Monday, September 29, 2014

I Am A Paper Towel

I spy something with my too-large-for-my-face eye.
It's a mess.
The same variation of the crap I pick up Every. Single. Day.

I know if I really analyzed this for one holy, hot minute, I'd know that this problem comes down to my lack of parenting skills. But I'm pretty adept at deflecting those kinds of thoughts.

But this morning, I sat on my couch and looked around.
And I realized this: I'm the quicker-picker-upper.
I am a paper towel.
For legit.

When you boil it all down, that's all there is.
This mantra: I got a college degree so I could pick up after my family, all day long.
Without anyone ever noticing.

I am a paper towel.

Good grief, that's awesome.

**Here's a thought: Let's start a support group for us Paper Towel Moms. We'll call ourselves The Towlettes. You with me?

Our first order of business will be an "off-site retreat". Far, far away.
You know, to set up the rules for our club.
And maybe get a massage.
Being a Paper Towel is exhausting.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sa Said

Did you know that most everyone (who's anyone) calls me Sa? It's true. Well, those that know and love me well. The Husband called me by that name on Facebook last week and a whole bunch of peeps were confused. Sa is me. I am Sa.

One of the twins could never say my full name, Lisa. And she just cut it down to the quick. And Sa was born. Or started. And now it just is. As if I've always been Sa and nothing else.

Child #2 drew this acorn portrait for me during our summer road trip. She folded it up and gifted it to me. And if you know anything, I mean anything, about 15 year olds, you'll know that any gift is precious and rare. So of course, it was framed.

Here's what Sa is saying. Or thinking about. Just right now. Roll with it:

* I want to paint my piano. But I promised my mother I wouldn't ever, ever, ever. It's my childhood piano and I think it would look smashing in glossy white. Maybe an airy turquoise? I'm not sure where I would gather the energy to paint that monstrosity, but it would be epic. I'd just have to hide it whenever my mom came over. No biggie.

* Speaking of energy...The Husband offered up my favorite quote of the week. Maybe the month? Just yesterday, we were sitting on the couch chatting, and he said, "No wonder you're so tired all the time. It's all that thinking you do."
Yes. Why, yes it is. I'll work on toning it down. Because, duh.

* Child #2 announced to her church group that she has extra nipples. Uh huh. She really did. Please don't tell me this is shocking behavior from one of my kids. It's really run-of-the-mill ordinary, and you know it. I really didn't ask for many details. Because, why? I only asked for clarification that she did NOT provide a visual display.

* You wanna know what I lay in bed and think about at night? Well, at least lately? Open kitchen shelving. For reals. After my mother brain scrolls through all the ways I'm a failure (man, that's a habit I wish I knew how to kick!), then I turn to important world issues. Like open shelving. It's all over Pinterest. Have you noticed? I love it. I really do. But here's the thing. And it's a big thing....What about the dust? All those dishes and shelves would get dusty. No? I don't think I could handle it. So for now, I'll keep my cupboards. No worries.

* The Baby Child no longer waves at me before she gets on the bus. We used to have this way. This thing we did. She would turn and wave at me right before she boarded. I would wave back. Now? She jumps on without a second thought. It makes my heart sad. I'm tempted to rent some 3rd graders every morning who will pretend they think I'm the awesomest mom in the world before they get on the school bus. You want me to get you some too?

* I totally think I could make a skirt for myself. I don't know how to sew. Not really. And the sewing machine I own was my mother's in high school. It barely works. But, I'm positive I could do it. How hard can making a skirt really be?

* I am gifted at many things. You know this already. But there are some things I do that just ring "superpower". Like, my brain remembers phone numbers. With alarming exactness. But my favorite super gift? Pawning my kids off onto my sister. I'm kinda a master at it. Just sayin'. Yesterday I got her to take her kids, 2 of mine, and an extra friend, to the zoo. And then to a restaurant for dinner. It's like our Saturday Way. The Husband and I sit on the couch and catch up on all our shows, and my sister entertains all the kids. Hey. It's not my fault my children would rather be with her than me. I'm just gifted like that. Maybe I could write an ebook on my methods. Hmm.

* If I can't paint my piano, I'm going to paint my back door. I'm so super close to doing it. Turquoise? That's not too crazy, right?

* Child #1 is a senior. I know you know. But, gah! That fact hits me at least 3 times a day. And I'm sad. I try to avoid that line of thinking, but I can't. She's become this super cool chick and I like her. What will the house feel like in a year when she isn't living in it? Tears, people. And heart palpitations.

Sa has said.
I hope you enjoyed.
Feel free to share your thoughts on open shelving. Or the color turquoise.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hold Your Ordinary Close

Pretty much every morning rolls out the same. I get up around 6:00 am. I plop down at the computer in my pajamas and read email. I sometimes respond to email. Then I scour every blog I love for any updates. And then I look some more. Bam. That's it. Sometimes I get all crazy and eat a protein bar.

I used to be productive in the morning. Well, let's rephrase. I used to be productive all day long. Now? Eh. I'm on the back side of 40. I just can't find it in me to care. That's just the truth of it.

This morning is ordinary. And yet not. Because I feel an epiphany pulling at my brain. Just there, on the edges. It's telling me something important. So I'm rolling it around and trying to gather words for it.

Here's what I've got: The computer is a dangerous thing. Awesome, but dangerous. Not the machine itself, but the online life we all live. The blogs we read, the pictures we post to Instagram, the Facebook friends we have. It's a bit of a vortex, really. A kind of false lie. One that I whole-heartedly latch on to daily.

I read fancy blogs. With real writers. Who take gorgeous, professional looking pictures. And they have sponsors, and their name is known. So I find myself holding envy and longing and a whole ton of wishing. And guess what? I'll do it all again tomorrow, starting at 6:00 am.

I'm a huge fan of the internet. I could write lyrical poetry about Pinterest. I am not one of those people who believe in portion control. But I am this-- A believer in being just as you are. That right here, right now, with your sloppy life, you are good enough. You are just simply enough.

In all the ways that really matter. You are THE good. No fancy pictures. No picture perfect kids. No crafty skills. You. Are. Enough. In your own ordinary, plain, Tuesday way. You, me. This is the real deal. And it's perfect. Even when it's not.

I think we should take our goodness and hold it in our hands. Tight. And when we look around online and in real life, we remember our own truth. And when we find ourselves wishing and longing and comparing, we take our goodness and bring it close. Just so we don't forget who we are in the process. Squeeze it tight and don't let it go.

Ordinary is the new extraordinary.
Let's be that.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Stress and Wreaths and Hair, Oh My

Crazy things happen when I get stressed. Mmm hmm. It throws me off-kilter. Well, more than normal. I have a strange reaction to it all. When I have a lot going on, I tend to get busier. Like, I make even more work for myself. My brain starts working in reverse.

Last week was a dooesy. For legit. There were a couple days in there where I was tempted to drink 4 bottles of Nyquil and sleep it all away. Instead? I woke up at 6:00 am and made granola. And then I made a wreath.

Because any sane person knows that wreath making brings down stress levels. At least it does for me. Is that not a normal reaction?

And no, I didn't take pictures along the way. I kinda made it up as I went along. Maybe I could make one for you and then take pics. Who wants one? Because I've got some stress to deal with this week too. I could end up making scads of wreaths! Maybe I could have a Stress Sale instead of a Garage Sale. Everyone can come over and buy all the stuff I make while I'm working through my internal conundrums. And we could eat cake together. Cake is awesome.

My 15 year old has been begging me for weeks to "tease" my hair. I didn't even know people still used that word. She took hold of bangs last night after dinner.

Um. Yes? Let's serve up the 80's please! This looks shockingly similar to my first driver's license picture. Except that one I wasn't sporting 2 bandaids on my forehead from my latest skin cancer treatment. My kids may have been kind enough to point out that those bandaids made me look like even more of a moron. Children are the best thing for self esteem. They really are.

So, it's Monday. I really hate Mondays.
It just may end up being a 2 wreath day. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Talk Nerdy To Me

The man in this house is only passionate about a few things. New iphones tops the list. And just because I know you're curious, butterflies rank at number 2. Chapstick and root beer come in next.

There's a fever pitch that runs through here when a new Apple product is released. It's rather entertaining to watch. Butterfly Boy may have come home early from work yesterday, just because the UPS man was set to deliver some 6's.

These two both got new phones last night. So, of course dad and daughter talked geek together. I found them chatting up about "clouds" and "new features" and all things nerdy. So adorb-zies. Truly. A scrapbook moment.

And just because we're talking about The Man, I have to tell  you something. I just have to. He killed his latest batch of caterpillars. Oh my gosh, I have to squeeze my eyes shut to try and stop laughing. I really shouldn't find it hysterical, but I do. He fed them fertilized plants. He's now a Butterfly Killer. Oh geez, that's so funny. You with me?

And that 18 year old? I guilt-tripped her. I rather excel when it comes to that kind of parenting. I saw something on Pinterest that I wanted her to make for me. She's super artsy and creative, so I'm only trying to build her talent. I pulled out my mom card, the "If you really love me" trick. It worked beautifully. Look:

This family looks way better as sticks than we do in real life. Too bad no one has hands to hold their new iphones.

Enjoy the weekend, my friends. Put your geek on.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Flip Side

I had a crazy idea this morning. So crazy I don't even know how to go about tackling it. Here it is: Try and be a positive parent for an entire day. What the holy moly!? I don't think I've ever tried that before. It sounds too painful.

But yesterday's post got me to thinking. Maybe you have to work at the whole glass half full kinda thing. Maybe being optimistic is like a habit you have to acquire. Good grief, that just sounds terrible.

So, I asked the Baby Child, "Do you think I'm a happy mom?" She just rolled her eyes and gave me a "You're weird." When she was walking to the bus, I started screaming, "I love you, I love you, I love you!!!" She stopped. Turned around and said, "You're being TOO happy." Got it.

This is this bizarre flip side to having teenagers. I just realized it today. They're funny. Hysterical even. And might I suggest, more entertaining than my kindle (gasp!). Because here's what they do:

They make weird faces and take pictures with their friends. Then they send them to me.

They doodle during class and send me pics of that too:

And when I don't respond to them within .002 seconds, they start texting me repeatedly. "Mom". "Momma!". "Mother!!". It's like I'm their lifeline while they're away. I rather much love it.

They also get on my phone and take pictures of themselves and change my background:

And then, because I'm all sorts of a rock star mom, I send them stuff during the day. You know, when they're NOT supposed to have their phones out.

Look. I just pointed out how teenagers can be fun. I'm well on my way to positive parenting. Not really, but let's go with baby steps. M'kay?

And on a totally different note, I have to tell you something. The Angel Baby was in a magazine. Isn't she the best!?
I take all credit for her awesomeness. For reals. And her beauty. That's because of me too. My sister is just her "caretaker". Got it? Oh, and just so you know, this girl has been on the cover of a calendar as well. Autographs will be given in exchange for keeping any 2 of my kids for a week. Fair trade.

And just because I pretend that you want to see how often my mantle changes, this was last week:

This is now:

Enjoy your random Wednesday.
Be positive! (Just thinking about it makes me tired.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teenagers Drain The Glass

I often wonder what it's like for an optimistic person to parent. Because I'm the opposite. A glass half-empty kind of thinker. Well, I'm actually a glass-drained-dry-and-dead kind of person. It's the way I'm wired. So, I just can't imagine being a hopeful, positive parent. Does it make a difference?

Because this morning, the Baby Child was so mad at me, she started crying. Then she stopped speaking to me. After that, she sat on the porch until the bus pulled up. All because I let her older sister take her water bottle to school.

But, here's the deal...This is my third trip down teenager lane. I know the drill. You would think this would help the situation, but it only pulls my pessimistic self down a darker hole. Because, really? This was supposed to be the Golden Child. My Favorite. The One to redeem the others. Crap shoot. That's all I've got.

Lately, I've seen all sorts of cute Pinteresty ideas for chore charts. All catered to little ones. And my pessimistic, jaded brain wonders, "How do you even make a chore chart for teenagers?" It would only list one item, "Get up". Do I actually pay them for that? What if they just stay silent and don't talk to me? I would definitely be willing put money there.

What hope is there for a parent with teens? What do I say when Child #2 reiterates her real, full-fledged desire to meet a prisoner? She says it's even on her bucket list. And now she's started saying "I'm LOL-ling!" constantly. Instead of actually laughing, she just says the words. Annoying and dumb all rolled into one.

And how do you parent a child that's a mini-you? I'm daily tempted to tell her she's all sorts of spectacular. But then, while serving up dinner, she makes a comment like, "Why don't you just take 5 years to pick a piece of chicken." Or, "If you touch me again, I'll kill you." And then spectacular isn't the word I'm thinking any longer.

Do optimistic parents see teenagers differently than I do? Maybe I need a 12 step program. Or a sabbatical. My sister told me this morning that I need to look for the silver lining. I wanted to reach through the phone and punch her. Super hard.

Maybe this is just a phase. A really, really long phase. I'll grow out of it. Right? Let's cross our fingers. And make a cake. Cake will help.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Current List

My obsession with condensing our life into bullet points continues. For some reason, I enjoy seeing all the crazy grouped together. It's like an official list of "Bad Parenting Examples". We aim to please.

** The girls have all mentioned "it's kinda warm upstairs". And we've been all awesome-parent like, "Seriously? This is 2nd grade science. Heat rises. Stop being cry babies."
And then I actually went upstairs. Because who doesn't love their bathroom decorated for their birthday! (and their tub filled with balloons!) And while putting streamers on Child #1's ceiling, I thought to myself, "It really is warm up here."

Turns out the upstairs air conditioner isn't working. I have nary an idea how long it's been broken. The cry babies were right. Darn it.

** As a general rule, I avoid the 2nd floor. That's where the offspring reside. So, I do my best not to go up there. Ever. My sanity can't take it. Here's Exhibit A:
This is the bathroom that #2 and #3 share. This is what it looks like at this very moment. Let's pause and mention a few things--

The toilet paper roll situation will not be discussed.

We have a 'no food upstairs' rule. How interesting to see that Frito's wrapper in the garbage can. And does that mean a child was actually eating while sitting on the potty? There are no words for that thought.

And lastly, that is definitely an ipad sitting there. This is where it lives. For bathroom reading? I've never asked.

** Yesterday morning, I woke to find a note tapped to my computer screen and the monitor set to display a phone case.
"I want. Plze order when you see this."
Clearly, the Baby Child has become confused on how things work around here. Because this ain't it. We won't even talk about the way she spelled Please like she would text it instead of use it in it's natural form.

When she woke up later that morning, she was stunned that I hadn't ordered this case. Once I described the jobs she could do to earn it, she simply huffed and walked away. Cha ching!

** And lastly, I think it's worth mentioning that I mopped my bathroom floor. This really is epic. I've lived here for 7 years. I've only ever mopped my floor 1 other time. Sweep? Yes. Mop? Heavens no. I hate it.

This week I felt like being a rock star, and I pulled out the mop. Guess what? It removed the top layer of dirt and now it's all just one giant layer of hair spray. Everywhere you walk is sticky. Like, super sticky. Turns out that being a rock star is lame.

I'm thinking about buying a puzzle or a cupcake to cheer myself up. Maybe both.
Join me?

Monday, September 8, 2014


As of 9:00 am, she's legal. She can now buy cigarettes and vote. What an upgrade.

This birthday feels different than all the others. She feels like an official grown up. Maybe a mini-grown up? 18 just gives off the vibe of I'm-going-to-try-life-on-my-own-now-thanks. This age just brings her closer the life she will live separate from this one she grew up in. There is a finality to that thought that just makes my heart heavy.

This beautiful girl made me a mother. She gets to hold that title for the rest of forever. She is special and extraordinary in so many ways. And she has boldly chosen where to direct her path. It's an amazing journey to watch. Her becoming who she was always meant to be.

On this day, 18 years ago, she became our gift. She created parents and started a family. Some days she feels like the glue that holds us together at the edges. Other days I simply sit back and watch her soar. This girl holds a wonderful future inside of her, just waiting to be lived.

It has been, and always will be, an honor to be your mother.
Open those brave wings of yours, and fly.

Happy Birthday my Samantha.

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's A Small World After All

People. It's Craft Friday. Let's get it on.

Well, truthfully, every day is a craft day at my house. I'm not kidding. I make, paint, create something pretty much every single day. It's the one thing that keeps me sane. That, and the bunches of pills I take every day.

So, you should come over. And we can craft together.

On second thought, don't spring a visit on me. Schedule it with me first. Unplanned moments really throw me. Truly. My mom says I'm beyond Type A. More of a Type AAA. She's so adorable when she labels me that way.

But I still want to craft with you. We just need to schedule it. What about a group craft day? I've been thinking this over for the last month. My house. Treat are involved. Right?!

Today you will have to craft on your own. Paper flowers. Made from the Disney brochures that I (hypothetically) stole (brought home) from Disneyland.
They are Shut The Front Door cute. For legit. They are currently decorating my fridge. But, I'm sure they'll move soon.

I was inspired by 2 of my favorite bloggers. They recently made decor from catalogs.
You can read about them here and here.

Here's how to make the flowers. This isn't an original idea. I'm sure I've seen it somewhere, I just don't remember where that is.

First, you start with all the brochures (and your hotel room coasters) that you brought back from Disneyland:

Then you cut out 3 different shapes of circles. I made 2 sizes of flowers, so I needed 4 varying-sized shapes. I used 4 very scientific measuring devices: a bowl, a canning jar lid, the top of a prescription bottle and a circle punch.
I just traced right onto the Disney maps and then cut out the circles.

Each flower needs 4 circles of each size. Stack and hot glue each layer. Then cut a diagonal line at 4 corners of the circle stacks. Do each size separately.
Hot glue each stack on top of the other. Each flower is 3 layers. I cut a little, tiny circle out of the hotel room card holder and glued that in the middle.

Then, just scrunch and fluff. Those are official craft terms.

There are endless possibilities here. You could use scrapbook paper, book pages, maps. I totally thought about taking all those first-day-of-school forms and turning them into flowers. And sending them back to the school that way. Yes, I'm smarter than I look.

Happy crafting!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

To My Daughters

For my daughters,

I view and hear the world in 2 ways. How I can dance to it and how I can write about it. My life feels like it's divided into 2 parts. Before you and after you. Dancing was my before. Writing is my after. Yet, you are my everything. My life at any moment.

My before life, when I was your age, was filled with dance. Immersed, really. Soaked through. It was all consuming and I loved it. Even now, when I hear music, any music, I immediately think of how it could be transformed through dance. It's just automatic in my brain. It really happens without thinking.

Now, in this after life, my mom life, I see words. The movement of words and how they can shape the world. My focus feels fine-tuned to the way we live. I see you with sharp eyes and a mother's heart.

Every day, every moment, I look at you. And I wonder. What is your automatic way of thinking? How do you see the world and yourself? What thoughts come to you naturally, without any effort?

So, here is my every day prayer--For your mind to automatically know that you are a beautiful Daughter of God. That you are a gift. Every part of you. An extraordinary gift.

I want you to walk the halls at school armed with the power that you are loved and special. When you text your friends and listen to music and work on homework, I want the undercurrent layer of your life to be hope. And a knowledge that you are exactly as you should be. A rare and precious girl. A powerful and beautiful young woman.

Because I see you. All of you. And my mother eyes watch all that you do and the world you face. And when your mind wanders, when it takes in all that surrounds you, I want it to know that you're perfect. And you're mine. And also His. And everything else? All the other layers and hard stuff you walk through? That's just the extra. Nothing more. The fringe parts of living.

You are the air I breathe.
You are greater than anything I could have ever imagined.
You are my everything.

Take these words and fold them into your soul. So that you can always, always know whose you are and that your value is infinite. And carry them tight. Don't let anyone or anything nudge them away.

Hold fast to all that makes you so very unique.

And when you view the world, may you always and forever automatically know that you are the very best part of it. You hold the biggest parts of my heart.

Don't ever forget.

Monday, September 1, 2014

How The Weekend Goes

How we handle a long weekend:

1. We nap.
I can't remember the last time I took a nap. Truly. I think I had forgotten how. This weekend was a good reminder to put Nap Time on the schedule. I think it might make me a nicer mom. Probably not, but it's worth a try.

2. We teach zit tutorials.
The Baby Child got her first zit. I taught her how to take care of it.
I instructed her to hold a tissue on it to stop the bleeding. This is what I discovered 10 minutes later. Her explanation? "I didn't want to hold the tissue." I may just get a genius child yet.

3. We decorate.
"We" is a loose term. I decorate. I've been painting frames and making banners and wreaths for about a month. I would pretty much to anything for the twins.

4. We lecture. A lot.
"You can't keep 8 empty water bottles stacked on your bedroom floor."

"No, you can't continue to shower once the shower curtain and rod have fallen to the floor. Days ago."

"Yes, when I ask why you're wearing that dress, it does mean I think you look ugly. But when I say it with my nice voice, you can't take offense."

5. We eat out.
Because, good grief, cooking just seems like such a waste of time sometimes. I mean really, we have naps to take!

6. We family.
And we celebrate cousins and childhood bonds and an amazing boy who is leaving for his church mission. The best of times.

I hope your Labor Day was filled with all sorts of goodness.