Birthday Boy

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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:

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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:

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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.

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

 

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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.

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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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Break and Netflix. Oh yes, you bet they go together.

 

 

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Parenting. When what you expect and what actually happens NEVER MATCH.

This also is the case for a lot of our silverware, all of our socks, and my six year old’s fashion choice today.  So, at least we’re consistent.

Last week was Spring Break. I kept thinking I would write THIS post when it WAS actually spring break, because Momsie is so relevant and timely, but good gravy. Spring break nearly broke me.

It all started with the take home math packet.

So, just so you know, I blame it all on my children’s teachers. They are out to get us.

I don’t even remember for sure which boy got the math packet. But I do know that when I spied it, all smushed in his R2-D2 backpack, that I felt a little flutter of excitement. It’s that Mom Buzz that I get every time I think I might have a Positive Learning Experience with one of my spawns. “Lo! Here is a math packet!” I crowed. “And, we shall learn all the things over break! This shall be a break from technology! We’ll take nature walks! We’ll work puzzles! I think I might try to learn another language! Besides Pig Latin, which is so big at our house right now!”

And on and on. Momsie went off the rails on the whole Fun and Educational thing.

At about two o’clock Tuesday afternoon, I decided to put a stop to all things educational and considered playing the Quiet Game for the rest of the break.

Anyhow.

What I did instead was realize, as I have so often before, this wonderful nugget of information:

TELEVISON. TELEVISION FIXES EVERYTHING.

Relax Moms. It’s not like we watched it from Tuesday on. But we reveled in the popcorn movie night (as one of Momsie’s favorite thing ever is her couch, and popcorn, and nighttime. They go together like constant fatigue and sweatpants, I tell you.)

And on those movie nights we didn’t watch movies. Nope. We watched… (drumroll)…

Somewhat Educational Stuff.

Which really means I just picked stuff that I like and told the boys it was that or a bath. So, they learned something, AND avoided personal hygiene. Winners all around. (?)

The kids and I watched two gems from the mighty Netflix.

Here’s the first one, that is NARRATED BY A BRITISH GUY AND YOU KNOW HOW I AM ABOUT BRITISH THINGS:

 

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In this series, The British Guy (Kevin McCloud) presents to us a strange breed of people who are “self-builders.” This means, they take strange old buildings, ones that aren’t really supposed to BE homes… and they make them into homes. Like, they “self-build” themselves right into an old movie theater.

Or, aherm, that’s theatre, if you’re British.

And, it’s bloody brilliant.

First of all, the builders usually have about five children and are obviously nutty as a fruitcake to even attempt this. But they DO attempt it, and they do so with that typical British cheerful oblivion to discomfort and mess that we Americans cannot even try to fathom. So, it’s like House Hunters International plus Property Brothers plus The Great British Bake-off when someone’s Victoria sponge slides off the table but no one even bats an eye and …oh you get the idea.

But wait, there’s more.

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Holy smokes, y’all. People are so smart. Did you know this?

Abstract: The Art of Design reminds you that the world is smushed full of really cool, innovative, interesting, creative people.  And you guys? I don’t know about you, but every once in a while, I REALLY NEED TO BE REMINDED OF THIS.

We watched the episode on automative design. And then I sent the cherubs to bed and binged on the one about architecture, and graphic design, and illustration, but had to stop because the husband wasn’t home and I knew this was one of those Family Shows to Watch All Together kind of things. I showed great self-control and watched only two more.

Or three. I lost count after the one about stage design.

Look, I know Netflix is there for you for your guilty pleasure. It’s got your Grey’s Anatomy. It’s got your kids’ Ninjago.

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If you have boys, then you know.

It’s got Santa Clarita Diet which I really want to watch but am also kinda scared. I’ll keep you posted.

 

But, Netflix also has stuff that inspires and makes us dream and imagine, and just zings with creativity. These are the kinds of shows I watch and then, when I’m not watching, I’m thinking about them. They make me… percolate. As a writer, this stuff feeds my soul.

Oh, and back to my children? They’ve been drawing up plans for flying cars for ninjas all week. So, you can thank me later, automotive industry. Two semi-brilliant thinkie types are coming your way.

All because of Netflix. 🙂StreamTeam_Red&White_BlackBackground.png

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.

 

 

Honesty, With a Side of Children

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Ok, once when I was still in the amateur division of parenting, my two year old approached me as I was inhaling a bowl of Frosted Flakes. His nose became all quivery, like a sugar-seeking drug dog (I don’t know if that’s a thing, really, but it is in my house. They can hear me open a Snickers bar from four blocks away).

I froze.

You see, we don’t eat sugary cereal at our house.

We eat boring non-sugary healthy stuff that tastes like hay, and we like it, whether we like it or not.

And I realize, I am using the “we” very liberally here. Like, “we” as in, “everyone but me because I am special and craving puffy carbs.”

You see, I happen to love sugary cereal. I adore it. I love Bright Yellow Corn Pops and Frosted Sugar Flakes of Thingies and Honey Coated Chocolate Bits of Puffy Non-Grains… I love ’em all. But, I don’t let my kids eat these things because that would be bad. Therefore, I hide the boxes in the lower cabinet with all the messy  tupperwear that leaps out at you, so they avoid it. And when my two year old comes sniffing around while I’m sneaking a bowl, and asks, “Wats dat?” I say:

“It’s spicy, honey. And it’s broccoli. So… spicy broccoli with milk. You wouldn’t like it.”

I have decided that it’s not bad parenting to lie to your child, so you can inhale your bowl of Sugar Frosted Momentary Hope and Carbs in a Bowl, because ultimately, you will be a better parent if you are able to eat it in peace.

It’s the putting on of the oxygen mask, first, mommas. We all know the story – if you’re on an airplane, the steward always tells you – IF WE’RE PLUMMETING TOWARDS EARTH, PUT YOUR OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST, THEN PUT ONE ON YOUR KID. OR YOUR HUSBAND. EITHER WAY, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, YOU FIRST.

It’s the same with Netflix, people.

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Mama needs to watch things before her littles watch them. So, if she happens to binge her way through the entire season of A Series of Unfortunate Events before they can view it…  Look, the show says it’s a SERIES, people. It must be watched as thus. I mean, my children take everything I say literally, so they need to let me do so too, once in while. Especially when it comes to this show. It’s just that good.

Also, cheating might have happened with the husband. Netflix_CheatingGif_TheCrown.gif

Don’t worry. It wasn’t all that serious. And, it wasn’t over The Crown, because, my husband wouldn’t watch a British biopic, however awesome, if it came up, said, “I say, old chap,” and politely whacked him over the head.

Anyhow. A while back? We might have been watching House of Cards together? And we might have stayed up until nearly 1 am one night because we could not stop? And then we finally went to bed? And might have said, “I can’t wait to find out what happens”?

Yea. I finished out the entire season without him the next day.

He still has no idea. I act shocked and appalled at all the right moments, and if all else fails, I make sure there’s lots of popcorn to distract him. This is tough, because I do have a total knack for shouting out, right before the big, bad political thing is about to happen, stuff like,
“HOLY KEVIN SPACEY. THERE’S A BIG BAD POLITICAL KEVIN SPACEY THING ABOUT TO HAPPEN RIGHT NOW. YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT. UM NOT THAT I WOULD KNOW.”

The husband is suspicious, I think. But, I think he’s been totally cheating on me with this:

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He won’t admit to it, but I am sure he is because last weekend he made a Victoria Sponge.

So, we’re even, I guess. But I got the better end of this because: MORE SUGARY CARBS.

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As a #StreamTeam blogger for Netflix, I watch and review Netflix’s many offerings, and then blog about it. It’s a great gig.

Weak

Linking up with my favorite people today!!

It’s Five Minute Friiiiiiiiiiiday!!!!

The theme?

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Ok, the so obvious route to go here would be the plague-sickness that had descended on our family since what feels like Christmas. The weakness, you know. Wee tired cherubs, and one taller version (the husband) weakly asking for juice and popsicles and Tylenol all around.

But for some reason I am tired of writing about… being tired.

So, instead, I am going to write about my cat, Steve.

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Steve has serious swag.

Steve is a large. Like, if he was a car, Steve would have passed comfortable mid-sized sedan a long time ago. Steve is a Hummer. With fur.

In the morning, when I head downstairs to some coffee and quiet, I hear Steve get up. What I mean by this is: He is upstairs and I CAN HEAR HIM WALKING DOWN THE HALL.

This is no delicate flower, this cat.

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He’s holding my hand.

But, there is something about Steve that is a bit… lacking in natural cat-ness.

He can’t purr.

Somehow, Steve totally missed the bus on the purring thing. He emits this sad whispy sort of wheeze, instead of a purr, when he is petted (which is often). It makes me feel like I should offer him an inhaler, or at least some Vicks Vapo Rub or something.

Here he is, the king of the house cats, but when he purrs he just loses all credibility. He sounds like a squeaky toy.

Ok, so my point here…

What looks strong can sometimes have a really weak end game.

But also this: weakness is SO not the point. It’s what we DO with the weakness that matters. Steve does not seem to care two claws about his death-rattle purr thing. He still struts around like he owns all the kibble in this house. Also, he lives his life like this:img_6120

Steve is a cat of love.

He is giving his human a hug in this picture. I mean, just look at him. His whole body is purring. Pathetically, but you know.

I think I have a pathetic purr too, in many areas of my life. Like, my wimpy attempts at keeping the house clean. And my parenting skills after 8:30 at night. Or my battle with my squishy tummy.

That sort of thing.

We don’t honor weakness.We should. We get to give it to God, after all. He WANTS the weakness. And anything that He wants, I am more than happy to give.

If he wants our weakness, he must want us. We are pretty weak on some days. It’s ok.

At least you don’t sound like a squeaky toy when you purr. That’s just silly.Grumpy-Cat-Purring-Meme.jpg

The Committee In My Head Held a Meeting. Here’s the Result.

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Ok, let’s call this meeting to order.

We can’t. She’s not here yet.

Oh geez. How hard is it? We’re in her head. It’s not like she has to walk down the hall… Ok, are there donuts? Someone always brings donuts.

Maybe she’s in the bathroom?

Oh hey! Hi. Hi. Hi! I’m here.

Wow. You really are bringing the whole casual Friday vibe.

It’s Wednesday.

It’s Friday somewhere? Right? Har har har.

No. No, actually it’s not.

Ok, guys I’m sorry. I haven’t changed clothes in two days. I know. I have the whole Hoodie of Gloom thing going on. But look, pink jammy bottoms! Also, I brushed. I think.

Teeth or hair? We can’t tell. Har har har.

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ALL RIGHT. We need to get going on this meeting. I’ve got yoga at noon. Or at least, I have yoga on youtube. Or, well, I have youtube at noon. Or earlier. Maybe earlier.

Yes! Meeting! Let’s DO THIS. Why are we meeting?

We’re discussing why you haven’t blogged in crackamillion years.

Oh… You used hyperbole! That’s so cute. That’s my thing.

I know. You USED to write them, like a million of them. Crackamillion years ago.

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Ok, onward people. Let’s just throw some ideas around for her to post today, mmmmkay? This is a collaborative group and we’re here to…

Stop, drop, collaborate?

And listen?

Cute. I have some ideas here on this powerpoint (all groan) ON THIS POWERPOINT PRESENTATION THAT I WORKED UP LAST NIGHT WHILE YOU GUYS WERE WATCHING ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

There was a horse blanket that sold for five thousand dollars.

I KNOW, right? Like, do you think the other horses were all, “What are you wearing?” And he was all, “Dudes it’s couture.” And they were all-

WOULD YOU BE QUIET ABOUT HORSE COUTURE AND FOCUS. FOCUS! This is why we never get paid.

I’ve got an idea.

Yes, Momsie?

How about I write about my kids and I getting sick for the second time, all of us, in one month and how we are all steeped in despair and Mucinex and so many essential oils that we smell like an Aveda salon blew up in our house?

Brilliant. I’m so sure that no other mom blogger in the history of time has ever written about her kids getting sick.

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Done. Let’s go get the donuts.

Seriously, did you see the lady who brought in the necklace and it was like 20 million bucks and she just smiled and said, “That’s so interesting.” What is WRONG with these people? Are they like Stepford Roadshow people?  I mean, I would puke. I would just puke right there all over Mr. Antique with a Bow-Tie guy. Just spew it. But in a highly cultured, PBS kinda way.

Annnnnd thanks so much for that visual. Meeting adjourned.

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