Dream A Little Dream With Me.

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Still working on my Change All the Things Big November Plan, and it’s going… sort of ok.

I know, guys! Did that introduction not KNOCK the SOCKS off of you!? Are you not just totally on the edge of your seat? Without SOCKS???

Ok, truth:

Trying to rehab anything is very hard. I mean, have you ever watched Intervention? Not to make light of a serious topic (I never do that. Ok, well yes I do, all the time, but you know my heart’s in the right place. Plus, I am a walking Intervention, so I can poke fun at myself) but trying to get something back from a state of disrepair is HARD.

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Here are the things I have been working on:

  1. Food and all things food related. Like, not eating all the sugar in the house because I am stressed. Case in point: Halloween candy that belongs to my sweet children is STILL belonging to the children and has not been touched by me since that fateful night. I am kind of proud of myself on that one.
  2. Stress level. I am beginning to really appreciate breaking tasks down, and organizing and not waiting until the last minute to get a writing deadline done. And yes, I hear you, editors, cackling away at me. No lie, my mom will plan to make chocolate chip cookies on Friday, and on MONDAY she starts planning ahead by setting a bowl out on the counter. A bowl. She is hard core.
  3. I really really need to stop watching stupid youtube videos. Like, this is just stupid. It’s stupid and bad and stupid. Every time I watch a youtube video (unless it’s Francis Chan) my IQ drops and a cute kitty video dies and I start writing “stupid” too much. Or something like that.

#3 is really not my fault. It all started because I was all #2, and then, I thought, “Hey! Let’s watch cute kitty videos! It will make me laugh and feel better and chortle chortle chortle and the next thing you know, it’s five hours later. It’s physics. An object at rest remains at rest, blah blabbity blah blah blah.

So, the other day I was talking with my sister and she said something really really interesting. She said that her husband asked her, all out of the blue, “Hey, what are your dreams?”

First of all, this now has taken my sister’s husband and put him in the Husband Hall of Fame because holy matrimony that is just the sweetest thing EVER. Like, right now, I am sitting next to my husband and I’m giving him the side eye. And I’m thinking, He never asked me what my dreams are. Huh. I wonder why? Does he not care? Clearly he doesn’t care. My sister’s husband cares.

Ok, reeling it in. Getting off track.

Here’s why the November’s Big Huge Colossal Plan to Change So Much Stuff is occurring:

I need to learn how to dream again.

When I first published my book, I felt like I was floating about in a really happy floaty place called: I Have Always Dreamed of This.

It’s a really nice place. It was all pink and fuzzy and blissful.

Well, actually at times it was also really frenetic and stressful but for the most part I was floaty-floaty.

And then, time passed and I landed back on earth, which is fine and good because we really can’t float all the time. That would be weird and I would never be able to drive my children anywhere, which as you moms all know, that is the reason for my existence.

In the past months I have forgotten all about dreams.

It’s ok. That happens. There’s children and costumes for children (hello October) and appointments and all sorts of animals to take care of who kept getting sick, and I forgot why I like writing. It got buried underneath a pile of laundry, I tell you.

In my life, God comes first. Then the husband, who doesn’t ever ask me about my dreams, then the kids.

And then, somewhere along the way, I forgot that writing and creativity needed to be up there too, somewhere above the laundry. And all sorts of other stuff started to fill in the holes.

I didn’t really realize any of this, when I started out on my Make It All Totally Super Awesome Novemberness. I thought I just wanted to lose a little weight. But instead? This has been a lot of thinking and turning things over in my head.

Funny how that works, eh? Walking away from carbs and eating a whole lotta kale has led to a full fledged epiphany, y’all.

Who knew? Who really knew that kale had that kind of power?

So, I’m halfway through November. I’m finding my groove again. I haven’t eaten sugar for two weeks and I have not died.

In fact, I feel very much alive.

Thanks for listening my friends. I’m now off to snack on some kale pudding.

Just kidding. Kale and I are not at the pudding stage. That’s just crazy.

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Too many kale jokes?

Nah. You can never have too many kale jokes.

 

 

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Failure is So the Option

I am working my way through November,  in the midst of trying to overhaul my eating habits, my exercise routines, my writing regimen…

You know, the whole shebang. I want to change my utter existence.

Ok, that’s not true. I think my life has a lot of solid footing, really. But here’s the thing: when we start out (ok, when I start out) on a Make It Better routine we (I) tend to get a little nuts.

Honestly? I am an all or nothing kind of girl. Kinda like this:

You see what I’m getting at here.

I failed.

Here is why:

I LOVE APPLE COBBLER. AND THEN I MADE SOME, FOR MY BOYS, AND I HAD A LITTLE SMIDGEN OFF THE CORNER, JUST A TEENSY BITE I PROMISE.

And I was off to the cobbler races. If there was such a thing. And evidently, there was for me.

Sugar and me are still working it out. Sugar’s all like, “It is clear that you and I will NEVER BE APART. You need me, girl. And IIIIIIIIIII will always love YOUUUUUUUUUUU!!”

Etcetera.

And I’m all, “I am a horrible lump of lumpy badness. Bad Momsie! BAD! I need to go eat a molten chocolate cake to feel better.”

Ok, I’m working on this. I have some ideas for yummy treats to help with the cobbler urges. I also need to embrace the mind blowing idea that having a wee portion of said cobbler CAN ACTUALLY be done. I know, right? Do you mean to tell me that you can eat just a SMALL BIT of something tasty? And that’s IT? That’s just weird.

What can I say? I have issues.

What do you tell yourself when you mess it all up? Do you throw in the towel? Do you keep going? Do you vow to be good in ALL the things? Do you drive yourself crazy? Do you ask a lot of questions and irritate your readers??

 

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Insert Motivational Quote Here:

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*Taps mic*

Hello? Hi. Hi there. I’m Dana. Your motivational speaker. So….  How’s everybody doing today?

I’m here today to tell you more about The FABULOUSNESS THAT IS NOVEMBER and light a fire under that tired-out soul of yours.

If, that is, your soul is actually tired. Perhaps it’s all shiny and ok. Mine was not, so here I am.

This morning I walked the dog and and did some sort of nonsense called Fitness Blender, where sweet and annoyingly chipper Kelli tells me to squat, and I squat. Sometimes she adds kicks to the squats and this makes me feel all flair-ish, so there’s that.

The weather was cool and foggy and I BLASTED this song while I walked sweet Hosmer. All rather simple things.

But I have to tell you, Hosmer was so GRATEFUL for a walk. (He’s grateful for anything, really. My days with him are a regular immersion in furry gratitude. Case in point: He is currently sitting on my feet looking at me with such adoration he basically has become his own emoji.)

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Picture is blurry because dog moving. He keeps trying to come in to lick me.

Also, I have worked on THIS:

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This is not life shattering, I know. Every month, I get out my felt tip pens (all the pretty colors!) and I plan my month. I used to color code it for children and adults and all… but then I realized pretty much all of it sorta morphed into all children all the time, because they consume my life, so I just use colors that make me happy.

Also, I draw turkeys really badly.

But, I guess what I’m trying to say is… (*clears throat, attempts highly motivational voice*)

IF YOU PLAN TO PLAN, YOU’LL FAIL TO PLAN.

Oh wait. No, other way around. (*clears voice again, all the while realizing that motivational speaking might not be my jam*)

If you fail to plan… you can plan.. to fail? Right? That’s it, right?

Right?

We’re only on day 2, people. Progress, not perfection.funny-pictures-cat-does-not-think-plan-will-fail.jpg

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.

Who needs mind-altering substances when you have children?

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This is your Brain. This is your brain on six-year-olds.

Recently my kid got to have pop. For the first time. Like, ever. For those of you not stuck here in the midwest this could also be termed “soda” or “cola” or “a coke.” Whatever. We all know the proper term is “pop” and if you call it soda that’s just weird.

Anyhow, up until now, in his poor deprived six year old life the kid thinks that Gatorade is the BEST THING EVER and basically dessert.

Red plays with one of my old cell phones and tells me he’s doing his video games. I know. We don’t get out much. It’s almost kind of embarrassing, when he shows his friends his new fangled video game. They look at him with such pity and confusion.  But, you know? He has no clue. At this point he only thinks video games are things that Other People have at Their Houses. This is ok, but the other day he did tell me he was ready to move into his pastor’s basement and he would see me later.
They have a Wii. So, I get it.

Anyhow, the other day, my sweet son got to have a Pepsi.
We all know this is the gateway drink.
Before we know it, he’ll be cracking open the hard stuff. Mountain Dew.

The Night of the Pop, we had a baseball game which was about the fifty seventh of the season. We had baseball on every day of the week since like forever and maybe also some practices smushed in there too somewhere, I forget, because after a while I kind of gave up my will to live, and just packed fifty thousand snacks in the car along with two mitts and a baseball bat and just drove  around all summer.
But ANYHOW, the Pepsi thing happened after a late game, and also after this menu:

1.  Gatorade (almost crack)
2. 3 packages of those gummy fruit treats with REAL FRUIT in them (fruity crack)
3. Doritos (don’t judge. We all love them. Cheesy crack)
4. I think perhaps half of a cheese stick but I’m not sure. So, protein? Not crack?
5. Skittles (A mom gave him some. I dunno. I wasn’t able to intercept this shady deal that went down but evidently he seduced a mom at the ball park with his dashing good looks and she handed him a package. I do KNOW the mom so I am going to at least establish that my kid is not walking around taking candy from strangers. He did ask some strange man if he could try his dill pickle sunflower seeds, which he now LOVES, so baseball crack, I guess.)

And then, the can of Pepsi (the gateway crack)

And THEN, my kid lost his ever loving little tiny mind. All that sugar and caffeine headed straight for his oversized noggin, and his teeny tiny synapses started sparking out all over the place, and his brain tried, really, to connect the dots. I mean, it really tried. But instead? This is the conversation we had on the way home:

Red: DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW. INA ONE FORK OPEN SLEIGH! 
Mommy? MOM? mom? MOTHER? MOTHER? MOTHER? MOTHER?? MOMMMMMYYYYYYYYY?

Me. WHAT.

Red: What? What’d you want?

Me: Don’t worry dear. We’ll be home soon. Stay with me. Don’t go toward the light.

Red: I CAN SMELL COLORS!

Mommy? Do you know what I love? Do you? Do YOU? Do you KNOW??

Me: I want to start singing that Diana Ross song but it makes me weepy. You don’t really want weepy, do you?

Red: I WANT ALL THE THINGS NOW. AND WHEN I GET HOME? I’M GONNA PLAY WITH EM.

Also, Mom? I will now enter total monologue zone. Don’t speak, mommy. Just watch and learn.

Mommy, don’t think it would be really cool if we could hear out of our belly buttons?

Don’t answer that. It would be cool, though?
Also, I wanted to tell you how much I love my cat. I just really love him. We need to keep him forever. Even after he dies. You know? He can stay with us. I wish I had fur.

Kylo Ren, by the way? He could be my friend. But, he’s got to be a good guy first. We’ll see. Maybe. He killed his dad. That is NOT GOOD, I tell you.

I have the BIGGEST TAPE MEASURE EVER. IT CAN MEASURE ALL THE THINGS.

I AM SO HUNGRY. I SEE FRIES ON THE FLOOR I AM GONNA EAT THEM.
But now now, mommah, because I won’t unbuckle. I know that’s not safe.

Wait for me, fries.

Mommah, I WANNA GIVE YOU HUG! HUGGIEEEEEEE!

When we get home I’m going to draw a picture of Steve and you, mommy. You are both my favorite things.
And I think also pickles. For Halloween I’m gonna be a pickle. Because you can do that. On Halloween.

Not any other time though.

DID YOU SEE THAT? CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! CHRISTMAS LIGHTS! CHRISTMAS LIIIIIIGHTS!
(It was a liquor store sign. And no, I did not park the car and go IN to the liquor store. But by God, it did seem like a good idea for two seconds. Two seconds was all I got until:)

Do you know why I can’t hear out of my bellybutton, mommah?
Because I just pulled a bunch of grey stuff outta it. Here. Let me give it to you.
And then we got home. And I tucked my little sugarpnants into bed and listened to him sing Christmas carols to himself until about eleven thirty. It’s also possible he tried to play video games with some tinker toys. He named the cat Kylo Ren and tried to make him play. Video games. With tinker toys.

The cat won, by the way.

The husband and I just laid in bed, next door, holding hands, silently laughing so hard that the bed was shaking. And then, the husband just told me he’s gonna try the tape measure bit on me later. He says it sounds like a great come-on line.

This tells you that Red is not the only delusional one in our family.
But that’s another blog, for another day. Aren’t you glad?

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W is for The Wheat Germ of Guilt

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Scene:  Kitchen.  Momsie is humming, mixing up some eggs and sugar for cookies.  Chocolate chip cookies.  Also known as Toddler Smack.

The boys are assembling what looks like a nuclear power plant with Legos.  Occasionally the cat throws in a protest (He’s anti-nuclear. Or maybe anti-Lego.) by racing through and waving small signs.  The wee engineers are not deterred and a model of Three Mile Island is slowly forming in my living room.

Their conversation sounds like this:

Blonde: Dear brother, could you pass me yonder grey Lego?

Red:  Why of course, I would be honored.

Blonde: Thank you.  This will complete Zone three on the reactor.  It’s da Red Zone.

Red:  Lovely weather we’re having today, wouldn’t you agree?

Blonde:  Oh yes!  Later I think we should go outside for healthy sunshine and fresh air, don’t you think?
My cherubs.

I smile  and start to measure out the chocolate chips, blessed by the peaceful day and the wonderment that is parenting.  But then, I hear it.  My inner nutball:

“WHAT are you doing?  Are you INSANE?  You are making them COOKIES!  WITH SUGAR.  And where’s the carob chips?  This is gross negligence!”  I look around guiltily. Inner nutball whispers in horror:  “The sugar… It’s WHITE.”

“HOW COULD YOU?”

“I mean, look at my those babies:”

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This is a representation. This is not actually one of my babies. That would be odd, wouldn’t it?

 

 

 

 

“HOW DARE YOU EXPOSE THEM TO COOKIES?????

 

 

 

Fear not, neurotic one, there is a solution to all this malaise.  It’s this stuff:

 

W. Germ.  AKA Wheat Germ. I usually buy the Mom Guilt Brand.  It's the best.

W. Germ. AKA Wheat Germ. I usually buy the Mom Guilt Brand. It’s the best.

Just toss some of this into your cookie batter and voila!  You are no longer serving your darlings small pastries of doom!  It’s that simple.

I add this magic powder to:

pancakes, cookies, cakes, smoothies, oatmeal, vodka tonics (JUST KIDDING)

I also: 

Wave it over my tater tots when I begin to feel the guilt curtain descend.

Set it in front of the television while they watch yet another episode of Barney.

Position it strategically over their beds at night, amending any snappish comments I might have uttered earlier that day.


It also works in marriages!

Try it in your coffee the morning after a particularly violent episode with a snoring husband.  It erases all possibility that you might have tried feeding him a pillow.

Just hand him the entire container when you make him watch The Sound of Music with you. Again.

Sprinkle it on the bedsheets!  You fall asleep every night at 8 pm due to exhaustion?  No guilt.  Wheat germ it.
Put a container in your kitchen, your clothes closets, the litter boxes!

Set some as a paper weight in office to fend off ennui as you write and ignore your children!

Get a travel size for the car!

Take it on vacation!

Mail a case of the stuff to Pinterest!
But, don’t even try to take it to your mother’s.  It won’t work there.
(Just kidding, Mom.)

Now I feel guilty.

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