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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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Summer is here and I love it.

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

Wanna know why?

I shall provide you with a neat graphic:

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

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

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

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

I’m exhausted.

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

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

Plus that swimsuit was very cool.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I tried to explain.

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

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

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

The end.

 

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

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

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 Tweet, Therefore I am.

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

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

Allow me to explain:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MEDIA.

YES IN ALL CAPS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Really. How can I live without the tweetings?

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

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

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

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

Or something like that.

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

The cries will be heard from two counties over.

Pray for us.

Save

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?