Friday, June 29, 2012

My ticket

Yesterday on my way home from work and picking up the girls, I got pulled over.
Why is it that cops and policemen are our best friends when we are in danger, but when we are the ones getting caught we turn them into the enemy?

Or is this just me?

Ugh.  It was so ugly.  It was 108 degrees here in Saint Louis yesterday.  For the first time in a long while, we got a glimpse of what many in the South (including my family in Texas) have been facing for several summers now.
Extreme heat and brutal drought.

But if I'm honest, I know I cannot use that as my excuse.

I wasn't speeding.  I was distracted.
So I got a citation for failing to get into the other lane when passing the cop car who had someone pulled over.

All of my nasty inside yuck came out when he was writing me the $77 ticket.
A feeling of shame washed over me.
The kind where your cheeks start to burn and your tummy feels sick inside.
I was embarrassed, humiliated and felt completely out of control.
As he was giving me back my insurance and license, Evie called out from the back seat, "Mom, are you going to jail?"
He didn't laugh.
Oh great, I thought.  He probably thinks I get pulled over ALL of the time.
More shame.  More redness.  More ugly.

As I drove away from the scene with my nice yellow piece of paper in hand, I tried to rationalize that it wasn't that big of a deal.
But guess what?  As minor as the incident was, I allowed it to ruin my day.
I came home grumpy.  I vented to my friends.  I refused to cook my family dinner.  (Well, okay.  By 8 p.m. I did cave in and break out a box of Kraft macaroni for the kids).
I pouted and got defensive and just really mad about the whole thing.
I drank a beer.  Then I decided that wasn't helpful so I went to workout in the basement for an hour.
(In the future I shall remember drinking 12 ounces of alcohol is not a good idea before sweating one's behind off in cardio.  Reverse the order, Laurie).

However, today is a new day.  And I realize that this police officer was just doing his job.  He didn't intend to shame me, he just exposed my wrong doing.
And ignorance of the law is still my responsibility.
Distraction and absentmindedness don't bode well when driving a vehicle on the highway.

Sigh.  Responsibility sometimes hurts.

Thank you, God, for my much needed dose of humility.  Please shower me with LOTS of Your mercy.  Because only Your grace can cover shame.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blackberries and Craigslist

I have an unhealthy relationship with Craigslist.
Not only do I have the app on my phone (which is quite dangerous), when my husband travels out of town I tend to spend hours in my bed late at night, scouring the sight for good deals.  Consider it garage-sale-ing from the comfort of your own comfy covers.

Last week I found this cute dresser for $30.

Here's another part of my ridiculousness.  Instead of wisely buying items that have a purpose and plan in my home, I often get overwhelmed by the "cute" factor first.  Then, if it happens to be a good deal, fuh-getta-bout-it.
I'm a goner.

I follow several blogs but two of which I really enjoy gave me some inspiration.  Again, I didn't want to be a total copy cat, but just an idea follower.  (Is there a difference or am I full of it?) Nevermind.  Don't answer that. has the cutest stuff.
I loved this:

And I believe she got her inspiration from,
Another A-DOR-A-BLE blog:

I had to use what Chalk Paint I had on hand, since the stuff is as expensive as liquid gold. (My birthday is in August.  I shall be asking for more colors then, hint, hint to family...)

I used AS Old White on the outside with clear wax.  

On the drawers, I used one of my newest favorite colors, AS "Coco".

For the top I used three coats of Minwax Dark Walnut.

A trip to Lowe's later, I had my knobs.  I really adored the fancy $3.97 crystal ones, but since I needed to buy 14 of them, I was a cheapie and went with the 97 cent ones.  Thrifters can't be choosers...

In other randomness, I broke out my "light up" flowers I bought at Homegoods a long time ago.  Caleb might have commented that they made me look like a grandma.  But I went with the decorating philosophy "If I like it, that's all that matters" so I put them up today.  

And you don't think I bought just one thing that evening on Craigslist did you?
Of course not!

This morning the girls and I went to our friend's house to pick their blackberries while they are on vacation.  I know what you must be thinking. What generous friends we are.  Tee hee hee.

Well, I had to pick up the $70 table and benches I found and decided to schedule the "pickup" on our way over to get the blackberries.

Other than being highly impulsive and having the tendency to believe anything "will fit in the back of the minivan"...well, let's just say it was an adventure and not one of my  most stellar moments in parenting.

Because we had to fit THIS in the back of the Honda Odyssey.
WITH myself, a 9 year old, and a 4-nearly-5 year old.
Minus the cat.
He just sat on there for the picture when we got home.

It was so ugly.
Evie immediately started crying when I wedged her in the back between all of the mess.

So like any good mother, I whipped in to Quick Trip (the fancy smancy gas stations in the midwest) and bought the girls hot dogs and slushes to get them to stop complaining and thinking about their cramped conditions.

I can't wait to decide what to do with this!
And when I got home I realized the benches even open up for storage.
Ta daa!

Fortunately by the time we got to my friend's house,
the carbs and sugar kicked in for lots of blackberry-picking-energy.

 Grace and Evie are such good sports.
I promised them I would never make them do a Craigslist "pickup" with me again.  I have a much better chance of keeping that promise if I delete that darn app from my phone.

This week I'm linking up with:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"What is a Calorie, Mom?"

Last night after I got home from work, it was a "cereal for dinner" kind of night.  My mother in law always tells me if cereal is a balanced meal for breakfast, then it is a balanced meal for supper!

As the girls and I were eating our wholesale box of Reese's Puffs from Costco,  Grace, my nine year old, started reading the box and asked, "What is a calorie, Mom?"

In that moment, before I answered, a simultaneous wave of panic and grief hit me.  Panic as to how to use this moment appropriately and not bombard them with too much information.  Grief for the beginning of the loss of innocence of my oldest daughter who will likely become increasingly aware of words like "calorie" and "fat" and "skinny".

The reason for my emotions is deeply personal.  Because I want for my girls (and every young girl I know, for that matter) to develop a healthy relationship with food.  And more importantly, for them to look at their ever-changing bodies with a sense of kindness and affirmation.
(Something I still can struggle with).

By the time I was a freshman in high school I had become so insecure about my own body that I radically compared myself to anyone and everyone around me.  I scrutinized every bite of food that went into my mouth.  And the word "calorie" was definitely a trigger for me.  For years I knew the calorie and fat content of every food known to mankind, as well as the precise amount of exercise needed to burn those calories.
For almost nine years I secretly and shamefully struggled with an eating disorder.
As you can see, a question like this sent me into a mini panic attack on our kitchen counter last night.

I am thankful to say I have lived differently now for many many years.  After an intense inpatient treatment stay at Remuda Ranch in my early twenties, I jump started a recovery that in a nutshell has led me to a much different place today.

Which is where I found the words to answer my daughter's question.

I explained to them that "calorie" is just a word used to measure energy.  (Thanks to God that it is not the evil word to me it used to be).
I also kindly told them that it isn't really anything that they need to think about, as long as they eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.
Grace then asked me, "But are they bad, Mom? Because tv makes them seem bad."

I began to explain to her a concept that I learned years ago to help me change my view of eating. Food is just food.  It is neither good nor evil.  You may eat a doughnut or an apple.  Either one can belong in the variety of foods you choose to eat. Just as you wouldn't want to eat only doughnuts, you wouldn't want to eat only apples. But all foods can belong in our lives when we want them to.  I also believe that God designed each of our bodies for a reason.  Just as you cannot change your shoe size, your body is uniquely given to you by Him.  It is just up to us to take care of it and make peace with it.

I don't want to tell them how to build a watch if they are only asking me what time it is, but I realized this will likely be the first of many conversations like this between us.
And although I have very little control on how my girls ultimately decide to treat their bodies, the best I can hope for is to influence them with my own approach to the subject.  Which sits awfully close to many painful scars, but each day I really try my best to treat my body kindly.  And to "be nice" to myself with my thoughts and actions.
If I want to be a safe and loving parent to them when they struggle, I know I have to be honest with them.  And vulnerable.  And somehow hope that God covers the rest.

If you've finished this long post, thank you for reading until the end.
And for letting me share a piece of my story.

P.S.  I no longer know how many calories are in Reese's Puffs.  I eat them because they are yummy and I like them.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

How to Organize Your Kids Rooms

I have no idea.

Today we woke up and decided to go through an entire box of hand-me-downs my twin sister sent home for us from Texas.

Anytime a box of new clothing enters our home, it is almost always necessary to "purge" of the old clothing to make room for the new.
Although our girls are fortunate enough to each have their own bedrooms, the rooms are quite small and the closets have sliding doors which limits space.

Holy Moly Sweet Jesus in Heaven.
We spent almost SIX hours gutting and cleaning out their closets.

You could have seriously put both of these cuties in contention for a special kids edition of Hoarders.

I am surprised we came out of there alive with all limbs in tact.
Apparently all of those times I've been blogging (and therefore telling them to find something to do) or I've asked them to "clean" their rooms, they mistakenly understood that for stuffing junk under their beds, in drawers, or in the back of the closet.

Are we the only ones that let life, our home, get this out of control?

And where the HECK does all this "stuff" come from?
Wait.  I don't know if I really want to know that.

(Funny how I never actually see these kids carrying this stuff into the house).

As a side note (because I know all you moms out there totally get this), another thing I realized this morning is that I hate Silly Bands.
I find nothing silly about them. 
I swear we have accumulated more than a trillion in our household.
I won't even say what I did with them, lest I tick off any uber-recyclers out there.  If I see another one in my lifetime I just might die.

As we laughed, cried, got on each other's nerves, and reminded me of the baby days.
Remember those?
Where you had everything in it's cute little wonderful place?
There were cubbies and baskets for everything!
Their rooms looked like something more out of Pottery Barn than Animal Planet.
I was so naive in thinking it could stay this way.

 So I dug out some old pictures just to make myself feel better.

Besides that cute baby and Oh-so-young-looking-father,
look at that organization behind them.
There were no candy wrappers under her crib!
Or pieces of paper anywhere!
Or dirty socks in every nook and cranny!

And check out Evie's nursery.
Oh my.  
I loved that room. 
My twin sister Lisa came up to help me with it after she was born.
Since we didn't want to find out if we were having a girl or a boy,
I had painted the room brown and used all of Grace's old white furniture.
With a little help from Pottery Barn and Target, we "girled" it up in a jiffy.
Oh well.  Back to our life today.
Which isn't quite as stinky, smelly, or dirty as it was six hours ago.
I was so proud of the girls for sticking with it we took pictures of their closets.

Because let's not kid ourselves.  
They will NOT stay this way for long.

We've got livin' to do and I'm convinced that living is quite messy.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Few Things About Texas

My girls and I just returned from a weeklong visit to my home state of Texas.

After ten hours in the car,
Evie explained to us, "Thank Goodness we stopped. I've been holding my potty business all day".

We actually stopped more than she realized but it did occur to me to make them get out of the car and take their picture by the state welcome sign.
What also occurred to me when I edited this photo was that I am going to start working out again soon!
Hold me to it okay?

The reason we travelled down there was for my nephew Alex's high school graduation.  He's a cutie for sure.

Another cutie is my niece Mattie.  She is two and has the cutest and curliest hair you've ever seen.

Ben is our two year old nephew.  Here is Grace carrying him back to the driveway.  While we were there the goldfish went missing.
All Ben kept saying was "All gone".
Mystery remains unsolved as of this point.

This was the view from my bedroom window.
It's a Texas plague.
I do not miss grasshoppers.
They are everywhere in Texas.  And I absolutely hate the big fat juicy ones my other nephew affectionally refers to as "Fat Lards".
You are right, Harison.  They are Fat Lards.
And I HATE them.  
And fire ants and rattlesnakes that we are talking about Texas varmints.

Speaking of living things, we went to the Fort Worth Zoo while we were there.
It unfortunately isn't free like the Saint Louis Zoo is, but we got our money's worth of fun out of the day!
Here are the girls trying the rock-climbing wall.
Due to their mom's fancy photo cropping, this looks much more difficult than it actually was.
Truth be told, the girls were both about 5 feet off the ground at this point.
But they don't know that and I'm not telling.

This is a picture I took in some little town just to prove that Texans fly their flags as high as our National Flag.
Does anyone know why this is?
My 7th grade Texas history is failing me here.
I am thinking it is because Texas was once its own Republic.
Nevertheless, it still cracks me up.