24
it seemed like a good idea at the time…

Camping with friends seemed like a good idea at the time.

Christian and I are what you would call “mediocre outdoorsy.” We like to hike and frolic outside on a nice day, but we don’t live for it. Spending time indoors being lazy has just as much appeal. I do love a good nap.

About 10 years ago we planned a camping trip with some couple friends of ours at Enchanted Rock, a popular destination with tons of available hiking and exploring and outdoor space for two couples who didn’t have kids and liked to drink a lot.

Only Enchanted Rock walk-in camp sites book up approximately 5 lifetimes in advance.

So my husband, always with an ill-researched backup plan, booked one of their “primitive campsites.”

“So what does that mean, exactly?” I asked.

“No big deal,” he answered. It’s just a little bit farther of a hike.”

“Like how ‘little bit farther?'”

“Eh…like two miles.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

Now I am not a sedentary person (note I’m typing this on my couch with a blanket and my coffee and have no plans to move for the reminder of the day, but that is neither here nor there). I can run long distances. I can definitely walk two miles. But do I want to walk two miles, carrying a shitton of camping gear?

No I do not.

Because we all know a good wife never lets anything go, I occasionally brought up the impending Death March as the trip grew closer.

And that’s when he started to backpedal.

First it was, “Oh, it’s not really two miles. More like a mile and a half.”

And then the next time it was, “Meh, I’m pretty sure it’s more like a mile. Not too bad. It’ll be fine.”

So maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad. But that was ten years ago, and I can tell you that ten years wiser Leigh Ann has learned to Google the hell out of anything that comes out of her husband’s mouth. If I had done that in the first place, I wouldn’t have had to endure such suffering. But ten years younger Leigh Ann was more trusting and also not the Googling master that she is now.

It’ll be fine, he said.

So one mid-October day, we drove out to Enchanted Rock with our friends Reba and Troy. We had everything we needed: camping stove, sleeping bags, 6-man tent, board games, groceries, and a cooler full of Lone Star. A piddly one mile hike wasn’t going to dampen our spirits.

And when we pulled into the parking lot, there it was: a wooden sign with etched words that said it all.

PRIMITIVE CAMPING
2 MILES

There was no going back. We loaded ourselves up with our duffel bags, sleeping bags, and grocery bags. Troy hefted the cooler full of beer up onto his shoulder, and we headed off in search of our campsite.

October in Texas is still hot, and those two miles were so, so long.

To give an example of the kind of crazy people who book primitive camping sites, everyone we passed along the trail was carrying the following:

  • a backpack – most likely a legit hiking version with 897 pockets for knives and ropes and shit
  • a tiny tent – shoved perfectly in the space between their back and the backpack
  • absolutely nothing else.

I still carry the shame from the looks of pity and general “WTF are you doing?” on their faces. It’s my life’s burden.

“You’re doing it wrong!” one guy said as he passed, taking in our grocery bags of eggs and meat and circus animal cookies (because one never goes camping with out circus animal cookies). Glamping wasn’t a thing back then, but that’s exactly what it looked like we were prepared to do.

If this had happened today, he’d have snapped a photo and camping-shame us all over the Internet.

What seemed like 5 hours later, we reached our destination. We were exhausted, and Troy’s ear was bleeding from an unfortunate cooler injury. His main goal the next 24 hours was to drink as much Lone Star as possible so he wouldn’t have to carry it back.

But our site was the perfect picture of Texas wilderness: wildflowers, cacti, cedar trees, and tall grassy stuff that probably has a name, but I’m not a botanist. Where we were used to designated sleeping spots and a metal-ringed fire pit, we found a flattish space to sleep and a reminder that no fires were allowed in primitive spots. No bathrooms either, unless you count the outhouse that was about a quarter mile away, which is way too far to walk in the pitch dark after you’ve had 3 beers and really have to pee.

All in all, we had a great time. We hiked, we explored, we bonded, and we slept like babies that night, if babies slept on beds of rocks and sticks in a 6-man tent after a night of drinking and laughter around a battery-powered lantern because remember! No fires!

But we made it, and best of all we made memories. Reba and Troy remain some of our closest friends to this day. We’ve vacationed together, our kids have grown up together, and believe it or not, we still camp together.

We just make sure we don’t have to walk two miles to do it.

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This is what camping looks like for us now.

This is what camping looks like for us now.

 

Now go visit these other funny and amazing bloggers and read what they thought was a good idea at the time!

Smacksy

Good Day Regular People

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

The Mama Bird Diaries

 

Midlife Mixtape

When Did I Get Like This?

Arnebya

Up Popped A Fox

The Flying Chalupa

Suburban Scrawl

Elizabeth McGuire

Two Cannoli

 

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3
kite day hero

Last Friday was Kite Day for the kindergarteners. Parents welcome! Please come help your 5 and 6-year-olds fly kites! Because we damn well know they can’t do it on their own! A festival of tangled tails and flying failures!

Something you should know about me: I hate flying kites. Mainly because I just plain don’t know how to do it. Kind of like how I don’t know how to drive a stick, but they make automatic cars, so why don’t they make automatic kites? A question to ponder for another day.

I attended Kite Day two years ago when Rachel and Claire were in kindergarten. I was late, having just picked up Zoe from preschool. Each kindergartener who didn’t have a parent present had been paired with a 5th grader who was likely just as enthusiastic to be there as I was (outside: awesome; helping little kids fly kites: probably not so much).

It was a disaster of epic proportions.

By the time I came across Claire, her kite – a recent gift from Nana and Grandpa – was in shambles. The string was tangled up with the 800 foot-long tail, and no amount of fussing and pulling and yanking – all whilst watching out for rogue kite strings – would fix the number the wind had done on her poor kite. Kite Day was done for her almost as soon as it had begun.

tangled kite sting

I dragged cranky Zoe, sad Claire, and the tangled kite around the field looking for Rachel. We finally found her with her 5th grade buddy, who actually succeeded in getting her kite to fly. But once I showed up, she hesitantly started to back away, looking hopefully to me for the okay to run off with her friend.

The four of us basically wandered around, Claire’s tangled kite in hand, periodically tossing Rachel’s kite in the air, only to watch it flop to the ground, all the while trying to keep Zoe from running off and getting clotheslined by a Pokemon kite string.

Fucking Kite Day.

So when the invitation came home this year, I begged and pleaded and basically told Christian “You will need take off work Friday afternoon and go fly kites with your daughter.”

Because Christian is Kite Flyer: Level Expert.

When he held his finger up to test the wind, I knew there was no going back.

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He knows all the moves. Throw the kite up in the air, but the string can’t be too long, and try not to look like a ballet company reject who’s bitter about getting turned down for a backup part, just kind of toss it in the air a little. If you’re holding the kite, you run! No not that far. Just get it going, now let the line out! No, not like that. Flick your wrist! Flick it! Just. Flick. It! Okay, whoa, ease up a little on the line now.

After a few failed attempts, I noticed that our kite looked different from the others.

So I said, “Wait. I think this hook thingy is supposed to go on the other side.”

And he said, “It’s called a BRIDLE, and you’re right.”

Then he said, “Geez, Zoe, who put this kite together for you?”

That would be me. I put the kite together.

And Zoe said, “Mommy. Mommy put the kite together.”

My own child threw me under the bus. But to be fair, she said it so sweetly; she had no idea I had done it wrong. Zoe, always and forever on my side, except when she figures out I don’t know how to fly a fucking kite.

Anyway. Once the BRIDLE was in the correct position, everything was peachy and wonderful and the kite soared and flew super high and OMG kites are boring.

(Actually, he made me fly it for a few minutes – let out the line! No, not like that! Flick your wrist! Pull! Now stop! Yes! You’re doing it! – and it was rather exhilarating. And then 48 seconds later it was super boring.)

Ladies, few things are sexier than a man flying a Cinderella kite for his 6-year-old daughter.

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Just a man and his princess kite.

Just a man and his princess kite.

Not sexy – the laceration he gets from getting clotheslined by a random kite.

Not long before it was time to wrap up the kites – pun fully intended – I came across a little girl struggling with her kite. Another mom was trying to help her, but I recognized something.

Her BRIDLE was on the wrong side of her kite. She was doomed.

So I thought, “I can fix this!”

But it wasn’t just the bridle. Her line was tangled, and we couldn’t get it undone.

And the tears just started streaming down her face. “But I didn’t get to fly my kite, and my mommy couldn’t come, and I really wanted to fly it……”

Oh, sweet baby Jesus.

By this time the 5th graders were headed back inside. Teachers were rounding kindergarteners up, while a few rogue kids and parents caught a few extra minutes flying. If this little girl didn’t get to fly a kite, I was going to start crying myself.

“What’s your name, sweetie?”

“Gemma.”

“Okay, Gemma, come over here.”

One thing you should know about Christian: kids LOVE him. And he loves kids. He’s always the guy at the birthday party with a crowd of kids around him, and not in a creepy way. He’s a huge kid at heart, something that came through big time as he managed to get his – I mean Zoe’s – Cinderella kite higher and higher.

Christian gave Gemma the kite and instructed her to throw it in the air – ballerina reject or not – while he got it flying. And then he handed the reins over to her.

And she flew that damn kite.

“Look at her,” he said. “Pure joy on her face.”

And THAT is why I am married to this man. Well, that and he makes me breakfast on the weekends.

Gemma backed up further and further to fly the kite. We were the only ones who remained on the field, watching Gemma’s kite soar, along with her spirits.

The kindergarten classes had formed on the sidelines. It was time to head back. The kite came down, and we all gave Gemma high fives for her mad kite flying skills. And then I walked her over to her class, where her teacher was looking for her, quickly explained that she just needed a few kite-flying minutes, and headed back to my girl and her class.

I’m fortunate that I have such a flexible schedule that I can attend school events. I’m equally fortunate that Christian has the freedom to take half the day when I beg him to come fly a kite with his daughter because I seriously suck at it. Maybe Gemma won’t remember much about Kite Day. All I care about is that moment – that exhilarating moment when it was just her and the kite and the joy on her face, and that it was time to go in before she realized kite flying was, in fact, super boring.

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Go, Gemma, go.

Go, Gemma, go.

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3
Multiples Illuminated: connection and commiseration through stories


If there had been a book like Multiples Illuminated when I was pregnant with twins or caring for two infants, I would have eaten that up like a salted caramel chocolate bar. When you’re a twin parent, connection with other twin parents and the reassurance that you’re not alone is one of the most valuable things to discover.

MULTIPLES ILLUMINATED BOOK REVIEW
 

When I found out I was pregnant with twins in the fall of 2007, one of the first people we told was our realtor, not because we would surely be needing a larger house soon, but because she was pregnant with twins herself, just a couple of months ahead of me.

“You HAVE to join the local moms of multiples club,” she insisted, implying that mine and my babies’ lives depended on admittance to this sacred organization.

She wasn’t wrong.

I remained in that group until my twins were five. I let my membership lapse when I realized I hadn’t logged on to the forum for months. Thanks to my growing girls, I didn’t feel the need to ask many questions, and I didn’t have much input for new moms with babies anymore. And thanks to the growth of blogging and social media, I was finding new ways to connect with twin parents.

Still, the information and friendships I made through that club were invaluable, and I’m still connected to many of them to this day.

multiples illuminated book review twins

Don’t ask me which one’s which, because I honest to God cannot tell you.

You see, when you’re a parent of multiples, the only people who can even have an inkling of an idea as to what you’re going through are other parents of multiples. Thanks to that group, I met new friends. I got sleep advice. I received commiseration after leaving library story time in tears. And probably most importantly, I received support – reassurance that my preterm delivery wasn’t my fault, breastfeeding encouragement, and the coveted “me too” that we all yearn for when making emotional connections.

And I got oodles of book recommendations.

Without certain informational books, I wouldn’t have known what to expect logistically. They helped me physically prepare for twins ( or at least gave me the impression I was preparing, because there really is no way to prepare to bring home multiple infants!) and even helped me realize that I was developing preeclampsia, which was soon confirmed by my doctor, and I was put on strict bed rest.

But what I lacked was a collection of personal stories, something that would tell me what it was really like to carry, deliver, and raise twins, a collection of vastly different experiences that I could relate to, or even those that I could not.

Although I am well beyond what I call the “grunt years” of raising twins, I can tell you that at some point during almost each essay in Multiples Illuminated, I found myself saying “ME TOO.”

I commiserated with the fatigue and the sometimes fear of the multiples pregnancy.

My heart ached at the descriptions of tiny preemies and terrifying NICU experiences, some that were so similar to ours, and some that were wildly different.

And I’m not sorry to say I laughed at the stories of twin toddler life, because BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, NOT SORRY TO SEE IT GO. And some day, those parents will laugh about it too, if they aren’t already.

multiples illuminated book review twins

SQUAD GOALS

Multiples Illuminated is the brain child of writers Megan Woolsey and Alison Lee. Find out more at MultiplesIlluminated.com.

Buy the book!

Amazon (affiliate link)

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

 

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1
what I’m watching: dopplegänger edition

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As a part of the Netflix Stream Team, each month I get to tell you about what I’m watching on Netflix. What should I watch next?

Years ago people used to say that my husband was the spitting image of Freddie Prinze, Jr. They were both thin, with dark hair and eyes, same hairstyle. It was a little uncanny. Any time he popped up in a movie, we’d say, “Hey! You have a new movie coming out!” Or when a coworker found FPJ’s Got Milk? campaign, they tore it out and hung it up above Christian’s desk, where it remained until he left that job.

Over time we both forgot about it. Until my girls pulled up Scooby Doo on Netflix and I was confronted with my husband’s dopplegänger all over again.

Scooby Doo Fred Freddie Prinze Jr

Christian does not wear bell bottoms, have blonde hair, or have an annoying CGI dog, but the rest is pretty spot on.

Now I am not complaining. Freddy Prinze, Jr. is ridiculously easy on the eyes. He’s also happily married to the adorable Sarah Michelle Gellar, who ironically, I do not seem to resemble one bit, which is a little unfair, if you ask me.

Just so you can see what I’m talking about, let’s do a little side-by-side comparison.

freedy prinze jr doppleganger

That’s FPJ on the left, in case you were confused.

I showed this to Christian, and he said, “Man, we are getting old.” For the record, Freddie Prinze, Jr is 40, and Christian just turned 38. They both have the graying hair that makes men look hot and distinguished, also totally unfair. Also for the record, I don’t follow a lot of celebrities, but FPJ and his wife are fun follows on Instagram.

•••••

fuller house netflix

Yesterday we got a fun delivery so we can make up our own dopplegängers. Thanks to Netflix and Fuller House, we can unleash our inner Kimmy, DJ, and Stephanie. My girls have no idea who DJ, Kimmy, and Stephanie are, so I think some old school Full House is in order so we can start watching the Netflix exclusive, Fuller House.

fuller house netflix

Netflix ALSO sent us some of our favorite things: LEGOs! I cannot tell you how excited I was to get this delivery. Rachel set to putting the Bionicle together, while Zoe insisted on doing almost the entire LEGO Friends set together on her own. Homegirl has a determination streak like I’ve never seen. Then they turned on the new LEGO Bionicle: The Journey to One series and had a blast identifying her character and all of the others. And he’s blue, her favorite color.

lego bionicle lego friends netflix

I love you Netflix.

What are you watching?

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6
newsflash: I’m a flake

This comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone who knows me well personally, but here it is…

I am flaky.

Yesterday I forgot about lunch plans with a friend. A friend who was in from out of town. And her birthday had been the day before. And she’s going through a hard time right now.

And I completely forgot about it.

Did I mention I am the one who helped plan the lunch?

Instead of heading to a delicious restaurant with girlfriends, I was at Costco, a bottle of Nature’s Bounty Fish Oil pills in one hand and its Kirkland’s Best counterpart in the other, scrutinizing the difference. For the record. Nature’s Bounty has a few more milligrams of the good stuff for twice the cost.

My God, my life is fascinating.

I could have given – and did give – a thousand excuses as to why I failed to remember our lunch date. I’d had the shittiest Monday on record, starting with copious yelling in my attempts to get three kids out of the house. I had mountains of work to catch up on after the long weekend. We’d just returned from Dallas late the evening before and the laundry was out of control. I banged my knee on the kitchen chair trying to feed the cat. I mean, really.

But the truth is, lunch wasn’t even on my radar. I’d forgotten about it long before Monday morning. I failed to put it on my calendar, along with the blaring alarm that accompanies anything I even remotely want to remember – library days for the kids, doctor’s appointments, our weekly gymnastics class, LUNCHES WITH BIRTHDAY FRIENDS.

And the other truth is, I am a flake.

Part of me wants to say “to know me is to love me,” and that means realizing that I am forgetful and slightly self-absorbed. Not in a narcissistic way, but I tend to get wrapped up in my own life and can easily let my connections slip. I’m terrible with birthdays. I don’t often suggest lunch dates or girls’ nights out. I shamefully depend on my extroverted friends for those things. I fail to “check in” with my close friends or with people I know need support. When I asked if someone had had their baby yet, my friend texted back, “God I hope so. He was due a month ago.”

 

Sometimes I think that some flakiness is okay. This is who I am! I say, and people just think, “Oh, that Leigh Ann. She’s so in her head! A true creative indeed.”

And then I realize that I’m actually just being rude, and my failure to keep up with these things may be sending the wrong signals.

That I’m disorganized. (Check.)

That I’m flaky. (Yup.)

That I don’t care.

That last one’s not true. I do care. And I’m crushed to think that my flakiness may cause someone to think I don’t. You know those people you feel don’t care enough to ask about your life? I’ve become one of those people. I’m so wrapped up in my own circus, it’s hard for me to pay attention to the other acts. I mean, my children are very loud and a little overwhelming, and our life is hectic for sure. But that shouldn’t keep me from asking about a friend’s job interview or impending move. I want to know how you’re doing, what you’re up to, whether or not you’re still pregnant after 12 months or so.

It just may stare unblinking for a second or two too long when you text, “I’m waiting for you guys at a booth towards the back!”

I’ll catch on eventually.

Snapchat gets me.

Snapchat gets me.

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3
eight

Eight years ago today I was lying in a bed in the antepartum wing of the hospital, my OBGYN and my perinatologist on either side of me.

They looked over my charts and numbers from the weekend and were all, “Yeah, NO. These do not look good.”

And I was all, “I’m feeling great! I think I can totally keep my blood pressure under control at home.”

And they were all, “Your babies are fine for now, but you’re probably going to have a seizure if we let this go any longer.”

(Let’s not talk about the nurse who had said, “We were all talking about how we’ve never seen someone with protein so high who was still pregnant!”)

And then an hour or so later, a nurse stuck her head in my room.

“Did they tell you you’re delivering today?”

And I said, “No. No they did not.”

And she said, “Oh! Well you’re on the board for 4:30!”

And I was like, “DAMN.”

And that is – give or take a few liberally misquoted conversations, but that’s pretty much the gist of how it went down – THAT is how I ended up delivering two tiny twin girls at 31 weeks.

Happy birthday, sweethearts. We’ve come a long way.

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6
things that are good/need improvement

Sometimes I get overwhelmed at life. Springtime is SUPER busy for us, between Zoe’s birthday in February, Listen to Your Mother auditions, casting, and rehearsals, Christian’s birthday in March, and Rachel and Claire’s birthday also in March. I always have something to do, and that makes me anxious. So today I’m just escaping here to do a little rundown of things that are good in life, and things that could use a little improvement.

THINGS THAT ARE GOOD

• Spring came early this year. We had an unusually warm February. Warm days are not uncommon in a Texas February, but neither is going from 76 degrees one day to snow the next. It looks like it’s here to stay, and since I cannot function in anything under 54 degrees, I find this quite delightful.

• Things are moving along swiftly in Listen to Your Mother world, and we’ll be announcing our cast soon!

• I’m running again! Sometimes pain free! I’m training for the Statesman Capitol 10,000 and hoping to finish before they kick me off the course.

• Texas Mountain Laurels are in full bloom. They don’t last very long, but while they’re here, they’re heavenly. When the girls were babies, I used to take them for sometimes twice-daily walks around the neighborhood. Back then the smell of these flowers reminded me of walking around the UT campus in the springtime. Now it reminds me of walking my babies around the neighborhood and how nice it was to be able to strap them into something where they couldn’t get out. #memories

texas mountain laurel

How they look is no comparison for how they smell. Think grape bubble gum heaven.

• I’m unclenching a bit by letting go of a contract gig I’ve had for a while. I really enjoyed it, and I’m sad to say goodbye, but I’m looking forward to being able to focus on my other job and maybe have a little more free time. Or at least some stress-free, clench-free time.

• My grandpa is turning 91 on Easter, and we’ll be there to celebrate!

• It’s been raining for days, so today I just let the girls come home and watch movies after school while I helped Zoe with some LEGO building and cleaned some of the neglected house. These are admittedly some of my favorite days.

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• House of Cards is legit awesome this season.

• I am obsessed with this band Shearwater. They’re from here in Austin, and I’ve been listening to them nonstop when I’m working. Catch them on Spotify here. Please don’t get too popular so I have to stop liking you.

• I saw Doc Brown yesterday.

back to the future time machine

 

THINGS THAT COULD USE SOME IMPROVEMENT

• At this very moment my cat is walking around and yowling for God knows why. He’s definitely deaf, probably going blind, and likely has a UTI. I need to take him to the vet. Christian wants to take him to a field far, far away. We are both tired of cleaning poop out of the bathtub.

• It’s been raining for days, and I miss the sun.

• I whined the other day to a writer friend that I couldn’t even manage to make myself write for 10 minutes a day. She calmed me down by saying she “only had 2 kids.” I love it when people justify my crazy home life, even though I only have one more child than they do. But I do wish I was writing more.

• Most days are pain free, but my back does get cranky here and there after running. Every time it makes me want to throw in the towel and say, “Enough! I will never recover fully and be able to run again!” And then I think of that guy who could barely walk, and then he got super into yoga and can now run and is incredibly fit. Too bad I’m too lazy for yoga.

• Rachel’s voice has changed a little since her tonsillectomy. We expected that, but I didn’t expect it to be so….[insert word that means awful, but won’t hurt anyone’s feelings when they inevitably read this in 10 years]? When I was a kid, I never really understood what authors meant when they described someone as “talking through their nose.” Now I know. Let’s just say that at the end of a long day, it’s not my favorite sound.

• I got my kids to donate a few stuffies to the school carnival…..where they promptly played the Stuffed Animal Walk game and – you guess it – brought home more stuffies.

• I was a total bitch to the cashier at Lowe’s today. When I contested the price of some fabric bins I was buying, she asked if I could go get the tag (I’d already been waiting in line forever). When I did, she informed me that it was for a different FUCHSIA FABRIC DRAWER, even though the FUCHSIA FABRIC DRAWERS I grabbed were the only FUCHSIA FABRIC DRAWERS in the vicinity and the tag was right underneath them. I get that errors happen and retail sucks, but man, was I cranky. I’m not naturally a bitchy person (depending on who you talk to – this cashier would definitely five me full on bitch classification), so I felt bad.

• Fuchsia is an unnaturally hard word to spell.

 

What’s going on in your world?

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3
what I’m watching: Oscar edition

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As a part of the Netflix Stream Team, each month I get to talk about what I’m watching on Netflix. What should I watch next?

 

A few nights ago I had a mountain of laundry to fold and some quality time to spend with my husband. We’ve been so busy this week with Listen to Your Mother auditions, unexpected work loads, and just the crazy busyness of life with kids that we both needed to chill for a night.

I spend forever browsing Netflix before I can decide on what to watch. I need to make sure that the time I’m spending watching this movie or that show is time well spent. The kicker is, I spend so much time browsing, neither the laundry nor the movie get folded or watched.

My husband, on the other hand, looks briefly through the first few movies suggested, pulls up Good Will Hunting and presses play.

Our relationship in a nutshell.

We’d both seen it before, more than once, so it was the perfect mindless entertainment to get me through the laundry folding and him through…not folding the laundry. I’d forgotten what a wonderful film it was, couldn’t fathom that it was almost 20 years ago, and my God, can you believe Robin Williams isn’t with us anymore?

Oscars well deserved, boys.

I didn’t watch the Oscars this year (we don’t have cable, and someday we will get a digital antennae, but that day has not come). And I’m not sure if I really saw any of the Oscar-nominated movies other than Inside Out (did it win? I haven’t even checked). But I know you CAN watch loads of Oscar-nominated movies on Netflix! (exclamation points!!!)

Silver Linings Playbook

silverliningsposterI mentioned this in another Netflix recap, but it’s such a great film. Jennifer Lawrence’s jiggly boobs still make me uncomfortable though. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director for David O. Russell, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Actor for Bradley Cooper, Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence, Best Supporting Actor for Robert De Niro, and Best Supporting Actress Jacki Weaver; with Lawrence winning for Best Actress.

 

 

 

Forrest Gump

forrest jump movie poster netflixThe tale of a simple-minded man who leads a remarkably event-filled life won six Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, Best Actor for Tom Hanks, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects (I remember the absence of Lieutenant Dan’s legs being a HUGE deal), and Best Film Editing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Prince of Egypt

prince-of-egypt-movie-poster netflixIf you’re looking for a different animated film to watch with the kids, this Dreamworks film won an Oscar for Best Original Song for the hit “When You Believe.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Beauty

american beauty movie poster netflixThis is one of those films I was dying to see, but when I dragged my husband – then my boyfriend – to see it, he was probably all, “What in the ever-loving HELL.” But then the movie won five Oscars – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography, so I felt redeemed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Hawk Down

black hawk down movie poster netflix

I’m not a huge war movie buff, but I di end up watching a lot of war movies, thanks to my military-obsessed husband. Black Hawk Down won for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing, and if you don’t blink, you’ll get to see a sweet little Orlando Bloom in his pre-Legolas days.

 

 

 

 

 

Inglorious Bastards

inglorious bastards movie poster netflixSpeaking of war movies, this Quentin Tarantino film makes me squeamish, but it’s worth it. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Waltz, and Best Original Screenplay. Waltz was awarded the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

 

 

 

 

 

Training Day

training day movie poster netflixDenzel Washington won Best Actor for his turn as a hardened, dirty cop, while Ethan Hawk continues to be in need of a shower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Kill A Mockingbird

large_5xvdKU9Xlw12ZIH9hyXWIaKJHITIn honor of the late Harper Lee, I’m going to round this out with Gregory Peck and To Kill A MockingBird. Peck won for Best Actor. And now we are all sad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are YOU watching?

 

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3
recovery, resentment, and redemption

Some things going on that are all pretty random, but kind of related in some way. It’s basically a week’s worth of brain dump.

 

1) Rachel is making progress in her recovery. She’s still home with me and still in pain here and there. Scabs apparently (probably) (maybe?) came off a couple of days ago (pause for gagging), which caused lots of ear pain and throat pain, so we’re not totally off the hydrocodone yet, but hey, she’s not vomiting it back up! #blessed

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Now we’re at the point where she’s still home, but not miserable. So lots of TV and video games, fewer naps and less caretaking on my end. Let’s just say she’s not well enough to go back to school just yet, but she’s well enough to be driving me just a wee bit crazy, especially when I can’t stop what I’m doing to help her complete level 3 of Sonic the Hedgehog. I predict she’ll be ready to go back to school in a few days, but there’s no sense in sending her back on a Friday, right? GAH.

Oh, and since you’re dying to know, yes, the breath is still completely rank. Not filling up entire rooms with noxious gasses, but it still makes my stomach turn when I catch a whiff.

Upside is I am enjoying spending time with her, and I’ll miss her when she goes back to school.

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2) Claire has been having a bit of a hard time with this whole ordeal. On the one hand, she really wants to take care of her sister. On the other hand, she’s feeling left out and is actually voicing that Rachel and Zoe get all the attention. Apparently she’s still a little bitter about the whole dental nightmare of 2015.

It always comes up at bedtime, where she resists sleep in favor of crying and pouting that she never gets any attention because she didn’t “get” to have surgery. Because we all know how fun surgery is. Just ask Rachel when she’s vomiting up hydrocodone.

So I told her that she and I? We’re the caretakers. And sometimes being a caretaker is a thankless job. We spend our time and energy caring for others, and sometimes it seems we don’t get a lot of attention in return, but that’s not necessarily true. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I would get just a little sick so someone would take care of me for once. But then when I do get sick and I’m writhing in pain from the body aches and fever, I would give anything in the world to feel better.

I’m so proud of how responsible she’s become over the last year. She’s going to make a great mom someday. I mean, she already has the martyr part down pat.

 

3) Claire and Zoe went to the dentist on Monday (Rachel had to sit this one out since she was still fresh off her tonsillectomy), where we learned some things. First, Claire has an extra baby tooth (which we already knew, but hang on). During development, her lateral incisor (AKA “the tooth next to the big tooth,” for those who don’t know, like me before I googled “tooth names”) split into two teeth, a process called – wait for it – TWINNING. I KNOW. A twin with twin teeth. So meta.

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Anyway we had  been told that those two teeth would fall out as baby teeth do, but only one would grow back.

Except her x-rays on Monday showed that she has two permanent teeth ready to grow in, where there should only be one. Actually, they already are growing in, because those twin baby teeth aren’t loose at all, not even a little bit.

So…..in order to avoid becoming a snaggletooth, she has to have those baby teeth pulled, a process the dentist assured me would be painless for her, but would take a while, and she’d have to miss school and get lots of attention from me, and my God, you should have seen her eyes light up.

“I’m going to have surgery???”

Well, kinda, not really, but you will get to miss school for the day!

PLUS once the double permanent teeth come in, we’ll then be shipped off to the orthodontist, who will decide which of the teeth to keep and which one gets evicted. More teeth pulling! Yay!

I predict Claire will use up the majority of the health savings account in the coming months (years). She’s a thumb sucker, so I’m pretty sure this will not be our first trip to the ortho for her.

 

Now if I can just keep the rest of my family from having dental problems/tonsil problems/anything involving knives and medications and days off from school, life will be grand.

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8
some things I didn’t anticipate

We are Day 5 post-op (not including surgery day).

Today was a good day. The past 4 days, not so great.

Surgery day was tough on all of us. I’m not sure I prepared her all that well, other than telling her she wouldn’t be able to eat much afterwards. The promise of ice cream and popsicles kept her from being too anxious about it, but as we waited in pre-op, she grew increasingly quiet and withdrawn.

In hindsight, I wondered if I should have been more up front with her about how she would feel. But I wasn’t, partly because I wasn’t so sure myself. And partly because how do you tell an anxiety-prone 7-year-old how confusing and unpleasant it is to come out of anesthesia? How much her throat will hurt? How do you tell someone how much they take swallowing for granted until they literally cannot do it?

When we arrived into the recovery room, her face was teary, and she held a sad, quickly-wilting popsicle – the kind that’s basically frozen sugar-syrup with a healthy dose of red dye #40. For the next two hours we sat while she slept on and off, her little bum peeking out of her hospital gown.

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During those two hours, I realized how naive I had been about this whole thing.

I hadn’t been prepared to watch the nurses wheel her away from me, through the double doors to the operating room.

I wasn’t prepared for the tears I couldn’t stop when her nurse applied hand sanitizer too close to me. (NICU flashbacks are real, you guys.)

I didn’t anticipate “I have to go pee” to turn into “I’m going to sit on this toilet and cry for a few minutes” while we waited for the short surgery to finish.

I wasn’t prepared for how little work I would get done with her home, but I will close this laptop in a heartbeat if my girl needs some snuggles.

I had no idea how exhausting it could be to take care of someone who really didn’t need much more than apple juice and medicine.

I didn’t anticipate it being so difficult to get her to take in her fluids.

I was NOT prepared for the most rancid, sickeningly sweet, could-burn-the-nostrils-off-zombies bad breath that has been coming from her mouth-hole and filling up entire enclosed spaces like cars and bedrooms.

I wasn’t prepared to hold my girl as she shivered and cried because the pain medicine made her sick, or the congestion was keeping her awake, or the anti-nausea medicine burned her throat.

Watching her go through this has been so, SO tough, and it reminds me that there are parents out there who watch their kids go through this and worse every day. It doesn’t make our ordeal any less sucky, but it’s a nice piece of perspective to have. She will recover from this. We are having a hard week or two. But she will recover.

Today was a good day. She’s eating a little more. Two out of 3 meals today have been salad – including breakfast. Homegirl loves her balsamic vinaigrette. We went to see Kung Fu Panda 3 and had dinner with friends, followed by ice cream. At dinner she hit a bit of a wall, like you do when you’ve really had a bit too much activity. She got a little feverish (which is normal for a few days after surgery) and ignored her dinner in favor of laying her head down on the table and dozing. We were nearing the evening hour where her pain has routinely been the worst, and here we were, out with no medicine. I’m the mom who never even carries tissues or Band-Aids. I’m lucky if I have all my kids with me. I can’t be expected to remember to bring a medicine cabinet.

I walked over to a Target in the same shopping center to grab some children’s ibuprofen. Hopefully it would kick in quickly, or the ice cream would distract her from the pain. I think it was a little of both.

She’s a trooper.

I wasn’t expecting to feel so happy that she had a good day.

(And now for a good old-fashioned photo dump of our recovery. Most of these are also on Instagram.)

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Moments after Claire got home from school. These two are like magnets to one another.

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Day 2 - eating real food!

Day 2 – eating real food!

Living her best life.

Living her best life.

I have a mouth full of crap and I don't want to swallow. I am very pouty.

I have a mouth full of crap and I don’t want to swallow. I am very pouty.

Salads have inexplicably become the go-to post-tonsillectomy meal. Whatever.

Salads have inexplicably become the go-to post-tonsillectomy meal. Whatever.

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