Thursday, October 15, 2020

A Eulogy for the Tooth Fairy

Note: I found this post deep in my drafts folder today. It's never been published before. I wrote this six years ago, about the daughter who is now a senior in high school. I'm fine. It's fine. I just need to cry it out.

Last night, my oldest child lost her last baby tooth. It showed me everything I needed to know about who she is right now. In spite of knowing the truth about the Tooth Fairy (sort of), she wrote her a note to say goodbye, and thank you.

I say that she "sort of" knows about the Tooth Fairy because while I suspect she is aware of the truth, she hasn't talked about it. Perhaps because she knows once the gig is up, the dollars-for-teeth exchange will end and she dearly loves dollars. And certainly, other sixth graders would not hesitate to enlighten her on the true nature of the mythical, gift-giving characters she has grown up loving. They probably already have. But there's more to it than that. I think she wants to believe because she knows, at least for a little while longer, that she still can.

She avoids discussing any of this with me. Ostensibly because of her little brother and sister and the happiness they derive from it, but also because she's aware that there is power in not saying some things out loud. I think she stays silent because she knows that once it's openly acknowledged - it becomes real. An immutable fact. If she says it out loud, a beloved part of her childhood will truly be over. She isn't ready for that. Neither am I.

But we both know it's coming.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Just a reminder about aggressively happy fall fun...

This is some bullshit right here, you should know that now. The little boy is about to drop that heavy ass pumpkin on his dad's foot, who will scream the f-word in front of a bunch of other's people's kids, and they will all glare at him like he's a monster. The boy will cry for at least 20 minutes because the pumpkin broke and the dad will be furious because his foot is throbbing and the broken pumpkin costs $23. Meanwhile, the sister will whine that her brother "ALWAYS RUINS EVERYTHING" and their mom will hang her head because she just wanted one freaking good photo to post on freaking Facebook. Many hours later, she will sit down with a glass of wine and review the photos she took at the pumpkin patch. She will be in exactly two of them and her eyes will be closed in both. The end.


It is October. It is the time of cable-knit sweaters and puffy vests (that let's be honest are always too hot unless you have a fairly serious circulation problem or live in Maine). It is also the time of aggressively happy and attractive outdoor family photos.

When you see all the social media posts this weekend showing beautiful families apple picking and pumpkin patching, just remember what the photos don't show. 

One kid calling his brother a butthole, the other kid crying and refusing to walk up the hill, the sullen teenager staring at their phone the whole time, the dad being like "Wait, these apples cost HOW MUCH?" and the increasingly frustrated mom whisper-hissing "Smile or no one is getting donuts."
It's fine, you're fine, they're fine.
Remember, it's a highlight reel, not real life. It's capturing precious f&*king family memories for posterity and that's awesome. And your family is awesome, too.

Love, Julie

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2020

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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Raise your hand if you're a life-ruining monster

This beautiful lady is raising both hands, with a terrific smile, because she's ruined TWO KIDS' lives by making them do homework and keeping them safe, healthy and fed - all while working her ass off and homeschooling them, trapped in the house for months on end during a divisive and terrifying election season and a global pandemic. What an asshole!

Hello friends. 

Raise your hand if you personally have ruined your child's life by making them (choose all that apply):
  • Attend in-person school
  • Attend school via distance learning
  • Cruelly make them social distance/stay home of because of a deadly global pandemic
  • Force them to leave the house/deal with other people because your area is out of code red or whatever
  • Try to manage whatever this shitshow of a year has thrown at your family
Go ahead and put that hand down.
I've recently been informed that it's all my fault and all my doing, so you guys can rest easy. I'm the asshole here.
Kind of exciting to find out that I'm some sort of all-powerful omniscient deity that can like - cause global pandemics and million-acre wildfires and stuff. Good to know. And here I was feeling bad about myself because I can't get the laundry done. HA HA HA PROBABLY BECAUSE I WAS BUSY RUINING EVERYONE'S LIFE BY MAKING THEM EAT VEGETABLES AND GO TO BED ON TIME.
(wipes tear)
Kids are fun.

Love, Julie

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Monday, October 5, 2020

Here's to doing something small

Hi Friends,

Last week I decided to download an app to help me track meals, physical activity, etc in an effort to be healthier. The only lifestyle change I committed to was logging what I ate every day.
There is a mountain of data that tells us when you do this, your habits shift. Accounting for what you eat tends to make you more aware, more thoughtful, less likely to be careless. That in turn, leads to healthier choices, which (if maintained) can lead to better health.
It’s kind of a universal truth:
“What gets measured, gets managed.”
“The grass is greener where you water it.”
Insert quote/platitude of your choice. There’s a good one about choosing which wolf to feed.
The world feels a little out of control at the moment, so doing this small thing makes me feel... slightly calmer, I guess. I’ll take it.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Please, please vote

As you know, I moved to Ohio from Virginia this summer. One of the first things I did was get a new driver's license, in part because I wanted to register to vote here as early as possible. My husband did the same and the confirmation of his registration arrived a couple of weeks later.
I've been waiting for almost a month and as of today, I haven't received any confirmation. So I clicked over to the official Ohio state site to confirm my registration and as it turns out, I was never registered. In Ohio, the deadline to register is October 5th (that's Monday). Early voting starts the next day.
So my friends, if you have any doubts at all about your voter registration status, please check it today. Go to your state's website and find the link to register or confirm registration.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

A video in which I attempt to apply fake eyelashes.

Please enjoy this video of me being myself. I'm sorry, but I can't help how I am. This video is long and was recorded as a Facebook Live, meaning it was completely extemporaneously. If you remember from very old posts on this blog, I am not glamorous. I am glame.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Talking COVID and College Students with Dr. Megan Ranney

I am so happy to have been part of this Facebook Live with Dr. Megan Ranney. First, a little about her: 

Dr. Megan Ranney is the Director of the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health and Warren Alpert Endowed Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Brown University in Providence, RI, as well as a co-founder of the nonprofit GetUsPPE.

Second, this conversation was sponsored. I want you to know that the terms of our agreement was solely for hosting the live on Facebook, but I'm so grateful for the chance to talk to Dr. Ranney and pleased with the information she shared, that I wanted to put it here too. I'm proud of this content. 

Here's additional info on our sponsor: 
This conversation is sponsored by Med-IQ through an educational grant from the Coverys Community Healthcare Foundation. Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company that provides an educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. 


(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2020

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

My dog and I are best friends and it's weird

You know how in Frozen, Kristoff and Sven are best friends and kind of co-dependent and understand each other perfectly even though one of them can't speak because he's a reindeer?
That is me & my dog Gus Miner.
Remember how Kristoff had conversations with Sven where he basically narrated Sven's inner monologue and all his responses during their conversations and did so using a very specific "Sven" voice?
That is also me & Gus Miner.
Except it was brought to my attention that I no longer do it just in the house. I do it while walking Gus and Brady in our new neighborhood, where other people can hear me.
We are on a walk and Gus sees a small dog on the other side of the street and starts to grrr and big boy bark and I tell him no. And Brady does nothing except wag his tail and be adorable because he's a good boy.
The small dog returns Gus's greeting with some grrrs of his own and Gus promptly goes batshit crazy, tearing around in circles and doing weird leaps.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Five things I love very much that make me happy

My favorite erasable pens
are Pilot Frixions.

Five things I love very much that make me happy 
(in no particular order):
1. Dogs
2. Erasable pens (they're amazing)
3. When tomatoes are in season and you can eat them every day and they never stop being delightful
4. Sleeping on clean sheets
5. When you let someone go in front of you in traffic and they wave back at you and smile
I am attempting to start my day with happy thoughts about simple things.
I ALSO LOVE STICKERS. The good ones from RedBubble.
(Sorry for blurting that out I've had too much coffee)

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2020

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Little Wrigglers Wreaking Havoc in God's House (The Best Thing Ever)

I went to early church yesterday so my 16 year-old could help teach the little bitty kids during that service. The littles really seem to like her and a couple of them always insist on sitting next to her when they do crafts. It’s nice for all of them, I think.
I watched her stand in the front of the sanctuary, waving the kids to come forward, to leave their moms. Some ran, some clung, some spun in circles. 
I remember very clearly being THAT MOM in church, pregnant with two unruly toddlers, hoping that the other people - the ones all around me who had showered and slept and didn’t have weird crusty baby stains on their best shirt - weren’t giving me The Righteous Sniff. 
I lived for the moment when the nice people would take my children for Sunday School, so I could slump in the pew, desperately needing a break from being the chief wrangler in the 24/7 goat rodeo of raising small children. 
Now my unruly toddler is the one wrangling the unruly toddlers. (IT’S THE CIIIIRCLE OF LIIIIIIFE.) And I’ve found that watching the little kids wiggle around in church, trying so hard to behave themselves, while their parents shake their heads and whisper admonishments, is one of my very favorite things. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Purge (Middle Age Mom Version)

I am currently purging and donating ALL OF THE THINGS. I am not doing my usual emptying out of a closet, creating a huge chaotic mess, getting overwhelmed and then leaving bags of crap all over the basement & in the back of my car for 3 months. Dropping off today. TODAY.

There was no thoughtful Marie Kondo-ing happening. It was more like “GET THEE INTO A BOX OR TRASH BAG AND GET THYSELF LOADED NOW NOW NOW BEFORE THE

In this the year of our Lord 2020, I say unto you bye bye garage sale Barbie Houses and stuffed animals and random framed artwork from 15 years ago.

I need less shit in my life and a clean house and so help me THIS YEAR, I WILL HAVE THAT. 

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2019

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Monday, January 6, 2020

The First Day Back

Today is the Feast of Epiphany, which means the holidays are officially over. It should probably be called Re-entry Day this year, since it corresponds with the first day back after winter break, or The Day No One Would Wake Up On Time and Everyone Was Grouchy As Hell.
The next few weeks are always hard at my house. There's not a whole lot to look forward to. Spring Break seems reealllllly far away. The sun sets almost as soon as the kids get home from school. Sometimes it's hard to feel cheerful or optimistic when it's dark so early, and the weather is cold, and homework is piling up, and school kind of sucks, and all the other reasons. 
The first day back is rarely a good one for us and today was exceptionally bad. So I made seven-layer dip and chicken tortilla soup. And I tried to be nice even though everyone was kind of cranky at me. 
And I reminded them, and myself, that even though today starts a long stretch of real life and hard work, that every day - even those that seem short and dark and gray - is getting lighter. The longest night is behind us.
Though it may not seem like things are getting brighter right now, they are. But you won't know it's happening unless you look for it. You have to pay attention to the changes, even if they happen slowly, or all you'll notice are the things you always see. 
It reminds me of what Dumbledore said about finding happiness in the darkest of times. The light is there, even if we can't see it. And things are going to change, whether we want them to or not. Spring is always going to come. Bad days (or weeks or months) can be followed by good ones. 
Tomorrow, we'll have about a minute more daylight than we did today. I'm grateful for it.

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2019

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Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Ten Year Challenge

The most recent social media trend appears to be reflecting deeply on the past decade and speculating on the personal growth that will occur during the next. This started last month with something called the "Ten Year Challenge.” Here's how that one worked: you find a photo of yourself from 2009 and compare it to a photo from 2019. This was supposed to demonstrate to the world your weight loss, or your progressive journey to total enlightenment, or possibly to provide our big data overlords with opportunities for their nefarious facial recognition efforts.

I'm ashamed to say I succumbed to online pressure and began looking through pictures from 2009. A search of our photo library for that year shows approximately 4,326 photos of my children, 398 of my pets, 47 of my husband (usually with our kids piled on him), and maybe 4 of me. I'd just given birth to my third baby in five years and I was exhausted and deep in The Blur. In most pictures, I'm either hiding from the camera or looking really confused about what the hell was going on.

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