Monday, July 25, 2016

Focus. Determination. Truck.

That one time I was in 11th grade and I was wearing an over-sized sweatshirt (with no logo, no pattern, just... a solid sweatshirt, probably gray), a low ponytail, and my heavy bangs, and I realized they were taking my picture so I was like, "Look studious!" 

And then they ask me a question and I panicked and came up with a very eloquent answer.

Immortalized in the pages of a yearbook. Lucky me.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

To People Without Kids: a half-hearted apology.

Dear People Without Kids:

Once upon a time--or 2 years, 2 months, and 29 days ago if you're into specifics--I was one of you. Well-rested and just sitting around, casually scrolling through my facebook feed, being constantly assaulted by posts about my friends' kids.

Okay, maybe not "assaulted," but there are a lot of pictures of kids. And comments about kids. And questions for "mommy friends" about "how do I know what color snot indicates I need to have an anxiety attack and immediately administer the essential oils and then race to the urgent care for BIG PHARMA meds just to be safe? Or maybe it's just seasonal allergies? idk."

I wasn't too bothered by it all. I mean, some of it makes you roll your eyes. Like, okay. I never wanted to know if your kid pooped on the potty. As a matter of fact, we're all supposed to not poop in our pants. So kudos to you on teaching your kid to do what WE ALL MUST DO. 

Mainly I just wondered, why can't these people post about something, anything else besides their kids? They used to be adults who liked things, did things, had friends. That can't have changed just because they had a kid, right? I get it, a kid is a big deal. But what about the other parts of your life?

Turns out, I did not get it.

Dear non-parents, I'm here today to shed a little light on this issue now that I'm on the other side.


That's why we don't post about anything else anymore. Because there is no Dana, only Zuul nothing else.

As soon as you become a parent you have a new obsession, and it is your child. I had no idea how funny kids were until I had one. SHE'S HILARIOUS. I mean, before I had kids, sure, kids would be amusing and say funny things. But your kid is the funniest person you've ever met. And the most beautiful, adorable, and kissable. No child has eyes as beautiful as your child. Except your other children. Because they are also perfect in ways that don't actually make sense. 

"Aww, look at Sutton's itty bitty fat feet. I love them, they're perfect!"
"Aww, look at Zoe's big, skinny feet. I love them, they're perfect!"

I don't understand it. I just accept it. My children are perfect and I am obsessed with them and all their perfections.

And that's why my pictures on social media are primarily comprised of slightly anonymous pictures of my kids like...
"My precious pookie playing outside in the rain!"

"Look at those hands! They must be yummy!"

"Awwwww, my girls love each other! Kisses from sister!"

You know, annoying stuff like that.

I can sense you, my Dearest Non-Parent friends, thinking it: "But there's still time for you to be a non-parent, even when you have kids. It's when the kids are in bed, right? That's when you get to be husband and wife, just two adults." And you're right! That is when you have time to do adult things. Like washing dishes. Picking up the staggering amount of toys that your toddler dragged out. Maybe actually getting a shower. And watching just one TV show, it's all I'm asking for! Just one!

And while you're doing all these very adulty things, you talk to you spouse about, wait for it... your children! 

"Oh, I meant to tell you the funny thing she said today..."
"Look at this picture I got of the baby! Look at that smile!"
"I love our kids. Don't you love our kids? They're so great."

You may also discuss inconsequential things, like, "Did we pay that credit card bill?" or "These presidential candidates, amiright?" But then you once again remember you have kids and start talking about them.

And then you realize you're completely exhausted and you go to bed. And from start to finish, your day revolved around your kids. It leaves little to no time for anything else. That's why parents basically always talk about our kids on social media (and possibly in real life, too). BECAUSE THAT'S IT. That's the #1 thing going on with us at all times.

"Hey, what's new with you?"
"I had a kid 2 years ago, sooo... nothing in the last 2 years except the kid. Did I tell you about her?"
"Oh. Wait, I had another kid! Did I tell you about the second one?"
"Well... I can't really think of anything else. Just, ya know... the kids. I guess you're all caught up on things with me. Check back in a few more years."
"...kay. Bye."

And then five minute later you remember you forgot to ask what's new with them. Because you forget people may actually have new things when you just have your obsession with your kids.

Okay, perhaps I exaggerate. There is actually other stuff parents have going on. But if you, like me, have very tiny tots, the tiny tots take up about 90% of your time, energy, and attention. Other stuff, like work, paying bills, eating, sleeping, having a life, is squeezed together in the other 10%. Sleep appropriates half of that, so you're actually left with only 5% attention span for things that don't directly or indirectly involve, affect, or in same way deal with your child(ren).

I'm hopeful that as the tiny tots grow up to be larger tots, the "living your life" slice of pie on the pie chart grows to--dare I dream it?--maybe 15 or even 17.5%! More experienced parents, feel free to chime in and confirm this for me.

So, my best good friends without kids, I want to apologize. I post primarily about my children and, now having been in the trenches, I realize that's not going to change any time too soon. Furthermore, I am just too tired to care more than a little. If this were on a scale of "I am fully committed to change" and "I couldn't give a rat's [rear end]," I probably could manage to give at least 1 rat's [rear end] (much to the discomfort of the rat). In other words, I care just enough to apologize, but not enough to use my precious energy trying to change. Not now anyway. Check back in a few years.

Oh, but I do solemnly swear to never share about my child pooping in a potty on social media. Pinky swear. (Blowouts are fair game, though. Sorry. The distinction is admittedly a bit murky and arbitrary.)

My babies! My babies! My babies!, to you and yours,

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Oh. Hey.

Oh, hey. Didn't see you there. Because I wasn't here until just now.

It's been a minute or two since I've hung out with you here, right? Oh? Five and a half months? I'm just going to awkwardly laugh and pretend that's nothing. Nothing!

Sooo, how's your mom 'n' 'em? How are you? Goooood, gooood. Glad to hear it.

Oh, me? Let's see, I'm doing pretty well. What's new since last we spoke?

Patrick and I have done a good bit of work on our house primarily funded by the sale of his Jeep. We've painted (translation: he's painted), gotten trees cut down and brush cleared, updated light fixtures, and some other small odds and ends. We used some of that Jeep money to buy a replacement car, too. We were highly productive during January and February until...

I had another baby in early March. Had I mentioned I was pregnant? Yeah, we flew in to the hospital on two wheels when, as it turns out, I was fully dilated and ready to go, pushed twice, and an enormous 9 pound and 1 ounce girl flew out of me.

I was 15 minutes from having a car baby and a REALLY good story. Alas, getting there just in the nick of time will have to do for your entertainment.

I also got to wear my Mommy Medal for having a second unmedicated labor and childbirth (whether I meant to or not). But they revoked it when they realized I was doing formula again. Mom-ing is hard, ya know? 

Anyway, we named her Zoe. No, that does not rhyme with "toe." It rhymes with "Joey." It's a thing, look it up. She has enormous feet unlike her sister, the prettiest eyes, fluffy brown hair, and smiles a lot. She's super cute, if you ask me. We like her. 

ProTip: It's significantly less stressful going from 1 kid to 2 than it is going from none to 1. Why? Well, I think mainly because you're already sleepy, so the second kid just jumps in mid-stream to your not-sleeping thing, rather than initiating the not-sleeping. It's less of an adjustment, you know?

Nine short days after I birthed a baby, my first baby turned 2. She didn't just passively turn 2 years old, like, "La-ti-da, I guess it's just any other day." Oh no. SHE COMMITTED TO THE ROLE.

Precisely at her birth minute, 6:31 am (of course we were already awake), she suddenly stood up tall and straight, held her fists together at chest-level like an action figure or superhero, and said in an unnervingly deep voice, "ENGAGE TODDLER." And since that moment she's been a Two-Year-Old: strong-willed, funny, sassy, defiant, contrary, silly, nonsensical one moment and too smart the next. She's exhausting and fun and we like her. 

Since people ask, she has adjusted beautifully to having a baby sister. No, really. We were reasonably worried it would be a rough transition since basically everyone we talked to said their oldest had a little trouble when Baby #2 came home. Not so, thank heavens. Basically Sutton's reactions went like this:

Why am I visiting mom in this weird place? She's sitting in a weird toddler bed with side rails, wearing pajamas, and frankly, she looks like she gave up on her appearances. Sad. What is she holding, a large blanket burrito? Whatever. Yay! Mimi and PopPop are spending the night with me!

Hooray! Mom and Dad are home! Why did they bring a baby with them? They have no energy. Booooring. Wait, never mind, they are letting me watch so much TV. I love this. 

Oh. That thing is still here again today. It's MY baby, as it turns out. That's what they told me. That's cool. Hi baby.

Oh, that baby is Baby Zoe. I can kiss her? I will kiss her.


Wait, gotta stop and say hi to the baby. Hi Baby Zoe! I'll kiss her feet. Oh! Mom! Her hand brushed against me and I think she tried to tickle me! Zoe tickled me! 

Okay, love you Zoe. Gotta go play in the cabinets under the bathroom sink before mom and dad realize what I'm doing. I'll be back to check on you in 3.25 minutes covered in the shampoo from bottle they will soon realize is not, in fact, out of my reach.

I mean, in a nutshell, that's how it went.

After 12 glorious weeks of maternity leave (I thankfully did not suffer from the postpartum anxiety I had after Sutton's birth), I had to return to work. That was a punch to the ol' gut. Does my employer not respect my need to go for daily walks with my neighbors? To watch entire series of television shows? To snuggle my baby any time I feel like it while my older child happily plays at daycare? No. They do not.

Well, they do support it if I'm willing to do it for free and without benefits. Which I am... as long as Patrick's income doubles or triples. So, you know, I'm working still. 

#PatrickNeedsToHustle #MamaLikesNetflix #CanWeStillSendThemToDaycare? #AndHireACleaningService?

Being a working parent with two kids has its drawbacks, of course. Namely the amount of money we spend on daycare. We basically have three mortgages: 1 actual mortgage, and 2 more in the form of tuition for each child. Evenings and mornings during the week are kind of exhausting, too. I feel like I'm constantly moving at high speed and accomplishing nothing more than somehow making a mess in the kitchen. Like, how did I dirty all the spoons, a cutting mat, and 5 bowls when all I did was reheat leftover pizza? HOW?

But there are perks, too. For instance, I resumed my old habit of working out on my lunch break. I'm also eating way healthier and we're spending less money at Target. If I had any shot in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks of losing the little bit of extra weight, it wasn't while I was at home eating "OH MY LAW I NEED TO GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE and I'll get some Chick-fil-a while I'm at it" for lunch. Another huge perk is the sheer delight of seeing my girls' faces at the end of the working day. It's my favorite time of day.

That it precedes an evening of hangry toddler whining and sleepy baby crying is neither here nor there. 

I'm sure there's more to share, but I know you've got to get going. So I'll just wrap this up and say that I'll see you here again sometime soon. Probably at least once before Christmas.

Big babies, new cars, and home repair fanciness to you and yours,

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Imaginary summer.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you already know this, but nevertheless: Wow, y'all! It's 2016!

New year. Fresh start. Endless possibilities and boundless optimism.

That's how the first week of the new year feels, right? Like, this year, IT'S MY YEAR. 

Although it makes no sense, that phrase. I do not own a year. A year is not mine. I share it with however many people are also alive on the planet during this year. 

Fine, sure. I know that people mean IT'S THE YEAR I'M FINALLY GOING TO GET MY (stuff) TOGETHER.

Okay, that I can get on board with. Let's all get our (stuff) together this year. And how will we do that?


I know: Let's just wing it, like always, and see if things magically work out for us a little better than every. other. year. Solid plan? Yes. 

Recap: first week of the year--feeling invincible! Weeks 2-52: back to normal.


For whatever reason, once the holidays are over and it's just cold (or it OUGHT to be cold), I start to long for summer. A warm 80 degrees, low humidity, and breezy. Tropical drinks, blue pools, sparkling beaches.

This is reality... in my imagination.

YES I KNOW THAT'S A FANTASY. In North Florida, we actually get 374 degrees and 1000% stifling, hair-frizzing humidity.

But bear with me and my delusions. This is the kind of thing I start to imagine. Please, take a moment to review my artwork ($375 and it can be yours!). Notice a total lack of other people to mess up my good time. Notice the wide smile on my face. Notice no mosquitoes, no sand gnats, no seagulls pooping on my cooler.

Okay, I should have drawn Patrick in there with me. (He's my ride-or-die, my PIC, my boo, and any other weird thing you can think of that I could say instead of "Because he's my husband and I like him.") But, though my MS Paint skills are stellar (obviously), I was getting a little tired of working on this masterpiece, so pretend he's just out of sight, bringing me a fresh fruit bowl and a Publix sub that will magically get no sand in it while I eat.

Oh, and where's my daughter? 


Sorry for the outburst of laughter. What I mean to say is that my daughter doesn't do "relaxing" at this point in time. She does sweet, funny, silly, busy, crazy, and fussy, but she does not relax quietly. So we'll pretend that she's in the loving care of a family member having the time of her life while Mama's off getting her tan and drinking adult beverages. (And of course I would miss her.)

With that derailment taken care of, let's get back to the point. This time of year I start to yearn for warmer weather, which makes me imagine relaxing beaches, which makes me think, "Hm, time to start working out!"

Normally, that's exactly what I do. I recommit to healthier eating (because I'm constantly decommitting--what, like you don't?) and make sure to exercise more regularly. I plank. I curl. I lunge and squat and pulse and hold and all the other exercise stuff. Guys, I do ALL THE FANCY EXERCISE STUFF (as long as I can do it in my living room or office and it requires no fancy equipment).

That's "normally"... Perhaps you have seen a little problem I might be having right now. If not, I'll share it with you: I'M 8 FLIPPIN' MONTHS PREGNANT.

I present to you, dear reader, a conversation between my brain and my pregnant body:

Oh boy, me! It'll be scorching before we know it. Time to get some abs.
But, I mean... summer will be here soon! I must do planks and oblique twists!
It's not like having a baby ruins the figure.
Fine. The "hot now" sign is on at Krispy Kreme anyway.

The pregnant body is such a primitive neanderthal. It's like it doesn't respect the fact that I need all lose skin to tighten up, all arm and ab fat to go away, and all muscles to tone to rock hardness by, like, May. Like my body is just going to do what it's going to do and I--what? I have to "just be patient?"



Confession time: in really really REAL life, I don't expect to be rocking a six-pack by May. Or ever (though a girl can dream). But it is frustrating to experience that yearly desire to get summer-ready when, in really really REAL life, my stomach will still be a mere mound of flesh jello slowly trying to figure out how it used to fit on my body when I hit my normal May deadline.

Come summertime, instead of this:

I'll probably be this:

I mean, it's cool. I knew what I was getting myself into. The body is a selfish B-word who refuses to listen to sound logic about self-imposed deadlines and, instead, just does "what God designed it to do"--as if my summer plans mean nothing.

See ya in June with my moo-moo and baby carrier. And beer. I will have cold beer.

Daydreams and jello and ice cold beer that's just so refreshing when it hits your lips... it's just so thirst quenching, so delicious, so... mmmm... Sorry, what?  

to you and yours,

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year in Review: 2015

It's that time of year! You know--the end of it.

Naturally, what I'm supposed to do is recap how my year was.

Here you go: COOL.

Have a nice 2016!
You don't buy balloons to say bye to YOUR year? Rude.


Okay fiiiinnnneeee. I'll write a little something else. 

In order from start of the year to the end (clever way I've come up with to organize this list of events, don't you think? Start to finish? Man, I'm good at blogging), here are a few highlights of my Boring, Fun 2015:

Celebrated 3rd wedding anniversary
Celebrated Sutton's 1st birthday with a Button Bash
Consistently exercised and started to get abs
Got knocked up again and lost abs
Sutton's first trip to the beach (SO MUCH SUNSCREEN)
Dad went through radiation for prostate cancer (treatment successful)
Mom had "nose job" to remove skin cancer (treatment successful)
Ate all the food
Patrick had appendix removed
Did not get the gestational diabetes
Ate more of the food
This blog post

Sure, sure, I could probably have mentioned a few of these things along the way. Like I never mentioned my dad's diagnosis. It was kind of scary (play things down, much, Rebecca?), but things are all good now. And my mom's skin cancer--well, this is Florida. It's a big deal, but it's not unusual for someone to have a skin cancer removed. Of course, those things coinciding wasn't cool, but the successful outcomes were.

There have been other neat little goings-on. Like, I played bunco for the first time. We FINALLY bought a new refrigerator to replace our old rust bucket that came with the house. Patrick started painting our baby blue kitchen. I pulled out some chalk paint I bought in late 2014 because I was finally going to paint these old end tables... and then the chalk paint got put back up and the tables are still unpainted.

Lots of action, yeah?

If I may be serious for a moment (yes, I may--you have no say so over this content!), I have to say how extremely grateful I am to have enjoyed this year the way I have:

With family who loves me no matter how weird, lazy, or thoughtless I may be.
With great friends who also like me for reasons I'm not always sure about.
With a great church.
In a home that we own (or, we are paying for, anyway).
With a working car.
With good jobs.
With a daycare for our child that we trust and like.
Without fear of hunger or constant fear for safety.
With freedom.
With health.
With God, who thankfully always takes me more seriously than I take him. (That's the real constant struggle.)

I won't say, "God has been good to me this year!" or "I've been blessed this year!" because that might imply that I only think He's been good or I've been blessed because I've had a "good" year--good health outcomes, baby on the way, no one lost their job, etc. But He is good all the time (I know this because, sing with me now, "...the Bible tells me soooooo"). And I'm pretty sure the Bible says something about "Blessed are the poor, the meek, the sick..." I'm just paraphrasing, but I think it means His blessings extend beyond,"You can afford an overpriced Coton Colors platter and you lost 5 pounds." (Not that those aren't great, but you know what I mean.)

Instead, I just want to reiterate that I'm very grateful to have had the year I've had, and I pray I never take a "good" year--or a good month, week, or day--for granted.

And I'm thankful for you--ALL FIVE OF YOU--for still reading this crap that I very infrequently churn out and, evidently, finding it amusing or something. Makes this old gal feel just swell. Just swell!

Here's to having a great 2016.

Farewell 2015 balloons and novelty 2016 glasses and sprinkle cupcakes to you and yours,