Tag: traditions

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time then you probably already know about Let’s Play Oprah.

If you’re new here, (hey! hi!ūüĎčūüŹľ) let me explain: It’s a game we play each month in which I share my top 3 “Favorite Things” at the moment, and then at the end of the month I give one of those things away to a lucky reader.

You’re always invited to share YOUR Favorite Things too, so I hope you leave a comment and tell us all what you’re digging right now. It can be anything- food, products, podcasts, t.v. shows, movies, drinks, music, clothes, you name it. There are no rules, except you must dish because that’s what friends do.

If you’re subscribed to this blog that means you’ve invited me into your email inbox which is a privilege I don’t take lightly, and also why I’ve decided that ALL subscribers are automatically entered to win the monthly giveaway. Forever. The only time your name comes out of the drawing is if you unsubscribe or if you just won (in which case your name goes back in 6 months later).

Sometimes I’ll spice it up by adding extra ways to enter, like commenting on a FB live video or over on IG/Twitter, but by far the easiest way is to subscribe by email, so if you’re picking up what I’m putting down, just scroll to the bottom of this post or to the right margin of the page and enter your email address!

Okay, now that we have all the business out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff!

This month my 3 Favorite Things are: Read More…

Well the third annual Road-trip is officially on the books and I can honestly say it’s been the best one so far. Which is saying a lot, because we spent more time in the car than any other year.

32 accumulative hours, to be exact.

Not that I’m counting or anything.

As I told you guys last week, Amber and I decided to go big this year and brave the 12 hour drive to Disneyland. Which was really more like a 16 hour drive because CHILDREN. We spent 4 eight-hour days in the car (round-trip) and I’m happy to report that the kids handled it amazingly well. There was no melting down. There was no fighting. There weren’t even any complaints of hogging air-vents, or “she won’t stop looking at me!” like we’ve experienced in years past

And bonus: we listened to the entire Hamilton musical on the way, because what the heck else are you supposed to do in a car for 8 hours? Now, I should pause here to admit that I have been extremely resistant to all of the hype surrounding Hamilton. I had no intention of getting sucked in. I had no intention of caring at all. I certainly had no intention of becoming one of those people who are always blithering on about a musical and insisting other people listen to it.

But you guys.

It’s so good.

It really is incredible.

I had chills more than once listening to it.

It was kind of like that one time I thought I’d casually watch just the first episode of Scandal, and the next thing I knew it was 3am and I was in too deep to ever turn back.¬†I’m afraid that Hamilton, much like Scandal, is a polarizing trend. You’re either in, or you’re out. There is no gray area. Read More…

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…

Well I don’t want to jinx anything by saying it out loud, but I do believe things are finally quieting down around here.¬†Our schedules have been so busy for the last two months that I’ve landed in July and I’m not even sure how I got here.

I’m entirely disoriented but I only have 5 days to get my bearings, because the most important week of summer (as far as the kids are concerned) is almost upon us.

It’s here, you guys.

It’s time for The Annual Ambers Road-trip. Read More…

I’ve always said that if vacation is anything like floating around weightlessly in the quiet serenity of outer space, then coming home is like that harsh thud when gravity hits. You’d better buckle up, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I am no longer shocked when, the day I get home from a trip someone gets an ear infection, or I suffer a terrible fall down the stairs while trying to get to my morning coffee, or I accidentally vacuum up the puppy poop that I never knew was sitting in the corner of my foyer. (Yes, I did. And as a compulsive sanitizer, I only have two words for you: FOREVER UNCLEAN.)

So I really shouldn’t have been surprised this morning when I woke up 30 minutes before my alarm to discover that one of the dogs had been sick in the laundry room all night. I should have known. I should have been ready.

This is Re-Entry.

And When Re-Entry also happens to fall on a Monday, you don’t just need to buckle up, you need to¬†gird your loins.

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Last weekend I was able to sneak away with a few girlfriends for a much-needed break from the busyness of our schedules that seem to have reached a fever-pitch as we near the end of the school year. Between sports, house-flipping, day-jobs, writing, school schedules, traveling, birthdays, and deadlines, this time of year always starts to feel a little out of control. It’s that final push to summer break, and it has the potential to kill me¬†dead.

So every May for the last four years we’ve called a time-out. A quick breather to recharge. No kids, no husbands, no cooking, no cleaning, and no carpooling.¬†We made the necessary arrangements, kissed our people goodbye, and ran towards the plane as fast as we could. Which, it turns out isn’t very fast, because when you’re traveling with six other moms everyone brings a snack bag, two extra water bottles, a change of shoes, and a cribbage board. So yah, we obviously know how to party.

We got away and it was glorious. We laughed, we cried, and we solved all of life’s problems before our plane even landed in Vegas.

I know what you’re thinking. Vegas is the seedy underbelly of the free world. We all saw The Hangover. We all know what happens.

But let’s be real here: this was not that kind of a trip. For us it was more about sipping coffee in our bath robes¬†and ordering room service than it was about putting on tall shoes and going clubbing. In fact going clubbing was never even on the table because it turns out I’m physically and mentally unprepared for the trauma of wearing heels for more than 2 hours at a time.

Slipping on a fun pair of high-heeled booties is all fun and games until it’s time to walk. I only made it ten steps outside of our hotel lobby before I was in so much agony, I was fully convinced my shoe was filling up with blood. Although I can’t be sure, because I was honestly too afraid¬†to look.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Vegas, but even finding your way to an uber or a taxi requires a lot of walking.¬†I’d foolishly packed two pairs of brand new shoes, which I can now tell you was the biggest mistake of my adult life. You know things are getting desperate when you seriously consider walking barefoot on what are possibly the dirtiest sidewalks in America, for fear of crippling yourself in the name of fashion.

My feet were in so much pain I was literally walking like the hunchback of Notre Dame. My pinky toe might actually be dead now. I don’t really know because I still can’t feel anything below my ankles.

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I was happy to survive a few hours in my uncomfortable shoes for dinner and a show, but¬†what I want to know is¬†how in the actual world any woman is able to wear 6 inch heels and stand in a long line waiting to get into a club, then have the motor skills to look cute while dancing once inside said club, and then muster the fortitude to walk home afterwards? Is it like a superpower? I feel like the women who possess this superpower are the same women who have the ability to do a perfect smokey eye and a messy bun. They’re like magical unicorns. I will never understand.

In the end all the walking was worth it because we had a total blast. We ate, lounged, laughed, watched great shows, and totally forgot about the all responsibilities waiting for us at home. For three whole days we didn’t wipe a single nose or bum other than our own, which is basically the highest level of freedom for a mom of littles.

While it was a lovely time, I know that going out of town is not always going to be realistic and that’s okay. The trips are fun, but they aren’t necessary. It’s not about where we go or what we do, it’s about¬†being together and investing in our our friendships. These women (among others) have laughed and cried me through the biggest moments in my life.

We’ve shown up on each other’s doorstep with coffee and food when life is hard. We’ve supported, prayed, and laughed each other through everything from marriage to motherhood, births and deaths, successes and failures, and everything in between.

Whether it involves a fun getaway or not, I hope you are able to take the time to invest in the women in your life. These relationships are worth every bit of the care, effort, and grace they require to flourish.

And remember:¬†It’s good to go away, but it’s good to come home.

So if you have children, dogs, or any other variables that serve as potential stressors, just drink some extra coffee on Re-Entry Day and don’t fight the funk.

I don’t mean to brag or anything, but the Ambers kind of nailed it with The Roadtrip this year. You guys. We wound up visiting seven cities in four days with five children. I’m no mathematician but I’m pretty sure that all adds up to WHAT THE DEVIL.

I don’t feel like we were moving at a break-neck pace or that we were even operating on much of a schedule. Like¬†I said, we played it pretty fast and loose in the planning department this year. It just kind of worked out that we were able to squeeze in quite a bit. Plus, it didn’t take us long to realize it was best to keep the troops moving along- because when five kids are tired and bored things can start to get dicey.

I intended to break this up into two posts but at the end of Day 2 I lost my internet connection at the hotel and lost my whole post along with it because it hadn’t saved correctly. Just envision some light cursing, a 5 minute denial stage, and lots of uselessly aggressive tapping of the keyboard and you get the idea. Since I am recapping the whole trip in one post I promise I shall do my best to be brief. (That’s a lie. Don’t you know me at all?)

Read More…

The other Amber and I recently embarked a road trip. Just us, five kids, and the open road.

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Some people might think that sounds crazy and that we’ve clearly suffered a lapse in judgement.

I just like to think we are fun and brave.

The truth of the matter is that other than my husband, she is the only person I could be trapped in a car with for 16 hours (more on that later) and a whole gaggle of children and not want to club myself over the head.

In fact, we might even have a little fun.¬† Read More…