feeling peepy.

I retold The Runaway Bunny, but I retold it using Peeps. Welcome to how my brain works, I’d be honored if you’d check it out.

By Cody:

Why the dog thing didn’t work out and how things have changed.

I am a terrible parent who hates leprechauns. Thankfully I have Cody to redeem me.

Vivi faces, interpreted by Cody.

10 things Cody has learned from Miss Addie.

By me: (sponsored but equally delicious)

I call it quick and easy spring cleaning tips but what I really mean is “how to make your house look clean in under an hour when you find out people are coming over.”

Who says potlucks have to be beans and weenies? Why not try baked brie and schmancy queso?

Lovely winter we’re having this spring, no? Easy ways to perk up you and your home with a little change of color.

10 things that are good no matter how bad things are. (A fresh box of crayons, a furry purry kitty…)

Green smoothies. I always feel better when I start my day with one (but I readily admit cereal is so much easier.)

Forget New Year’s Resolutions…I’m all about New Month’s Resolutions. (Still trying to decide on April’s resolution.)

 

 

neti.dom bliss.pot

Addie has had snot pouring out of her face for the last several days and tonight she said “Mom? I think I’m brave enough to try the neti pot.”

I wish more people in this house were brave enough to try the neti pot, it would solve an awful lot of whining and sinus problems.

I gave Addie a crash course in ‘how not to drown while using a neti pot’ and we were off…the kid was FASCINATED to see giant globs of snot come flying out of her nose. “MOM! I FEEL BETTER! I CAN BREATHE! YOU WORK MIRACLES! BEST! MOM! EVER! THANK YOU!” In fact she was so thankful I didn’t bother with the “Imagine how much sooner you would have felt better had you done this three days ago when I first suggested it?” speech and just took the lavish amounts of praise and pride that came from my kid trying something new and weird.

******

I went to Blissdom last week which was overwhelming and wonderful and lovely and downright exhausting. I tried my very best to be nice to the new people (as nearly half of the attendees were new) but by Saturday night I had to apologize to everyone for I was unfit for public fraternization and was suggesting “Won’t you please go say hello to that girl over there? I’m sure she still possesses a lovely demeanor whereas I am DONE-ZO. GOODNIGHT.”   *flop*

Cody and I also had a dog for about 24 hours. Well, Cody had a dog for about 72 hours, he picked her up in Michigan while I was still in Texas at my conference. We took her back yesterday because we were clearly not meant to be her family. I’m still working on the messy emotions that come from feeling like a total failure at something, neither of the cats are eating and Wink lost at least 2 of his remaining 6 lives over the weekend. Poor guy. I kind of wrote about the experience in a sneaky political way over here.

Mae(be) is headed back to Michigan.We are not meant to be her family. :(
I want to thank every single person that I was able to hug last week, I genuinely meant it when I said hello or howdy and I so hope you never felt alone or left out. I’ve heard rumors that a lot of people were disappointed with the sessions at Blissdom this year. Want to know a secret? Me too. Kind of. I’m a HUGE believer in “you get out of something what you put into it” and there were a few sessions I sat in on where I needed to change my perspective. While I may have not learned to use my camera any better, I certainly learned to approach the entire act of photography in a way I had never thought of before, for this I am thankful. However, I can imagine there were some people stewing that the session description didn’t match up with the material and for that I’m sorry. I do hope you found something redeemable about the weekend whether it was the connections you made, the music on Friday night, dancing with Chris Mann, a keynote speech or not having to change diapers for three days.

BlissDom '13
BlissDom '13
 

My darling friend Lindsay told me to read this book after she read this post I wrote about Addie and her quiet little ways. In a very serendipitous sort of way I stumbled on the book at an airport and it has forever changed my life. Susan Cain, the author of said life changing book, spoke at Blissdom and she is just as lovely (if not more so) in person than she is in her book. Read it. Do it. Now.

This is my "holy crap this woman's book changed my life" face. #blissdom @susancain
I am currently obsessed with this woman’s Instagram feed, it’s taking all the restraint IN THE WORLD not to heart every. single. photo. she posts.

Are you following me in Instagram? Easiest place in the world to get more one eyed cat and Vivi photos into your day, I’m mooshinindy.

Did I meet you at Blissdom? Did you have fun? It won’t hurt my feelings if you say no, just tell me how I could have made it better for you. xx

here you leave the world of today.

Until I moved my Sophomore year of high school, my walls were covered with drawings, cells and framed scenes from Disney movies. I was subscribed to the Disney Adventures magazine and my nightstand housed my treasured collection of every Disney soundtrack CD I could get my hands on, I listened to a different one every night as I fell asleep. I can still remember sitting in my friend’s bedroom speculating about upcoming Disney movies and trying to guess which story they’d take on next. (I called Tangled in 1990 people.) My favorite characters were Pooh, my favorite soundtrack was Hunchback of Notre Dame and my favorite movie was whichever one was on, but if I had to pick it would be between Cinderella and Little Mermaid. I currently own every possible Disney classic on DVD and I have made absolutely certain that Addie has an appreciation for both the new movies as well as the old. (Her favorite classic is 101 Dalmatians.) I watch Mary Poppins when I’m depressed, the most unappreciated Disney classic is The Sword in the Stone and my favorite shorts are Pluto and the Gopher and Bubblebee.

Yesterday I went to a place very few people know about and even fewer have the opportunity to visit known as the Disney Archives. 64 million pieces of art from Disney movies and shorts dating back to the 1920′s. I saw hand drawn pencil sketches from Plane Crazy (1929) and Steamboat Willie (1928.) I even saw one from Pluto and the Gopher. I saw an oil pastel storyboard painting from Peter Pan that was easily one of the most amazing pieces of art I have ever seen and I met the man who archived the scene in Cinderella when her dress changes from rags to a gown. I saw a hand painted glass plates of the most memorable scenes from both Bambi and Sleeping Beauty. I stood close enough to the statues from Nightmare Before Christmas to touch them and the only thing between me and the original marionette of Pinocchio was a piece of glass (and a very protective archivist.) I met the man who illustrated Ariel in The Little Mermaid and another man who taught us how to draw Mickey and Minnie, both men are considered ‘master Disney artists’ of which there are only 5 in the entire world.

I then boarded a bus for Disneyland and spent the afternoon physically restraining sobs as I walked down Main Street because I simply couldn’t believe that not only was I there, but I was there because I decided to start a blog seven years ago and have worked hard ever since. My face is honestly sore from smiling so much and in all the photos from yesterday I border on looking terrified simply because I was so so happy.

At the end of the night as we walked out of the park I was able to do my most favorite thing in the entire world, close my eyes and listen to main street.

You can’t hear it when your eyes are open, it’s impossible.

When you close your eyes at night on Main Street all of the noises and sounds marry into this wonderful orchestra of happiness and peace. An underlying murmur sprinkled with laughter, music and the occasional whiff of magic and dreams. I never hated leaving Disneyland when I was a child because leaving meant going down Main Street.

Disneyland is where my heart, spirit and soul can go to recharge the moment I walk under the sign that promises me “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.

****

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the one about baptism and why tradition isn’t always a good thing.

To anyone unfamiliar, the age at which a child can be baptized into the LDS (Mormon) church is 8.

I’m not sure how deep I need to go into doctrine, reasons and whatnot to have this post make sense as so many of you come from such different backgrounds, but I will say this: there are many traditions and rituals that are very much a part of my religion, probably any religion. Many of them make me very uncomfortable as I did not grow up in the LDS church despite living in Utah where traditions and rituals are most prevalent. There are assumptions placed on people from the moment they turn eight.

You are eight, you will now be baptized.

You graduated from high school, you will now go on a mission.

You got back from your mission, you will now get married.

You got married, now make a baby.

You had a baby, now make more babies.

Included with each of these expectations is a sort of blueprint way of doing things because it’s the way things have been done for generations. It’s a breeding ground for stereotypes and unrealistic expectations. I hope this is making sense to you.

The thing is, there is a HUGE difference between tradition and ritual as opposed to ordinances and covenants.

When it comes to a baptism, there is a very short list of what has to happen to make the ordinance count in the eyes of God. This includes witnesses, a body of water and a prayer.

When it comes to the baptism of a child (or anyone really) in the LDS church there is a very LONG list of things that traditionally or ritualistically happen. Songs, talks, programs, an open house, small gifts, a new dress or suit and a lot of fluff and stress that really has nothing to do with the actual 10 second part of the baptism that actually matters. Much like a wedding, all that matters in the end is that the right words are said by the right person and a piece of paper is signed making it legal. Everything else is fluff and fun but some people take the fluff and fun and blow it up to enormous proportions if only to outdo those around them. Many LDS women I know run themselves ragged trying to outdo the last thing that was done or come up with the next great thing, leaving them exhausted and everyone around them feeling as though they aren’t doing enough. It’s a terrible cycle.

I’m not saying everyone does this, but I am saying the wedding industry has gotten a little out of control. So have some people within my church, which is probably true of any church or organization.

My fear was that Addie was approaching her baptism with the idea of parties, cookies, presents and adoration at the forefront of her mind. She told me about what her Sunday School teacher promised to buy her and she began planning what cakes and treats she wanted and who she wanted to come and what she was going to wear. She has grown up in the church being told “When you turn 8, you get baptized, everyone comes and at the end we eat cookies.” whereas my thoughts have always been “When you turn 8 you have the opportunity to get baptized if you would like to.”

Deep.

To say Cody and I have gone to blows over this one for the last 6 months would be an understatement.

I wanted to make sure Addie understood it was up to her and I wasn’t going to force her, I just wanted to know she was doing it for the right reasons, not for a party and cake. There was also a part of me that remembered how much my friends resented their parents for forcing/expecting them to get baptized the moment the calendar changed over to eight. I didn’t want that for Addie.

Her birthday came and went and whenever someone within our church found out she had turned eight, they excitedly asked her about her baptism. “I didn’t get baptized.” she would respond. I could always tell who was in the “TRADITION!” school of thinking and those who approached the topic the way I did. Even the bishop pointed at me in the hallway at church one week and boomed “We need to get that kid of yours in the water.”

“It’s complicated.” I responded.

He didn’t ask about it again.

Last week Addie said “I want to get baptized next Saturday, okay?”

I began making arrangements based on tradition (because honestly it’s all I’ve known) I began asking her who she wanted to give the talks, what songs she wanted to sing and who she wanted there. She responded with “I don’t want any talks, I don’t want any songs, I just want you, daddy and Vivi there. Maybe my teacher if she can make it.”

The kid didn’t want tradition. She wanted the ordinance without the rituals.

She suddenly sprouted some young lady where there used to be nothing but child.

For anyone who may be totally lost, basically what Addie decided on was the equivalent of going to the courthouse with only the people you love most in the world and getting married. Forgoing all the stress, expense and fanfare of a traditional wedding. Sometimes you just want to be with someone for the rest of your life. While weddings can be fun, you don’t need a big fanfare to make a marriage real.

Addie wants to take her first major step towards her own relationship with God, no fanfare, just the basics. No one told her to do it and no one told her how to do it.

One of the greatest privileges in life is to watch her grow and be at the center of her universe for these few magical years.

We may not fit the traditional mold of an LDS family, but we fit with what God expects of us, we try to do our best and that’s all that really matters.

**********

Curious about Mormons? Find out more here.

jealousy, entitlement and grace.

We’re just over a week into March and I’m in disbelief over what 2013 already has scheduled for me. I was certain 2012 was my peak and  2013 would be my denouement into comfortable oblivion after seven years on the Internet.  I was okay with that. I’ve had a good life online and I’ve been blessed to meet some amazing people, see some amazing places and do some amazing things. (Which makes it sound like I was going to quit blogging altogether which I wasn’t. Where else would the Internet get its fix of one eyed cats hugging pickles?)

Wink and His Tickle Pickle
I’m headed back to the street that smells of popcorn, candy, wishes and dreams this week. Part of me wants to knock on God’s study room door and be all “Hey, don’t get me wrong, I really love what I do, but are you sure one person deserves this much awesome in their lives?” There is still a terrible little voice that gets out every once in awhile and hisses “All these good things are only happening because things are about to get real $%*&# for you. Stupid girl, there’s always another shoe.

*deep breath*

I’ve been watching shoes drop for other people for awhile now. Divorce, miscarriage, cancer, illness, violence, death. Oy. There are moments I want to wrap the entire world in a warm blanket and give it milk and cookies.

I hope to never become so jaded as a blogger that a free tube of lip balm or laundry detergent sample doesn’t excite me. I never want to forget the hundreds of times this community has picked me up when I was too tired to do it myself. Blogging has turned me into a hugger. So many of you thank me for helping you, but it’s you who help me. It’s as though God knew I needed all of you in my life so He gave me a way to find you and your stories, your wise words, your kindness and your encouragement. I’ve been thinking a lot about this post by Andrea. I have felt the exact same way she and so many of her commenters feel. In fact I felt that way last week. ME. The one who’s worried about her life being too wonderful. It feels nice to be noticed and feels terrible to feel left out no matter what it is and there’s no shame in admitting that. I had to learn the hard way that hurting others to justify my anger, jealousy and pain is a quick and sure way to lose friends and become a miserable person. (Someone’s been reading a lot of Brene Brown lately, can you tell?)

I don’t know why things work out the way they do, but I know everything happens for a reason and that if you work really hard and are kind, amazing things will happen.

My @robinplemmons @teamcoco art is suddenly the best part of my house.

by Robin. The Conan swirl was her idea. She’s amazing.

wink and his tickle pickle.

Wink likes catnip, like a lot. Last week I bought him a couple of tickle pickles on fab.com. (Frightening paranthetical, do not google ‘tickle pickle.’)

I figure with the whole one eye half an ear thumb thing he has going on the guy could use a few good pickles and tickles.

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

Wink and His Tickle Pickle

By the time he passed out I wondered if maybe I should make him a catnip cigarette and catnip cocktail.

Tickle pickle? Two thumbs up. (Because Wink can do that! He has thumbs!)

Percy on the other hand, Percy hates you and plans on smothering  you in your sleep.

Percy is Judging You.

I’m such a cat person.

little silver can therapy.

In all of my melancholy moodiness paired with the 40 Days of Water challenge I’ve realized how much some beverages mean to me.

I currently don’t rely on any sort of beverage to get me through a particular situation, like coffee through an early morning meeting or wine to help me over the anxiety that comes with meeting someone new. The only beverage I call on in case of emergency is full strength original Red Bull. The size of the can depends on the enormity of the day but in general the small ones do me just fine the one or two times a month I indulge in them.

After the flight of cancelled inducer of anxiety attacks I broke my 40 Days deal and bought myself a somewhat bonus sized Red Bull from the drug store down the street from my dad’s house.

It was delicious. It was exactly what I needed and I appreciated it in a way I never would have before.

It’s a strange sort of comfort to know I have a pinch hitter like that, one that doesn’t have to be prescribed by a doctor or involve a three hour nap to recover from what life sometimes throws at me. Little silver can therapy.

Popcorn and orange juice is another deep and abiding pleasure of mine. My dad takes credit for getting me hooked on the combination and I believe him. His stove popped popcorn with a cold glass of orange juice so pulpy you have to chew it is one of the 5 most comforting food combinations in my life.

Warm chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, or peanut butter and jelly paired with cold 2% milk.

Virgin Pina Coladas on warm sandy beaches with chips and salsa.

Root beer and pizza.

Milkshakes and burgers.

I’m not one to condone eating my feelings, but I am one to condone the simple pleasure of eating delicious food, specifically when you’re surrounded by family and friends while doing so.

One of the very best parts of our cruise back in December was ending the night with cookies and milk. Just Addie, my friends and me reminiscing over how wonderful the day had been over one of the most simple culinary pleasures in existence.

What does this have to do with anything? Not much. I guess I’m just thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to recognize something as simple as beverages I had taken for granted. Not to mention the gratitude I feel for my 40 Days pledge saving me from thousands of calories in fruity frozen beverages while in Mexico (which I maybe made up for in guacamole consumption.)

I’ve only pledged $31 so far, but that $31 will give 31 people in Africa clean water for a year.

I’m gaining appreciation for things as simple as cold milk, pulpy orange juice and the access I have to nearly anything I want, and the blessings that come from going without.

While I am being compensated for participating, I will be donating everything I make back to Blood:Water Mission, I figure that makes up for my lack-of-a-Starbucks-habit-donation.

how I found my hammies in a room full of grannies.

“That awkward moment when you bring your mat to a new yoga class and realize it’s actually a seated senior citizen yoga class.”

That awkward moment when you bring your mat to a new yoga class and realize it's actually a seated senior citizen yoga class.

I stayed for the entire class.

Towards the end of the class the instructor said “Close your eyes and imagine yourself floating and swaying high above the ground in a peaceful hot air balloon.”

“ABSOLUTELY NOT.” chirped up one of the more senior class participants.

I’m going to get along with my new friends just fine.