Riding that Struggle bus

Last night I dreamed that Clark had to have a re-do craniosynostosis repair surgery.  I remember not being exactly sure why he had to have another surgery, just that it was going to be an open repair involving a craniotomy (removal of top portion of skull). Isn’t it strange how strongly you feel emotions while dreaming? I was terrified and angry. “Haven’t we been through enough? Haven’t I served my time with craniosynostosis, two times over?!”

I woke up with a start. Clark is not having another surgery. Today IS Clark’s cranioversary–the 2nd anniversary of his craniosynostosis surgery. Maybe that’s what brought on the dream/nightmare. But, maybe not. You see, our lives are finally “calmer.” Ben is no longer commuting to Thibodaux or New Orleans. He has a job in Baton Rouge with better hours, etc. Darcy and Clark are well and without major health struggles. I’m finished with school, and I’m picking up shifts while working PRN in the CICU while looking for a job as a nurse practitioner. And there it is. The source of most of my stress. Job. Hunting.

You see, despite the shittiest of circumstances, I did really well in grad school and ended up with a 3.85 GPA and honors. I passed boards within a month of graduation on the first try, and I even had an interview within that first month window. Then…nothing. I’ve lost count of job applications and reaching out to my “contacts” with no real result. It has 100% totally sucked, and this past Monday I had a real come apart over it. “What the hell, God? Why have you brought me this far for nothing?” I mean, my student loan payments will be knocking on the door soon, and I feel like I’ll still be working PRN on the unit instead of working as a nurse practitioner. It has been incredibly disappointing.

In the grand scheme of things, I realize that this is not a great tragedy. My children are healthy. My husband has a really great job. Hell, I still have a job. One where I make my own schedule, work with my favorite dysfunctional coworkers,  and earn decent money. But, it’s not enough is it? We always want more, feel entitled to more. I don’t know if any of you are similar, but I often find myself reaching for the future and gambling away my present which is a frustrating and self-destructive way to live. I know this, and yet I do it over and over again. And yes, I know that a job will “come along” as so many people are quick to tell me,  I just truly hope that it comes along sooner rather than later before I go completely crazy.

In the mean time, I am deep cleaning my house,trashing, I mean…organizing the kid’s toys (I’m looking at you, useless, plastic party favors), running/exercising, and cooking all the things to undo my exercising. All that nervous energy has to go somewhere, right? Clark is crawling everywhere, trying to pull up on everything, getting into everything, and throwing temper tantrums like a typical 2 year old. He has also become quite the biter when he’s pissed off or excited–two emotions he cycles between with great regularity. He looks so sweet and cuddly, but you are absolutely risking your shoulder flesh if you give yourself over to his snuggles. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Darcy is so…much. I mean, she’s a lot. A LOT. She is so precious, and so funny, and so sweet, and so argumentative, and so frustrating, and so challenging. It’s intense. In the cover photo of this blog post, you’ll see a barefoot Darcy. This was her class picture (a picture of a picture-hence the quality), and I am at least 75% certain that I sent her to school wearing shoes, but whenever I ask “Darcy, why aren’t you wearing shoes in this picture?” she says, ” I’m not.” So there you go 🤷🏼‍♀️ She is currently obsessed with rainbows and princesses, despises bugs,  and is a stereotypical little girl. She also says that she wants to marry Ben when she gets older and “live with mommy and daddy forever!” I know, it’s unbearably sweet. I’ll remind her of this when she turns sixteen and we become the biggest idiots she’s ever known.

In conclusion, I feel God telling me to be patient. He’s not in a hurry, I am. And I just need to slow down and enjoy the time I’ve been given because I’m not guaranteed anything more than the present. We should all remember that. So, I’m going to catch up on Netflix shows and try out fun recipes, and go to the lake with my family. I’m going to pray more and worry less. Also I’m going to order a king cake from Thee Heavenly Donut. No, I did not misspell that, so quit with your judging.

That’s all for now. Eat some king cake because Ash Wednesday is in one week and Ash Wednesday=No mo king cake 😦  Love to all ❤

 

 

Lordhamercy

Or how a trip to the doctor ended in a CT scan

First of all, hello readers! I have been MIA. Finishing school, struggling financially, mentally, physically. So basically the same as before! Anyway, in the spirit of “keeping it real” I want to share today’s events, but I’ll have to back up a bit so you get the fullest picture.

So last week was crazy (as usual for our fam). I was rushing around trying to get my scholarly project manuscript edited, printed, and submitted. I was also trying to apply for my APRN (advanced practice registered nurse AKA nurse practitioner) license AND submit my certification paperwork. Also, I was trying to study for boards and feed my kids that are always hungry, etc. Clark threw up a couple of times, and was stuffy and snotty, but I was pretty sure it was just viral, and he was fine. Anyway, Saturday rolls around and I graduated! I graduated, y’all. I have a Master’s of Science in Nursing degree and will be a certified Family Nurse Practitioner as soon as take and pass my boards. Eeeek! I digress. Anyway, Sunday I woke up not feeling awesome. I was coughing, but Darcy had been coughing directly into my eyeballs for about a week, so I figured I was getting that. Sunday night my throat was scratchy. Monday morning I woke up feeling like I swallowed razor blades, and Darcy threw up on the couch. That morning was shitty to say the least. I had to keep Darcy home all day while I was in and out of fever basically using Disney+ as a babysitter. Ben finally got home that night and said he also felt terrible.

The next morning I went to the doctor–I had strep throat. WTH. I have never had strep in my life (that I can remember). I had my tonsils out as a child and have never had issues. So, then I started thinking, “Duh. Both of your kids have strep, too.” They haven’t run fever, and Darcy hasn’t said her throat hurts, BUT both have had decreased appetites, vomiting episodes, AND Darcy complained of a headache the other night. I had brushed it off because they were also both snotty and coughing (not generally associated with strep). So, I took them to the doctor this morning even though both were perky acting and looked “well.” Darcy freaked the eff out when they swabbed her throat, so the doctor gave her a sucker for being “good.” Darcy needed a hug, and I didn’t want Clark to sit on the floor and contract whatever virus he hasn’t yet had. So, I sat Clark in the chair and turned around to open her sucker. SMACK. He fell face-first out of the chair onto the hard floor. Immediately he screamed and had a GIANT blue goose-egg. I picked him up and walked out of the room to tell the doctor that he fell, hit the floor, and that she should shine my trophy for ‘Mom of the Year.’ She came in to inspect my hysterical baby and also to confirm my suspicions–they were both positive for strep. She said she thought Clark was okay but wanted to watch him for a bit. She brought me an ice pack. Clark continued to cry, and I frantically called Ben to let him know why he should divorce me immediately. I called work to call-in AGAIN (second time this week) because my life is a regular shit-show. Mom guilt consumed me. Why had I put him on that chair? Why hadn’t I told Darcy to wait. Why hadn’t I just sat down and held Clark while opening the sucker? Why do I suck at this?

Clark continued to whimper and cry. The doctor came in to check on him and he gagged like he was going to be sick. She told me that she was concerned enough to order a CT scan to ensure there wasn’t a fracture or brain bleed. She ordered a stat CT and away we went to radiology. In the waiting room, I started tearing up and quickly swiping them away so Darcy didn’t see and get upset. Looking for a distraction, I got out my phone and I realized I got a FB message from a college friend who told me she was praying for me, and that I was an incredible mom. Melinda, that meant the world to me in that moment, btw.

My mind quickly went back to guilt. What if he has a brain bleed? My sweet baby who has been through so much? Injured due to my mistake. He’s already had to have a CT scan before, and it’s a lot of radiation. Mom guilt, mom guilt, mom guilt. Thank God for iPhones because I put “Three Little Pigs” on for Darcy so I could hold Clark’s hands during the CT scan and keep him calm. He did just fine and even smiled at the technicians. We went BACK down the hall and did the walk of shame by the nurses station. They were very sweet, but still. Mom guilt, y ‘all. The doctor came in and said Clark was okay, the antibiotics had been ordered, that Clark probably had a mild concussion, and to watch him closely the next few days.

So, there you have it. In the last few days, I have posted some fun pictures of my graduation and a sweet picture of Ben and Clark on social media. I could post one of Clark now, but it’s very pitiful, and I’m really not trying to garner sympathy votes. Sometimes it seems like days like today happen in my life with unfortunate regularity. Not the head trauma/CT thing, but the throw up, sickness, forgotten doctor appointments, calling into work, burning supper, locking keys in the car, forgetting kid’s lunches/diapers/school supplies kinds of things. Life is filled with strep throat and the mundane. I haven’t been the perfect mom today (OBVIOUSLY) but I did give them a dose of medicine, feed them, and stress-clean all surfaces of the house.

This is not intended for sympathy or “poor-you.” I just want to assure you that if this holiday season is filled with mishaps, mom-fails, and ugly stuff–you aren’t alone. You’re not. And someone always has it worse. Truly, they do. That doesn’t minimize your struggle, but it should put it into perspective. I am so thankful that Clark is going to be okay. I am so thankful to be finished with school. I am so thankful for a husband that doesn’t want to divorce me for letting Clark attempt baby-suicide. I am thankful for friends who support and lift me up when I feel especially undeserving. During this busy season, take the time to be the light for others. Be kind. Be understanding. Be generous. And don’t sit your baby on chairs in the doctors office while you open your hysterical daughter’s sucker.  Lordhamercy.

 

Loving people through “it”

Don’t be lame

I last left you people with the story of Clark’s diagnosis.

When you receive a life-changing diagnosis, you cannot explain how it rocks you. For Clark, the diagnosis was actually a relief because of the months building to that moment. The hard part was when our neurologist dropped the heavy truth-bomb that Clark was not and would not ever be “typical.” For my friend just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, it was the moment of diagnosis. I am absolutely wrecked with their news. I love this person and their family so, so much. I want to take away all the hurt and fix the situation–hello, nurse over here 👋

Y’all, I’m going to get serious for a minute and tell you all the things I’ve learned from my personal experience about dealing with someone’s heavy stuff.

  1. They are hurting. Like run-over-by-a-mack-truck-mangled-and-gasping-for-air kind of hurting. Life-changing news actually takes your breath away. That’s not just a saying. The affected party actually struggles to get enough oxygen with their breaths because it feels as if their lungs are stupid and are not cooperating.  Do not delegitimatize this level of hurt. Don’t say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” That’s complete bullshit and is completely unhelpful.
  2. Now, if you do love them, you’ve got to let them hurt. Let ’em. You don’t have to have the magical words to make them feel better because *spoiler alert* you cannot make them feel better with any words. Let them tell you how destroyed they are. Let them tell you their life is falling apart. Let them ugly cry. Yes, I know it can be totally uncomfortable when they are sniffing and dripping their own snot with their swollen, red, blotchy-faces. Just let it happen again and again if they need it.
  3. DO NOT SAY “I’m here if you need anything!” Look, Brenda, they do not know how to tell you what they do not know they desperately need. Instead, just try being there. Send the note, text, email, letter, gift, package. Tell them, “I’m thinking of you, and I love you.” Show up with all of your inadequate words and your Mawmaw’s casserole that uses two cans of Cream of Chicken soup. Just show the hell up.
  4. Also, don’t ask “How are you?” And follow it up with “but you’re okay, right?” They aren’t good. That’s a given. Instead say, “This sucks, and I’m here. Want to talk? Want a drink?” Let them know that you know the situation is messed up, the future is uncertain, but you are there for all of it. I promise this means more than “Oh how are you?”
  5. They are not the same anymore. Acknowledge that, but love them anyway. Keep inviting them to every function even if they never show up. Know that they have been forever changed, but also let them know that you don’t care. Be the friend you want to have when your life is wrecked, because one day it will be.
  6. Treat them like a human without the kid gloves. Nothing will piss a person off faster than being treated like a fragile piece of glass. If you regularly text the person pictures of floating hair, aka tumbleweaves (like I do), then still do that! If you screenshot hilarious and dramatic Facebook statuses (guilty, again) don’t stop. Keep up your friendship, oddities included.

The moral of the story is to be a friend, which I think is a lost art. Truly. Think about it–we live in Facebook world where everyone is a “friend,” but that’s just not true. Not every acquaintance is your friend, and not every friendly person is a friend. You can be kind without letting everyone into your inner circle, and that’s totally okay. But if you claim the title of friend, then be a good one! Show up and stay through the hard parts. Go out of your way and love people so, so hard. Show up with the meal, write the letter, and love on people consistently and genuinely. I just cannot emphasize this point enough–Be authentic, invite your people into that inner circle, and love them aggressively.

We are not perfect people. We’re going to mess up and say and do the wrong things. So what? Do better, love harder. What everyone says about “millennials” is bull because we are hardworking, we are accepting, and we are far more genuine in our relationships than anyone gives us credit for. Let’s show them all how we’re going to change the world by eschewing the platitudes we’ve been taught and embracing authenticity, both in friendships and in life in general. Until next time,  love to all. ❤

Pill-eating, picture forgetting, and lice hunting

This is my circus and those are my monkeys

Hello people! I have been absent in the blog world lately because of grad school. My life has not slowed down even a little bit and really nothing has changed. We are still a messy bunch of people struggling to not live in absolute filth while getting exercise occasionally. A few weeks ago, we were getting ready to go to Friday services  while Ben was handling Clark, and I was on the phone with my mother-in-law. All of a sudden, Darcy bounces into the living room and says, “One more!” as she pops something into her mouth.

Ben: “Darcy! What is that? Spit it out! Oh God, Beka. I think it’s a pill.”

That’s when Darcy reveals the topless pill bottle clasped in her sticky little hand. I race over and fish the pill out of her mouth and look at the pill bottle. It’s my thyroid medication and the bottle is empty. I run back to my bedroom to see if she spilled the bottle and by chance did NOT eat the pills. They are nowhere to be found.

Me (quite calmly, actually): “Darcy. Did you eat all these pills?”

Darcy: “…”

Darcy finally slowly nods her head.

Me (losing all chill):”WE NEVER EAT PILLS, DARCY!!!”

We throw her and Clark in the car and start driving to the emergency room while I frantically call Poison Control. To their everlasting credit, they were SO nice and quick to alleviate my fears. I estimated she had eaten about 10 of my pills which was only about 500mcg of levothyroxine.They basically said she was going to be fine and the ER trip was unnecessary, but to “watch her for signs of hyperactivity.” I laughed because this kid lives hyper. So anyway, I am #momgoals for overdosing my child. And yes, they were sitting on my night stand, so it was my fault and I suck. I know, I know. Because I want all of you mamas to feel awesome I’ll tell you another story featuring my crappy mom brain.

So, mornings at our house are challenging, okay? Ben leaves for work at 6:45 and is largely unhelpful with the kids in the morning. It’s not his fault–he has a commute and has to leave, but that basically means I take morning shift by myself. In the mornings, I am running around getting them up, dressed, fed, and dropped off at daycare, so I can bust my tail to get to clinical on time. Halfway through this particularly busy clinic morning, I get a call from daycare. I groan internally because I know they’re calling to tell me that Clark is sick because he always is. I’m immediately stressed because I’ll have to miss clinical and go get him, and I really don’t need to miss any more clinical days.

Daycare: “Hey, Mrs. Rebekah. So, today was picture day…”

Y ‘all, I laughed so hard! Today was freaking picture day and in my haste to get the hell out of the house, I dressed my kids like homeless Bob who lives under the interstate bridge.

Me: “Omg, I dressed my kids like hobos, today.”

Daycare: “We figured you forgot, don’t worry, there’s a makeup day on Thursday…”

So we get the proofs yesterday and Darcy’s expression looks like someone put cow dung on a spoon and held it under her nose. I’d post it, but we only have the proofs, and I’m pretty sure the GIANT watermark means I shouldn’t post it.

What can I say? We are #familygoals. I can laugh at that stuff for the most part because it’s par for the course around here, and we are just not normal. I can admit that stuff was pretty funny, but the lice scare of this past week was NOT. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I have anxiety. My anxiety is SO weird though. Like I can drive 6.8 miles to the gas station even though I only have 7 miles to empty and I feel no anxiety. Cool as a cucumber, yo. But I get a letter saying there’ve been cases of lice in my kid’s classroom, and my head immediately starts itching, I psycho-dial my mom, and I spend the next 2 hours examining my hairline with a flashlight yelling, “IS THAT A DANDRUFF OR A NIT????!!!!” over and over to myself. Clearly, I am very stable and I’m #personalgoals.

But you know what? My people still love me so well. Just a couple of weeks ago, a sweet friend brought over the most delicious dinner. Ben had been working so late, and it was kind and helpful. Thank you, Ellen. That week was followed by one of the best weekends ever!  One of my best friends married the love of her life, and I got to be there as a bridesmaid. Tyler and Matt made the perfect couple, and I had the best time catching up with all of my gloriously imperfect friends. We are an unusual blend of backgrounds, religions, political views, and even geographic locations–they live everywhere from small Mississippi towns to Houston, Washington D.C., Oahu, and Sydney.  But they’re my people and we love each other so well. The very next weekend my husband surprised me with a beach trip to my parents beach house in Fort Morgan, AL. When I got there, I was so thrilled to spend time with my parents. An hour later, I answered the door and my brother and his family were standing there. My heart could have just burst! They drove from St. Pete Beach, FL to be there, and we made the most of our short weekend.

You might be like me. You drip sauce on whatever shirt you’re wearing, accidentally overdose your kid, smack your kids head on the car door putting them into the car seat, or walk around with crap in your teeth all day.  You might struggle everyday to keep your patience. Or hey, you might not. You might have it together on all the outside things which is also cool (I salute you, you unicorn). But I’m telling you now, if you don’t have a group of weirdos, both friend and family, you’re missing out. Because when all the bad happens and life is just hard, you need those people to fall back on. They’ll embrace you, faults and all. In that circle of love thing, I truly am #goals. Love to all ❤

It’s been a while now

The exhausting chronicles of the poop show we call our lives

Hey all. I’ve been kind of absent lately because my life is a massive poop show. For real, y’all. Lots of poop. I digress.

Okay, so it started at the beginning of July when I decided for sure I was going back to grad school to finish my MSN for Family Nurse Practitioner. Since I am returning to that god-forsaken program, and I only have three semesters left, I cannot work 5 days a week nursing the preschool children of EBR Parish. Sooo that means I had to quit my beloved school nurse job, which was just tragical–Side note: if things can be magical they can be tragical–Now because I loved my job so much, I told them I would stay on for a few weeks to set up the preschool for the start of the school year. It helped them out and until my semester started, I was free to help. School prep starts at the end of July and of course Clark gets sick and can’t go to daycare. It’s the usual–fever, snot everywhere, basic cold symptoms, etc. He can’t go to daycare, and Ben couldn’t take off work, so I have to miss some of those days. The other days he just had to suck it up and come to the school with me. Instead of healing, he gets worse, so I miss work again. Turns out he has an ear infection. Mom/Nurse of the year, y’all. He gets put on a 10 day course of antibiotics. When he goes back to get his ears rechecked, the infection is still there, because of course it is. He gets a new 10 day course of antibiotics.  He gets better only to be immediately followed by a new fever. After 20 days of antibiotics he ought not have a single damn bacteria anywhere, so we go BACK to the doctor. Oh, its just a virus and after 4 days of sporadic fever he gets better…again. So basically, I struggled to finish my commitment to my job. I felt like such a jerk calling in on my last two weeks but what can you do? Anyway, I start the Fall semester and my clinical rotations. Then Clark gets another virus consisting of constant diarrhea and his worst diaper rash ever. It was seriously worse than some chemo diaper rashes I saw when I worked at the Jude. I pulled out all of my nurse tricks and that rash just got worse. He screamed when anyone touched him or if his bottom touched anything–so I had to miss several days of studying, and even worse, my scheduled clinical days. At this point in the second week of the semester, I was already feeling WAY behind in school work AND clinical hours. Finally his stomach calmed down. His rash got better. Then, I-kid-you-the-eff-not, he gets the cold symptoms AGAIN. WTF?!! This has been six weeks of hell at this point. I just know he has an ear infection, because he’s fussy as hell and his ears aren’t draining like they should be (he has tubes). So I skip the pediatrician and go see his ENT this past Monday. Yep. His tubes are nonfunctional and his eardrums are bulging with trapped fluid. Homeboy needs new tubes AND his adenoids removed. Le sigh.

Y’all. I haven’t even wanted to update my blog because I swear these past 6ish weeks, I have struggled. STRUGGLED. I have not been living in “the joy!” I have been consumed by stress and anxiety and just plain exhaustion. Clark is still not sleeping through the night, the kids’ daycare has been sporadically closed for holidays, and any days I should have “off” for studying, I haven’t had.

Now all you women who love to say “Oh but you’ll miss these days!” Don’t. Just don’t. Don’t be annoying and tell me how much I’ll miss having sick kids that need more surgery with money we don’t have on energy I lost a long time ago. Oh yeah, ENERGY. I now have hypothyroidism! Hahaha! Life literally killed my thyroid gland. Well, that and genetics. That little pearl of a diagnosis also happened during the 6 week period where our pets heads’ were falling off.

Y’all. I’m tired. I’m hanging in there, but I’m tired. And, I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m not looking for anything other than to tell any readers out there that life can be hard sometimes. And not, “There’s a greater meaning to this struggle” kind of hard. More the “What fresh hell is this?!” kind of hard. So, even if you saw my cute beach pictures with my kids, know that Clark has woken up twice a night for about 2 months now, and no one gets sleep. Know that I was that crazy mama at the Crab Trap very publicly spanking my kid for trying to run into traffic. Know that I’ve gained like 15 pounds in 2 months because of my totally useless thyroid gland. Know that I occasionally want to drop out of school, leave a “Dear John” note for my husband, skip this joint altogether, and head to Aruba: Vacation for one, please. I’ve doubted that God has good things for us, and I’ve felt like Job.

It’s okay to say it sucks. You don’t have to use qualifiers, or say the strong-person things. You can say, “This sucks.” And I’ll nod and offer you a hug and a stiff drink to better enjoy your pity party. You’re entitled to it because you know that eventually it will get better. That’s why we hold on to little nuggets of hope here and there. Still sucks, though. Anyway, may your storms be brief, your blessings many, and may you be kind always. You never know when someone is struggling to stay upright much less survive Baton Rouge traffic with a shred of her religion intact. Love to all ❤

 

Help me, I’m stupid.

And some questions to help me get smart

So, in one of my previous posts, I detailed the weekend before Ben’s birthday. We went to the coast, ate fancy, and basically were #goals. His actual birthday fell on the following Tuesday, and I still wanted to do something special for the actual day. I got cards from the kids and myself AND I ordered a cookie cake for him. Ben really loves cookie cake. It’s his request every year, and I usually get it from a particularly awesome bakery in town. That bakery is kind of out of the way though, and this super awesome grocery store, only a half mile from my house was just remodeled and has a bakery. So I call, and I order a cake. Here’s where I went wrong. I had decided that didn’t want the small 8″ round cake, so I decided I would get a sheet cake. My mom always makes sheet cakes when we have a crowd and they are pretty huge. So I knew I would want half that amount since it was just Ben, Darcy,  and I. Being a reasonable person and all, I ordered a 1/2 sheet cake. It was like twenty-ish dollars and I thought that was a little high, but whatever. I told them to put a lot of icing on it because Ben loves that.

I go to pick up the cake.

Me:”Hey, I’m here to pick up a cake for ‘Rayner’.”

*sets massive box on counter*

Me:”Oh, no, you see I ordered a little cookie cake.”

Bakery:”Here it is!”

Oh shit. I ordered enough for an army. You see, what my mom refers to as a “sheet cake” is actually 1/4 sheet cake. I wanted 1/8 sheet cake. But because I am an idiot, I ORDERED DOUBLE WHAT MY MOM MAKES FOR OUR TWENTY-PERSON FAMILY. Lord, help me from myself.  It was beautifully done, and honestly at $20ish dollars,  it was a damn steal. Anddd I learned my lesson. We had cookie cake for days, so it could have been worse. But, I’m really thankful I didn’t order a whole sheet cake.

In honor of that act of stupidity, I’m going to post a few questions I have for the greater world. Some are legitimate questions while others make fun of people who have crappier judgement than even me. I can’t help myself y’all. Feel free to help me out here, people.

  1. Why are workout classes/gym memberships so dang expensive? Is it necessary to pay $1 a minute for a class? I’ll just wear ratty tennis shoes and run around my neighborhood, thank you.
  2. Are lunchtime margaritas a thing? Or does ordering one make you look like an alcoholic? I’m asking because I’m going to eat Mexican in the next hour and this is a priority right now.
  3. How often is it acceptable to check up on favors? You know, when someone offers to do something to help you out, but you don’t hear back from them? You don’t want to be all, “Hey girl, remember that time a week ago you said you would help me?” but you feel kinda like, “Look here lady, you said you would help me. I’m gonna need you to do that.” When and how do you check up on that?
  4. Why do they have tube tops and crop tops for toddlers? It just seems so weird to me. I’m just really confused on this topic.
  5. Do people really make that much money with MLM? From the way people post, they’re making a lot of money. Is this real life, or are they lying? This is an earnest question y’all because I want to buy all the things.
  6. At what point do you quit trying with people? Like you’ve tried to foster a relationship with them, and they are just not very responsive. I’m not talking about random people, but people you’re “supposed” to be close with.  When do you give up? Or are you just supposed to keep at it forever?
  7. Is there anybody  that actually watches movies on Netflix? Like doesn’t play on their phone the whole time, agrees with partner/friend on which movie to watch, actually enjoys the movie?? If so, throw suggestions my way.
  8. How much spit up requires an outfit change?
  9. How often does a child really need to bathe? Especially when he or she screams like a banshee the entire time? Please don’t say daily.
  10. In light of the whole “Me too” and feminist movement (rise up, ladies!), are we still shaving our legs? Because that’s the important question here. I won’t if you don’t!

So, here are my stupid questions along with a little pearl of advice–don’t order a 1/2 sheet cake if there aren’t at least 20 people present. Unless you like cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a minimum of a week. I actually did enjoy that part, so maybe I’ll ignore my own advice on that…

The “Girls’” trip

No boys allowed. Not even Clark

I always question people who say they are not close to their siblings. Like, why? I’ve already shared my love letter to my brother, but I also have two older sisters, and I talk to them all the time. Every summer, my mom, 2 sisters, sometimes my sister-in-law Lakon, our combined 4 daughters, and I go on a beach trip. We first started this tradition when my eldest sister was in high school, and then it was interrupted for a few years while she and my other sister were in college, med school, grad school, etc. Basically they were too busy building their fabulous lives to go on vacation with me. Those bitches 🙄.

The girls’ trip. No boys are allowed. Not even tiny ones. I mean, think about it. Guys always want to do things on beach trips instead of just relax. Also chicken salad and fruit aren’t enough to satisfy them for lunch. So, basically they aren’t allowed to come and poop all over our trip. Seat’s taken, you can’t sit with us, bye Felicia 👋

Anyway, when Katie (#1) was pregnant with her first baby, we started up the tradition again. We stayed in a hotel on that trip, and Katie was all, “I’m cool, no worries. Y’all can watch TV while I sleep. It won’t bother me!” Five minutes later, the room next to us was being a little loud. She shoots up out of bed, grabs her slipper from the floor and begins smacking the wall, “BE QUIET!!!” She promptly lay back down with her eyes closed. Anna (#2) and my mom and I exchanged glances, turned off the TV, and wordlessly went to sleep at 7 pm 🤫. No one wanted that wrath (or slipper) directed at them.

We’ve since mostly stayed in condos, occasionally hotels, and most recently at my parents’ new beach house. We eat chick food, are supremely lazy, and laugh a lot.

One year, we were staying at a condo in Gulf Shores, and my niece chunked her baby doll’s pacifier off the balcony. She then cried and cried for it because toddlers are rational. We looked for ages, but never found that one. Then there was the year that Lakon had to dig a belly hole in the sand to accommodate her very pregnant belly. Then there was the year Katie took a muscle relaxer for her janky neck before playing cards and just got stupid. Probably the only time I’ve been able to beat her because she was literally moving in slow motion. I’ll never beat Anna. She’s a freak and can play a whole deck. Ugh, and last year I was about 11 weeks pregnant with Clark, and Darcy wasn’t walking yet. Toting her and our beach gear while I was miserably ill was awful, so Anna and Mom did the grunt work on that trip. Also Darcy was basically just miserable on that trip. She was demanding (surprise, surprise), and hated the beach after about 30 minutes. We tried to make it more bearable with a baby pool for her to play in. My sister Anna had to blow that bad boy up and ultimately it did nothing to convince Darcy that the sand and water were not the devil. Anna still bitches about that.

This year, we had our first stay in my parent’s new beach house. It is just beautiful, and I swear we had the best time! I should mention that Katie is a gourmet chef. Seriously, she is amazing and everything that we ate was sublime. My favorite was a sea bass dish she made. Also she mixes fabulous cocktails, and I was the only one to benefit because Anna is pregnant and my mom doesn’t drink at all. Katie and I also took the kids crabbing one night, and it was hysterical. Katie’s daughter is a beast at catching things and crabs are no exception. Anna’s kids–not so much (God bless ’em), but seeing all of them chase after those crabs was hilarious. We then took the golf cart off-roading. Not exactly intentionally, but memorable all the same. I really haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

Anna has had a difficult pregnancy and doesn’t need to carry anything but herself, so Mavis, Katie and I carried all our gear to and from the beach each day. This wasn’t a problem until one afternoon where Darcy decided she needed to be carried across the sand. I told her, “No.” Cue the full-on meltdown. She screamed from our spot on the beach all the way to the boardwalk. We passed by a tent of people laughing and they pointed to her and said, “Does she happen to be about two?” “Uh, yes. How ever could you guess?” They just laughed and said, “Darcy, what’s wrong?” Darcy cut them an evil look and continued to sob. But guess what? The next day when I told her no, she didn’t cry (as much). So, I’m counting that as a win. 

My mom plans all these precious parties for the girls during the trip. She picks a theme for every night and it was just the cutest thing. The first night was a barn party, the second, a unicorn party, and the final night was a pink pirate party complete with a scavenger hunt. It was so much fun! The adults had just as much fun as the little girls. My mom really is amazing. She cares about all the little details and makes everything so special. She’s always been that way, and I strive to make similar memories with my babies.

Ladies, if you weren’t so fortunate to be born into a girl-tribe, then you’ve gotta make your own. Pick your friends and hold them close. Go on the beach trip. Help your girl out when she is big and pregnant and basically useless, and forgive them when they’re being a bitch (never me). Cook the amazing food and laugh at each others kids when they faceplant during a tantrum. Go off-roading with the golf cart. Make fun of each others hairy arms and talk about everything from Jesus to snissing to sex and all topics that fall in between. You can google snissing if you don’t know what it means, but if you’ve had a child then you’ve experienced it.

If you were born into a girl tribe, then you are lucky. Super lucky. Foster that relationship and love each other hard. Just because you aren’t close now doesn’t mean you can’t build that relationship into something worth having. Look, I love my sisters, but I definitely still argue with them. For instance, two weeks before the beach trip I told Katie she was uncompassionate and sucked at being a sister. Three days later, I apologized and told her that I knew I was actually being crazy, but she still sucked and was old AF. It’s all about balance, you see. I love these women so much. I mean, they’re control freaks and judgmental and not nearly as funny as I am (God bless ’em), but I love them and couldn’t imagine my life without them. I am #blessed.