a kitten trying to do something heroic, like facing down a rottweiler, “with abandon.” The cuteness will touch our hearts and almost all of you would NOT envision the kitten becoming kibble in the next frame.

But I would.

So, we’re going to skip these ideas and go for the best option:

Abandon the quinoa.

Ok, bear with me here. Let me explain.

Last night’s dinner involved me opening a package of bean burritos. This caused me some guilt. I felt bad as I ripped the bag open and all those frozen bricks of poor nutrition spilled out on the cooking sheet. And, as I stared down at them, the dejected lumps of beans and carb overload, I thought,

“I must make this right.”

I know. In the spectrum of bad choices frozen burritos might be perceived wearing white after Labor Day bad. Which, to be honest, I am not even sure is a thing anymore. But, still. Dinner was highly uninspired. So, I thought…

QUINOA! QUINOA WILL FIX THIS! IT FIXES EVERYTHING!

RyanG1.jpg

I was under the supposition that it’s super healthy. It’s the kale of grains. It will, with one healthy spoonful, make my meal so off the charts good for you that my family will start glowing with vim and vigor, and recruiters will show up at the door to enter them into Olympic events.*

Alas, it was not to be.

Quinoa, as my son put it, “Tastes like cat litter.”

I have to say I agree. Quinoa is little balls of despair. If virtue had a taste, it would not be quinoa.

If sand had a healthy big brother? Quinoa.

Sand and litter aside, I tried to make the quinoa better. I added so many ingredients to it that by the end of my manhandling of the quinoa it was whimpering, “Just leave me alone… ” and I was considering adding beef jerky to it. Or bacon. Because, as we all know:

BACON! BACON WILL FIX EVERYTHING!

Instead, I made everyone eat one bite and I acted like I did too. And then I threw the little granules of edible Quikrete into the trash. Wanna know why? Because in this case…

TRASH CAN! TRASH CAN WILL FIX EVERYTHING!

walk away from you, quinoa. You are not worth all my dreams of healthy meals and phytonutriants (whatever those are) and glowy children who are the next superstrain of humanity. I will no longer feel guilt that my dinners, sometimes, are out of a frozen bag. The next time I reach into the freezer for inspiration I’ll just start humming “Let it go…”

The cold never bothered me, anyway.

And now Frozen’s in your head, isn’t it? You’re welcome.

frozen-meme15-1.jpg

*Possible Olympic Events that My Family Could Do:

  1. Nonexistent washing when washing hands.
  2. Sudden-paralysis walking when cleaning floor.
  3. Power-smashing the brother.
  4. Interpretive Dance with those ribbon thingies (that’s the husband. He ROCKS the interpretive dance, I tell you. Ask him about it! He’ll be thrilled to show you!)
  5. Snark.