Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Adam and Christmas Eve

So when I get back from practice at 10:30 at night, I often find myself wired for the next three hours or so.
It blows.
I need to go to sleep because tomorrow is fast approaching and I still haven't recovered from today.
But I can't because I was effing exercising at bedtime.
It takes me forever to unwind.
So naturally, I decide it is the perfect time to file some government paperwork.
And then organize all the pictures I took over Christmas.
And watch a cooking show.
Then assemble a snack.
Also, I haven't blogged in a while.
So despite the fact that it is well past midnight and my kids will be waking up at dawn, I think I will write a lengthy entry about all the activities we crammed in before Christmas (which in my book is actually the best part of the holidays; if you think about it, Christmas morning itself is somewhat anticlimactic because it is over in a flourish and then you have 7,000 slivers of wrapping paper to clean up and nothing to look forward to. It's a drag and a half.)
Anyway, let me just clean the kitchen real quick.
Okay, I am back and I am serious about writing this post.
And overwhelming you with a lot of pictures that will most likely bore you to tears.
Because they are all different versions of the same picture.
You're welcome.
Fo' real.
^^ Sporting their Christmas threads for church. My dad has scary eyes. ^^
^^ Nearly all the cousins on the Beard side (minus baby Evelyn — who is 5 months old and hates me) preparing for their dessert on the kitchen floor. We made them eat it here, all crammed together, so we could contain the mess. ^^
And now on to the aforementioned repeats.
But, in my defense, there wasn't a single picture taken of us looking in the same direction.
So I decided to include them all.
That, and it has become harder and harder to get all the original Beard kids together in the same room long enough for a picture.
Or 80.
^^ Me (duh), my youngest brother Brady, Britney the Beautiful, and Danger Bryce. ^^
^^ I wish Brady were smiling bigger so you could see that collectively we have the biggest teeth any family ever had. Including horse families. ^^
^^ My siblings are so attractive. Meanwhile, I look preggo. Lovely. ^^
^^ I assure you I am not. That would be physically impossible at this point in time. TMI? ^^
You should have seen the mass chaos that was happening just outside of this frame.
Two thousand kids all crying at once and clamoring for our attention.
^^ And with my Dad, the creator. I'm gross. ^^
And then on Christmas Adam (you know the night before Christmas Eve — because Adam came before Eve ...) the kids and I decorated a gingerbread house and drove around in our jammies looking at Christmas lights.
Not at the same time.
It was quite magical, if I do say so myself (which I absolutely do because I orchestrated it single-handedly and it went off without a hitch).
My Dad and Heather were in California visiting family so it was just the four of us.
Which proved to be perfect and a little sad at the same time.
^^ Another picture without a funny caption because I am getting tired. ^^
^^ This was the best one. It is getting so late. I am reaching a point where it may become necessary to prop my eyelids open with toothpicks in order to finish. ^^
^^ Last one! Making chocolate-dipped pretzels for Santa on Christmas Eve. Exercise-induced frenzy wearing off ..... ^^
I will be back to finish up my Christmas trilogy ... soon.
And a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Marry Christmas!

Okay, everyone drop everything (even if it is a baby) and listen to me.
I am shooting out a quick post on pre-pre-Christmas happenings, and then I intend to type up a proper entry regarding actual introductory Christmas proceedings once I can sort out all the pictures.
Then I will most likely bore you with a real-time Christmas report, followed by a post Christmas run-down.
So you can either read all my droning essays (there will be at least three) or I can come to your house and slap you in the face with a fish.
You want to hear all about our Christmas tree and my holiday Craigslist score?
Only if you insist.
Here is our tree:
^^ Yes, there is also a horse head on the wall. Because what would a home be without a horse head on the wall? ^^
It is short, yet very symmetrical.
We bought it from a 17-year-old boy scout with very silky-looking hair and a slight lisp.
He was pretty much the cutest thing ever.
And he took his tree-selling responsibilities very seriously.
"Are you looking for something sturdy with hardy branches for heavier ornaments? Or do you want something aromatic that will fill your house with a pine-y scent?" he asked.
These were good questions.
I apparently hadn't given this decision the appropriate amount of thought.
Suddenly picking a tree became very complicated.
But after pacing the tree lot and stroking my beard looking at every variety/option, I settled on the perfect one.
And after we got it decorated, we capped it with a pirate hook.
^^ A close up of our festive tree-topper. Because when one doesn't own a sparkly star, one must misspell "Merry Christmas" and tape it to your brother's dress-up pirate hook. Now the horse head isn't looking so strange, eh? #parentingwin #newChristmastradition. ^^
And lastly, this has nothing to do with Christmas but may be the most important antidote included in this little present of a post.
I found these vintage twin bamboo Hollywood Regency-style headboards on Craigslist.
I was actually looking for a king-sized piece, but put side-by-side these will be magnificent.
I was thinking I wanted something new; something different from what Scott and I shared.
Listen to me.
Trying to justify my hoarding.
^^ They are so beautiful I may just snuggle up right here in the garage with them sans mattress. ^^
Happy pre-Christmas!
Stay tuned for my story about how all the original Beard children showed up to the same place, at the same time, with all the the offspring they had created and pure pandemonium reigned.
It was holiday magic!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ryan's baptism

I intended to share Ryan's baptism several weeks ago but got preoccupied while binge-watching seasons one through five of Gilmore Girls;
And then, on an unrelated note, I was also busy being excessively emotional and overly sentimental when confronted with the upcoming holiday.
All the cute Christmas cards (which I LOVE getting, fyi) remind me that our card is missing a key player and then all the Christmas lights remind me of the house that we almost bought and it doesn't make any sense except that it does.
Oh, and Micah has given up pooping altogether, which is causing tears and anxiety.
And he is feeling upset, also.
So, as you can see, I have had no time to write.
But then I remembered my commitment — to myself and no one else — that I write even when I am feeling craptastic ... and if I break that commitment, than the whole handshake I gave myself will be for nothing.
So, even though I am feeling unmotivated and just want to turn off the T.V. and go to bed only to turn on my iPad and watch another episode of GG (crossing my fingers Lorelai and Luke reconcile) I am going to make myself journal until my fingers bleed.
That, or I will quickly detail Ryan's special day and then "go to bed."
And when I say "go to bed" I don't, unfortunately, mean anything dirty but am really hinting that I will watch Netflix until my eyes burn.
And now I realize that quotation marks are probably unnecessary if I am going to spell it out with a lengthy explanation.
This is what happens when I forget how to write.
So ... Ryan's baptism was very nice.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that baptism is performed for the remission of sins and to become a full-fledged member of the church.
We also believe that it can only occur after the age of accountability, which is defined as eight years old.
We believe it is a choice one must make when they are old enough to understand the implications of the commitment.
Ryan asked that her Papa (my dad) participate in the ordinance in lieu of Scott.
I am proud of the decision she made but was sad that Scott wasn't there.
In my head I pictured him outside the window looking in.
Which, I suppose, is sort of a depressing thought.
And this is where I stop writing any more words and let the pictures do their thang:
^^ No this picture was not taken at a prison, which one might surmise by looking at the slammer-esque backdrop. Our church also does not believe in unnecessary adornment on the walls. Obviously. ^^
^^ Ryan and Annie wanted to be baptized together (one right after the other) because they are, and I quote, "BFF cousins." ^^

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A stuffing recipe that will blow your mind

To the vulgar, lumpy, pear-shaped woman with the offensively bright, electric-blue page-boy haircut and the sourest expression plastered across her dumb face: I want to say, "Brava!"
As you were huffing up and down the aisles at WinCo muttering abusive, dimwitted comments about how "unbelievable and irresponsible" my sister and I were acting by allowing our small children to follow unassumingly behind us, giggling, as we pushed our carts around the store collecting food for our Thanksgiving dinner, you reminded me that no matter how hard my life is, it is better to keep trying and flailing and laughing than to allow myself to become a gross, bitter, impudent woman who, instead of enjoying the blessings she does have (health, food, the complexion to pull off teal strands), chooses instead to be resentful and bellow at two young mothers to "leash" their kids instead of letting them "run reckless around the store, getting in everyone's way."
I say, if you are that indignant about women daring to bring their children in public without being tethered than you must be in worse shape than I.
Please, don't ever reproduce.
Also, your asinine remarks were then promptly rebutted by a very kind, older gentleman who apologized in your behalf for being an obscene, inappropriate ass-face.
He didn't actually say ass-face.
But I am sure he wanted to.
We all thought you were an ass-face.
Speaking of which, I have a holiday recipe for you.
I really love Thanksgiving and all the time I get to spend in the kitchen with my sister creating the most delicious meal.
And one of my favorite sides is homemade stuffing.
This is not to be confused with the spongy, icky stove-top variety (unless you like that kind, than three cheers for you).
It is hearty and savory and will change your life.

Thanksgiving Stuffing
3/4 cup butter, melted*
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. spicy pork sausage, crumbled and cooked
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2-3 apples, cored and chopped
9 cups soft bread cubes = 1 loaf of french bread
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Saute celery and onion in olive oil on medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes until tender.
3. Remove veggies and set aside.
4. Break apart and cook sausage until no longer pink.
5. Gently toss celery mixture, butter and remaining ingredients with bread cubes until evenly coated.
6. Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish. Arrange stuffing in dish then cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered and then remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
* Instead of using all butter, sometimes I use 1/2 cup chicken stock to moisten the stuffing. Or you can do a combination of the two.

Happy Thanksgibbing Back!
p.s. I will be back with a full recap on Ryan's special baptism day. She looked so beautiful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Another list of important links

This one is for my butt hole coach who insists we buckle down and get our minds' in the game tonight, which for me, apparently, means writing my feelings.
However the only relevant feelings pertinent to my performance tonight are those of anxiety, some excitement, and a general sense of disorientation.
But we are the champions, my frieeeeeend, and we'll keep on fighting 'til the end.
So I am sure tonight will be just fine.
For the love of all that is holy — it'll be fine, okay?
And maybe if I say it enough times, I will also be less on edge.
Good gawd almighty.
So as a way to channel my nervous energy, I will instead present to you the latest list of essential must-sees.
You know to keep everyone abreast of the most current pop culture phenoms.
Important stuff.
So, first one:
If you haven't seen this one, than you should probably rethink your priorities and stop doing all the things.
Spend more time out from under the rock you are hiding beneath.
I'm a huge jerk.
But seriously, what have you been doing?
Moving on.
Have you seen this tiny, very young girl dance?
She is so good it's stupid.
I am really in a mood tonight.
The next one is just another reminder to the masses of the devotion I feel for Sam Smith.
I could listen to Sam, my Sam, all the days of my life.
And now you can too. Check out this video.
And now to get my monkeys in and out of the bath, teeth brushed, books read, and tucked into bed in the next 20 minutes.
So I can jump in my car, have a quick weep, and then hit some ladies.
Peace out.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The One

I have someone to introduce you to.
My latest thrifty, mid century find topped with a retro-tastic shade (from Target) has found a place in my room and also in my heart.
I love lamp.
In fact, once it is legal for people to marry furniture, we will wed immediately.
As I may have mentioned before (in every post previous to this one) I enjoy furnishing my non-existent home.
Slowly, carefully I am collecting a very well-curated, well-edited assortment of home goods to outfit my future home.
It makes perfect sense to me as to why I would constantly stalk Craigslist, antique stores, big box stores and online boutiques for interesting, relevant pieces even though I currently live in a 9 × 9 room.
I have even collected my house down-payment.
And by collected I mean saved.
So that's neat.
^^ Look at this! It is a poorly-lit, crappy picture of a very lovely lamp. The shade has golden leaves on it. Golden! So therefore, I had no choice but to bring it home.
Oh, and I also got the most incredible kilim rug from a sweet, old lady on a motorized cart I met through Craigslist.
Because what is an imaginary house with no rug?
It is no house I want to live in, even if only in my head.
With each sentence I type, I am sounding more and more pathetic.
^^ This is another bad picture of my rug ... folded in a wad. Nothing but the best quality photographs for my blog! The rug is really quite large (around 8×9).  Big enough to roll myself in like a carpet burrito. ^^
Oh and how much do you like posts that direct you to other interesting sites/videos around the web?
Because I, for one, love them and will be shooting one of those your way so you can fall down the internet rabbit hole and spend more time than is healthy staring at your computer screen.
And p.s. did anyone see that huge a$$ picture of Kim Kardashian's huge a$$?
I am such a titillating conversationalist.
She is an anatomical phenomenon.
Like, how does she not fall over?
^^ One last picture from Ryan's family birthday. We get together with my sister and her family for every event.
The two turkeys (cousins) in the middle are exactly one week apart. ^^

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy birthday to my Lion

^^ This is a look I receive often. ^^
Ryan likes to hear the story of her birth.
I begin by saying that I was über fat and gained the most weight growing her, which resulted in the biggest chipmunk cheeks this side of a chipmunk.
My contractions started around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, which I remember distinctly because they interrupted my first viewing of Oprah since I had started my maternity leave.
They were slightly uncomfortable at first, building (as they do) throughout the evening until I found myself writhing in pain on the hallway floor around 1 a.m. barking at Scott to "STOP SLEEPING AND BEING GENERALLY  RELAXED!" and gather any last-minute items needed for my hospital stay.
After strongly insisting that my contractions were, in fact, close enough together, Scott and I left for the hospital, swinging by Britney's to pick her up around 2 in the morning.
Upon arriving at the hospital I was so delirious with pain and naivety, that my hubs and sister checked me in and wheeled me to the maternity wing before I could even grasp the enormity of what was happening.
I was going to be a mother! Squeee!
And even more immediately satisfying was the reality that I would no longer be pregnant! Huzzah!
I got situated in my indecent backless gown as I doubled over in gasping spasms while my cramping continued to escalate beyond a threshold I was unaware existed.
It was shocking how painful labor was!
I mean, duh, you are pushing a human out of your body, but still.
I had refused any birthing classes because, knowing my anxious self, I wanted to remain blissfully ignorant about the hurt I was facing for as long as possible.
Well, now that I was in the throes of childbirth I was rethinking my whole tactic.
What the H was going on?
When would this be over?
Where were the drugs?
Why would anyone do this more than once?
And then my Savior appeared. He was wearing scrubs. And came armed with a long needle in his hand.
And he was very handsome.
Not only was my anesthesiologist hot, he was getting a pretty good look at my fleshy, flabby full moon. Gross.
But soon enough, none of that mattered ... in fact nothing mattered anymore because the convulsions stopped and the pain slackened.
I could breathe again, and even sleep.
I dozed on and off for the remainder of the night/morning in a drug-induced haze until around 9 or 10 a.m. when the pressure began to mount.
It was time to get down to business. I needed to push.
I knew it even though I had never done it before.
Isn't that incredible? You just know.
Anyway, my water broke (all over my doctor's face. Barf. Like it actually sprayed into his mouth — you're welcome) and then I pushed twice and out she popped.
Scott was concerned that her head came to a point (which is normal) and her face was pinched like a squishy-faced pug (which is also normal) but all I saw was the prettiest baby.
She was SO perfect.
A tiny nose, big, gray eyes, pouty, full lips, and wavy fuzz for hair.
Scott cried and then ran to the gift shop and promptly appeared with a stuffed kangaroo that he proudly squeezed into her crib.
I felt so relieved and complete and content.
Ryan is the smartest, most helpful, timid, stubborn, sensitive, persistent, unique girl.
I kinda love that she is obsessed with reading and roller skating and playing the recorder.
She is unrelenting and quirky.
She has a loud laugh and a zillion freckles.
She saves everything.
She is a good eater but is also a night owl and never wants to go to sleep.
She savors treats by eating them really slowly, so that they last as long as possible.
I am grateful for our relationship and that we genuinely get along.
I like her and know that we will continue to be the best of friends.
I love her little personality and am so blessed to be her mommy.
Happiest birthday to my Lion!
^^ Eight years old! ^^

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another boring picture of someone else's carved pumpkin

Today was the longest day.
It started at 6:45 a.m. when my alarm (read: toddler) woke me up at a frightening volume;
Which wasn't totally inconvenient because I had to shower, run around yelling at my kids to get the lead out of their pants and eat their freeeeeking breakfast, and make lunches before heading to an apple orchard/pumpkin patch for Ezra's first grade field trip anyway.
I dropped Micah off at a friend's, ushered my kids to their classrooms, and checked in at the school office.
I lead my three assigned kiddies onto the bus, sat through the mandatory safety information, and then proceeded to field four thousand panicked questions from a nervous six-year-old, missing what looked like eight teeth, on what we would do if 1) the bus broke down, 2) the driver had a heart attack and was incapacitated, 3) who exactly was responsible for pulling the emergency break, 4) would we have enough time to exit the bus safely if it was engulfed in flames, 5) why was it necessary to have a safety hatch in the roof, etc.
After explaining that our 20 minute bus trip (for the duration of the drive) would most likely be uneventful and not result in an untimely death, we arrived at the farm.
We picked apples, sprinted through a corn maze, picnicked, and selected pumpkins before boarding the bus and heading back to the school.
I then made a silent vow never to become a first-grade teacher.
I lack the patience or energy required to be nice to kids all day.
After I picked up Micah and dragged him kicking and screaming away from his play date, I went home to start composing a shopping list and plan our weekly menu.
Once the older kids returned from school, I loaded everyone into the car and headed to WinCo.
After shuffling through the store, I returned home to start dinner.
Air high-five if you are still reading this.
My life is very dull.
I am actually falling asleep writing this because I am so lame.
Anyway, I cooked dinner, cleaned up after dinner, and then grudgingly eagerly prepped for pumpkin carving which I shouldn't have promised earlier that day.
The kids decided that they wanted to do it entirely on their own which meant that an hour-long activity turned into the rest of my life.
And even though I want to face plant on the floor out of debilitating exhaustion, my kids went to sleep happy and that is pretty much the whole point.
Although, upon reflection, I realize that this post does, in fact, not have a point.
Sorry about that.
And now I will go eat ice cream in my bed.
^^ Ezra is probably contemplating how he can prolong his permitted use of a "real" knife. ^^
^^ Yes, this is the best picture of the four of us with our pumpkins. Total win. ^^
The end.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lipstick conundrum

^^ Kinda blurry and slightly crazed. Can you see how gnarly her tooth is? Yes, the one at a right angle. ^^
Let's talk about how my daughter resembles Nanny McFee. 
Her top tooth is protruding at the most obnoxious angle and looks dreadful.
It is wiggly in the worst way but she will not allow me to pull it out.
I have contemplated sneaking into her room after she falls asleep and yanking it out.
But that would probably be emotionally scarring.
She fights bedtime anyway ... soooo, that might cancel out the minimal progress we have made in said department.
My sister offered to give her a love punch in the mouth.
Just to get that whole situation taken care of.
For whatever reason, she rejected that idea.
Oh well, just like everything else (Micah's potty training, Ezra's reading, me having sex ever again) it will theoretically happen when it is supposed to happen. 
And really I am just talking about the sex thing.
Anyway, I have been brashly thinking of stepping out of my comfort zone and exploring the world of lipstick.
Previously, I worried that I would smear it all over my clothes and teeth.
That and Scott used to say that when I wore lipstick my lower lip looked huge and if I weren't careful it would get snagged on a tripwire. 
But I have decided that today's lipsticks are much too sophisticated to be subject to those smudging issues.
They take themselves seriously and stay put.
I am on the lookout for a deep, berry color, a true red, and something bright-ish pink?
Right now I wear Vaseline.
This is a big step. 
I know it sounds cray-cray. 
But I like to take risks.
I laugh in the face of danger.
I walk on the wild side.
Any recommendations for moderately-priced lipsticks would be very much appreciated. 
I am leaning towards matte. 
^^ Taken with my phone in secrecy behind the bleachers at my last roller derby bout wearing a much darker lip than I am typically comfortable with. p.s. We won! Holla! ^^
Thanks, peeps.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

How is it already Thursday?

^^ It was a leggings-worn-with-a-much-too-short-shirt/socks-stolen-from-my-dad kind of day. ^^
Let's talk about how many papers my kids bring home every day after school.
It is a problem.
Like, environmentally, how are there enough trees on this whole planet to support the amount of paperwork necessary to inform me of PTO meetings, pumpkin patch field trips, and how IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE JOG-A-THON MONEY BE TURNED IN IMMEDIATELY!
It takes me a full hour to wade through all the shite that comes home in their backpacks.
Of course, I never check my email, so the paperless route is a no-go.
But honestly, I love to organize things.
My little nerd heart pitter-patters so fast when I start thinking about it, so really I don't mind the paper shuffling, but thought that I should complain about it to seen more "normal." and less "freakish."
Also, right now it is raining very hard.
Like, I went outside to take my kids to the dentist this morning and was nearly flattened to the ground by a torrential downpour.
It was amazing.
The sound of the rain may be my favorite sound second only to the silence that occurs when my children are sound asleep.
There really is no sound like no sound.
But I feel as if even that is short lived because my children are possessed posses a sixth sense that allows them to anticipate the very second I climb into bed.
Just as I close my eyes, their throats begin to seize from dehydration and their bladders begin to swell from holding their pee in just long enough for me to unwind and head to my room.
Just as I prop the window open (so I can hear the rain, duh) decide which side of my body to start on, and pull my covers up, it is at that very moment that I hear a scream (because that is the only way of getting my attention in the silence of the night) for a drink of water/assistance to the bathroom/help finding some lost stuffed animal/nothing at all.
It happens, literally, and I actually mean in the very literal sense, every night.
Even if I go to bed at completely different times, they sense it and awake at the very moment I go to sleep.
I have done experiments.
^^ Pitching a fit on the time-out stool.
So that's fun.
Also this is what happens all the live-long day:

The end.

^^ Meanwhile, this was happening outside. I love Oregon. And rain, as previously mentioned. ^^
^^ Probably irritated at someone. Or thinking deep, serious, profound thoughts. Like, "how can I get more sour patch kids into my stomach." ^^

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sometimes I ...

I have been up since the crack of dawn running errands all over the damned place, getting a haircut (nothing major, just needed the ole' mullet trimmed), visiting with some riotous ladies from church, going on a jog (at a snail's much slower pet snail's pace), helping a friend organize a closet, then going home and sorting through MY closet, washing peed-in underpants, and switching out my children's summer wardrobe for their fall clothes.
And now I have the biggest headache and feel generally craptastic.
So this post will probably suck.
How's that for an enticing hook?
And I am feeding my kids Cookie Crisp for dinner.
In front of the movie, "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."
Go me.
So on that embarrassing note, I will forge ahead with my previously compiled list of things that I sometimes do.
Which is possibly more humiliating than admitting that we own the movie, "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."  

Sometimes I ... wear my six-year-old like a backpack because as I was cleaning out said closet I found a baby-wearing contraption and tested it out on ALL of my non-babies.
Good times.
^^ Yes. Ezra has a mustache and I have no boobs. It is as if our maturation rates have been swapped. ^^
Sometimes I ... time myself to see how fast I can unload the dishwasher.
Today I did it in 2 minutes and 46 seconds.

Sometimes I ... put Micah back into diapers.
And by sometimes, I mean every day because if I have to wash out one more pair of soiled briefs I may just throw myself into moving traffic.

Sometimes I ...  start planning my nap the previous night. "If I get up early, work out, finish my housework, attend the jog-a-thon, throw dinner in the crockpot, and put Micah down, maybe I can sneak in a little siesta ..."

Sometimes I ... shower and "get ready" 30 minutes before everyone gets home in order to look "productive" and less like a "lazy piece of crap."
They will never know I just changed out of my neon tribal leggings. (Except now they do.)

Sometimes I ... go running sans glasses and think I see a fellow jogger in the distance only to find out it is a trashcan instead. I have made a habit of waving/nodding to trees, mailboxes, and parked cars until I am approximately two feet away and can vaguely make them out.

Sometimes I ... think back to what my life looked like one year ago.
And think about how one's whole life trajectory can careen off its previous course in the blink of an eye.
And then I hope that it will continue to evolve in a way that is unexpected but with a possible upswing?

Well, lovelies, I have got to lay down.
My head is pounding and I have heard "I know you are but what am I," one too many times.
I am ashamed that I suggested that flick.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Epiphany #48723

So this last weekend I had a spiritual epiphany — again.
Now lest you think I am a overzealous crackpot, well, I don't really care what anyone thinks.
I am Mormon and we have a semi-annual general conference that is broadcast via T.V., satellite, radio, the interweb, and maybe even by smoke signals (?) that spans two days, a total of eight hours, and according to my six-year-old, "Enough time to grow a beard."
It is where we listen to church leaders offer inspirational messages, divine guidance, and practical instruction.
After participating in conference weekend, I always feel a renewed sense of direction and comfort.
I feel happier and lighter.
And I often have a greater understanding of what I can do to be a better mother, friend, and person in general.
It may be surprising to you (like, shocking, brand-new information) but I have been experiencing a bit of an identity crises.
I have been taking a ride on THE emotional roller coaster, if you will.
There has been an unnerving amount of "hysterical" "episodes" over the last six months.
Do I return to work?
Do I go back to school?
Do I move?
Do I move overseas? (This is actually an option I am seriously considering. I am not kidding. Seriously, we only have one life and I want to have an adventure/offer my kids an experience.)
And whilst I mentally grapple with those decisions, I also worry about my kids emotional health.
I want them to be well-adjusted, stable, and happy.
As of late, they have been clingy, weepy, and difficult.
I received my first phone call (and hopefully last) from the principal at the elementary school Ezra and Ryan attend.
Ezra has been struggling this year regulating his feelings and resolving conflict appropriately.
He got in a scuffle on the soccer field and scratched another kids in retaliation for getting punched in the face!
He has also had several meltdowns during the day in class.
And while that fun is being had, Ryan has been begging me not to go to practice and stands outside bawling as I pull away.
I only go twice a week for a few hours but it sends her over the top every time I try to escape.
I have been thinking about what would be the best for my family, hard.
Okay, so back to my spiritual epiphany.
As I listened to general conference, I was concentrating on the messages about receiving personal revelation and recognizing intuition.
I came to the conclusion that I needed to focus my full attention on my kids for a season and worry less about entering the workforce.
I got a very distinct, warm feeling that it was right.
This isn't a forever solution but it is what needs to happen right now.
I have been earnestly pushing any doubt or guilt out of my mind and directing my energy toward my children.
When it is time for me to go back to work (which will be sooner rather than later) it will happen naturally.
I have been trying to force everything instead of admitting the main reason for pursuing a full-time job was for me and not the security and benefit of Ryan, Ezra, and Micah.
And they are my most important responsibility.
I have felt less stressed and more at peace over the last few days than I have since Scott died.
Which is a bonus.
Now if only that sense of calm would seep out of my pores causing a creamy, glowing complexion.
Instead I have what looks like a pizza where my head should be, extra pepperoni.
p.s. However, I am going to continue refurbishing furniture. And possibly selling it. I already have two projects in the works.
p.p.s Another recipe for you that is possible even easier than the last one I shared.
I don't, however, take any credit for this culinary gem because it comes from my friend Tracy, who is very skillful at pulling together quick, healthy salads and all things fresh and good in this world.

Strawberry Salad
1 bag prewashed greens
1 lb. strawberries, quartered and stems removed
crumbled feta cheese
roasted slivered almonds
* serve with balsamic vinaigrette (mandatory)

^^ I topped this with some chicken I picked up at the grocery store deli and grabbed a baguette to serve alongside.
Easy peasy. ^^
Peace out.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

^ Insert a catchy title about shoes here ^

I was/should be writing my grocery-shopping list but then thought, "What is more important than feeding my family?"
So I am blogging instead.
Priorities, yo.
And for today's topic we will be discussing shoes.
And more specifically: the thrifted variety.
Because I have been having amazing luck the last few months buying other peoples used shoes.
Also my life really isn't all that exciting and I generally don't have much to talk about.
So let's commence with a fashion show.
Because I took my shoes outside and took pictures of them to ... umm ... practice my photography skills. Yeah, that is what I was doing.
I am lame.
Also I don't just slide my little tootsies into these shoes and start prancing around.
Who knows where they have been.
So I do several things:
1) When in doubt, freeze them out. (So easy to remember because it rhymes. Word.)
Seriously, just throw them in the freezer.
My dad has opened many a freezer only to find pillows, hats, jackets, pinkie fingers (j/k).
All those grody germs will DIE — it's science.
2) Wipe down with a disinfectant wipe or a cloth with bleach on it.
3) Put them on and begin prancing.
So now, for realies, here are my lovelies that I kiss goodnight wear when I actually shower and get ready.
Oh and p.s. I did not pay over $7 for any of these.
And p.p.s Maybe you should consider thrifting more often, it is very fun and economical.
Wait, what am I saying? p.p.s.s DO NOT thrift more. I want to thrift everything good and you can go to the mall and pay full price. 
^^ I wear these with knee socks kinda bunched. It is a very stylish combo. I think. ^^
^^ What outfit can you NOT wear these with.? It is a trick question. The answer is: no outfit. There does not exist a single outfit that you cannot wear with these amazing boots. ^^
^^ Salt Waters. Need I say more? ^^ 
^^ Blush-colored, patent, studded flats. It is like every fashion trend in the universe rolled into one pair of kick-ass shoes. ^^
^^ Nude wedges. Everyone should own something nude. Besides your own naked body. ^^
The end.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Big Picture

On Friday, I met up with a new friend at a shopping center play place.
She is probably one of the most beautiful people I have seen up close.
I literally just sat there and stared at her as we visited, while frequently interrupting her to tell her, again, you are really pretty.
But on top of probably being very photogenic, she is also very wise.
And she gave me lots of good advice.
The kind where someone tells you exactly what you should do.
Which is perfect because I have been stressing about what to do for eight effing months. 
She really does have the gift of clarity and can see the bigger picture.
So, as Micah perched atop the mall's fake train for tens of minutes at a time, preventing other small children from using it, and yes, making them cry, we chatted (and then I made him get down and he monopolized the slide instead).
She said everything I have been needing to hear.
In fact, I would daresay that a prayer was answered. 
And a crap-load of (self-induced) guilt was lifted.
I have been plodding along with my head down, over-analyzing my every move, self-absorbed and paralyzed with the enormity that is life and she blows in and says, "Just ride the wave. Ride it all the way to the beach. Let all the expectations and stress go and trust that you are slowly moving in the right direction."
We talked for over two hours so she said a lot more than that, but what I took away was that I was on the right path. 
And I was, in fact, already doing something that was helping my family to move forward (being present and involved as a stay-at-home parent and tending to my children's emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs.)
Everything else will fall into place when the time is right.
No one expects me to have overcome this hurdle in eight short months.
And that the happiest parts of my life are still ahead of me.
"But it is hard to trust and have faith," I whined.
"I know, I know, young padawan, but if you force it, it will fail. It doesn't have to be as hard as you are making it. Do what you love and take care of your kids."
And then my head literally exploded.
And how, you may ask, can one write such an eloquent post sans head?
I do not have an answer to that but I do have a better idea of how I want to spend my time, what goals I have for the immediate future, and why I do not like taking my children to public places where there are people.
On a less forward-looking note, I finally went through/organized/packed away all of Scott's toiletries/personal effects.
Then I tried to think of more like nouns/verbs to string together with the " / " symbol.
All of his little everyday belongings have been sitting in a basket in my room since January.
I poked through them and gently packed them in a small pouch to save — even his used q-tips. 
Is that gross/creepy/pathetic?
I literally can not stop forward slashing.
Well, whether or not it is disturbing, I did it.
And then I cried.
And then I made dinner.
The end.
^^ His razor, cologne, glasses, passport, deodorant, business cards, Pet Shops. ^^ 
^^ And I am very proud of this photo because 1) it is my first real picture playing this crazy sport, 2) it looks as if I am being useful, 3) my legs look smokin'. ^^

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A post dedicated to my love of FALL

^^ Look at this awkward photo that Ezra took. Ryan's facial expression. ^^
Last night I fell asleep to the sound of rain.
It was like listening to the sweet lullaby of angels sing or Sam Smith ... which is the same thing.
And then I woke up to a torrential downpour and fist pumped the air.
It is FINALLY autumn and I couldn't be more excited.
I know, I know, EVERYONE claims to like the fall.
But really they hate it compared to how much I like it.
You know how I know?
Because I spend the entirety of the summer actively hating the sunshine, the butterflies, the damn sprinklers.
It is, like, my hobby.
Who else do you with that kind of dedication?
I am thinking of starting a club.
A summer-hating club. All the deets TBA.
But now that it turned into fall, yesterday, I can be happy once again.
It is the perfect time for pot roast, and sweater vests, and cold, miserable weather.
^^ My kids clearly inherited their photography skills from me. #inept ^^
^^ Proof that I do, indeed, wear sweater vests.
Maybe that will be a stipulation when joining my club.
and p.s. My kids are really natural in front of the camera. ^^

Monday, September 22, 2014

The only recipe you will ever need ...

That is, if you are lazy, like me, and want to spend 0.4 seconds getting dinner ready.
I promise with all my heart it is so fast and delicious you will want to come to my house and give me your firstborn for sharing it.
The one caveat being that you must own a crock pot.
And if you don't own a crock pot, then WHY?
Why would you chose to live that way?
That and I had an epiphany about my hair.

So first thing first:

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili 
(that's a mouthful ... and that's what she said)

2 chicken breasts, still frozen
1 can Rotel tomatoes 
1 can corn kernels, do not drain
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg. ranch dressing mix
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese

Step 1: Gather all ingredients. 

Step 2: Throw them hastily into crock pot.

Step 3: Turn said crock pot to HIGH.

Step 4: Cackle maniacally and high-five yourself because you are done making dinner in 3 minutes flat.

Step 5: Tell spouse/family/coworkers that you slaved away preparing a healthy homemade chicken chili for dinner and you deserve some dessert/me time/award etc.

Step 6: Come back in 4-6 hours and eat.

Second order of business:
Methinks there is a similarity here.
Same eyebrows, same hair.
Perhaps I should pursue news-anchorhood as my new career.
This is no coincidence.
My life is coming into focus.
^^ I'm Ron Burgundy? ^^

Happy Monday to all.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


It has been a rough week.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let's just say that existential meltdowns have been happening all up in here.
But I do have a few random thoughts.
They don't make any sense grouped together but my head is exhausted from self-imposed pressure and wasted energy used worrying about the MEANING OF MY LIFE! (italics added to emphasize my over-dramatized angst)
Anyway, here is a arbitrary list of gibberish:

* My children's bus driver (a very tall, elderly woman named Miss Allison) motioned me over as I waved goodbye to Ryan and Ezra and said, "You are amazing. You really are. You are doing a great job."
Just like that.
And for a second I believed her, and was happier for having walked them out to the bus stop this morning.
What a nice thing to do.
It absolutely made my day.
I vow, here and now, to start handing out more kind and meaningful compliments.
Everyone needs to hear something good about themselves.
Can you imagine if we all just walked around flinging out compliments left and right?
It would be world-changing. Of epic proportions.

* I have now sustained bruises on both sides of my body, from skating at speeds of up to 800 miles an hour.
When one skates as passionately as I do, one tends to wipe out a lot more violently.
These ridiculous injuries make for some very uncomfortable sleeping.
And get me no sympathy when I come limping home.
"Well, you do play a high contact sport, Brianne," my parents say.
Touché parents, touché.

* I bought Ezra a pair of bright green Chucks.
He told me that he ran "way faster" in P.E. today wearing his new Converse.
^^ A self-portrait. ^^
They are so stylish I can barely stand what a hip parent I am.
And I am pretty sure no one hip actually uses the word hip.
So I slapped myself and told myself never to say that again.

* On Tuesday, I started taking some new acne medicine; And much to my chagrin, my skin is not flawless and glowing already.
Heather reminded me that only taking it for two days will not dewy, unblemished skin make.

* My hair-growing-out situation is looking quite haphazard at this point.
I look like one of those baby turkeys that starts off fuzzy and then two weeks later looks wretched as their grownup feathers begin growing in.
I said to my sister, "Look at my ridiculous hair."
To which she said, "We should take a new profile pic and get you started on another dating website."
My life is fun.
And embarrassing.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

This time, it is the story of a beard ...

So it all started on Tuesday at WinCo.
I was minding my own business, doing my regular speed shopping (where I frantically tare up and down the store chucking things into my basket as my children scramble to catch up) when I spotted a very handsome man.
He was wearing a baseball hat, t-shirt, jeans that accentuated his ... umm ... shoes, and he had a beard.
After screeching to a halt, I started following this man around, staring at him and his beautiful beard, passing him conspicuously in every aisle, and even bonus! scored a few suspicious sideways glances as he noticed me stalking him.  
Then I lost him in the frozen foods and only saw his back as I shuffled out with my grocery-laden cart, Micah screaming about the lollipop he dropped on the ground.
It was magical.
Anyway, my point is that, clearly, I am awkward, and I am starting to feel desperately lonely.
Like, having had no contact with the opposite sex (outside of my one date) in the last 8 months.
And, yes, that one date did lead to some texting and a discussion about going out again, but the more I got to know him, the more I felt like we were on two different pages and I became disinterested, yadda yadda.
At any rate, later that night I began thinking about this stranger, whom I will most likely never see again, and then I started thinking about Scott.
Then I started to mentally revisit our last night together and how scary, shocking, and devastating it was.
^^ A coincidence that I recently tagged this
image in Pinterest? I don't think so. ^^
Then I began to sob.
And after the sobbing, I began an irrational, emotional conversation with Scott, interrupted intermittently with loud nose-blowing and convulsive gasping.
It was ridiculous.
And to top that off, I had to pause mid-breakdown to go in and soothe Ezra's distraught weeping upon waking from a nightmare.
He began crying about how much he missed Daddy and why did people have to die?
He is having a time with this all-day first grade business and has been quite emotional lately.
I think we all have.
Can you believe that it has been nearly eight months since our world turned upside-down?
That is, like, two-thirds of a year.
And I have, for the most part, become more stable, notwithstanding the twice-weekly hysterics;
And yet I am feeling like I am on the precipice of something different.
How is that for cryptic? And wordy?
Apparently I am full of brilliance tonight.
I cannot explain why I am feeling sad and better and despondent and hopeful all at the same time.
I also cannot explain my attraction to beards.
That is it for a Thursday evening.
Now I am going to dish up some ice cream and watch Safe Haven, while pretending that I am Jullianne Hough being seduced by Josh Duhamel.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The story of a bruise

I had a really sad post planned for today, buuuuuut ain't nobody got time for that.
We only want positive sentiments on a Tuesday so we will save the somber stuff for next time.
A good mix of fun and depressing is how I roll here.
So for today, I will show you a great photo Heather (my step-mom) took of my a$$ after roller derby one evening.
I am not kidding.
Just picture a camera pressed up to my cheeks, as we both laugh.
But I think these kind of memories are important.
You know ... for my posterity.
^^ I know my Furious butt holes will not be impressed with this bruise (they are much to tough) but it might coax a few dry heaves from my less violent readers. p.s. it looks even more beautiful worse today. ^^ 
And to keep with the light-hearted theme, I have a few new videos to share.
Just in case you are mindlessly trolling the internet and feeling bored with all of your regular haunts.
The first is very funny because IT IS FACTUAL.
And it isn't as graphic as it sounds.
Although I don't have an appropriate picture to include.
But bare in mind, this is a PG blog.
Maybe PG-13.

The second one is cute.
Although if that were my husband, I would probably chicken chop him in the throat.

The third one is just one video of many.
In fact, there is a whole series of helpful programs that are not really helpful at all.

And this last one is also a series (but more of a string of mini-documentaries).
I have always been fascinated with ballet — probably because I could never do it.
I think one has to be graceful in order to dance.
That and be able to touch your own toes.
And it will take you approximately an hour to watch all of the videos in one sitting.
Which I may or may not have done while my kids wrestled and pulled each other's hair.

Well, off to bed, my lovelies.
I am in a weird mood tonight.