A Tale of Two Children.

Y’all. I wonder if Charles Dickens had children. Like, listen:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.”

Wow. That pretty much sums up parenting right there.

dickens.png

You know that carnival ride where you sit in a big huge pendulum thingie and it swings you baaaack and forthhh and baaaack and forthhh until you puke all over your seatmate and start sobbing?

That’s children.

Also, there’s some glee in there. At least for some people, who actually like carnival rides, of whom I am so NOT. I think carnival rides are the tinker toys of Satan.

Anyhow. I digress. My lack of adventuresome spirit and anti -Let’s ride this crazy pendulum of death attitude is tough when it comes to parenting. Parenting needs a bit of the crazy. It needs the nutso person who will shell out twenty dollars for a chance to puke and then eat fried Snickers bars. Parenting is Carnival Heaven. I am more of a “let’s sit at home and watch something with subtitles” which makes my children cross.

But, once in a while, I ride the rides. I get on, pull down the roll bar that was constructed by a toothless man with a t-shirt that says, “Lovin You All Night is All Right.”  The rides, especially Pendulum of Nutball, occur at certain times of the day, like bedtime. Or when we go on vacation. Or…

Dinner.

Here we go:

Blonde: (warily) What’s for dinner?

Red: DINNER! I LOVE FOOD! I LOVE DINNER! I’M NOT WEARING PANTS!

(Swoosh)

Blonde: This food has stuff in it.

(Bigger swoosh)

Red: CAN I EAT EVERYTHING HERE? AND YOURS?

(Deep breath. Swooshiness)

Blonde: The stuff is unacceptable. I will now eat air for the rest of my life.

(More swooshing)

Red: I’m done with the food on my plate and I would now like to start on the food in the refrigerator. I want pickles and some yogurt. Together. Pronto. Starving here.

(Gulp)

Blonde: Air, and the occasional chicken nugget, are fine. Don’t worry about me. Yes you can see my ribs. And yes, I know you worry that I am wan. I don’t even know what “wan” means but you seem to use it a lot. And yes, I know you don’t think air has any vitamins in it but I am EIGHT AND THEREFORE I KNOW IT ALL. LIKE, ALL OF IT.

Red: All I know is that I need more syrup. For my pickles.

Blonde: If you start bargaining with me about food you have failed. I will now nibble on my broccoli so daintily I will look like a wan rabbit.

Red: Do I detect a slight nuttiness in this sauce?

Blonde: NUTS? I CAN’T EAT NUTS! ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?

(Swoosh, swoosh, swooshity-swoosh)

Red: Mom? I have eaten everything available. Can I go next door and ask for their food? I’ll make sure to tell them that I’m starving and that my mommy doesn’t feed me. We cool?

Parenting. It’s not for the faint of heart, y’all. You stand in line, and buy the tickets and strap in, and the next thing you know, you’re screaming unintelligibly.

6a0133f30ae399970b01a73e1493f4970d-800wi.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enough, Already.

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

It’s a good one.

Totally fitting.

Kinda scary accurate, actually.

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

 

define-2-600x600.png

 

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

Cake. I miss you.

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

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

So, also: I cheated.

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

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

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

A very guilty chipmunk.

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

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

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

Sigh. Accountability Shmacountability.

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

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

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

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

s'moresblog.jpg

MY PRESHUS.

 

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

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

THE POINT:

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

Enough is enough.

more-than-enough.jpg

 

40 Days of More

Hey, did you hear?

I gave up alcohol for Lent.

Yep. Also, I gave it up for December. And rainy days. And birthdays.

So, also, you know, the rest of the year. And forever. That sort of thing.

89f7900d542ad009de1f13e4a3d6bf52.png

 

So. Moving on.

It’s just a teensy bit possible that I have not really given up anything else for Lent in a long while. Unless, of course, you count last minute trips to Paris, or goat farming or walking gracefully. I totally gave those up ages ago.

You see, I am just so horribly bad at Lent. I do not get A’s in Lent. This bothers me. I would plan something for it, and journal about it, and chirp about it to my so-good-at-doing Lent friends, and then, BAMMO, in about four days I would have totally forgotten.

Maybe I could give up memory for Lent?

I have made my peace with it. Jesus forgave me a long time ago for my inability to half-heartedly give up chocolate for four days. But, Jesus wasn’t done with me on this subject yet. That’s just His way. You have obstacles in life? He is there. But He also says things like, “Here, let me work with you on this… for a really long while…”

Sometimes I just wish He would say, “Here. Let me COMPLETELY FIX THIS THING FOR YOU. ALL DONE! PRESTO WHAMMO!”

It would be so cool, if that were His way. And, I have heard that sometimes it is. For some reason, I never get to have the “presto whammo” version of fixing things with Jesus. I wonder why? Just once, I’d like to get the PRESTO WHAMMO. It would be so cool.

Anyhow, this year Jesus and I had a little talk about Lent. It went like this:

Jesus: No, I am not talking to you in an audible voice. I know some of your readers are gonna think I showed up in your living room, all glowy and talking.

Me: THAT WOULD BE SO COOL WHY DON’T YOU DO THAT?

Jesus: We’ve discussed this before. I think you might get distracted by the glow. I’ll stick with still small voice today, okay?

Me: Sigh.

Jesus: It doesn’t work, the grumpy thing. I’m too holy. Just bounces right off. Let’s talk.

Me: Ok, Lent? I don’t like it? It kinda feels like 40 days of gritting my teeth over not drinking Pepsi, when You fasted for 40 days in a desert with Satan bugging you, and then, AFTER that You went and died for us. I dunno. Pepsie? It seems a bit… underwhelming.

Jesus: Ok, for the readers here who did give up Pepsi, I totally think that’s awesome. She’ll get on track here. Stay with us.

Me: Oh. Yes. Sorry. Sorry, Pepsi people.

Jesus: Look, if you don’t think your fast is legit enough, then why not totally fast for 40 days?

Me: Uh… totally? Like no food? Did you have water? No water? Again, you’re sure? No food???  That’s impossible. I mean, true, YOU’RE JESUS, so YOU could handle it, but…

Jesus: Yes. I am Jesus. But it wasn’t all fun and games for me either. Ok, well let’s dial it down then. I could provide some locusts and honey?

Me: Ew.

Jesus: So… the Lent thing. It has to be under your control, huh?

Me: *crickets*

Jesus: How about this? How about you add to your life? For 40 days, you study what Lent is about.

Me: Hey. Yea. I like that! I could ADD to my life, for 40 days. You are so SMART, Jesus.

Jesus: I get that a lot. So, you’re not officially fasting, but I’ll take it. Maybe we can think of it as “fasting from distraction and adding focus.” And then, maybe, one day you can really give up chocolate for 40 days and not overthink it so much.

Me: Still doesn’t seem very comparable…

Jesus: LOCUSTS AND HONEY. I WILL SEND THEM. DON’T TEST ME.

Me: OK. Bible Study. Every day, for 40 days. I’m in. Call off the locusts!

So, this year, I found myself mired in some bad habits that had me stuck. And I realized, as one who just SPOKE AT A CONFERENCE ABOUT OVERCOMING BAD HABITS that irony was going to come up and smack me upside the head if I didn’t get my mind right.

So here is my 40 Days of More Lenten Package for you:

  1. Up at 5:30 am.
  2. Study the bible
  3. Run
  4. Eat an egg for breakfast*

* I know. The egg seems totally random, but it matters. I need something to help with my blood sugar. Like, lately, I have found myself eating Frosted Flakes and cheese. If there was a restaurant called Cereal and Cheese, I would be there. Every day. This does not make Momsie’s brain or body happy. And each time I try to make sure I make a protein shake with more than two ingredients, I want to curl up on the floor with coffee and a Ring Ding, and cry. Ingredients are HARD at seven in the morning.

I am allowing myself to run a minimum of one measly mile. If I want to go longer, so be it. I usually do because after one mile I’m all warmed up and singing along with Toby Mac and ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Or not.

That’s the plan. I’ll keep you posted. If you walk past my house and see a FedEx box labelled LOCUSTS AND HONEY you’ll know.

I’m still hoping that some day Jesus asks me to give up tightrope walking for Lent. I’d be so in.

Presto whammo.

813db80cc9784e96293652bccf6ae2f8.jpg

 

 

 

The Battle of the Tater Tot Casserole

 

55af89a9f7ba6273f1c0108faa467211.pngGuys. It’s been interesting over here.

But, I must qualify. I am never one to leave a vague adjective uncontested, I tell you. So… by “Interesting” I don’t mean in a “Season cliffhanger of Sherlock on the Netflixes” kind of way.

I mean in a “Wow, I didn’t know puke could really be that color,” kind of way.

It’s a small difference, but you know.

And, I’m thinking, if you are Sherlock, you are really, really happy for that difference.

Anyhow, let’s get into this.

The Attack of the Killer Flu Part One:

Characters: Red and Momsie. Down for two days. We did fine. We puked. We got over it. Lots of laundry was done (I would like to note here that MOMSIE did the laundry. Yep. That’s right. SICK Momsie. Momsie was still able to get laundry folded AND put away, whilst erpy and for THAT I believe I deserve a huge parade. But it won’t happen because of pay cuts and, as all moms know, we continue on. It’s our thing. Even sick. The only parades we’re having are in our heads.) Red was rather non plussed about the whole flu thing, and by that I mean he SLEPT through throwing up THREE TIMES and when I had to get him up at three am, he asked for VISUAL PROOF OF THE PUKE-AGE because he didn’t believe me. The fact that I was dressed in a Hazmat suit didn’t deter him. He just eyed the stuff, cheerfully got up and headed to the bath. Like a boss.

Killer Flu Part Two:

Setting: The dinner table.

Characters: Blonde and Big Blonde (aka the husband) and one irritated Momsie. Also, some tater tot casserole.

Momsie, sets the casserole in front of Blonde kid who immediately regards it as if it were the plague-food.

(I would also like to state that Red has started in on the plague-food with his usual gusto paired with a total disregard for silverware.)

Blonde: I… can’t… eat… this.

Momsie: I clocked out from Mom-ming about five minutes ago. I can’t help you.

Husband: (shoveling in large bites) Blonde! You’ll love it! It’s really good! Also, bland! It’s like really, REALLY bland!

Momsie: Uh… ok…

Husband: Like, SO BLAND. This is so bland it’s AIR, son. It’s like AIR with TATER TOTS SPRINKLED ON TOP!

Momsie: Ok. You made your point-

Husband: The blandness here is really almost it’s own seasoning. It’s bland with a subtle hint of oaky blandness.

Momsie: THAT’S ENOUGH WITH THE BLAND. EAT.

And then the battle was on. Blonde’s stubbornness is rather epic. It’s the Stonehenge of stubborn. Unmoving, and kind of mystical. People could traveL from all over the world, just to study him and find out his stubbornness’s origins, but really?

Me. His stubbornnes is from me. It’s all me.

So, on and on went, our battle of the tater tot casserole.  It was nerve-wracking, like watching four-star generals try to plan their next attack for victory, but with some corn and hamburger.

Finally, Blonde surrendered. He managed to eat three teeny tiny bites, he really did. But the entire time, he swore to me, it was killing him.

Momsie won.

Because, that’s parenting. A constant hashmark of who won what and why. I keep a journal where I record all my victories and often refer back to it when I’m feeling needy.

And so… nope, it didn’t kill him.

But he sure as heck did yak tater tot casserole all over the second floor of our house about two hours later. So, there’s that.

So, after I decided there wasn’t enough Lysol in the world to deal, and that perhaps just burning down the second story of the house was the answer, which will work out great for Brian and me when we get older anyhow… I realized something:

That whole “Is this the mountain your want to die on?” line really takes on a whole new meaning when dealing with piles of puke.

Yep. You’re welcome for the visual.

Disclaimer: No, I don’t usually regard my children as creatures to conquer. And no, I’m not one to make a different meal for Mr. Picky. But that night? Some toast and a hug would have been a good idea.

Lesson learned.

Joy in the Midst of Heartache

Well, that’s a downer of a title, isn’t it?

Stay with me.

Linking up with my favorite bloggie family: Five Minute Friday.

The theme for today?

joy-600x600.png

Ok, so, right now the world has that extra bit of merry and bright going on. This makes total sense. We are counting the days before our Savior’s birth.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of Year, after all.

But, I notice a few things:

I have lights up, all over the house, inside and out. Strings of them, colored, white, all aglow, all day long.

Christmas music plays non stop. Mostly, I choose the soft, lingering melodies of George Winston. They are soft and soothing and I keep them on all the time.

I go to bed pretty early these nights, usually around 8:30. Flannel pajamas are my thing.

Next to my bed is a pile of books and my Ipad and Hershey’s kisses. I keep them stockpiled, and crawl into my bed as a sort of cozy fortress.

I take naps more often.

I make comfort food for dinner. Rich, heavy dishes with lots of calories. Salad does not happen. Chocolate happens.

I watch endless Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. My husband will not watch them with me, but the dog does. Hosmer loves the story line, mainly because they are all very similar. He’s a simple dog, with simple tastes.

I love this time of year. But, you know? It reminds me of those who are gone. It only makes me miss them the more, and I cannot think of Christmas without my brother.

Sometimes all this merriment makes it harder.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come.

So, let me receive it. Joy is deeper than all of this and the Joy Maker is through it and under it and above it.

Joy is all around.

Happiness, bliss, merriment, festivity, those might wane. We might experience a soul poverty at this time, but Joy is not from us. It’s from Him.

It makes me think of this carol, one of my favorites:

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man
I would do my part;
Yet what I can, I give Him –
Give my heart.

Christina Rossetti

I have not posted in so long, and so wanted to come in with trumpets blazing, full of fun and funny. But instead, I wanted to write about the deep joy that answers all the questions.

What can we give him? Just give Him our hearts.

Happy Halloween and a Guest Post!

79123b55a14db5fc05405058862faedc.jpg

Be my guest.

Guest post today! Squeeee!

One of the BEST parts of my job is meeting other readers and writers from ALL over the universe who actually read Momsie. Amazing, isn’t it?

Let me introduce you to Jen, a great writer, mum, and super auntie, who lives in my beloved UK (I know. I’ve never visited but one can dream.) She is also a techie and a food and crafts writer, and has great ideas to share. Since my idea of crafting for Halloween means drawing on pumpkins with a sharpie (whatever WORKS, ok?), Jen has much better input in this area.

Jen is here today to tell us about how Halloween is “celebrated” over the pond. Enjoy!

halloween-503814_960_720.jpg

That Moment When Your Child Carves a Pumpkin Better Than You…

It’s a joy to watch your child when they are so dedicated to something. We’ve seen that Lily likes art so my hubby and I let our dear daughter carve some pumpkins with us last year for Halloween.

This year, I’m staying on the sidelines to support her love for all things artsy. I do have some Jack o’ Lantern ideas, and I torture myself more by looking at other cool and cute carved pumpkin creations and then showing them to DD. If only I could do them myself and get them to come out right.

The Typical UK Halloween

For the most part, Halloween celebrations on this side of the world are pretty much the same as anywhere else these days. You’ll see costume parties left, right and centre; there are pumpkin patches; free horror movie screenings for the community; and of course, kids roam around going Trick-or-Treating.

After doing my research with my daughter, I did find out one interesting nugget. The ‘Trick-or-Treat’ tradition began here in the UK! Don’t ask how I didn’t know that. History isn’t my strong point, after all.

A blog I’m following posted some crafts  about Halloween and shared some info about the origin of ‘Trick-or-Treat’. Apparently, in Scottish hundreds of years ago, people used to knock at homes during this season to ask for free food or other valuables. Eventually, the practice evolved into what our children love to do today during every Halloween celebration.

Something that might be more unique in Halloween here, however, is that we have a ‘Mischief Night’ celebration every November 4 wherein people engage in pranks on each other. It’s a lot of fun, but obviously you shouldn’t go overboard just in case someone gets hurt.

People gathered around bonfires, sharing scary stories is also common. Do you know the show “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” That’s the idea, minus the sprinkling of magic powder to make the bonfire flame bigger though.



Hello, pumpkin!



Back to the pumpkins, the only part where I’m sure I can beat Lily is on making pumpkin soup or pie, out of the scraped portions of the vegetable. Not that it’s her job, but come on; you have to let me say “I rule!” once in a while. My hubby is totally awesome at putting together epic decorations and costumes; Lily makes wonderful Jack o’ Lanterns; and me, well, you got to give me something, right?

This year I have the ‘pumpkin and caramel cake’ in my sights. Just you wait, your souls will sing from the heavenly goodness of my culinary treat.

Seriously though, the best thing for me is that we complement each other. It’s what makes the celebration much more special. Getting to watch your loved ones working together, and seeing their joyful faces when we gather around good food are always priceless moments that I will cherish every day of my life.

I believe that’s the whole point. It’s not about the decorations, costumes, and props. It’s not about the parties. It’s about the bond that you strengthen further with your family through every occasion that’s worth truly celebrating. Happy Halloween!

Exclusively written for MomsieBlog.com

by Jen’s a Mom!

This is the best writing prompt EVER:

Linking up with my people today because, as you know…. (drum roll)

It’s FIVE MINUTE FRIIIIIIDAY with the lovely Kate Motaung.

AND TODAY’S THEME IS JUST TOO GOOD:

 

 

COFFEE-600x600.png

Ok, let me tell you about eating.

There’s the good kind and the bad kind. Lately, it seems to be tipping over to the bad kind because last night I was writing until about one in the morning, accompanied by Halloween candy.

The Halloween candy didn’t do a very good job of keeping me company. It was all sticky and I kept sitting on the crinkly wrappers. You know what happens once you get into the Halloween candy, don’t you? You KEEP getting into it. It’s like once you start doing Amazon One-Click of sugar addiction.

But, y’all? There’s good eating too.

I was thinking about food and my family, and all the dishes that I remember, where food becomes not just food, but something more. Something fragrant, with love added in.

So, here’s what I thought of:

My dad, every Thanksgiving, smokes a duck in his kettle grill. I go out and talk with him as he watches the duck like a hawk (so many bird things going on here). He uses this special marinade that he has been making since I was a child, and no one knows what’s in there. I don’t think he’ll ever tell us. Maybe the recipe is in some vault somewhere and we get to access it after he is with Jesus, and then we can start selling the stuff and we’ll make millions. Yes, dad, I know I just sort of gleefully referred to making money after you meet your maker. I know. That’s OK, though because I know how fond you are of the money thing.

Sigh. I really hope he doesn’t take this the wrong way.

Anyhow, the duck. The duck is a thing. It’s our thing. It’s delicious and it’s my dad out there in the cold and me going out there and talking and discussing life and how many meetings I’ve been going to and how the lawn looks great.

Also, this: the last time I talked, really TALKED to my brother, was out on that back porch, with dad’s duck, Thanksgiving. So, you know, the duck. It’s special. It’s sad and happy.

I know. That sure is a lot of feelings to attach to a smoked duck. Who knew poultry could be so meaningful? But it is.

And my mom. Now, she’s like the best cook ever. And I mean EVER. But I’m not going to talk about all that right now because I want to talk about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I had just given birth to Blonde. I was sinking into post-partum depression, didn’t know it yet, at all, and was also just really really REALLY tired. My mom told me to go lay down, and I did. And then, she brought me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of milk.

And I ate it and cried and it was the best sandwich I have ever had. My mom used to bring me Sprite with a straw when I was sick, and let me lay back on her bed and watch Electric Company. I felt kind of like her, that sick little girl, and my mom was bringing me food on a tray. And it helped.

Incidentally, my mom was the one that helped me figure out that I was actually dealing with something perhaps a little bit more severe than just the baby blues.

Happy and sad. A peanut butter sandwich with a lot of meaning. Again.

Don’t even get me started on my sister Jenni’s birthday cakes. Or my other sister Sherry’s crescent rolls. Don’t even.

Food. Family. Love. Memories. Some of the happiest, and saddest memories are tied to what we eat, but you know that. You know because maybe you always make your kids Mickey Mouse pancakes on Saturday mornings. Or you always have popcorn and candy corn on movie nights. Or your husband always asks for your peanut butter balls and swears it’s his love language. And you make chicken soup for him when he’s sniffling and something about it makes you feel better too, as you chop and mince and stew.

This post makes me want to go make oatmeal cookies. 🙂

food-quote-5.jpg

PS:  Dad, I really do love you and if I had my way you and your marinade will be around until forever.