A Saturday Morning List

Things I wrote a week ago and never hit “publish” and promptly forgot about. Have been suffering from some serious Spring Forward Grog this week, and I suspect others are as well. This won’t take long. Happy Friday, and Happy Spring Break. 

  1. John and the kids are running a 5K this morning and I’m at home with sleeping Avery, a hot cup of coffee, and a half a donut.
  2. I know I’ve mentioned that I don’t like to use my blog as my secret public journal, but today, just for fun, I’m going to publish what should otherwise be written with a felt-tip pen on a blank page of a green spiral bound sketch pad.
  3. There was a time in my life when I really loved journaling. I’m a line-free journaler. I don’t draw, I don’t even really doodle, but I do love a brand new blank sketch pad and some felt tip pens. And it just happens that I’m particularly skilled with writing in perfectly straight lines. (Even on a white board.)
  4. After four kids I’ve changed my mind about something. I now believe wholeheartedly that personalities are pretty much engrained. And because I know this to be true, I also know that I do not get to look forward to a fourth child who never talks. Blabber-mouth #4 folks.
  5. Two things I miss most about teaching: (1) Friday silent reading for 45 minutes in each class for a total of 135 minutes of weekly pleasure reading for me. (2) Ten minute guided-journaling at the beginning of each class, which I participated in with my my students most days of the week.
  6. Though I like to take time to write down my things-to-do every day, I often make lists of things I’ve already done, just to have a tangible sense of stay-at-home mom accomplishment. (And you can only imagine how it feels now that I’ve hired someone to clean my house, three-quarters of my weekly to-do list erased in one day by one amazing woman.)
  7. It is cold outside, but the sun is shining and daylight savings ends tonight. Spring is on the way but not quite here. Half of me is still hibernating. Half of me is itching to spring clean something. Maybe I just need to spring clean my brain.
  8. Isaiah pronounces his sister’s name “Ee-vray,” and I hope it sticks for life.
  9. I want to start my garden this weekend and I really want to grow blueberries in my yard.
  10. Has anyone stuck with the New Year’s Resolution this year? Didn’t make a resolution this year? Here’s another idea: call an attorney get your estate planning documents in order. You need three: a Last Will and Testament, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, and a Durable Power of Attorney. If you have kids and you haven’t done this, put it on your own Spring Cleaning list.
  11. It is Lent and I didn’t give anything up. I haven’t even considered a 40 day spiritual focus of any kind. Throughout most of high school and all of college I was bombarded with the church teaching of daily “quiet time” which is not happening regularly, or even a few times a week month, or even really at all. I feel no guilt about this and I’m quite sure I’ve done more spiritual growth in the last eight years than in all of high school and college combined.
  12. Yesterday I had a conversation with my neighbor about a fight she recently had with her husband and I was so delighted and relieved to know that John and I are normal. I mean. I know we are normal. But God. It was refreshing to hear someone else admit the same kind of childish things we do and say in the presence of unconditional love. I guess it is easier to be transparent when you are truly that confident of forgiveness and acceptance on the other side of the temper tantrum.
  13. Watching New Girl on Netflix right now and I do believe it is the perfect replacement for those of us who never missed an episode of Friends ten years ago. John thinks it is better than Friends.
  14. Whenever I have pre-bed anxiety and find myself exhausted but unable to fall asleep, I just imagine Pinterest pages of organized closets and laundry rooms, and things that utilize a label-maker, and somehow that does the trick.
  15. I plan to never give in to the current parenting trend of owning an expensive camera. That way I can simply say of all my non-expert-lighting snapshots, “Yeah, I took that on an iPhone,” but whenever I take a really great picture I can say, “Yeah, I took that on an iPhone!”

A New Reason To Celebrate

The kid that made me a mom for the first time.
The kid that made me a mom for the first time.

One year ago today, I was pregnant with Avery. Only twelve weeks, and already miserable enough to know I had to be carrying another girl. I didn’t blog about that pregnancy, I didn’t put anything in Facebook updates, and I didn’t post any pictures. Generally speaking, I lived every single day of those 39 weeks counting down the seconds until my next nap.

One year ago today.

I know the date because it was Eliott’s 7th birthday. Standard Dadderday, John was taking all the kids to the gym for the morning. He bought tickets to take Eliott and Carter to their first ever movie in a theater (Frozen) which would allow me to take a nap with Isaiah that afternoon. Then we were all going out to eat for Eliott’s birthday dinner. Her choice: Golden Corral (damn you, Saturday morning cartoons and your chocolate fountain commercials). Continue reading

For the Love of Muffins

It feels weird to admit to being really good at something that I don’t love to do. Changing diapers, for example. Not that anyone is competing and not that there’d be an easy way to measure it, but I like to think that when it comes to changing diapers, I am excellent.

Or, laundry. It isn’t so much in the perfect cleanliness of each item after it is removed from a full wash/dry cycle, but I like to think that my laundry habit is nearly excellent. For almost an entire year now, I’ve managed to wash, dry, fold, and put away all of my children’s clothes every Monday, and to wash, dry, and replace all our sheets and towels every other Thursday. (Don’t ask me about my own laundry. There’s a reason I own, no lie, 37 pairs of underwear if you count thongs, which I only do for the sake of laundry avoidance). Continue reading

Making Money on the Internet

Let’s talk about making money on the Internet for a minute. Not because the topic is particularly interesting, but more because I think it is one of those things that the majority of the Internet using world is largely uniformed or misinformed about.

Since I started writing TheUntertoad over three years ago, I’ve been asked more than once, “Do you make money on your blog?”

The answer is no. Part B of that answer is, “…and I probably never will.”

I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity if it knocked on my door, but right now, I am not even attempting to make money with this blog. And here’s why. Continue reading

A Disjointed List of Noteworthy Thoughts

  1. Whenever someone types “LOL” in a text, I actually imagine them in some quiet waiting room or in line at the grocery store giving a hearty belly laugh at some inane comment -hardly worthy of a belly laugh- I just made. Not ironically, some of the biggest proponents for typing LOL, I’m quite certain, have never actually laughed, out loud, in front of me, ever. Once, I sat down and actually attempted to laugh out loud at every single Facebook status that prompted me to do so with this friendly little three letter reminder. It was difficult and awkward at first, but once I got going, I admit, it became pretty amusing.
    All this said, how, I ask you, has LOL survived so long? Instead, I propose creating Internet shorthand for any of the following and more realistic than laughing out loud responses: smirking; half-smile; slight snort with a half-smile; small-gasp in through my nose (extended sniff?); smile without teeth; smile with teeth.
    Anyone? Just me?
  2. Though I don’t watch a lot of daytime TV, I do try to catch a little of CBS This Morning a few days a week. Therefore, I see more than my share of local legal commercials. And as a good work-from-home partner of one such local attorney, I find myself interested in those who are big enough to afford a dozen television commercials in a two-hour period. Anyone seen the daytime commercial for Candice Apple and Associates (the self-titled Social Security Disability Experts)? Thought she was an attorney, as does everyone who sees the commercial, I imagine. Turns out she’s not. She formerly worked for the Social Security Administration and was once a paralegal, and now she sells herself as providing social security disability “representation.” No formal legal education, degree, nothing. Amazing.
  3. Red Delicious Apples: best marketing ploy ever. I have a feeling the guy who first grew these so named them because he knew there was really no other way to make people eat them.
  4. The old ladies who gather in the lobby of the YMCA are mostly having teenage-girl-conversations with each other, despite their age, wisdom, collective-life-experience. I can’t decide whether I’m encouraged or discouraged by this. Maybe a little bit of both.
  5. At 3:08pm every day on the way to carline, I hear this commercial: “Support for NPR comes from Novo Nordisk, who notes that two-thirds of people living with diabetes live in cities. Novo Nordisk is committed to changing this statistic.” Every time I hear it I picture an a mass diabetic exodus from high rises in some place like New York City to a farm in Minnesota. I’m not sure what it is about the country life that is so healthy for diabetics, but thank God Novo Nordisk is committed to getting them there.
  6. There is a woman on a local Facebook garage-sale page who has been trying, unsuccessfully, for the last two years, to re-sell something like seventeen pairs of used socks. She “bumps” the picture and the post about once every three weeks, meaning, she comments on it to move it to the top of the page. Does she know about an impending sock puppet craze making a huge comeback?

New Year’s Resolution Idea #1

Ahh, New Year’s Resolutions.

Sorry. I like them. And while I know many people make the same resolutions year after year, and fail year after year, I’m one of those people who makes just one resolution and usually keeps it. Perhaps I’m setting my sights too low. Perhaps I know exactly what I can accomplish. Continue reading

2015 New Year’s Resolutions?


Let’s be honest. New Year’s Day, for all intents and purposes, is a recovery day from that New Year’s Eve party with the carmel flavored vodka shots. And this year, because it fell on a Thursday, meant that Friday was that weird day that basically nothing got done at work.

For me, when the company left, the refrigerator was sparse, the laundry pile was high, and the bathrooms were starting to itch. Saturday and Sunday were spent catching up on all the chores I ignored over the long holiday, and finally de-Christmasing the house. Continue reading