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.

Splitting my face with a plastic sword

A sappy post dedicated to my brother

Caleb and Beka/Beka and Caleb.

We are the “babies” of the family. You see, I am the youngest of four children. (1) Katie and (2) Anna are only 3 years apart, but Anna and (3) Caleb are 5 years apart. Caleb and (4) Beka–well, we’re only 19 months apart. So, you can see that there is A) Katie and Anna. & B) Caleb and Beka. I am lucky–I was born into a really great family, and I am close to every single one of my siblings. But Caleb is different. We grew up together and are bonded in a way that only siblings one school-grade apart can understand. We knew all of the same people, were in the same Sunday school classes, and hit major milestones together. He was ahead of me by one year, so there were always those times that he briefly left me behind. Like while I was still in Jr. High as a freshman, and he was a sophomore. Or, when I was finally a senior, but he left for his freshman year of college. But we *get* each other. He’s the only person in the world as funny as I am, and I can tell what he’s thinking. I can feel it when he’s sad even if he’s far away. He shares all of my childhood memories even if he remembers them “differently.” 🙄

As I am feeling sentimental today, I’ll share a few of them with y’all.

One of my earliest memories involves Caleb killing a snake. It was the summer I turned 4 and I remember a small snake was caught in one of our pool gutters. We always loved emptying the pool gutters because of all the bugs and frogs in them, but on this day there was a small pissed off snake wrapped around the handle of the basket. Using a stick, Caleb bludgeoned and killed it. I remember thinking he was so brave. I don’t know that he even remembers…

When we were kids, we both played together and fought together often simultaneously. Once, while we were actually playing, he split my face open with a plastic sword. It was a Wednesday afternoon, we were playing outside, and we were told to come inside, so we could load up and go to church. I told him that we needed to go inside, but he insisted on his stupid, “Duck!” game. He said, “I’m going to tell you to “duck,” as he swung his sword at me. He told me to “Duck!” and I did. “This time, I’m not going to tell you to duck.” I wasn’t quick enough. BLAM! The sword cracked against my left cheek, just below my eye–hard. It hurt, but when I put my hand up to my cheek and pulled it back down, my hand was absolutely covered in blood. I screamed. Supposedly, you could see my cheek bone. I had to go to Memphis, and have a pediatric plastic surgeon suture it back together, so I wouldn’t have a massive scar. I’d probably be a lot hotter without my disfiguring injury, you big jerk. 🙄 Honestly, if you’ve ever seen it, you probably thought it was just a dimple, but it was a Caleb-made dimple. Injuries aside, we spent our childhood playing outside all day everyday; going fishing, catching crawdads, and playing in the hayloft of the barn, threatening to throw each other in the horse troughs. He was my built-in playmate.

In college, our relationship changed Surprisingly, it was the time we were most distant even though we were in college at the same small university. A lot of that probably had to do with who we were each dating at the time (we were constantly going in different directions), but also because I was pretty unforgiving and felt it was my duty to use separation to punish Caleb for whatever I deemed offensive. Now we are not twins, but we are far closer than your average siblings, and the pain that comes with separation (physical distance or emotional) is real. Even so, when I needed him, or when he needed me, we jumped to each others’ aid. When he broke his ankle by being an idiot, I helped him to and from the bathroom and to and from Algebra class at DSU. When I was at death’s door and some awful nurse at the DSU infirmary accused me of being drunk, he came to my dorm to rescue me. I had a sinus infection, bilateral ear infections, bronchitis, and a 103 fever by the way, you hateful shrew of a nurse. So even though we were mad at each other, we still helped one another.

Luckily, the rockier part of our relationship began to smooth out when he met his amazing wife, Lakon. Ugh, I love her. She’s the best, man. I mean, I can make fun of her for days–she makes it SO easy–and she’ll just throw it right back at me. We can laugh at Caleb’s expense, play cards for hours, and lay on “$150 rugs” at 1 am. She’s the best, and has become a real friend to me. I just can’t tell you how much I love having another sister. So, when I first started dating Ben, I really wanted Caleb to like him. Caleb, although kind to just about everyone, does NOT let many close to him. If he doesn’t like you or feels like you are “uppity,” he will hold you at arm’s length and avoid you. I did not want that for Ben and by association, me. Luckily, I didn’t have anything to worry about. He and Ben got along well at first, and are now basically best friends. Caleb calls Ben just to chat, and he DOES NOT DO THAT. They have major bro love, and I couldn’t be happier.

As we’ve gotten older and adultier, we’ve just become closer. When Darcy was diagnosed with craniosynostosis, Caleb loaded up his family and came to Baton Rouge within 3 days. When my 20-week ultrasound with Clark showed abnormalities, Caleb immediately called and told me he would be there that weekend if I needed him. When he graduated from Chiropractic school, I drove across 3 states for a total of 8 hours to see him. That night after I arrived, I was sharing a hotel room with my parents and my father started snoring. It was the worst. I called Caleb at midnight, and he drove to my hotel to bring me to his house to let me stay on their couch. Less than 24 hours after arrival, I loaded up and drove the 8 hours back. On my first official Mother’s Day, I was neck-deep in postpartum depression. I was exhausted, tired, and lonely. Ben arranged for Caleb’s crew to join us at his parent’s lake house as a surprise. It was the best surprise ever.

And now, Caleb is headed off to a new adventure in Florida. It’s stupid because I don’t get to see him much, but I feel the distance. He feels farther away because he is. And knowing that he won’t meet us at the house when I go home to Tobie stings. It’s hard. I’m so, so happy for him and his family, but I am also selfish, and I want him to stay close. I don’t want him to move on and make this fabulous life without me, filled with people I don’t know. It was hard enough lending him to St. Louis for school! Either way, he knows that if he ever needs me, I will drive forever and ever to be there. I would hitchhike across America for that boy because he’s the one I love best. I love you, Bubby!

Throwing all that ish away

I’m cringing just thinking about it. SOS, y’all.

Clothing capsule. Have you ever heard of it? It’s a phrase that was super trendy a few years ago. Basically it is when you purge your closet completely, keeping only a few items that you LOVE, and then buying several quality pieces that will make up the entirety of your closet. We’re talking 25-30 items including shoes and accessories. It essentially keeps you well-dressed in clothing that makes you look awesome, put together, and minimalistic in a “I don’t need much to look good”-kind of way. I want to be that kind of person. So, I’m taking the plunge because there has got to be a change in this closet. I have a ton of clothes. I do. I hate almost all of them, but when it comes time to donate or trash the clothing, I end up keeping things I have not and will not wear in this lifetime. WHY??? What is wrong with me? I’m so sick of “stuff,” yall. Why do I have so much? I’m definitely not a hoarder, but I really want to clean out and get rid of all the crap that has moved with us from one state to another with–at best–minimal usage. I wear scrubs on the daily, so I should really love what I wear on the weekends/days off, right? I’m just feeling all itchy when I think about the junk we’ve accumulated in our four years of marriage, so I’ve decided it’s about to go DOWN in the Rayner house.

This weekend, I started with my closet, and I’ve begun the purge. By “started with,” I mean that my room is littered with garbage bags full of stuff, and my closet looks worse than before I ever even started as does my room. Le sigh. Once I finish my closet (this upcoming weekend, hopefully) I will tackle at least one room a weekend, and I am throwing the crap away. I feel the need to make things simpler. To clean out the multiple “junk” drawers and throw away papers, broken pencils, receipts, used gift cards, chargers that don’t work, and strange job-fair trinkets, etc. I mean, get out of my house, random highlighter. You are not my problem anymore.

It’s going to take time, but because our lives can just NOT ever just calm the hell down, I have decided to at least live our chaotic life in a less-cluttered, less-chaotic house. I think the greater population refers to this as “spring cleaning,” but being a self-aware individual, I don’t want to set unrealistic expectations by labeling it as such. This thing might be accomplished by fall, and I have to account for my procrastinating and ever-fading determination while setting realistic goals, y’all.

Ugh. Okay. Back to “The Capsule.” It sounds so important when I refer to it as “The Capsule.” My voice gets deeper and more authoritative in my head…”The Capsule!” Ack, I digress. Anyway, there are a lot of blogs and articles detailing the process of creating, “The Capsule,” (I’m done, I promise), but I can totally envision how this thing could go:

  • Waking up Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m. because Clark is starving, and Darcy is kicking the walls ready to get up. 😑
  • Stumble into the kitchen to make coffee while Darcy attempts to smother Clark with a blanket because, “baby code” (cold).
  • Abandon coffee-making whilst saving poor Clark from suffocation via blanket.
  • Let Ben handle making the coffee.
  • Drink said coffee and think about how I need to start the closet purging.
  • Decide I need more caffeine first.
  • Make another pot of coffee.
  • Go back and forth with Ben, “What should we do today?” “I don’t know” at least 4 times in 5 minutes, never really coming up with a plan.
  • Continue to stare at our phones instead of being productive and/or carrying through with vague aforementioned plans.
  • Deal with the inevitable meltdown over our refusal to honor Darcy’s request to watch Moana for the zillionth time this week. Not today, Darcy.
  • Finally agree to watch “Trush” (Trolls) for the zillionth time with week. Is this even a victory? 🙄
  • Feed Darcy a lunch she will largely refuse and throw to Libby.
  • Put the kids down to nap.
  • Realize I should finish the purge, but also realize that I am exhausted and should relax because I deserve it.
  • Take a bath.
  • Leave bathroom and step in dog puke because  Darcy fed Libby her entire lunch.
  • Hear the tell-tale foot beating, and know that Darcy is kicking the walls, concluding her 45 minute nap.
  • Diaper change, feed, and ward off meltdowns until 7ish when they go to sleep.
  • Start purging, but decide I can’t get rid of anything.
  • Keep my crappy closet and accomplish nothing.

I really have high hopes that this will not be how this thing goes. I really do, but because of who I am as a person, I will likely finish cleaning out my closet at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday evening. By then I will be so frustrated, I will throw everything away and have no clothes for a while because I only buy clothes for Darcy. Maybe I can hold it together and do better, but it’s questionable at best. I’ll update on my progress later. Have any of you created a clothing capsule? Any tips or must-have items? Throw your suggestions my way! Love to all! ❤

Thoughts on turning twenty-great

Yep. As of tomorrow, it’s here once again. My birthday! I used to be such a firm believer in birthday weeks and celebrating every last minute of the 24 hours of my birthday. This year, well, I can’t say I’ve even noticed it creeping up. This summer I’ve been super busy with school, and a new job, and Darcy, and getting food poisoning, and being pregnant, blah blah blah.

So, I only get two more years in my twenties. I’m not particularly sad about that, but it has made me somewhat reflective on where I thought I would be 10 years ago at the ripe age of 18. If I look back 10 years when I was about to start my freshman year at Delta State, I can honestly say that my life IS different than what I had expected, but also not. I figured or hoped I would be successful and finished with any schooling, happily married to the man of my dreams with child(ren?). So okay, 2/3 ain’t that bad. I had also hoped I would be living in a city bigger than my small hometown and have my own dog. Check! Check! Oh and I *really* hoped there would be lots of money. Let’s just take a minute to laugh about that one. LOL

So as you can see, my goals have kind of been checked off, but I never really thought about the journey I would take to see these things to fruition. I didn’t think that choosing to major in nursing would impact my life as much as it has. That it would wholly influence my perspective and outlook on life. For instance, if you have ever witnessed a child dying of cancer and seen the absolute devastation experienced by her parents, the important things in your life will forever be exponentially highlighted. Small stuff is small stuff, and it’s usually stupid, too. Nursing has changed my life. Before I married my husband, I never considered the hearts I would break, or even my own heartache I would experience along the way. *Sidenote–he was totally the cause of a lot of my distress at one point* Just putting that out there. I never knew that having a miscarriage would be one of the most heartbreaking experiences I would face thus far in my life. I didn’t know the JOY a healthy baby could bring into my life, either! I didn’t know that the traffic associated with “city bigger than my small hometown” would steal large amounts of my time and happiness, THANK YOU FOR THAT, BATON ROUGE. Anddd I never anticipated the amount of “inedible” crap my dog could eat and survive. I have a sudden vision of Libby dressed in camouflage, running to the sounds of Destiny’s Child “Survivor”. She’s eaten: 2-3 pair of underwear, too many to count socks, a bottle of ibuprofen, a tube of mascara, an entire bag of Hershey kisses, at least three roaches that were poisoned, and god knows what else. She’s seven and never looked so good, although I wouldn’t recommend this tried and true anti-aging diet of hers to anyone else.

The point of my ramblings is that I’ve already “met” the goals that I think mattered most to my 18 year-old-self. My sweet family is everything to me, and adding my husband and his family and our daughter to my list of people to love on has been one of life’s biggest blessings. I say blessings because considering this gift an accomplishment of mine just seems so wrong. God so lovingly sent my husband to me, and has continued to bless and grow our family. School and career and money are all important things, but they pale in comparison to the Big Stuff. And one day I think I’ll have all that other stuff, too. But without them, my life still feels full and exciting. Without my family and the loves in my life, I don’t think I could get out of bed.

So at the end of the next ten years when I’m pushing forty (now that kind of hurts), I have a few different goals in mind; some material, some not. I want us to build our forever dream home. Where? I’m not sure yet. I want to be DONE with school. Whether I finish NP school or not, I just want to be done. I want to finish up my family. I have no idea what that means at this point. I want to grow in spiritual maturity and live a life reflective of loving Jesus. Maybe that will mean less cursing or more praying or not honking at people who ruin my chances of catching a green light or because they are just generally stupid drivers. Or maybe not. Honking is rather satisfying, after all. Love to all you people out there.