Speed dating‎

Thank You Notes: YouTube Workout Videos, Aveeno Advertisements

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Thank you, YouTube Workout Videos, for encouraging me to do things that I’d never be seen doing in public like, for example, working out.  Only in the privacy of my living room would I be caught attempting a headstand out of plank position or kettlebell swing/burpee combo…….. more like a side somersault out of plank position and kettlebell swing/nah I’m good combo.  I can wear whatever I want, take water breaks whenever I want, and eat Cheez-Its in between workouts if I want- because YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME Jillian Michaels!  A small piece of me seems to die every time a smiling instructor springs out of a plank jack and high fives someone, but you know what they say- what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  So thank you, YouTube Workout Videos, for pushing me to the brink of death yet letting me live to see the end of my Barre workout with tighter quads, stronger glutes, and fewer Cheez-Its.


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NAILED IT.

Thank you, Aveeno Advertisements, for subliminally promising me that if I use your products I’ll look just like Jennifer Aniston.  I’ve been exfoliating with the Skin Brightening Daily Scrub for eight months now; I know that once it finally removes my epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue, then I’ll be able to use your hydrating lotions and rebuild my entire facial structure to match Jen’s. She’s in the advertisements like “I’m so breezy, I’m just going to wear this sweater off one shoulder”, so I’ve been practicing in the mirror like “Oh hey, I’m really breezy too, and my pajama shirt looks naturally beautiful off my shoulder.  It’s so natural and so beautiful when the collar gets stretched out and just hangs there.”  My sincerest thanks, Aveeno, to you and your magical oats formula that specializes in facial reconstruction.


Missed the other Thank You Notes from this week?
No worries, I got you boo:
Thank You: People of the Gym
Thank You: Infants, Pinterest Crafts

Two more days of Thank You Notes on their way… stay tuned.

Thank You Notes: Infants, Pinterest Crafts

Today’s post in the “Thank You Note” series inspired by: Jimmy Fallon (45%), Jen Hatmaker (25%), Spit Up on My Pants (18%), and Pinterest Crafts- Or As I Like To Call Them: NO (12%)

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Thank you, Infant That I Birthed, for spitting up on my outfit before church and then licking my hair while I clean us both up.  I love when you deposit a dark, uneven stain suspiciously near my inner thigh and then slick back all those flyaways near my ear with your milky tongue.  I’m not even at church yet and you’re bringing me closer to God, got me calling out, “LORD JESUS, COME.”  Additionally, I’d like to remind you that I rearranged my organs for you to grow and I wipe your butt every other hour so thank you in advance for changing your first word from DaDa to MaMa.  I love you to the moon and back my precious little mess.


Thank you, Pinterest, for reminding me why I just CAN’T EVEN with inventive crafting.

You save other people hours from having to scour the Internet for DIY projects upcycling a garden hose, but me- you save me from myself.  When I feel tempted to gather spider web silk to weave a dream catcher or collect my daughter’s baby teeth to make a wind chime, you help me stay true to myself by staying in my lane, which would be blogging about the people who execute these Pinterest masterpieces.  I look forward to collaborating with you soon, Pinterest, on other topics like Nail Art, Dollar Store Hacks, and Paleo Vegan Flourless Lemon Poppyseed Breakfast Cake!


In case you missed yesterday’s Thank You Note: People of the Gym
Coming up: Three more days of Thank You Notes…

Thank You Notes: People of the Gym

We have so much to be thankful for in life.  (Truly!)  I am thankful for Jimmy Fallon, the writers of “Late Night”, and his segment called “Thank You Notes”.  He expresses gratitude toward people, places, concepts, and items in hilarious ways. (Honorable mention to Jen Hatmaker who wrote some of these notes in her book “For The Love” and also contributed to this inspiration.)  Because I am entirely too lazy to come up with my own original ideas for funny blogging, I would like to steal his bit and entertain you with my own extended blogger version.  
Without further ado, People of the Gym:
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Thank you, 78-Year-Old Man Wearing Pleated Khakis To Work Out, for proving that fashion over function wins again while doing leg extensions.  Your chinos tell me you’re ready to balance your checkbook but your undershirt is ready to conquer a little circuit training.  I realize so many benefits of wearing khakis to work out and I have you to thank: it’s a great opportunity to test wrinkle resistance, you have four different pockets to choose from for holding your keys or your abacus, and they’re versatile for leaving the gym and driving straight to church.  (Different topic, yet related: can I borrow your braided belt?  Lemme know.)  You keep on doin’ you, even if that means wearing khakis to Silver Sneakers CrossFit.


Thank you, Eager Fitness Class Participant, for warming up in place before the class and music have even started.  I see now how the Step-Ball-Change foot movement really loosened you up physically and mentally to step into that Salsa.  Your attentiveness to each muscle group in your warm up is admirable but please be careful when you alternate those front kicks/donkey kicks because some of us nearby are just standing completely still with our hands on our hips.  Thank you for all you do because I honestly can’t make this stuff up on my own.  Let’s be friends.  Call me.

Stay tuned for four more days of Thank You Notes!

{Related Giggles:  Buzzfeed’s 21 Times Jimmy Fallon’s Thank You Notes Said Exactly What You Were Thinking}

Go Shawty! It’s Ya Earth Day!

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In second grade, Bill Clinton wrote me a letter.
(For some of you: a moment of silence because I was in second grade when Bill Clinton was in office. And the younger ones are like “Isn’t Bill Clinton Hillary’s husband?”)

I digress.

I wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton during my super-granola phase in second grade.  My friends and I started a “Save the Earth Club” and we did really noble things like pick up trash at recess and make personalized t-shirts with glow in the dark paint pens.  Once I got my shirt, I think I disbanded our club, but sometime before that I wrote to the White House begging them to please save our Earth!  I eventually received a letter on White House stationary signed by ole Bill but I think we both know he did not have relations with my letter. (True story.  They also sent me this Bill Clinton trading card.  Blog poll: Over/Under I’d get $3 for this trading card on eBay..)

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Why do I bring this up?
April 22 is Earth Day and I am currently failing miserably at saving the Earth.  Like, if my carbon footprint was tangibly seen, it’d best be described as Shaq lacing up his size 22s, tying cinder blocks to the bottom and repeatedly stomping in the same place until the crater was big enough to toss in my litter and pesticides and probably some greenhouse gases.

This year I’m making some Earth Day Resolutions, kind of like New Year’s Resolutions, but more focused on the whole “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” theme.  If Al Gore can invent the Internet, then Bill Clinton and Captain Planet and I can save our Earth!  Walk with me through some resolutions…


CONSERVING WATER
Currently:  The water stays on continuously while I brush my teeth and sometimes even stays on overnight.  My husband is guilty of spraying half a gallon of water from his toothbrush onto the bathroom mirror as he knocks it dry against the sink.  The washing machine seems to realize it is in use every 90 minutes and just turns itself on these days, whether or not clothes made it in. And sometimes I shower long enough to sing the entire Adele CD with one or two encore performances.

Henceforth, I commit to conserving water by discontinuing all laundry and dishwashing services in our home.  I sacrifice our family’s cleanliness and the sanitation grade of my kitchen for the sake of the reservoirs, wherever they may be. If any clothes need to be washed or dishes need to be rinsed, we will stand out in the rain as a family and let nature do her natural, beautiful thang.  I will exchange the time spent washing clothes and dishes with watching one episode of Planet Earth on Netflix, and also multiple episodes of Parks & Rec.


RECYCLING
Currently: Not to brag but I’m kind of amazing at recycling, like sometimes the lid won’t even shut. My husband has 1/4 of his Mountain Dew left and I swoop in to get the can, “NOPE I hear the recycling truck. You can drink out of the faucet.”  I’m also that person who pulled out all of the tissue paper from the baby presents we received and folded it into squares to save for later use… because that’s totally normal and not at all Type A.  (This is a safe place, everyone.  Let’s just wave our freak flags and recycle already.)

Henceforth, I commit to stop hoarding dozens of plastic Target bags under our sink as if our bathroom trash can liners really require that much attention.  I will purchase reusable cloth shopping bags, preferably trendy canvas totes with tribal feathers or woodland animals wearing hipster glasses.  (Are there even any other types?)


DECREASING POLLUTION
Currently: I drive everywhere.  EVERY-WHERE.  Not in a Prius either.  And don’t even get me started on driving around to get my child to sleep.  I am not above jumping in our 4Runner with a fussy baby and taking a tour of the county so that my child is finally lulled to sleep.  I could give the D.O.T. a full report on the conditions of all local highways and back roads, which pot holes woke my baby up, and which organizations are not fulfilling their Adopt-a-Highway duty to clean up the Burger King wrappers littered err’where.

Henceforth, I commit to still driving around to get my child to sleep, because SANITY.  But I may also try out biking or walking a little more to decrease the pollution to which I am surely contributing.  (If y’all see me walking down Glenwood Avenue with my baby strapped into the Ergo, I probably need a ride to the mall so pull over and make some room for me. Unless I’m wearing my FitBit- then keep going because my self esteem is very much linked to my step count.)


BUY LOCAL, EAT LOCAL
Currently: If I know one thing, it’s this: buying Kettle Cooked BBQ Chips at your neighborhood Harris Teeter does not initiate you in the Buy Local/Eat Local Club.  As committed foodies, we already frequent restaurants that use locally grown, locally sourced foods.  We haven’t taken the plunge into the homegrown movement (i.e. harvesting bushels of potatoes in our raised soil beds) mainly because there would be zero sustainability.  Our crops would have no hope.  I can’t keep an ice cube orchid alive, more or less an entire crop of cherry tomatoes.

Henceforth, I gladly commit to upping my Farmers Market game in the coming months to indulge in some local summer produce.  I promise to Instagram my spread of corn and peaches and watermelon with the following hashtags: #nofilter #buylocal #eatlocal #shoplocal #locallygrown #homegrown #realfood #locavore #naturescandy #nomoremoney #moremoneymoreproblems


Hopefully these Earth Day Resolutions will last longer than my New Year’s Resolutions and will make a small dent in saving the Earth!  Like I always say, “Reduce (laundry), Reuse (tissue paper but not toilet paper), and Recycle (cardboard and popsicle sticks to make Pinterest pocketbooks).”  May Earth Day be today and every day!

Book Club on the Blog

IMG_4738I love to read and love sharing book recommendations with others.  The eleven books below are some of my 2016 Good Reads so far: a fair mix of fiction novels, nonfiction (spanning topics from motherhood to Christian life), and four fantastic children’s books.  You can click on the title to read a more detailed summary on Amazon.  Hope you find a title that sparks your interest!

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  • BITTERSWEET: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist
    GENRE: Nonfiction (Christian Life/Spiritual Growth)
    THE SKINNY:  I’ve heard a lot of buzz about Shauna Niequist and enjoyed reading her book.  It reads very similar to the style and voice of a blog.  After enduring numerous difficulties and major life transition including birth of a child, job loss, a miscarriage, and an out of state move, she settles on the idea that “…in all things [bittersweet] there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich when it contains a splinter of sadness“.  Also looking forward to reading her book “Cold Tangerines”.

 

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  • THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah
    GENRE: Historical Fiction, Novel
    THE SKINNY: “In love we find out who we want to be.  In war we find out who we are.”  This is such an outstanding novel and definitely one of my favorites in awhile.  It details the stories of survival and love experienced by two sisters in German-occupied France during WWII.  Couldn’t put it down!

 

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  • THE SONGS OF JESUS by Tim Keller
    GENRE: Christian Devotional
    THE SKINNY:  First of all: Tim Keller.  Anything he writes is really good and I’ve loved starting my days with this daily devotional.  The book is structured so that within a year, you end up reading through the entire book of Psalms from the Bible.  He writes out a few verses for each day’s reading, has a very brief reflection on the text, and finishes with a 2-3 sentence written prayer.  Encouraging, quick way to focus your day and could be a great introduction for anyone unfamiliar with the Bible but interested in learning more.

 

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  • LOVING THE LITTLE YEARS: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic
    GENRE:  Nonfiction (Motherhood)
    THE SKINNY: This was the first book I read in 2016.  I loved the short chapters, her perspective on motherhood (doesn’t romanticize but also doesn’t martyr herself), practical advice mixed with insightful godly reminders that I soaked up as a new mom.  “Prioritize your children far and away above the other work you need to get done.  They are the only part of your work that really matters.”

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  • WE ARE CALLED TO RISE by Laura McBride
    GENRE: Fiction, Novel
    THE SKINNY: This story is narrated from four alternating perspectives by characters who end up connected by the end of the novel.  I could visualize one character, Bashkim (an eight year old immigrant), so strongly that I felt like he sat in my own third grade classroom.  Some occasional strong language and weighty topics (PTSD, foster care system, abuse) are present in this book, however the author does tie hope and redemption into the storyline.

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  • BIRD BY BIRD: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
    GENRE: Nonfiction (Writing)
    THE SKINNY:  If you enjoy writing and pursue it in some form (work or pleasure), I’d strongly recommend this book.  I was such a fan that my highlighter pretty much could have been on autopilot and highlighted the entire book.  Not only does she offer some great points about the writing process, she is also very, very funny.

 

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  • DARING GREATLY by Brene Brown
    GENRE: Nonfiction (Personal Growth/Relationships)
    THE SKINNY: I think I’m late to the Brene Brown party but DONT WORRY EVERYBODY I made it! The subtitle summarizes the book pretty well: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.  In a year of learning a lot about vulnerability (what it is and what it isn’t), this book has resonated with me.  “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.  Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

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GOOD READS: FOR THE MUNCHKINS
As a former third grade teacher, I can’t help but love children’s literature.  Being at home with my daughter hasn’t kept me from exploring fun, new (to me) picture books; I’ve enjoyed reading them with her and showing her all the pictures. Whether you’re an educator looking for a fresh story for a lesson, a parent looking for a delightful alternative to the firetruck book you’ve read 84 times, or a fellow children’s lit enthusiast, below are a few picture books I’ve recently enjoyed from our local public library:

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  • JULIA’S HOUSE FOR LOST CREATURES by Ben Hatke
    ABOUT: Julia advertises for lost creatures to move in to her too-quiet house and ends up with a full crew including a mermaid, dragon, troll, and ghost.  When they become too unruly, Julia decides the best way to solve the problem is by making a Chore Chart and putting them all to work.  The graphic novel style of illustrations are just as entertaining as the story.
    GOOD FOR TEACHING: onomatopoeias (bang! crash! scritch scratch! boom!)

 

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  • LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET by Matt de la Pena 
    ABOUT: As a boy and his grandma travel together through town by bus, he questions why they have to ride the bus on a rainy day instead of driving a car.  Or rather, “How come we gotta wait for the bus in all this wet?”  His grandma patiently and creatively answers his many questions on their journey, which takes them to the soup kitchen where they’re volunteering to serve food.
    GOOD FOR TEACHING: questioning, using descriptive language

 

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  • WOLFIE THE BUNNY by Ame Dyckman
    ABOUT: A baby wolf is left on the doorstep of a bunny family.  Papa and Mama are excited to have Wolfie but Dot is convinced he is going to eat them all up.  At the end, the book takes a fun turn away from sibling rivalry and shows Dot standing up for Wolfie when a bear tries to eat him.
    GOOD FOR TEACHING: predicting, how real life experiences help you to imagine stories (author’s note in back explains how she came up with the story)

 

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  • SIDEWALK FLOWERS by JonArno Lawson
    ABOUT: I love wordless picture books!  This one is so rich with meaning and tells a beautiful story through the illustrations.  A little girl walks with her distracted father through the city and picks flowers growing from the sidewalk throughout the beginning of the book.  Then, seemingly as a gesture of kindness, she leaves her flowers with others as she passes by: a dead bird on the sidewalk, a man sleeping on a park bench, her mom and siblings.  My favorite part is how the book starts off in black and white with occasional color and then slowly more color is added as the story and characters come to life.
    GOOD FOR TEACHING: reading the pictures, questioning, making inferences

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I always love book recommendations from any genre.  If you’ve read a good one, tell me about it!

Is God Still Good When Life Is Hard?

I don’t know about you, but when life gives me lemons, I dutifully make lemonade.

Then I pour out every last drop from the pitcher and say I DID NOT ORDER THIS, GOD.  I also might smash the glass on the floor…you know, just to get my point across.

How do you respond when life presses in, handing you a perceived burden instead of blessing?  How do you process your disappointment, failure, or pain?  Perhaps you and I both wonder the same thing: Can I still trust that God is good when I’m walking through a really hard season?

Hard isn’t always dramatic and life altering.  Sometimes it’s the “small hard” that can drive us to bitterness: the monotony of the daily grind as you fold yet another pile of laundry or stare at the same desk and workspace wondering when you’ll permanently escape the cubicle.  Those days that are totally different than you expected them to be and the only thing that went right was the wheels stayed on the car.  The children’s constant bickering that is working your last nerve.  When you’re processing the small hard, often the heart’s default reaction is to grumble and challenge God.  Does He even see that I’m dissatisfied?

And then other times, life steamrolls you with “Big Hard”.  While you’re left reeling flat on your back, the world sidesteps your pain and continues on.  Big Hard may look like the relationship that dissolves right in front of you, leaving pain and crushing silence in its wake.  The devastation caused by the death of a loved one, and the lingering grief that emerges uninvited in the most public places.  The depression that settles in like a nebulous fog, creating an emotional darkness that feels like a physical weight.  The diagnosis, the debilitating sickness, the one prayer you’ve prayed that seems to remain unanswered.  Big Hard goes beyond just simple disappointment and pushes you into anguish and heartache.  In moments of raw honesty, we abandon churchy answers and question if God truly sees, hears, knows, or cares.

We each have unique journeys; my story is not yours and your story is not mine.  My dad lived in a nursing home for eleven years with a feeding tube and a limited ability to communicate, confined to either a hospital bed or a wheelchair.  That’s some hard stuff right there.  And now, as joyful as the past year has been watching our newborn grow into a curious, smiley baby, my husband and I have each individually walked through significant difficulty for extended periods of time.  In my wrestling with God, I’ve had tears and confusion along the way and I’ve nearly perfected my whiny voice, yet I choose to believe that He is still good when life is hard.

Our world is profoundly broken and hardships will continue to enter and exit our lives until the day we die.  If God is truly constant and sovereign and faithful, then that’s who He is all the time.
                       His goodness is not conditional to our current circumstances or feelings. 
                                  Our misguided beliefs about God do not change who He is. 
          And the lies I believe about myself do not change how God sees me or what is actually true about me.

When he answers our prayers in specific, unique ways, He is a good God.  When our lives seem like they’re going off the rails and it’s a Big Hard type of journey with prayers that feel unanswered, He’s not frantic or confused, but still constant and sovereign and faithful and yes, even good.

“Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out.” Romans 11:33   Surely if I had traced out my own life path, it would’ve been easier, somewhat linear, and filled with far more grandeur than ashes.  However, trusting that God’s wisdom and knowledge are deeper and richer than we can comprehend, we can walk through seasons of difficulty with tears in our eyes, questions in our hearts, and faith in our steps.

{Related Listening: “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle}

When I Die, Spread My Ashes in Target’s Threshold Aisle

Being of sound mind and body, I hereby publish the above blog post title to fulfill a lifelong wish of being permanently one with Target.  Please also spread some of my ashes in figure-8 patterns through Women’s Apparel to commemorate my mindless wandering past the Xhilaration Lace Fringe tops and Merona pencil skirts.  May it be so.

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When you have to go to Target… {Behind the Scenes Exclusive}

BEFORE A TARGET TRIP
What my husband says: “Would you grab deodorant and a pack of Gatorade at Target today?”
What I hear my husband say: “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves spending under $15 and no more than ten minutes in Target.  It is essential that you are to only purchase deodorant and Gatorade.  Should you arrive home with eight plastic bags of merchandise I will personally self destruct.  Good luck.”
Me: “Wut.”

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DURING A TARGET TRIP

I walk in to Target (determined not to need a shopping cart) and chant my mantra: “Deodorant, Gatorade, Deodorant, Gatorade, Deodorant, Gator– ooooh Dollar Spot!!!”  Suddenly, I start to rationalize the necessity of purchasing embellished clothespins and mini chalkboards and something that says I can grow thyme.  I don’t even know how to use thyme to flavor dishes…  does it go with baked potatoes?  soup?  cereal?  Whatevs, it’s only $3!  I load up my left arm with Dollar Spot swag and take the long way to the Gatorade.

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While he did not think this sweater was cute, I texted four other friends who confirmed: so cute.  Several aisles and many minutes later, I make it up to the register with nine pounds of merchandise balanced across my upper body.  The cashier scans …and scans… and scans… and declares, “That’ll be 164.33.”  I just black out.  I don’t even know what she just said. Swipe.

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AFTER A TARGET TRIP
*Husband looks at receipt*
Me
: WHATHADHAPPENEDWAS..

This is the part of the story where you have to explain why you forgot to buy deodorant but purchased the pack of Gatorade and Dollar Spot items plus wrapping paper, hand weights, 2 storage bins, a cardigan, contact solution, new flats (ON SALE YOU’RE WELCOME), and a Threshold accent rug.  “You don’t know my life!!!!!!!”

What my husband says: You are banned from Target indefinitely.
What I hear my husband say:    target meme

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In life there are two kinds of people: the ones with a Red Card and then the other people.  If you have a Red Card, you understand what I’m saying.  You know what it’s like to end up as a squatter in Aisle B12’s Promised Land singing “Jesus Take the Wheel”.  The other people… they were at Walmart on Black Friday elbow dropping for a crockpot. At Target, we don’t wait in long lines just to get physical.  Unless it’s Lilly for Target.  In which case, you will get boxed out for a tunic that’s two sizes too big by a blonde in a tennis skirt so she can get it tailored to size or sell it on eBay.

Please remember, this isn’t meant to be morbid, I’m just preparing for all potential scenarios.  If the battle for a tunic gets too physical and I don’t make it out, honor my memory by spreading my ashes in all of my favorite Target places: Women’s Apparel.. the Greeting Card section.. all of the Threshold aisles.. that wall of nail polish.. also the aisle with the cat feather wands.. Grocery.. that little section with all the baby shoes for newborns.. sprinkle a little on the Nate Berkus collection because I’m somewhat interested but not committed enough to purchase.. the Icee machine.. and not to be forgotten, the Dollar Spot that always ends up costing me many, many dollars.

Would You Rather: Slide Down a Razor Blade into a Pool of Rubbing Alcohol… or Open a Door While Pushing a Stroller?

Easy choice.

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Opening a door to enter a building while pushing a stroller is admittedly a first world problem- but certainly one that needs to be addressed.  I don’t even understand why this is so stressful.  It just is.  When I’m out running errands, it takes me seven minutes, a twelve-point turn, and two Xanax before I can physically enter a store with my child.  Honestly..  we have entire careers devoted to inventing products that maximize our convenience and comfort.  For crying out loud, someone invented a night light for your toilet bowl.  And sells it.  For money.  MURICA THE BEAUTIFUL!  Let it be known that if someone invents a robotic stroller arm with an opposable thumb, I will purchase this product and endorse it until the day I die.  (LOOKIN AT YOU fifteen year old on Shark Tank!)

If you’re new to the Stroller Situation, let me break down this tedious six step process.  I can’t guarantee this is the best way to maneuver a stroller into a building, but I’d like to offer it as a suggestion.  If you are a seasoned parent who has discovered a better method, tell me your ways and I will sit at your feet and be your Padawan and grow up to be a Stroller Jedi just like you.

The Pathway to Insanity  Six Steps to Opening a Door With a Stroller:
Step One: Casually approach the door to Hallmark and hit the door with the stroller to see if there are any handicapped door activators.  [Spoiler alert: There are none.]

Step Two: Turn around and wheel the stroller backward toward the door.  In one fluid motion, fling the door open but also insert your body in the doorway so the door stays “open”.  You will develop a hematoma but you are also a parent who has to learn the child comes first.

Step Three: Shuffle backward and pull the stroller.  The front wheels will probably lock at some point in your journey so be prepared to pop a wheelie and ruff ride into Hallmark if it comes to that.

Step Four: HEAVEN HELP US if there are any individuals watching you do all of this without offering to help.  If this happens, stop and stare into their eyes so they can see deep into your soul.  Or “accidentally” run over their toes once you make it in.  Or both.

Step Five: Your body is in the store but the stroller is stuck in the doorway.  If I understand science correctly, your child really won’t retain any of these early childhood memories so if the door closes on him a few times while you continue dragging the stroller backward, they’ll think about it for, like, 90 seconds then go back to thinking about how to kick off one shoe.

Step Six:   Now- please pivot approximately nine times.

Your reward for making it successfully into the store is two minutes of victorious browsing before your kid lets it all go in his diaper and you need to find a bathroom.  That’s predictably when I fall to my knees in despair and claw all the product off the shelves and get kicked out of the store.

But at least they open the door for me on the way out…

Three cheers for automatic doors, helpful strangers, and Amazon Prime!

Testing, Testing. HOT MIC.

I didn’t realize 2016 would be The Year of the Blog.
It just kind of happened.

Let me back up and tell you that growing up, I was totally that kid who loved to read and write. Words were my thing. I’d read a Nancy Drew book and be so empowered by the way she busted open the mystery of that hidden staircase that I’d furiously journal about all the “suspicious activity” in my extremely safe middle-class neighborhood. (If this tempts you to close the browser, please reconsider. I’m way cooler now.) I still enjoy to read and write but it requires intentionality to make time for both. Enter: New Year’s Resolutions 2016.

You know when you become an adult and your New Years Resolutions start revolving around hygienic self care and responsible life goals?
I resolve to be in a committed relationship with my Sonicare toothbrush.
I resolve to put my phone down while I’m spending time with my daughter.
I resolve to learn what quinoa is and see it one time in person.

In 2016, I tapped into the adultiest adult corners of my soul and resolved to explore and develop my writing. (The other adult corners of my soul are dedicated to daily facial moisturizing and folding fitted sheets.)  After a series of events I decided that blogging would be the main platform for that exploration. So here we are.

Just so we’re all clear on this- I’m now a stay-at-home Mom who is currently wearing yoga pants and starting a blog. I’m one essential oil away from fitting the exact stereotype of a person I never thought I’d become. And yet- I kind of feel amazing about it. It’s only a matter of time before I’m rolling through the suburbs in a Dodge Caravan with a Rudolph nose on the front.

This blog is not just for people who have kids- though I will be writing about the realities (my realities) of parenthood: the good, the bad, the ugly. The solidarity of shared experiences will give us lots of emotions and we will mail each other friendship bracelets. Even if you don’t have your own children but you like kids, know kids, or see kids in places doing things, I think there’s a place for you here. I know there’s definitely a place for this girl— who are you and HOW CAN I KNOW YOU?

I would like to point out my blog is very specifically not for any of my former third grade students who have managed to navigate the expanses of the internet to find this page. I love you dearly and I hope you are on the honor roll and doing your homework every night but this blog is not your home. BYE. And if you are a person sitting on a computer at the public library, there’s a strong likelihood you’re catfishing somebody. That somebody is not me and you need to continue on. Nothing to see here.

Every now and then I hope to pull the reins on the sarcasm and first world problems to actually post thoughtful reflections about meaningful topics. I love Jesus. Walking through life as a Christian can be challenging and emotional and difficult, but also incredible and vibrant and soul-satisfying. I want to contribute just as much Jesus to the Internet as I do snarky anecdotes so if I happen to get behind the blogging pulpit, go on and lift up some Praise Hands.

There you have it. Let’s do this.