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Also? None of the duck face crap.

November 23rd, 2014 · 15 Comments · Daily

After months (and months) of listening to Meredith plead her case regarding Instagram, Jeff and I finally caved and allowed her to create an account last night.

(Last week she presented us with an article (written by a mom) that mentioned all of the positives about letting your child create an Instagram account. It was a good article. In fact, it was probably the thing that nudged us into the “We’re now considering it” circle.)

Anyway, I know you don’t care about this, but I’ll throw it out there anyway.

These are the rules we created in order for our 11 7/12-year-old daughter to keep her Instagram account:
1. I will have all of her login information so that I can check the account at any time.

2. Her account is to remain privatized, meaning anyone who follows her must ask permission.

3. I have to personally approve everyone she follows as well as anyone she allows to follow her. (My eyes rolled into the back of my head this morning when I saw that one of the people who wants to follow her is a 12-year-old girl who describes herself as Sexy. Are they still injecting cows with hormones?)

4. If I detect any sort of questionable activity AT ALL from her, the account will be deleted. Similarly, if any of her followers seem to be overly dramatic (I do understand the difference between typical stupid drama and over-the-top drama) or inappropriate, they will be removed from her list of followers and blocked.

5. She will follow me, and I will follow her. I will NOT “like” any of her photos, nor will I comment on them.

6. She will read a classic novel every two months. (I know. This one is probably weird. I just want her to understand that she has to find a balance. Staring at Instagram for hours will not make anyone smarter. Reading a good book will.)

7. All homework will be completed before she’s allowed to jump on Instagram.

Within five minutes of activating her account, one of her friends requested to follow my Instagram account. I will never let anyone under the age of 20 follow me (except for my own kids), because I Am An Adult.

As of this morning, she has four followers from her new school, and this is nothing but great because meeting new people and making new friends in middle school is hard.

It’s raining, which means it’s time for hot tea and baby hats. Happy Labor Thanksgiving Day to Japan.

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Happy Birthday to My Dad!

November 22nd, 2014 · 11 Comments · Daily


I lucked out when it comes to dads (and moms, and siblings, and extended family). (Also, husbands, kids, pets, and friends.)

When I’m nervous about fixing a toilet or changing out a light fixture or using a chain saw, my dad is the guy who jumps into his car, drives to our house, and helps us get the job done. Best of all, he never laughs at me or makes me feel silly when I mess something up or I’m not able to fix something correctly.

Several years back, my dad drove an hour in the rain to deliver a pot of chili to my office. He left it in the front seat of my car (along with a bag of oyster crackers) and it was still warm when I drove it back to my apartment. (What he didn’t know was that his timing was perfect. I was out of cash, had no food at the apartment, and was planning on charging a taco for dinner.)

It is because of my dad that I plant tomatoes, I eat gooey butter cake, and I never use The F Word on my website (unless it’s necessary).

When Meredith and Harp visit my parents’ house, my dad often comes out of the back room with a 3 Musketeers candy bar. It is their ritual to cut the bar into thirds and split it. This is a tradition my kids will remember forever.

Today my dad turned 72. He claims that he spent the first several years of his life playing in the dirt with White Castle boxes. 50 years married to my mom. Nearly 47 years as a dad. Nearly 17 years as a grandpa. So many different hats, and they all fit him perfectly.

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The Weakest Link

November 21st, 2014 · 6 Comments · Daily

What I’ve done:
1. Waited for the bus with Harper.
2. Baked cookies and delivered them to some friends at the girls’ old school.
3. Came home and finished a freelance chapter.
4. Picked Meredith up from school and gave her coat to a dry cleaner lady.
5. Started knitting a hat for a baby.
6. Ate a veggie burger.
7. Fell asleep on the couch.
8. Got up to get ready for bed.
9. Remembered NaBloPoMo.
10. Hello there. And good night.

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Scout didn’t choose the stretchy dance. The stretchy dance chose Scout.

November 20th, 2014 · 4 Comments · Daily


An unexpected fun drive with a friend in the morning, chorizo seitan tacos with a friend in the afternoon. We’re getting ready to leave for a Girl Scout meeting in about ten minutes, and after that? Reading and breathing and sleeping.

Happy Thursday to All.

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Dinner for Jeff and the Girls

November 19th, 2014 · 13 Comments · Daily

Back in 1993, I asked my grandma to write down some of the recipes that she used to prepare for our Sunday afternoon lunches. (Nearly every week all of the cousins and aunts and uncles would go to Grandma’s house after church. She spent the morning making a TON of food for us, and if one of us claimed something as a favorite, that item would reappear often. (My favorite? Hog Potatoes.))


This evening I busted out Grandma’s Cookbook and made her famous Mostaccioli for Jeff and the girls.


Harper wasn’t a fan because she doesn’t like pasta, but everyone else proclaimed it a hit.

Next up? My great grandma’s sugar cookies.

(I just noticed that the second ingredient listed in Grandma’s vegetable soup recipe is Chuck roast. I sort of love that. She would NOT be a fan of my vegetarian ways.)

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Three Things

November 18th, 2014 · 10 Comments · Daily

1. Today I found myself at a place called Hibachi Boy with a friend who hadn’t yet seen the house. It was during our Hibachi Boy lunch where I learned many things, and here are three. First? I don’t like Pad Thai as much as I want to like Pad Thai. Second? When you leave your mind open, you can learn SO many fascinating things. Third? Breathing is important. It can rewire you if it’s done correctly.

2. Our family tradition is to hang Christmas lights on the house during the weekend after Thanksgiving. Because this house is a different shape than the previous house, we don’t even know where to begin, nor do we know if our lights will be approved by the people in charge of the subdivision. (We have our first subdivision meeting at the library tomorrow night, and the guy who used to live in this house was the vice president of the association. (I have no idea if it’s called an association. I read the signs, and then I immediately forget what they say, because I honestly don’t care about so many things.) Anyway, I am shaking in my boots at the thought of being grandfathered into an office simply because I use the same garage door opener as the guy who used to be second in command. I know what it’s like to be talked into being an officer and I’m one of the worst people when it comes to saying No. I’m going to fill my pockets with cookies tomorrow evening, because I rarely talk when my mouth is full. I would rather be known as Weird Silent Cookie Monster than New Vice President.) ((If you know me at all, you know that I won’t actually go to the meeting tomorrow night. I’ll plan on it, but then I’ll freak out less than two minutes before it’s time to head out because I can’t deal with people who might smell like what they ate for dinner.)) ANYWAY, today I noticed that three houses in the subdivision were having their Christmas lights installed by a landscaping company. This is something we will never do. We were also one of the few houses without a fire pit on Halloween. It’s just a matter of time before the neighbors start calling us Ponyboy and Sodapop Curtis.

3. Harper gets off the bus at 4:30 in the afternoon. I’ve been known to hang out in the garage to wait for her so I can walk her into the house. Now, because it’s stupid cold and I no longer love the cold because of what I *think* is something related to my no-regrets hysterectomy, I wait in the laundry room and watch the window for the bus. Sometimes I sing and run in place. Today was one of those days. SO, as I sang (Runaway by Self) and ran, I heard the bus three houses down. As it revved up for the 50 feet drive to our house, three deer walked across our front yard. I gasped and stopped running. When I stopped running, they took off down the hill. (Probably because it’s not worth staying if the lady in the window isn’t bouncing and singing.)

If I can somehow talk those deer into hanging out in our yard more often, we will immediately rise above the folks who are paying companies to come in and decorate their houses with lights. House With Live Reindeer is the rock to the scissors of House that Glows. This I know is true.

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It’s how I do.

November 17th, 2014 · 11 Comments · Daily


I’m not trying to be vague. Just know that this has nothing to do with my kids or my freelance gig (although I received word today that I’m now officially employed by someone other than myself), and everything to do with what’s under my shirt.

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The Church of Pudding

November 16th, 2014 · Comments Off · Daily

This morning we went to church for the first time in several months, and there is no reason WHY we didn’t go to church for several months other than: Laziness. (Sure, we moved. BUT, we also watched a lot of Sunday Morning on CBS. The moving? Smooth sailing. Sunday Morning on CBS? It can be recorded and is just as enjoyable on Sunday afternoon.)

Today was the perfect day to go back. We talked about what’s going on in Ferguson and we talked about how some stories (both Biblical and present day) don’t always end the way we want them to end (clean and tidy and happy), but everything certainly happens for a reason and it’s up to us to live fully and ask questions and offer kindness to everyone regardless of their age or socioeconomic status or sexual orientation or political affiliation or whether or not they like raspberry filling in their birthday cake. We’re all different and those individual differences are often amazing and these are the things we teach our kids when they’re tiny, but then too many of us forget about it and live in a different way because it’s entirely too easy to be lazy. It’s entirely too easy to be mean.

(Please know that I’m not singing this stuff to you because I think you’re NOT living the way you should. I think we’re all right where we need to be right now. Tweaking is voluntary. Also, I LIKE raspberry filling. My kids? Not fans of raspberry filling.)

One more thing: Big things are going to happen very soon in St. Louis, and I couldn’t be happier to be part of a church who believes in justice and peace and living in ways that inspire change both locally and beyond.

I’m turning off comments for this one. Just know that I’m in a much better place right now than I’ve been for the past several months, and I hope your weekend has been a great one. (I ran out of my favorite tea, but we had a really pretty snowfall. It all works out.)

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The Christmas morning scene DESTROYED me.

November 15th, 2014 · 13 Comments · Daily

This morning I woke up early, made cinnamon rolls for the girls (the kind in a can, because I’m no Ree Drummond), and showered.

Twenty minutes later, we put Ramona in a crate, picked Jeff up at the auto place (where our car is being repaired to the tune of many dollar signs), and drove east to the cat clinic where we learned that Ramona may have kidney disease. She also may have heart disease. She also may have neither of those things. We’ll go back in a few months for further investigation. Meanwhile, we’re supposed to spoil her with as much canned food as she wants.

At around 2:00, we headed to my parents’ house to share a chocolate eclair cake. It snowed. We drove home. I loaded Orphan Train onto my Nook. As I sit here and type, Jeff is playing the guitar and watching the Mizzou game. The girls are upstairs hanging out with each other. I’m thinking about jumping on Orphan Train while riding out some bath salts. (I just learned that the Indigo Wild company is in Kansas City. That’s only five hours away. They love dogs, they hate breast cancer, and everything they create is amazing. Let’s go.)

I can barely type right now because I have tears running down my face, and it’s all because of this:


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November 14th, 2014 · 9 Comments · Daily


That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it and think how different its course would have been. Pause, you who read this, and think for a long moment of the long chain of iron or gold, or thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on that memorable day.
-Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

I wouldn’t exist without these two, and I wouldn’t be who I am without their amazing example of What a Relationship Should Be. 50 years in, and they’re still going strong.

The happiest of anniversaries to my mom and dad. I hope today is just as memorable as November 14, 1964.

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