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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

IF/THEN paradigm of religion

I have to write a few drivel posts in between my religious, spiritual posts. Gotta keep it light and interesting. Yet, it's true that I have a lot churning in my spiritual mind. There are so many reasons why I stay religious--and particularly in my specific religion--and there are so many things that get me thinking/questioning.


I have been thinking a lot lately about the if/then ideology so prevalent in religiosity. IF you follow the commandments, THEN you are blessed. IF you look at the brass serpent on the rod, THEN you will be saved from death. IF you pay your tithing, THEN you will be favored with temporal and spiritual blessings. IF you follow the way of your church, THEN (and only then) will you reach heaven.

Except. When it doesn't work out that way. Which is often. 

Religious people sometimes accredit all of their blessings to God and living righteously. Sports figures thank God for helping them win a game. Cancer survivors thank God for saving them, or leading them to that certain doctor, inevitably curing them. Accident victims ascribe their recoveries to prayer, living faithfully, and God's will.

I am in no way being frivolous with my remarks. I do believe in a God who cares very much for His children (you and me and everyone else here) and is willing to bless us. It is just that the way we view "blessings" skews our faith. IF we are righteous, THEN we are blessed. IF we are not given an answer or an immediate blessing, THEN God's wisdom has prevailed.

It's such a secular understanding of a divine principle of God's blessings. We thank God in our prayers for our extremely comfortable homes, perhaps not considering that there are far more righteous people living in far less favorable circumstances. It can become a very egocentric "faith" principle. IF I am following my religion's precepts, THEN I will have health, ease, a nice home, work, family, happiness, and... oh yeah, eternal life. It's all about ME being given a perfect life because I am obviously super righteous.

Which would make sense if there weren't really good people dying, getting disease, making meager salaries, being abused, and having accidents. People who are more righteous and Christlike than us. So we say that it is God's will and wisdom that has made it so. We glorify ourselves (and the Priesthood) when we are healed/blessed, but absolve God and ourselves if it doesn't turn out the way we had hoped.

IF we are not healed, THEN we must not be righteous enough or asking correctly (D&C 46: 30-32). IF we are not being blessed financially, THEN we might not be paying enough tithing or fasting or... ! IF we are struggling, THEN we must have past sins for which we have not sought forgiveness.

IF we have questions or concerns, THEN we are not truly faithful.

Except. When it doesn't work out that way. Which is often.

I think we are getting it all wrong. The point of showing gratitude to an all-loving, omniscient, omnipresent God is to simply be grateful. Every single thing in this world is a blessing. Every breath of air, every day that the sun rises, every smile, every season and every person. The fact that you can move your hand to scroll down this long post is a blessing, let alone the fact that you can access the internet on an amazing computer machine or incredible phone (and probably in a comfortable home, no less).  I realize that the scriptures are rife with IF/THEN ideologies. But maybe if we stop trying to see the THENs, and instead see them always and try to be kind and loving ANYWAY, perhaps our faith will grow in God. We will see His hand everywhere and not do good BECAUSE MAYBE THEN, but just because.

Perhaps if the IF were replaced with just DO and the THEN were replaced with BECAUSE YOU LOVE GOD, there would be less need for us to find a temporal and physical reason for being obedient and loving. There would be less comparisons and maybe less pride. Maybe. If we saw all things as a gift from God and hard work and sometimes old fashioned LUCK, maybe it wouldn't be so bad when we realize that our kid just had bad luck on the trampoline and broke his femur. Or that the economy blows and that's why you're making less money. Or that you're sick. All of your life's breaths have been a gift from God. Thank Him. Don't blame Him for the occasional bad luck and don't credit your righteousness for your good luck. 

DO be kind to your neighbors, BECAUSE YOU LOVE GOD.
DO pay your tithing, BECAUSE YOU LOVE GOD.
DO remain faithful to your spouse, BECAUSE YOU LOVE GOD.
DO try to figure out your questions, BECAUSE YOU LOVE GOD.

Or do all of these things because you are a good person. Because you are. And you know that you feel like an even better person when you follow the golden rule. You're happier, even when life sucks a bit. Stop looking for the THEN. Stop promoting faith rumors. Stop comparing your blessings. 

Do you feel your faith grow when people share faith-promoting stories/rumors? Do you tend to compare blessings? What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bachelorette is still on?


Oh, Bachelor friends, did you even notice that I stopped writing recaps of the Bachelorette with Andi on Tuesdays? 

I stopped watching it.

For no good reason, really. There is no soapbox here and no change of heart. I was out of town for three Mondays and I don't have a DVR. So, I considered watching it on hulu or even (horror!) spending one dollar on Amazon to watch it for the few hours I was home every week. It didn't seem all that important. Then I was behind. And then I realized that I didn't care about Andi or her suitors.

What has happened to me? Where are my priorities?

Who knows. But I don't want to give four hours and four dollars to catch up on something that I feel lukewarm about. Or is it five by now?

Which makes me wonder: will I have any connection to the next Bachelor? Will he be someone from this season and I won't care about his "journey"? Am I a Bachelor apostate because I haven't been constant and dedicated? Is this the end for me?

Are you still watching? Am I missing out? Fill me in, Bachelor friends.

a

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1st

In case you aren't my Instagram friend, it has been a busy week over at our casa. Ashton broke his femur in multiple places and had to have a plate and 12 screws put in. It's been exhausting and semi-tragic, but we feel very fortunate that this is the hardest thing we have had to deal with this year. (knock on wood) 

Also, our silly little Instagram account (@kidsaretheworst) was featured on buzzfeed and it has been fun seeing it get some traction. 

Today is July 1. (insert trumpet announcement here) You may remember from past Julys that this is the month Alan and I read the entire Book of Mormon. Eight chapters a day. Every July. The whole enchilada.

I am eager to start it, even though I know it is an exhausting endeavor. Every year when we really focus and dig into reading the scriptures, I notice that I am a more patient mother and loving wife. And, if that is all I get out of it, I am excited to reap the blessings. I sincerely feel a difference in my anxiety and patience--it is palpable. 

I am telling you this, because it has been a wonderful thing for me for the past five Julys of my life. I have felt the difference and think you might like to feel some blessings from heaven, too.

So, would you join me? If you don't want to read the Book of Mormon, read your Bible, or your Qur'an, or your Torah, or your (fill in the blank with heavenly scripture here). It takes an hour a day, on average. Perhaps you could listen to it, if a recording is available for you. Or read it with your spouse or child. Just try it. I promise it will only be a positive experience. A little sacrifice can often lead to small blessings that are just what you need to push a little longer. 

I need some patience right about... NOW! And you?

Let me know if you're joining me. Strength in numbers, yo.

a

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Grow a Boy in Six Easy Steps!

all photos taken by Angie Monson (LINK)
I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't sad when I found out that my fourth and final child was a boy. I was sad. My firstborn was a daughter and we were poor enough that most of her clothes as a toddler were hand-me-downs and gifts. She still looked adorable, mostly thanks to my sister's jewelry line and her giving heart. That little girl of mine always had a cool pearl necklace and a few bracelets on, even when swimming and sleeping.

When we found out we were expecting a fourth child, I was excited to have a new live baby doll to dress. I admit it, even though when you write it out you can see how horrible and selfish it seems. But no, God wanted me to have my third boy. I wasn't super excited about more jeans and converse, light sabers and tiny cars, haircuts and dirty pockets. My heart yearned for a tiny dancer and someone who could wear all of those adorable necklaces. But as soon as Rhett was born, my heart changed. I wrote about that miraculous change of heart five days after he was born (here).


I know some people have more boys than I do and older boys to boot, but I still claim the title of LITTLE BOY EXPERT. There are some things I have learned in this past decade of trying to grow little boys. Wanna hear? Here I go:

1. Boys Love Hugs

Girls are cute, but when that little boy wants to hold your hand, kiss or snuggle with you, you say YES! Something happens to a mother and her squishy heart when her little boy needs her affection. It becomes more squishy, to be sure. It melts and puddles down to the pit of your stomach and you think you could die of happiness. It also does something terrible to your memory: "What smashed window? What dirty sink of dishes? What ruined patch of grass? What torn up jeans?"

But, do you know how much your little boy needs YOUR hugs, too? They might seem tough, but those little boys need your hugs and back scratches and hand holds more than you do. They need affection just as much as your daughters, and I believe it will only make them better and kinder men. Hug your boys, especially when they don't deserve it.


2. Boys Love Sticks

It's true. A stick is a magical gift from the gods. You may spend $20 on a nerf sword (which my boys all love), but a stick can be so much more than a sword. It is a light saber then a rifle, a sword and then a wand, a rope swinging from the trees and then the beginning of a fort. Did you know there are sticks in different shapes and sizes? It's true. My boys are constantly showing me how this stick looks like a machine gun and that stick looks like a boomerang. 

Sticks are amazing. Get your boy out and find some sticks.

3. Boys Love Style

It is still fun to dress boys. We had a pair of seersucker pants that all of the boys wore and every time it just made me want to grab and love on them. It is even more fun when they start having their own style. My 10yo is very involved in his hair styles and the cut of pants he prefers. Our 8yo acts as if he doesn't care, but there are a few items of clothing that he refuses to put on and wear outside of the house. Our 4yo is all about the accessories. He loves wearing sunglasses, ties, watches, wings on his shoes, and anything else we will let him wear. Which is a lot. He has more bracelets than I ever did as a child.

Some people have expressed concern over our boys' styles of dress and hair, but I don't worry myself with any of it. Boys like style as much as girls. It is all part of the process of growing and feeling comfortable in your own skin. Take your son shopping and see what he gravitates toward. Boys love dates with you, too. One on one time is the absolute best.

4. Boys Love Work

Well, not really. Most of my boys scoff and whine every single Saturday when it is chore time. My 8yo rolls his eyes every time I ask him to do anything but play on the iPad. But, boys need work. All kids need work, girls and boys. I personally think that boys are starting to work less and less these days. Things are easier, chores are simpler, games are everywhere. Boys need to still work hard, see value in their accomplishments, be prepared to leave your home when they are 18, and open a door for women. I am a self-proclaimed feminist, but I still believe in boys learning to be hard working and respectful. Opening doors and letting women go ahead of them is included in learning respect.

My boys are naturally pretty smart, God-given to be sure. But I tell them often that the most successful people in the world are not the smartest, but the hardest workers. Don't raise soft, lackluster smart boys. Raise boys who can love work.

5. Boys Love Potty Words

It is true for all three of my boys. They love potty words. Throw in a "poop" or "fart" into your story and you are the most hilarious person ever. I have never believed in shushing the potty words completely. Like all fine pleasures in this world, moderation is key with potty words. Boys need to express these funny little phrases more than you can understand, and if they don't do it around you, they are most definitely trying it out with friends.

I don't know when they outgrow seeing humor in potty words. My 37yo boy still laughs heartily at a well-placed "poo" reference.

6. Boys Love Praise

Don't we all? Somehow in the history of raising of boys, we humans have felt this need to make them tough and resilient and we do it by being very selective and sparse with our praise. Allegedly, If we tell them too often that they are strong and smart and kind and good-golly quite handsome, then they will not grow to handle criticism and disappointment. Baloney. Criticism and disappointment will come all over the place as they grow, which is all the more reason to give them love and praise at home.

Don't get me wrong, I reprimand and correct all of my children. I also try my darnedest to tell them how unique and cool they are, how much I appreciate their help and listening, why they are so smart and handsome. A sincere compliment is worth more than the snazziest outfit or coolest nerf sword that you could ever buy. Give your boys praise and do it as often as you can. All it will do is make him more confident as he grows in this world and prepares to leave your nest for good.


Wait. My boys will leave my nest for good someday?! I know it's true, and yet thinking that in eight shorts years my oldest boy will be taking flight is enough to make me stop typing this post and run and give him sloppy kisses and praise for days.

Thank you, God, for giving me three boys to follow my daughter. I can't believe I ever doubted that they were exactly what I wanted.

a

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fear mongering

picture found here

While I was in the wind-whipped deserts of Moab, Utah and subsequently out of the range of social media updates (and all other media updates), the world of Mormons was jostled once again. Two outspoken individuals were called into disciplinary council to discuss their membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And then at least ten more were called in for similar charges of publicly questioning church doctrines and church officials. One gentleman's disciplinary council was repealed as soon as it was called.  

Church officials and spokespersons have said that asking questions is not a problem, but what is a problem is recruiting others to question doctrine. And we recruit others, apparently, by voicing our own questions publicly. 

So, I was gone for a good portion of this news and debate. I feel like I am just getting up to date as Kate Kelley's bishopric decides her fate (by telling her they need a couple more days). My thoughts have been swimming, admittedly, and the words that repeatedly rise to the top are:


There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

This feels like a witch hunt to me. I understand the need for an organization to clearly define the lines that are acceptable to keep their reputation positive. I am not ignorant enough to believe that the church in which I believe is not ALSO an organization. It is just that I don't wholly believe in the organization (post EDIT: it is within this part--the organization--where I have some concerns). I fully believe in the gospel. Parts of the organization would drive me away from the gospel itself, if I didn't believe so firmly that it is true.

There are so many conflicts within the LDS organization and the gospel, that it is difficult for many (myself included) to know what is the better choice for themselves. Use social media to share the gospel, but don't "recruit" others to question. All are welcome to attend, but "don't you all look so nice in your white shirts and ties." Love thy neighbor, but pluck out the eye if it offends thee.

Contradictions are a natural part of all life, but I see it separate faithful and equal members within the church. I choose this point and you choose its antagonist. And then within our similar beliefs, we call out the other and point the finger of apostasy and blame. In a recent post on By Common Consent, the writer had a tender list of concerns that she had. A commenter jumped in with, "The fact of the matter is you are questioning church leadership, counsel, and revaluation, and direction which is the first sign of apostasy." (I think he meant "revelation" but I could be wrong. Maybe he was talking economics and I just missed that part of her post.)

Oh, apostasy. It is the word du jour. I have heard of people who have verbally worried that I, gentle Ahhnna, am headed toward apostasy. If it wasn't so laughable, I'd be offended. But the truth is, I have concerns and questions as well. I don't see the point of some ideas within the members of the church. I would love to sit and chat with you about them, but you see, there is a witch hunt afoot and apparently my very membership is on the line. If I write them down on this blog, where I have felt so many of you reach out and heard you say, "ME TOO! I am faithful, but there are things I bristle at as well," I could be called in and threatened as an apostate.

Then again, I am not afraid. I am more afraid that people like me and maybe you will feel silenced. That is what I fear the most in this recent happening. That those of us with LOUD questions and those of us with little questions will feel quieted. Afraid. We are more alike than different. It is OK to verbalize your questions, because there you may find solace and you will most likely find a friend who says, "I hear you and I understand."

To those who want us silenced and excommunicated, and to me and you as well, I have a scripture from the same chapter of John as above:


If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Silence is for the birds. They can have apostasy, too. I doubt they'd have as much animosity as I have seen about these Mormon happenings. They're too flighty. (Get it? Oh man. I kill me.)

a

Friday, June 20, 2014

Popularity Schmopularity

It has been a mighty busy few weeks around these parts and I'm right afraid that it won't ease up any time real soon.

(Did you read that with an old western accent? Try it again, it's super fun.) 

Today is the first day that I feel like I have had any time at all to sort out my thoughts, and with a messy house, four neglected children, and work piling up all around me, my time feels stifled. Which is too bad. I have been wanting to really put some time into sorting out my thoughts and sharing them with you, Jennifer. (I attended a conference this week and they suggested naming your blog readers. I'm going with Jennifer. It was a toss up between Jennifer, Lindsay and Walter, but Jennifer won. I am not sure if they meant to literally name your readers, but it felt right in my heart.)

I went to girls' camp (a church camp like a scout camp but with girls [duh] and a nonsensical amount of decorations) in Moab, Utah as one of the adult leaders. My daughter was there. Being there together was one of those moments in your life that you can actually see a shift in a relationship. It was like she turned that switch on teenagers have that allowed her to see me as an embarrassment, where before I was a delightful and quirky mother. Now, among her peers and the older girls she respects so much, I am a plight on her social advancement and acceptance. 

To which I say, "Get over it, sista!"

Oh Jennifer, why do our children grow up? I don't remember being this difficult to my mother, although I am sure that I was. Except I am sure that my adorable nature overshadowed all of my awkward teenage issues. Can I get a collective UGH from the parents of teenagers (and 12yo that act like teenagers)? And, I know it gets worse. Don't remind me. 

At girls' camp, a family reunion, and a conference for bloggers and brands, I was slapped in the face with something that doesn't really enter my little carefully curated life all that much: POPULARITY.

found here!

I'm just going to come out and say it: popularity blows. It sucks. It blows AND sucks all at the same time, like only the very mystifying of concepts. 

I saw popularity creep over the camp where those who were IN seemed unaware of the one person hanging around them that had the look of OUT all over her face. I heard it at the camp in the unimportant details of what car you got to drive in or what music was playing. I even had girls tell me that another leader was cooler than me and danced better than me, which was their way of trying to seem more valuable and popular. (By the way, I was never worried about my dance moves being challenged, never you worry.) I also saw popularity at the girls' camp include and uplift girls who were feeling left out or sad. There is hope for the popularity epidemic for the next generation. I'm kidding, there isn't. I just think we have some nice girls in our neighborhood. The rest of the next generation are filled with popularity-seeking goobers. 

I even saw popularity at the family reunion. The popular opinion was the most credible opinion. Alan mentioned to me that sometimes when two groups of people are so similar, their minor differences are magnified and become a chasm where otherwise they'd be a crack in the sidewalk. I feel this way with my family sometimes.

And then there was Alt. Have you heard of Altitude Summit? It is a conference designed for bloggers and creatives, which totally is ME! I was able to attend for a day of Alt during a conference in SLC about 18 months ago. I wasn't prepared for the business cards, the fashion, and the networking. I was inspired, though, and really gave a push to my blog and work after that day of Alt in January 2013. When I heard that there was an Alt Conference opening up this summer in SLC, I was really geared up to attend. I felt like my blog has not been inspiring lately and was curious to figure out how to finally do something with it after 7 years.

Well, here's the thing. There were still great business cards, there was still fashion, and there was a lot of networking. But as I am mulling over my experience, I am left with a feeling of frustration. The POPULARS were glaringly obvious and I felt a visceral duality: they were so off-putting and yet I wanted to be part of them. Do you know what I am talking about, Jennifer? I was annoyed by the popular people at the conference; those that were walking around like everyone wanted to talk to them and DO for them. And then at the same time I thought, "Why am I not as important? I am equally amazing and adorable." It is really frustrating that I think EITHER of these things. 

Ergo, popularity sucks AND blows.

The interesting part is that nobody wants to admit that they felt less than or frustrated by the sessions and speakers, because someday YOU might become popular and be asked to speak at Alt. Don't bite the hand that may some day feed you. Which I totally get. I don't want to be a jerk. Karma is totally real, Jennifer. But so are feelings of inadequacy and doubt. (Please note: I met some really rad people that I can't wait to meet up with again. It was a success in my book, but it was still a struggle.) One thing I learned loud and clear at Alt was that my own social media popularity defines my ability to be taken seriously, make money, or collaborate with others. So, if I am not popular, I need to change.

I have been on both sides of popularity. I have had the elation that comes from being noticed by someone of higher import than me as well as the feeling of being shunned. I have even been one that has noticed and shunned when put in that position. These are not great feelings, any of them. Which is why I wonder how we let it in our psyche at all. Why do we place ascending and descending value on people? I do it, you do it, my dog, Bowie, does it. I have no answer or suggestion here. It will always be.

I do know that my social media popularity does not make me happy. It might make me money. It might give me opportunities. It might have me feel important and respected. But I do know that what makes me happy is making sincere connections with people, my children and husband make me happy, being sarcastic makes me happy, learning and reading and finding creative outlets make me happy. I am happiest when I accept myself AS IS and do things because I want to feel healthier, smarter, kinder, more adjusted and NOT to do them just to be more accepted or loved by others.

Maybe that is my answer. Being popular in my own head and making decisions based on making my life and the life of those I love more fulfilled is the answer to all of this popularity bullcrap. And every time I feel inadequate next to those who seem more successful and liked than I am, I should tug on my ear, crinkle my nose, and try to be centered in my own awesomeness. 

See, teenage Jennifer (and my own daughter who will probably have me tugging my ear and crinkling my nose thousands of times over the next six years), it doesn't get any easier. We all feel the struggles of the popularity hierarchy. You will in some way or another until you are 75. And then you just won't give a damn. Which is what we all keep trying to do anyway. Chin up, buttercup!

a

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why I became a stripper

My last semester in college, I had one of those classes that was necessary for graduation and I had waited until the last minute to take it. Most of the other students were freshmen and sophomores, so I was totally more mature and educated, obviously. I phoned that semester IN. I went to the classes, I wrote my papers, I did the work. But my heart wasn't in it.


I should also admit that I was brand new married, too. So, that was fun. Kept me busy (wink wink, nudge nudge).

My final paper was due and I had no idea what to title it. Truthfully, I don't even remember the topic, but I do remember the title I slapped on at the last second: A Titty Bar in Yonkers

Yep. My professor was not amused.

My brand new husband had told me a story about how he recieved a call at his phone directory job and a man with a thick accent asked for the number to "a titty bar in Yonkers." We laughed about this quite a bit and decided it was the best idea for a university paper that had nothing to do with titty bars nor Yonkers. 

All I know is that I passed the class and graduated.

Which is probably how all of these viral posts feel that start off with really deceptive titles like "why I stopped dating my wife" or "I decided to not be a mom anymore." You click through from Facebook to read how this mother escaped motherhood and what the husband did to his wife, and OF COURSE they reveal the opposite. How was I so bamboozled?

And why I became a stripper is because I love restoring furniture. Duh. 

a

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

ahhnnaB



Sometimes I feel like such a novice in this online world. What am I doing, anyway?

Well, my answer is simple: I'm keeping a presence.


I have always tried to be authentic and true. Sometimes I have failed at that, but I keep trying. I don't know what is in store for me, but I have loved this little spot online to have good discussions and share fun junk. I have also been amazed at the friendships that have come because of this blog. So many of you I have never met, but I talk about you as though we have been friends for years. It's pretty cool. (which is always said like Miley Cyrus played by Vanessa Bayer, btw.)

I am headed off to Alt Conference in a week and planning on being inspired, yo. 

Keep in touch.

a

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Calling for Parental Support

School has been out for 23 hours at our house. The first five hours were spent at friends' houses and end-of-school parties, so they don't count. Then the oldest went to a sleepover and the others slept for a whopping 6.5 hours, so those don't totally count. 

Kids have been HOME from school for 11.5 hours. We have already done chores, threatened screen time, had four crying spells, two fights, five wrestling matches, 59 eyerolls... now 60, two tantrums, one plea to sell Ashton at the next yard sale, three jumps on the trampoline, one dog that is hiding, and now the television is on. I've given up. Less than twelve hours and I have waved the white flag and considered making a paper chain to count down the days until school starts.

Seriously. When does school start?

The four-year-old and the dog have already felt like their territory has been compromised. So do I. We are not comfortable with this invasion of our space. yet. I know we will get used to it and then we will all shed a tear when they go back to school full time. I can't imagine that tear will be very large, but every new school year I get a little sad and nostalgic for the freedoms of summer and the time spent together. So, I know it will come, but right now I am already looking forward to school again.

And this online world would have me feel crummy about my feelings. Everyone else is allegedly super excited for more time with their kids. I mean, I am excited for sleeping in as much as the next mom, but then we all wake up and have to figure out how to not kill each other until the next sleep.

But this is where I get on my blogging high horse and shout:

FRIENDS AND COUNTRYWOMEN,
WE NEED TO LIFT EACH OTHER UP AND SUPPORT THE OTHER LIKE A REALLY GREAT BRA. IF ONLY ONE CUP WORKED WELL AND THE OTHER BREAST WAS UNSUPPORTED, THE BODY WOULD LOOK SERIOUSLY WHACK. IT IS COMPLETELY OK IF YOU LOVE SUMMER. IT IS COMPLETELY OK IF YOU LOVE HAVING YOUR KIDS IN SCHOOL. DON'T FEEL BAD FOR NOT BEING LIKE OTHER MOMS AND DADS (AND WHO THEY PROFESS TO BE ONLINE). BOTH OF US ARE BOOBS, AFTER ALL.


Writing in all caps is annoying. 

So is reading all of these blog posts, online articles, FB status updates, insta photos with accompanying essays on how that specific mother/father loves being with their kids/not planning summer activities/planning killer summer activities/putting their kids in camps all summer long/being the best mother/father EVER.

I feel a little guilty when I see how other parents are so happy to have their kids home all of the time. They don't like sharing them with teachers and school. But then I remember that their kids have probably done something naughty in the last 24 hours or will very soon. Ahhh, I feel better. Kids are all stinkers sometimes. Even my amazingly amazing children.

I feel bad when I see mothers writing about how they aren't going to make anything off Pinterest for their kids this summer. Because that stuff is crazy and their kids should just learn how to use a garden hose, dagnabbit! I feel bad because the finger pointing is unnecessary. Some mothers like to make their entire backyard into a noodle haven and invite all of the kids over for homemade otter pops. That's totally cool. Why should we make them feel bad?

Support the other boob, yo!


If you are a mom like me that has started twitching in the last 24 hours and lets your kids watch Netflix so you can get in a quick nap (or write a silly diatribe on your blog), then HUZZAH! If you are a mom that has made a list of all of the things you want to do with your kids this summer, then HUZZAH! If you are a mom who has already bought a million toys so nobody is ever bored, then HUZZAH! If you want to make cookies all day, HUZZAH! If you want to only feed your kids spinach smoothies all summer, HUZZAH! If you want to garden with your kids, HUZZAH! If you want to go to work, HUZZAH!

HUZZAH to all you parents and fellow boobs. I do love these kids of mine and am excited for our crazy summer. But I am also totally cool saying, "OH BOY, this is going to be exhausting." I wish the same for you and yours.

a

PS--my friend and I started a little instagram account (@kidsaretheworst) where we can commiserate on the occasional awfulness of our children. You know, be real and laugh with some schadenfreude. Check it out:



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bachelorette, two days in a row, yo




Four hours of the Bachelorette in 26 hours is like eating only Cheerios for a week. At first, you're kind of down with the idea but then you start noticing that Cheerios smell like baby poop and you're not that hungry, anyway.

By hour three (Monday night's second hour) I lost all sympathy for Andi. She was kissing all over Marcus and I just couldn't get stop alternating gagging and playing Piano Tiles on my phone. Marcus is not my favorite. Something about him screams SLEAZY! But I am sure his mother is lovely. He tells Andi that she is "the first girl I have trusted" and then quickly asks her, "Do you trust people right off the bat?" She says that she does. He asks, "Really." She affirms that YES, she trusts people from the get go and then he lamely says, "me too." Wait. What? Marcus. You JUST said that Andi is the first girl you have trusted. You are slimy. 

But, back to Sunday night. 

NICK: he's got that Sean Connery lisp that is not as adorable as it is on Sir Sean. He needs an accent to pull it off. He tells Andi that he feels "like a 12 year-old boy" which I take to mean super awkward and has difficulty concentrating. Also, just starting puberty. It might make sense for Nick, after all. He was engaged for a mere minute, after all. Can you imagine? "Will you marry me?" "YES!" kiss kiss kiss. "Wait. Maybe not. Let's just try dating some more." "OK. Can I keep the ring?"

Andi tells us about Nick that "I think that if I develop real feelings for him that I can turn him into a believer." Soooo, if YOU develop REAL feelings for Nick, HE might BELIEVE in this process? That sounds foolproof to love.


BOYS II MEN: I'm just gonna come out and say it. The whole date was miserable to watch and hear. Does NOBODY know how to sing? Even opera dude was too operatic to showcase any decent version of this sex-filled song. That girl with her hands over her ears? She was spot on.

Plus, a mall does not a concert make. At least we can be pretty sure that none of the crowd paid for this atrociousness. Plus, Andi can call Boys II Men her friends. Plus, she has the range of like four notes. I feel for her a bit there. Y'all.

JJ: Harrrrrrrvey. This was more fun that it could have been. I know some people might be sensitive to the elderly population for this segment, but it was kind of fun. I wanted to be more cynical about it, but I found myself smiling during most of it. So, there. I still don't know what a pantsraprenuer is. Stop trying to make fetch happen.

Drama at rose ceremony was not dramatic. He got a phone number or he didn't. Oh well. Cue YAWN.

Monday night:

CONNECTICUT: Ok, sure. Is it to save money because you are heading to Europe? I'm all for saving money at a casino. Why not?

DYLAN: his story is pretty tragic. I just wonder why everyone feels like they have to 'splain their life story to these Bachelor/ettes. "I just need to tell her all about why I am timid and shy. Because my Dad was a plumber and my mom was a teacher. SHE HAS TO KNOW!" I don't mean to belittle Dylan's sad sibling loss. It is sad. I am kind of upset that Andi pushed for it so much. Dylan is the same guy that gave Chris Harrison a lap dance last week and now it's SO SOMBER. This show, I tell ya.

WNBA: How many takes did it take for Andi to make that shot? (say that 10x fast) The guys are all, "In heels. woohoo!" Uh, yeah. Now let's see you make any in your bball shoes. Tell me why some guys got shirts that say ROSEBUDS and the other team had to draw hearts on their jerseys. That's some weird favoritism going on there.

And take note, Bachelor Fans, LOSERS EAT CEREAL. I hide my head in shame.

Eric's little talk about his family and losing his religion was hard to watch. But his Mormon family still loves him no matter what he chooses. Which makes your heart break a little less. But still.

MARCUS: Well, you know how I feel about him. He's not my favorite. Which makes his whole "I gotta be the man" while rappelling even more abrasive. As well as his girly way of throwing his napkin over the rose because it is taunting him. As well as his professing his LOVE during a country song. What is with country music crooners and the Bachelor franchise lately? Am I the only viewer that does NOT like nor listen to country music in Bachelordom? Because it is getting kind of old. Bring on a crooner, people. 

Then Eric's exit. Oy vey. That was hard to watch, because I was mostly agreeing with Eric. Does he express himself well? Not so much. Did Andi totally overreact because someone wasn't fawning all over her? uh, yeah. Most definitely. His exit and proclamation that now he is ready to find love is pretty gut-wrenching. 

What do you think? Where is the time with the farmer? She will never end up with him, but so far he is my favorite. As is personal-trainer Cody. He is such a beefcake, but kind of endearing so far. Maybe.

a



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Driving drivel

I am a fairly aggressive driver. I remember one of my friends in high school was so hesitant to cross a busy road one school day when we were late returning from lunch. She would inch forward and then slam on her brakes a dozen times, at least, before she gunned it across the road. I was so anxious and sure that her hesitation was going to get me killed, that I made a mental note to never be timid when driving.

I was probably too aggressive of a driver in high school, as my past moving violations would tell you. But, I haven't had a ticket in over a decade (where is that wood? knock knock KNOCK!). I'm pretty alert--especially now that the cell phones have been pretty much banned from drivers in the state of Utah. Oh, don't lecture me. I get it.

I also talk to the other drivers like they can hear me. Do you do that? Rhett once lectured me for reprimanding some crazy driver. This lady was SO mad that I turned in front of her in a parking lot. She was visibly yelling at me, so I said "Chill out!" It's one of my favorite defensive driving phrases. Rhett asked why I said that. He was three at the time. I explained it to him and he said, "That's not very nice of you. Maybe she is sad."

Dude. I know. This kid, I tell you, is going to be the one to convince me to stop being sarcastic. If it weren't for his wicked use of the sarcasm gene already. He told the most elaborate story the other night during dinner about how he kissed his girl friend (two words) while they were watching a movie. He had us all convinced and Johnny mad that Rhett beat him to kissing a girl. Then, totally deadpan, he says, "Guys, I am kidding. I didn't kiss her." 

I digress into the miraculous stories of our Rhett. I could go on for hours. Like how he corrected a friend for saying "fill" instead of "feel". I should NOT have been proud of him in that moment, but I sure was. See? I can't stop. The kid is the freaking bees knees.

So, driving. I am aggressive, and Rhett tells me to be nice. I really do try to give other drivers the benefit of the doubt. What if they have a brand new baby on board? Oh, every time my kids were new babies, I would freak out about how crazy other drivers were. Especially the teenagers. "Don't they know there is a tiny human in the back of this car? Slow down, ya jerks!" The yellow "BABY ON BOARD" signs are there for a reason, folks. New parents are PARANOID. 

Or what if other drivers just got horrible news? What if their spouse is in the hospital? I remember when I was driving home from the doctor with a paralyzed face and an eye patch. Rhett was six days old and it was Maggie's eighth birthday. The neurologist had just told me that they wanted me to take more tests because they were pretty sure I had multiple sclerosis. The sun was setting and I couldn't help but cry all of the way home. I drove so carefully because I was freaking out about the ice on the streets and my blurred vision. I SHOULD NOT have been driving, but there I was. I looked over at the car next to me at the stop light and they were laughing and talking. I felt so pathetic. Why had I not realized before how many people were driving around distraught like I currently was? Would I ever drive around again happy and singing to music? Would my eye ever go back to normal?

Luckily, it did. I did.


But DUDES, sometimes when I am driving and there is some hotshot driver who speeds up to the car in front of him so he can pass every car in every freaking lane, I kind of go bananas. We get it, you are super important and you must get to your destination before every other person on this freeway. Sometimes I wonder, "What would Jesus do?" I seriously do. I wonder how Jesus would drive. Would he let every other driver pass him? Would he punch the gas to pass that teenager who can't decide what speed they want to drive? Would he slow down and let the hotshot get to wherever he is going faster?

I think Jesus would never get anywhere. Alan thinks Jesus would walk.

a

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Just so we're clear...

I overheard someone the other day talking about my blog. More specifically, they were mentioning that sometimes on my blog people don't know that I am being sarcastic. (Full disclosure: this wasn't some crazy celebrity moment where I happened to overhear a blog fan discussing my blog. Ha! No, it was between people I know, sitting at a table where I was sitting, speaking about me and my writing as though I were not five feet away. The best kind of conversations, dontcha think?)

I would say that 90% of my blog posts are tinged with sarcasm. If you ever wonder if I am being sarcastic or bratty, the answer is YES! Just consider it so. Maybe instead of using my = = key to show when I am being facetious, I will write in big bold letters:

PLEASE NOTE: THIS BLOG POST IS NOT SARCASTIC AT ALL

on the occasion that I am feeling totally serious. Sure, I write about matters that are serious to me, but I still like to throw in the sarcasm here and there. Because life is not all serious. Like Hans Christian Andersen is said to have said:


"Enjoy life. There's plenty of time to be dead."

I enjoy life by making it light. I joke, I am not all serious, I am a smartA, I state the obvious and pretend like it isn't. I am sarcastic and I aint gonna change for nobody. Well, not anytime soon.

I love people, but mah goodness people can be so uptight. I love when people tell other people that they are "worried about me" as much as I hate it. Because nobody that I talk to frequently is worried about me. Even those that I talk to bi-monthly (every other month, yo) aren't worried about me. But people who read my blog? So worried. It's awesome, actually. 

Which makes me realize that the shmucks who I pretend to know because I read their writings or look at their instagrams... I may not know them. And who cares? It's fun, anyway.

I try to be completely transparent, to write my challenges and frustrations as much as I share my favorite music. But, sure what I write on this little weblog is not everything about me. I have issues, friends. I have amazing flaws. I struggle with a lot of body shaming. But I am also way cooler than you can even imagine. I am much funnier in person, if you like people who are sarcastic and don't give a crap. I also make a mean green smoothie if you ever want to stop by for a chat on why the Vitamix has changed my life.


I don't care who you are. And by that I mean, I care very much about you, and I would love to chat for hours. It won't bother me if we disagree or look totally different, unless you are totally wrong and gorgeous. I am working on myself and breaking beyond what the surface expectation is. I am trying to judge people a whole helluva lot less because I know how much I don't want people to judge me. There's this new idea called the GOLDEN RULE that I am trying to apply more in my life. It's kind of amazing.

And if you didn't sense a whole lot of sarcasm sprinkled throughout this post with my true intent at being a better person, then I don't know what else to add.


Poop.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bachelorette, week 2

Ok, before I share some of my thoughts on last night's episode, it has to be said: Andi loves the cleavage dress. As do her suitors. Yowzas!

Some play-by-play thoughts I wrote down as we watched a very long episode last night:

"I may find my husband in this group of guys." Let's count how many times she says this phrase during the season.

I feel bad watching Eric. Maybe because I don't feel very nice making fun of his high voice. Because he seemed really nice and all. And he's cute. My heart breaks a little for his family.

HELICOPTER! Sheesh, Bachelor franchise. Way to start off the season right.

"Epic" is Andi's version of "amazing" 3x in Eric's date alone.

Syria. Family. Children. My goodness, this is sad and sweet.

"Bare" "are we getting naked, because I'm excited." Love me a clever pun, but I will always be reticent when an invitation with the word "bare" is used.

For my brother Spencer: Andi says "stop" a lot and doesn't mean it. So, it's cool.

Male strippers: I think some of the bachelors were enjoying that a bit. There could easily be three "contestants" that might have thought Andi was an Andrew.

Andi, don't say "tiny surprise" when talking to men who are about to strip. Just sayin!

"I want everyone to go NUTS!" Gag.

Stripping robot was funny until it was nasty.

Craig loves Josh. Obviously.

Serenading in opera. Uhhhh, no thanks.

Andi "did not expect" a bunch of guys with unlimited amounts of alcohol to get drunk and be lame. Really? Because... really?

Chris the Farmer is cute, but when will the bachelors give up that spiky hair?! Ugh!

He's so hyperbolic "Andi is the most beautiful girl on the entire planet." She is the most amazing, too. And this is before their date. which was a cute date.

You know which boys like other boys by their reactions to them getting roses.

Andi holds those roses so high, I just want her to sniff one of them.


Do any of you remember Andi saying y'all ONCE during Juan Pablo's season? I can't recall once. He loves her y'all now.

Thoughts?

a





Tuesday, May 20, 2014

the bachelorette--andi

Ugh. I toyed with the idea of quitting the Bachelor franchise altogether. I mean, Juan Pablo was just such a WOMP WOMP (cue: sad trombone). Maybe I am just annoyed that he pulled the wool over my eyes. Maybe it's because I realized that this show MIGHT be kinda fake. 

Wait. What?

Oh, Andi. I kinda liked you during Juan Pablo's season, but then you bugged me. But I am a fickle fan on this "reality" show. I think there was an hour of my life that I liked Jake Pavleka. So, there's that.

But, like a siren calling from treacherous rocky waters, I return to the Bachelor island. 

Ugh. Couple thoughts from last night's episode (when I wasn't sleeping; it was really late.):
  • Andi is cute. She's smart. She's even seems kind and cool with this whole "journey." Y'all.
  • Sad about Eric Hill.
     
  • Some guy from the limo when they see Andi waiting in front of the mansion, "That smile is devastating." Ooh, big word. So, does it cause you grief or ruin you? Stop trying to make fetch happen.
    I'm not going to remember any guy's name for a few episodes. Sorry. But the guy with the lock on the gate. That crap was funny. Did you see where they put it? On the spiral part of the fence that could slide off in five seconds.
  • "I'll see you inside" x 100.
  • Anal with an M. No words.
  • The lamp guy should have made a better joke. "You light up my life." "This bulb's for you!" "I have an idea... (turn on light)." So, I don't have a better joke, but come on, dude. That was weird and weak.
  • Beverage sales manager announces that he is going to go inside and grab a drink. Big surprise.
  • The Chris B. from a few seasons past who tries to crash the party. All I can do is laugh. Poor guy.
  • That one sad sap who said if he doesn't get chosen by Andi in this first round, "it might rank up there with one of the worst feelings in the world." You know how I love hyperbole. Because this is almost as horrible as about a MILLION actually horrible things that you could feel. Gag, sir. I call Gag.
  • Long hair, Utah-bartender's defeated faces in the rose ceremony was killing me. Oh, the pain. "One more name and it isn't MINE!"
  • Andi holds the roses a little bit like Ashley did. Like she was going to bowl it down the alley of Bachelors. Hands together, rose up, look down at the pins, and STeeeeRIKE.
  • Lawyer boy: "Everyone in my life is like, 'Oh my gosh, you guys are gonna get married and have kids.'"
  • Doctor boy: "Is there something that you could've done different?" Umm, yes. Your super awkward joke. "I'm not going back to a whole lot." Except the Urgent Care. Come on, dude.

What do you think of this season? Are you watching? Are you going to start? Do you think Andi should've let Chris come and join the other guys? (yeah, me neither)

Cheers to all of y'all.

a

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Reflections

this photo makes my crappy mother heart fill with pride and tears. Do hearts fill with tears? Sure, they do.
Photo credit by the AMAZING Simplicity Photography. GO HERE!
Every Mother's Day I have a few similar thoughts:

1. It sure is nice to have one meal a year that I don't have to prepare or clean up. It should be a monthly tradition, at least.

2. I really wish someone would buy me chocolate one of these years. My church congregation doesn't do anything for Mother's Day and it bugs me more than it should.

3. What am I supposed to do? This day is freaking awkward.

I kind of joke that the day isn't really about me, but about my mother and Alan's mother. But, I am sure they think that Mother's Day is about the young mothers whose children bring home painted handprint flowers and coupons for future good behavior. I guess we are both right and wrong. 

It just feels so contrived. I love to be honored. Like, I will take whatever I can get. Tell me you love me and make me meals whenever you feel like it. Buy me chocolate every week (geez, I'd take once a year) for all I care. Bring me cards and coupons whenever it strikes your fancy. It's like the pseudo-romanticism of Valentine's Day heaped upon mothers. The poems come out, the shout outs on Facebook and Instagram, the talks in church, the cards from friends. Oh, it is lovely, but SO CHEESY!

Guess what? I am fairly confident that I am a good mother. I know we aren't supposed to admit that and we are supposed to be self-effacing and guilt-prone, but TO HECK WITH IT! I am kinda killing it in the mothering department. Sure, my kids are RARELY ironed to church and I barely help them with any school projects, but I call it raising kids to be self-sufficient. I am fairly confident that if you asked any of my kids if their mother loves them, they would say YES! Because I totally do. 

Sure, I am a crappy mother, too. Want me to list the reasons? Let's just say it starts with the fact that I cannot remember how much they weighed at birth (and I barely remember their birth years) to the fact that I let them play video games and watch Netflix movies while I leave them to go grocery shopping all by myself. Oh, and I don't ever make them breakfast or make their beds. I barely even help one of them make their school lunch.

All of my crappiness aside, I still feel pretty good about my mothering. And then Mother's Day comes and I'm all, "UGH! Everyone is a better mother than me. I am not selfless and sweet and generous." Because all of the tributes and talks give the mother's highlight reel and I can't help but remember how I lost my cool the night before because someone had a popsicle in "the wrong room." Oh yeah.

Then I feel guilt for all of the women that can't or haven't been able to have babies of their own. What a slap in the face Mother's Day is. Sure, they have a mother, but we all know that the babies and little kids running around are just a huge reminder of what they want. My overly efficient ovaries just feel like show offs on a day like Mother's Day. I feel like a punk. Even my stinker 7 year-old that doesn't want to go sing to me at church and makes a scene feels like a slap in the face to those who wish they could have a stinker who refused to sing. 

It is a really weird day. And I feel guilty that the only reason I like it is for the free meal. Otherwise, I could totally do without it. Because I give myself enough pat-myself-on-the-back Mother's Days all year long. With a lot less guilt.

You can still bring me chocolate, though, dear children. 

a