Monday, June 30, 2014


As I sit here and watch Parenthood while I procrastinate on doing all the things that need doing around here before we leave for our vacation, I figured I had better do something about the blinking cursor and the blank pages on this here blog.

It turns out that having zero free time is not exactly conducive to cultivating creativity.  In the few moments I've had to put my fingers to the keys, it's been frustrating not to see anything come out.  There are snippets here and there when I hop on Instagram or Twitter for a few moments, but it's been an uphill battle lately to stay plugged in to my "real world," let alone maintain the connections I have in my online one.

The good news that my very wise husband reminds me of nearly every day is that this is just a season of life that won't last forever.  For a little while, my online presence will be fading in and out as best I can sneak it in.

One thing I'm learning to do a little more is delegate, so I've gone ahead and hired an assistant.  I just needed someone to help me keep up a little better with checking and responding to email, spell checking my snarky Facebook status updates, and maybe a little light cleaning here and there.  Hey, I can't be expected to do everything.

Maybe I'm already working him too hard. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A New Kind of Crazy

Oh, Internet.  I love you so. 

I'm seeing all these adorable blog posts all over Facebook about summer and the many different stories and songs already being written about it.  Topics are about everything under the sun, from how to keep your kids academically challenged through the time off of school all the way to allowing your kids to be bored to allow room for creativity to flourish.  My favorite so far is probably the women who said she doesn't want to over-schedule her kids this summer, but a few weeks at day camp is enough to prompt her to let loose a "hell yeah!" 

Summer is a beast, man. I'm just trying to survive.

I know, I know.  We were all moaning and groaning like crazy in winter when it felt like we were living north of the Wall, but I'm not just talking temperature here, folks.  I honestly have no clue how you parents who are working those "real jobs" do it.  You know, those jobs I keep hearing about where you go to work in the morning wearing real pants and cute shoes, sit in a ergonomically correct chair, have a "business lunch," and then get money put into your bank account every two weeks.  Sounds pretty magical to me.  Anyway, you folks who exist in this fairyland are amazing.  How in the name of John Snow's lovely locks do you manage SUMMER

The kids are home and the word on the street is that they need to be cared for beyond a dish of food and water and the occasional pat on the head.  Many of you choose to bring them to a day camp like the one I am working at where we try to wear them out as much as possible so that when you pick them up they are ready to crash hard.  As a matter of fact, most of us teachers crash pretty hard when we get home too.  Your kids are exhausting.  (And by "your kids" I also refer to "my kids" since my own little maniacs are also attending the camp where I work.  We're all in this together.)

But what about those weeks when camp isn't in session?
How do you manage pick up and drop off if the hours don't even remotely match with your work life?
What about the younger kids who aren't old enough yet to come hang out with us?

Props, parents.  Summer is billed to be this huge sigh of relief, this collective exhale where we all get to kick off our shoes, bask in the sun, and let loose for a couple months.  As I'm coming to find out as my kids get older, summer is just a whole new kind of crazy.  T-ball practices, trying to get my money's worth out of my zoo pass, birthday parties, waterparks, church camp and more.  And having to fit all that in the seams of a grown up life that hasn't really changed all that much is mind blowing.

As for us, our mornings begin even earlier than they did during the school year and I have threatened my husband with physical harm if he fails to help me pack the boys' lunches the night before.  I get home from spending four hours with dozens of kids age four through seven, pound a reheated cup of coffee, get the little one to bed for a nap, fight the urge to leave the older boys to terrorize the neighborhood while I also succumb to the siren song of sleep, get changed and get ready to go to my night job where my step count sky-rockets as I serve pints of beer, bowls of corn, and plates of flatbread.  It takes every ounce of energy I have left in me to hold my eyelids open long enough to drive myself home at night.

My poor husband.

All that's left for him is a completely depleted shell of a wife who stumbled in the door empty, cranky, and likely kind of hungry.  None of those things add up to me having a very amiable disposition.

But my kids can't stop raving about it.  Sure, it's only the first week of this adventure, but they are loving every second of it.  Water Day!!!  Hot Dog Day!!!  Sliiiiimmmmeeeee!!!! I catch them singing worship songs when they don't even realize it.  What else could I ask for?

Earlier this week, on the night I didn't have to work at night at the restaurant, I had a whole list of things I needed to do during the afternoon that I hadn't had time to get to otherwise.  I put the baby to bed, set the big kids to playing, and resolved to get right to it.....after I rested for a few minutes. 

Then this happened:

And yes, those are paper talons on my son's hand.  He made a whole set of ten thanks to the friendly folding gurus at Camp.

How is your summer going? 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Curious Monkey

This kid just kills me.  He doesn't just wear Curious George on his T-shirts, friends.

He lives it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Real Time Blogging

I don't really believe in jinxes, but I do know that when I watch a Packer game I have to be very careful not to vocalize such thoughts as

"Wow, they're really running the ball well today."


"Rodgers hasn't thrown a pick yet this season!"


"It's amazing that there haven't been any serious injuries yet this season."

because inevitably the moment such things leave my lips, the runner is getting stuffed behind the line of scrimmage, my QB throws a Pick 6, and our center goes down with a blown knee.

Therefore, I have explicit orders when watching a game not to even breathe a syllable of such things out load, lest I bring down fire and brimstone on my team.

In short, I'm a jinx.

What I'm wondering is if the same principle applies to typing thoughts on a blog.  If I actually put them "out there," is that equivalent to speaking them and therefore inviting the jinx to apply its terrible curse?  And does it only apply to sports?  Or even just football?  I mean, ask any dude who has shown up on the cover of the Madden video game and they will tell you in no uncertain terms that such things are real, man. 

Dare I even type these words?  I think my computer might be working again.

I've been successfully navigating the Internet for about 30 minutes now with no cursing or yelling into a pillow, so that's a very good sign.   I still can't get anything to show up on my computer from my Photo Stream, but I'm not going to get greedy at this point.  I'm just grateful to be able to check my email, watch stupid YouTube videos, and read crucial Yahoo articles about how Ben Affleck is beefing up to play Batman.

So, I'm back.  And since it's Father's Day, I suppose I should be sure to include the traditional Ode to Dad photo.

So glad you're home, honey.  These boys adore you and I think you're pretty great too.  It's a lot of fun to do this crazy parenting gig with you and I'm looking forward to

Oh snap.  Game of Thrones is on.  Time to go.

(And that, my friends, is a blog post written in legit Real Time.  Out.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It Happened Here.

I had a light-hearted, funny post all set to start your morning off with a chuckle and a snort, but I realized that I had to address the incident that has turned our town upside down.

Over the weekend, two middle school girls attempted to murder their friend by luring her into a wooded area and stabbing her nineteen times, all in the name of a fictional horror meme known as Slenderman.  It was calculated and planned out for months in advance. 

This happened just a couple miles from my home, in an area I drive by frequently.  My neighbors are good friends with the parents of one of girls, the one who saw the knife in her friend's waistband as they walked out to the woods and thought, "Dear God, this was really happening." 

Obviously my community has been reeling, asking questions and scrambling to understand how something like this could happen anywhere, let alone in our own backyard.  As more details have emerged, it has become more and more chilling.

When the news broke and started spreading like wildfire through our town, the accusations and speculations spread just as quickly and it has been heartbreaking to watch it go national as these three families deal with the horrific ramifications that will change their lives forever.

Thank God the victim survived.  So many people are asking the obvious question - "Where is God in this?  How could he allow something like this to happen?"  I can't help but see the protecting hand of God in this because how else can you explain that the victim survived being stabbed nineteen times and yet the wounds came within a millimeter of severing a major artery that would have certainly ended her life?  I refuse to believe that it was a coincidence that there was a bicyclist riding by that exact spot at that exact moment when she managed to drag herself from the woods.  She lived.  Praise God she lived.

The blame game is useless.  Tragedies like this seem to always immediately prompt finger pointing.  It's the fault of the parents, the Internet, video games, the media, violent music, and so on and so on.  Is it important that parents are invested in the lives of their kids and are aware of what they are doing online?  Yes, of course!  Is it in the best interest of the kids to not play violent video games?  You betcha!  But nothing is a guarantee.  If we have learned anything from the tragedies we have seen at Sandy Hook Elementary, Isla Vista, and Virginia Tech it is that evil can manifest itself in ways we could never imagine, including mental illness and even in the impressionable minds of children.  Blame gets us nowhere. 

It could happen here.  We try to think that things like this won't happen to us, not in our town, not to our friends, not in our neighborhood.  But they do.  When I drove by the street where this crime took place on my way to the grocery store yesterday, I realized that one of "those incidents" totally just happened - in my HERE.  It's disconcerting, no matter how you slice it.

The potential for this story to only get weirder and more heart-breaking is huge.  For the national media, and for most of the good folks who read this, it will be little more than a flash in the pan, a mouse click easily forgotten about after a couple days. 

But my neighbor's friendship might never recover because who knows if his friend will never forget the sight of his twelve year old daughter in handcuffs being tried as an adult for attempted murder.  I don't even want to think about the circus that will accompany the trial for these girls.  My heart breaks for the families of all three girls and I pray for a speedy recovery, both physically and mentally for the victim.  I also pray that the accused might get the help that they need to understand the severity of their actions and to prepare them to accept the consequences.  No, we are not done here.  Not by a long shot.  It's just horrible.

I pray for all of us in this broken world.  Come quickly, Lord Jesus. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Name Game

Yesterday Evan sent me an urgent text message. 

He was standing in line at the O'Hare airport when he saw someone.  I'm sure he tried just a little bit not to look like a total creeper as he ever so casually raised his phone to snap the photo, but desperate times.....well, you know.

Here's what followed when I got the message on my phone:

I realize the photo is teeny-tiny here, but I'm pretty sure I nailed it!  This is something that Evan and I do a lot.  He is terrible with names and I seem to have a knack for them.  He will give me some sort of obscure hint like, "What was the name of that guy in the movie we saw with the movie with that one chick?"  More often than not, a short yet strategic line of questioning will unearth the answer we seek.

Me:  "The one we saw in the theater?"
Evan:  "No, we have it on TV.  Or Netflix."
Me:  "Did he have an accent?"
Evan:  "Yes."
Me:  "Gerard Butler."
Evan:  "Thaaaaank you.  Yes."

five minutes later

Evan:  "So does that guy do it for you?"
Me:  "He's Irish.  Of course he does."

And so on.

I'm just glad to be of help.

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