Literally Just a List of Things That Remind Me of My Childhood

Erasers in the shape of caterpillars

Picking dirt out of the cracks of my shoes with a pencil

Having twenty to thirty stuffed animals in my bed because I felt too bad to pick just one to sleep with (a la Toy Story)

Tying one end of the jump rope to furniture when we didn’t have three people to play

Razor scooter slamming into my ankles

Keeping my pencil shavings in a clear pink plastic box just for the heck of it

Having black marks all up against the side of my hand from drawing at school

Adding a Sailor Moon graphic to my love letter confession

Hoarding and eating an entire box of Thin Mints

Grey McNuggets

Lisa Frank fuzz on my leggings

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Bangs almost as high as my bows

Waiting forever to go on a field trip

Changing your favorite color was a conscious decision

Blisters on the back of my knees from monkey bars

Having a lot of mystery scrapes and bruises

Star sixty-nine

Our big black boxy TV which was so amazing that we had a “big screen TV”

Roller skating in our unfinished basement

Falling in love with Cluefinders

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Pretending that the freshly fallen snow was a new planet and stepping onto it dramatically

Getting yelled at by the lunch lady for not eating fast enough

Being devastated when I couldn’t find my toys

Making forts in the bunk bed by tucking blankets into the bars

Sleepovers at Grandma’s House

Sneaking into the creek behind my school

The smell of the “Science Room”

The smell of the lunchroom

My baby brother’s bald little head

Eating spaghettios for the first time ever

The seatbelt rubbing my neck uncomfortably

My armpits hurting after someone picked me up

Being too scared to ride on my dad’s shoulders because it was so freaking high

Going to Disneyland but lowkey being terrified of the drops on Pirates of the Caribbean

Being scared of my loud uncles

Feeling like getting in trouble was the end of the world

Making up a lot of outrageous and elaborate stories (oops still do this one)

Wishing I was an adult and could do “whatever I wanted”

Getting sidewalk chalk on my knees

Collecting snails in a yellow pail

Life Update: Partially Drowning

I may or may not have been in a pretty grouchy mood when I wrote this. But this is real. This is our life right now. Take it for what it is.

 

The Residency

Look. I’m going to be completely honest with you. But we are just miserable over here. If you don’t already know, Dan works 12hr+ shifts for twelve days straight through. Like sometimes his work days are longer than Jack is even awake. Which means they never get to see each other anymore. He is a zombie. And I am a single mom. And that’s how life is right now.

Okay. That’s not fair. Single moms have it worse because they are also sole-providers of their household. But zombies DO have it better because at least their hearts are dead.

I will say one thing though. My admiration for my husband has at least tripled since he became a resident. He does not feel the same way about himself. Which probably has to do with the way he is crapped on at his job.

“So is resident short for ‘resident toilet’?”

I do not know how he keeps it up. Honestly, if it had been me. I would have peaced out five years ago. Like the first week of Pharm school. What a man. What a man. What a mighty patient man. Say it again now!

 

The Babes

Casey is the happiest lil’ thing you ever did saw. He’s always smiling. In fact, he’s smiling at me right now. Wherever we go, people comment on how happy he is. He’s honestly the most cheerful baby I’ve ever met.

I found out I was pregnant a year ago and I was sure that the new little baby was going to be the most challenging part of the year. But you know what? He wasn’t even close to being the hardest. He is SO EASY. Like, I thought my eldest was easy. And he really is. But this kid is like a little pink smiley angel of some kind.

Jack is doing both stellar and not stellar at the same time. He is going through the terrible twos. Some days I just want to rip my hair out. He gets upset over EVERYTHING. He can’t eat fistfuls of powdered parmesan. DISASTER. He has to walk to the car. END OF THE WORLD. You put on the wrong YouTube video. GAME OVER. And most of the time it’s like you have no idea why he’s screaming and crying and you just kind of stare at him while he’s rolling around. He’s finally catching up on a speech delay but I think the still-present communication barrier is sending his frustrations through the roof.

 

The Writing

I feel like a freaking plastic bag caught in a tornado. Just whipping around from here to there and having no direction at all.

I started coming up with this new novel-plotting technique. Because 1) I’m desperately pragmatic when it comes to book writing and 2) developmental edits are like ten thousand splinters beneath my eyelid. So I came up with what I felt like was a good system and I started practicing it on the one book that I knew OH SO WELL. (The story that I had been working on for more than two years.) And as I was re-plotting, I came to the dreadful realization that… I am going to have to re-write this book A-FREAKING-AGAIN. I don’t even know what draft this is. Five? Six?

I stopped querying immediately. And ugh. It was a complete gut job. I wrote 20k new words, stitched it all together and zapped the monster with lightning in my mad scientist lab. And through all the sweat, tears and finger cramps I FINALLY had slapped together a sixth draft.

And you want to know what? When I stepped back to admire the work I had just done… I realized, wow… this is truly, truly, truly not good.

It still needs extensive work. Particularly the ending which is completely nonsensical. I shut my laptop and whispered, ‘I need a break from you’. It honestly was the same feeling as when your hair gets so hopelessly snarled and tangled that you bust out the kitchen scissors. I need a break. I need a torrent affair with another story. Or SOMETHING. Work on an entirely new thing, until I’m a better, smarter writer and then regroup.

I won’t lie. Giving up is really tempting right now. I could just take my little butchered story, thank it like Marie Kondo and then shove it into the bottom of a Goodwill box.

 

In four months so much will be better for us. Jack will likely be talking more. Residency will be over and I could have time to invest into these projects. But for today, we are just slogging along to the finish line.

Trying to Recreate the Parent Trap IRL

So, here’s a thing that happened.

It was 1998. A beautiful time of matching windbreakers over mom jeans and boy bands with frosted tips. 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Boyce had just blown everyone away in the school talent show by singing “My Heart Will Go On”. And while all the adults were laughing at There’s Something About Mary, the kids were all about Lindsay Lohan in the remake of Disney’s The Parent Trap.

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If you’ve never seen it, first off – shame on you because it’s a real treasure. Secondly, the idea is that two twins separated as babies by a divorce meet at a summer camp. After camp, they pretend to be each other in an effort to rekindle their parent’s love. To this day, my sister Natalie and I are still huge fans of both the old movie and the new movie. In fact, when it first came out we were so enchanted by it that we decided, Hey, let’s switch places…

Here’s the problem. Um… we look nothing like each other. I was a super blondie and Nat had really dark hair. We didn’t even really look like sisters, let alone twins. Also, we were three years apart. My sister was in the fifth grade and I was in second grade…

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Nevertheless, we were sure that this was a good plan.

We planned it out for weeks. We each had a notebook with tons of important tips jotted in them, where my desk was in the room, where I kept my markers, nick names I called my best friends so they would be none-the-wiser.

The day came and we went right to each others classrooms. Natalie went to second grade and I went to fifth. My sister, haha, recognized RIGHT AWAY that it wasn’t going to work. She stepped into class and the teacher was all like, “Can I help you?”. She just kinda shuffled back out the door, “Uh, no. I’m good.”

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I, on the other hand, was still so sure about this. The teacher had kind of the same reaction.

Teacher: Do you need something?

Me: Nope. I’m Natalie.

Teacher: …. wut?

Me: I’m Natalie.

All the other kids started laughing so hard! And they were big kids. And it was scary. So I started to cry. My sister’s teacher had to walk me back to my second grade classroom. Ah, man.

VPPi

Anyways, coincidentally! Utah Children’s Theatre in Salt Lake is putting on The Parent Trap. How fabulous is that? Doesn’t that sound like the most fun ever? Come and see it! Tickets and showtimes can be found at uctheatre.org I can’t even tell you how excited I am to check it out! I’m definitely bringing Natalie with me.

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The Worst Christmas Present

You know that person that never wants or needs anything so they’re impossible to buy for? That’s my brother. I never know what to get him, so instead we came up with a beautiful Christmas tradition…

To try and get each other the worst Christmas presents possible.

 

Here is what I managed to get my brother this year:

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An instructional DVD of how to become a Mary Kay consultant

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A VHS of the classic hit “Crawlers”

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Party Cheetos

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Pete the Repeat Parrot, which is a repeat gift of something that we treasured(?) from our childhood.

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An outdated Algebra textbook for a class he’ll never take

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A Blockbuster membership card

 

Here’s what he got me:

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Fist of all this is the box it came in.

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A DVD to entertain our cats when we’re away… we do not own a cat

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A buttload of expired groceries from my mom’s food storage (that I was told he wrapped the day of)

… Also dehydrated water (which my mom demanded back for some reason? Not pictured.)

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The coup de grace, an actually DVD copy of my number one worst movie I’ve ever seen.

Beautiful.