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Monday, December 17, 2012

Wild Times at a Dentist Appointment

I despise going to the dentist. It gives me "I think I might throw up" anxiety every time. Some of you weirdos I know actually enjoy it, but I would rather poke myself with a stick than go to the dentist.

But alas, I am an adult and I must force myself to go. I've never had good experiences as a child with the dentist. I was blessed with a too small mouth which resulted in millions (6) extractions and tons of orthodontic work. Also, I am prone to cavities because of the way my teeth are jammed together. I remember brushing and flossing three times a day and still getting cavities, while my brother barely drug a toothbrush through his mouth once a day and had "perfect teeth". Whatever.

I was dreading today's visit because I needed to get some of my teeth fixed. This isn't just the tooth polishy thing and scraper. This involves Black 'n Decker machinery. EEEK!

 My dentist knows that I don't like coming to see him. In fact they call me "the nervous one". Great. 

They decided that loading me up on magical gasses would be beneficial for this appointment. You don't want me to freak out on you, huh? I'm not above crying at the dentist. It might happen. 

 I had them check to see if my insurance covered it, and wouldn't you know it, it does.

So again, they asked me if I would like some.

Flashback to high school. I feel like I'm being peer pressured. I am the person that can take two Benadryls and not remember half the night. Do I "just say no"?

My shaking hands tell me to "just say yes". So I do.

At this point I am more anxious about the gas. The only memory of having nitrous was when I was about Sassy Girl's age and the room started spinning and everything the dentist said was delayed. Open your mouth, mouth, mouth...

As the hygienist hooks me up to "the good stuff" I frantically say, "Not too much. I'm not a drug addict." I say really dumb things when I'm nervous... 

Then, I drift off into happy land. All of sudden anxiety was whisked away, but not in a "I'm so trashed" sort of way. In a "I'm kind of tired so I might take a nap and listen to the music in my head" sort of way.

Then they decided to bring out the Novocaine needle. AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!! 

Even messed up on legal drugs I was still terrified. So terrified that the dentist decided to cover my eyes with a washcloth so I wouldn't see his evil doing tools. Pretty sure I was getting the pediatric treatment, which is JUST FINE by me.

He poked me with his weapon of mass destruction. I must have made the worst face ever, because the hygienist restrained held my hands. Okay. I guess it wasn't that bad. But blinded by a washcloth and feeling a poke in your gums makes you feel like you are in some sort of torture chamber. Several not so bad pokes later, my mouth was marinating in numbness.

It wasn't just my mouth that was numb. My nose was numb too. And the nitrous that was flowing into my body made me think this was kind of funny. So I giggled. Which is weird at a dental appointment. We've come a long ways from the "I want to throw up" days. Now I'm just deranged.

I endured 45 minutes of loud power tools going to town on my numb mouth, but honestly the only thing that was giving me anxiety at this point was the fact that I really had to pee. Also, I wasn't sure when to swallow the pool of drool that kept flooding in when they were working on my mouth. WHERE IS THAT SUCKER MACHINE THING?

Finally, all the work was done, and they gave me oxygen. They asked if I was feeling back to normal, and I shrugged and said, "I think so." Except, when your upper lip and nose feels like it's protruding out like a Bugs Bunny cartoon and when you go to touch it and feel NOTHING...then that's not normal. Weird and uncomfortable. Is my nose running? 

I go to make my next appointment, and try to talk. I get words out, but I can't feel them come out. I feel like a marionette puppet. One that drools and can't feel it.

I went home and that Novocaine stayed around FOREVER. I tried to eat a turkey sandwich 3 hours later when I finally started to feel my nose and some of my upper lip. Yeah. Didn't work out so well. I was starving and couldn't find the top of my mouth. Disastrous.

All in all...I guess it wasn't so bad. I got my teeth fixed, a little buzz for an hour, and I wasn't able to stuff my face for 4 hours...so diet friendly.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Actions Speak Louder Than Social Media Posts

The tragic shootings of today have me feeling shocked, horrified, and so deeply saddened. I know that so many of you feel the same.

What is disturbing to me is the appalling pattern of reactive commentary and media coverage that follows these horrific events. I feel a great sadness that I even need to pluralize that sentence.

Is it really all about getting "the story"? I am in utter disbelief that anyone would be so desensitized to human emotion that they would consider it okay to interview a child that just experienced the most traumatic event of their precious little life.

Pictures of parents and children plastered on the media sites. Documenting very private and heart wrenching moments for millions to see.

The race to release breaking news first and reporting wrong information in the haste to be the first in line.

Social media is serving as a boxing ring for angered individuals lashing out at each other over powerful differing opinions. Using hateful language to prove their points and feeding a cancerous social media mob mentality. Using twisted dark humor in an effort to get a cheap laugh. Creating shocking memes that are created for sole reason of fueling a ravenous forest fire of outrage.

Social media postings are not empathy. We haven't changed anything by posting how sad we are, or arguing our pros or cons of gun control, or typing hurtful things about mental illness. So many of us (I am definitely including myself in this statement) lose the ability to filter and take a moment to process emotion when a simple motion of "Click Send" exposes our knee jerk reactions to potentially millions of people. The blog post I am writing right now is simply my reaction. You can all read my opinions that I have gift wrapped with a bow ready to open with one click of a link. But the actual emotion happens when I hug my children, feel their heart beat against mine and sob at the thought of never seeing them again and feeling real pain for the parents that will bury their children and the families who lost someone special. The action happens when I write a congressman about issues I feel deeply about, and talk to my child's school about security measures. Making sure I continue to build a strong connection with my children. That they know they can come to me with anything no matter what. You feel emotion. You take positive action. There is so much more than "Click Send".

Take one look at a Twitter or Facebook feed or a comment section of a media site and you will see how scary and desensitized some members of the human race have become.

There are many many uplifting posts about thoughts and prayers going out to the victims as well so I don't mean to sound so hardened towards the commentary. I also posted a link to the news story on my Facebook page. I know we are passionate people and the emotions we feel are very scary and very real. It's just so hard to have hope that we can ever truly unite when you see a prayer candle picture co-existing on the same page as a name calling pissing match about gun control. Or you see someone post that they are deeply hurt and praying for victims and three minutes later they post a funny cat picture. Huh? You got over the deep hurt fast, I guess. Or you see a mock Twitter account posing as a "victim" of the horrific murders all for fifteen minutes of "fame."  Appalling.

Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing. But it's being used with a lack of self control, empathy, or just plain common sense. The same can be said about passion towards an issue. In any case, the Golden Rule appears to be tucked under the bed collecting dust for many people with a keyboard at their fingertips.

Our minute to win it lifestyle is crumbling our hearts. If this awful heart wrenching tragedy doesn't remind us be kind, slow down, log off, breathe, and appreciate life...what will?

If the stenciled pattern of past tragedies holds true, once the invasive media coverage dies down and the full horrific story is unraveled, the tragedy then ages and disappears for the millions of onlookers that followed every second of every heart breaking update. And life goes on.

But for those innocent adults, children and their loved ones the nightmare lives on. Let's not forget that.

For now, I am going to shut my computer off, kneel next to my sleeping children that I am so blessed to have with me tonight, fold my hands and actually pray for them, not just post about it on my blog.

Actions speak louder than words.

Friday, December 7, 2012


We broke an ornament this week. 

Not usually a big deal. We tend to break a lot of things in the annual Christmas decorating frenzy.

This ornament, though...it was special. 

The result of my child accidentally bumping into the Christmas tree. 

We heard a clinging of two glass ornaments and one ended up on the floor. 

In pieces. 

In that moment I couldn't hold back any emotion. When I saw which ornament was in front of me, shattered to pieces, I immediately began to cry. 

It is hard to explain in words what sheer emotion flooded into my entire being, a result of powerful symbolism drudging up what I was desperately trying to bury. Less than a minute, but lasting a lifetime. 

In front of me was the shattered ornament my mom had made for my daughter before she died.  

Each piece, segregated from what it once was...beautiful and strong, now lay scattered in shards around the crooked Christmas tree. 

A shattered heart. 

Anyone who has ever lost someone close knows that holidays can be especially hard. I tend to swallow the lump that forms in my throat and move on with festivities, but the reality is...nothing will ever be the same. 

It gets easier as the years pass to keep it together, but it will always hurt. We can mend this ornament, but it will never be restored completely. 

My heart and my family can never be what it once was. We all are in our homes. Scattered. Miles away from each other. And when we come together...there is a void. A missing piece. 

We all hold pieces of a beautiful shattered heart. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Black Friday Madness

It's that time of year again. With the holidays upon us, shopping becomes the norm in our traditional gift giving realm. I decided to scoop up some deals that the national event "Black Friday" had to offer.

Black Friday, indeed. I'll get to that in a minute.

First, I want to say that the idea to go out shopping appealed to me because of the sheer spontaneous thrill of going out shopping PAST MY BEDTIME with my awesome sister-in-law and mother-in-law. There is just something so crazy about chugging a coffee at 10 pm to go shopping. Not just any kind of shopping. Shopping that will most likely make you experience every kind of emotion you can imagine.

Excitement: OOOO! It's so late out! I wonder if I will get everything on my list. I wonder if any brawls will take place? Can't believe I'm doing this!

Anxiety: Holy crap. The roads are seriously bad. Is this worth it? Are we going to die? Seriously. If I am going to die I wish I hadn't just gorged on two turkey dinners. I need to be trim in the after life. Oh? We made it to the store. Sweet. Where are we going to park? Why does everyone coming out of the store look like they bought every single item x 7 in the store? Crap. My Tupperware and comforter sets better still be available. Oh what? There is an alarm going off in the store? What's going on? Shit. This would be a perfect arena for some crazy shooter. We're doomed.

Anger: Those jerks think they are so great buying up eleventeen items of the same damn thing. Well guess what? THAT'S NOT FAIR. You can't see a good deal and just buy up the whole stock of them! I don't like you and you don't like me. It's on. More about this anger later...

Uncomfortable: It's cold. Really cold. And none of us are wearing coats...because extra crud to carry. Really smart. Or extremely dumb.

Insecurity: Holy cow...some of you REALLY seem to know what you are doing. Like, incredibly intense strategic game plans. I am wandering aimlessly and asking every store representative to point me in the direction of the items on my list. All the while using my manners. If there is a world record for the amount of times, "Pardon me" has been used...I think I topped it.

Pride: I DID IT! I got everything on my list, didn't act like a jerk, and saved a bunch of money. SAWEET!

Okay. There's the condensed version of the emotional narrative Black Friday had to offer me. Here's one of the highlighted episodes of the night:

I set out to get my kiddos a duel DVD player for the car. Currently we use just one old portable DVD player on car trips. It usually causes fights over who gets to hold it, and when we rigged up an awesome bungee cord to hold the player between two seats, there are complaints of, "I CAN'T SEE IT VERY WELL!" So...yeah. Somewhat of a selfish Christmas gift, but I think they will enjoy it, and it's an AWESOME PRICE.

So...I do what I have never done. I stand among a mob of other interested people waiting for the clock to turn that magic hour when the price becomes valid.

Standing here, I am definitely anxious. Quick count of the items on the palette and glance of the mob standing around it...crud. People to item ratio is not in my favor.

I feel like I bit off more than I can chew. I am a courteous person. I don't push or shove or put myself over others. I usually take my time with things and when it's my turn it's my turn. Rules apparently change for others on Black Friday. Shit's about to go down in several minutes.

We have about ten minutes to go and I am right behind some lady that has her cart IN FRONT of the palette of desired discounted items. So literally blocking everything. She has other people in her group, one lady who is right by the palette of items with her hand on it. Really?? Their banter with the store representative is starting to piss me off. They are talking about previous Black Fridays like they were vets of 'Nam. WHY IS A CART BLOCKAGE DEVICE ALLOWED??? I don't say that of course, because passive aggressive, ya know? I just grit my teeth and await the designated hour and hope for the best. I engage in comedic exchanges with a girl standing next to me, basically exposing the absolute ridiculousness that we have put ourselves in.

The hands turn on the clock to the moment we were all waiting for. Dude. I was frightened. I stood there and watched the cart lady and her accomplices load up dvd player after dvd player into their strategically placed cart. At this moment, I did not care for this group of Black Friday vets. I went into this gig thinking, well if I get one, I get one...but this display made me want to get this item more than ever. My sister-in-law had found me in the mob earlier. I decided to cash in on the strategic moves and asked her if she would stand on the other side of the mob. She's awesome so she did it.

In this frenzy, I couldn't quite get to the product. Mostly because there was a freaking cart in my way. There was man that was standing close to the palette and had already retrieved his DVD player. He took the opportunity to grab another one and hand it to me. I was floored. THANK YOU KIND SIR! He must have taken pity on me and my handful of $4.00 Spider-Man pajamas. I grabbed my prize, said my thanks, and tried to yell out to my sister-in-law who was in the trenches trying to do her part to get my desired item. She actually got one...so we ended up with two and she gave hers to some random person walking aimlessly.

Holy crap. The thoughts going through my brain. I am actually taking part in this madness. People are effin' NUTS! They have plans drawn up 'n shit. No mercy for whomever may get in their way. Yikes. I don't ever want to be that efficient at Black Friday shopping. Participating somewhat in the mob was shameful enough for me.

In the end, I did get everything I set out to get. Without violence...imagine that! I had more fun just hanging out with my family and cracking jokes about all the other crazies. And in the end, I got my kiddos some pretty cool things for Christmas.

It's the experience, you guys. Try not to take it too seriously...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Growly McGrowlerson - Weird Things Our Bodies Do To Embarrass Us...

I have this awesome cough right now that makes me sound like a wrinkled up smoking bar fly. It's pretty gross, I'm not going to lie. Other than the cough and feeling a bit run down, I'm fine. So hi ho hi ho it's off to work I go. Mamma needs a new pair of shoes, but should probably just pay the electric bill...

Part of my job is answering the phone. Which means I need to carry on a full conversation without sounding like I'm minutes from death.


I received a phone call at work from a company that wanted to talk to us about ad space. It didn't come off as a hum drum run of the mill telemarketing call. "Is *turns business name into a personal name* home?" So I decided to stay on the line. I ask her for more information...and then it happens. I feel the tickle in my throat. We've all been there. At church. A funeral. A wedding. A presentation. Anywhere you are supposed to be quiet. Crap. It's coming. I might commit murder for a lozenge at this point...

I let out a little cough and a "Pardon me." But my body goes. Oh heck no. We're not done yet. Silly girl.

Now comes that critical point where you either let it all out or you do the dumb thing and try to stifle the inevitable.

I did the dumb thing.

The lady is going on with her spiel and I'm making throat clearing noises and guzzling my coffee (probably the only time I've ever "guzzled" coffee) to try and suppress the avalanche of what was coming.

It doesn't take long and I am coughing. Never try to stifle. It comes out like tuberculosis mated with bronchitis and that is just not cool. Trying to utter apologies between breaths. The thing is...she just kept going. I'm trying to act like I'm listening and not, oh I don't know, DYING...and she just ignores the fact that she is talking to a plague ridden monster.

I managed to squeak out, "Do you have a website?" before the raging coughing starts up again. This is horrible. She gives me the website, but since I can't breathe, I scribble half of it down. Screw it. Google should direct me with half the info, right?

I'm trying to get off the phone, so I can escape somewhere private and finish what my lungs seem to think I need to do...AND SHE KEEPS TALKING!! Lady, I'm going to pass out or throw up. Please for the LOVE OF GAWD release me from your sales call.

Since I didn't learn the first time, I'm trying to stifle the rest of the coughs that NEED to come out. My co worker comes into my office, undoubtedly after hearing the miserable exchange I was having, and looks at my red, twisted, teary eyed face...and laughs. NOT FUNNY. Kind of. BUT NOT THEN IT WASN'T. He turns around chuckling. AGAIN. NOT FUNNY.

Finally, I get off the phone with a phone number I *think* is right, half of a website on a Post It note and a first impression that our business employs extras from "Ma's Roadhouse."

After running to the sink and downing water like I was stuck in the desert for days, I did recover.


This got me thinking about all of the times that your body does inappropriate things when you are supposed to be quiet or engaged.

I remember one presentation I went to. It was an hour away and I didn't have anything in my stomach but coffee.

Thirty minutes into the presentation my stomach let out a little "Grrowl."

Oh my. What was that?

5 minutes later another growl that had turned into a menacing howl. FEED ME NOW!!!

Sometimes you can't even believe that the noises you are making are even possible.

Now my stomach probably growls like this all the time, but I just don't notice it when I am not in a quiet setting. When you are in a quiet setting a tiny growl sounds like a building fell down. I'm sure my stomach whines all of the time because for some reason breakfast isn't something I care to partake in. CoffeeCoffeeCoffee!!!

Now I'm fully aware of the power my stomach possess. I feel another growl coming and I clutch my stomach in a firm grasp to show it who's boss.

I'm not even paying attention to the presentation. I'm inside my head locked in a battle between my body and the prospect of calling embarrassing attention to myself. "Who's that girl in the second row? Oh, don't mind her. That's just Growly McGrowlerson." 

A lady across the room started eating a banana. I hated her. If only I could have one BITE I could stop the war inside my belly.

I learned my lesson that day. Any presentation/class I had in the morning I made darn sure I had something in my gullet. Because no one needs stomach growling anxiety.

Our bodies our weird.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"I work out!" (You know the song...)

Well, it's a little late in the game for New Year's resolutions. Screw it. Maybe I'm just proactive in my resolution for next year. The fact of the matter is I decided today I need to start working out again.

Perhaps it was the image of the hippopotamus in an oversized spaghetti sauced stained sweatshirt that breezed past a poorly located hallway mirror that did me in.

Stop. Back up. Good golly. Who ARE you?

That's IT! Hippo no more. Time to think big and make mediocre attempts towards success.

Feeling inspired by my desire to rid of the hideousness, I decide I am going to bring the sexy back. Via clearanced  at home workout videos from my dusty home library. OH YEAH. 

I'm already feeling like I have a head start, seeing as though I didn't even finish my lunch. Truth time. Not because I wasn't starving. Because I found a freaking bone in my tuna sandwich, spit it all out, and gagged to the point of teary eyes. Disgusting. But weight loss friendly. 

I ask Little Dude if he wants to work out with mommy. He's all for it. Sweet. Let's do this.

First things first. Gotta look the part. I dive into the depths of my dresser drawer and resurrect some spandex attire.

I squeeze into my attire. I realize at this very moment that the reason exercise attire is made out of spandex is because you look at yourself busting out of it and see that you have no choice BUT to exercise.

I'm ready to go. Pop in the DVD called, "Cardio Dance Express".

It starts up and I'm half getting the routine down. Okay. Not even half. But ALMOST getting it. Not even close...

I realize the shades are up in my living room. PAUSE. Close all shades. No one I live near needs to see this business. Spandex is enough. Uncoordinated movements creating sweat? I wish that visual on no one.

Start the DVD back up again. I'm diving into the dance routine all clumsy like. I'm getting angry that the instructor is going too fast for my incompetent brain. I raise my arms and hit the ceiling fan above me. The dog thinks I am initiating some playful man's best friend action. He starts barking and circling me inviting me to play. No idiot. I'm feelin' the burn. GO AWAY. Little Dude rapidly gets bored with watching mommy pump up the jam, and he grabs a flashlight and starts shining it in my eyes.

Seriously? This is what a true-life-mom-at-home-workout looks like. Not sexy. Painful spandex. Uncoordinated. Dog-Child-Ceiling-Fan interferences.

I have to stop half way through because Little Dude has a tummy ache and doesn't quite make it to the bathroom. I assist him and 30 minutes later my heart rate is down and I half ass attempt to start the work out again.

My heart just isn't in it now. I'm getting irritated at the skinny cheerful instructor that tells me the Mambo is super easy and that I will be strutting my skinny self on the dance floor before I know it.

Screw you lady. I just cleaned up crap. While you're "Mamboing" your skinny butt all over the place, I'm making Spaghettios and wiping butts. Let's stick to baby steps, shall we?

I get through 20 more minutes miraculously and then decide I need to quit. Why?

A) I'm red faced, out of breath, and the spandex is starting to chafe my skin.

B) The dog won't give up this idea that my uncoordinated movements mean I want to engage in a dog/owner play session.

C) Little Dude is providing unsupportive commentary on my less than awesome performance. "Mom, you're not doing it right..."

Whatever. I did enough.

We will see how I feel tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get back on the horse and give it another try. However these "at home workout videos" were not made to cater to mothers with children, dogs, and a living room arrangement with ceiling fans directly above them. So, I call handicap. I should automatically just get 5 lbs taken off.

Maybe I could tap into this market. Workout really intense for 5 minutes then stop the tape to allow any interruptions that need to be taken care of. Welcome back! Undoubtedly you were dealing with crap, sibling rivalry, or a burning dinner item. Let's get back to getting "Un-Fat". 

Oh well. I am giving it a go. Ultimately, the experience pretty much sucked, though.

Here's my reaction, just after shutting off the video:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Hitchhiking Bird

So, that one time, when I got a bird stuck in my car...

Yeah. You heard me right. I got a bird stuck in my car last month. I am just now getting the chance to write about it, because of course something of that quirky nature would happen when I didn't have a computer to siphon the details of this epic event into.

The kids were out in the driveway with the car door wide open searching for a lost treasure that became victim of the Aztek's voracious appetite for small items and stale french fries. I hear two shrieks and frantic feet pounding the pavement towards the house. 


This caught me off guard as I was expecting this shrieking to be the result of a sibling battle I would have to put to rest. 

My reaction was something like: Silence. Laugh. "WHAT?" 


I venture outside, laughing at this off the wall predicament. 

Sure enough, flapping inside my car is the Cletus Jones of the sparrow world. 

I open all the doors and the hatch, ducking and wincing at the possibility of a bird beak coming in contact with my face. 

After circling the car a few times and doing a few rounds of kicking the interior and then running like a wuss, I SWORE I saw a bird fly out the back. 

Thinking this whole mess was behind us, we went back inside the house and went on with our day. 

Fast forward to evening. My niece came over and I was getting ready to bring the girls to Girl Scouts. I tell the kids to go get in the car. 

As I'm heading outside I hear shrieks again. Crap. 


What the heck?? What do I do? I've never had to trouble shoot bird invasions before. 

The dang bird ups the ante by performing a disappearing act. 

"Did he fly out?? Did anyone see him fly out??"

My niece points to the spot underneath my steering wheel where there is a little hole that goes to the inside of the car. 

"I'm pretty sure I saw him fly in there..."

"WHAT??!!!" Okay. Panic. 

We are already late to Girl Scouts. I send a message to our troop leader that we are running a little late due to a "situation" and we will be there as soon as we can. How do you explain a bird invasion over text without sounding crazy? Too much Hitchcock??

Now I am too afraid to even stick my head inside the car. Instead of productive problem solving, I proceed to pace around the driveway hoping the bird just decides to leave. 

That doesn't happen. 

I am elated to see my husband come home from work. I frantically bombard him with my bird story and tell him it's his job to get the thing out. 

He gets a long pipe and a flashlight. Bird flushing tools, I guess. I can tell he doesn't believe me at first. Partially because of my intuitive sense, and partially because he said, "It probably flew out already." 

He hits the part of the car underneath the steering wheel. I see him suddenly back up. Yeah. Told you. Bird.  In my car. Not crazy. 

About 10 minutes of this tapping and ducking dance goes on and suddenly I hear a curse word and running. 

"Got it!" 


Pretty sure my neighbors think we are nuts. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

French WHAAA???

Remember the day I got blasted with the inquiry of how a baby gets out of a tummy?  Yeah. That was a cake walk compared to this bombshell that Sassy Girl threw at me.

"Hey Mom. I know what French Kissing is." 

She leans back in her chair with a smirk on her face that is way beyond her years. 

I silently curse my decision to let my innocent 7 year old ride the bus. 

Not really wanting to hear her answer, I go ahead and ask her what she thinks it is. 

"It's touching tongues, Mom."

This is where I lock her in her room until she's 30, right?

I die a little inside. WHY are we having this discussion? You still sleep with stuffed animals and I read you bedtime stories.You have tantrums in the toy department every once in a while.  You pronounce spaghetti, "sketty". You dress in the same clothes as your American Girl doll. You believe in Santa Claus and Leprechauns...

Yet, you know about French Kissing?? 

I clear my throat and ask her where she heard this. She is reluctant to give up the name of her informant.  


We have the discussion about it being something that grown ups do if they are in love. 

If I'm this squirmish about discussing French Kissing with my daughter...good golly. I'm in for a bumpy ride when the teen years hit. 

I just don't want to see my kids grow up too fast. I blink and they are another year older. 

Luckily, Little Dude was in the kitchen impersonating a camel by spitting on the floor, so I think I have a little while before he is interested in these "beyond his age" topics. 

Sassy Girl seemed satisfied with the talk we had and scooped up her stuffed animal and I tucked her into bed. 

One day I might be the idiot that doesn't know ANYTHING about ANYTHING, in my kids' eyes. At least now I can make an impact from time to time...even if it makes me want to run away and pee my pants while in the process. 

I guess we will see how often this "French Kissing" topic gets slid into conversation now that Sassy Girl is in the elite grown up club of "in-the-know". 

Pray it doesn't come up on Thanksgiving with all of the extended family for me, will ya? 

"I am thankful for God, and my family, and French Kissing..." 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Invasion Of The Spider

Since I'm revealing all of my ridiculous fears, here's another one. First, let's run down the roster: Afraid of heights in a severely debilitating manner. Afraid of meeting new people in an awkward sweaty palmed sort of way. And now...

Afraid of spiders. Heart racing, hyperventilating, weak kneed, curse-wording phobia of mine.

The more information about myself I divulge, the more I start to compare myself to the stereotypical nerd that's allergic to and afraid of everything. Somewhat of a Milhouse from the Simpsons. Whatever. Milhouse is pretty cool in his own way. Ack. My glasses. 

Anywho, I am deathly afraid of spiders. Let me give you a little history to explain my fear.

Let the wavy flashback imagery commence...

7 years old. Little Leia Marie all tucked in ready for bed in my awesome bunk bed. My little bro had his own room, but I had a bunk bed that housed all 47 of my super cool stuffed animal friends on the top bunk. I was a pretty big deal to have all of them friends. 

Picture me, slowly drifting off to sleep in my room, on the bottom bunk, windows open, wind gently blowing the silky white lace curtains back and forth above my bed, like a youngster swinging in the yard.

A tickling sensation interrupts this peaceful moment just before sleep sets in. I stir a bit and the tickling continues. I put my hand up to brush what I think is a piece of my wispy blonde hair...and immediately feel a - get ready for it...SMOOSH.

Aww shit. What just happened? I look at my little hand, and the aftermath of the smooshing is: A CRAPLOAD OF SPIDER GUTS AND BLOOD.

Oh my freaking GAWD!! It was huge. From what I gather from the leftover bits and pieces...IT WAS GIGANTIC.

This huge disgusting thing was crawling on my head AND DIED ON MY FACE, PEOPLE!!!

Upon my mother's further inspection the next day, it appears that the effing spiders decided to set up a freaking kingdom in my Barbie house, and were just chillin' in there like it was a nasty ass spider hotel.

I guess they bought some Raid or other crap to get rid of them, but the memory still haunts me.

Needless to say, I've been terrified of the creatures ever since.

Fast forward to adulthood.

I'm doing some laundry, and I hear Sassy Girl scream. I run upstairs at mach speed and I ask her what is wrong.


Aww crap. Why couldn't it have been something...anything else?? An overflowing toilet. Ghost. Sasquatch in the backyard. No. Huge freaking spider on the ceiling.

Ok. Sassy Girl is freaking. She points to it again. I look in it's direction. Ok. Maybe I can just let this spider chill. It's cool as long as it hangs up there on the ceiling.

But what if it gets the crazy idea to swing down on it's crazy spider web and land smack dab on my face??!!

No thank you Mr. Spider. You must die now.

I grab a shoe and a Bounty paper towel. (Super thick quilted action, ya know?)

I think I have gathered up the courage to take this spider out.

I step up onto the couch and inch up closer to the spider...

I chicken out. I'm cursing my husband for wasting the day away at work and leaving me to matters of spider assassinations. I get the quivers so bad and shriek like a little girl. Then my kids scream. I'm sure the neighbors thought there was a murder taking place.

I'm hyperventilating as Mr. Spider crawls carelessly across MY ceiling. All black and gross. How dare you.

Sassy Girl really steps up as the strong one in family. She's not quite tall enough to reach him with just a quilted Bounty paper towel.

I swallow my pride, and get my 7 year old the broom. She's such a rock star.

She swipes at the invader. It falls. Loud screams. Mostly from me. Little Dude had the job of grabbing the spider with the paper towel. He fails. Like Mother, like Son.

Sassy Girl takes another one for the team and picks that spider up with the paper towel and disposes of him.

My seven year old is my freaking hero.

She rocks pretty hard.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

We've been "Glueped"!

Geez Louise, I've been a horrible blogger. I do have an excuse though. Seriously, it's not laziness this time. This time...

I JUST got my laptop back from being repaired. Got an awesome friend who is a genius at fixin' broken computer stuff. Totally sucking up, cuz he's nice to have on speed dial for those brilliant moments when I have exhausted all of my fixing abilities. As in...restart computer. Nope. Still broken. 

This time though, we had a serious problem. Really it was a case of the computer being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Possibly a tiny bit my fault, but we are not here to point fingers. Sometimes I don't think stuff through very well. I should probably attend a workshop or something on "Thinking Stuff Through - The Key to Success." It probably exists. 

So, I was being an AWESOME mom and getting all "Bill Nye the Science Guy" with Little Dude. Courtesy of Google. You can impress the heck out of preschoolers by your massive amount of knowledge gained by the internet. Anyway, the afternoon kicked off with attempting an experiment to make "Gluep". The old Borax, glue, water trick. Supplies were all laid out on the table ready to go. Little Dude measures out some water in a cup. So far so good. We mix up our concoction and the end result was a rubbery silly putty lump. Sounds lame...but we MADE it, so it was pretty sweet. So sweet, in fact, that it caused a little ruckus in the preschooler excitement factory and some jittery moves were the culprit in tipping over the leftover "Gluep" ingredients directly on the keyboard of my laptop. Crap. Remember that thinking stuff through comment? Yeah. I now know that computers, almost 5 yr olds, and liquid experiments definitely don't mix. Pretty sure I should have known that before we started...but I'm letting the past stay in the past.  

Cue cliche slow motion clip. "Nnnnnnoooooo!!!!"  And then being the quick thinker I am, I grab a towel. The screen turns into a psychedelic acid hallucination. Oh man. This is not good. What do I do?? Slight panicky thoughts. Maybe I should pour some Minute Rice on it? No. Probably not going to help...and seems messy. Plus we only have enough for dinner. 

Okay. Got it. Restart. Always works.

Hit restart and the computer acts like it's going to start up all normal...then in total jerk fashion it goes blank and makes an alarming beeping noise. Nope. This is not good at all. My "professional" diagnosis...we have a one broken computer.

One broken computer and a lump of smelly "Gluep". Perfect. 

In the end it all worked out. I survived weeks without a computer. How? I don't know. My phone is a poor substitute for a computer but it took the edge off. So spoiled by technology. Slightly ashamed...but it is what it is. 

The computer is home, and the "Gluep" went in the trash after collecting a coat of dog hair and cracker crumbs.

Little Dude wants to make more. I'm putting the computer in the hall closet. Just to be safe....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why are you crying, Mommy?

"Why are you crying, Mommy?"

A blurred image of an innocent, yet concerned face was staring back at me. I had tried to hold my composure, but sometimes emotions have a way of sneaking through the tiniest cracks. 

"Mommy feels sad today."

The steady murmur of now infamous news clips are narrating my somber demeanor, much like I'd imagine the drone of helicopter propellers in a war zone. 

My bones are chilled and my knees are weak, as I am consumed by memories of the initial stabbing shock and terror. Memories of the day 9/11 became more than just a date on a calendar. Memories of the day we learned just how vulnerable we are. All American social classes, races, religions shared the horror together. Feeling human. Attacked. Bonded by grief.  Together as one. Heroes, victims, and helpless bystanders. United, raw bleeding emotion fused us together as we all asked why...and we all knew how. 

How do you explain such a terrifying event to a child? A child you are put here on earth to protect. How do you make them feel safe, while teaching them the gruesome history? A product of an evil I do not understand. 

Perhaps I struggle, because my own security and remaining innocence was stolen this day. I was 17 and still, for the most part, shielded from such terror and panic that this incident created. Many of us grew a million years older in an instant. And for some, that instant grew them wings. 

"Mommy, but why are you crying?" 

"A lot of people went to Heaven on this day because of a horrible thing, sweetie."


"Mommy doesn't know why. It makes me sad, and that's why I cry." 

She looks at the TV and sees images of the WTC just after impact. Those images that are burned into our brain for a lifetime. 

"Is that what happened?"

"Yes, honey."

"Were there kids in there?"

Tearing up again. 

"Yes baby. There were kids. It was a very sad day." 

My daughter looks deep into my watery eyes and I can tell she feels my sadness. I see tears forming in her young, pure, inquisitive eyes, reflecting the pain I am feeling. 

I held her close and we shared a moment of understanding and prayer. 

In that moment, I didn't want to let go.

"...for those of us who lived through these events, the only marker we'll ever need is the tick of a clock at the 46th minute of the eighth hour of the 11th day."

President George W. Bush 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ye Celebration of the Turkey Leg

This weekend we made the 2 hour trek to "Ye Big City" to go to the Renaissance Festival. In preparation for this event, I attempted to educate my kids on the Renaissance period. This educating kind of stalled when we stumbled upon a picture of the statue of David. They giggled that he didn't have any underwear.  Dude. This isn't productive. 

We have kind of found a gold mine of timing convenience when it comes to traveling with the kids this summer. We are fortunate enough to have friends that live in the cities and have discovered that heading out late the night before our planned activity and spending the night leads to a peaceful car ride there and less exhaustion melt downs during whatever activity we decide to do. Winning.

 I'm one of those small town idjits that even calls the suburbs the "cities". Basically anything within 45 minutes of St. Paul or Minneapolis is going to be lumped into my big city generalization. I know it irritates some of my friends, so I'll keep doing it. 

We arrived at our friends' house late Friday evening and brought two sleeping children in the house to put them to bed. It was a little tricky getting through the chaotic meet and greets of our dog and the four other dogs that were staying at the house. I was mistakenly sniffed in unwelcome places, and I almost dropped my kid, but we made it through the pack of wild dogs and back to the bedroom fairly unscathed.

Perfect. Two sleeping children. Parents are relaxed because we didn't have to listen to bickering, whining, and the infamous "Are we there yet?" monologue.

The next morning, in their usual "I bet I can get up before the sun does" fashion, the kids were up incredibly early. Much like the morning of our ValleyFair trip, they sniffed out the doughnuts like cadaver dogs and shoved the entire bag of doughnuts except for 2 in their little bellies before I had any indication that my little angels were awake and ruling the house of sleeping adults. You would think we would learn to put chocolate covered anything up higher than four feet. When I stumbled out to the living room with my pre-coffee sleep scowl still on my face, I noticed the trail of crumbs and chocolate on their faces. I asked them how many they ate. Sassy Girl responded with, "How many can we have?" I told her two was plenty. She exchanged glances with Little Dude and then told me that they had two. Whatever. 

One by one the adults awoke to the stomping and excited giggling of my sugared up monsters and we were ready to set off to the Celebration of the Turkey Leg. Or the Renaissance Festival as most call it. Potato/Potahto. 

We parked in a field in the designated 1940 row. I remember this because I kept chanting 1940 over and over so I would engrave that number in my memory. Then, we began walking back through time until we reached the gates of the Renaissance Festival. I kept remarking that it was such a cool gimmick to walk into the past. It doesn't take a whole lot to impress me...

When we entered, the first thing I spotted was the pickle vendors. I was warned by friends that they can be a bit vulgar. So, immediately I saw the pickle sign and promptly turned a bright shade of red while my awesome friends loudly asked if I wanted a pickle. I did want a pickle. But that's beside the point. I averted my eyes and hid behind my husband as we walked past his stand. 

My senses, and I would imagine my kids' senses were on complete overload. We were completely under-dressed, seeing as though my chest wasn't hanging out and my husband wasn't carrying a sword. The shouting of vendors and entertainers, the animal smells, the wind storm that kicked dust up into every orifice you can imagine. Still blowing dirt out of my nose. Shudder. It was all a very cool experience, but it left me just kind of wandering in awe checking things out. Once I found a bathroom to use, which when I asked about one I was rudely reminded to call it a "privy", I was on a mission to find food. Because at these events, this is my main goal. To eat until I am sick. I am an American through and through. 

After stuffing ourselves on course one, I get stuck waiting in line for a half an hour to make a "wand" with the kids. It was a straw with ribbon. Sweet. Little dude fell off a bench and hit his nose while we were waiting. While I was consoling him, an actor did check to see if he was okay, which was nice. However, he didn't break character, which started to annoy the crap out of me. "Oh my lady, is the young sire alright?" Yes. Shut up now please. Thanks.

We spent the rest of our time distracting the kids from the little traps that cost extra money. No honey. We can't ride the ponies/elephants/camels. We might get the pony-phant-el flu. We caved in at the face painting station and dumped a good 20 bucks on some sweet face art for the kids. It was peeling off today and started looking like an awkward flaking bruise, so I had to painfully wash all that money away at bath time tonight. I could have ate more food with that money.

After face painting, we decided to check out an act called, "Puke and Snot." I realized a few minutes in that this was not a child friendly act. Kind of took me a long time, since the name of the act probably should have raised a red flag in my mom mind, eh? Most of the colorful jokes went over their head, but I still kept glancing around to see if I was the only terrible parent that brought her children to such an act. I was not the only terrible parent in the room. I know. I counted several. Fortunately, the kids were distracted by my attempts to put an end to Little Dude swinging his wand dangerously close to guy in blue face paint next to us. Blue? I don't get what that has to do with anything. But some of you are really intense about this role playing thing so I will leave it be. 

The last thing we did before leaving? Took a picture of our kids' faces in a cut out picture of a horse butt.

Because we rock at parenting.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, And Other Lies We Tell Our Children

Sassy Girl has been losing teeth like crazy lately. With all these teeth falling out of her head the topic of the Tooth Fairy has been fairly common in our house. In our home, when the Tooth Fairy comes, we leave a cup with the tooth in it and the Tooth Fairy magically fills the cup up with a liquid that is the same color as whatever dress she decided to wear while out "Toothing".  The incredible powers of food coloring and water.

While playing the part of the Tooth Fairy the other night I began to feel a bit conflicted. I mean, I am all for contributing to wonders and magic of childhood...but I'm starting to feel like I am going to  great lengths in order to lie to my children. Magical, wondrous, magnificent lying.

Little Dude asked me with his big innocent eyes where the Tooth Fairy lives. Caught off guard, I struggled to come up with a decent answer. Like most lies that usually develop extremities over the course of the telling, I began weaving a tale of Tooth Island in a land far far away. Now, I am an awful liar as it is. Never tell me about a surprise party because I will find some way to ruin it as a surprise. So, while I was babbling on and on about Tooth freaking Island, I looked at my child who was hanging onto my every word, and I immediately felt guilty.  Why is this okay? Because it's accepted as a norm in society? We try and teach our kids to always tell the truth and the difference between pretend and reality, but here we are completely contradicting the values we are trying to instill in our children. 

I know. I think I'm going a bit overboard over analyzing the whole situation, since people have been playing into the whole Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny/Santa Claus gig for many generations and I don't think any child is still holding any grudges against their parents for it. Or maybe they are. Who knows. Maybe somewhere right now there is a 45 year old man in a psychiatrist's office describing flashbacks of the day he found out the Easter Bunny wasn't real. Think about that. 

Christmas is probably the most extreme for all the families that endorse the whole Santa Claus brand. Suddenly it's like all the children are in a twisted Christmas special of "The Truman Show." We tell the stories and go out for drives to look for Rudolph's nose, (radio tower lights work great for the young ones). We bake cookies for an imaginary fellow and take bites of the cookies for "proof". We write letters and the post office gets in on the gag and writes responses. We let our kids sit on some strange dude's lap and take pictures, even if they are crying. We buy things on clearance for Christmas presents and distract our kids briefly so we can hide the present underneath a stack of coats. We hush the older children and threaten them if they even think about ruining everything for their younger siblings. I mean, holy crap people. We are kind of overdoing it when you really think about it. 

I don't know. I'll probably continue with the lie until the children really start questioning me, I guess. If I get a flat out, "Is *fill in the blank* real?" then I'm gonna have to be real with them, because I'd rather I was the one to tell them I've been lying to them all this time then someone else! I can let them down easier, and make myself look a little better in this whole mess of childhood dream tweaking.   

Anyway, I wish I could fess up about the Tooth Fairy sometime in the near future. At a buck a pop, this Fairy may be posting a foreclosure sign on the grounds of Tooth Island if any more teeth fall out my kid's mouth. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Social Anxiety And Javelin Throw Stances. Yep.

I've been writing this post in my head all weekend and busting at the seams to turn all these rambling thoughts into somewhat a comprehensible narrative. I'm attempting to steal some time now before my brain explodes.

I went out with my pops for birthday fun. His birthday was this weekend and I wanted to do something with him for the occasion. Birthday fun means beer for birthday dude and exposing him to the awesomeness that is the one and only Captain May I. I was jazzed up about this occasion, but just as I suddenly found out the extent of my fear of heights when we attempted to sit in "top of empire state building" seating at the baseball game earlier this summer, I also found out the extent of my social anxiety in this particular occasion. It may be becoming more and more clear that I have issues. 

I was meeting Dad's new lady friend. I am actually a fairly shy (socially awkward) person in what we call the "real world" so meeting new people can cause my nervous, twitchy mannerisms to come to light. Awesome. Dad wanted to meet earlier so I was meeting him at around 8pm. I messed up the time that the band started so it was the three of us in a semi empty room for an hour and half before the band was supposed to play. We say our hellos and I realize I don't have my phone. This WILL NOT do. This day in age our smart phones are our "I am incredibly busy right now and I don't even notice this horrendous awkward silence thing that's going on" distraction devices. I nervously take everything out of my purse (duffel bag equivalent) which is a daring move on it's own. I am making such a spectacle about not having my phone it's really quite ridiculous. It is then decided that I will walk to the car to look and in precisely 3 minutes my dad will call my phone.  It's all about the details, people.

I am reminding myself to breathe on the block walk to my car. Let me share some of the highlights of my little pep talk:

Don't say anything stupid. Don't do that thing that you do when you're nervous. You know. When you talk loudly about things you think are funny and no one else does and then you just trail off to a mumble and pray someone changes the subject. Or when you purposefully point out you are nervous. Yeah. don't do that. That always leads to embarrassment. Oh. And you need to limit the amount of times you put chapstick on. No one has lips that are that chapped. What is wrong with you? Good golly knock it off! If only I could meet people through writing. Psh. Like a misfit teenage boy nerd on a dating site? Really?? You're better than that. Man up. Or Woman up. Ha. I should share this thought if the opportunity presents itself. Actually...no. Don't do that. You might need professional help. 

So, two things. 1. My nervous brain is kind of an ass when it comes to pep talks. 2. While I'm mentally preparing/kicking myself, I see a friend out in front of the establishment.

Little does he know the "situation". Because apparently meeting someone new has now become a "situation". I try and carry on a normal conversation, but because I am a such a ninja at masking my feelings (not) 30 seconds into the jittery conversation I get the: "Are you....alright??" And I put the two question marks because literally that was how it came out. I was so awkward at that point in time that I may have concerned people a bit. I swear I don't do drugs. Maybe I need to.
Whatever. I explain the situation the best I can, but really it's quite ridiculous when you describe it out loud.

I open the creaky door completely aware of myself like walking into church late during a sermon. This may be the only time I compare walking into a bar to going to church. I'm just as surprised as you are at my attempt to compare the two. We laugh off the fact that I HAD to have my phone and I see my lovely father has ordered me a beer. I drink that sucker like it was water at the end of a trek through the desert. Classy, right? Totally healthy behavior.

Not sure if it was the one beer or the fact that I could breathe a sigh of relief that I was actually meeting a really nice person, but the anxiety wore off and I was able to function like a semi - normal person for most of the evening. And I kept my chapstick habit at bay. So that's good, right? Even if I replaced it with pulling random objects out of my purse, like a super ball and a velvet pencil. Oh, I had a Hot Wheel car and a Polly Pocket in there too. I'm an adult. 

Remainder of the evening had some interesting moments but I'll give you the short version.

I was hit on by a chick that my dad knew, which led to a version of fatherly protection that I never imagined I'd see.

I kept an eye on my dad who was glaring at the extremely drunk loud mouth at the other end of the bar. Dad doesn't have much tolerance for ignoramuses.

Different weird drunk guy on the dance floor stood an inch from the stage frozen in some sort of a javelin throw stance for an entire song. What the heck dude? He had brought a beer out and was sloshing it all over earlier, so I took it upon myself to take it away from him and put it on the table behind us. Apparently this one interaction between the two of us gave the green light for him to make an extremely inappropriate comment to me between songs. It was appalling enough for me to look at him in disgust and loudly say, "NO! GO!" He was lucky my dad was not in earshot or he may have gotten more than he was asking for.

Oh yeah. Creepy Old Guy was in attendance as well, but he kept his distance.

All in all it was an interesting evening to say the least. Self induced mental and physical exhaustion is creeping up on me so I'm excited to get back to my normal boring life for awhile.

At home where I am generally safe from "situations" and am not at risk for a chapstick application overdose.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Raiding Of My Dented Stratus

My little safety bubble I pretend to live in has been poked at a bit this evening. The buzz around the neighborhood was that there were some car break-ins over the weekend. I made some comment along the lines of, "Yikes" and proceeded with my day wondering about how awful it would be to find your stuff stolen or gone through. 

It wasn't until some time later that I had a light bulb moment. Shut up. It takes a great deal of time to actually have a cliche light bulb moment. I'm fantastic at it. 

I recalled the hubs grumbling on Sunday about the kids going through our car that we have parked due to mechanical reasons. Fuel pump, flat tire, better things to do on a Saturday reasons. I didn't think much of it then, other than when/why would the kids pilfer through the car that time forgot. 

But, NOW...holy crap *DING* that was probably SOMEONE ELSE that rummaged through the car. Granted, they were most likely sorely disappointed with our lack of valuable items, and we can only hope their hands were gooped by a forgotten fruit snack melded with crayola slime...but still! 

We went back out to check the vehicle to see if anything stood out missing, and it just basically looked ransacked. Glove box items strewn on the front seat and center console was open. They left my collection of random mixed cassette tapes alone. Shocker. The old broken 6 disk changer was left too. I'm assuming this is where they gave up any hope of finding anything of value. These people live in 1992. They probably wear Zubaz. Let's get out of here. My hand is full of bank sucker sticky. 

I can guarantee this incident will increase these thoughts: "Did I lock the door? I think I did. I recall doing something with my keys. Maybe that was yesterday. What if someone breaks in and eats my dinner out of the crock pot? I better go back and check."    

Actually, that is less paranoid thinking than my husband. He has mentioned something already about closed circuit cameras. However, I also think that he has just been waiting for an excuse to get started on preparing for a zombie invasion. 

Don't ask. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Change Will Do You Good

I am a creative thinker. My state of mind from time to time will be flooded with ideas of grandeur. Out of nowhere they will take over my thoughts and for a brief moment in time I am driven by motivation, inspiration, and the belief that I will see an end result.

However, tucked away in that creative mind is the rationalizing, procrastinating, doubtful jerk of a second personality that always rears its ugly head. 

Sometimes, taking charge of your life and doing something completely different is comparable to playing hopscotch next to a bottomless pit. Weird analogy, right? Bear with me. 

Change is normal and can be inviting. But it can also seem scary. The process can be uncomfortable if you stumble and that end result you once dreamed up can start to look like a pipe dream. Fear and negativity creep in and you feel like your progress is stunted. When I get to that point I feel like I'm free falling through unfamiliar territory.  

This dance is wearing on me. I'm speaking in rather general terms on purpose because this definitely applies to some of the major decisions in my life...but it also tends to be true with some of the more trivial items in my life.

 Case in point:

 8:00am: "I am going to strive to lead a healthy lifestyle."

Which is not necessarily trivial, BUT let's face it, my main motivation is getting back into some of the pants in my closet and not wearing a sweater over my arms that I curse at in the mirror. That's trivial.

12:00 pm: Carrots for lunch. Pat on the back. You must have reversed at least a year of terrible eating habits with those 6 carrots you just ate.

5:30 pm: Crap. I didn't take anything out for dinner. We just got done school clothes shopping. I'm beat and I don't want to cook. McDonald's is okay right? I'll just have a salad. 

6:00 pm: At McDonald's. I read somewhere that the salad has more calories than the burger. I might as well have a burger.  Burger is delicious. See someone eating an apple across the street.

I suck.

In this fast paced world, my second personality seems to take over while I'm stuck in the uncomfortable passage between creative thinking and actual creativity. "This is different. I'm scared. I will fail. I can do this later. I don't have instant results. This will never work. This is hard." Blah blah blah.

Reality is...it's all on me. No one else. Maybe that's the scariest part. If I want to see ideas set in motion I need to work through it until the end. I've always hated taking risks, because I'm a safe kind of gal, but sometimes the end result is worth the risk.

New things to come. Here comes my creative thinking again...here's to not chickening out. 

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."

Frederick Douglass

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What's In A Name?

When I first started writing this blog I had every intention of remaining somewhat anonymous. I had never really shared much of my writing and I had no idea what exactly people would think of my sarcastic view of life. Let's face it. I am sharing much more here than tips on couponing, fashion, or amazing recipes with more than three ingredients.

 I sometimes WISH I was that person. But, if you have been reading this blog lately, or if you know me personally, you will know that is not the case. I don't venture too far out of my comfort zone cooking wise, I think it's okay to wear a shirt that is stained if it is a stain smaller than a dime, and couponing overwhelms me. 

When I am writing, it is about MY life. All the crazy quirks that make me who I am and my family who they are. So, I guess initially, I was a little hesitant about revealing myself as an author. Maybe people who know me don't really care to hear about me trying to squeeze into skinny jeans or as one male reader pointed out, anything even resembling the word tampon. Hee hee. I just linked a blog post to the word "tampon". Oops. Sorry dudes. 

After the first couple blog posts, I started to tip toe out of my comfort zone. I shared my blog with a few close people on Facebook, and seeing as though social services didn't show up at my door or TLC's "What Not To Wear" hasn't surprised me at work, I felt okay with sharing more posts with more people.

Which, actually I wouldn't be opposed to the TLC thing. I would just politely ask them to edit the bright red face that I would have when they surprised me, and give me an hour to clean my closet before the world sees my sad attempt to keep size 3 jeans in the closet...

The day I realized my anonymity was really null and void was the day my mother-in-law made a comment referencing my blog. First I was embarrassed. Aww crap. I swear in my blog. Because 28 yr old mothers never swear. Then, I was flattered, because she had some positive things to say. And she's a teacher, so that's pretty much like getting an "A", right? I freaking loved getting my English papers graded. I'm twisted like that. 

Then, I went to my high school reunion and I received several comments regarding my blog. The whole time I was in shock that people ACTUALLY read this thing, and felt compelled to talk to me about it. No pressure. Granted we live in Minnesota and we are all over the top nice, so maybe they think my blog is a piece of crap and they are all just true passive aggressive Minnesotans, but I am truly grateful that there are a handful of people that can read what I write and say, "Hey! I can identify with that!"

So, I guess I am coming out of the blogging closet entirely. My childhood nickname that I originally penned my crazy posts under, is now changed to my actual name. And middle. Because if I am going to do something I am doing it 110%

Just kidding. I only put my middle name up so that "Marie Bee" made sense. 

Thanks for reading y'all.

Yep. I'm going to end this with a fake southern accent. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cleaning Out A Closet

I spent around 4 hours today cleaning out my childrens' closet and dresser. Sigh. This is a task that I have been putting off for a long time.

I begin with Sassy Girl's clothes. I am off to a good start and have a good give away pile going. Then my daughter, the hoarder pokes her head in.

"What are you doing with all of those clothes in that pile?"

"Well, they don't fit you very well anymore and I thought we could give them to your friend Kelsi."

"What do you mean they don't fit me?? I think I could fit into that shirt."

"Umm, honey that it a size 5 and you are 7 years old...."

"It could be a belly shirt."

What I want to say: "HELL NO. You will never wear a belly shirt as long as I am alive. At least until you are 30. And even then if you wear a belly shirt that is just sad."

What I do say: "Honey, if we keep everything, then we won't be able to go school shopping, because we won't have any room for new clothes."

Sassy Girl reluctantly agrees.

I plunder through the rest of the closet slowly but surely. I get through all of the clothes and I find some sort of canister hidden behind the long sleeve shirts.

Hmmm. This appears to be an attempt to hide a living creature in the closet, judging from the holes poked in the top. I decide to open the canister....

Suspicion confirmed. Yes, at one point there was a living creature trapped in this closet. The disturbing piece of evidence? It is no longer there. Which means it is loose in my house. Sweet.

I moved on and finished Sassy Girl's clothes. Two big bags worth. She dramatically told me that she "didn't have ANY clothes left!" I assure you that she did.

Time to move on to Little Dude's clothes. I have been putting off these for awhile. He is my baby. But being four, going on five years old, he is definitely no longer a baby.

I slowly took out his shirts to go through. One shirt in particular struck me.

This shirt made me lose it. I am sure many parents have gone through this before. I know I did with Sassy Girl's smaller clothes. This shirt flooded back memories of his very first day of preschool. When he was so tiny, and got on a bus all the way to his big boy school. He wore this shirt alot during those years. He loved it. And now, he is in his very last year of preschool and too big for this shirt. Tears. Ridiculous tears. My kids were downstairs playing while I was sobbing in their room holding some of these too small items. My babies are getting so big!

Then, just as I was starting to calm down, I came across this shirt.

This was actually a shirt that was purchased for Sassy Girl and handed down to Little Dude. When Little Dude was about 5 months old and Sassy Girl was just turning 3, the hubs and I went to Las Vegas for a trip through my work. I remember all I did was sleep. Little Dude was a night owl and NEVER SLEPT EVER. EVER! Ugh. I think I was a zombie for the first two years of his life. We bought Sassy Girl this T-shirt and Little Dude a little onesie with a similar cheesy saying on it. It was a great trip, but I missed my kids like CRAZY. This shirt brings back all of these memories. As I put it in the give away box, I tear up again. Sigh...I was a mess.

Eventually I pulled myself together and got through the rest of Little Dude's clothes. This is what was pulled out of the room all together.

Holy crap. Maybe I shouldn't put this off so long next time, eh?

And the end result, besides some seriously sappy mom reflective moments....

Much better.

 I am appreciating my children for who they are much more. Sometimes it takes putting those tiny clothes in a give away box to realize how fast they grow and how much we should treasure every day moments as they occur. Because eventually we will be watching them drive away from the nest as independent adults and wonder where oh where did the time go? I am thankful now that there are still a few items of clothing with princess crowns and dump trucks on them...but I am not naive. One day those items will no longer be in the closet. One day their room will be a spare room. That will be a whole other chapter of our lives. 

For now, I want to be totally engaged in conversations about those princess crowns, and dump trucks, and even the bugless bug container I found in their closet.  

Seriously though...what did you have in there? If it was a huge spider that is now loose in the house I will flip out. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

6 Dollar Hot Dogs and a Panic Attack on the Side

Last Saturday the family unit and I ventured out to the big city again for a Twins game. It took us an eternity to actually get packed and into the car to begin our two hour journey. We were staying at a friend's house for one night and we look like we are going on a week long vacation. One dog, two kids, and two adults use alot of crap in one night. Not to mention whenever I leave home I obsess over every scenario that may happen while we are away from home. What if for some reason my sandal breaks and then I am left without a shoe? I better pack a spare.

Because shoes spontaneously combust on occasion, I guess. 

We were finally all loaded up and in the car...and we can't find the keys. The hubs LITERALLY just had them. He drove the car to the store a half an hour earlier. So they were SOMEWHERE IN MY HOUSE. But, when you are in a hurry and can't find something, you panic. You start looking in repetitive locations. You give up and start looking for the spare set. Twenty minutes later my house looks like it has been ransacked by robbers. Robbers with a thing for junk drawers. 

My anger is boiling. I realize accidents happen, and I should NEVER be the one to point a finger at anyone for losing anything. But I was hot and impatient and the poor hubs was the object of my frustration at this point in time. Finally, I just give up on the keys. I don't say a word and start moving EVERYTHING we had packed in his car outside and into mine. Muttering things about lower gas mileage like a jerk.

We pack into my car and I settle my butt down as we are finally on the road and not as incredibly behind schedule as I thought.

Once we arrive at our destination we have just enough time to unpack the car, let the dog stretch his legs, and head out with our friends to the bus station. We are planning to bus to the game to eliminate some the hassle. My kids are STOKED. We don't get out much. Public transportation ranks right up there with carnival rides. Sometimes being a bit sheltered has it's perks.

Once we get to the game, we are running slightly behind schedule, which for a control freak like me, doesn't sit well. Operation FIND OUR SEATS is under way. Well...eventually we found them. Oh boy did we find them. We kept climbing stairs up, up, fricken WAY UP and there were our seats. The top row of center field in the top seats of the stadium. Holy shit. My knees are jello at this point. I am sweating. I am gripping the side of my seat hanging on for dear life. These seats are packed in STEEP. All I can picture is a trip and a fall to my death below. I had no clue the intensity of my height phobia until this very moment. I turn to the hubs and say, "I can't do this." He says, "Oh, you'll be fine. Relax." Cue voice getting slightly higher pitched, with a splash of insanity. "You DON'T understand. I CAN'T do this." My eyes are freaking tearing up at this point. My vision is getting blurry and I can only focus on things close to me. If I look into the outfield at what appears to be my perfectly manicured grave, I will lose it. I tell the kids we are going to get hot dogs. The hubs says that we can go and he will wait for us. I tell him I am frozen. I can't do it. I am slightly hysterical. He rolls his eyes and leads his pack down the steep stairs to freedom. I take it one step at a time only looking at the stairs in front of me. I have a death grip on the railing. When we get down onto lower ground I breathe a sigh of relief. There is no way in hell you are getting me back up there. I told the hubs I would be happy as a clam to just walk around with the kiddos checking out the game on random patios.

Once I collect myself and spend a fortune on two hot dogs and three sodas, I meander over to the spot where my hubs has a pretty good view of the game. There are folding chairs lined up on the edge with awesome views of the game. There are two chairs empty, and my hubs had been talking to the Twins game attendant standing in that location. No doubt laughing at my expense. Not that I care. I still can't believe my reaction. He actually agreed to let us sit there. This is awesome. I stood with the hubs and the kiddos each took a chair. We ended up being right next to where the mascot comes up and does photos with people, which of course I took full advantage of. We had a great spot! A couple of balls came flying right below us. I leaned against the railing, thanking God for being in a much "safer" location, and enjoyed a really great game. We beat the pants off of Cleveland. Sweet. It's always nice when your team wins and you don't die from a falling accident. I'm clumsy. I know what my limits are. Never again. 

We leave the game in pretty good spirits with two tired children and a funny story at my expense.

Guess what we found when we got home the next day?

The damn keys.

They were in the car.


*forehead slap*

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Today I realized summer is ALMOST OVER! I hadn't realized this until it came up in conversation that our county fair was taking place next week. Shut up. I know what you're thinking. Yes, we attend the county fair. It is filled with the town's elite members of society. Plus, I need an oversized hunter green Fleet Farm shirt for those "special occasions." Yikes. Whatever. The kids enjoy going. I load them up on hand sanitizer and forbid them to ride any of the death traps operated by meth addicts. And we eat lots of healthy fried food. DROOLING. Gut hurting in anticipation...

Anywho, the fair coming to town has always marked the ending of summer. School supplies are back in the stores. Actually, they were putting school supplies out in stores just after the 4th. I scoffed at them like I would never need to buy them. Psh. Learning stuff. It's July. PUH-LEASE.

But NOW, I realize that we have been bit too lackadaisical in the learning department this summer. I had big plans to keep a schedule. I purchased workbooks and developed a routine to keep my kid's creative little minds all a buzz with knowledge.

Somewhere between the last day of school and the first beach worthy day that plan went out the window.

Crap parent. Dang.

It's not like I intentionally threw the plan out the window. It's just that riding bike, playing baseball, getting filthy head to toe took precedence over the crappy workbooks that I planned to supplement class time with. Also, to be fair, I live in the land of 10,000 lakes. Not just a couple. 10,000. So...temptation when it's 97 degrees out is always there. And when I get home from work and we are all so hot we want to kill anything that moves, we are going to choose beach over addition any day. The beach. *Goes to happy place.* This is where you will find me soaking up the sun with one eye on a gossip magazine, and the other eye on happy children kicking over each other's sandcastles. Bliss. I figured we had plenty of time for math when it is 80 million degrees below zero and I need an excuse not to shovel.

 I did get the workbooks out once. When we went on a road trip and I needed time killers. But, unless 8 divided by 2 really is a fantastic rendition of the family dog drawn by Sassy Girl, I don't believe they were used for much more then a color book.

We DO read every night. Always have. I am hoping this keeps their tiny brains stimulated at least a little. But, it is time to kick it up a notch. I will NOT send my kid to school knowing nothing more then the exact amount of time you can go before reapplying sunscreen. Time to wind down this summer and get down to business.

Instead of workbooks, (since they are now covered in multi-colored stick people, and sibling revenge notes)what are some other activities for engaging children during the summer months?

Send me your ideas parents! I need to make up for two months of slacking!!! I don't believe I will get any ideas at the county fair...just a hunch.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Another Sad Day in History

Another shocking story was reported this morning. Colorado. 12 dead. 59 injured. Words like massacre ringing in my ears. I feel awful just sitting here. With my coffee and family. Safe. Yet, I have that familiar numbness seeping in. Safe is an illusion once again. With every shooting. Every terrorist attack. Every report of nuclear weapons. I feel a heaviness. Paranoia creeping in, once again. The older I get, the more I internalize all of these reports of real life horrors. The more I work on dealing with them. The more I picture them ripping my family away from me. I can't help but mourn for the faces twisted in pain/fear/agony that are constantly pictured in clips cycled throughout the week. I pray. I wonder why we live in a world that this can happen. I realized my sheltered life has not prepared me or many others for these twisted surrealistic events that have taken place. Taken lives. I would be lying if I said I didn't have fears going to large events anymore. Getting on a plane. Sometimes, just going to sleep.

I immerse myself in the latest news breaks, as many of us "helpless" outsiders are doing. Names of the victims and their stories are slowly released. I instantly picture their families, friends, close ones. Me, losing someone close in an "expected" event like cancer, and knowing how traumatizing that can be, I can not imagine losing someone in such an unexpected, publicized, and shocking event. Horrifying. I can not imagine losing my child. Many of the victims in this event were very young. 

It sticks with me. I look at my children. I worry. I thank God for my babies being with me tonight. So many parents just sent their children to a movie. A harmless movie. In Columbine, so many parents just shuffled their kids off to school. On 9/11 they just went to work. Every day mundane routines. Many family members wishing they had said the words, "I love you." 

I cringe at these events bringing forth so many politicized opinions. I realize we all have our opinions. It's easy to have opinions when we are "safe" and far away from a tragedy. Guns are not, in my opinion, the issue. Parents bringing young children to a late night movie are not, in my opinion, the issue. A government conspiracy, in my opinion, is not the issue. I do not want to go into detail about the hows and whys of my opinions. They are just my opinions. And we will have enough opinions shoved down our throat in the weeks to come. Are we so quick to point the finger at all of these issues to call attention away from the fact that, yes, someone can actually do such horrific things with no remorse, or regard to human life. Things that we as "normal" thinking individuals could never imagine carrying out. Mental illness doesn't fit in neat little package with a shiny red bow tied around it.

Call me the crazy one, but I feel sadness for the family members of not only the victims in these tragedies, but also of the assailants. So many people are shouting, "An eye for an eye!" But can we really kill hatred with hatred? It's like a virus and it spreads quickly. 

Please, hold your family close tonight and every night that you can. Try not to get lost in the shuffle. We never know what moment is our last. 

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Oh, What A Night!"

Tomorrow is my last official day of vacation. I have been off work for 10 GLORIOUS days. I will be paying for it when I get back to work. If I can even see my desk under the piles of work waiting for me it will be a miracle.

Last night, several exclamation points ended my long span of vacation. In one word: RandomCraziness. Okay, that was two words mushed together, but we can just pretend it's a Twitter hashtag, right?

We had some friends in town, and we all decided to head out and enjoy an evening rocking out to awesome music. You guessed it. Captain May I was playing this weekend, and these nights always involve some sort of chaos and usually a blog post to follow. Captain Mayhem? Totally a mascot idea. I see a cape. And Macaulay Culkin. I digress. 

Soon after arriving, we are minding our own business grooving on the dance floor, and in walks (struts) a group of the most well dressed men that I have ever laid eyes on in real life. As a friend of mine put it, they were definitely of  a "southern flavor". Meaning they had green cards that the bouncer later said he wasn't entirely sure how to check...

A couple of them glide onto the dance floor and pull out moves this piece of crap bar has never seen before. You have to realize, if you do not know me, I live in a VERY small town. We don't have clubs or fancy schmancy hipster bars. We have a handful of dive bars that actually play live music. They usually smell, and the toilets are crooked. Ceiling tiles are missing and moldy. Patrons may or may not have all of their teeth. This is not a place where the Tango is performed on regular basis...

One of these dudes shoes alone probably cost more than my entire wardrobe. I'm dead serious. The air was overly saturated with expensive cologne...putting my sweaty Bath and Body Works fragrance to shame. One of these things is not like the other.

The dance floor is then surrounded by the rest of their group cheering their hip swinging, flamboyant, ascot wearing friends on. I suddenly feel like I am on "So You Think You Can Dance?" My answer to that? No. No I can not.  

One of them grabs my hand and tries to pull out some "Dancing With The Stars" crap on me. Listen "Pretty Man", I am the chick that falls UP the stairs on a regular basis. This whole trying to dance with me ain't gonna work. I let him spin me a couple times and off I scurry to watch the rest of the show they were putting on. I am more comfortable dancing with drunk old dude in the beer shirt pulling out the sweet uncoordinated robotic moves. He belongs in this bar.

Oh well. I got a tacky beer cap necklace out of the deal as a memento and a night I will never forget.

They left almost as soon as they arrived. Poof! Leaving the rest of us to utter the phrase, "WTF was that??"

Another highlight of the night on a more personal level, was my hubby danced. He says only to one song, but it was two. I was the sober one, I think I would remember. No, we didn't dance to a romantic slow jam (snark). We rocked out to some Toadies and Weezer covers. But it's a start. I didn't dance as much as I usually do...it was 180 degrees in the place and when I am hot I turn as red as a tomato. An attractive tomato. Eye roll. After wiping a gallon of sweat off of my head I decided it was time to sit a few songs out and guzzle a pitcher or two of water. I'm not talking about a few beads of sweat that could be interpreted as sexy on a woman on a dance floor. I'm talking about a wet head sweat. Yuck. Wet head. Red face. T-shirt sleeves rolled up on the shoulders.  Good grief. I'm surprised no one asked me if I was going to make it. I'm fair skinned...I can't help the fire engine look. I'm cursed. 

Last night resulted in my small town frame of mind being completely blown away. Perhaps I need to get out more...but to be honest I am terrified of what else might be lurking out there.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Don't Really Know How To Make Jam

So, I get a call at 8:00 am yesterday morning. I didn't answer because I was busy doing nothing on the couch and couldn't find my phone in visual distance. Finally, curiosity gets the best of me and I get off my butt to hunt for my phone.

I finally find it and resume my spot on the couch. When I checked my voicemail I realize it was my mother in law calling to see if we wanted to go strawberry picking. I set down my phone and thought, "Heck yeah! I want to do me some berry pickin"! The hubs and I have done berry picking before and I loved it. Except we were berry picking for wine, not for pies and jam and crap.

When I called her back to say that me and the kiddos were on board with the strawberry picking, I asked her what time she was thinking. She said that the morning would work out the best due to bugs, sun, etc. All that crud I wasn't really thinking about. I glance down at my tweety bird pajamas and half drank coffee and somewhat feel like a failure. I fess up that it may take us a while to meet up with her because we are all still in our pjs. Don't judge me...it was my day off. 

The kiddos are downstairs grinding play doh into every nook and cranny. I bribe them with a promise of doing something really fun if they go mach speed at getting dressed, teeth brushed, and getting in the car. Surprisingly they comply...working on the notion that they would be handsomely rewarded. Yeah, we don't get out of our pjs on days off until at least 10 am unless there is a darn good reason. They were intrigued. 

We make it over to MIL's house and all pile into her car to head out to the strawberry patch. When we get there we are instructed to talk to a man standing in the middle of the patch. The "strawberry keeper" if you will...

He gives us specific instructions on how we are allowed to pick. This involves rows and flags and half this row half that row. I stand there slightly confused. MIL and Little Dude head off down their row. I am still confused because I suck at following directions and paying attention. I ask the "strawberry keeper" to repeat his instructions. I gather that I am allowed to stick to a particular row and to go as far as I can and then put the flag that is at the beginning in the row in the spot where I end up. Okay I got it now. Sheesh, this is technical. For some reason when I thought of strawberry picking, I pictured frolicking carelessly through a strawberry patch. Tasting and giggling were also a part of that delusion.  This seemed like a lot of rules for a berry pickin' outing.

We start picking berries and I realize Sassy Girl is quickly filling up her bucket. The competitive side in me is flaring up and I look in her bucket and realize she is also picking mushy berries. I show her which berries to pick and feel better about my slim pickings. I am being very choosy.

As we go further down our row, I see some perfect strawberries. Except they are in the row next to me. After I pick them, I look around to see if the "strawberry keeper" caught me breaking the rules. I kind of felt guilty. I had specific rules given to me twice...and I broke them. 

While picking, we ran into someone that I knew. She remarked how many strawberries we had picked. I made some comment about jam. In fact, I had been commenting about jam all day. I have no idea how to make jam. I have never made jam in my life. But, it felt right that someone at a strawberry patch should be an expert at making jam. So...I exaggerated my knowledge of what to do with all these fricken berries. 

After we had picked four buckets worth we packed up, and paid for our berries. I opt to take one bucket home and MIL takes the rest. For someone that was so stoked to go strawberry picking, I should have taken into account that I am the ONLY one in my family that likes strawberries. 

My kids will eat strawberries. But in a ratio of one strawberry to 1/4 cup of cool whip. And even then they may just eat around the strawberry. 

MIL gives me tips on how to freeze the berries. Since I will not be making jam, I will heed the advice to freeze these puppies up. 

As I lay my strawberries out flat, I feel a sense of pride. Awww yeah...I picked these. Way better than going to the grocery store. 

Someday I will actually learn how to make jam. I'm sure I could Google it if I really wanted to put the effort into it. 

It will be something I learn to do on my day off. In my pajamas. 

Until then, I will just pretend I fit the role of jam makin', berry pickin', jack of all trades mom... 

PS: What the heck Blogger? Why are you highlighting half my post in white? If anyone has any ideas please let me know!