Learn Your Place.

 

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I don’t remember when I learned this phrase. “Learn your place.” It isn’t the most pleasant. It doesn’t sound all that kind. It smushes down, instead of raises up.

It says, “Figure out where you fit and then sit there. And don’t raise a fuss.”

My dad is a fuss-maker. He never learned his place. He is a farmer’s kid, raised in Missouri, worked hard his whole life. Attended night school. Ended up in a job that was way beyond what he ever expected simply because… well I think he was replacing a guy that left and he was the only one around and so, boom, he’s doing a job he doesn’t really know how to do.

And he never once blinked an eye. I think that’s because he never learned his place.

Also, now he makes more money than some small countries. And he lives in the same house and still wears clothes that were made in the 1970’s. I am not kidding. Look for him mowing the lawn and there’s some shorts there that might have celebrated the bicentennial.

He doesn’t like a fuss about him. But he is a fuss-maker.

I wish I could be more like him in this regard. If there is an injustice or a problem or someone who needs some truth directed his way? My dad is the man for the occasion.

Yet, also, he is so soft hearted. But you would never know it under all the John Wayne.

I have been thinking how Dad never really gives in. This world says so many different things – “Adjust. Do enough to get by. Just give in. Don’t shake it up. Don’t ripple those waters. Give up on your idealogy – it’s useless. While you’re at it, give up in general – all is lost.”

And so on.

I think Dad hears this a lot and each and every time he says, “No.” Sometimes that is paired with other specific and very zingy words, but we’ll spare those here.

You see, he never learned his place. God said instead, “You’re with me, son. That’s your place.”

My dad has courage.

And so does my mom, for being married to him all these years. But, don’t even get me started there.

Wow, this post was going to be about something else, but look where it ended?

With my dad. Whom I love. He is my hero.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today. And yes, the theme?

 

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If at first you don’t succeed… blah blah blah.

Linking up with my people today at Five Minute Friday.

But, I don’t want to.

My fingers are tired. So is my head. Yesterday I had a meltdown so epic with my kids that even the dog left my side for a whole ten minutes. Which would have been kinda nice because honestly being followed constantly by Mr. clicky toenails guy is a bit annoying, but not in this case. In this case, I felt major dog-mom guilt. And basic mom guilt. Just, guilt. Loads and loads.

The theme for today, you ask?

 

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Good one FMF. I see what you’re doing there.

Ok, so pretty much every single free minute of my existence has been spent writing The Big Fat Second Book.

Here are some facts:

  1. That which won’t kill you will make you stronger. Maybe.
  2. It’s always darkest before the dawn. Or all day. Take your pick.
  3. If at first you don’t succeed, oh just put a sock in it.

Brace yourself. Whining is coming.

WRITING ABOUT HARD THINGS IS HARD. The past three chapters have been about hard things (good news! it’s still funny! don’t forget to pre-order!!! it will still be funny!). The hard things are there because Newsflash: LIFE IS HARD.

That’s kinda the premise of the whole book, actually. Dana finally figures out how HARD life is and she writes about it. I know, right? Should be a bestseller. I can just see the droves of people at the Barnes and Nobles:

“I can’t WAIT to read this book! It’s all about how life sucks the life out of you and is so very hard!”
“My gosh, that’s totally new information to me! I must read about it! It sounds wonderful!”

Perhaps I’m being a bit hard on myself here, but words are all stuck up in my craw and it’s making me… what’s that word for when you are upset and want to hit things?

Anyhow. The other day I broke our coffee grinder because I dropped it. It was a really nice coffee grinder and I hate hate HATE it when I break things. I also hate it when people say, “Oh well. I’ll just go buy another one,” because that just seems wasteful and the poor kids in India who made the coffee grinder probably could use a break. But, I really do LIKE ground coffee. It makes my heart sing a little. So – I was all smart and good for the environment and I bought a cheap little hand grind grinder thingie on the Amazons. Boom! I can work out my arms and save money AND electricity! I AM SAVING THE EARTH AND ALL THE THINGS!

Guys. To grind about one cup’s worth of beans takes forty five minutes.

Well, maybe not quite that many but it feels like it. I ground and ground and ground and… ground and ground… and ground… and checked and ground and ground…

I WANT MY ELECTRIC GRINDER BACK.

All of this is to say: keep trying. Don’t give up. Don’t give up on yourself as a momma, and also as a really bad hand-crank coffee bean grinder person. Because, you know, I am KEEPING that #@@%$ grinder and I’m gonna crank the ##$$ out of it. JUST KEEP GRINDING THE BEANS.

And, you, my sweet children, I will keep trying. I will come up to you and say “I’m sorry. Please forgive me?” and you will reach your little arms around my neck and we will all keep trying. We have to. We’re stuck with each other.

And YOU, book. Yea, I’m talking about you. I will keep trying. I will. I will write about the hard things and the funny things and dance around the parts that I think sound like the world’s worst writing since the history of writing, and I will not give up.

Or, as my son put it: “I forgotted yesterday anyhow, Momma.”

Press on.

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More Moana, Please. And a Giveaway!

As it seems my summer plans do not include a trip to Hawaii (sponsored post, Hawaii? Call me!) I can still have this:

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Guys, sometimes I don’t really keep track of all the kids’ movies out there. I mean, sometimes… I am kinda late to the game. I still think Toy Story 5 is playing somewhere, at some movie house, surely?

Is there even a Toy Story 5?

Anyhow. This summer, we have been super busy, so making it out into the heat means getting to the pool, not driving to a movie theater. And yea, I know the theater is air conditioned. Sure. But there is still DRIVING THERE AND LAST TIME I DID THAT MY DASHBOARD MELTED. It’s hot. It’s like Africa hot.

So, thank you Netflix! Friday movie nights have involved lots of popcorn, no driving, and this adorableness:

 

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I mean, seriously. The cuteness.

My family LOVES Moana. Perhaps it’s the water (they are little fish), or the tattoos. Or, you know, the chicken:

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(Oh, that chicken. I can’t help but think we might be related somehow).

This is the princess movie that stole my kids’ hearts. It’s funny. It’s gorgeous to look at. (Did you know they have an entire team of people who just work on the WATER animation? And if anyone watches this and doesn’t want to go swimming in the deep blue sea afterwards, there is something wrong with you).

Oh, and, it has The Rock.

 

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You’re Welcome.

Yes, I’ll admit it. It is just a teensy weensy bit possible that Momsie, in all her literary-ness and English teacherish sophistication, has a big fat celebrity crush on Dwayne Johnson. Could be the muscles. I dunno. Or the blinding white teeth. Or, back to the muscles.

I just think he’s cute, ok? GIVE ME MY CRUSH. I’ll go back to reading Faulkner in a bit.

Also this: I double-crab DARE you to not watch “Shiny” and keep humming it, for days after. It’s catchy.

Enjoy Moana, courtesy of Netflix and stay INSIDE for the last days of summer. Shine on.

Also, if you find yourself sneaking some Dwayne (er, Moana) time on your OWN, Moms, I get you. I really do.

Netflix gets you too. 97% of moms say that they had more time for themselves before motherhood, and now, three-quarters (71%) of moms admit to sneaking in TV “me-time” while juggling a busy schedule, with some even hiding from their kids for just a moment of peace. With moms doing it anywhere and everywhere in the neighborhood when the kids aren’t around, sneaking is the new bingeing.

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Would you like to be a part of the #MomSneak revolution and enter to win a 6-month Netflix subscription giveaway, so your sneaking is covered for the rest of 2017?

To Enter the #MomSneak Giveaway:

  • On a public social media post (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram): share a personal story of how you sneak in your TV shows, or a selfie pic of you sneaking in your TV.  Please don’t forget to add #MomSneak to your post!
  • Copy the URL of your social share and paste it in the comments below.

It’s just that simple. I am here for you Moms. Get your sneaky on.

#MomSneak your way to a little me-time. (By the way? I’m part of the 47%. Thank you, Stranger Things and Gilmore Girls. You are vastly different, with your creepy strangeness vs.your caffeinated banter. Either way, you give a tired mom a break.)

Giveaway ends on July 31 2017 at 11:59 p.m. CST. The 1 winner will be chosen at random and announced on this site. Giveaway is open only to legal residents of the United States (including District of Columbia), who are at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry. The 1 Winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Make sure to watch your social media message boards to see if you are the selected winner on August 1!!

Good luck! #MomSneak to your heart’s content!

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As a #NetflixStreamTeam blogger, I get to watch Netflix and then chat about it. It’s a great gig.

Put Some Rubies on That Mom Bod

Linking up with my favorite people at Five Minute Friday today!
The theme?

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There is a mom here at the pool who is in a bikini. It’s flamingo pink and she is tall and slender, and I think, but I’m not sure, she has a six pack.
I am not exactly sure because I need to stop staring. Staring is rude.

It’s just… a six -pack? Really?

I, meanwhile, am sitting over here in the concession stand area, amongst the candy wrappers and fifty-thousand flip flops and towels, and wondering where my six pack went. It’s been lost for a while.
Forever. It’s been lost forever.

She is also very tan. A nice golden glow.

I am not golden. I am more like a connection of freckles.

I know what you’re gonna think. You’re gonna think I’m going to go all “You go, mommies! No matter what size or shape or pack or lack of pack, you rock it, sister!”

And you’d be right. Sort of.
The interwebs is full of Go Mama Go posts, which is fine and dandy and kind of wonderful, for the most part.

But, it’s really kind of nice for me today because, I am actually there, already caught up with the words.

Don’t you ever wonder, with all the instagrams and facebooks and tweetings about Go Mama Go, if ever there might be a time… that the writers might be saying it so they can feel it too? Like, the words provide the comfort, retrospective-wise?

Oh. Just me? Ok.

I have done this. I have written, in hopes that the feelings would come.

Because, maybe, one of the laws of blogging is:
If You Write It, It May Come.

Or something like that.

(Another law of the bloggings? Don’t obscurely quote movies in your text.)

I am comforted by my blog, and you guys, and words that heal. But today? (Who knows how I will feel about all this tomorrow, but for now, thank you) I am comforted by the fact that I am ok-ish in my momsuit. Because I am dearly loved and beautiful and more precious than rubies.

Just let those words sink in. They are more than a comfort.
They heal.

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Blessed Are the Peacemakers. Really.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme?

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My kid is shaking with anger.

He’s standing before me, brow furrowed, fists clenched. There was some yelling but now he’s quiet, and a big, fat tear rolls down his cheek. He’s collapsing all inward with anger and a really REALLY fierce conviction that IT ISN’T FAIR.

I don’t really know exactly what the IT is, because there is (there always is) another person involved in the fray. There’s a brother involved, and he is also leveraging for his Totally Fair Piece of the Pie.

I just want to go lie down. Maybe with a slice of pie and a cup of coffee.

Once, I think, I tried to recite “Blessed are the peacemakers” at Blonde, in the heat of the battle, but he just looked at me with that tired expression of “Mom, you’re crazy” that I keep getting more and more often. (I have it on good authority that I am not, actually, crazy. But, somedays, that look… it is so CONVINCED of the crazy, that I kinda half believe him. And you know? It’s not so bad to be crazy. A little crazy is what we all need, to be mothers.)

Anyhow.

I recited, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the earth” at him, and he looked at me in scorn and said, voice shaking, “I don’t WANT the EARTH, Mom. I just WANT MY BROTHER TO STOP BEING A JERK.”

Valid point.

Here is what I have learned in my 8 massively long and short years of parenting:

  1. My mother is a saint. A SAINT. I am so sorry, Mom. You were right. About all of it. ALL OF IT ALL THE TIME.
  2. Reciting bible verses AT someone isn’t the way to go.

Ok. So we have been working on it, this whole getting angry bit, because seven and eight year old kids don’t have the inner mechanisms to adjust the volume on their anger. Adults don’t either, sometimes. Especially on rainy summer days stuck inside with no screens (they’re grounded, for a week) and no wine (mom’s grounded, forever) and no patience for anyone.

Here’s how we work on it:

We talk about it… LATER. Like, at dinner, or while we’re playing Uno, or bedtime. When it’s dark and they’re all cute and smell like soap. That’s when we talk about how to actually be a blessing. Even when we don’t really feel like it.

At the time? With the anger thing? And the yelling? We do our best. We muddle through. I pray and they stomp up to their rooms.

All of this is pretty usual stuff, right? It’s not like at our house we have some massively new and improved way to make everyone just get along for the love.

We try to remember who we are.

“We’re family, honey,” I tell Blonde, as he sniffles in his room, all snot and rage.”We’re a family, and that brother of yours? He is going to be with you for a long time. He is for you. And he’s massively annoying. But he loves you. And, deep down, deep DEEP down, you love him.”

“I don’t feel like it. I kinda hate him.”

“I know. Those are feelings. They change and fade and get all messed up. They’re feelings, and they’re important, but deep down, they aren’t the truth of the matter. Behind it all is the truth. It’s who we are. We are God’s. And He loves us, and He put love IN us. Love is all His department, and He has it running in our veins, just like Jesus’s.”

“Face it, kid. You’re stuck with us.”

Today we will be blessed by being kind when we don’t want to be, and when we screw up, we’ll say sorry. And we’ll try to act like we mean it.

And maybe inheriting the earth will happen, but for today, I’ll settle for a couple hours in a row without fighting. We’re family, after all. I’m trying to be realistic.

 

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I have to tell you a terrible thing.

Ok, I’m just gonna say it.

Here we go.

This.

THIS MONSTROSITY.

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This is on my dresser at home. I think it’s a ring cup? Or maybe a small weapon?

I am not sure. When Red brought it to me, he had it cupped in his teeny tiny little hobbit hands and I figured, “Oh look, the sweet boy has something precious for me. A gift. A trinket. Like, five thousand dollars. Or perhaps a piece of Dubble Bubble.”

And then, he opened his little fingers and I gasped and kind of shrank away.

Guys, there are mom moments where we just have to step UP and be brave. We have to soldier on. We have to make it or break it. We have to be all we can be.

And guys? That moment? With the weird pointy clay nest of doom? Was so not my moment.

Instead, I shrank away. There was actual SHRINKING.

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Look, I get it, seven year old. I get it that your idea of coordinating something is off key humming of the theme from Ninjago with matching underpants.

I get it that your idea of cleaning something is laying a tiny piece of torn-off paper towel ON the un-clean thing and sort of flicking at it, like the mess is just going to go, “Oh, I’m sorry! Am I in the way? Well, here, let me just clean myself out of here!”  Also, if this is done while humming the theme from Ninjago and in only underpants, BONUS POINTS.

I GET it that you think ambiance is a type of car.

I GET IT, OK?

But I just… I can’t… I mean, really? REALLY?

This thing looks like the spawn of craft time at the special hospital.

I just can’t… It is POKEY. It POKES me.

And, it’s on my dresser. With rings in it. Because, as God is my witness, the kid asked me ‘You are going to put this on your dresser, right, Mommah?”

Oh, he knew. He knew the stabby-dish was heading for its own burial. The kind where you stick it wayyyy down into the trash so no child will know, and also to suffocate it so it doesn’t come lurching back to life and try to kill you in the middle of the night.

Listen. I kept the endless horribly inaccurate Star Wars drawings. I have oodles and oodles of paper decorated with Cheerios and macaroni and all sorts of other carbs.

I even kept the drawing that you brought to me, and I said, “Ohhhh, look! It’s a horsie!” And you said,
“NO MOMMAH IT’S JESUS DYING ON THE CROSS. SEE? DER’S THE BLOOD.”

Yep. I kept it. Jesus on the cross is up there in my gigantic box labeled Craptastic Art Work. I kept it. I won’t ever probably look at it again, or if I do, I’ll be so old I won’t even remember having children in the first place. “Oh, look!” I’ll say, all old and creaky, “It’s a horsie. On the cross.”

But someday… someday mutant jewely holder, you are gonna be saying hello to the Big Trash Compacter in the Sky. I know my limits.

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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. 🙂