Monday, February 27, 2012

Separate Vacations

(Just ignore the fact that the picture is actually a politician and his two daughters. Because 1. I'm slightly creeped out now that I know those are his daughters, and 2. If it wasn't a politician and his daughters, the picture would have been funny.)

So, I mentioned on Facebook that my husband and kids would be in Wyoming for a week next month in case any of our friends in the area wanted to get together with him.

Clearly this was cause for alarm.

In the few days since I posted it, I've had several concerned e-mails asking if my marriage is O.K. Actually, they haven't come out and asked that specifically, but they've all said some variation of, "So, you're not going with Will and the kids next month? Is everything O.K.?"

Yes. Everything is O.K.

Remember THIS? And THIS?

I'll be doing it again next month. It's become my favorite week each year. I need it. I need to be with friends and not be with my family. I come home happier.

The kids are out of school that week, and Will took the week off to be home with them while I'm gone. It turned out to be a good opportunity for Will and the kids to visit his family. I'm not thrilled with how much his little trip going to cost us. It's been a big source of contention this week because there were cheaper alternatives that were refused. (There's a whole post about that that will have to remain unwritten for the sake of keeping the peace.) But to clarify for all those who were concerned enough to write: Our separate vacations might just end up causing marital problems, but we're not taking separate vacations because of marital problems.

We're taking separate vacations because I don't love my family enough to vacation with them.

I hope that sets the record straight.

Ever since this whole separate vacation thing has been decided, though, I've been having mini panic attacks. What if their plane crashes? What if they die in a fiery car crash in the still-icy canyons? What if there's a carbon monoxide leak at the in-laws and they all die in their sleep? I could go all day with these scenarios. The result of them all is the same--I will be left all alone. It makes me want to cancel both vacations and hide under the covers.

I'm a worrier by nature, but this is a little ridiculous even for me.

Oddly, I'm not as worried about me dying while on vacation. I mean, there could be a freak pole dancing accident or a tsunami that wipes out the Outer Banks, or, in true horror story fashion, someone could break into the house full of "helpless" women and hack us all to death while we're having a pillow fight in skimpy pajamas sleeping.

But really the worst that would happen if I died is that the kids end up being the kids with dirty faces and ratty hair at school. Until, of course, he gets re-married (obviously to someone prettier who thinks it's totally fine to spend 18 hours a day on the computer). No big deal.

So, I think the moral of the story here is that if my worst fears come true and an asteroid falls to Earth destroying only the most Southwest corner of Wyoming, I will deserve to spend my life alone because I vacationed without my family. Feel free to tell me you told me so.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Primary Manifesto

(Juanita Weasel. If you're not familiar with her, click HERE.
There's a little language. You've been warned.)

So, I'm tempted to write a long and rambling explanation about why I haven't written in so long. But I won't. The answer is fairly short: I've been busy and I didn't feel like it. Actually, I didn't feel like doing much of anything. But now I do. So here I am. (And if after reading that you were all, "What? She was gone?" don't tell me. Let me have my delusions illusions.)

I do want to talk a little about one of the things that's kept me busy, though. Be warned--I'm going to start speaking Mormon. I'll try to provide a translation when necessary. And I promise there will be a point. It just might take me a minute to get there.

A few weeks ago I was asked to be the Primary President. (Primary is the kids' program at church. Like Sunday school. A two hour Sunday school.) The president is, well, the president. I'm responsible for the teaching and spiritual well being of every kid in our church congregation from the age of 18 months to the day before their 12th birthday.

My first reaction when they asked me to do this was to laugh. I don't do children. They're sticky and germy and are always leaking some sort of bodily fluid. They're selfish and irrational and expect their needs to come first. (Clearly MY needs should always come first.) Then the urge to laugh was replaced by shock when I realized they were serious. They really wanted me to do this.

And after a little discussion about some reservations I had, I agreed to do it.

And the very first thing I did after accepting was buy a tub of antibacterial wipes and jug of hand sanitizer. They've already been used. A lot. It was like pee-mageddon in there the first week. (And the second.) (We'll see how the third week goes.)

Luckily I'm not doing it alone. There are teachers for each age group, and I have two counselors (assistants) to share the work load with.

But it has been a lot of work. The reason they needed a new president is because our congregation split. We had so many people that a whole new congregation had to be formed. And nearly all of the people who had been teachers and leaders in Primary were assigned to the new congregation.

So, there was no transition. None of us--not me, my counselors or most of the teachers--knew what we were doing. We were all thrown into the deep end of a pool full of kids (And snot. And pee.) without a life vest.

There's been a lot of tedious work getting things organized the past few weeks, but that's finally done and I can think about things other than class rolls and candy bribes.

Anyway, that was a lot of rambling to get to my point.

I'd been teaching the three year old class in Primary for the past eighteen months. And week after week I'd sit there and hear lessons about what the kids should and shouldn't do. How God would be unhappy if they didn't obey. How three year old girls shouldn't wear sleeveless dresses--as if a three year old has much choice in her clothing.

And I sort of got furious.

And I wondered where the lessons about God's love were.

So when I was given this opportunity to lead the children, the main reason I accepted was so that I could do my best to make sure the kids know that God loves them no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT.

And that led me to write my Primary Manifesto:

You are a child of God. Heavenly Father loves you no matter what you look like. He loves you no matter what you wear. He loves you no matter what you believe. He loves you no matter how many things you have. He loves you no matter who you love. He loves you no matter where you are on Sunday. He loves you no matter what you do. He loves you NO MATTER WHAT.

This just doesn't get said enough in Primary (or church in general.) Yes, God would like it if you did X, Y and Z, but he still loves you even if you don't. You are still a person of worth in the world. You don't have to fit a mold to be loved.

I teach my own kids to live a certain way, and there are consequences when they don't, but I always make it clear that I still love them, no matter what. Surely God must feel the same way about His children?

If one child leaves Primary knowing that they're loved, it will make all the work (And snot. And pee.) worth it.

Friday, February 10, 2012


This picture has nothing to do with anything, but when I Googled "seedlings," this came up.
I now need pink and purple beans. Immediately.

You know what I hate? Coming up with a good idea for a blog post and then completely forgetting what it was. It happens quite regularly. Pretty much daily.

So, I've started jotting down phrases and words that I think I may want to blog about later.

It hasn't helped. Now I just have a bunch of words and phases that I either can't remember what they mean, or aren't really worthy of a post.

So, I'm just going to put them all here exactly the way I wrote them and you can use your imagination.

  • I'm on the fence about his facial hair. Pokey yet sexy.
  • If the cat was human I'd have filed a restraining order by now.
  • Cheese. It's creamy.
  • Why am I really, really good at things I hate to do?
  • I see what you did there, Valentines makers. 20 cards per box. 21 kids in the class.
  • Running can bite me.
  • Tell me again why I thought this would be a good idea?
  • You better be prepared to eat asparagus every night.
  • Take away my geek card. The Big Bang Theory makes me stabby.
  • Fun with avocados.
  • Just because someone is WRONG doesn't mean they're STUPID. Usually.
  • Me: What did you do in PE? Amelia: We played Silent Ball. Me: That teacher is a genius. Why didn't I think of Silent Ball?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guest Post Number Two, in which we read poetry.

For those who missed it, my husband finally got home from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. He's on leave for the next two weeks, and several of my internet (and real life) friends have generously offered to provide posts so I can spend some time with him without feeling like I'm neglecting you.

Our second guest post comes from the lovely and talented Rena Lesue-Smithey: Teacher and writer extraordinaire. Not only do a I hate her just a little because she's an actual writer who gets published, but also because she's skinnier than I am. You can find more from her HERE and HERE.

(Rena and her infamous gams.)


(Original post HERE)

I got to meet poet, J. Allyn Rosser, and after a sordid affair with diction and imagery and 5 versions of a Russian poem about a panther, our love child (this poem) was born. And here it is presented to you without swaddling clothes, without the amniotic fluids swiped from it's face, and cord still attached. (Man, this metaphor is gross.)
I hope you enjoy.

Frowning naked in the mirror while finishing off a bag of peanut m&ms,
My chocolate fingerprints evidence for a diet forensic pathologist,
I slide to the bottom of the tub,
Let the water rain down on my convulsing body to bathe my tears.
Yet, the pain remains and now I have a stuffy nose.
Then, mentally, I finger my goals,
My dreams deferred and I curse aloud.

Damn! Flannery O'Connor and her Southern genius on the human condition.
Damn! Meg Wolitzer and her Jewish feminist brilliance.
Damn! Damn! Damn! Stephenie Meyer for being a fluke success.

Buried beneath the weight of words;
I take heart, wipe away black tears,
Kiss my daughter, the next generation feminist;
A Buffy...not a Bella.
A Buffy battling the Bella's of the world.
A roundhouse kick to her pining female foil.
An uppercut to Her male-dependent prose.
Because my daughter deserves an example of me.
She needs to know how to defeat the enemy,
And stake inferiority,
While wearing stylish shoes.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Douglasses' Day Off

Liam, Amelia and Ben in about 10 years.
Minus the whole part where two of them are dating.

So, Friday I let the kids skip school.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you're probably wondering when I suffered the traumatic brain injury that would cause me to do such a thing. I get annoyed when they have to stay home because they're sick. Keeping them home when they're perfectly well is unheard of.

But it was only a half day of school anyway, and Liam had a doctor's appointment in Nashville, so we all played hooky and spent the day there.

It was a near perfect day.

We made it to the doctor's office nearly thirty minutes early. They took him in immediately, and were done with him in twenty minutes. We were out of there before his appointment was even scheduled to start.

Then we headed to Trader Joe's for high end junk food. Masala naan. Gummy Tummies (from France! Because American gummy penguins wouldn't be as delicious). Chocolate covered potato chips. Baked jalapeno cheese crunchies. You know...the good stuff. Those of you who live in civilized places are probably scoffing at the idea of a trip to Trader Joe's being an outing, but when you live where we live, we have to go to The Big City for our baked jalapeno cheese crunchies.

Not the sort of place you'd expect to find Sheryl Crow or Dolly Parton or
Nicole Kidman, but they're all regulars.

Then it was off to lunch at the Loveless Cafe. It's a tourist spot in Nashville, but somehow it's managed to remain un-touristy. It's just a little cafe in an unsuspecting building. The food is delicious--imagine if Cracker Barrel had a talented chef and used fresh ingredients, the atmosphere is homey, and the fried green tomatoes are the best I've ever had. Also, they make moonshine. A certain family member of mine may or may not have gotten a teeny bit drunk off of it the first time we visited. I come from a very classy gene pool. Moonshine in a mason jar followed by a concert in a barn.

Best biscuits and homemade jam ever.

After we'd eaten ourselves silly we headed to the Opryland Hotel. Have you guys ever heard of this place? If you ever get to Nashville, you have to go look around. You don't have to be a guest. The inside has three large atriums [Google is telling me that's spelled wrong. I'm sure it's supposed to be atria, but that's just seems too pretentious. Atriums it is.] filled with palm trees and water falls and flowers and walkways.

This is INSIDE the hotel. And only a small part of it.
There are acres of this stuff.

The kids initially complained that we were going to go to the hotel. They were sure it would be boring. But when it was time to leave they didn't want to go. Neither did I. I think maybe they pipe nitrous oxide through the ventilation system because I was totally relaxed while we were there. My cheapskate husband even suggested we get ice cream even though it was Hagen Daz and five cups was going to cost nearly as much as our lunch. He would only do that if under the influence of mind altering chemicals. I was even really, really tempted to find the front desk and ask what kind of a deal they could give us if we stayed the night.

But I didn't. We headed back home.

It was such a gorgeous night that we sat on the deck while the kids played in the yard, and then had cereal for dinner.

In the famous words of Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

You're still here? It's over! Go home. Go!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Guest Post Numero Uno

For those who missed it, my husband finally got home from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. He's on leave for the next two weeks, and several of my internet (and real life) friends have generously offered to provide posts so I can spend some time with him without feeling like I'm neglecting you.

The first guest post comes from Jen. She's someone I knew in real life several years ago, but as is the case with many of my friends, I didn't really get to know her until we reconnected on the interwebs. You can find more posts from her HERE.


Diary of a Fat Chick

Yes, this post is exactly what you think it is. This is me bellyaching about weight! And believe me, after the last decade I've got quite the belly going! :D

As of this exact moment in time I am 225 pounds, which is 10 pounds off from my heaviest (235).

And I just can't do it anymore.

Freshman Year -------- Junior Year

Once upon a time I was in high school. And while I don't ever think I will be as small as I was back then, I hope that with enough diet and exercise I can get close. Until the middle of my junior year I only weighed 110 pounds. And then for my senior year I packed on a few. I think by time college rolled around I was about 130, which is perfect for my height (and is my "healthy weight" according to BMI). In the 3 years that followed I gained about 30 pounds. When I got married in 2004 I was sitting at about 160-170. And then.... the 3 years of my marriage happened. This is not the post to belly ache about what happened there and how not right for each other we were and we were just trying to make it work... but yeah. I gained about to where I am now in that time. Like.... 50 pounds in those 3 years.

Christmas 2011 ----------- Easter 2011

In the meantime my weight has fluctuated greatly. In late 2007/early 2008 when I moved back in with my parents I got back down to 190 (mostly because I was so depressed I was starving myself and eating like... popcorn and string cheese). And then I moved to Pierre, and then I had a baby. And now I'm at where I'm at.

And I need to do this for me, internets. I need to do it for my family. Skinny Jenny is in there somewhere and I just have to find her!

This is the first post of what I am sure will be many through this year chronicling my weight loss and my journey to be a better me.

It will start with me going to the YMCA on my breaks from work (where I am the assistant director of a daycare) and working out. That will start in February and I will report in in the middle and end of the month so we can see how that is going.

Stand with me, friends and random people reading my blog! Cause it's about to get real all up in here!