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.

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The Perfect Cheer.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme?

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A week ago, I left for a trip to Florida. It was a great gig – a speaking opportunity for the Intervention Project for Nurses, and it was awesome and I’ll write more about it later.

But.

What I’m gonna write about TODAY is how right before I left I was just awful.

I don’t really know why.

Well, I guess I do. I was stressed and tired – I had been packing and cleaning and cooking because when I leave I expect the house to blow up with germs and then they all starve and I come home to a messy house and they’re all gonna look like it’s the Middle Ages, wondering around hungry and dirty, in a peat bog. Possible exaggeration, but you get the idea.

Sometimes when I leave on a speaking trip, I think the world HERE sort of doesn’t… keep… going. You, know, they have done tests on toddlers who are asked what happens when they leave a room and the toddler says, “Nothing, it’s not there any more” because they have no concept of time and space without them IN there too? That’s me. I am right with you, toddlers. You get me.

Anyhow. I promise, I’m gonna get to my point. The cheering thing.

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I might have yelled at my boys. Just a weensy bit. While we were driving home from groceries. And you KNOW grocery shopping is the gateway to crazy.

They got yelled at because this:

Me: Would you guys like an ice cream cone from McBadForYou?

Them: Yes! No! Wait! And a burger and fries and on one of those happy meals with the toy that is useless and made in China tooooooooooo.

Me: Sigh. No. Just ice cream.

Them: But WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY my life is meaningless and small without the toyyyyyyyy that does nothinggggg it completes meeeeeeeee.

Me: OK Y’ALL I HAVE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH.

Let me just stop right here. Because this is where I launched into Mom Lecture #456 about Let’s Be Grateful for All the Things or So Help Me, and nobody needs to listen to all that.

It was a lecture that went on a teensy weensy bit longer than needed. And there might have been some loud voices. And yes, it was really not a good Mom moment.

So, finally, as I was taking a breath, and revving up for Mom Lecture #457 called And Another Thing! I hear it:

A small voice from the back seat.

“Mom. You’re leaving tomorrow. Don’t get mad before you leave.”

I know. He’s good.

The voice was from Blonde, and I have to say – he really knows how to work a room. And what followed was a good solid ten minute drive of silence and me stewing in total Mom Guilt + self loathing + anxiety about my children + future therapy bills + all the awfulness of the world.

So, as the ten minutes passed I decided that I was too terrible for air. And when I get that way I usually do one of two things:

  1. Sob uncontrollably until hiccups.
  2. Pray.

Bet you can’t guess which one is the better option?

I prayed, out loud, and asked for forgiveness and a steadfast spirit and please, PLEASE better Mom skills because Lord I am so being sent back to the minors here.

And then I said:

“Boys? Do you forgive me? ‘Cuz, I am sorry I yelled. I do want us to work on gratitude, but I’m pretty sure there are better ways to be grateful than being yelled at for it.’

And Blonde and Red forgave me.

And then we all CHEERED UP.

And so, my final, tie it all together, end with the big lesson, huge hurrah, here is this:

God asks us to be cheerful. It’s the bravest thing we can do, every day.

And when we aren’t cheerful and we are awful to each other? Whiney? Ungrateful? Screechy? We can ask for forgiveness.

Asking forgiveness = instant CHEER!

Boom. It’s a powerful formula.

You’re welcome.  🙂image_thumb4.png

 

 

Lose Weight in Five Easy Steps!

Ok. Just lied. There are not really Super Easy steps for weight loss. Gotcha there. I doubt I could even tie my shoes in Five Easy Steps.

Nothing comes easy. Especially the good stuff.

Or, as my dad usually says, “Life is hard. Get over it.”

Generally, working out to get in shape is, you know, work. It’s one of those sweet sayings that one should cross-stitch on a pillow:

I Could Lose Ten Pounds Today But To Do That I’d Have To Cut Off My Arm.

I know. Kinda grim. Stay with me. It can only go up from here.

So, it’s January. You know what that means, right?

Gym memberships are OFF the CHARTS. Like, everyone and their dog (or in this case, cat) got up, got off the couch, and decided, once and for all, it is time to GET IN SHAPE! Woo hoo!

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And… then, we start to slide into February.

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And before you know it? This.

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By the way? There are a heck of a lot of pictures of fat cats on the great interwebs, y’all. Total time sucker. Fat cats are my spirit animal.

Anyway. Here’s the truth of it. I have not been at my best weight in about a year. Or maybe two. Or seven. Something like that. I have a small issue with perception. I think I’m totally hot.

Well, I am totally hot. But I also think, I am totally in shape  (which I’m not). Could be because I like to wear what we mommies call: “workout gear” a lot. This means: Hoodies and sweatpants. On some days, a bra. There is a lotta give in sweatpants, y’all.

As for the no bra thing? I just do that to keep you guessing.

In reality?

Well, I could post another picture of a fluffy cat that is big-boned, but I think I might have hit my max on that.

This year has been awesome. My book, Bottled: A Mom’s Guide to Early Recovery was published by Central Recovery Press. I got to travel all sorts of places to talk about the book. I even got to be on tv! And I had good hair! It has been awesome.

But along with all that awesome has been a crazy schedule and some hard-core (not the abs kind) stress. And for me? Stress  = cheese.

I am tired. And lately, my body is having a conversation with me that just isn’t working anymore. It goes like this:

Head: Ok! Let’s tackle this day!! Let’s do this!

Body: You go ahead. I’m tired. There’s some cheese in the fridge. I’m gonna head that way and I’ll meet you over at the “this” you keep talking about later.

Head: Impossible. You and me, kid? We’re in this together. Otherwise it gets weird.

Body: Cheese.

 

Lately I have been wanting a change. I miss running. I do run still, but not consistently, and not with any passion. I miss feeling strong. Feeling fast. I miss the simple joy of it.

Let me introduce you to my friend, Jill McKay. I met Jill when I spoke at the Whole Women’s Weekend this past summer. She is a fitness coach,  and I am going to be working with her for the next months or so to try and get my mojo back.

Head: Did you hear that? We’re gonna get our mojo! And then we’re gonna tell everyone about it! It’s called accountability! It’s awesome.

Body: What is this mojo you speak of? It sounds like a drink. The one with the mint.

Head: That’s a mojito and it used to mojo you up all the time. But, now, you drink seltzer and lime. We don’t mojo with substances anymore, remember?

Body: Ok. Can’t I just have some cheese?

Head: MOJO IS NOT BEHIND CHEESE. BACK OUT OF THE FRIDGE.

Jill is a wellness warrior. She has a heart for women who are desperately searching for their mojo, and she is helping many of us find it. Mojo doesn’t really have anything to do with cheese. More on Jill later, but I am going to include this link to her New Beginnings series on her blog. I love it because her goals are VERY similar to mine this year. And, there’s a journal in there, and that is my favorite mojo-tracker ever.

If I write the word “mojo” again I think I might break this post. It’s a funny little word. Like, “qualms.”

Yes. I have no qualms about saying the word “qualms.”

Ok! Well! I think we’re about done here. I’ll just excuse myself to get some more coffee, before this post turns into Words with Friends. Lacking focus today. Could be the cheese.

Click here to read Jill’s post on doing These Two Things for our health. You’ll be glad you did.

Oh, and also this. Because. He’s not fat. He’s fluffy.

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Hey! did you know I wrote a book? Yep. Click on the pic if you would like to know more!

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I got your Christmas letter right here.

Greetings:

We have had a great year. Better than most.

Sincerely and Merry Christmas,

Momsie

 

Ok, I know, that’s probably not worth the postage. Here’s the truth of it:

  1. No one was arrested or deported. Steve the cat is always on the cusp, I tell you.
  2. Right now is Christmas “break” which, by its end, will have “broken” me, but for now, we’re still merry. We’re decorating things and listen to a lot of Christmas music. Like, a LOT. We especially love that our Pandora station keeps dialing up Neil Diamond’s Christmas album. Mr. Diamond, I think, is Jewish? So, this makes this even more special?
  3.   My precious cherubs got a hold of my phone.

 

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I like to call this piece Furry Despair

 

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This one is called I Might Kill You

And:

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Title: My Resentment Will Mean I Pee on Something

I know these cat pictures are totally enthralling, but the catch here is that my children took over 100 of these things. I mean, how much furry white anger can you capture with an old iphone?

4. Then, we did this:

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Yes, the second kid is not mine. She’s in there because look at her. She’s adorable. We did the whole “Hark! I bwing great tidings of JOY!” pageant thing and they sang “Away in da Manger” and my head exploded because of the cuteness. For real. Before the pageant started, both boys had me sign a waiver. It was that good.

5. Also, last night at dinner, Red pretended he was a raptor because thank you, Wild Kratts. And then, afterwards, he said, “Mom, I’m full. Can I save my chicken for later? Raptors like chicken.” And I beamed with pride because wrapping up leftovers is My Thing and makes me feel like my mom, and I said, “Sure honey!”

And this is what he did:

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Note: this is not chicken.

Note also: I am leaving it in my fridge even though the shelves are at that “move everything around to just get to that one container in the back” kind of full, because every time I see it I laugh.

And who doesn’t need a good chuckle every time they look in the fridge? I know I do.

6. Also, Blonde would like to ask: Why are there scary ghost stories in the tales of the glories of Christmases long ago? Why? He asks me this, all very Cindy Lou Who, and all I had to relate it to was the Mickey Mouse Christmas where Donald is Scrooge,(Netflix plug!) but still, no comprehendo. So I dialed up my favorite: A Muppet Christmas Carol* and the Marley scene made them both almost burst into tears with total frozen fear, and we now have a therapist on speed dial, thank you. So you’re welcome, children, Christmas is terrifying.

7. Which it is, kind of, when you realize you have to go to the Big Blue store later today for That One Thing You Forgot on the List, and the horror. The horror.

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7. I totally realize this Christmas letter has jumped the shark. But, that’s who I am. A shark jumper.

Merry Christmas, y’all. You are one of my most precious gifts. I love you.

When you find yourself getting buried under all of it – the lists and parties and stocking stuffers and how do we wrap a chainsaw? kind of stuff, remember this:

Jesus didn’t ever rush. He never did. You never read about Him saying, “Come now, apostles! Let us hasten on to the next village! I got a parable presentation at four!”

Jesus took His sweet time.  He knows how precious time is.

Take some of your time, and take a breath, and allow God to bless you this season.

Oh, and also this:

8. I think he got over being mad. I like to call this:

I Will Strangle You With My Love

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God bless us, everyone.

*A Muppet Christmas Carol is wonderful. It really is. I have tried to get my boys to watch it for TWO years now and for some reason… I dunno. It’s the muppets + real people part that gets them. Like, one day, they’re gonna be walking around and shazam! Some muppet creature is going to pop up out of nowhere and start singing at them. They just can’t. They’re little brains get all freaked out and they start backing out of the room. But I will not give up. One day, my pretties. You me, and a bunch of tropical rats are going to have a movie date.

 

My morning on a scale of 1-10

 

I would rate it a Z.

On the scale of “bright-eyed, bushy-tailed: I would rate it a:

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I hate everything.

 

Here’s how mornings go, in my head:

Get up. Walk around. Drink a healthy smoothie with green stuff. Read the bible. Journal. Bask in the whole “oh what a beautiful morning,” Lamentations 3:23-ness, of it all.

 

Here’s how this morning suffered and died at our house today:

Got up. Or tried to. When attempting to put one foot on the floor, something in my back went, “Uh HO! No way, old lady. Walking is hard. I’m putting you on shuffle.”

So, I shuffled about. No green stuff in the smoothie because I burnt the oatmeal. And yes, I know, the two don’t seem to relate, so let me explain: The wee ones insist that all the oatmeal is TOO HOT. It’s TOO HOT MOMMAH! It’s HOT LAVA I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO EAT THIS EVERRRR. IT WILL MELT MY FACE OFF.

Since listening to my children whine about porridge makes me start googling “full frontal lobotomy, what are the perks?” I prepared the oatmeal waaaaaay in advance for my sweet heat seeking cherubs.  Then I watched them sit there and chuff and blow all over it with moist abandon (mental note: do not eat leftovers) for, like, an hour.

By the time they had hyperventilated all over the oatmeal, I was on to making lunches. Something, like, oh I don’t know, THIS:

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I found it on Pinterest! Who knew?

I know, right? RIGHT?

So, then, I had a moment to myself, in which I:

Put hair in ponytail. Then realized it still looked so colossally bad that also added a baseball cap. Considered a burka because the baseball wasn’t really cutting it, but thought that might cause some confusion amongst my church going friends.

Added some moisturizer and some lip gloss. Except I used an under eye highlighter as my lip gloss, because, well, morning.

So I looked like THIS:

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Except she is a lot happier about it than I am.

And, you know, no decal hearts on my face. I coulda colored in some of my sun spots, but who has time for that insanity?

 

Okaaaaaay. So the boys are still staring down the oatmeal. They are in their underwear, and it’s five minutes till go time. Momsie decides to start barking orders like a crazed seal. Something like THIS:

Clear up!

Move out!

Pants! PANTS! PAAAANNNNNNTS. THEN SHOES.

Shirt! Turn it!

Ok, Spiderman in back.

MOVE MOVE MOVE.

COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE

KEYS?  KEYS ! KEYS !!!KEYYYSSSSSS!!!! Oh snap. Here in my hand.

 

Awesome! Car! Children dressed and IN car with shoes and backpacks. The heavens opened and sang, I tell you.

And then I realized I hadn’t put on pants.

 

Boom.

 

So…how was your morning?

My neighbors had a great start of the day, I’m sure.

 

God, grant me the serenity, to accept that I forgot, um pants.

Courage, to change that for future mornings.

And the wisdom to laugh at myself.

 

And thank you, dear sweet Jesus, that at least I was wearing my husband’s old rugby t-shirt. I wear these huge things to bed because I like to remember the 80’s whenever possible. Thank you, baggy 80’s fashion.

Coulda been worse. I coulda been wearing THIS:

 

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You’re welcome, neighbors.

 

 

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Simplicity NOW!

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This magazine is very aloof. It has issues. (GET IT?)

 

Once, long ago, before I had children,  I did things like:

  • Read The New Yorker.  All of it.  Even the parts I didn’t understand.
  • Cooked elaborate meals with creamy sauces and green things and then:
  • Ate those meals, on the couch,  while watching equally saucy television shows  AND NOT ONCE DID I GET UP.
  • Sleep.

I like to refer to this era in my life as:

The Time Before Children Came Along and Smacked Me Upside the Head with Their Nerf Swords. *

 

So now I have kids. Yep.  You guessed it. This is another post about how kids came along and blew it my life to smithereens.

They blew up the quiet time and my cute house and all my sassy shoes (heels?  HEELS? Too much of my life is block and tackle.)  They blew up menu plans and vacation plans and they really really blew up my body.  Totally did a number on it.  Blammo.

And I accept it (granted, with a lot of snark and some occasional whining) because really?  I love them like crazy.  (The lawyer is again rolling his eyes all over the place.  Appropriate descriptor, he says.)

At night I go in and look at their soft little faces and gorgeous eyelashes and  listen to their sweet little snufflings and just wonder at it all.  And then, I always ask the inevitable question that I think all parents have wondered at some point:

WHY can’t they stay asleep like, ALL THE TIME?  Every major offense they did today is totally erased when I just look at them sleeping!  They are so CUTE!  This would make it all so much SIMPLER!!!

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Corie Clark, author of The Simplicity Project, offers some better options for snagging some elusive Simplicity.  I think she’s really hit on something that most moms long for:  PEACE AND QUIET, FOR PETE’S SAKE.  And maybe that peace and quiet should start in us.  The fact that we are surrounded by whirling toddlers who leave chaos and Legos (and sometimes clothing) in their wake is not really the issue.

It starts with us.

This book is a simple (yes, intended) and practical look at how Corie’s own “Simplicity Project” helped her find that peace she longed for.  I had the opportunity to interview her recently about this book and wanted to share with you some of her thoughts about finding our true purpose, while not letting “life get in the way of living.”

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?  Your family? Your hobbies?  If you were a tree, what kind of tree.. (just kidding)?

I was born and raised in California. I have been married to my best friend, Ryan for 17 years. We have 3 kids ages 9, 12, and 14. We moved from Northern California to Southern California 3 years ago and love living here. When I’m not busy homeschooling my kids or writing, you can find me at the beach. Whether it’s 50 degrees or 100 degrees, the ocean is my favorite place to be.
What inspired you to write The Simplicity Project?

I’ve actually been working on a different book for quite some time and just always had an excuse to not work on it. I never had enough time and seemed to be constantly living in chaos. I decided in February to simplify my life. This was more than just organizing. It was simplifying my health, my home, my finances, and my time. I needed some room to breathe and some room to work on my dreams and live out my purpose.

 Could you explain your writing practice? Do you write at a consistent time every day? How do you find the time?

I WISH I could say I have a certain time I write every day. I do try to write something every day but some days it just ends up being a journal entry. When I am disciplined with getting up early in the morning I’ll have my quiet time and then write. But other times, something just comes to me and I have to get it down on paper before I forget. I imagine that someday when the kids are grown, I’ll spend more time on it. Right now, it’s just a matter of setting aside a little time every day to keep at it.

Do you have a favorite chapter of your book?

I’ve never thought of a favorite chapter. I think if I had to pick it would be the section on time. It really is so important. If we don’t figure out who we are and what our roles are, we can end up wasting time and money on things that aren’t important.

Is there a least favorite? One that was hardest to write, for some reason?

I guess finances are my least favorite thing EVER. It is an area that I still struggle with. If I don’t have my budget made before my husband gets his paycheck, we’re doomed. It is so important though and when we are disciplined and have a budget, it gives me peace of mind.

What do you have to say to the overworked, overstuffed calendared Mom who doesn’t even feel she has time to read a book about finding time… Any last words of encouragement?

The most important point I try to make in the book is to give yourself grace. Don’t beat yourself up for making bad decisions or for forgetting that load of laundry that’s been sitting for two days. Just start where you are, one baby step at a time. And, if you feel like you don’t have time to read the book, I think you’ll be surprised at how simple of a read it is. I’ve read countless books on organizing, time management, and more. I always quit reading half way through because they’re too long and just complicate things. I kept things as simple as possible so that people can really accomplish something. It’s something that I lived and still practice in my everyday life. I couldn’t let life keep getting in the way of living. You shouldn’t either!

 

Amen, sister.

If you’re interested in ordering Corie’s book, click here, or on amazon.com.  You will be glad you did!

And I leave you with my favorite New Yorker cartoon of all time:

 

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*Nerf swords can pack a serious punch, if you’re not prepared.  So, keep it simple.  Store them on top of the fridge and only bring ’em down when you have had an espresso or are in a really, really good mood.  You’re welcome.

 

Would you STOP YELLING. IF YOU DON’T STOP NOW I WILL COME UP THERE AND GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO YELL ABOUT.

Today’s post is sponsored by:

 

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See that?  I made the image extra large to help develop suspense.  Yea technology!

 

Ok, so here’s the thing:  It’s summer, and unless we are able to go to the POOL I am not providing my children with enough stimulation and opportunities for ACTIVE PLAY.  Because, basketballs, and tennis rackets, and your OWN GOLF SET and basically the equivalent of an entire baseball field (If you build it, they will come) in the back yard is not what toddlers deem ACCEPTABLE.

Summer has been great, ya’ll.  It really has.  But lately?  I need a break from summer break.

 

I have also worked it out that the relationship between my sense of well-being and general affection is PRECISELY DISPROPORTIONATE to the amount of times one of my boys hollers “MOM, MOM MOMMMMYYYY MOTHERRRRRR” at me from about two feet away.  One just did because he was “stuck” on the couch and couldn’t get up.  I asked him if his legs were broken and if we needed to amputate.  I have run out of good comebacks; I am now using my father’s.

That’s what summer does, friends.  It sucks the creativity right outta you.

 

So you can imagine what joy I felt when I spotted this in my mailbox:download

I recently met Corie Clark, and her book is going to be just what I need today.  If you build it, they will come,  yes, but if you put your feet up on the couch, open a good book, and read it, the toddlers will have to fend for themselves.

Stay tuned later this week for an interview with Corie! 

 

And yes, maybe later we’ll go to the pool.

 

Happy summer.  Keep the faith, Momsies.  When they go away for school we will miss them.  That’s what I keep telling myself.