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

 

longform-original-21106-1414672565-10.jpg

 

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.

IMG_6694.JPG

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.

IMG_6688.JPG

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.)

longform-original-28323-1414672571-23.jpg

 

 

 

Take Heart: Family Game Night Will Save Us All

stock-vector-vintage-summer-postcard-vector-illustration-106391222.jpg

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.”

f71ac92aff13b381d971bf475413a80f.jpg

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.

pureflix2.jpg
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.

Leia.jpg

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.

hqdefault.jpg

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.

1987165-Stephanie-Klein-Quote-Tell-the-truth-or-someone-will-tell-it-for.jpg

 

 

I Know You Missed Me.

Well I’m baaaaaack!! (Waves fervently hello). I KNOW, right? You had it on your calendar that I would be returning this week, didn’t you? (Looks expectantly, out there, to the great interweb audience in the sky.)

I am staring at this screen like for some reason the words are going to come jumping out at me.

My goodness, the words are so not jumping.

This writing thing? It’s not like riding a bike. You have to keep at it, or the words just slump around, like surly teenagers.

Me: Hey kids! How are you? Anyone wanna snack? I’ve got Teddy Grahams.

Words: *eye roll*

Me: Sooooo, how was your day?

Words: Ok.

Me: So… anything else you want to share? I can’t write a blog that’s monosyllabic.

Words: *eye roll*

Me: YOUR FACE IS GONNA STICK THAT WAY AND YES I KNOW “OK” IS NOT MONOSYLLABIC.

Words: *mutters and slouches off*

Me: Ok, well, bye! Love you! Bye! I’ll be here, uh, waiting for actual interaction.

I missed writing. I missed it so much that I kind of forgot how to do it. That’s what happens when you love something and you don’t do it for a while. The love gets all smushed up and then it feels sad and it wanders off and forgets it exists.

Ok, that might be a bit over the top, but writing with sublety has never really been my thing.

So, I’m going to go and try to find some way to get the words to stop playing video games and saying things like, “Like whatever.” and shrugging so much they might pinch a nerve.

I’m going to keep at this, and hopefully the next post will be more inspired. It won’t be Pulitzer worthy, but it will be something.

Something to share, and something to spread a little laughter, and something that hopefully, HOPEFULLY, gives your day a little extra light. Because, that is my thing.

Words: Uh… little help?

Me: What’s wrong? Why are you walking funny?

Words: I over-shrugged. I did it too long and now…

Me: It’s stuck that way?

Words: It’s stuck that way.

grumpy-cat-ii-i-miss-you-fix-it.jpg

 

 

 

 

I Tweet, Therefore I am.

6edf23771437fddb0fb300e25a03c6ae.jpg

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:

41PSauik+aL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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

I’m the Dog. I’M THE DOG.

tumblr_m6ag5nl30g1qbfa4xo1_500.gif

Best. Movie. Ever.

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

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

That’s how I feel.

Really.

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

more.-600x600.jpg

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

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

And, also, exhibit B:

Photo on 4-28-17 at 12.00 PM.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ok, so HERE IS MY POINT (Hallelujah!)

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

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

 

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

Save

Life has a soundtrack. What’s yours?

Everything has music built in. I just know it.

I came to this realization long ago, when I was about six I think, watching the Muppet Show. As it started, and that bouncy Muppet Show song came on, I just knew:

This song was strumming my pain with its fingers.

You know, telling my whole life with his words.

Perhaps, not, however, killing me softly with his song. Because, they’re Muppets you know. It’s a happy thing. They don’t do killing.

Linking up with my favorite people today! Five Minute Friday. And the theme?

sing-600x600.png

Oh, I have a lot to say about this. But, alas, I have to pick my children up from school in a bit so I’ll keep it short.

So, yes, I realize that sounds like I’m alas-ing about the kids showing up here. Not quite. They’re the ones that bring a lot of noise and all. Chaos. Child-chaos, the most mind-fizzling kind. Like trying to stuff a bunch of small kittens down a swirly slide while a small parrot sits on your head and repeats the 10 Commandments at you.

YES REALLY THAT’S JUST WHAT IT’S LIKE.

But, back to singing.

I sing a lot. I have my Jesus music on all day, because if I don’t I start to listen to what’s going on in my head, and no  one wants to do that. I sing along. I tend to think I could very well be a backup singer for Journey, if they needed one, you know. Don’t worry – I know very well I can’t actually be the headliner, but totally could nail backup, right?

There’s a band, Travis, from the 90’s that came out with a song called, (you guessed it) “Sing.” I love Travis. They’re all ironic lyrics and tousled British looks and jangly banjos. They were hipster before hipster was cool. And the lyrics tell us:

“But the love you bring, won’t mean a thing,

Unless you sing.”

am971982.jpg

It’s true. We need to sing at life. Every day has a soundtrack. Some lyrics are AC DC, some are Neil Diamond.

Some are ABBA and you KNOW those are gonna be good days.

My children have a propensity for singing, especially Red. He likes to sing in the bath, and often makes up his own lyrics. A few nights ago he was in there singing something about Luke Skywalker and I so wanted to video it, but artistic license, you know. They both have it in their contract (renewed when they turned six-ish, that no more videos of bathing time would occur. The lawyer had that instilled after one unfortunate incident involving some gospel, the cat, and a naked Red. Lawyers are such a pain.)

One night, while I was trying to scrape together dinner (literally because I had spilled the pasta and by God we were GOING to eat pasta, even floor pasta. Don’t judge.) it seemed that we were going to have a particularly musical evening.

Musical, not so much in an Andrew Lloyd Webber way, but more in a Bludgeoning You Upside the Head Way.

It involved a lot of noise from Red who was asking me, in operatic style, to build Tatooine with him in the living room. Because he NEEDED TATOOINE RIGHT NOW IN THE LIVING ROOM HOW CAN YOU, MOTHER, IGNORE MY PLEA (insert endlessly repeating chorus here).

On the radio, was the twanging of Johnny Cash. He goes with everything, as you know.

And then, Blonde decided to go upstairs and get his recorder. “Do you want to hear a song?” he asked and I looked at him, wide-eyed, because what? Like a song ON TOP  of all the other songs going on right now? I mean, maybe some harmonies would be doable but really? MORE song?

If the dog had started howling the moment would have really defined itself as The One Time That She Ran from the House with the Dishtowel Over Her Head, Screaming.

I didn’t. The dog didn’t. We soldiered on and I think I did the most logical mom thing:

I snatched that blasted recorder right out of Blonde’s hands and hid it where the sun don’t shine.

There’s only so much music one can take, y’all. I’m not Julie Andrews.

We sing, because we have to. The soundtrack of my life is very Muppet Show with a little Les Miserables mixed in. As well it should be. I regularly sing Master of the House to the babies as their lullaby.

That explains a lot, actually.

So, also, is this little gem  – it’s a part of our soundtrack on the repeat around here: