Writing right along

Greetings!

A few readers (all two of you) recently asked me why I haven’t been writing on my blog. As Christmas approaches and 2016 winds down, I thought I’d take a minute to give a brief update on what’s-a-happen’ in my writerly life.

First off, lack of voice on my blog does not mean I haven’t been writing. Quite the contrary. I joined two writing groups in State College, and in November I went to a monthly meeting as part of another group. Exciting and flourishing times for my pen. I am concentrating primarily on writing creative nonfiction in the first-person. True stories are what bring us together, offer hope, and help us understand each other.

Continue reading

List of Seven on Sunday 4.7: CHALLENGE

1. Newsworthy —

The kids and I spent a few days at the beach last week while hubby traveled for work.

This is a picture I accidentally took of myself. Don’t I look thoughtful? And possibly about to say something prophethic?

I’m pretty sure the only thing I was thinking  and propheting about was, My it certainly is cold and windy out here on the shore! One should wear a hat!

IMG_1054

Then I wondered where all the people were. Then I reminded myself it was a cool day in February. Then I ran haphazardly up and down the shore pushing Vivian in the baby jogger willing her to take a nap so I could sit in the sand  on my butt in my jeans and inappropriate-for-the-beach footwear.

But then she didn’t fall asleep. And then Lance, fully clothed, got wetter than wet in the sand and surf. Then I couldn’t see for a while because my hair was ferociously blowing in my face and becoming a huge mass of tangled tendrils.

So basically, just another great day at the beach!

2. Personal progress —

Well.

I was on a three-day running streak – and when I say ‘three days’ that means a Tuesday, a Thursday, and then the following Tuesday because T, TH are my designated running days – but then I had to break the streak and go to the beach.

Priorities people!

I am holding myself accountable to hop back on the wagon soon as I think spring and look for events to keep me focused. I’m not trying to break any records, but I do miss the routine of a modest running regime.

3. Writer’s world —

I continually feel more writing challenges coming my way!

4. Photo of the week —

Vivian’s first lollipop lick was not exactly my idea, but when I caught Lance doing this the other day, I surrendered. After all he did share.

IMG_6629

More proof that the second child gets to do things sooner than the first child did. Chalk up a sugar win for Vivi.

5. Picture-less moment —

And there I was. On Tuesday afternoon. With 244 miles separating me and my current location from my destination. A toddler, a baby, and a pug dog in tow. A lone Mama warrior on the open road. Car filled with kid crap.

There are some challenges that are simply not meant to be photographed.

Puke, flying dog hair, and spilled milk among them.

But the relaxation of “being away” that ensues once you’ve met the challenges of the open road and reached your destination? Hands down, worth every mile of effort.

That was, until I had to make the same trip in the opposite direction back home. The lone Mama warrior arose again.

My travelin’ days just ain’t what they used to be. 

6. Parenting thought —

I continually feel more writing parenting challenges coming my way!

(I’m short on brain cells today so I had to reuse my sentence from number three, which was already pretty vague, but all those gusty beach winds took a lot out of me!).

7. Humor —

In closing, this one is for anyone else looking to accomplish big things this month.

(Minimal brain cells required).

A 30-Day Challenge (you’ll actually finish) from Pleated Jeans.

  1. Put off something important
  2. Don’t clean your bathroom
  3. Feel socially awkward
  4. Waste time on the Internet
  5. Draw a picture of an invisible werewolf
  6. Lay in bed for awhile
  7. Doubt yourself
  8. Waste time on the Internet
  9. Eat a food
  10. Wear some clothes
  11. Complain about something to someone
  12. Waste time on the Internet
  13. Fap
  14. Go for a long walk… to the couch
  15. Waste time on the Internet
  16. Look at a picture of cats online
  17. Skip social event to stay home
  18. Sit on something
  19. Make a list of things to do, then don’t do them
  20. Waste time on the Internet
  21. Think about how awesome tacos are
  22. Read a word
  23. Use a bathroom (any bathroom!)
  24. Waste time on the Internet
  25. Feel sleepy
  26. Eat too many potato chips
  27. Waste time on the Internet
  28. Be jealous of someone
  29. Breathe some air
  30. Waste time on the Internet

I’m so glad I could help you achieve numbers 4, 8, 12, 15, 20, 24, 27, and 30. Number 22 (among others) is a bonus. You are welcome.

I’m off to accomplish #26.

Have great week,

The Banter Lady

List of Seven on Sunday 4.4: LAUNDRY

1. Newsworthy (formerly Lifelong learning) —

From here on out, I am titling number one on List of Seven “Newsworthy.” I’ve been trying to keep each of the seven weekly happenings organized with a little tag line to break up some of the unrelated content. And to keep me focused in an easy manner each week. So far, List of Seven is working out as a pretty manageable writing style for this busy Mom. It’s hard to pump out streamlined articles/essays every week when the kids are pulling at my heals and the laundry baskets need attention, but List of Seven is my innovative way to keep me writing and keep readers engaged in a quick write-and-read kind of way. I’ve also been doing a fair amount of other writing lately — mostly brainstorming and drafting longer stories for “when I have time” to finish them — but for now List of Seven is what you can expect on the blog for a while. Stay tuned.

2. Personal progress —

Apparently last week I unintentionally confused a few readers by starting off number two with “I’m finally making progress on the novel I started…” Many thought I meant the novel I was writing, but I meant the novel I was reading.

Interesting.

I obviously have some subconscious desires to write a novel “when I have time,” and apparently some of you think that I can succeed!

One day I do hope to author a book. Stay tuned.

Don’t you like how I’m keeping you on the edge of your seat?!

(Or not.)

Well then, don’t you like how I’m making excuses for not finishing (probably 70%) of the stories I write?!

(Don’t answer.)

FYI I did make progress reading more of the book  last week, and I’d love to tell you what page I am on right now (to keep myself accountable), but I am unable to actually locate the blasted book at the moment. Good thing I just renewed it (again) at the library on Friday (for the fourth time).

Oh me, oh my.

There are simply some things I cannot explain.

Or find.

It could be in a laundry basket for all I know.

3. Writer’s world —

Ok, now for some real, tangible progress in my writing world!

My fourth article — complete and polished — was just published in the February Evince. You can read about it on p. 9. The story features no other than Luke the Pug.

Woof!

Pugs and kisses!

4. Photo of the week —

This picture was actually taken the week before last when my Mom and Grandma were visiting, and I covet all that it symbolizes — unity, love, age, generations, femininity, time, experiences, family, relationships, toils, pulses, strength, and life.

Clockwise from l-r: Vivian, Britta, Mom, and Grandma

Clockwise from l-r: Vivian, Britta, Mom, and Grandma

5. Picture-less moment —

Lance and Vivian have this new game they play with each other every time we go somewhere and I get them out of the car. Vivian sits behind my seat so naturally I get her out first and walk around to Lance’s side with her on my hip. She starts bouncing with excitement as I open the door to Lance’s side. Without fail, Lance pretends he is asleep and Vivian leans way over and puts her little face right in front of his. Then she says, “Boo” in a sweet, soft voice. To which he opens his eyes, and yells, “Booooooooo!” back to her in a rather loud voice. They both start cracking up and think it’s the funniest thing ever. I do, too, because they do it every single time I get them out of the car.

6. Parenting thought —

A few weeks ago I was at the check-out line after getting groceries. The woman in front of me was talking to the cashier about her nineteen-year-old son, and how when he doesn’t call her back right away she starts to worry. The cashier nodded in understanding and told her she has twin daughters who are twenty-two-years-old, and now that they are in college she doesn’t always know where they are or what they are doing. They agreed it’s all part of parenting when you have to let your young adult children free, but how hard it is not knowing their whereabouts all the time.

The woman in front of me commented on how cute Lance and Vivian are as they sat together in my obnoxiously, giant dual-seat cart eating Ritz crackers while I hurriedly put my groceries on the conveyor belt in an attempt to beat any impending meltdowns. I good-naturedly tried to make a joke by saying, “So you ladies are telling me it gets harder than this?!” as I acknowledged my two time-sucking, dependent little humans. The older women laughed as they both said they would take those baby days back any day of the week. I smiled, and continued to ponder the conversation as I finished checking out.

On the way home I lamented that even though I have no idea what it’ll be like fifteen to twenty years down the road (heck, even when they start elementary school) and I don’t always know who they are hanging out with and what they are getting into, at least now I know the answers to those worrisome question marks.

I realized that even through the exhaustion of raising little people and babies the beauty in it all lies in the fact that they are “under my wing.”

I know where they are at all times (even when they are dumping over piles of folded laundry), I am their primary influence (even when I make mistakes), I make the rules (even the hard ones), I teach them good manners and kindness (even when they resist), and I create our routines (even when the reception isn’t always pleasant).

That’s when I decided I will keep them under my wing and three and one forever.

7. Humor —

When I got Vivian up from her nap the other day, I walked in to a crib full of dirty laundry. The kids (heaping) laundry basket sits next to her crib, and apparently either before she fell asleep or after she woke up this became a source of interest. Somehow she reached her little hands through the crib bars and drug in all of the clothes she could reach.

Troublemaker.

Or as Lance like’s to call her, “The mess maker.”

IMG_6303

Have great week. Do your laundry.

The Banter Lady

List of Seven on Sunday 4.3: MOXIE

1. Lifelong learning —

My new favorite word is moxie. Basically, moxie is energy, courage, pep, determination. This past week I learned I need a little more moxie in my life. We’ve been dealing with sick kids, tiredness among all of us living under the roof of this house, and pushed agendas with hopes that tomorrow will feel more productive.

2. Personal progress —

I am finally making some progress on the novel I started in November. This is probably the longest I have ever taken to finish a book, but I refuse to quit. I’ve renewed it twice already at the library, had to check it back in once, and then re-check it out a third time. P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C. In my heart of hearts, I know I probably should have just quit reading the damn book back in December when I was still on p. 94, but I refuse to lose when it comes to a book. Must finish. Now I’m up to p. 180 (of 433). Progress, progress. Must finish.

The thing is, I did have a hard time getting into the book initially, but now I am feelin’ it and more interested in the plot line. Part of my stalled progression is due to the amount of online reading I am doing lately. I started following a few more blogs, I’ve been researching the ins and out of the blogging world, and I’ve been surfing more news/info sites on Twitter. So it’s not like I’m not reading, it’s just that novel-reading is taking a backseat right now. I’m not sure how I feel about that because I love sitting and reading a good book, but all of this online reading is ruining me as a novel reader. I want to read 1000-1500 word article or essay and move onto the next one. Novel reading doesn’t work that way. Hence, 253 pages to go.

Lord grant me some literary moxie to keep me turning the pages of Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. My initial moxie stemmed from reading The Prodigal Summer five or six years ago, and then meeting her in person at Virginia Tech in 2010 — by far, my most thrilling encounter with a renowned American author. When she published her newest novel, Flight Behavior, I knew I wanted to read it at some point.

3. Writer’s world —

So Twitter. Yeah, I mentioned Twitter in the passage above. Or the “Tweeter” as I like to call it because that’s what Regis Philbin used to call it when he was still on LIVE, and who doesn’t want to model Regis?!

new-twitter-logo

Anyway, as typical, I was late to the Twitter party. I am usually late for every party or the “last to know” so no surprise there, but when I finally did create a Twitter account in July of 2011 and tweeted “First tweet!” to which nothing happened, I felt lost. Miraculously a few people started following me (think under 10), but that is only because Twitter, like all social media, tries to connect you with people you already know on Facebook, Google, etc.

Lately, however, I am finding more and more use for Twitter. Sometime early last fall, I started to become more active on the Tweeter and began using it for news and information. I didn’t follow hardly anyone I actually know in real life, but instead started following news sources, social media gurus, blogging champions, parenting resources, and personal interest organizations and people. Now I am no expert, but holy shit, I am finding so much use for the Tweeter. Who knew?! (Evidently the 650 million or so other people who use Twitter).

The point is, I know I am probably sounding like a total uninformed dumb ass to all of the expert, elitist Twitterer’s of the world, but there is really something to this that keeps me coming back for more. Sure it can turn into a time sucker if you let it, but I am finding strategic ways to use it based on my interests. The more I am learning about blogging and the importance of social media for online writing exposure the more I am beginning to love Twitter.

For example, last week I tweeted an article written by one of the most well-known mom/family bloggers, Kelle Hampton, and included a short sentence and her handle @Kelle Hampton and she favorited it. You might imagine my moxie! This is how people’s work gets noticed. This is how things go viral – pictures, articles, stories – if they are good enough. So much of it depends on who you know. So I guess that’s what always keeps me going back for more as a writer. So many networking possibilities out there on the Tweeter. Plus, it’s fun!

You can follow me on Twitter @Britta326

4. Photo of the week —

We got snow in Southside Virginia!

We got snow in Southside Virginia!

5. Picture-less moment —

Vivian turned one last Monday, and my poor girl was miserably sick. High fevers, congestion, rivers of snot, leathery, and overall discomfort plagued the days leading up to her first birthday and the days after her first birthday. The girl had no moxie!

I’ve always heard other mothers talking about how, “Oh I just hate it when my baby is sick, but the snuggles are so nice because all they want is to lay on you like a newborn again.” Well I’ve never had a sick baby quite like Vivian was last week, but let me tell you – I get it now. Tiny Lady only wanted Mommy and she never wanted me to put her down unless she was ready to sleep in her crib. 

On her first birthday I rocked her in the rocking chair in her bedroom late in the day. She sunk into my chest in a cold-ridden defeat and let me rock and rub her back as I lulled her in and out of a fit-full sleep. At one point I glanced at my watch – 5:45 p.m. A year ago on that same date, January 27th, Vivian Isolde Petrich was born at 6:18 p.m. I grabbed my phone and cued up the playlist I was listening to during labor and when she was born.

I’m not going to lie – I shed some tears. Both for how badly she was feeling this year and for how blessed I felt last year when she was born. But who knows how she felt last year? I guess when you think about it, babies kind of feel like crap when they are born. They surge out of a nice warm womb into bright lights as they are unassumingly greeted with pokes, prods, and overstimulation before they can even open their little eyes.

So you see, it’s kind of ironic actually, as I continue to think more about Vivian being sick on her first birthday. In a way, she regressed back to that tiny, blob-like baby state where she only wanted to sleep on a warm body. Aside from the fact that her weight has increased two and a half times from what it was when she was born, and her legs reach down much farther than my belly button. Ok fine, they dangle past my waist now when I hold her. But still, she kind of resembled that frog-like position on my chest and down across my belly as I rocked her and we listened to familiar music together on her first birthday. It took me back to the feelings of late-pregnancy when she was all curled inside me to the wonder of growth in her first year. These thoughts brought me right back to the present moment as I pondered my deep love for her then and now.

It wasn’t at all the kind of first birthday I was hoping for her — we still haven’t done a cake and all of her presents yet and had to cancel a gathering with friends — but I guess it’s kind of the one that needed to happen in order for us both to get our moxie back and appreciate the forward moving current of the relationship we share together as mother and daughter.

After over a full week of being sick, I am happy to report, she is on the upswing. Whew! Onward!

Vivian’s first birthday certainly put an odd, unplanned twist on how we celebrated, but I am unbelievably thankful for her life and her many birthday’s to come. Preferably sick-free.

6. Parenting thought —

Through all of this, it’s pretty crazy how you own your child’s sickness when they are ill. I slowly felt like I was the one in a deep, dark funk as I tried to comfort Vivian. All I wanted was for her to get better, and I did everything in my power that I could to make that happen, but the virus needed to run its course. I think as parents we become like John Coffey in The Green Mile and want to suck all the illness and hurt out of our babies, but then we ourselves end up fatigued. This past week was trying, but after all good storms the light shines brighter. The moxie in our step returns.

7. Humor —

If you can believe it, I have nothing left to say?!

Now Tweeter me that. #familyblog #listofsevenonsunday

Have a great week,

The Banter Lady

List of Seven on Sunday 4.2: GROWTH

1. Lifelong learning —

This past week I learned that waiting until Saturday to start writing some of my ideas for List of Seven on Sunday is not a preferred method. If I wait until Saturday to start my list, some of the ideas I had popping into my head throughout the week are already gone. I still got the job done this week, but next week I’ll start drafting earlier.

Duly and publicly noted (says me to me).

How’s that for accountability?

2. Personal progress —

I am another week older. That’s progress and growth, right?!

(Man, I’m really blowing this list out of the water).

3. Writer’s world —

The more absorbed I get into writing, the more I realize just how much the gift of my words mean to those I share them with. It feels great to discover continued confidence from friends, feedback, and the growth I feel as a writer (as opposed to insecurity and regular intervals of self-doubt). This blog started as a platform to write about my family and children, but I suddenly find it is evolving into something much more. I’m still going to write and share family stories, but new inspirations are surfacing aside from the little people. For example, last week I submitted another article to Evince, wrote a snail mail letter to an old friend, and wrote a story and haiku for two friends celebrating birthdays.

Basically, the writing veins in my brain weave in all sorts of ways and places in my mind aside from parenting. I’ve always known that, but it took becoming a parent to find the courage to start publishing. Perhaps, now it’s time to build beyond that and start publishing some of the many other stories I have in private documents or the ones still bobbing around in my mind before they, too, are lost. I am in the process of drafting a personal story that involves some crazy challenges I endured in my twenties and the realization that nothing happens that isn’t supposed to. I hope the story will develop further, but if not it’s always nice to unscramble thoughts on paper. At least for me it is.

Writing growth spurt?!?

Perhaps.

4. Photo of the week —

The one and only.

Cheerios: The one and only.

A few mornings ago Jan, Lance, and I were sitting around the kitchen table eating breakfast while Vivi played and crawled freely around the house. Suddenly I thought, It’s too quiet… what is she up to? You know, that infamous mom-feeling in your gut when you know your child is up to something?

I hopped up and peeked into the kitchen to find the above scene. Little sister had taken making breakfast into her own hands by opening an unlocked cabinet and pouring herself some Cheerios.  The floor was her plate; the serving size was rather un-calculated. I think she’s the one going through the real growth-spurt around here.

5. Picture-less moment —

On a much more sentimental note, my baby will be one tomorrow. One.

I find myself overly emotional when I think about the 27th of January last year. Going into labor… enduring a wild, frenzied, joyful labor… finding out I had a daughter in the most wonderful moment of surprise… naming her Vivian… and beginning the bonding process in those beautiful tender hours after she was born.

Now a full year has passed, and so many lamentations are surfacing all at once. The nostalgia over newborn days, the relief of routine, the grief over my illness, the strength of healing, the rhythm of happiness, and the power of laughter as her little personality sprouts and the unity we feel as a family heightens. Tomorrow I will celebrate her growth, but tonight I breathe deep for all the blessings Vivian has brought into my life. Some of my breaths are laced with some hard-won tears that went into her first year of life; others breaths are tangled with unforgettable sweetness and snuggles that I’ll never get back, but that will continue to grow in my heart and fill the memory book of her life.

For the past several weeks, I have been holding onto Vivian tight when I give her a bottle after she wakes up from her afternoon nap. As soon as she was on a predictable schedule, that bottle quickly become her and my special time. Lance was always still napping and no one else was in the house. I would always turn off my phone and void myself of all other distractions. We would snuggle and cuddle and talk and she would look up at me with those big, dependent eyes in a way that no one else ever will.

Was, were – terms of the past now that she is moving on to big-girl  food and drink.

Those bottles were alway so special, especially the ones I have given her this past week. (Sniff, sniff, waah!). Sure I won’t take away all her bottles at once, but it is time for her to make another  step into yet another new stage of development. Alas, she is moving on as the weaning process begins.

6. Parenting tip —

Don’t ever get too used to one baby or toddler stage in the first few years of a child’s life. The stages start and stop and surge forward at lightning speed. I guess you could probably say that’s true through all of adolescence. After that, I guess it’s called a “phase.”

I’m going through a sappy phase this week. (Sniff, sniff, waah!).

7. Humor —

After all my writing thoughts and sappy lamentations about Vivian’s 1st birthday in this week’s list, I am closing by keepin’ it real with this “funny.” My mom mailed me the clipping (below) not long after Vivian was born, and as you might imagine it gave me a laugh.

Minutes after childbirth, I'm pretty sure this very bubble cloud was above my head.

A very happy birthday to my baby tomorrow! I fondly remember the scene above when you were born. I just didn’t know you were already thinking like your Mama!

Have a great week of GROWTH in all areas of your life.

The Banter Lady

To read more about the 2014 framework of List of Seven on Sunday, please visit: List of Seven on Sunday 3.9: GOALS

You may also like: First of the year

List of Seven on Sunday 4.1: DREAM

1. Lifelong learning

Did you know if you press the space bar twice after a sentence while you are texting on your iPhone it’ll automatically add a period, space, and ready the CAPS for the next sentence?

They don’t call it a smart phone for nothing!

2. Personal progress

I’m trying to up my game in the kitchen this year.

So far, I have made zero new recipes.

See how hard I’m trying!

3. Writer’s world

Last week I had a dream the Pioneer Woman invited me over to her house for dinner. You know, just a casual five-course meal at the lodge with the fam. After dinner she invited me to guest post on her blog about anything I wanted. Anything I wanted. It was like the best writing dream I have ever had. Ever.

I guess it’s just a good thing she didn’t ask me to cook one of the new recipes for her show on the Food Network. Which reminds me, I really need to open those cookbooks Jan got me for our anniversary after I begged and swore I wanted to cook more.

Hmm. Is there an Apple short-cut for that kind of thing?

4. Photo of the week

IMG_5891

There are no words.

5. Picture-less moment

Lately when we go to the Wise Old Owl’s for our weekly Wednesday visit I’ve been giving Lance a head start while I get Vivian up from her nap.

Last week Lance wanted to wear his Spiderman costume to her house. As I stood watching out the door like I always do just to make sure he gets in ok, the pure sight of Spidey traipsing down the hill made my heart smile.

He was carrying a giant floor puzzle far too large for a steady grip and practically tripping over his own feet every time the mask slipped the wrong way off his face. But Spidey was full of determination. Armed with gummy bears inside his jacket pocket he happily marched along, in his own little world, singing a German song (Fiderallala, Fiderallala, Fiderallalalala) on his way to pay our dear neighbor a visit.

Lord knows what they talk about before I get there, but The Wise Old Owl always tells me “they had the nicest visit.”

Twenty minutes later when Vivi and I arrived he invited us to, “Come in the house!” as only The Wise Old Owl would do.

6. Parenting tip

When your toddler is talking to you nonstop and begging you to play with them while you are trying to cook dinner, go to the bathroom, or whatever tell them that you two are going to play a fun game called, “Pretend Mommy’s not here.”

In your mind it will seem like the best idea ever, but in reality it won’t work at all.

7. Humor

Last week on Downton Abbey Lady Cora put Lord Crawley in his place when he neglected to invite a famous singer staying in their home to dine with the family.

She bristled the line, “You will have her next to you at dinner and YOU. WILL. LIKE. IT!”

I made Jan (as he rolled his eyes) hit rewind just so I could watch it again.

Since then, I’ve been saying things to him like:

You will cook dinner for me tonight and YOU. WILL. LIKE. IT!

You will do the dishes tonight and YOU. WILL. LIKE. IT!

So far, he’s really not that into it, but I’m still getting mileage out of the line.

Hey honey! You will massage my feet tonight and YOU. WILL. LIKE. IT!

One can dream.

Now go watch Downton tonight.

YOU. WILL. LIKE. IT!

The Banter Lady

List of Seven on Sunday 4.0: CAKE

1. Last week I learned, that sometimes all the papers, memories, photos, ticket stubs, programs, notes, etc that I have archived in my closet or filing cabinet through out the years come in handy.

You see, my running friend and I are trying to resume our weekly runs together, but we both feel we need a plan. A schedule. An app. A goal. A future event. Anything to get us moving. So the other night I thought back to the Team in Training half-marathon I ran in 2008  to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Virginia Beach. Since I ran as part of a team, we had a trainer who mapped out our training schedule. I followed it to a tee, and guess what? It worked. I finished the race well below my goal time and even used it again to train for another half-marathon the following year.

The archivist in me wins again as I try to mold my old training schedule into one that is realistic (i.e. no long runs) for us. Now if I could only eat less cake this year.

2. Oh, and yes, the runner in me needs to wake up. To date this year, I’ve logged two feeble attempts of interval running on the treadmill while watching re-runs of Friends and Ace Ventura Pet Detective. But this week, yes this week, is the week I take charge.

Must. Get. Back. To. Trail.

Must. Get. Back. To. Trail.

3. When I think about a motherhood and a writing career this year, I am trying to imagine them intertwined. As much as I love the professional world, I think that motherhood is a very natural and important progression in a woman’s career should she decide to have children. Right now, motherhood is my profession of choice, but writing has also become part of that job description. As the memory keeper of the family, I like think of my blog as a natural progression toward a writing career when I am ready to pursue it. But right now sticky fingers, boo-boo’s, and story time take precedent.

4. I am including two favorite photos this week because we celebrated a birthday. I couldn’t decide which photo I liked more — the one of Jan decorating Lance’s cake with a fire truck because that’s what Lance requested, or the one of Lance’s reaction to said cake.

The man was in Pinterest for God's sake.

The man was on Pinterest for God’s sake.

Happy 3rd birthday to our loving, funny, and smart boy.

Happy 3rd birthday to our happy, smart, loving, funny, and imaginative boy.

5. My picture-less moment occurred this week right after dinner one night. Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You came on the radio as I was cleaning up the dishes. I started singing, scooped up Vivian off the floor to dance, and asked Lance if he wanted lifted onto my other hip when he came wandering in with curious eyes. He opted to hug my left leg and sway with us. I belted out the lyrics, and we danced. I wouldn’t want a picture of this moment because it was a feeling — a feeling of nostalgia for my first crush mixed with deep appreciation for the present. Regardless if it was right after the dog made Vivian cry and right before a certain three-year-old wouldn’t settle down for bed, I drank in the moment. I’m not sure when the spaghetti sauce got on my shirt, but I guess it wouldn’t have mattered to The Bodyguard.

6. Parenting tip: Strategically place the books you read to your children at bedtime in a visible location for them to see first thing in the morning. The books might lure your child back into the story since it was the last thing they engaged in before bed. If your child isn’t drawn to the books on their own, ask them a question about last night’s stories or recall a good illustration and have them look for it while you make breakfast. They might just surprise you and become absorbed again. The reward? You get to drink your first cup of coffee in peace. Or at the very least, go to the bathroom.

7. The pictures in number four gave me a true sense of the difference between a man on Pinterest and a woman on Pinterest:

  • A man doesn’t know what Pinterest is — if he finds himself on Pinterest he was only led there by his wife. He will ask no questions, stay focused, and will not get distracted by other creative ideas.
  • When it comes to birthday cakes, he doesn’t give a shit about things like fondant, ganache, layers, or what the dad next to him is doing. He only cares about the smile it will bring to his child’s eye.
  • After using Pinterest, he still doesn’t know what a pin is, he doesn’t want to know what a pin is, and he would never pin anything because if he wanted to find inspiration in the future he would just Google for it and pick the first or second choice he came across instead of shopping around and bombarding himself with millions of ideas that other moms are doing.
  • He will never be disappointed – ever – if his fire truck doesn’t look exactly like the picture.

And that is why I let my husband decorate the cake.

Have a great week,

The Banter Lady

p.s. Happy birthday to my brother Mark on the 14th!! May you have your cake. And eat it, too.