Monday, November 29, 2010

A craptastic day

I'm warning you now. This is a disgusting post, and the title gives the content away. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Yesterday was, quite literally, a shitty day.

It was Sunday, I was planning to sleep in a bit, get ready for church and then the family was heading over to my mother-in-law's for dinner. I was hoping for a nice end to a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

But it was not to be.

I woke at 6:45 a.m. to a weird scratchy sound. I thought maybe the cat was stuck in a room with the door shut and was batting her paws on the door, her signal to be let out. When I got up to investigate, a horrible smell hit me like a ton of bricks.

Now I don't have an easy gag reflex. (That's what he said? Oh... never mind.) What I mean is, that I normally can stomach gross things. Puke, crap, dirty laundry, sour milk, old garbage.Usually , I can deal. I don't like to smell it, mind you, but it doesn't knock me flat like yesterday's smell did.

I groaned and looked around for the inevitable pile that I knew Reggie had to have left somewhere. I found one by the front door. "Aw, what a good boy." I thought, "He was trying to make it outside!"

I cleaned it up, let the furball outside, yelled at him to get out of the neighbors' yard, and called him in. As I was getting ready to go back to bed, I noticed that the smell wasn't quite gone yet. I followed my nose and found the most DEEESSSSGUSTING sight. On the stairs.

The carpeted stairs. An explosion took place on those stairs. It was all down the stairs and on the wall.  It was everywhere!  Seriously, I can't figure out how Reggie managed to defecate in such an extraordinary manner. I want to hurl just thinking about it. It was early morning, everyone in the house was still asleep, so I found some rubber gloves, put on one of those mask things that make you smell your own breath for as long as you wear them, and got to work cleaning it up.

Did I mention that we hosted Thanksgiving dinner for 17 people? Uh... there were recognizable bits of said dinner on my stairs. I know that's gross, y'all, but I'm painting a picture here.

Anyway. I spent close to an hour cleaning up the mess. Afterward I decided to shower and get ready for church. I put Reggie in his kennel while I was getting ready. I got out of the bathroom and was instantly hit again with THE SMELL.

Poor pup had gone in his kennel and was bathing in his filth. It looked like a mud puddle. Too much description? Sorry.

So I had to give him a bath and clean out the kennel, and then bleach the bathtub and the tile and the floor that Reggie walked on the way to the bathtub. But as I was doing that, I heard The Boy shout at the dog. He'd started to go AGAIN in the kitchen and ran away from The Boy through the dining room and living room, leaving a trail that looked like Hershey's syrup the whole entire way.

God in heaven, how did he have that much shit inside of him?

I almost pulled my hair out. By this time, the whole family was up, thanks to my screeching like a complete lunatic, and The Husband got the dog outside and put him on a chain so he wouldn't go anywhere.

I set to clean up the trail of nastiness, and all of a sudden, The Husband calls to me from the basement. "Hon, you'd better come see this..."

Turns out that the Big Guy Upstairs didn't think we had enough crap on our plate to deal with, so he decided to have the effing septic tank back up into the basement too. All over Hollywood's floor, coating her clothes (she of course hadn't cleaned her room), her area rug, and into The Husband's workshop.

Not kidding. Now there was dog shit upstairs and shit water downstairs.

Needless to say, we didn't make it to mass yesterday, and we had to call my mother-in-law to tell her we'd be very late for dinner.

But, after scrubbing and cleaning, and bleaching, and burning every scented candle I could find, I think it's safe to take a deep breath in our house again.

And Reggie? Well, he's much better today. In fact, he's back in his favorite spot on the couch next to me, hogging the pillows, as I write this:
*photo of Reggie on the sofa:

It's a good thing we love our furball so darn much.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I’m pretty sure that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I’ve always tried to do my best to thank God for my blessings.  I’m not a huge fan of turkey, but oh my goodness, I love me some stuffing. Mmmm, mmmm... And pie, and potatoes… food, food, food. Throw some family in there and football in the background?  You’ve got the perfect holiday right there.

Thanksgiving isn’t as stressful as Christmas.  It’s more laid back, and there’s none of that blasted gift wrapping to do.  Unlike the sugar high that the kids get from Easter candy, Thanksgiving food contains tryptophan, which makes them sleepy. See? 

Thanksgiving is just an all around win

I’m hosting dinner at my house this year for my side of the family.  My mom is spending the night tomorrow night and we’ll drink some wine as we prep the food. I’m looking forward to it.

I'll be busy the next few days, and won't have time to post here, but I am most definitely thankful for all that I have in my life.  This year, I'd like to pay special attention to the immediate family I've been blessed with. They are my world.

So, without further ado, this is what I'm thankful for this year:

* * *

I’m thankful that I was given this man to share my life with:
*photo of The Husband:

Even though I've spent nearly half my life with him, I've been having those ooey-gooey, butterflies in my stomach feelings for him lately that remind me of when we first met and he charmed me with that smile.  That smile! Lord have mercy. It has clearly been the purpose of my life to have babies with the owner of that smile.

Speaking of babies, I am so very grateful for the times in my life that have been spent snuggling babies. Look at me in the picture below – I’m chubby and I look absolutely exhausted. But if you look closer, you can see that I’m glowing with that bleary happiness only a sleep-deprived parent of an infant can pull off. And look at Tiny Bumblebee, all crashed out, safe and secure, on my chest. God help me, I’d have ten more babies if I could.
*photo of me holding Bumblebee as an infant.
Picture 106

I don’t just love the baby stages, though. I’ve enjoyed all of it.  My kids' teenage years have been pretty great so far too:
*photo of Hollywood:

Even though one of them is threatening to be taller than me at any second:
*photo of The Boy and me:

Sigh. Sometimes I can’t explain how happy these four people make me. I’ve said it before, but I mean it.  I am blessed.

I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving this year.  Gobble, gobble!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


*photo of Hollywood at age three:
Little Brie

She's brave.
She is beautiful,
Creative, insightful,

Her smile lights up the universe.
Her voice moves people to tears.

She's not afraid to believe, to hope, and to dream.

She's wise beyond her years, but not afraid to be silly and youthful.

She's the six pound, eleven ounce creature who first made me a mama.

And I can't believe that she's seventeen.

Happy Birthday, Hollywood.  I love you.
photo of Hollywood now:
School play

*the above photo is from her school play that she performed in this weekend.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I love this man.
*photo of The Husband laughing.  He has a mustache.

Have you heard of Movember? I think it was started in Australia.  It's when men grow mustaches for the month of November to raise awareness for prostate cancer and general men's health issues.  The furry lip becomes symbolic, like a pink ribbon would for breast cancer.

I'm not normally a fan of the 'stache. But this is a great program, and did you see that picture?  How cute is that husband of mine?

Check out this video if you're interested in learning more about Movember.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Table of Plenty

I joined a small group at my church several weeks ago, and last night it was my turn to host our weekly meeting.  Our meetings are very informal and I wasn't sure whether we'd sit in the living room or the dining room for the evening.  The food and beverages made that decision for us, and we gathered around the table for our small group session.

We did what we normally do in our small group, which is to talk about our faith, share personal stories, and enjoy the company of each other.  It was a beautiful fall evening, and maybe it was the beer, but I felt that warm, glowy sensation as we sat around the table and chatted.

I started to think about my dining room, and about our table in particular.

*photo of my table, decorated with a fall tablecloth and centerpiece:

I love my table.  It's an old table of my in-laws' that was rescued from a shed on The Husband's grandma's farm. I spent a long time refinishing it, and even though it's not perfect, it works for us.  I like to put pretty centerpieces on it:
*photo of the fall centerpiece:

I like to dress it up for Christmas:
*photo of the table decked out with a Christmas tablecloth and decorations:
holiday table

But sometimes it's just a plain old mess.  Stacks of papers clutter the clean lines of the table; cereal bowls full of milk and shriveled cheerios often replace my decorations. Usually you'll find a dog leash or a gym shoe sitting on it too.

I've often heard about the table being the cornerstone of family life, and how important dinnertime is with the family. We, like many other families these days, are running in a thousand different directions.  One kid will have basketball practice and Confirmation class, while the other will have to work or go to play practice.  We try our best to sit down together for dinner as often as we can.  For a little while, at least, time slows down and we can enjoy each others' company.

I have fond memories of hilarious conversations that ended up with snorts of laughter that caused milk to come out of someone's nose.  We play 'Would You Rather' and come up with obnoxious scenarios.  One of them was something along the lines of "Would you rather eat pea soup off of an old man's beard or drink warm mayonnaise?" Something like that.  Gross.  Stories get told and retold at that table, and The Husband tells his eye-roll worthy jokes there. The TV is off, cell phones aren't allowed, and the dog sits at our feet, scavenging for dropped crumbs. We enjoy each other at our table.

It's been there for birthday celebrations:
*photo of Bumblebee with her friends on her 5th birthday:
july2008 054
*photo of The Boy with a birthday cake:
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*photo of Hollwyood on her last birthday:
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Even when the birthday celebrants aren't so enthusiastic about getting another year older:
*photo of The Husband flipping off the camera with a birthday cake in front of him:

The table's been a place to do homework.  Sometimes Bumblebee even gets help from her big brother:
*photo of The Boy and Bumblebee doing homework together:
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It's a place to eat a hearty breakfast before the first day of school:

Breakfast on the first day of school

It's been a place to carve pumpkins and be goofy:
*photo of Bumblebee with a lampshade on her head:
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Some of my favorite memories in my dining room are of our large family gatherings, with dozens of people crammed around the table:
*photo of everyone crowded around for Nephew E's birthday cake:

*another photo of the gathering:

It's been a place for serious conversations.  We've made life changing plans at our table, and talked about dreams and wishes there. We've broken bad news to one another around the table, and we've argued bitterly while sitting there.

It truly is the centerpiece of our home.  If our table could hear what went on around it, I wonder if it would appreciate the crazy family that often gathers there.  Especially this time of year, with the holidays approaching, I'm thankful for our table and what it means to this family.

Monday, November 8, 2010

To my sixteen-year-old self:

Photo of me in HS:
teenaged me
To my sixteen year old self:

(I’ve seen this across the interwebs lately, and I love the theme, and am totally stealing the topic.)

  1. You are not fat. You really, really aren’t. I know you won’t believe me, but you’re going to have to trust me on this one. You are cute and you look nice in leggings.  When you are in your late thirties, leggings will make a comeback and you will be too old to partake in the madness.  So wear them now. You totally rock the look.  I’m serious.
  2. If you’d stop perming and trashing your hair with sun-in, it would grow out nicely, and not look so scraggly. Oh, and by the way… brown looks much, much better on you than blonde. Stick with what God gave you on this one. Trust me.
  3. Your smile may not be perfect, but it’s not as bad as you think it is.  In fact, one day you will meet a man who thinks that the gap formed by your sideways tooth is charming.  So smile more, and don’t stress out over the fact that you don’t have perfect, chicklet teeth.
  4. Even though you suck at all things athletic, you should exercise more.  It will make you feel better.  Those headaches you get?  They’ll almost completely go away if you exercise regularly.
  5. You know that best friend of yours?  The one who went to the Bon Jovi concert with you and lets you watch MTV at her house?  Give her a hug. Because she’ll be there for you twenty years from now. (queue Bon Jovi earworm "I'll Be There For You") And even though some things about your relationship will be complicated, she will still be your best friend. I don’t think I’m supposed to tell you details about the future, but I can tell you this: she’s an amazing grown-up.
  6. Your mother is the smartest person you’ll ever know.  At 16, 37, and probably at 90.  Pay special attention to what she says, because she’ll be more reserved with her advice as you become an adult.  At 16, she offers it freely.  So listen to her, and take it. Also, tell her you love her. Right now.
  7. Even though your friends have boyfriends while you only have a track record of one really bad experience, don’t lose faith.  You are not a hideous troll, and boys don’t think you’re invisible, even though that’s what you might feel right now.  When you go to college, you will be asked out on more dates than you have time for, and this will surprise the hell out of you.  There’s some confidence inside of you somewhere. Find it and let it shine.
  8. Those annoying little brothers of yours? Yeah. Give them a hug.  They’ve got a few tough years ahead of them, and will need you. Your brothers are the best gift your parents ever gave you.  You'll be glad for that gift over and over again in your life.
  9. You aren’t the smartest, the most beautiful, or the funniest. But you are smart, beautiful, and funny.  And although you doubt yourself right now, you won’t when you’re 37.  You’ll appreciate the gifts you’ve been given. You might bemoan the extra padding your love for food has bestowed upon you, but you’ll feel pretty good about yourself overall.  The sooner you can see this, the happier you will be.
  10. You will make mistakes in life.  Many of them. Some of them will seem huge.  In the end, because you learned from them, and they shaped your life, those mistakes will turn into the best things that ever happened to you.  You will continue to make more of them until you die.
  11. It is important to have a good job, so you should definitely work hard in high school and college. Your career should be fulfilling, and you should enjoy doing whatever you do. But your job will not define you.  What you do outside of the 8-5 window will be your world.
  12. You are strong in your faith right now. Hang on to that conviction, your hope, and those beliefs. 
  13. Seriously, you’re not fat.Go buy a bikini.