Category: comedy

Today was the first day of the annual road-trip that Amber and I take with our kids. We got up early, loaded my car to the literal brim with kids, beach bags, snacks, and the like, and after MUCH anticipation we finally hit the road.

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In case you missed it, last week I shared all about this tradition that we’ve started, and a few things we’ve learned over the years (the hard way). You can read about our past triumphs and tribulations here.

This year is a little bit special though, because we’ve decided to pull out all the stops. We’re going big, partly because we just wanted to, and partly because we threw the idea out there only halfway seriously, but then failed to plan anything else before it was time to actually go.

So it’s really happening.

We are going to Disneyland, people.

That means a 12 hour drive across state lines.

In the same car as the children.

It is either the best or the worst idea that we’ve ever had.

We told them this morning, and the kids had no idea, which was nothing short of a miracle because I have a hard time keeping a lid on fun surprises because EXCITEMENT and FEELS! So we waited all the way until today, and we let Teya (Amber’s oldest, who is 12 now, and opted for middle school church camp instead of the road-trip this year) tell them so she still felt involved on some level.

There was an excessive amount of hooting, hollering, and cheering upon hearing the word “Disneyland” so Amber and I were sufficiently pleased with ourselves. Read More…

If you know me well at all, you know that there’s nothing I love more than sleeping in. Maybe that makes me sound like a lazy, slothful woman but I may as well own it because it’s the honest-to-God truth. If you ask Husband about how much I love my sleep and he’ll shake his head and mutter something about how he’ll “never understand.”

Husband could never possibly understand though, because he has the terrible misfortune of being physically incapable of sleeping in. On the rare occasion that he can manage to keep his body down for more than 7 hours, it punishes him by waking him up with a terrible headache that lasts for half the day. He may actually be allergic to sleeping in. It’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.

He’s not only up with the birds each day, but adding insult to injury, he also wakes up with the sun shining out of his butt. I mean, really. He’s relentlessly cheery in the mornings. Don’t ask me about it or I’ll just shake my head and mutter something about how “I’ll never understand.” Read More…

This may come as no shock to you, dear readers, but I am a simple person. And while we’re being honest, I’m also pretty fearful in general. And okay fine, a little stubborn too.

With every big decision I’ve made in life I’ve waited until I absolutely, undeniably, know in my knower that I’m sure about it. And even then God usually has to spell it out for me with a big sign saying,

Yeah, umm, did you miss the memo on the TPS reports?” 

“JUST DO THE THING already.”  

(Also, yeah, God quotes Office Space to me sometimes. It’s not weird.)

I often need to hear the same advice from ten different people in ten different ways before I’m finally like “Yes! I see it now!”

What can I say? I’m a little slow on the uptake.

Just ask my sister.

She’s 7 years older than me, and therefore at any given time has always been one whole stage of life ahead of me. She’ll always offer up golden nuggets of wisdom like, “Sister. You should never, under any circumstance, wear white athletic socks unless you’re going to a gym to work out or a field to play a sport.” Sadly this is how we would refer to it: “Play a sport”, because neither of us know the first thing about any one sport, other than the fact that they usually take place on a field. (This does not bode well for me in my Fantasy Football league but I refuse to quit playing, because stubbornness, remember?)

Or she’ll say, “Sister. You need to have a micro-planer in your kitchen drawer. What are you going to do, BUY fake grated Parmesan? Absolutely not. You grate it yourself. With a micro-planer.”

Or, “Sister. You’re in your 30’s now. You really should start using wrinkle cream. And for the love of God, wash your face each night before bed! Don’t you know that every time you sleep with makeup on it adds seven years to your face?” Incidentally, I feel that this is a gross exaggeration on her part. Then again, I could wake up tomorrow and realize with horror that I have the face of an 86-year-old woman because of all those times I was too tired to wash my face before bed.

Whenever she gives me advice, I’ll nod in pretend-agreement and then go on to totally ignore it for the next three years or so until I inevitably realize that she was, in fact, correct.

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I recently had the rare opportunity to give my big sister a little advice of my own. She sat on my porch with teary eyes and a shaky voice, questioning whether or not she should pursue a particular opportunity. She wanted it badly for herself, but it felt risky. She worried about failure or looking foolish.

You should know that Sister is a lot like me. We both need God and the universe to make things obvious for our tentative hearts.  We find comfort in the redundancy of signs all pointing to the same thing.

As she explained the details of the situation to me I couldn’t help but laugh, because it was so obvious to me from the outside looking in. I grabbed her shoulders, looked her squarely in the eyes, and said “Sister. YES. Don’t you see it? God hasn’t just opened the door he’s taken it off the hinges. Walk through it!”

By the way, she did, and it I’m happy to report that it all worked out in her favor. Then as luck and fate and God would have it, I soon found myself having a teary, shaky moment of my own. I felt stuck in a creative rut. Writing was something that had always been breezy and fun and casual for me but suddenly it was complicated and difficult. I began to question whether or not I should really even be pursuing this dream at all.

“It all just feels too risky,” I commiserated aloud one day to my writing group.

One of them immediately responded with, and I quote, “Stop it. Get out of your own way. Get your butt in that chair and write. God has apparently taken the door off the hinges for you so start running through it! Go on.”

You guys.

She said my own words back to me, almost verbatim, and I nearly choked on them. If it was redundancy I needed, the universe was surely giving it to me.

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But I’ve got to say, I’m starting to wonder about all this redundancy that I assume I so desperately “need”. (Those are air quotes, by the way. I’m using them ironically.)

I’m starting to wonder if maybe there’s a better way. Read More…

Can I tell you a secret, dear readers?

Lately God has been whispering to me of big and brave things.

A dream, I guess you might say. One that was always there, but until now has remained safely tucked away in the quietest corners of my heart. I must say, I rather liked it there, where it was unacknowledged and safe, requiring no risk on my part.

You see, I’ve never really been a big fan of risk. I actually happen to be in a very long-term, exclusive relationship with my Comfort Zone. We have an unspoken agreement not to stray from each other’s side.

Yet here I find myself, in a season of change. A season of knowing, whether I’m ready to or not. God is slowly, inexorably drawing The Dream up and out of me. It’s exciting, yes, but also uncomfortable. Like a needle pulling a thread up and through as he sews it into the fabric of who I am.

For me, The Dream has always been writing. This is no surprise. I’ve spoken about it here often, bringing you guys along (whether you like it or not) as I’ve begun to sort this dream out for myself.

Besides, is it really any shock that I would go so far as to write about wanting to write? I am an over-sharing, unfiltered kind of person who feels the need to talk to everyone about everything that happens to me. We know this. Let’s just say I’m working on it and chalk it up to art imitating life… imitating art. Or something like that.

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I’ve shared with you how this writing journey has felt much like a dance, to which I do not know the steps.

How it was slow and cautious at the first, with me learning to trust and let God lead. That I moved more freely once I finally realized that it wasn’t about how I looked as he spun me across the floor, it was about what was happening right there between us. I told you when my heart quickened with the pace and I felt as if he’d winked at me and whispered, “The dance floor is ours. Hold on to me, and let’s go.”

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All the while he’s been pulling that needle, up and through, piercing my heart with The Dream; at each turn leading me further out and away from my Comfort Zone.

At first I only had an up-close picture of the tapestry he weaved. Just this one little square space, two inches from my face. “This spot right here. This is where I want you to work,” he whispered.

I busied myself in my little writing space and I loved it.

I realized in one breathless and audacious moment that I actually had something to offer here.

I could make this space lovely and in turn it could make me come alive.

And then of course, as soon as I started to get comfortable with this version of The Dream (my version), it began to shift and change. It grew. Suddenly that neat little space that was two inches from my face fell away to a tapestry that was much larger and more lovely than I’d ever dared to see. Read More…

If  you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you already know that I secretly (openly) love Taco Bell. Now that I’m a grown adult I realize the folly in this unrequited love affair. I know it’s not good for me. I know there’s something better out there. In my heart I know that Taco Bell isn’t going to enrich my life in the way I deserve, so I reluctantly cut it out for periods of time. I tell myself it’s over. For weeks and even months I manage to quit cold turkey. These tend be terribly bleak, dark days and life in general becomes quite lackluster.

But I rally.

Because like I said, I am an adult.

“I am a strong, independent woman!” I’ll say as I speed past it’s shiny billboard advertisements, remembering to look back in my rear view mirror with disdain. I remind myself how the ingredients at Del Taco are so much better (real cheese!). I distract myself with fancy Chipotle bowls. I even go slumming with cheeseburgers, just to see how it feels. But like any torrid love affair, I just can’t seem to stay away.

However shameful, my love of Taco Bell runs deep and can’t be denied. What can I say, the heart wants what it wants. As a result, I’ve been ordering and eating Taco Bell for the better part of 34 years. Look, I even had a birthday party at a Taco Bell when I turned 8 years old so… I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I know my stuff.

The point is, I’m here to help.

There is a right way to eat Taco Bell and there is a wrong way. There are Taco Bell food groups. There are guidelines that should be followed if you want to get the most out of your $3.00-$7.00 meal. Read More…

You know how there’s always that one family member who sort of baffles you? The one that drives you crazy with their dramatic displays, yet lures you back in every time with their neediness? That one fringe member of the family who’s slightly unhinged, fiercely loyal, and definitely whack? The one that you don’t quite know how to handle but whom you also couldn’t live without?

For us, it’s Scouty. image

As most of you already know, we adopted him as a puppy from the humane society last year and he’s already given me more fodder for blogging than I’d actually appreciate.

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He is by far the quirkiest Salhus yet, and that is saying something. Don’t let this puppy picture fool you- he’s a giant beast of a thing, but somehow he’s convinced that he’s not physically capable of jumping up into the car, which means that on the rare occasion that he actually needs to be somewhere, we’re stuck hoisting his big hairy butt into the car ourselves- a fact that causes me to curse under my breath every single time.

He makes more eye contact than any dog I’ve ever met. He’ll maintain extended eye contact for as long as I let him, but I can usually only bear 30 seconds or so before it gets awkward and I have to look away.

He’s terribly needy and emotional. He also has a bad habit of aggressively smelling the crotch of every person who enters our home. I honestly don’t know how to get him to stop doing this. It’s kind of out of control, actually. I’ve literally caught myself telling a guest as they uncomfortably back away from Scout’s prodding nose, “I’m so sorry. And don’t worry, it’s not that you smell or anything. He does this to everyone”, which in retrospect, really isn’t a great line to open with. Read More…

It’s my first real post of 2016 and there’s so much that I want to talk to you guys about! So much actually, that I realized I need to divide it up into 5 separate posts, so as not to make your eyes bleed from exhaustion by trying to squeeze it all into one. See how much I care about you guys? You’re welcome.

It’s been a very busy few weeks around here. Christmas happened. 15 of my relatives came to town to celebrate with us, which including my local family equaled 25 of us all together. It was quite the Griswold style affair. I hosted our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, so I don’t mean to brag or anything, but that’s a lot of people and if you need me I’ll just be over here high-fiving a million angels because DISHES.

Here we all are, squeezed into one photo in my kitchen.

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It was a lovely time with family and- bonus! It turns out my children thrive on extra chaos. They loved it.

Here’s our own little family on our porch on Christmas Eve, because for some reason that has become our tradition since moving into the Forever House.

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Every holiday we take a picture on the porch. It may feel redundant as the years pass by, but one day it’ll just be Husband and I standing there and I want to document all the years we have with our littles on this porch.

As you guys know, we’d been planning to surprise the kids on Christmas morning with the very big news that we’d be leaving to join our best friends in Hawaii a few days later. You also know that I held on to this secret for an entire year which is basically the biggest accomplishment of my life. I’m happy to report that all my be-labored efforts to keep a lid on it were totally worth it and their reactions fully lived up to my expectations.

They basically lost their minds. It was the best. I really wanted to include the video of their reactions here so you could see for yourself, but unfortunately I’m not tech savvy enough to figure out how to do that so you’ll just have to use your imagination. But just know that it was totally magical.

There was a minor (major) kerfuffle the day before we were meant to leave when we realized that we (and by we I mean Husband) booked tickets to the WRONG ISLAND. Yes, he did. After some very expensive last minute rearranging, and a rather pointless pit stop in Honolulu, we joined our friends in Maui for 9 whole glorious sleeps. In fact, on the plane ride home Husband and I had to recount this together at least three times on our hands because it went by so quickly that we were convinced the whole trip was only 4 or 5 days long. It turns out Hawaii is a strange vortex where time has no actual meaning. The days were long and leisurely but the collective whole of them felt as if they were so fast they’d never even happened. Like some kind of dreamy and tropical mirage in the desert of regular life.

It was wonderful. Read More…

Today I’m writing from beneath the comfort of my favorite new blanket. My friend Megan gave it to me for my birthday and I love it because it is the exact weight that a blanket should be. Just heavy enough to feel cozy but not so heavy that you feel trapped. Lately I keep wrapping up in this blanket and staring out my window while I wonder what to write about.

I think I’m still experiencing a little bit of burnout after writing every single day in the month of October. But I’ve taken a long enough break and now I feel all the words brewing again so I need to just start getting them out (because word-constipation is a real and serious affliction y’all).

As usual, life has been busy and full and hard and hilarious. I’ve written a bit lately about some of the heavier things happening in my heart but luckily for you, today I don’t feel heavy. Today I’m happily wrapped in my good blanket and I’m getting very excited for Christmas morning- mostly because we have a big surprise for the kids this year.

A few days after Christmas we are flying to Hawaii to join our best friends for a week of sun, fun, and hopefully not getting terribly sunburned. This may be asking too much for a family of palies who’s skin is basically the color of blue iced milk, but whatever. As long as there are cocktails with umbrellas I shall soldier on, regardless of what shade of magenta my skin is.

This plan was hatched over a year ago which means that I have kept a secret for an entire year. If you know me at all, you know that this is basically the biggest Christmas Miracle of all. I am not good at faking or lying or keeping exciting tidbits to myself. I’ve almost blown it in front of the kids at least a hundred times. If I can just keep a lid on it for 5 more days it’ll be arguably the biggest accomplishment of my life.

I keep daydreaming about the children’s reaction, envisioning them jumping up and down, squealing, and thanking us profusely while maybe a single tear falls from their unbelieving eyes the moment we tell them, but I should probably reign that in because more than likely they’ll be over-tired or overstimulated after opening presents and their real life reaction may not live up to my theatrical standards.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

There are three more things that bear mentioning here before I crawl out from under my blanket and start doing productive things that require me to move the rest of my body. Read More…

Today I’m excited to share my space with one of my new blogging freinds, Ludavia. She writes over at Nifty Betty and she is all about embracing the beautiful mess of motherhood. I knew I’d found a kindred spirit when she wrote a whole piece about shaving her legs…or rather, not shaving.

Let’s just say she had me at “Let’s get real.” She is funny and sweet and I know you’ll love her just as much as I do.

~Here is her story.~

Yesterday I was rushing to get some milk at the grocery store before nap time hit. I threw on some clothes, packed up the kids, and ran out the door.

I made it to the store (safe and sound- if you were wondering), unpacked the kids, looked down, and noticed that I’m wearing capri pants have the hairiest legs! I mean, Chewbacca-hairy! I thought I shaved my legs. Did I?

~Flashback~

In the shower, it was like I was racing the second-hand of a clock. Washed the hair? Check. Soaped up? Check. Rinsed off? Check. Wait. Did I wash my hair? Oh geez! How long have I been in here? 5 minutes? 10? Read More…

There isn’t a time in my life that I can’t recall identifying as one half of “The Ambers”. My best friend and I share the same name and have been best friends for 30 years now. Maybe it’s kitschy to share a name but I’ve got to say, it’s also proved to be rather convenient over the years considering we have often come as a package deal. 

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Look at us. Just a couple of regular, wholesome Ambers.

We hope we are raising the bar with our name because I’m not sure you’ve ever noticed but there is a definite THING with Ambers. Literally every Amber in the history of film or television has been either ill-mannered, ill-fated, or both. Like a mean-spirited stripper or the dim-witted cheerleader in a horror film who’s always the first one to get killed because she runs up the stairs to her bedroom instead of running out the door front door. It’s tragic, really.

If you’ll humor me, I’d like to share some hard-hitting evidence

Exhibit A:

Amber from Clueless (or “Ambular” if you prefer) who was a total snob, a “valley girl”, and basically the 90’s version of someone who “literally can’t even”.

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Exhibit B:

This one happens to be my personal favorite and is a classic case of an Amber both ill-fated and ill-mannered. Amy Poehler’s recurring role as “Amber” on SNL was overly confident, one-legged, flatulent, and proud of it. She was always going on VHI dating shows and saying things like “Yah, I farted. Jealous?” and “Here’s why I’m the bomb: I’m super fine, I’m round-the-clock-horny, and I got one leg. JEALOUS?”

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Whatever this Amber lacked in appendages she made up for in sass and poor taste.

Next up we’ve got two Ambers who had a rough start but against all odds, are trying to make a better name for themselves…

Exhibits C + D:

Amber from Sofia the First. If you can’t tell from disdainful arch in her eyebrow, this Amber is both bratty and entitled. She’s mean, shallow, and divisive but it’s Disney so they’re trying to give her an arc. You know, have her learn a few life lessons and become a better person.

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And then we’ve got the actual person, Amber Rose, who started out as an exotic dancer/adult film star but seems to have made a better name for herself. This is also a personal favorite because it just so happens that my-best-friend-Amber’s middle name is Rose. I mean, you just can’t make this stuff up.

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Then we’ve got the same story, but in reverse with an Amber who started off well but then lost her way.

Exhibit E: Amanda Bynes as Amber.

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Next up is a whole group of Ambers in film that you’ll miss if you’re not paying close attention. We’ll call this Exhibit F:

The first in this group is an Amber that I cannot actually show you because she was a stripper with a neck brace in the movie That’s My Boy and well…I couldn’t find any decent pictures of her. It was that bad.

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Even in the recent Spy movie starring Melissa McCarthy, which touted some “kick-ass women”,

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there is a scene in which Susan and Nancy are discussing what their spy names should be and Nancy says her name will be Amber Valentine, to which Susan replies, “Why? Is she a porn star?”

You know how labrador retrievers are always named Bo? Well, exotic dancers are always named Amber. It’s the same thing. This carries over from movies to television too. Remember last season on Modern Family when Phil and Claire’s trashy neighbors caused all that trouble? That was classic work of an Amber. (Interesting side-note: Steve Zahn is my husband’s doppelgänger, so maybe I was just destined to be an Amber.)

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Finally, I give you the Amber that is the epitome of this unfortunate stigma:

Amber from the movie The Other Woman.

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She is not the wife of the leading man, not even the mistress, she is the third wench in the equation. She’s always a little slow on the uptake and she’s definitely not the brains of the operation. Her job is to be bubbly, take selfies, run on the beach,

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and do things like play paper-rock-scissors to see who has to sleep with the guy.

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Now don’t get me wrong. This Amber is bangin’. I have no problem being associated with the likes of Kate Upton every now and again. She’s hot and that’s cool and everything, but what’s the deal? Seriously. Can someone write a part for an Amber who happens to be a fun loving librarian? Or a small-town veterinarian looking for love? Or a witty engineer who moonlights as a stand up comedian? Or a doctor? 

Just sayin.

 

image* This is Day 20 of a 31 Day series on Keeping It Real. You can find all of the posts in this series here I hope you follow along and join the conversation! *