thirty-fun

It’s April 28th which means it’s my birthday.

Only the very best day of the year for yours truly.

I spent last night at the Radio Disney Music Awards as a Minnie Messenger surrounded by screaming Mahomies, Beliebers, Directioners, Simpsonizers and Selenators.

Red carpet at the Radio Disney Music Awards!  #MinnieStyle #MinnieMessengers
We all went a little crazy.

 

At the end, enough confetti was dropped on my head I began to worry about being buried alive in it, but if there’s one thing I can always count on Disney for, it’s confetti and fireworks.

And scene.  (With Selena Gomez) #RMDA #MinnieStyle
Today will be spent at Disneyland, the happiest place on Earth and the place where my heart snuggles in and sings sweet songs of joy, love, and happiness until it’s time to bid adieu.

It’s a tradition around these parts that you wonderful people make a comment cake for my birthday, layers upon layers of wonderful comments that I can read as I wait in line for Space Mountain, Small World and Dumbo this afternoon.

In years past I’ve asked for the best parts of your day/week. This time around I’m going to ask something a little different (unless of course you had an amazing moment, then I selfishly want to know that as well.) This year I want to know: What is the nicest thing you’ve ever done for someone else? Go ahead, brag about it. This is no time for humility, you’re a wonderful person, go ahead and acknowledge it and make my day. Maybe you’ll even inspire others to commit random acts of kindness as well.

Ready?

Go!

minnie and me

Perhaps you recall that last month I was in Disneyland doing Disney-ish things with no real explanation as to what I was actually doing there aside from feeling things.

THE MOUSE IS OUT OF THE BAG AND I CAN FINALLY TALK ABOUT IT.

Keeping secrets is not my strong suit and this was a tough one to keep, this post explains what I’ll be doing better than I can, especially since the only sounds that come out when I talk about it are high pitched squeals and and seal claps.

Which brings me to the big question, what does a 30 year old mom wear to the Radio Disney Music Awards this Saturday? I almost bought BOP and Tiger Beat at the airport last week, for research. Thankfully Mindy’s 13 year old twins will be there to help me out.

I AM SO EXCITED.

You can just consider Minnie my new best friend. I’m so excited to share her with you throughout the coming year. When it comes to style icons and role models? Minnie is the mouse.

Disneyland

le chat, pinguinos, bella

How’s this for strange blessings?

Vivi isn’t any less grumpy or sad than she was at the beginning of the week but she did lose her voice overnight, meaning every single fit she threw today was completely silent. There was one when I wouldn’t let her sit in Addie’s booster seat, one when I wouldn’t let her take the tiny shopping cart at Trader Joe’s with her, one when I wouldn’t let her sample coffee at Costco and a really big one when I wouldn’t let her work behind the cash register at Dick’s.

Fits are a lot more manageable (especially in public) when they are totally silent and there is only angry flailing to deal with.

We also scored really good parking spaces everywhere we went which always makes things better.

Want to know the story leading up to this moment?

Click here to see 24 minutes in the life of Vi (above hug included.)

The support around my #LookForTheLovely is making me all warm and fuzzy, it seems to be doing the same for others as well (which was totally the point.) Find out more about it here.

I spoke to Addie’s ENTIRE SCHOOL at the beginning of April, want to see me panicked? Here’s video from some of my presentation:

Last but not least, I had the grand honor and fortune to attend Club Penguin HQ last week. I am smitten. The people who run that company are my people. It’s too bad they’re so far away. Find out a little about the passion behind the penguins here.

I don't even have words, my family in penguins! Including my one eyed cat! #ClubPenguinSummit
I hope this weekend gives you the rest I’m pretty sure we all need after this tumultuous week.

You should probably also watch this, if you don’t laugh we’re probably not meant to be bosom buddies.

sometimes is when we need the always

For about six to ten hours of each day Vivi is replaced by something that yells and screams too much, cries a lot, and demands everything.

We’re in 100% toddler survival mode here.

Today I had to carry her out of Home Depot under one arm as she screamed, kicked, and flailed to release herself. (I wouldn’t let her climb under the lawnmowers.)

Cody and I commiserate throughout the day via phone calls and texts if only to see the humor in our situation. “Why is she screaming?” Cody will ask while safely tucked away in his corner office several miles away.

“I told her not to pick up a wasp.”

If you’re into scare tactics to prevent teenage pregnancy, just give a teenager a toddler with the rage for a couple of days. Mind bending little critters, toddlers are.

Yesterday was one of those days. A lot of screaming. A lot of crying. A lot of falling bonelessly to the floor. Had you stuck a fork in me I would have been done. I even texted Cody my final goodbyes:

In the middle of Vivi’s rage, something happened.

I consider it a small blessing that I wasn’t able to be online yesterday thanks to anger baby.

Cody filled me in on the need to know facts, the ones I could handle. I tried to do Facebook, it didn’t work out so well.

For any of you unfamiliar, my brain cannot process violence. For this reason I avoid it whenever possible with Cody serving as my filter. He knows what I can and cannot handle.

People, including my own father, have become angry with me when I ask for the TV to be turned off, conversations to be changed or when I simply walk away from something I don’t want to see or hear. Perhaps they see it as sticking my fingers in my ears, shutting my eyes and pretending bad things don’t happen. I know bad things happen, but I also know it will eat me alive if I let it all in at once.

I know there are other people like me, people who need the good in this world to be as loud as the world allows the evil to be.

Perhaps even people who can handle the bad who need a little reminder that the good is still out there in tiny little pockets if we only just seek it out.

There is so much more good in this life than there is evil, it just isn’t as noisy.

While Vivi as of late may raise my blood pressure and test the very limits of my patience, I’m convinced that every time she giggles a fluffy kitten spontaneously poofs into existence.

On Instagram I’ve been tagging my photos #LookForTheLovely. A few people have even joined in. (I’m @mooshinindy.)

Daffodil mafia says watch out. (also the first bulbs I've ever planted.) #LookForTheLovely

No matter how terrible things get in the world, flowers will always bloom, fresh bread will always smell amazing, people will always laugh, kids will always play, people will always fall in love, and the sun is always somewhere, even if you can’t see it.

Constantly.  #LookForTheLovely

Explosions, both literal and figurative, are not an always. They are a sometimes. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes terrible, unthinkable things happen. Sometimes awful things happen all at once. Sometimes it all feels like too much.

Sometimes is when we need the always.

Singing itsy bitsy to bunny before nap. #LookForTheLovely

the reluctant runner.

I started running on Saturday.

Which sounds strange because I’ve probably been running since I was a wee tot but when I say ‘I started running’ I mean I have started running on purpose rather than to fulfill  my previous rule of only running away from bears.

Mantra: I'm so excited to be here. I love working out. Running on a treadmill is so much fun. -_-
There’s a very good reason why I am running on purpose, but I can’t quite disclose it yet. (DON’T YOU JUST LOVE VAGUE BLOGGING? I sure do.)

Cody is running the Indy Mini for the second year only this year he’s actually been training rather than deciding on Tuesday that he’d kind of like to try running a mini marathon come Saturday. On Friday we went to a swanky running store for people who enjoy running on purpose to get fit with proper shoes, this involved running on a treadmill then watching your feet from behind in slow motion.

The guy who helped us was *super jazzed* about running and everything running involves. When he heard me mutter “I hate running” he looked as though I had just said I hate his mom, his dad, his running shoes and him.  After I explained myself a bit more he suggested I try something new! “Have you tried trail runs? How about outdoor adventure runs! WHAT ABOUT RACES? DO YOU LIKE RUNNING THROUGH FIELDS OF TULIPS? I DO!” I smiled and nodded when the guy behind me piped up and said “Drive somewhere to go run? That’s stupid.”

At this moment? I agree. I have a hard time believing running is something EVERYONE! would love if they just tried a little harder, but I’m keeping an open mind.

Saturday morning. Running shoes on, calves stretched and the ladies appropriately stashed in a very high tech sports bra I faced down a treadmill for the first time with the intent or raising the speed above my preferred 3.7 mph (which is the speed where things get too bouncy for me to be able to read my Kindle.) My pants were too big, so anytime I sped up I feared the treadmill behind me was going to end up with a full moon showing of my rear end. The treadmill had a TV but I didn’t really understand how it worked so I ended up watching Anthony Bourdain eat something with legs still attached, then get his feet manipulated by a small Asian man. Note to the channel that airs Anthony Bourdain’s show, NO ONE WANTS TO SEE UNKEMPT FEET THAT CLOSE. Thank you.

I am not a runner. Maybe I’ll become one but I’m not really holding my breath (especially not while running on a treadmill because  that would end terribly.) I have a local friend in who is a runner, who used to not be a runner, in fact she was a self proclaimed running hater. If she can do all that she’s done with a very similar body type (and really good hair) surely I can too. While I may hate running, I don’t really have anything to base my hate on because I’ve never really given it a 100% effort. My other friend Jennette calls things like this her “Piss-Off Policy” which basically means you give something others suggest an honest to goodness try and f it doesn’t work out, you can tell people to “‘piss off‘ without remorse” at any future suggestions of said activity. The other greatest Casey on the Internet posted a link to this article on Facebook yesterday and JUST YES TO ALL OF IT LET’S ALL QUIT JUDGING EACH OTHER.

I’m going to be giving this whole running thing a good solid effort for at least a month with the hopes that I’ll fall in love with it. If not? I’ve always got my friends at yoga to keep me feeling young and fit.

What’s your favorite workout? Mine quite honestly is dance, but treadmills are easier to find around these parts. (And for those of you who are all “DON’T YOU HIT THE BIG O ON TREADMILLS?” Good for you! You’ve been around since 2008 when that unfortunate incident occurred. And yes. I mean, well. I used to. I’m pretty sure with weight loss my thighs don’t quite produce the same jiggle and friction they used to, so, yeah. That’s kind of thing of the past. And to those of you who think “If treadmills did that to me I’d run all the time!” you are sorely mistaken. I don’t know anyone who would want to hop up and run five miles after having that happen. No, once *that* happens you really just want to take a nap. Not a run.)

babbled: zombies, paintings and rompers.

It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who loathes creepy glowing zombie eyes some overzealous people with Photoshop seem to be guilty of. (Consider sharing it as a passive aggressive way to tell the offenders in your life to QUIT IT ALREADY.)

I’m giving away one of these gorgeous toy portraits (you choose what toy gets painted!) You have until Monday night to enter!

It’s supposed to be 74 degrees today, which means romper weather. I LOVE YOU ROMPERS! I REALLY DO!

Wink thanks you for all of your well wishes. I thank you for confirming that I am a most certainly a cat person and that things could have been a WHOLE LOT WORSE than a ripped off toe and a little blood.

a cautionary tale about rescue dogs and toeless cats.

The one Monday we had a dog, things didn’t go so well.

Mae was supposed to go left, instead she went right. My bedroom door was supposed to be closed, instead it was open.

An epic chase ensued.

Wink climbed walls, bounced off windows, ran through tiny spaces and bounced so high off Addie’s bed he nearly touched the ceiling.

Had I not been terrified for the well being of Wink, it would have been quite hysterical to watch. Wink puffed out like an electrified cartoon as Mae’s lanky legs tried to keep in line behind him.

Mae got him by his belly at one point, tossing him in the air. Wink escaped only to get his foot caught in one of Vivi’s toys. He dragged the toy with him, finally shaking it loose as I managed to get a gate between him and the dog.

When Cody found out what happened he asked why I didn’t just grab Mae.

Somewhere over the past 12 years of marriage Cody somehow got the idea that I am capable of stopping out of control freight trains with my bare hands.

Mae went back to the shelter after our vet told me a tragic story about a dog she rescued that ate her beloved cat on day one.

For those of you with cats who are considering a rescue dog, a lot of people will tell you “Oh! It just takes a couple of weeks! Everyone will be thick as thieves before you know it!” I’m here to rain on your parade and say sometimes a dog will do in a cat in before they are ever able to even acknowledge the existence of one another. I’m all about rescuing animals that need homes, but I’m also all about keeping the rescue pets I already have alive.

wink.
Wink has been on edge ever since Mae left, he hides in the closet, only comes out at night and flinches at the slightest noise. Earlier this week as I was changing the litter I noticed blood.

Blood is never good.

Veterinarian Google convinced me I needed to take Wink in RIGHT AWAY. Cheapskate Cody insisted Wink would live through the night. (Which he did. BARELY.)

First thing in the morning I took a very sad Wink to the vet where he was to undergo a urine sample, an x-ray to rule out stones and while I was there I brought up a clump of poop in his paw that I wasn’t brave enough to get out given how little Wink likes his toes touched.

The vet dug at it a bit then gasped as Wink’s ENTIRE TOE FELL OFF.

“That’s! That’s bone. He has managed to rip off his entire toe. I mean, there’s no toenail, it’s GONE. It’s simply scabbed over. There isn’t even enough skin for me to close this, he’s going to have to have surgery!” (In case you’re curious about what a ripped off cat toe looks like, here it is. While it’s not bloody, you can certainly tell something is very, very wrong.)

Suddenly the epic chase came back to the forefront of my mind, that toy he was caught up on.

I texted Cody with the results and $417 veterinary bill.

“Did the dog do this to him?”

Basically.

Apparently the crystals Wink has in his bladder (and I guess there are a BUNCH) are brought on by stressful situations. In this case, that situation was named Mae.

When I came home I went straight to the toy Wink dragged behind him and sure enough, in one of the crevices was the other part of his toe.

Yesterday we found the toenail he ripped off.

Untitled
Poor cat. He’s got one eyeball, he’s missing half an ear and now he’s down a back toe. If he was born with nine lives he’s easily down to his last two or three.

Cody claimed it gives him “street cred” and that “Ladies love a guy with scars!”

I think it’s his way of dissuading his guilt over the dog nearly doing in his lovercat.

Wink still sticks to the closet 80% of the time, it’s the only place the dog never ventured so I assume he feels safest in there.

Or perhaps he’s trying to make an equal rights statement about coming out of the closet.

Regardless, I love that cat so much it’s stupid.

I’m really glad he’s okay.

What’s the weirdest injury your pet has ever had?

 

fireworks for good.

Grief and sadness is a terrible thing in and of itself.

It’s hard to know where and when to stop being happy because other people are so sad, sometimes other people close to you are sad which means you should probably adjust the amount of happiness you’re capable of to better match the sadness of others. Or at least that’s what it feels like sometimes. The sun is shining, my family is marvelous and I have a very good life. I am well, I am healthy and I am quite happy.

But not too happy. The sun may be shining but people are dying. I have a very good life while others are struggling to hang on.

I have been on the other side of sadness. When I was released from the hospital Cody took me to a video store. I stared at all the people in the store laughing and carrying on without a care in the world. Didn’t they know I had just been locked up and unable to feel the sunshine on my face? Didn’t they know there were people still locked up who may never make it to a video store again? On the very long flight back from a child’s funeral it was hard not to look at frustrated parents and think “At least your child is still here. Children die and yours could too.”

It’s a terrible way to think but it’s also a very human way to think.

With what’s going on with my friend Dawn, it’s hard to fully immerse myself in all the good things surrounding me. Her family is losing her. She is not going to get better (But the eternally optimistic part of me hopes she will. I hope that part of me never shuts down.) Rather than dwell on impending sadness and doom I am focusing all my efforts for good, it’s what Dawn would do. It’s what she would want all of us to do. Take better care of each other. Complain less. Compliment more.

When I think back to the times I was sad and broken, it was your eternal optimism that convinced me I would some day get better. Had you all become sad and dreary to match my mood no one would have gotten better. I didn’t want anyone to enjoy their life any less simply because I couldn’t find any joy in mine.

There is so much sadness out in the world right now. Normally I’m in the thick of it, but for the first time I’m watching it envelop so many and I am desperate to do something about it.

Have you ever taken the time to look away from the sky during a fireworks show and look back on the crowd? That moment when the fireworks explode and everyone’s face lights up with colored light and awe?

Symphony on the Prairie-Glorious Fourth
Sadness is a single light shooting out into the great dark unknown, and when the time is right the optimism of those surrounding it should cause it to explode into a thousand tiny flashes of good deeds and kindness, lighting up the faces of those who witness it.

I am heartbroken at all the sadness we must feel in this life, but I also know from personal experience how much stronger it makes us after we survive it. I choose to complain less, laugh more and when I am able, turn the sadness around me into a thousand tiny lights to help others find their way.

********

While donations to The Melanoma Research Foundation in Dawn’s name will always be appreciated, donations are being gathered to help Mike and his sons directly with warm food, services and comforts that no one should have to worry about while losing a loved one.

UPDATE: 2pm EST. Dawn is gone. Please pray/sing/send juju, whatever it is you may do to her husband Michael and their two boys.