Monday, December 31, 2012

Les Misérables

I know you clicked on my blog post expecting to see another review of this epic movie, but I think you may end up a little surprised as it’s not going to be that at all.

I spent three hours of the Sabbath yesterday watching this movie.  Coincidentally, I used to spend three hours at church every Sunday, but learned far more about love, kindness, forgiveness and mercy yesterday than I ever did at church.  For the first time in many years, I was inspired.

I think there are far too many Javerts in the world.  I think there are too many people who are more concerned with justice than mercy.  I see Javerts when I see protests against gay marriage, I see Javerts when there are death threats against girls who just want to wear pants to church, I see Javerts when I get passive aggressive comments on pictures where I’ve worn tank tops, or when I get messages from acquaintances telling me I'm not worthy because I hold an opinion contrary to the one I'm supposed to have.

There is not enough mercy in this world, there’s not enough love.  And particularly there’s not enough love and mercy in religion. I think that most things written before the four Gospels and most that’s been written since are poor interpretations of how Jesus wanted us to live.  I think religion and God have become man’s way of justifying greed, lust and selfishness.

Now I’m not saying that religious people are corrupt, there are wonderful people and there is truth and kindness everywhere.  I’m just saying for me and for my family, the church is not it.  The focus on Sundays is what to believe, what rules to follow, how long my skirts should be so I can get into heaven.  The focus is on dogma and not behavior.  It made me too judgmental, too much like the Pharisees, too much like Javert; concerned more about the law than about love and mercy.  

I read this brilliant comment regarding the movie, "If you asked the bishop and Javert what the believed in, they would say the exact same thing, and yet look how differently they lived their lives."  I and many others have entirely missed the point of religion.  

My friend Kari said it so well, “I think that love, pure unselfish unconditional love is the most profound and yet simple way we as humans can lift ourselves to a morality and connection with others; that is the closest thing to the concept of “god” that we can achieve.  Love is my god.” 

For that reason, my husband and I will be raising our children without religion.  No I did not say that we will be raising our children without love, compassion and morals.  That’s not it at all.  Religion does not have a monopoly on those things.  What I mean is that we will be raising our children without dogma.  As Javert and the Bishop make it clear, it's not what you believe, it's how you live your life.  We will be raising our children and teaching our children how to have compassion for people who believe differently and do differently than them, and how to love, because to "love another person is to see the face of God."

Let God serve justice, let us dole solely in mercy.

So in this New Year, my goal is to live more authentically, with more kindness and mercy to people.  I hope you can extend the same kindness and mercy to us as we pave this new pathway, as it was not a decision that was made lightly and not without many tears and prayers.  

And for the first time in many, many years, we are at peace.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

PSA for Pinteresters

I know that there are 1000 different things to do with empty rolls of wrapping paper.

But seriously, just throw it away.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In Defense of the Elf

I've been reading all over the internets* lately accounts from fellow moms who refuse to allow the Elf into their homes, and then go on to justify why it's such a horrible thing and teaches our children bad lessons.  The worst I read was from here:  

If you need an elf to address your child’s behavior, you are not doing your job.

Wait, what??  Yeah, she really said that.

There's a big part of me that thinks these anti-elf crusaders are just burnt out moms who don't need another thing to do at the end of the day.  I get it, I do.  I am a hot mess.  I do everything 3 days after I should.  Bathe my kids tonight?  Maybe...probably...I guess I didn't do it last night, so sure.  But definitely by tomorrow night they'll get a bath.  Feed my family?  They're hungry again??

But don't come up with these crazy ideas about why everyone else sucks because you don't want to participate in a fun little tradition that doesn't have to take more than 2 minutes at night.  And don't say he's creepy because he does exactly what Santa does, what Jesus does, and what The Police do (sing with me -every breath you take, every move you make...)

So yeah, our elf Cookie dyed our milk green a couple of nights ago.  I barely remembered to move him as I was getting into bed and had to jump out and finish it.   This was after I had already packed lunches, locked up the house, ran the dishwasher, put the last load of laundry in the more thing at the end of a long day. 

You want to know why I did it?  To hear my kids laugh.  To see their eyes light up with the magic.  That two minutes I took to jump out of bed created a memory that will last a long time.

And he's not without any benefits -
No one in my family laughs like this at 7:30 in the morning.  Like ever.  The elf has shaved an entire 20 minutes off of our morning routine because the kids jump up, get dressed and run downstairs to find him.

The magic of Christmas that kids experience is only alive for so many years; and whether it's through reading Christmas stories each night, decorating Christmas cookies for your neighbors, staying up late to listen for Santa on Christmas Eve and sprinkling reindeer food on your lawn, or welcoming a little elf into your house for a few weeks in December; if you don't let your child share in the magic that is Christmas, you're not doing your job.

* I know the plural form of internet.  I do.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Case for a Dog

A couple of weeks ago, Rust mentioned that if I ever brought up having another child he would get me a dog.  Because my baby hunger would apparently be satisfied by just cleaning up a lot of crap.

Well, news flash Rust.  I am full.  

But I still spent some time contemplating the idea of a dog.  Like down the road...when everyone is potty trained and sleeps through the night.

And then Ashlyn bought Bouncy.

And Bouncy is annoying.  

And she sheds.

And now any inkling of desire for a dog is long gone.  And Bouncy even has an off button.


Count yourself among the lucky few if you don't know what Movember is.

But to bring you up to speed, it's the month where men (and apparently women) grow out a mustache like a common pedophile.  And much to my despair, Rustin decided to participate in this phenomenon.

It was really awkward when Rustin wanted to take me and the kids out for lunch, and after realizing I was all out of excuses I had to finally own up to it and say, "Uhhh...frankly I don't want to be seen out in public with you."  Rain check for December?

He can skydive, he can hang glide, but I have to put my foot down with the mustache.  

(Call me when it's taken care of and we'll come home)

That's right, I've resorted to holding my own kids hostage.

Now it's not because I don't think my husband isn't attractive with a mustache (how's that for a double negative?  Go ahead, reread it), but no one is hot with a mustache.  

You can check by googling hot mustache and the only images that appear are of Tom Selleck and women.
Now google "pedophile" and these are the results that appear:

Who else shuddered?  Welcome to my life.

Friday, November 9, 2012


It's starting to get a little cold outside, so when Austin came downstairs wearing shorts this morning, an argument quickly ensued.

He insisted they were pants, but I argued they were shorts.

I conceded when I realized they were Eli's pants. He still can't wear them today.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Candy

I have had no Halloween candy this year, despite the fact that my kids collected more of the good stuff than I was able to hand out. And while they're away/in the other room it just stares at me and calls out to me constantly.

I'm not kidding when I say that keeping my resolve has been tougher than child birth.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Google vs. Bing: The Democrat Edition

Oh I hate it when I intentionally alienate all my republican friends.  So this one is for you.

When you type into Google "Democrats are", the following list populates:

Democrats are: idiots, evil, racist, stupid.

In Bing, the same phrase generates:

Democrats are: idiots, stupid, the real racists, anti-catholic, communist, sleaze, morons

Clearly Bing wins this one.

Google -2  Bing-2


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Facebook, elections, and guns

Hey remember back in 2008 when I used to blog?  Yeah that was fun.  

That is also coincidentally about the time I got on facebook.  And well, facebook has turned me into a lazy blogger because it's easier to be funny and entertaining in one sentence rather than an entire blog post.  And if I am one thing, I am lazy.

You know what else facebook makes it easy to be?  An annoying republican.  I mean I like Mitt Romney, I get it, I do.  I like him about 20% more than Obama and 40% less than any Libertarian, but in all honesty, I kind of hope Romney loses so that all of my Romney loving facebook friends can go run off into the woods together with their guns and hide until Jesus comes again.  And I really hope they forget their smart phones because if they're annoying now, it's only going to get worse if they lose.  

And because now when I "read" my friends blogs all I really do is skim down and admire the pictures, here you go.  Our secret identities finally revealed.    


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Here she is, off to her first day of first grade!  I realize I make fun of first time moms, but a part of me realizes that she's my first so I still get to be that "first time mom" when it comes to her.  I am sorely tempted to email her teacher to let her know that Ashlyn is terrified of toilets, even though I have no doubt her teacher would laugh at me behind my back.  

I blame Target and the automatic flushers that don't recognize 30 pounds little 2 year olds for that.

Anyways, here's how we're faring at home...

How many more days until preschool?


Friday, June 8, 2012

Best Friends Day

In honor of Best Friends Day (today!) I'm going to blog about my best friends.

Even though we're all spread out, (seriously coast to coast and a few random states in between) and we never ever talk because we all had babies this year and would rather sleep, they're still my best friends.  I figure if we can all make out with each other's boyfriends and survive that, then we're friends for life.

So I'm going to tell a story about Annie.  And English class.  

So our English teacher (junior year?), was doing a lesson on the dollar bill.  Annie sat to the right of me, Jo Anne sat to the left of me, Misty sat in front of me, and the entire class was in a "U" shape.  I pulled out my dollar bill, but Annie didn't have one so she leaned over to see mine.  Well, her hand went out to grab the metal bar on my desk and missed.  I watched in slow motion horror as the whites of her eyes got really big and she started to fall out of her chair.  

Her head slammed into the metal bar of my desk and she crumpled to the ground.

Remember that the desk layout was "U" shaped, and she was in the perfect position for everyone to see her.  At that point, I figured the best thing I could do was not to laugh.  Sure I could have gotten up to help her off the ground, but every muscle in my body was focused on one thing.  Do not laugh at your friend

I didn't even know if she was okay.  I just stared at a spot on my desk, cleared my head and focused on breathing.  Any time I'd close my eyes I could see the whites of her eyes filled with terror, and I'd have to stifle a giggle.  I stopped blinking and tears formed, but eventually I got it under control and dared to peek around to see what the damage was.

First I looked at Annie.  She was huddled in her chair, clutching her head with her hands and her hair was covering her face.  She had survived physically, but socially??  Then I looked up at Misty, Misty was oblivious.  So I looked around the room and everyone was quietly working on their essay.  No one was pointing or laughing at Annie.  No one had seen her fall out of her chair.  

I went very quickly from concerned friend to cheated rival.  (It was high school after all and you know we all found pleasure in our friends misfortunes!)

But there was still one direction that I hadn't looked, and that was left towards Jo Anne.  I glance over at her expecting another studious essay writer, and like Annie she too had her head in her hands, but her entire body was shaking with repressed laughter.  She peeked over at me and we both lost it.  And we laughed for the next half hour, and every 30 seconds or so Annie with her wounded pride would whisper, "shut up, just shut up."  

And even though it's been 12 or 13 years since Annie fell out of her chair, I still can't not laugh when I see in my mind the look of terror on Annie's face as she plummeted to apparent social suicide.  

Speaking of social suicide...

I still dream that someday we will all live on Ham Row and our kids will marry each other like an all too cheesy Harry Potter epilogue, but until then the memories and good times keep me smiling.  And whenever we get together (which is much too rare) it's like no time has gone by and we eat like we're still in high school and pretend that none of us got fat.  BFFs.  I'm lucky to have them.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dinners...not a fan.

I went grocery shopping this weekend and came home with a frozen pizza, I told Rust that it was for dinner this week when "I'm feeling lazy."  He said, "So Monday's taken care of...what'll we have on Tuesday?"  


But why cook dinner when 3/5s of my family would rather eat toe nails?


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Puking Kids

I'm pretty lucky.  In the 6.5 years that I've been a parent, I've only had to deal with puking kids twice.  The second time today.  Must be all that formula I fed them!  It's good for the immune system.

So anyways, we've been working with the kids so that they're not such picky eaters. 

Dinner tonight was spaghetti and meatballs, and both kids had to eat a small bite of the meatball before they were allowed to leave the table.

Torture, huh?

Well, after a solid 30 minutes of coaxing Austin, he took a very, very small bite and before it had reached his tongue he was gagging.  He then threw up everything he had eaten all day.

He then turned to me and very threateningly said, "Don't you EVER make that for dinner again."  And proceeded to glare at me with the same squinty-eyed death look he gives me the entire time he's in swim lessons.  

And no, this picture has nothing at all to do with my story, but what's a post without a picture?  This way, even if you skipped the story, you can see a cute picture of my boy.

So then once he's happy again and getting ready for bed, he starts puking again.  And now he's in tears and asks, "What about if I do it forever?"

Operation Meatball was a huge failure, the kid will probably never eat them for the rest of his life.

Monday, April 9, 2012

You're Wrong

Whenever I post a picture of Eli somewhere I keep getting comments about how much like Austin he looks.  But you know what?  You're wrong.  He looks exactly like Ashlyn did, you're all just distracted by all the blue.  So here you go, minus distraction:

What a pretty little boy I have, huh?

What does Rustin think of me doing this to our son?  He actually walked in the room while I was taking this picture, and he giggled in a fever-induced haze, possibly called him Elija-ina and walked away.  So I think I'm off the hook.  And besides, it's really his fault because he's sick, and I'm bored and I have to find ways to entertain myself.

Oh and here's the side by side comparison:


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mom Self Esteem

You know how sometimes as a mom you kind of feel like you're not good enough?  You get on pinterest and there's all these super organized color coordinated children with their hair combed, and it makes you feel like you're failing?

Well, the other day at play group the topic of how little sleep I've gotten lately came up, as it naturally would after I've yawned 50+ times during a conversation with someone.

And then someone commented to me, "Oh.  So are you one of those moms that gets up with their babies at night?"

So thank you fellow mom for increasing my mom self esteem.


Monday, February 27, 2012

The Oscars

In an attempt to understand the appeal of the movie "The Artist" I decided to make my own silent film.

I totally get it now.  Definitely Oscar worthy.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mom of Three

Everyone says that going from 2 to 3 kids is the hardest step.  Maybe because the parents are outnumbered now?  *Insert zone defense joke here.

Actually, we haven't found ourselves outnumbered yet.  See diagram below:
See?  Not so hard when you have electronic devices on your side.

Regardless, it's actually been a much easier transition than I thought.  I think the secret is that neither myself nor my husband have any kind of expectations of me.  Dinner?  If it happens, that's just a bonus.  Clean toilets?  Again, just a bonus.  I don't actually try to get anything accomplished.  Also, don't stop by my house unannounced to use my bathroom.

Here are the highlights of the last 2 months with little Eli.

Biggest Dilemma: 

Decorating.  I have no idea how to incorporate Eli.  For now, I'm just ignoring the problem.  But I feel like it's only a matter of time before he notices...

I think my sister-in-law was on to something when she bought 14 matching frames, just in case.

Biggest Fail:  
At Kroger.  The kids were pushing Eli around in one cart (yes, we refer to "the kids" and Eli as separate entities, I can only assume he won't be one of our "kids" until he starts sleeping through the night) and I was pushing the groceries around in another.  We stopped and both kids stepped up on to the bar so their feet were no longer on the floor.  *Note - The kids are heavier than the cart and its contents.  *Another note - this one is mostly a reminder that the contents were Eli.

The carts flips.

I turn around just in time to see both Ashlyn and Austin underneath the cart with a car seat flipped over on top of them.

The couple behind us gave me a look that had parenting fail written all over them, the last time I saw a look like that I had Ashlyn on a leash.  Just you wait childless couple.  Your turn is coming.  And I will be there spouting judgment with my eye daggers.  

Biggest Miracle:  
"The kids" weren't hurt and didn't even cry.  Eli never even woke up from his nap.

Biggest Break Down:  
That night that I finally got to go back to zumba (Eli was 9 days old at this point), and I got to the Y just as the power went out and everyone started leaving.

I sobbed.  And I felt really really stupid for crying, but when I'm tired I am subject to human emotions.

Most amount of sleep in one time:
Five hours and 47 minutes

Longest crying spree:
I don't actually have this one down to the minute, but the kid definitely has a set of lungs and he'll use them for hours at a time if he feels like it.

Time it took me to write this blog post:
Like three weeks.  Or something ridiculous like that.

Cutest baby in the world: 

But that's only because he's asleep.

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