in case you haven’t had nightmares lately

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this at some point, but my mom is one of 7 kids, so I have aunts, uncles, and cousins all over the place. And my grandfather was one of 16 kids, so I literally have cousins I wouldn’t even know if I saw them on the street.

(16 kids. Can you imagine? Three of them died when they were babies – I’m not sure why, just a lack of modern medicine in the early 1900s, I guess – but 13 lived to adulthood. My poor great-grandmother spent more years of her life pregnant than people spend in prison for murder.)

Back in May, my great aunt Juanita passed away. She was the last of the 16 kids of my grandfather’s generation. She was in her 90s and had been in failing health for a long time, but it was still sad. My mom and I flew to New Orleans for her funeral, and my sister flew in from Austin and met us there.

It’s rare to get my mom and all of her siblings in the same place at the same time, so at some point, we made them huddle up so we could get a picture.


(My mom is the front left, the black & white shirt.)

And this happened, which I think is hilarious because the boys are all standing nicely for their picture while the girls are complete crack-ups.


See that guy in the back right, the shirt with fish on it? That’s my uncle Mark. Remember him, he’s important to this story.

Mark has always been the practical joker of the family. When he was a kid, he poked holes in a tube of toothpaste with a straight pin and waited to see who’d be the next person to squeeze it and get toothpaste all over themselves. It was my mom. She still tells the story about how he ran and hid behind their mother when she was about to murder him. My grandmother’s defense was, “He has a scientific mind, he was curious to see what would happen!” My grandmother was basically a saint.

Because our family was so big, we used to do Christmas presents via a name exchange – instead of having to buy a bunch of small presents for everybody (because who can afford to buy 30+ Christmas presents?), we all drew a name at random and got one nice gift for whoever we picked. One year, Mark got my sister Tracy. She unwrapped this pretty velvet jewelry box, opened it, and inside was… a rubber cockroach. With a safety pin stuck through it. The roach brooch. Or just broach. I believe there was also a real non-prank gift, because he isn’t a complete jackass, but this gives you an idea of his sense of humor.

(Side note: that rubber cockroach came in really handy as a gag. If you had long hair, you could pin it to your shirt collar, then toss your hair back at some point and completely freak people out. Quick way to know who your true friends aren’t: the ones who ignore it and don’t tell you there’s a cockroach on your shoulder.)

Anyway, Mark and his wife (my aunt Pam) recently moved to a new house in New Orleans, and they’ve been cleaning out some stuff that belonged to my grandmother, which they’ve had in storage since she died. He emailed me a picture of a doll that belonged to my grandmother, and asked if Lucy wanted it because he knows she loves baby dolls. It was the most horrifying thing I’d ever seen – not even really a doll, more like a potato sack with a disfigured face embroidered onto it.

My reply to his email was basically, “Haha, yeah that’s funny, don’t you dare send that thing to my house.” I also told him that he should burn it, and bury the ashes somewhere really remote, so that when it re-animated itself, it wouldn’t be able to find him.

Last week, we went over to my parents’ house for dinner, and my mom said “Oh hey, Mark sent a box with all kinds of stuff in that you should check out.” There was a photo album on the top, and I thought oh wow, that’s cool to have copies of all of these old photos. So I picked it up, and underneath the photo album was this nightmare.


Not gonna lie: I screamed like I was in a horror movie. BECAUSE I WAS.

Apparently the story of this doll is that my great-grandmother (my grandmother’s mom, not the one who had 16 kids) made it for my grandmother when she was a little girl. And important side note: my great-grandmother didn’t know how to sew. OBVIOUSLY.

My grandmother was not quite a hoarder, but she had a hard time letting go of things. Like, her house was always tidy and clean, but the closets and attic were always packed to the gills. I suppose I should be grateful to have something that she deemed precious enough to keep all those years, but I just look at that doll and shudder. I’m waiting for it to come to life and strangle us in our sleep.

And for the record, my baby doll-loving Lucy looked at that doll and made a face. “What is THAT?” Even she knew something was wrong with it.

My aunt Michele made a comment about not having many things that belonged to my grandmother (her mother), so I’m thinking about mailing it to her. Preemptive apologies to the city of Atlanta when this doll comes to life and goes on a murder spree, but at least it’ll be a nice long distance from us.

In the meantime, I left it at my parents’ house. Just to be safe.

Ice Bucket’ed

Like pretty much everyone else on the Internet, I’ve seen about a million of the videos where people dump a bucket of ice water on their heads to raise money for ALS. My feelings about it were largely indifferent – hey, they raised a lot of money for a really terrible disease, and that’s awesome – and that’s about as far as I thought about it. I wasn’t gung ho about it or one of the people who complained about it.

Then my cousin nominated me for it, and he mentioned that he was also making a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in memory of our cousin Teresa, who died of CF ten years ago this month.

And dammit, if there’s one way to get me to jump on a bandwagon, it’s to bring in a cause that’s near and dear to my heart.

I think my dad enjoyed pouring ice water on my head a little too much.

I had shown the kids a couple of ice bucket videos, but they didn’t really get what was going on. Catie was kind of upset about it (“Why are you doing this? What if someone nominates ME? Am I going to have to do it too? I don’t want ice water on my head!”), but I reassured her that it was all fine, it’s just for fun, and nobody was going to make her do it. You can see that when the water is going on my head, she’s in the back covering her ears because I was screaming.

Lucy thought it was all pretty funny. “Pop-Pop put water on you head! Dat’s so silly!” Who knows what she’ll repeat to her daycare teacher today.

Anyway, I made matching donations for both ALS and Cystic Fibrosis, and it turns out my employer matches charitable donations, so that doubles my efforts.

Temporary discomfort for a good cause? Sure, why not.

And now I can’t wait to see what my sister and brother-in-law do for their ice bucket challenge…

my parenting gold star(s)

Courtesy of Erin

Did You Earn Your Gold Star?

I actually have 3 gold star-worthy moments:

1. Last week, Lucy barfed up her entire dinner and I managed to catch 99.9% of it in a Tupperware container. Like a boss.

2. Catie found my black thong and asked if it was an eyepatch. I managed to not die laughing.
(File under, totally unrelated but since I’m over-sharing anyway: only a few hours before that, Lucy came into the bathroom as I was getting out the shower, walked up to me, poked me in my Most Sacred of Ladyplaces, cracked up laughing, and then walked out. I just kind of stood there, going, “Did that really just happen?”)

3. I opened the car door in such a way that the bottom corner of the door whacked me right in the shin. I jumped around and pounded on the wall of the garage a little bit, but I didn’t say the f-word, so I’m going to call that a win.

The world’s worst dueling trumpets

Hi there! How’s your day going? Good? Awesome.

By chance, do you have a splitting headache yet? Do you want one? SUPER! Let me help you out with what I like to call THE WORST SOUND EVER.

A little backstory: once upon a time, when Catie was about 2, we took her to the state fair and bought her a toy trumpet. It was one of those stupid first-time parent mistakes that you only make once. The thing makes a god-awful screechy noise, but she loved it. Lucky for me, she soon forgot about it.

Fast-forward a few years, and Lucy discovers the trumpet at the bottom of a toy box. Which, of course, launches Catie into a full-on, “She can’t have that! It’s MIIIIIIIINE!!!!!” meltdown.

So, my mother, who is otherwise a reasonably sane person, goes on Amazon, finds THE EXACT SAME AWFUL SOUNDING TOY TRUMPET, and buys it.

Because, as she put it, “Now they won’t have to fight about it anymore, because they’ll each have one!”

Only, you know, now I have to listen to THAT SOUND. In stereo, to boot!

(A friend of mine said she watched this video, and her fiance heard it from the next room and thought she was watching clown p0rn. You’re welcome for that.)

So, as revenge on my mother, the trumpets now both live at my parents’ house.

And I know, you’re probably thinking, what did my poor dad do to deserve this eardrum-splitting punishment? You want to know what he did?

My dad gave Catie a Mississippi State cowbell to clang around the house. (Some of you might not know just how loud those cowbells can be. Those of you who get that reference? YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.)

So, thanks, Mom and Dad. Enjoy the worst trumpet concert ever in the history of the world. Hope you didn’t forget to buy Excedrin.

finding my flirt



This is kind of a weird topic for me to bring up, but I use my blog as a place to kind of vent whatever is on my mind, and this seems to be taking up an awful lot of my brainspace lately, so I thought maybe writing through it might help me figure some things out.

(Also, Dad? If by chance you’re looking at my blog today, stop reading now. Really. I don’t want to hear it.)

So, lately I’ve been doing a little… um… flirting.

This all started innocently enough. I have a guy friend from college who I always had a crush on, but for one reason or another, we never dated. We’ve stayed in touch off and on through the years, but in the last month or so, our texts have suddenly taken a turn for the steamy. (As in, “Damn, you text your mama with those fingers?”) Funny, considering I’ve never even kissed the guy outside of a peck on New Year’s Eve.

But, you know, he lives in another state, so it’s not like anything is ever going to happen.

Then there was another guy who I dated (very) briefly, who dropped me an email just to say he heard I was getting divorced, he’s divorced too, he’s been thinking about me… which, ok. It was a random, but totally G-rated exchange. Still, the “I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately” was flattering and nice, and it didn’t come off as creepy, which I appreciate.

Then, there’s Guy #3, who, man, where do I start? We were never really a couple. I knew him when I lived in Wisconsin. I hung out with a bunch of girls there and we all had a crush on this one guy at some point. He was gorgeous, and had absolutely no clue how cute he was. (Which, seriously, is an awesome trait to have if you’re a good-looking guy. Guys who know they’re hot? Tend to be a bit on the douche-y side.)

There is no possible way to explain this and sound like anything less than a total slut, but basically: we never dated, we just fooled around a lot. Like, I don’t think we ever had dinner or saw a movie together or anything. It was just casual and fun.

What can I say? I enjoyed my 20s.

So, Guy #3 (as I’ll call him because I probably shouldn’t be posting his name on the Internet) found me on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and messaged me. Turns out he’s also in the middle of a divorce. We had some friendly “what have you been up to for the past decade?” emails. Then he started emailing me with stuff like, “Hey, remember the time we [fill in the blank with something completely X-rated that I am not about to write here]?” And the emails are… well, they’re pretty hot, I have to say.

The thing is, none of these three guys even live in the same time zone as me, nor are any of them really suitable long-term matches for me. And besides that, I absolutely do not want a relationship right now at all. I have way too much on my plate to deal with. It wouldn’t be fair to drag some innocent bystander into the chaos vortex that is my life at the moment. And it would be absolutely unfair to my girls.

Oh, and let’s not forget that thanks to ridiculously stupid North Carolina divorce laws, I can’t even file for divorce until August, so I’m still technically married for the time being.

So, nothing is gonna happen. I mean, outside of harmless flirting with guys who are all at least 1,000 miles away in one direction or another.

But, what’s interesting (to me) about all of this, is that fairly recently, I would’ve sworn on a stack of Bibles that I never wanted to have sex again. And something about these exchanges lately has reignited some little spark in me that I didn’t think I had anymore.

Obviously, I’m not going to act on anything anytime soon, but it’s got me thinking about the idea of “Someday.” I’ve been so caught up in trying to get through my day-to-day life, that I hadn’t really thought about the future at all. And I don’t just mean sex (although yes, that would be lovely, please and thank you). I mean the whole relationship thing. The idea that I might be willing to give men another chance is a pretty new concept for me.

So, yeah. That’s kind of weird, huh?

Random car conversations with Catie

Since we are still felled by the Puking Plague here, I thought I’d share a random funny that happened a couple of weeks ago that I meant to write about at the time.

Scene: Driving along, classic rock radio station is on, because everything else is playing commercials. “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger comes on, which is one of those random guilty pleasure “there’s no reason on earth that I should like this, but I kinda love it” songs.

Catie: Hey, I know who this is singing this!

Me: You do?

Catie: Yeah, it’s the same guy who sings [breaking into song], “You better be hooooome soooooon.”

Me: Uhh. No, sweetie. That song is sung by a guy named Neil…

Catie, interrupting: Hey, there’s a kid named Neil at my school!

Me:… Ok. And this song is by a guy named Bob Seger.

Catie, disappointed: Oh. There’s no Bob Seger at my school.

Right. Well. Thank God for that.

Recent random things that have made me laugh

The past few days have been a little on the rough side. It’s all temporary stuff, I know, I’ve just been ridiculously insane a little hormonal, and it’s been hard. I’m calling my doctor to talk about changing my meds (or increasing the dosage) because I don’t feel like myself at all, so I’m being proactive and trying to fix it. Objectively, I know that my life is pretty awesome: great family and friends, two beautiful kids, everybody’s healthy, Dave & I both have good jobs, we have a nice house, etc. We’re the freaking American Dream over here. There’s no logical reason for me to feel so mopey, and I know that, so I’m going to get help for it.

And I also know that once I start getting a little more sleep on a consistent basis, and feeling a little more stable on the whole work/mom/wife front, things will get easier. Or they should.

But in the meantime, I thought I’d write down a few things that have cracked me up lately, because (a) y’all probably don’t want to read a bunch of depressing crap about my moodiness, and (b) I need to be reminded that The Funny is still here.


1. A few nights ago, Lucy was being really fussy for no discernible reason (babies are like that sometimes, you know), and Dave was trying to calm her down while I took care of Catie’s bedtime routine. After she screamed her head off for a good long while, she finally collapsed from exhaustion. On Dave’s face.

She fell asleep. On his face.

Ok, mostly on his jaw, but still. That picture cracks me up.


2. While changing Lucy’s diaper, she peed on the changing table, so while I was holding her in the air trying to clean it up (and she was diaper-less, of course), she peed again. And it got all over Catie’s backpack.

Catie’s reaction was to cry, “Lucy just PEES on everything and this is why we should send her to live with somebody else!”

I told her that I only have two babies and I plan on keeping both of them. Also, maybe she should stop leaving her stuff in her baby sister’s room, particularly right next to the changing table.


3. The way Catie says “ridiculous.” She keeps telling me that stuff is “ri-dick-lee-ous.” Love it.


4. I got this adorable monogrammed onesie as a baby gift from my aunt and uncle.

Monogrammed onesie from my aunt & uncle. Love it.

I called my mom and described it to her over the phone.

My mom: “Oh, I don’t like that.”

Me: “What? It’s cute! What do you mean?”

Mom: “I don’t think it’s safe for kids to have their names printed on their clothes like that.”

Me: “Mom, she’s 7 weeks old. You think someone’s going to call her name and she’s going to go running to them?”

Mom: “Huh. Good point.”


5. A few nights ago, “Independence Day” was on TV and I was watching it while Catie played upstairs in her room. She came downstairs, I was about to change the channel (because, you know, it’s not exactly a kid-friendly movie), but before I could, she asked me what I was watching.

Me: “Oh, it’s just a movie about bad aliens that come to Earth. But it’s all silly make-believe stuff.” (I try to be very nonchalant about potentially scary stuff so she doesn’t get freaked out.)

Catie: [sees the shot of Air Force One in mid-flight] “Is that the aliens’ spaceship?”

Me: “No, that’s the President’s airplane. But see, in this pretend movie, they say that he [pointing at Bill Pullman] is the President. And you know that our President is Obama, right? And he doesn’t look anything like that, does he?”

Catie: “No, that’s silly! That’s not Obama! Obama has short hair just like Baby Sister!”

Looks like she's doing a little dance.

Yeah. I can totally see that. Lucy and Barack Obama are basically twins, aren’t they?