Take Heart: Family Game Night Will Save Us All

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I’m the Dog. I’M THE DOG.

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Best. Movie. Ever.

So, in today’s post, one of us is going to be the dog.

And, as so often the case, I really REALLY think if you just stay with me, it will all make sense at the end.

That’s how I feel.

Really.

Today I’m linking up with my oh so happy place, favorite people: Five Minute Friday!  The theme??

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Right now, I am writing this on the couch, because I can’t move. I can’t move because of two neurotic and highly co-dependent beasties have wedged themselves in on either side of me so closely that I can use one as an armrest and the other ones heartbeat is thumping up against my thigh. That sounds kinda weird, but she has a really pronounced cardiac rhythm going on. I am kinda impressed. She must have just finished her bootcamp  workout.

I give you… exhibit A:Photo on 4-28-17 at 11.59 AM #2.jpgI loooooooooooove you. That shiny, silver thing has come between us, yet again, but still, I loooooooooooooove you.

And, also, exhibit B:

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I loooooooooove you too. Not quite as effusively as the Missing Link dork-dog to my left, but you know.

Anyhow. Here I am. Stuck in the middle with you.

And, as I am typing away, I hear it: A sort of squeaky rumbling. It’s a weird sort of gurgling, actually. I look around the room for the culprit, but my living room doesn’t house a lot of things that… gurgle.

It’s the dog. I’ll just take the suspense away, right here. Hosmer’s stomach is jangling with such intensity that, clearly, he’s hungry. Like, LOUD hungry.

Honestly, it’s hard to type over all this racket.

But, yet… he remains varnished onto my side. His precious bowl of Doggie Lickums is right there, in the other room, but he’s seemingly content to sit here and rumble.

It is rare that I ever allow my stomach to get to this stage of gurgle (Hosmer is at, like, DEFCON level light red or two or whatever is really, really highly bad), but if I did… and about ten steps away was a bowl of chips? I would get up and go to the chips. It doesn’t really matter if I was cuddling with the husband prior or not. Food wins, when the stomach is in high alert.

Besides, I know too that I can always eat a few chips and then GO BACK to the husband on the couch.

So… basically? The dog would rather starve to be near me.

Perhaps I am exaggerating a little, but you’re not here. The rumbling is like that scene when the T-Rex finds the poor people in the jeep in Jurassic Park. Ominous. Thumpy. Has its own soundtrack. Jeff Goldblum is involved. That sort of thing.

Ok, so HERE IS MY POINT (Hallelujah!)

We need to be the dog. We need to be like this with God. And… since I am so happily wedged into my Congo fast these days… I get it. I am needing to be more dog like. Content. In the moment. Furry and sacrificial. That sort of thing.

I apologize for making you the dog. It’s the best I’ve got today. And truly? Dogs are awesome. We all know that.

 

And then, there’s this guy:Photo on 4-28-17 at 12.13 PM.jpg

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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?

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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.”

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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:

 

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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Embrace the addict

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

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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.

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*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?

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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!

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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.

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*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.