How to handle awkward situations like a boss.

Hey now! Is this blog not the most cliche thing in the world? Mom gets bored, starts a blog. Mom writes four things. Mom gets really busy and blog takes the back burner. Mom comes back and is all “oh my gosh can you believe I haven’t written a post since August!?” When you have thousands of hours on your hands- just scroll to the beginning of every mom blog ever written and I guarantee a post just like this is in there.

ANYWAY- I think I have a hard time blogging because most of my thoughts are more like tweets. Ironically, I’m not even super active on the Twitter, so there’s that. Like I’m not sure how to turn a grocery shopping trip in which I’m pretty sure I spotted Chris Pratt into a cohesive couple of paragraphs with an actual point.

However, it was on said shopping trip that opportunity presented itself. I was on the brink of losing my mind because trips into town require a delicate dance around nap times, meal times, and about to fall asleep times. The dance was over and when the curtain closes, it’s good (read: 100% NECESSARY) to have pacifiers on hand for the grumpy children in the car, who surely need food or sleep by this point. On this day, I had zero pacifiers and my annoying sing-songy mom voice wasn’t helping anybody. So like a normal person, I cranked up the music and prayed that everybody else on the road would drive a socially acceptable velocity above the speed limit so I could get home quickly.

Fast forward to me cresting the hill just before my house and what do I see but two unfamiliar, bobbing heads traipsing down my driveway. GASP!!!! Jehovah’s Witnesses. At this point both children were full on crying and their mother was about to start, too. But I took a deep breath, pulled into my driveway, and braced myself for the awkward conversation about to happen.

Nope. That did not happen actually. Because like a scared lunatic I DROVE PAST MY OWN HOUSE in order to avoid them!!! Who does that!? With CRYING children in the car!! And then in an adrenaline induced frenzy all I could think about was how far I would have to drive in order for them to not see me again (answer: a TON of miles, yay rural living). What kind of mom prolongs her children’s crying in order to avoid the two seconds it takes to say “I’m really sorry, I can’t talk right now, but come back later and we can talk about Jesus.”? –> ME. <– I ended up turning around a little ways down the road and hoped they wouldn’t recognize the only vehicle on the road that JUST drove past them 30 seconds earlier, praying they had walked far enough from my house to avoid seeing me turn into my driveway.

The Lord’s favor was upon me and I slowed down to skirt around them as they gave a little wave. What friendly people.

Timing.

People, let me just say this. This isn’t a mom blog. I just talk about it a lot because that’s my life at the moment, and I’m about to talk about something semi-parenting related yet again, but I don’t want you to feel like you can’t read this if you don’t have kids. Hopefully on some level you can relate, take notes for the future, or just laugh at the plight of all of us suckers who procreated. For example, I’m sure a lot of us have body image issues. I personally don’t, I just like myself better when I’m skinnier, which brings me to this…

Aside from all of the “surprise” babies out there, a lot of thought generally goes into having children. I am pretty much on team #makeallthebabies all the time, so that thought process is something like: Can we provide basic food, shelter, and clothing? Check. Are we on crack or other illegal substances? No. Okay then, we’re in the clear.

For others, it’s more complicated than that. Do I want to be pregnant during the summer? Or do I want to nurse a sweaty newborn? Do I want to have a winter baby? When’s the best time to take my maternity leave? Should we wait until we have a house in a better school district? Should we have 50% of their college fund saved up first? Should we get a puppy? Should we start having kids young and get them out of the house sooner? Should we wait until we’re older, wiser, and more likely to be expert parents? (ß Good luck with that, people.)

No matter what time is right for you, HERE is the question nobody ever asks: Will I need to renew my driver’s license during my prime child bearing age? YOU GUYS!!! How have we missed this? In my state, we’ve got 8 years in between renewing that glorious, historic, headshot. And somehow, it’s time for mine to be renewed right in the middle of gaining enough baby weight for 4 kids, birthing two, and only losing the weight of one. Don’t try to figure out the math, it’s just scary.

I feel like everyone has questions for God when they get to heaven someday- How many hairs do I actually have on my head? How is it You could never begin and never end? Personally, I will ask our Heavenly Father why, in His infinite wisdom, didn’t he allow for a little wiggle room for our driver’s license weight when drumming up the 9th commandment, “thou shalt not lie”? Couldn’t we just go by number of chins and let common sense do the rest? With everybody crossfitting these days I’m sure the number is misleading anyway.

Second of all, I am dreading ….dread. ing. …..the thought of taking children of any age to the DMV. I think we can imagine all of the reasons but for starters, the last time I was there girlfriend got super condescending with me (still not over it) and if it happens again, I don’t need my kids to see me get sassy with a stranger. I haven’t taught J-Man yet what it means to hold my earrings. But anyway, when am I supposed to shower!? (See bullet point #2 of previous post.) And do my hair!? AND my make-up!? All in one day!? I literally do not know the last time that happened. Around here we either actually shower or we shower with mascara and fair trade accessories. Call me vain but I just can’t resign myself to the fact that I will probably look like a grease ball for the next 8 years on a government ID. This was poor planning.

So gang, you heard it here. Do what you will with this information and don’t say nobody warned you.

the things you never knew you never knew

I’m a sucker for click bait. “See These 23 Celebrities as Kids!” Yup. Clicking. And about 14 celebrities in I’m like, “What am I even doing with my life? I don’t care about this.” … “You Won’t Believe What This Woman Spied on the Beach!” –”oh, a jellyfish. That was totally worth the 37 pop up ads I had to click out of to see the big reveal.”… “14 Things No One Ever Told You About Motherhood” – “You won’t believe incredible love that fills your heart for your sweet newborn. REALLY? Oh my gosh you’re right, I had NO idea that I would love my child.” #stopthemadness

SO here are some things I ACTUALLY didn’t know about motherhood (or life in general) in no particular order, and I just wanna know I’m not alone.

  1. After you give birth you might shake uncontrollably for a couple hours. Is this even a thing? Because I don’t even know. I just wanted skin to skin time without giving my newborn a brain injury from shivering so hard for no reason. Is it adrenaline? Shock? Just me? Probably. Okay.
  1. It’s possible to forget the last time you showered until you see how long your armpit hair is. YES THAT’S GROSS! And yet, here we are. And it’s happened. And I KNOW I’m not alone so don’t even try to shame me or give me the side eye. Hasn’t happened to you yet? Your time is coming.
  1. You will become neurotic about weird things. No, I don’t mean sanitizing toys or throwing out leftovers after a maximum of three days. I mean things like always wearing pajamas even if it’s 4,000 degrees during the summer time because if your house catches fire in the middle of the night you don’t want to rescue children in the nude and you’re not sure if you’ll have time to grab a blanket to wrap up in once you get outside. #survivalmode
  1. You can own a house, a dog, have two kids (or no kids, or any number of kids), a Roth IRA, a business, a solid laundry routine, menu plan like a boss, and still be like “Who let me become an adult?” I think this is why opposites attract. My husband is The Responsible One.

That’s all I got. I was on a roll and got interrupted because children. That was five and a half hours ago. But hey, I figure I’m in pretty good shape if there’s only 4 things I don’t know yet. Just kidding, do any of us REALLY know what to expect or even what we’re doing? No. So don’t pressure yourselves. I heard a mom once fret about giving her kid an oreo. Listen. I once fretted about giving my son an oreo….at 7:30AM. I just needed him to stop whining for a minute, okay? You can judge me. But as long as my kids are alive, well-behaved for 60-65% of the time we’re in public, and DHHS isn’t calling me, we’re in good shape here. Keep on keepin’ on, friends.

The Lost Art of the RSVP.

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the importance of showing up for your friends and recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what that looks like. We’ll definitely be continuing that conversation because there isn’t a rulebook on what you should show up for (or is there?). I also know there were probably some adverse reactions to it. For example “I can’t possibly go to every single thing I’m invited to!” and “You’re telling me to go to all the events I dread!” The sassy part of me wants to tell you that not everybody wants to show up for a root canal or colonoscopy, but they still do. Instead, I’ll just share with you some GREAT NEWS: you don’t have to!

First up: I want you to know that I’m a recovering flaker. After my wedding 4 years ago and being SO annoyed at people who failed to send in a pre-stamped, pre-addressed RSVP card, I decided I would never be that person again and I’d respond to all the things. The number of weddings to which I have RSVP’d since then: ZERO. I am the friend that people have to text asking food choices. (For future reference: Beef. Always Beef.) I have since taken Wedding RSVP’s off the beam and handed that duty over to my husband who is WAY better at getting things in the mail on time. So I get it. It’s not my strong point and it may not be yours either, but we can do hard things, mmm kay?

So here we go. I call it a lost art because I’m not sure we the people understand what exactly an RSVP is. An RSVP is simply a response. That’s it. When someone says “Please RSVP”, it doesn’t mean, “Please come.” Read that again. It does not mean physically show up, it just means respond. My version is more like this: Please FTLJGMASYONSICPETC. The expanded version: “Please For the Love Just Give Me a Simple Yes or No So I Can Purchase Enough Tortilla Chips.” Pretty basic.

Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s move on.

Phone call. Voicemail. Email. Snail mail. Text message. Facebook message. Face time. Actual real life. Click “going” or “can’t go”. Voxer. Snapchat. Singing telegram. Instagram. Tweet it. Make your husband do it. Power point slideshow. Press release. Message in a bottle. Morse code. Nautical flag. Carrier pigeon. Smoke signal.

Why is it when some of us get invited to something it seems all forms of technology suddenly crap out on us and we just plum forget how to communicate? Listen gang, we don’t have to be afraid of or apologetic about being unable to attend something! I mean out of politeness you should probably include an “I’m so sorry” in your “I can’t make it” but it is truly and totally okay if you can’t be at an event. It’s just not okay to ignore an invitation.

“But we get invited to so many things on Facebook!” I know. Facebook events are both great and annoying at the same time. I know you don’t feel special when you and 300 of your closest friends are invited to yet another online milk homogenization party. But if you’re invited to say, a baby shower or a surprise birthday party or something that someone is actually hosting in his or her home- just respond!

This is one of the easiest ways ever to show up for your people without having to physically show up. This one simple, tiny, thing can make a person feel ignored, annoyed, or just plain crazy; or it can make a person feel valued and appreciative. So if, for some reason, you can’t value someone else’s need above your own convenience for the seconds it takes to RSVP to someone’s something, at least just do it for the sake of being polite. We’ve all been on both sides of the story so how ‘bout we all just do better for each other?

EDIT: I forgot to mention this piece of hilarity and I’m sharing it now because it was a crucial source of inspiration for this post. This year makes 10 since my husband graduated from high school. He graduated with a class of 140ish and do you know how many people RSVP’d to the reunion? EIGHT. *Insert all the crying laughing emojis* AND WE WERE TWO OF THEM. ……. AND I DIDN’T EVEN GO TO HIS HIGH SCHOOL. The dang thing was canceled and we crack up whenever we talk about it. Like apparently this event was a huge surprise to 132 other people and they just couldn’t make a decision. I die. Fortunately we see the friends/classmates we love on a regular basis anyway, and now I’ll probably just make fun of them for not having a 10 yr reunion for the rest of our lives. 😉

It’s the little things.

I’m coming to you pretty much as “live” as you can get on a blog this morning because I’m in the midst of experiencing a miracle. Also, I think this is the point in the blog where I have to make up secret code names for my family members. My creative juices are running on empty this morning but we’ll see what I can do.

Scene: My husband, G-Money, took our two year old, J-man, and our dog Remy out to run some errands this morning. The 8-month-old (8 months! When the heck did that happen!?), MJ is sleeping…. AND MY HOUSE IS QUIET!!!! Like really quiet. The fan is going and the keyboard is clicking and there is no other noise. It’s amazing. That’s the miracle. But wait! There’s more.

I get a text from G$ that the coin arcade is no longer at our bank (WHAAAAT!). However, J-Man not only received a lollipop but a toy football at the bank. A lollipop and a toy football. A lollipop AND a toy football. And all he had to do was wake up this morning, let someone change his diaper, let somebody prepare his breakfast, let somebody dress him, let somebody put his sneakers on, be buckled in a car seat, and be carried into a bank.

What I’d like to know is where are the mom gifts!? “Hi and welcome to the grocery store. You made it, here’s your favorite shade of lipstick.” “Thanks for coming to the bank today! Here’s your iced capp.” “You made it to the post office! Would you like some chocolate? A pedicure? Your sanity back?”

Then I remembered that a couple days ago at Wal-Fart (not a typo, if you’re wondering), I received one of the greatest gifts motherhood has ever given me. It’s about 89 degrees out and we’re leaving the store. I start the vehicle, roll down my driver’s side window a few inches out of habit, opened the back gate, and then, for whatever reason, I decided that J-Man could just plop down in the back for a couple minutes while I unloaded everything else. I remember now that the reason is because he’s a whiny pants and I thought being in some shade as soon as possible would magically fix that. HA! Well, I forgot that he’s a spider monkey and while I was putting MJ in her spot behind the passenger’s seat, he made his way to the driver’s seat and hit the lock button right as I closed MJ’s door. Awesome.

Thankfully, the lift gate was still open so I took a deep breath and hauled myself up into the vehicle, through bucket seats, over consoles, clicked unlock, and removed J-man from the driver’s seat. Cue the tantrum. Also cue hauling the tantrum-throwing child over console, through bucket seats, and out of the back, with a pit stop to threaten a spanking. It’s at the moment that we’re clambering out of the back that I’m pretty certain an angel of the Lord appeared, dressed in some JAMMIN athletic wear, and said unto me “Hey! Let me unload your bags for you!”

Ummmmm YES. I believe in that moment I did say “Oh my gosh thank you SO much!!” But in my head it was more like “What!? This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me!!! A fellow mom saw me in my distress and swooped in to save the day!? This one act of kindness is so amazing! I can die happy! There is hope for humanity! This is how we show up for people! My stress is instantly gone! A tantrum just happened? What tantrum? Everything is amazing!”

As I pulled out of the parking lot I realized I am the worst at basic things like asking people’s names and making friends. So I may not ever see this woman again (I don’t even have a license plate number to stalk), but I’ll always be thankful she saw me in that moment and decided that helping a stranger wouldn’t be awkward.

Miracles are happening every day.

Adult responsibilities.

“Kids are a lot of work,” they said.

“Pets are a big responsibility,” they said.

Well guess what. We just returned from a week long trip out of state and both my children and my dog are still alive.

My petunias, however? Some did not fair so well.

image1

And yet nobody says, “Hey! You better think long and hard about flower boxes. Maybe start with something like a cactus and then try an aloe plant when you’ve proven yourself to be responsible.”

So I’m here to tell you: Don’t do it. A man cannot serve two masters and houseplants are nothing but enslaving.

Have you ever seen Dennis the Menace? It’s hilarious, which we all know makes it a classic, and I give you permission to stop reading and go watch it right now. That scene where Mrs. Mitchell is desperately trying to find a babysitter with “Don’t Hang Up” coming through the speakers? Yeah. That’ll be me from now on, trying to find someone to water my plants when I’m gone.

hqdefault

You don’t have to listen to me, though, so pleeeease do not feel like you have to take my word for it. I’m sure these will perk right back up.image2

 

Just show up.

Friends, it is time. I wasn’t going to get so heavy here when I’m about 4 seconds into having a blog, but things got really real this week and it’s time to talk about something that’s been on my mind for months.

Friendships were so simple as kids, weren’t they? I don’t remember really ever putting much thought into who my friends were…they were neighbors who played in my backyard, classmates who sang Mariah Carey’s “Always be My Baby” ALL DAY EVERY DAY at recess, and basically anyone who wasn’t a jerk. Maybe it wasn’t so simple for introverted people, but somehow you found the one or two friends who you liked to spend the majority of your time with on the playground. (PS. I labeled you guys as snobby, oops.)

But somehow, as adults, friendships seem so much harder to navigate. How do I find a college roommate? Who do I pick for bridesmaids? Will my husband’s friends like me? We need ‘a couple’ (you know, the double date go-to, which, by the way, is very difficult to find), how do I stay in touch with old friends? Is this friendship worth finding the resolution to a conflict or do I just let it go? Do I keep reaching out to a friend even when she never seems to have time in her schedule for me? Will I fit into this new friend group? What if she doesn’t like me because [insert insecurities here]?

And then I wonder: Why do all of a sudden I have all of these insecurities that simply did not exist ten years ago? And why do so many women around me seem to experience the same? I’m not a sociologist by any means, but I think I can confidently put one cause of insecurity on the list:

We stopped showing up for each other.

Yes. Yes we sure did. I know a pretty fabulous tribe of women who are confident, uplifting, truth tellers, prayer warriors, and pretty much the most awesome group of women I’ve ever known. I want to be besties with all of them, and yet these are the things we lament about:

“I had a housewarming party and nobody came.”

“Nobody showed up to my 22nd birthday party.”

“I’m having a party Saturday and only 2 people have said they are coming, the rest have only said maybe.” (DON’T even get me started on RSVP’ing to things- that’s a soapbox I’ll be stepping up on another day.)

“A friend invited me to lunch, and 45 minutes later she hadn’t shown up yet. She texted me and said she forgot about it.”

There were lots more equally sad examples (including people who flaked on kids’ birthday parties. I can’t even. That’s a whole new layer for another day.), but one friend perfectly summed up the reason I’m writing all this. She said:

I’m tired of feeling like I’m not worth showing up for.”

Boom. Now I know, we have to give our “best yes” because Lysa Terkeurst said so and we have to have our boundaries because Brene Brown told us to and we need to practice self-care because everybody says so and oh, we’re introverted and can’t do all the things and it’s okay if we skip because we are extroverted and surely so and so will understand if something better came along. Can we just take a second and put on a different pair of perspectacles?

I want you to show up for the little things so that I know you’ll show up for the big things.

 Let that sink in for a minute. The little things are: the birthday parties, barbecues, girls’ nights, that Pampered Chef party where you SO do not need another kitchen gadget, the coffee date, the play dates, the housewarming party, the baby shower, the bridal shower, the graduation, the lunch date, that service project. Pretty much to everything on that list I say “mmm no thanks, I have better things to do”, but I’m convinced each of those things are building blocks to better relationships.

Showing up for the little things whispers ‘I’m here for you.”

Showing up for the little things says “I believe you are worth it.”

Showing up for the little things says “I will lay down my precious time for you.”

Because at some point, the little things become the big things. The birthday parties turn into days of sorrow when a child is taken too soon. The girls’ nights become a miscarriage and needing some friends to help heal. The Mary Kay party becomes a prayer session for a friend whose marriage is in trouble. The housewarming party becomes a gathering to grieve with a newly widowed friend.

Do you see the connection?? I hope so. When the heartaches come, (and believe me, they sure as heck will) I want to know who my people are. I don’t want to wonder which of my friends might show up in time of need- I want to know who’ll drop everything without a second thought to stand in the gap for me. I think we all want to know the same.

Who can you show up for this week?

Family Vacation

We’ve got a family vacation coming up.

Wait, what?? Who’s idea was it to ever put the words “family” and “vacation” together in the same sentence, let alone make the phrase worthy of a Wheel of Fortune puzzle?

My idea of a vacation: Wake up at leisure and make my way unhurriedly to an airport. Fly somewhere tropical. Sit on the beach and take dips in the ocean. Repeat for 5 or 6 days, return home.

What “family vacations” are really like: If you’ve ever seen Doomsday Preppers, it’s about a half-step below that. Lay out every single piece of clothing your family members own. You clearly don’t need ALL the clothing, so you pack minimally: 1 outfit per day, plus a spare outfit or two- per day. Plus swimming trunks, rain jackets, cardigans, sandals, long johns, snowsuit, and boots- you just don’t know what the weather’s gonna do. Find a dog sitter. Maybe a house sitter. Pray the plants don’t die while you’re gone. Clean the house (why? We don’t really know. I personally like all my vacation junk to blend in with the normal junk when we return). Write instructions for the dog sitter. Clean out the car. Pack snacks. Eat the snacks and resolve to pick up more on your way out of town. Figure out sleeping arrangements. Resolve to co-sleep after hitting the road and realizing the pack ‘n play never made it to the car. (Did I mention how romantic family vacations are?) Answer all the questions from the hubby: Did you pack my sunglasses? Did you bring diapers? What about floss? Do you have any Tylenol? I need some Tylenol. Do you have the checkbook? Did you shut all the windows? Should we fill up now or can we wait? (Meanwhile his jobs are done. Brush teeth: check. Find car keys: check. Ready for vacation.)

THEN the actual vacation begins: When is it nap time? Please let me find food the children will eat. Oh you don’t want to ride in the stroller ever? Let’s walk at a snails pace everywhere. Let’s go get ice cream. Just kidding, we should have a tantrum for no reason first. Spend 4 minutes at the beach. Find shelter during thunderstorm. Is it bed time yet? Repeat for 5 or 6 days. Then jam everything into the car with fingers crossed nothing’s been forgotten and head home.

So for the sake of our sanity can we just not call it family vacation anymore? We can just call them trips. That way, we have no unrealistic expectations, we lower the possibility of disappointment, but still leave room for pleasantly surprising fun. After all, trips CAN be fun. Like when everyone is in the car. And all the children are asleep.

#2

I’ve heard of people who “do their best thinking in the shower”. I’ve determined these people must all be bloggers, because let me tell you….normally my shower involves 10 minutes of zero thinking and (hopefully) peace before anybody wakes up or starts crying. I also usually try to stretch it to 12 minutes without anybody noticing that I’m “taking FOREVER in the shower”. But this blog, man. It’s made me a shower thinker. I got so caught up in all the pressure of thinking about what I was gonna write about next and narrowing down my thousands of hilarious jokes that I shaved one armpit and forgot to condition my hair. And I’m STILL not sure where this post is gonna go.

I guess maybe I’ll share one of my goals for this place. Some of you who know me well probably read my tagline and thought “Oh heavens, here she goes. Brace yourself, people.” But really that tagline exists because I want to build a place of refreshing honesty- I want this to be a place that says “me too” instead of giving the side eye. And I know we people of the internet tend to get real brave behind keyboards, but maybe some of that refreshing honesty will spill over into real life and before we know it, we’ll have tons of women in real life who can just be cool with each other and act like besties when we pass each other in the grocery store, because we just know that’s the kind of people we are. Unless its Wal-mart on a Friday evening or Saturday afternoon. You can be sure as heck I’ll avoid eye contact and all pleasantries in order to get out of there as fast as humanly possible.

Anyway, I painted a bedroom today in order to avoid folding laundry and then I started writing for the same reason. But now both are done so I should probably go fo- oh look, it’s 10PM. Goodnight 😉

~Erica

So this just happened.

Remember that time I watched a 20 minute tutorial and the next thing I knew I had a self hosted (sort of?) blog site, because that’s what the “serious” bloggers do? Yeah. What even. In true ESTP fashion, I fired before I aimed.

So here we are. I’m told the smart people “create content” and decide on a blog name by thinking about what they are passionate about and what they want to share with their readers. Fashion? Parenting? Homesteading? When you know what will be posted on your blog for the next 5 years you may then begin The Process. But I do what I want, so none of that happened.

I can’t make any promises about what may or may not be written here, but I do know I’m excited to have another outlet for procrastinating instead of doing things like folding laundry.

Keep it sassy, friends.

~Erica