Monday, March 11, 2013

Moving Day

Friends, strangers, and anonymous, hateful trolls:

My time here at Blogger has come to an end. I tried very unsuccessfully to give this blog a facelift. After hours of copying and pasting a lot of crappy HTML, pulling my hair out, and lamenting over and over, "WHAT HAVE I DONE?" I decided it was time for a clean break.

I will no longer be writing on this website.

You can now find me at my very brand new, sparkly, custom domain named website:

Be sure to add it into your Google Reader. I won't be double posting here for you lazy peeps. Blogger is dead to me. Buried in a shallow grave in the woods, covered with piles of HTML and my tears.

Squarespace is where it's at. It's worth the money you pay for your pretty new site.  And you can customize the crap out of it yourself.

It's kind of like the difference between having free plastic surgery in the alley behind Walmart done by that homeless guy with no teeth versus board-certified, sterile, safe plastic surgery in a shiny, new hospital.

Why would I trust my blog face to anything less?

Come stop by and have a peek. The old girl is looking mucho improved, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

For my number one fan

They say the surest way to a mama's heart is through her kids.

Never has this been more true in my life. I am painfully aware of the wondrously lush group of friends that we have been blessed to know here in St. Louis. It didn't take our impending move for us to appreciate them either. I could write posts for days about the fabulous people I'm blessed to have in my life.  Friends that really are family.  Kids that are like cousins.  Girlfriends that are the sisters I never had.  We got lucky when we moved here. Lucky because a fabulous group of women opened their hearts to me, and naturally, my kids.

One friend in particular I'd like to talk about today. And it's not because he has dubbed himself my "number one blog fan."

Though, I have to say, I am flattered to have such a distinction.  Honestly, I'm just thrilled to even HAVE a fan. (And possibly wondering who paid him off.)

But, no, the reason I want to talk about this kid is because he's amazing and deserves a blog post all his own.

Meet Nick.

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Nick is a boy whom we met our first week here in 2007. Their family had just moved from Connecticut about seven months prior to our move to St. Louis.  They matched up perfectly to our family in every way.  I could write post after post about the things his mom has done for me.  Oh wait, I did.  And here, too.  Aaannnd here.

See?  Told you they were amazing.

Anyway.  Back to Nick.

Nick is the same age as Chase.  While they differ considerably in height, they are a perfect match in every other way.

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Nick, much like Chase, roots for the underdog and has no tolerance for hate.  He is one of the kindest souls I've ever met.  He is funny without being obnoxious. (Yes, Mindy.  It's true.  We all find Nick hilarious.  Make peace with that.)

He cheers my boy on at every race, while brushing off any praise for his own (far superior) time.  When Nick took first place in the district junior high track meet?  He was more happy for Chase, who took third.  Because he knew just how far Chase had come.  His smile matched my boy's that day, and my heart melted at the love shown by Nick.

And last year, when he was the last in his class to graduate from primary, his attitude was as cheerful as the eager, new Sunbeams.  He didn't sulk or pout his lot in life, as many before him have done.  He raised his hand with questions, listened when I was teaching, and taught me more than he'll ever know.

Nick is not jealous or petty.  He is not concerned with appearances or the pervasive middle school curse of trying to look "cool."  He is confident, yet humble.  He is eager to have fun and wants to make sure no one gets left out.

He is my son's best friend.

Lord help him, but he loves my goofy boy, even when Chase does his Gollum impression.  He helps my boy to push himself harder with the running, and is always there to cheer him on.  He listens for hours to talk of airsoft guns and World War II.  He gives of himself freely, and asks nothing in return.

His mom quite often jokes and apologizes for his goofiness.  What she does not know is this:  There is a special place in this mama's heart for goofy boys.

After all, I'm raising two and married to one.

Goofy boys are pretty much the bomb.

So thanks, Nick, for making Chase's time here the best of his young life.  Thanks for being a true friend, and for loving us in spite of ourselves.  We fully expect to see your family often.  Texas is not that far away.

Friends like you are worth their weight in gold.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's all about priorities

Let me paint a picture of loveliness for you.

Imagine, if you can, a tall woman with long, brownish-blondish hair.  Her weight is undetermined at this time, due to her inability to actually face the number on the scale.  She lives a good life, and does not want for food.  While she currently reminds one of a slightly chubbier version of her best self, she manages to still be attractive to her husband.  (Or so he says).

She resembles a fairly functional member of society during the hours of 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.  She showers, suffers under the blow dryer for 20 minutes, wears lipstick, and tries her best to put outfits together that do not include the words "yoga" or "stretchy pants."

But the first time each day that she ventures out of the house is a completely different story.

She. is. one. hot. mess.

Here is an artist's rendering of this anonymous woman:

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She leaves the house each day at 5:40 in the a.m. to drive her son to his early morning religion class.  She literally rolls out of bed at 5:39, slips on her Uggs, grabs a coat and her glasses, and heads out the door.

In her mind, she sort of likes to imagine that she looks a little like these ladies:

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image via

Tragically, in her heart of hearts, she knows that she does not.  She owns this look and is not swayed when her children mock or laugh.  This is a perfectly acceptable look for the unholy crack of dawn, peek-a-boo pudge, notwithstanding.

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She is at peace with her fine self.

The sight that greets this hottie outside of her bedroom door has recently morphed from a tired, grumbly teenager, to this:

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A happy little ball of sunshine and energy that is shaking keys in her face and begging to drive her vehicle.

THAT experience is a whole blog post unto itself.  But let's just say that two words sum up the palpable emotions in the car:  JOY and TERROR.

You can guess who experiences which.

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On a particularly average morning, like today, for instance, this woman finds herself in a wee bit of a predicament. For, when her son exits the vehicle on the driver's side, she is faced with two choices: Get out in the freezing cold air and walk around to the driver's side, or climb over the console in the middle and stay warm.

She opted on this fine morning to choose the latter.  And as she was maneuvering her chubby not-so-slim-self over the console, her boot got caught on something and she tumbled rather quickly, ending with a very ungraceful face plant against the glass of the window.

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Gathering herself together as best she could, the thought crossed her mind that, "Phew.  Thank goodness nobody saw THAT."


Clearly, the universe does have the best sense of humor.  This poor tangle of a mess looked out her window to see the eager, and frighteningly made-up faces of Malibu Barbie and her sister, Skipper, as they were out for their morning run.

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image via

Embarrassed, she waved off their lipsticked offers of help, and pulled herself together as best she could.  And instead of feeling bad about herself for not looking that good, let alone being out jogging at five-freaking-thirty in the morning with full make-up on, she took her bruised face dignifiedly home, and crawled back into bed.

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Like any normal human being should.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Lucky One

A few days ago, Hannah stumbled upon a photo of the Husband and I from our wee early days as a married couple. Incredulous, she blurted out, "Wow. You MARRIED that guy?"

I laughed, maybe a little too hard, and then pointed out the error of her ways.

You see, it's not supremely surprising that I married the skinny, quiet, smart gymnast that was the Husband so long ago. After all, he was handsome, thoughtful, and hopelessly in love with me.

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What's more amazing is that HE married this:

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God bless the poor ignorant fool.  He had no idea what he was getting himself into.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Dear McKay,

Fifteen years ago today, you took two young, dumb, baby-faced kids in love:

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And you made them parents.

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We had no idea what we were doing, and we have undoubtedly made many mistakes.  Still are making them, I'm sure.

But oh, it's been a fun ride.

You made being a parent far easier than it actually was (as we learned when your colicky brother joined the family).  You were the easiest newborn I've ever known, and the happiest toddler.  You have always had a smile on your face and joy in your heart.  You sought to obey and still continue to do so.  Life has definitely been more sweet with you around.

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Today was a pretty big day for you.  I have been a ball of nerves all day long, and worried and fretted for you and your big appointment at the DMV.  I think my blood pressure definitely hit unsafe levels during the 10-minute written test, as I sat on a cold, metal folding chair in the next room and wrung my hands sore.  I knew how badly you wanted to pass, and for that reason I wanted you to.


And while I am absolutely terrified of handing you the keys to my car, I have no doubt that you'll probably do better than I did.

I don't see any joyrides at midnight in cars driven by unlicensed friends in your future.

Right?  RIGHT?

You are so unlike what I was at this age.  It astonishes me and fills me with awe to see your happy confidence.  You are ever the social butterfly, but never too busy to hang with your brother.  Your sister doesn't quite speak the same love language, and your early morning happiness is definitely wasted on the likes of her.  But your persistence pays off, and even she can't resist your happy banter.

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Mack, you make me so proud.

I am proud of the young man you are becoming.  I am proud of the example you are to your younger siblings, and even to your friends.  Your heart is a good one.   Your standards are high, and you expect a lot from those in your life.  I so admire that about you.

I have been so impressed with your smooth transition to high school this year.  I won't lie, getting up to drive you to early morning seminary is kind of killing little bits of my soul.  But it is all worth it when I see what it means to you.  Your dedication inspires me to be better.  To try harder.  To do what I know I should.

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Thank you for being such an important part of our family.  Your sense of humor, your quick wit, and your keen observations make you so unique and such a big part of our lives.

Thank you for your patience, as I've tried and made lots of mistakes on you.  You, my first baby.  The one who has to endure the twists and turns of the learning curve with me.  You, who've had to suffer most through my inadequacies.  You've made it easy on me, kid.

And you've made it exceptionally fun.

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Happy fifteenth, Mack.

I love you.  I couldn't be more proud of you.



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Glass half-full (even if it's dirty, chipped, and cutting my lips)

In an effort to not become totally suicidal slightly forlorn, I have decided to focus on the good things about living in an apartment.

All three of them.  Because there are many.  Many, many good things.

For instance, I have firmly cemented the positive habit of making my bed every day.  Mostly because, if I don't, you physically cannot walk through my bedroom with one or two pillows on the floor.  There's just not room for the bed, the pillows, and me in this tiny space.  Gone are the luxuriously lazy days of not making the bed at all until the Husband came home at night.

(You know we only make it half the time because they're going to see it and think we're lazy bums if we don't, right?)

Another positive lifestyle change is the increase in efficiency in the kitchen.  I can literally stand in one spot, not have to lift my feet at all, and I can load the dishwasher, put away all the clean dishes, make dinner, and clean the kitchen.  Think about this.  From one spot, I can reach everything in my cupboards, drawers, and stove.  With all the free time this has afforded me (no more walking, hooray!), it is a wonder that I have not found the time to cure cancer.

Cancer cure:  Coming soon.

(Note to self:  Learn how to cure cancer.)

A special treat that we've also recently discovered is the burst of freezing-cold water in the shower that comes if anyone so much as thinks about touching a faucet anywhere else in the apartment.  It's like a wake-up call.  Hey, you!  You in the shower, enjoying yourself and relaxing.  Wake up!  You've got things to do!  No time for conditioning rinses!  Hurry up!

Loving that part.

Also of note are the new cultures my kids are being exposed to on a daily basis.  Like the next door neighbors, who seem to be home all day, every day, out on their back porch smoking weed hopefully just cigarettes.  Teaching us, once again, that age-old lesson:  Love thy neighbor anyway.  (Or at least ignore them and keep your windows and doors shut tight.)

My favorite thing (legitimately) is that we can clean the place, top-to-bottom in about 13 minutes.  That includes toilets, vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, and pick-up.  Sure, it still looks pretty crappy, what with all the piles of stuff we have no place for, but it's clean.  And I like that.

Also amazing is calling someone to come fix things and not having to pay a dime.  The drawer in the bathroom broke because I filled it too full of hair and make-up products?  Not my problem!  Come fix it for me now!  I love it.  (Though I do wish the maintenance man had teeth.)

But the one thing that gets me through it all is the multi-thousand dollar difference every month between what our mortgage was and our rent is now.  Seriously.  We are saving $2,000 every month by living here.  Multiply that by twelve months, and five-and-a-half years of living here.   (Insert me pulling out a calculator...)  By my calculations, we could have had $132,000 more in our pocket had we rented instead of bought a home.

I can promise you, we did not get that handed to us when we sold our house.

Maybe renting isn't so bad...

No, it is.  It really is.  And thank heavens it will end in four more months.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


When I last left you, I was:

-Selling a house
-Moving out of a house
-Moving into an apartment
-Buying a house
-Having Christmas
-Taking a vacation

All in the same seven-day period.

I would not recommend it.

At one point a few weeks ago, I sat down to have lunch with some friends.  One of them very sweetly looked me in the eye and said, "So, how are you?"

I immediately burst into tears and realized that I was NOT doing as well as I thought I was.  It was an epiphany for me because I am great at pretending life is perfect when it's not.

Later, on the phone with the ever-traveling Husband, I shared this epiphany with him and he hit the nail right on the tip of its pointy, stupid head.

What he said in much-nicer words than this was essentially that I am like a three-year-old thrown out of my routine.  And I really, really like my routine.  I need my routine.

I've felt a bit lost.  Like the ground underneath me is unsteady, with sharp, craggy rocks under my bare feet.  I've had to readjust everything.  How I lived.  How I cooked.  How I grocery shopped.  I was not sure what my new day-to-day schedule would be.  How I would manage a household with two-thirds less of a house to live in.  How I would get my kids to and from school, especially given the fact that two of the three had massive anxiety about riding a new bus.  Where would I, quite honestly, put all of the stuff I deemed necessity, even though it doesn't fit anywhere here in the apartment?  I tossed and turned with worry at night, and blinked back tears during the day.  

And slowly, oh, so very slowly, the hours have ticked by and I've found my tentative footing.  I've made trip after trip to the Container Store, finding ways to organize our life here that is manageable for me.  I've rearranged kitchen cupboards and made peace with the appliances that will sit on the counter for a few months.  I've worked out the school logistics, and helped my kids manage their stress.  I've even been able to fall asleep at night.

I feel safely sure that when someone asks me now how I am doing, the answer will not end in tears.

And that, my friends, is a pretty great place to be in.