A Grace Full Life


Netflix Saved My Sorry Winter Sad Face With A Party And 70% Off Cupcakes

We aren't talking about how much I cannot stand winter.
We ARE talking about how Netflix saved my sanity by sending us a cool party kit to celebrate the new original special Ever After High; Spring Unsprung.
For those who don't have kids, it is a series about storybook characters such as Snow White, Mad Hatter and so on and they now have children who are in high school.

So on a dreary February Saturday, we brought some sunshine, happiness and fun into our world thanks to Netflix....and 70% off cupcakes.

Yes these were 70% off a week after Valentines and they didn't even expire until March 5th!
They were very good, by the way.

Brownie bites.
70% off!
Something about Winter and 80 cent adorable brownie bites just made me purr.
Literally, purr.

The kit came with lots of fun things like beads, fuzzy pens, mad lib type fun forms for the girls to fill out and fun games to play.

When my daughter's friends came in the house, they were so excited.
How much fun on a middle of winter day to just have an excuse to watch Netflix, eat candy, cupcakes and play with your friends for no reason at all?
It's like an episode of Seinfeld.
                                                          For first and second graders.

Ella drew some Ever After artwork on the chalkboard wall for her friends.

Party time means twinkling lights, of course.

Thanks to Netflix for letting me get to splurge and finally get the good juice.
My kids looked at me like they didn't even know who I was.
Mom what is ORGANIC juice?
This MUST be what Gwyneth Paltrow feels like.

There's just something about pink and popcorn.

You're awesome too.

I didn't have to organize any of the fun, they just gathered around the table in between handfuls of popcorn, episodes of Ever After and sliding juice boxes down the railings of the stair case....trust me, that wasn't approved of......


My friend helped me with the folding of some of the paper crafts because I have no paper folding abilities.
Origami is not my friend.
Nor is any ami for that matter.


Sign of a great party?

A mess at the end.

Thank you so much to Netflix for providing an amazing kit to these girls on a cold and snowy February Saturday afternoon that they soon won't forget.
Head over here with your little one to check out Ever After High today.

I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team. Meaning, for the next year, once a month I will be writing posts about how my family is using our Netflix. They provided me with a Roku and a voucher for my Netflix account.



How I Bogarted The Big Cozy Green Chair

When I find a cool new thing or something that I like, I immediately jump all over it.
I felt that way when I stumbled upon a little company called Raygun a few years ago.
You can read my love letter to them here.
I should really offer a disclaimer to companies that I want to work with, something like:

Dear Madam/Sir-
I am not at all a professional.
I like to write in short sentences.
I will somehow work in middle school humor somewhere in the body of the review and I am sure I will misspell something within the product post.
You are so welcome.

BUT and big BUT....see middle school humor..... I will love the heck out of your product and by the end of my post my reader will too.

I like to create a loving environment here at A Grace Full Life.
One that oozes with charm, real life feel, one where you can kick off your shoes, feel at home and no one judges you for that sock with the hole in it.
I see it, and its OK.
I have one too.
No judging here.

I was on Facebook a few weeks ago and I saw this cool bean bag- like chair in someone's house and a friend of a friend mentioned it was this thing called a "yogibo" like oh yeah it's a yogibo like that's what you have lying around in your home.
I had never heard of a "yogibo" so I immediately went on Google because I Google everything.
See here for evidence if you are new to my blog.
I spent an hour on the "yogibo" site looking at all the chairs.
Well not an hour, maybe like a half hour because short attention span but I could have spent an hour if I had a longer attention span because all of the pretty soft cozy chairs!
In all of the pretty colors!

photo courtesy of yogibo

photo courtesy of yogibo

Giant beanbags!

photo courtesy of yogibo
Giant beanbag animals!

They have cool neck wraps, hammocks, home décor, lots of neat stuff.
Head to the website to check everything out.

So I sent them an email after I saw the Facebook picture immediately because I read that the bean bags are great for sensory integration and that Occupational Therapists were raving about them.
I don't like to talk much about it on this forum but those who read here regularly know that my youngest daughter has ADHD and we are weeding through what works for her.
I had a moment once I read this on the website, like I was brought here to see this from Facebook because the person who had the "yogibo" bean bag on Facebook wasn't a friend of mine.
I saw the post because a friend of mine commented on her friend's picture.
So it was fate.

I was so excited, really thinking Ellie was going to love this new piece of furniture for our home!
Two weeks in and she does use it for homework here and there and loves it but if I am being real and honest, she mostly uses it to practice her "gymnastic moves" when she isn't using it for this:


 I am not ashamed to admit that it is mostly used for this when she is at school.....

I do all of my writing in this cozy green chair.
It has been discovered that my headaches are in part due to my writing.
Well, my writing situation.
I need to sit differently when I do my writing.
So apparently the cozy green chair is my therapeutic chair as well.

It is so therapeutic that there are days that I have trouble, well......

....getting out of said chair.

Isn't it a beaut??

It is so damn comfortable that you have to literally roll yourself out onto the floor to get out of the chair.
I had to actually put myself into a virtual time out of the chair.
I haven't sat in the chair in four days because if I do, I won't ever get out.
Don't worry, I will get back in but I just needed a break.
But I have four articles/posts to write in the next week, so I have me a date with that green chair this upcoming weekend.
That and subzero end of February temperatures makes a good combo.

The best thing about this beanbag is that it is big.
Really, really big.
In fact, when propped up against the wall, it looks like there is a very large green human being standing up against the wall.
I almost pooped in my pants, sorry, shat in my pantaloons....need to make it more professional with it being a product review and all....on two occasion's in the past two weeks when walking into my family room  because I thought there was a big green man standing there waiting to attack me.
You can order it smaller though, they have lots of sizes to choose from so maybe order a smaller size.
The size they sent me was the max, you could always choose the midi if you wanted a smaller size as they are so damn comfortable and I know you want one.
You really want one.

The only problem we have with ours is that it stains really easily.
Or maybe that's just our family.
We stain really easily.
But the cover comes off to wash BUT and BIG but here....hee hee never gets old....the cover was a huge pain to put back on.
So keep that in mind.
But it is so comfortable that I am willing to sit in my own swaller and stain to be in my big green comfy chair.

My youngest and I do sit in this together and talk, snuggle, laugh and watch television.
We read, get under the covers, play with the iPad, make funny videos and play educational apps in this chair.
I even convinced my teenager to snuggle into it with me one evening.
I think it's the power of the color green or maybe its the stains, or maybe it's because it's winter, I don't know.
All I know is it's good and I don't want it to stop.
Probably because we can't get out of the chair.
Send help if you don't hear from us in a week.

If you want a chair of your own AND I KNOW YOU DO, use the coupon code GRACEFULL when you shop at the online store for an additional 10% off of your purchase! Go to the online store here to take a look around and see all the fun items they have to offer.

I contacted yogibo and offered to write a review in exchange for product.
I was not compensated to write the review and the above is my own opinion.



The Week I Ate a Poop Sandwich Turned Out to Be The Best Week of My Life

We all have those days, those weeks, maybe even those months.
Where nothing goes right, everything is bad, nothing looks good.
Your hair is jacked up, you can't find a good parking space, you got kicked out of your apartment.
Basically, you get served a big old poop sandwich.
And you have to eat your poop sandwich.
Because there is nothing else left in the refrigerator.

Oh so young and stupid.

I had a week like that in the summer of 1993.
Here is some back story:
I was engaged to be married that summer to a man I wasn't supposed to be married to.
I knew it, he knew it, the Universe knew it but we kept plugging along any way.
I met my then fiancé on my own, I used to say through my brother because he worked with my brother but little known fact to many outside my family is that I worked with him for a week when I first moved to Chicago in 1989 at a chiropractic clinic.
I lasted only a week because the doctor gave me the heebie jeebies.
But I remembered my then fiancé when my brother re-introduced me two years later while I was recovering from wisdom teeth removal surgery on my parents couch.
I listlessly lifted up my hand as he walked by, he stared at me, our eyes met and I was like KEEP ON MOVIN' PRETTY BOY, and the rest was history, as they say.
Two years later, we were getting ready to walk down the aisle.
But it wasn't an easy path.
We argued, a lot.
He was my transition boyfriend, not THE boyfriend.
I dated him too soon after breaking up with my high school sweetheart.
I should never have committed to him, to be fair to him or myself.
But here we were, picking out china, trying on rings and planning our futures.

My friend/co-worker/ bridesmaid Wendy. And those things on our heads are called bangs. 

It was two weeks before our wedding that the Universe started throwing up flares so bright that only stupid me would walk right over.
After a beautiful wedding shower my friend Pam threw, we all went to a comedy club for a bachelorette party for a night of fun.
You need an ID to get in and of course all of my bridesmaids were of "age" so it wasn't a problem and I didn't even think to ask anyone if they had theirs before they left Pam's home which was a good hour from the club.
When we got there, my one "friend"  and her sister got out of their car and she said " oops, I forgot my ID" guess I can't come" then they both left.
She was one of my closest friends, so of course that upset me that she couldn't be there and it was more the way she said it than the fact that she could go in.


By the way, I should have ended the friendship when she made us wear these dresses. 

Fast forward a week later, she comes into my workplace (which was a department store so it was fine to do so), I think I was in a fitting room when a co-worker and fellow bridesmaid came to me to tell me that my friend was there to see me.
I went out to see her and here is where it gets a little fuzzy because 20 years ago she starts telling me that I ruined her wedding day six months prior because she had found out I didn't like her husband on the day of HER bridal shower.
So she wanted to ruin MY bachelorette party.
Makes total sense to me.
I won't bore you with the rest so basically this is what happened:


A day later, I went out to my car after work and the window was shattered.
My car radio was gone.
Only I didn't say fuuuuuuuuudge.

My friend /bridesmaid/coworker was there and the whole time we looked at each other and were thinking the same thing.
You be the judge.

Me at my bridal shower days before the crap hit the fan. Those are two of my girls right there beside me. Don't know what I would've done without them.

I know cops were called, statements were taken.
I had a bad ass headache and my friend Wendy drove me home.
I remember it was a cloudy June day.
I remember falling into my parents arms as I told them about what had happened.

Did I tell you that my fiance and I were fighting this entire week and hadn't talked on the phone or in person for a solid five days at this point?
Yeah, so there's that.

That is when my dad says, THAT IS IT.
He called my fiance on the phone at the fire station where he worked because if a man's voice called he might take the call as he was freezing me out because FIGHTING WITH FIANCEE.
My dad immediately handed the phone to me and I said to him:



"I don't care. And I don't want to marry you. I don't love you."


Didn't you heaaaar about myyyyy baddddd dayyyyyy???
Sniff sniff.

" I don't know if I ever loved you."

Now that last statement was just unnecessary.
But I don't remember anything he said after that because I passed out and fell to the floor.
Drama queen.

The next memory I have is of lying on my parents couch.
My mom had called my doctor and got me Valium.
My dad had called all of my friends to rally around me.
I might have gotten those two roles reversed because passed out on the floor but you see the love that surrounded me.
They paged my brother (remember pagers?!?!) who was watching a boxing match with friends.
He left his friend's apartment (my now husband) and headed home to be there and was organizing a search party to kick said former fiances ass. ( I wish I were kidding. No I don't)
Amid all of this chaos and nightmare and just drama, this is what I vividly remember: the love.

The next few days were painful but recalling this really crappy week some 21 years later, all I can remember is love.
This unconditional love that only the people who totally and completely have your back can give you.
Weirdly enough, I now look back fondly at this week.
Almost longingly.
I have never experienced this amount of love, devotion, and back-having in my entire life.

I woke up from my Valium haze later that evening and I remember gazing upon a room full of amazing people surrounding me, wondering how they even got there because VALIUM. 
I remember all of us going to the apartment I was to share with my fiance.
Like this pissed off jilted fiancé witch hunt. 
God bless the people who got in the way of that caravan.
I remember once inside the apartment, dumping my entire beloved cassette tape collection in the garbage, I was so angry.
I remember my mom, dad, brother, brother's friends and my bridesmaid's going from room to room and pulling out all my things: stuffed animals, Madonna Truth or Dare on VHS, grapevine wreaths, shoe boots and wanting to torch the entire apartment.
Which is ironic since my former fiance was a firefighter.
I still regret dumping my entire cassette tape collection.

In the days after, I recall walking around my mom and dad's house in a haze of emotions.
What just happened? What will people think? What do I do now?
But I didn't need to worry about that because those I loved had my back.
Big time.
I remember my brothers familial rage that someone did this to his sister.
I can still hear him say, "you don't mess with my family".
I remember a close family friend bringing soup from a favorite local restaurant and stacks of gossip magazines.
I remember my mom taking care of me, checking on me as I slept, worrying about my emotional state.
Her lovingly redecorating my bedroom with new comforters and decor to make it special since I was all of a sudden living at home longer than I expected.
I remember my dad writing the most loving, kind and gracious letter to our many friends and family members who were to come to a wedding in less than two weeks informing them that it was no longer happening.
My parents handled every single thing.
I had to do nothing.
No going to venues and canceling, no talking with photographers, not one thing.
As a parent now, I can now appreciate all they did.
I did then but not to the magnitude and to the extent that I do now.
Thank you mom and dad, eternally.

The summer of '93 was bittersweet to me, a turning point summer really.
There was the bad at the beginning of the summer, well bad to me at that time but it was good in bad's clothing.
I remember my brother teaching me how to drive stick shift in the high school parking lot the weekend before my soon to be ex-fiancé called the wedding off.
We were laughing and listening to Whoomp There It Is and singing at the tops of our lungs.
I will never forget that.

Me on my "honeymoon" in Michigan.

I won't ever forget taking a trip to northern Michigan with my mom and dad, scheduled over the weekend of my intended wedding date.
My parents planned it to get me away, shield me from being anywhere near a limo, a wedding bell or a taffeta dress that weekend.
In addition to working two jobs, writing a inspiring regret letter and running all over God's green Earth cancelling wedding plans, they also found time to book hotels in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to get me away on a "honeymoon" as well.
My parents are so much better than your parents and I mean that in the best possible way.

I remember organizing a massive field trip to Taste of Chicago with my kick butt friends and many more to get me "out there" again.
To show every one that I was okay, normal even, that I could laugh, have fun, be a 23 year old.
I also remember meeting my someday husband that night, thinking he was really cute and funny and a little annoying as well.
Exactly how I feel about him today some 22 years later.
I remember returning to work after my "honeymoon" to co-workers who showered me with hugs, took me out to lunch and covered shifts for me.
It was this summer that I officially fell in love with Chicago after living here for four years.
It was the first time in years that I actually felt like I was living.

People occasionally ask when Illinois became home to me and I believe it was that summer.
Those amazing human beings that grabbed a hold of me to keep me from slipping.
The power of human love, touch and support is completely underrated in our society.
Much better than any drug could provide for me.
It is from this love that I recovered with very few emotional scars.
I had "my people".
We had this.

The man who broke my heart in the summer of 1993 did me a huge favor.
He gave me one of the best summer's of my life.
At the time, I would have thought that sentence was just plain outrageous.
But now, I can look back with clarity and see what that summer was.
A gift.
A gift with a poop sandwich appetizer.


Grandma's Romance Waffles

Thank you, all of you, who reached out after reading my last post about my headaches.
You have no idea how much it meant to me to read your comments.
I have to admit, I sometimes like to go back and read my posts after I write them but this is the first time in five years that I have not been able to do so.
I can't go back and read it because it literally brings the pain back and I don't really want to go there right now.
But it was really good to write it and to get the feelings out and thank you for letting me.
I love all of you so much for letting me get out my ickies on this forum here and there every once in a while on the blog over the years.
I am on the road to feeling better, the doctor has prescribed me a daily preventative that is starting to work and I will be seeing a neurologist in a month as well.
I appreciate all of your advice, notes and texts of love and emails to just check up on me.
I know the good vibes are keeping me better, I believe it with all my heart.
Thank you with every piece of my being.

When I was growing up, almost everything that we ate was homemade.
Oh sure, we would occasionally go out to lunch after church or to dinner when my brother or I won an award at school and McDonald's was a fun treat here and there.
But everything we ate in our home was lovingly prepared by either my mom or my grandmother, who I was lucky enough to have lived with us my entire childhood.
Everything from cookies to main dishes, even bread, was homemade.
Of course, we didn't appreciate it WHILE we had it.
I can't speak for my brother back then but I am pretty sure he too took for granted, as I did, that we had amazing meals each night, handmade with love.

I have yet to eat somewhere that can make me smile like the food that came out of that little Ohio kitchen.
Other than the kitchen in Tennessee where my mom now lives, but I just don't get to taste that food often enough.
Since I have been a mom/wife/ full fledged adult,  I have been trying to replicate the food that was made while I was growing into a mom/wife/full fledged adult.
There are many reasons I wanted to recreate it: it's damn good, it is comforting, and quite honestly,  I am hoping the taste takes me back to a simpler time.
I want to yell at the top of a mountain to all of the teenagers out there who can't wait to get the heck out of their parents homes.
Enjoy it, it goes fast, it will never be the same and you will spend most of your adult life trying to get it back.

Lately, I have been on this stupid headache diet because I had a month long headache and needed to make a change in my life.
I call it "stupid" because it sucks, plain and simple.
I basically can't eat anything because I need to "eliminate my triggers".
"Triggers" are such things as chocolate, cheese, soy, caffeine, citrus, onions, wine, anything processed.
So basically FOOD.
I have renamed it the "a$#hole diet" because that is what you are while on it.
A raging a$#hole.
Because every food you love is robbed from you like a thief in the night.
Stupid "a$%hole diet".

So in realizing that to keep my pain away I needed to change what I was feeding my body, I realized that I need to get away from processed food and get back to homemade.
Like how I grew up.
Sounds easy enough but it wasn't so easy at first.
Homemade everything takes time, effort and planning, things I am good at normally but not in January.
Especially when you are recovering from a four week headache.

But I was dedicated to making changes to see if I am indeed suffering because of the crap I am putting in my mouth.
It was on a dreary chocolate free Sunday morning when I was terribly homesick for my mom in Tennessee that I texted her and asked for the recipe for the only thing that I felt could heal me.
Grandma's homemade waffles and syrup.
Actually, the idea for homemade waffles started while I was at the grocery store looking for frozen waffles a week prior.
I decided to look at the ingredient list and this is what I saw on every single box in the joint:

I think and I could be wrong, but isn't the above a recipe for how to make a bomb?
Because I no thinky I want to put that in my tummy or my kids tummies.
I literally threw the box back on the shelf and said out loud "DAMMIT I NEED WAFFLES THAT DON'T HAVE ACID IN THEM".
Look closely, it says "acid".
I know......

My mom emailed me the recipe within hours of the text I sent her and it said this:

My mom uses the word "cheesy" like it's a bad thing.
It's not, just so we are clear.
And the title isn't cheesy.
I had no idea what she was talking about because I am sure she told me the story many years ago but I had forgotten.
So I emailed back and told her that I couldn't wait to hear the story.

Here is the story told best by mom:

North Baltimore is a tiny town in Ohio NOT in Maryland, to be clear.
When I read it, I had tears in my eyes because it was like I had unearthed this gem of knowledge that I had no, well, knowledge of before!
I had no idea how my grandparents met!
I mean, I know so many great stories of the grandfather I never got to meet and I got to spend 37 years getting to know my grandmother and loved listening to her stories.
But somewhere along the line, this story got lost either in my head or in the telling but it WAS magical.
They lived hours apart in Ohio and would never have met if not for Millie and Marty.

Because of my stupid "a$#hole diet" and my stupid headaches, I got a little sliver of Heaven.
I felt like my grandparents were looking down on me that day.
The cheesy doesn't drip far from the cheesy tree.
All because I didn't want chemical waffles, I got a glimmer of the past.
It made me very verklempt, I am not gonna lie.

I didn't even have a waffle maker, so on a cold January day, I ran with the girls to Target to get a waffle iron.
There was one left and it was on sale.
I felt like everyone from Millie and Marty to my Grandma Ella and Grandpa Albert all wanted me to have my Romance Waffles.
I made the batter, doubled it so there would be enough and made the homemade syrup when we got home so we could have waffles for supper.
The smells in my kitchen that night, I don't even know if I can put into words.
Or at least words you would expect from me but it was amazing and quite an emotional night.
HERE COMES MORE CHEESY, I honestly felt my grandma in the kitchen with me that night.

Here is the recipe for Grandma and Grandpa's Romance Waffles (even though Grandpa never made a waffle in his life. He was busy farming. But I know he loved these as much as he loved his wife and daughter. THEY ARE THAT DAMN GOOD).

You will want to double this recipe. Trust me.

 1 1/2 cups flour
 2 teaspoons baking powder (NOT soda)
 1 cup milk
 2 egg yolks (save the whites and beat them until peaks form)
 1 teaspoon salt
 2 teaspoons sugar
 1/4 cup melted butter (not margarine because CHEMICALS)

Mix all of the above together except the egg whites.
When smooth, fold in the egg whites.
Cook in your favorite waffle iron.

You will never go back to store bought chemical syrup again, I swear to you.
This was the syrup that we grew up with and you can use it for pancakes as well.
So good.
Double this as well as this recipe as is only makes 3/4 cup and we all know that isn't enough.

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Karo syrup

Bring to a boil while stirring. Once it comes to a boil, cook for 7-10 minutes. Serve warm on waffles.

It makes me so happy to share this recipe from my childhood and keep my grandmother's spirit alive.
Go make these waffles for supper tonight, for breakfast on a lazy Saturday morning or after church on Sunday and think of her, grandpa, Marty and Millie.
Chemical free cooking before chemical free cooking was even a thing.
Homemade before it was trendy, right up my alley.




I originally wrote this earlier this week and then deleted it.
I had inadvertently saved it to Word on my computer and have decided, after support from my family and friends, to publish this.
I shared on my personal Facebook yesterday that I have been suffering and mentioned I didn't want sympathy.....which is why I posted it to .....Facebook?
I guess maybe I did want some sympathy, I think we all do deep down inside when we are having a rough go of things.
I think having a cheer section helps keep you going and we can learn a lot from not keeping it all inside and being able to talk openly about life, bad AND good.
Because as amazing as life is, there are some really crappy moments and if we just put it out there, I think there would be a lot less suffering and heartbreak.
I love my family and friends so much, I think they know but it is good to hear.
This has been edited a bit to include the events that occurred yesterday to push me to write the status update call for sympathy.

I don't like to talk about the bad in my life.
We all know that the bad is there in every day and for some reason, I don't want to dwell on it.
Especially in this space.
But today, as I write these words, I feel like I need to talk to you.
I am in pain.
Mostly physical pain but am sure much of it is rooted in emotional pain as well but mostly physical in nature.

Since the beginning of January, I have had some sort of headache for most days of the week.
I have headaches on a monthly basis, usually migraine and usually hormonal but manageable.
Nothing my sumatriptan couldn't take care of here and there.
Since 2005 I have dealt with migraines, some months better than others but nothing like the month I am having.
I have tried oils, massage therapy, changed my diet, basically anything and everything.
I will be at my doctors office on Monday morning for the first time and until then I am praying that she won't just tell me it's in my head.
Because I just can't do it any more.

I consider myself to be a really strong person.
I have gone through a lot of crap over the past 15 years and I am still here.
Weary but here.
But this is bringing me to my knees, literally.
When you are in pain you can't enjoy life.
I am not enjoying the simple things like watching the Real Housewives on DVR after the kids go to bed or getting a hot chocolate with whipped cream.
Because when I am not in pain, I am constantly worrying about when the pain will be back.
And when I am in pain, I am not in a good place.

I have days where I stare out the window and wonder why I am going through this.
Is it a life lesson?
Is it my fault?
Am I causing my own pain?

The M's are days with migraines. The H's are days with headaches. This is the most depressing journal ever.

My kids are tired of seeing me in pain, my seven year old talks about "migrians" like it is a common cold.
"Do you have a migrian today, mommy?"
My almost 15 year old found me sobbing in the shower last weekend, I had the doors shut but apparently I was louder than I realized.
Hugging me, wet and naked as my body heaved with emotional vomiting was a moment she won't soon forget, I am sure.
It has been really shitty.

I try to make light of life for the most part, try to get through each day with something to make me laugh but this is something that is bringing me down so hard, sometimes I honestly don't think I can get up again.
I actually said to my mom on the phone last week, " if it takes ten years off my life to make the pain go away, I don't even care any more".
That isn't me.
I don't know who I am any more.
My daughters and husband don't know what to do, as amazing as they are, I don't know what I would do without them.

Yesterday, I woke up with another headache after going to bed with one the night before.
To say I woke up low, is an understatement.
My youngest had been sick the previous day so I had her stay home this day as well.
It was a gray late January day, I was in pain and my youngest was asking, at 7:30 am "WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO TODAY?!?!"
She should have gone back to school, in hindsight, but I wanted to make sure she was 24 hours from illness before sending her back.

When my husband was leaving for work, I clung to his jacket and sobbed.
Like, heaving sobs.
I feel so awful for sending him to work a 14 hour day like that.
It wasn't my finest moment.
No, telling my sweet seven year old daughter who had a taste for a muffin from Panera that "I called them and they sold out of all the desserts today" was my least finest moment.

I have been begging God, the Universe, any one who will listen up there, to help me help myself.
I know you up there aren't giving me the pain I am feeling down here but please, I am begging you, help me.
I started to doubt.
I started to question, I am ashamed to admit.
Why, why, why?

An hour after my husband left, the phone rang and it was my mom, responding to a very alarming text from me, I am sure.
Something like, I can't take it any more or I want my mommy.
I used to hide any negative feelings, especially to my mom who is far away because honestly I didn't want to worry her.
She is 11 hours away, there is nothing realistically she can do, I will be better eventually, why worry her?
I am at the point in my pain where I can't hide it anymore.
And I am so glad I didn't.

We had an hour conversation, we cried, we talked, we hoped, we wished.
We told each other, in between sobs, how much we loved each other, how we wished to GOD we lived close and how we can't wait, literally can't wait to see each other.
Stuff we usually say but this conversation was different.
It was deep and emotional and really, really real.
I got off the phone, turned on some 80's music, turned on every light in the house at noon and made snicker doodles for Ella and me.
OK mostly for me, but she loved them too.
The same snicker doodle recipe I made when I was in 4-H in 6th grade.
I felt like it was 1982 all over again.
It was healing, having my mom's words in my heart, my 4-H cookies in my belly, my childhood music in my ears.

It was around two in the afternoon when the doorbell rang.
Ella sprang to get it and I whispered "NOOOOO".
The other day, when I had a migraine of course, a salesman for a window company came and had me standing in the cold with an ice pack on my head, making a decision to get new windows for our home.
I have lost the ability to reason with this month long tour 'o pain.
So I stood there, talking to his boss on his phone, trying to figure out a day when I would be home to have a "free estimate".
"NOOOOOO" I whispered, "don't answer it!"
It rang two more times.
Then a knock.
Then I worried, was it a neighbor who needed help?
Did a child lose their key off the school bus?
I finally answered it and saw a woman taping a note to my door.
It was a flower delivery van.
And the woman looked like the mom of one of my childhood friends.
I literally bawled as she handed me the flowers.
She probably thought, this poor woman never gets flowers. There there.

As soon as I saw it was tulips, I knew it was from my husband.

And I sobbed yet again.

It was while I was in the glow of the flowers that my 14 year old came home.
I was so happy to see her and showed her the flowers and told her about the phone call.
While she was eating a snicker doodle, she noticed the note on the flowers and said "aww he is a keeper".
That made me laugh and as I was laughing the door bell rang again.
It was a package.
My 14 year old said who it was from and I knew.

I opened it to find Ohio in the box.
My friend Vikki is so special.
I wrote a post about her that pertained to Flat Kari but never got to publish it because I couldn't upload the pictures but here is an excerpt because I really want her to read this:

My dear friend Vikki inspires me.
She is special to me, I think she knows she is but I am using this public forum to announce it.
She sends me care packages from my sweet little Ohio hometown here and there.
She will message me on Facebook with something so amazingly random and loving that it sends me through my day with a smile.
You know the goofy smile that people go, "my GOODNESS what is that woman ON? And can she give me some?".

Inside the box were little things from home that meant a huge deal to me.

Flyer's from places I love.
A newspaper from my home area.
A box of love, is what it was.
The thing is, she had no idea I was going through the month of hell.
I normally tell my friends what is going on in my life but for some reason, the more I talked about this, the more real it became.
I didn't want my life to be full of pain talk, quite honestly.
I wanted to preserve some relationships in my life with just talk of life not of pain, if that makes sense.

This day, the talk with my mommy, the cookies while listening to Purple Rain,  the flowers, the box of love, all of it was a huge sign that I am not alone.
I am very much not alone and it is clear that I have angels among me.
Thank you to everyone who messaged me and texted me after reading my call for sympathy on Facebook yesterday.
With every ding of my text or message coming in via Facebook, I had tears streaming down my face.
Happy tears.
I love all of you and I want to get better.
If you are in pain, or suffering of any kind, please stop holding it in.
Because you are really hurting yourself and the people around you.
You made a difference yesterday, a life changing difference and I will never forget it.



Donut Decorating Birthday Party is Much Better Than a Steak Decorating Party. Ask Around.

January is a tough month for those who live up north.
So I guess anything north of Kentucky in these parts.
It plain sucks.
When it isn't below zero, it's 30 degrees slushy and gloomy.
When the sun is out here in January, it usually means it is 2 outside.
That Mother Nature sure is one funny minx.
Except she isn't funny and switch minx with a word that rhymes with ditch.
Yes, much better.

When I first found out I was pregnant with my Ellie, I immediately counted on my fingers when her possible due date was.
Smack dab in January.
I even said, "I am sorry" aloud to my belly once realizing it was gonna be lots of blizzards, sick kids who can't come to her parties, and just plain ick.

So I need to have ammo to combat the winter blech's around here to make her birthday party special.
First word of warning if you are planning a birthday party: don't go on Pinterest.
It was on the night before her party when I was typing in "party games" into the Pinterest search engine that I finally got what all the Pinterest haters have been talking about for years.
When did kids birthday parties become such a production?
I just wanted to play a simple pin the tail on the donkey and instead I was inundated with elaborate games with rules and game pieces and like, prizes;  tables that had FABRIC napkins, cakes that were shaped like Elsa's ice castle.
Made by hand.
With Nutella and mason jars.

The only thing I had planned was for them to decorate donuts because those are Ella's favorite dessert and that would take the place of the cake.
I didn't want to spend more than $100 on everything from the food, plates, decorations, invitations, pop etc.
I know $100 sounds like a lot but it isn't, trust me.
To give you an idea, if you rent a local bouncy house room for two hours it costs $250 for the room alone.
That's a lot of donuts.
Just sayin'.

You all know how I feel about Walmart.
I am not a snob to those just reading me for the first time but I like my grocery experience to be happy and it just usually isn't at Walmart.
I was planning on going to Dollar Tree to get all the plates but it was a Frozen theme party (of course it was) and they don't have the blue I was looking for.
You know, "Elsa blue".
Don't act like you don't know what I am talking about.
So in to Walmart I went...said like Eeyore.

I have to admit, Walmart hooked me up.
Not only did they have the "Elsa blue" plates etc. I was looking for but it was three cents cheaper per item than Dollar Tree.


The silver paper cups were in sets of eight for 97 cents, so I used those for all the donut toppings.
For the donut toppings, I used frosting from a can (I can hear the collective sighs from here. KIDS LOVE FROSTING FROM A CAN, OK?), those cool blue candies were also from Walmart, sprinkles I had in my pantry and little Frozen picks that I found there as well.

We got our donuts from a local chain because we had a gift card.
If you are planning a donut decorating party, make sure you get your donuts first thing in the morning or they will be gone.
Then you won't be decorating donuts but rather decorating something like steaks and kids don't like to decorate raw meat.

Ella wanted a "donut cake".
So I stacked some on a cake plate I already had.
We also got donut holes too because GIFT CARD and I wanted extra little donuts for the kids to eat because NO CAKE.
By the way, the day of this party I couldn't eat donuts.
Long story.
I will be sharing it with you in a post very soon.
I want credit.

OK so the pretzels were a last minute addition because I didn't have enough sprinkles.
They turned out to be a hit.
Who knew?

Tablecloth? 97 cents.
Napkins? 97 cents.
Paper cups? 97 cents.
Bag of balloons? 97 cents.
Hot air to fill balloons? Free thanks to the hubs.
He's got a lot to spare.
He does.
OK so do I.

Who knew??

The balloons hanging from the chandelier were a huge hit with Ella.
I made it while she was in the basement playing and when she came up she was beaming.
97 cents for joy.
You can't beat that.

It is so happy that I am leaving it up til they fall down.

Because January looks a lot better with Tiffany blue balloons hanging from the ceiling.
Especially when you can't eat donuts.



Why Is Netflix Sending Me Cat Pictures???

I get prompts periodically from Netflix suggesting what is cool to talk about that particular month.
Don't get me wrong, they are in no way telling me what to write.
Nope just gentle prompts about new movies and such that are premiering on Netflix.
This is the thing: they have no idea who they are dealing with.
Well, I think they do by now because its been a solid year but I am not one to do what I am told.
To follow the rules.
Go with the flow.
Oh yes, I am afraid of authority and all that goes along with it.
I am not NOT following the rules ON PURPOSE.
I am no James Dean.
No siree.
I un-follow the rules by accident.

Oh you want me to write about your hemorrhoid cream in a professional yet discreet manner?
Yeah, I will talk about the time I couldn't sit down for a month with my post pregnancy 'roids.
You would like me to gently tell my readers about this cool disco show for kids in the city?
Umm, I will suggest you find a bar when you get there oh and by the way, my butt sweats when I dance.
Someone like me gives PR people the night sweats.

So when Netflix sent me two pictures of cats from Instagram, I felt like they finally had a finger on the pulse that is me.
Hamilton the Hipster Cat.
A cat with an Instagram account who is hipper than I shall ever try to be and he has a "mustache".
Oh and wears hats.
And KimchiKitty.
Another cat with a hat on......seriously what is up with cats and hats??
I have a deep dark secret- I love animals dressed up as humans.
Dogs with sweaters on in the winter make me squeal with glee.
Cats in rubber boots will make me giggle to the point of tears.

Yes, Netflix found my Achilles heel.
And they will find yours too this month if you like all things animal and dress up related.
Or just animals.
Rubber boots optional.

courtesy of Netflix

Like Puss in Boots or Milo and Otis.
Honestly, if you don't like a movie like Milo and Otis, you have no soul.
I mean if a dog and a cat can go on a road trip together, why can't my children get along in the car on the way to the Target.
Did I say that out loud?

courtesy of Netflix

Monkey Trouble is one of Ellie's favorite movies about animals right now.
When it's not Air Bud.
Oh wait, that's mine.

Okay fine, for you refined animal type movie/television show watchers out there,  there is always Marcel the monkey from Friends!
Or Baxter from Anchorman!

"Baxter! You know I don't speak Spanish!"
"Baxter, bark twice if you're in Milwaukee."
"And you ate a whole wheel of cheese? How'd you do that? Heck, I'm not even mad. That's amazing."


Anyhoo, go get your crazy monkey, cat wearing a hat, dogs eating cheese freak on this month on Netflix.
Hamilton is waiting.


I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team. Meaning, for the next year, once a month I will be writing posts about how my family is using our Netflix. They provided me with a Roku and a voucher for my Netflix account.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...