Of Pie and Bravery

Thankful For Pie

I remember my first crush in Kindergarten. I also remember the first and last names of each boy I had crush on in subsequent grades up until middle school when I had THE BIG crush on one boy for like four years. He was the Winnie Cooper of my Wonder Years. I’ve had countless crushes in my life, most of whom never even knew. I suppose that is the gift of the combination of a big imagination and intermittent shots of anxiety to keep you practical.

I know some parents balk at the idea of little grade schoolers having crushes, raising eyebrows and saying how they are way too young for that, etc. But to these parents I ask, do you show your kids Disney movies? Do they relate to the main characters? Because if so, you probably introduced them to the concept of romance a long time ago and it’s really not cool to make them feel ashamed about it now.

I digress…

One of my littles has had a big crush on a boy in her class for a year and a half. Being pragmatic, she’s discussed at length with me and her sister the pros and cons of letting him know. I listen and nod and it always ends in the mutual conclusion that when considering matters of the heart it’s best to ask, “what’s the worst that could happen?” We’ve been through many scenarios: he doesn’t like you, he laughs at you, he makes fun of you, he tells everyone, etc. And each time we talk about these outcomes it becomes clear that any of those responses would prove him to be unworthy of the crush, rendering said crush null and void.

So the other day after school, she joyfully confessed to me and her sister that she TOLD HIM. I said, “Tell me everything! What did he say? What did you say?” Apparently he said thank you and then confided in her who he has a crush on. Spoiler alert: it’s not her. As she was telling me this, I watched her watching me closely for a reaction; anything to nudge her towards a way to feel about it.

I said it’s pretty great that he respected and trusted her enough to tell her a secret of his own. I saw her consider it. I added I’d rather have a friend I can trust than a crush because crushes come and go. She decided to agree.

Later she regaled our extended family about the whole thing, adding proudly, “I actually told him. So I’m braver than one thousand boys.” She knew she couldn’t control the outcome, but she could control the action. Proud momming moment.

Cut to the other night at bedtime cuddles, she gave a little sigh and said, “I don’t think any boys in my class have a crush on me.”

Mind you, I was exhausted, drifting off to sleep myself and vaguely heard myself mumble, “Babe, boys having crushes on you is like unexpected pie. It’s nice when one just shows up, but it doesn’t make sense to miss it when it’s not there. If you’re always thinking about unexpected pie you’ll always be disappointed.” This is about when I stopped myself from going on along the lines of “pie comes and goes but friendship is forever, there’s plenty of pie in the sea, a pie in the face is worth two in the…” nevermind, you get it. Thankfully we both fell asleep.

The point is, my little girl reminded me that bravery leads to truth, and sometimes the truth isn’t what you hoped. Sometimes you think how lucky you are to get an unexpected pie, but it turns out to be rhubarb and you re-evaluate the whole pie thing in general.

You can’t control the outcome of your life, only your actions.

I will leave you with one of my favorite Jack Handey quotes from when I was a kid, which has turned out to be oddly poignant at this point in my life:

Jack Handey On Pie

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Holding It Together: Getting Your Head Straight Without A Head Injury (Preferably)

Yesterday I had six staples removed from the back of my head. (I am going to spare you the gross “before” pictures but let me just say, getting them pried out was no picnic either.)

About a week and a half ago, I was scooting a chair out when I fell backwards onto my neighbors’ stone tile floor. Being one half of a military couple, my neighbor quickly got a first aid kit, applied pressure while keeping me calm, and then determined we’d better call an ambulance. You know how sometimes you don’t realize how bad you look until you see someone else’s expression when they see you? It was like that. I was like, well if this American hero and combat veteran is spooked, then I’m probably screwed.

Turns out it was just a very bloody laceration. (Remind me to tell you about my idea for a CT scanner that releases confetti on the way out if you’re not facing immediate certain death.) Nothing broken, no concussion, and the best part, they didn’t even have to shave my head.
Side note: you know you care about your hair a little too much when you start telling friends you had to get staples in your head and more than two follow up with, *well thank GOD they didn’t do anything to your hair! *wipes tear* You guys just know me so well.

So without getting into too many boring details, this was just one of several things that occured simultaneously, making me feel like I was caught in some sort of blood-soaked porta potty hurricanado.

I recently had a bunch of upgrades done on my kitchen and master bathroom (which I am overdue to share with you, I know, but I digress.) My tile guy has basically become a roommate over the last few months. He’s a very kind, very spiritual man who talks a lot about Jesus and his faith. He constantly testifies and generously gives random words of encouragement, which if I’m being honest, makes my cynical heart squirm a little. But the other day as I bent over to unload the dishwasher, with the searing pain of six staples holding my head together and my life seemingly falling down around me, I was startled by a bald man in a sweat-soaked t-shirt bounding through my kitchen with a handful of tile and the biggest grin in the world, enthusiastically shouting, “HEY! YOU’RE WORTH IT!” before disappearing up the stairs and out of sight.

And while it’s never “fun” to feel like you’re being tested, it can still prove rewarding. Somehow through injury and the various other drama that ensued, I remembered a very important thing; I like myself. I am grateful to be here. I have many things left in this lacerated head of mine to say. And I shall.

So I will leave you with this lesson today: Be they staples in your skull, or an evangelical bursting through your door shouting unsolicited praise, sometimes the things in life that make you uncomfortable at first are ultimately what help you heal.

Alternate Titles:
I Need Another Bad Day Like A Hole In My Head
Heavy Metal
Staples Of The Cross
Jesus Shaves Saves
Floorthumping (I get knocked down, but I get up again)

KC Live: Getting in the Back-To-School Groove and That Time I Blanked Out for like Four Full Seconds on Live TV

Hi guys!

Hopefully you caught my segment! It was a fun one! You can watch it here:

 

Here are all the links you need for where to buy. For behind-the-scenes pictures check out my Instagram @MrsKansasMommy

Cheribundi 100% Tart Cherry Juice

Highlights Write On Wipe Off Books For Kids

mifold Grab and Go carseat

Mead Laminator

Hot Spots Pete The Cat Set

As  always, thank you for sharing and for tuning in!

 

KC Live: Pop Up Pinterest Worthy Spread for Busy Moms and Flower Arranging Tips for Beginners

How to make a pop-up, pinterest-worthy party spread

Catch my segment here for details on some fantastic products and a few tips:

TableVogue – Don’t we all agree I need to order one of these for my future segments?? Also how cute would these be for a neighborhood cookout or tailgate party? Very easy to wash and no ironing required, just toss in the dryer with a damp towel for 5 minutes. My kind of effortless elegance.

Buddeez Party Top Beverage Dispenser – This is a much more versatile option than most of the styles of drink dispensers you typically find, and half the cost. It’s got a streamlined design, practical features, and it’s light-weight and shatterproof without sacrificing the pretty wow factor.

So to me the funniest (and funnest) parts of getting to go on live tv are usually the circumstances leading up to it.

My family has been on a dream vacation  until yesterday (IG @MrsKansasMommy) but it left us all exhausted. Nothing is unpacked. I can’t find any of my hair appliances. This, for me, is a very big deal; I was the weirdo who brought hot rollers to college in the early 2000s at age 17 just so I could rock smooth, voluminous, over-teased curls for class everyday. You can imagine my horror at going on tv with a head full of flyaways like one of those white dandilions children make wishes on. All of my makeup is the complete wrong color for my burnt, crispy face. (Side note: does anyone know what makeup shade Kurt Russell wore in Captain Ron, because that’s what I needed this morning.) I was also without an assistant today so I had to carry everything myself, in new high heels killing off whatever nerve endings I have left in my toes after walking miles at disney and the beach. On the way out of the house I shattered one of my DIY china teacup candles all over the kitchen floor. Smooth move, ex lax. It was also white-hot under the studio lights, so as I was telling you about the elegance and simplicity of fresh flowers, I had beads of sweat pooling up on the back of my neck and cascading down my back onto my microphone which had to later be removed from my sweat-soaked bra by a crew member I have never met before. We’re having dinner tomorrow night.

Kidding! He declined.

As a spokesperson, part of my job is getting to tell you about new or award-winning products from various companies with which I have the honor of partnering. This is great because it allows me to kid/mom-test a lot of game-changing products, but it doesn’t often leave a lot of time for me to show you much of my personal hobbies. Today was so much fun because I got to show you something I’m really passionate about, which is easy entertaining, particularly, setting up a focal point and making custom flower arrangements. If you’d like to incorporate flowers into your decor here are my tips:

  1. Skip the florist, buy whatever is on sale at Trader Joe’s, Costco, or Sam’s Club. If you’re unsure where to begin, buy Hydrangea or Gladiolus. Stick with one color palette to give yourself more pairing options.
  2. If it’s more cost effective to buy a big bouquet full of different colors, when you get home, take the whole bouquet apart and separate them all into color families. Chic-micro arrangements all around the room are much more impactful than one thrown-together multi-colored bouquet.
  3. Choose vases that have a tighter bottleneck shape at the top. This will save you time and money because you don’t need as much filler and you won’t need to fuss with floral tape or rubber bands to keep the blooms nice and tight.
  4. When in doubt, add more greenery. Eucalyptus is one of my favorites. You can see a bunch of my floral arrangements HERE and many of them include eucalyptus, basil, and just plain old branches trimmed from various trees or shrubs in my yard. Don’t overthink it. Just don’t confuse dramatic with messy.
  5. When grouping your flowers and stems, use odd numbers. For some reason it just always turns out better.

I didn’t have time to tell you about my Farmer’s Market Appetizer Spread trick today, but I will try to incorporate it into a future segment or post, as it is so easy and saves so many dishes.

Thank you always to KC Live for having me!

Thank you for being here. I hope you all enjoyed the segment and getting to see a little bit more of my personal, creative outlet side.

If you have an easy party tip, please do share. Cheers to us and to no-fuss entertaining!

How many years are there?

The other morning my newly-turned-five-year-old and I were sitting on the couch watching cartoons and eating Doritos while the other half of our family went on a bike ride.

Savvy was singing the Days of the Week song, which is where you just start with Sunday and sing the days of the week to the tune of Oh My Darling Clementine. Try it, it’s catchy.

Savvy: “I know how many days there are. Seven.”

Me: “That’s right!”

Savvy: “And ten months.”

Me: “Twelve.”

Savvy: “How many years?”

Me: “How many years in what?”

Savvy: “How many years are there?”

This stopped me, mid-chip. It’s such a logical follow up question for a child to ask, I can’t believe I’ve never thought about it before. It gave me a pang in my stomach as I answered, “no one really knows.”

She accepted that answer and we seem to be moving on, but I can’t stop thinking about it. How many years are there? People say “live each day like it’s your last” but to me this sounds as good as getting kicked in the gut everyday. Like, don’t put that kind of pressure on me, you kitschy Hobby Lobby farmhouse wall sign.

Life expectancy wise, I should still have over 50% left of my years to live, but I’ve never really been one to think into the future long term. I suppose that’s what allows me to live in the moment, especially because I’m someone who often finds myself looking back. I constantly tell my children, “don’t wish the time away.” I’m sentimental, nostalgic, and there’s almost nothing I’d rather do than sit with old friends talking about things that happened years and years ago. Many people find this tedious, but to me it’s comforting. There are things that will just always be funny to me, and retelling those incidents and inside jokes makes me laugh all over again, cementing them into the narrative of my life.

I recently watched the Nora Ephron documentary “Everything Is Copy” in which she says one of my favorite lines about life and death:

“It’s very important to eat your last meal before it actually comes up. When you are actually going to have your last meal, you either will be too sick to have it, or you aren’t gonna know it’s your last meal and you could squander it on something like a tuna melt.” – Nora Ephron

In the same way that my stories help explain who I am, I have always turned to songs to explain how I feel. I often play songs from my childhood for my own children. Some they love (Britney) and some they don’t (Tom Petty). But last week they heard the song Seasons of Love from Rent for the first time and they asked me to play it over and over again.

Sometimes the best answer to a question is another question.

How do you measure a year? How about love.

Seasons of Love

Kansas City Live: Fun outdoor activities for the whole family

This was a fun segment to do! I recruited my husband and neighbor for a morning game of HydraPong and I have to say, they stole the show.

This was my first time with the guest co-host Marty, and it cracks me up when I show him the Terra Spyglass and he says, “Wow, the colors!” which I assume was a joke because it’s a telescope not a kaleidoscope. Then Marty said my husband looked “shifty” in his sunglasses, which I had just given him for Father’s Day. Like, dude, I’m the one who gets to publicly critique my husband’s appearance. Also I’ve been legally advised to mention none of the toys I ever recommend to you are toxic.

There’s nothing better than a cringey live tv segment so I hope you enjoy my awkwardness and my shifty looking husband as much as I do 🙂

*Catch my next segment July 25th for summer entertainment hacks! Plus links to shop below.

Floatation IQ

Terra Kids Spy Glass by HABA

Terra Kids Running Hand Glider by HABA 

Educational Insights Bug Bright

Learning Resources Liquid Reactor Super Lab

Learning Resources Beaker Creatures Magnification Chamber

Thank you to all these fabulous companies for providing these summer must-haves!

Also check out my daughters playing with the Super Lab:

 

 

 

Actual Things: It’s the 90s

Mommy and Savvy Plaza Swan
Savvy (4) just came running upstairs from the playroom and said breathlessly: Mom! I have bad news. You know that Barbie from when you were a kid? We found her body.
Me *after taking a beat for dramatic emphasis: So you just burst into my office like this and blurt out that you found her body? No Kleenex? What if I had started hysterically crying from shock and grief?
Savvy *unfazed: Well are you mad?
Me *feigning reluctance: Well I don’t know…is there even a search underway?
Savvy *chewing gum: For the head?
Me: Her head.
Savvy *with the indifference of a DMV employee: Yeah, we can look. If we don’t find it we can put the old Ken doll head on her.
Me *resigned: I guess anything goes. It’s the 90s.
Savvy: Yeah, it’s the 90s.
 
She repeated “it’s the 90s” in solemn agreement, as if I had just said a universal thing people say like, “well that’s life.” Then she gave me a stern little nod, the way men acknowledge one another at the funeral of an elderly distant relative, and scampered off, leaving me mostly amused but slightly unsettled.
Now I’m wondering if she’s going to be on a date someday and the waiter will say,
“I’m sorry, Miss, but we’re out of the halibut, may I suggest the salmon?”
And she’ll shrug and say, “Sure, it’s the 90s.”
And her date will be like, “Wait, what?”
Her: “Y’know, it’s the 90s. Like, it’s whatever.”
Him: “That’s not a thing.”
For the record, “Hey, it’s the 90s” is a quote from the movie Mrs. Doubtfire which was released in the actual 1990s, and I do use it indiscriminately because I think it’s funny. But she doesn’t know that.
Oh well. When in Rome.

Don’t Leave A Message

This is going to be a short post. The reason I say so is less to set your expectations, and more as a note to myself because I have a lot to do.*

(*Post-post edit: Narrator’s voice: It was not going to be short.)

I went for a bike ride the other morning and as I was careening down a hill covered by a canopy of trees, listening to Dashboard Confessional (Hands Down) I had this really intense euphoria of the universe telling me, “You have literally no idea what is going to happen to you! Isn’t that so exciting???” And I instinctively didn’t trust my own thoughts, because usually the future is a mental montage of my own poorly-reenacted life story that begins with a narrator sternly saying, “She always carried an uneasy suspicion she would someday be murdered, but she never imagined it would be by someone so close to her…” Continue reading

Missed Connections: The Extreme Version

I just stumbled across this gem and it sparked a memory.

The year was 2007. I was browsing the frozen foods section at the Sunfresh market in Westport around ten o’clock on a week night. In those days that was the only time I had to shop, since I worked for a political consulting firm that took up roughly one thousand percent of my time and energy. I remember looking at my now-husband’s job and thinking, wow, the sweet life. Mind you, he was busting his ass building a law career so he could someday be a partner, which has come full circle because now he is. He has an amazing, humble, rock-solid work ethic and serves as a daily example to both me and our daughters of how to set goals that challenge you, be a good person, and work like hell to bring your dream to fruition because no one is going to hand it to you. Blah blah blah, back to me. At the time, I thought it was perfectly normal to work on holidays and weekends and compulsively gaze at your Blackberry as if it were the last working oxygen mask on a disturbingly turbulent flight. (Kids, a “Blackberry” is a turn-of-the-century torture device used on young professionals in the early 2000s. Fun fact, the stress of having a Blackberry has been linked to the gene mutation that causes bosses of millennials to be so mean to them. See: survival mode.) Continue reading

KC Live: The COOLEST Bath Toys for Toddlers (And gerbils?)

“So there I was, alone in a Ritz Carlton, crying into my used/hotel-issued ‘luxury’ bathrobe”….is a way I could start more than one story. But for now,  I’ll stick to Monday night. It was my own fault, in that I drank a bunch of white wine and turned on Mamma Mia on Netflix. If you have a little girl and think you could watch Meryl Streep sing this song without drunk-crying, fight me. Continue reading