Actual Things: Embarrassed Car Singer

Yesterday I was invited to a networking event at a fun little restaurant where I met a group of women (and few men) to talk about projects and upcoming fundraisers in KC. It was quite an anomaly to be somewhere on a school night meeting cool new people and talking about actual work projects. As I was driving home around 7:30, I was really feeling like a cool grownup writer and blogger, instead of a frumpy mom who’s been basically a shut in for the better part of two years. Like any cool grownup would do, I stopped right before my street (so my husband and kids wouldn’t know I was home yet) and played my cool grownup music (Ben Folds Five) while I just kind of bobbed my head, passionately singing along and mindlessly looking at my phone, coolly. Next thing I know, this lady comes out of her house and is (rightly) like, “What are you doing?!” and “Can you not?!” and “I just got my baby to bed!” First of all, do you realize HOW LOUD AND FOR HOW LONG I had to have been blaring Ben Folds to elicit this poor young mom to come out of her house in the dark and confront me? Needless to say, I’m mortified. My first instinct was to just move to a different neighborhood, but this morning I opted to drop off an apology note and a couple Starbucks gift cards. Honestly though, if some dummy woke up my new baby with unnecessarily loud acoustic music on a random Wednesday, I don’t know if there would be enough Starbucks in the world to make up for it. In my note, I assured them that I would be doing my car singing outside my own house from now on, and I almost added that I’m still available for birthday parties, but I didn’t know how well that would go over. So in conclusion, I absolve Ben Folds (and the other 4) from any blame associated with my behavior. I, alone, was Rockin’ The Suburbs. I was doing it of my own accord and I hereby formally apologize to any other families who may have been affected by my actions last night.

Sincerely,

Embarrassed Car Singer

#ActualThings

Spare me, Liar. (Alternate title: I Whistle A Happy Tune.)

When one of my daughters was 9, as I was tucking her into bed she asked me, “How come you’re not afraid of anything?

I said, “What do you mean?”

She said, “Like, how come you’re not afraid of spiders?”

I told her that I’m not entirely sure, but I think it has something to do with the fact that as a child my best friend (and step-aunt – yes we have a weird family tree -) Marisa was really afraid of spiders and she was littler than me so I pretended not to be afraid, just to make her feel better when she had bad dreams. So I concluded that maybe I just tricked myself into not being afraid? Whether the fact that I’m not afraid of spiders is a result of that or just a coincidence, I guess I’ll never really be sure.

Coming full circle, this technique totally backfired when I tried not to pass along my lifelong phobia of snakes to my young daughters by going out of my way to say how “cute” and “fascinating” reptiles are when they were toddlers. This led to them shoving library books in my face and innocently exclaiming things like, “Look, Mommy! A picture of a snake! Your favorite!” Cut to me breaking out in the full meat sweats covered in hives. Just a simple picture in a children’s book would send me reeling, literally feeling the saliva drain from my mouth and the blood drain from my face as my entire back wet through my shirt and I started doing some weird panic version of heavy lamaze breathing. (Is lamaze breathing redundant? Would you still get the point if I had just said lamaze? Also remind me to someday publish my 600 page book of essays entitled, “Why I Can’t Go Back To That Library.” Spoiler alert: there’s more than one library.)

When the girls were older, we once got invited to a friend’s uncle’s farm in the country and it was like that horror scene from the National Lampoon’s Vacation movie where I looked over and saw my children playing with a F*CKING BUCKET of baby black snakes. You know…black snakes…the “harmless ones.” Harmless, that is, if you don’t have an automatic vomit trigger from fear and anxiety. I was too paralyzed to scream before I felt my knees start to waiver and my innards upheave, but I’m here to tell you ladies and gentleman, that I did not yell, puke, or faint, BECAUSE I’d been training for so long in case such a moment should arise. Poise-wise, it was my Jackie Kennedy at the funeral procession moment. Methinks I shall never summon a more courageous portrayal of “normal person doing fine” again; it was truly the performance (and bowel retention) of a lifetime.

That whole “fake it til you make it” thing is really misleading because it implies that if you fake it long enough you’ll eventually make it. In my experience this hasn’t always been the case. Marisa is still afraid of spiders, and yet I’m not, but I’m still afraid of snakes. (If you’re wondering how much appreciation she has for my sacrifices on her behalf, a couple of years ago she bought my kids souvenir cups at the Sedgwick Zoo in the shape of Boa Constrictors. She “swears” she thought they were “elephants.” OKAY, MARISA.)

Honest question: how many of you have intentionally lied to your kids about something you intensely fear/dislike to spare them the bad feelings you had to overcome?

Maybe the “making it” part of the old adage is that even if we couldn’t truly overcome our inner fears, at least we tried and hopefully didn’t pass our burdens onto our children unnecessarily. Then again, what if I’m just teaching my kids to be liars and telling myself it’s a means to an end of not having them absorb my fears? Also, how bad will I feel if one of them gets bitten by a snake?

 

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I’ve Been Poisoned.

 

Hello you,

Thanks for being so patient with me as I upended my entire life. Quick recap: I got remarried last year and am the proud bonus mommy to two extra daughters, bringing my total to 4. My husband and I refer to them as The Blondetourage. They are so close in age that they will all someday be in high school at the same time. Please start praying for us now.

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I’m honored that you’re checking back in with me after all this time. I have journals filled with topics I’ve wanted to talk about with you. Whenever I’ve thought about sitting down to write to you, my brain swirls with words that evoke very deep emotions within me and I get caught in a rip tide of memories that can never fully reach the surface; words like divorce, one-bedroom apartment, going back to work, making ends meet, child support, coparenting, betrayal, lawyers, courtrooms, humility, disappointment, and abandonment by friends I thought would stand by me through anything. I pride myself on the fact that what I share with you is real, so trying to sugarcoat anything just for the sake of explaining it seems like a boring waste of time for all of us.

But today I feel inspired because I have something important to declare…

Happily, I’ve been poisoned.

With Botox.

These past few months trudging through the trenches of blending a family of 6 during the unprecedented restrictions of life in quarantine, I’ve often lamented, ‘when, oh when will this deadly virus be over so I can safely leave my home to go pay someone an exorbitant amount of money to inject poison directly into my face?’

And today was finally that day. Vain and frivolous? Obviously. A sign of return to normalcy? Also yes.

I’m telling you this because writing makes me really happy. Your feedback makes me feel seen and understood. Your comments make me laugh out loud. I’ve missed you so much. Let’s get back to sharing and laughing. And in the words of one Mr. James Buffett, “If we weren’t all crazy, we’d all go insane.” (Source: Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes)

Expressive and expressionless,

Emily

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KC Live: Sick Beats, Hot Jamz, and Cool Holiday Toys (Must-Have List!)

So because something always seems to happen right before I’m booked for a segment, I was suspicious of how smoothly my morning was going. Then my four year old got out of bed to come say good morning and I realized she had cut her own hair into a mullet last night while the babysitter was over. Some people may view this as no big deal or a rite of passage, but I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut and I wanted to scream. Rightfully, Savvy was very ashamed and upset, but as I comforted and reassured her, my husband quietly and correctly saw that inside I was getting very close to having a stroke. As she shuffled off to find her doll, I could see the terror in his eyes as he braced himself for the white hot rage that was clearly steaming out of my pores. Luckily, there was no time for me to throw a fit, so I bottled it up to let it ferment like a fine wine and headed to the TV station. Continue reading

KC Live: Blinded By The Light (And Cool Products for Parents made by Parents.)

Actual things that happened before this segment: at 9pm on Sunday I realized I needed a drill to put together the Tot Tower. My husband was on a plane to Chicago and our drill is MIA and probably dead, but luckily my neighbors are an incredibly nice Canadian couple with grown children and the husband was able to come over and help me put it together. He really had the best joke when I said, “thanks! I’ll give you a shoutout tomorrow!” and he said in his endearing Canadian accent, “Oh, hey, don’t do that. I don’t want people saying I was over screwin’ at the neighbors house.”

Cut to Monday morning: after making breakfast for two dogs and two kids, packing lunches, dressing Avery in spirit wear, packing not one, but two halloween costumes for Savannah’s preschool party, showering, doing my full hair and makeup, going over my talking points and loading my car with all of the things for my segment, I was trying to get us out the door to school with my hands full and my plastic cup of crystal light hanging from my teeth (moms know this move) when I stepped down the garage stairs and splashed crystal light DIRECTLY IN MY EYEBALL and all over my face. I was completely blind for 45 seconds as my eye burned with the fire of a thousand suns. My brain went into damage control denial, like, “This is fine. I’ll just wear sunglasses for the segment and go to the ER afterwards. I can totally drive with one eye.” Luckily I regained vision in time to see the tributaries of black eye makeup streaming down the left side of my previously contoured face. But there was NO TIME, so I grabbed an old paper towel off the floor of my car to wipe off the black makeup before it dried, made it to school drop off, then went to the TV station where I had approximately two minutes to fix my face before I was on live TV, 8 minutes into the show.

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Those Aren’t Your People

I know I said I’d post my TV segment details yesterday, but I have something else on my mind so that’s going to wait.

I recently spent a few days with our friends’ preteen daughters and they had lots of questions, everything from what I was like when I was their age to what I’d change about my appearance. They were so pure and yet so cautious of being judged. It got me thinking back. I once read something to the effect of, if you don’t have a weird friend, you are the weird friend. Continue reading

Sh*t My Kids Say: Fallon/Hilton 2020

Sometimes in the pool we play trivia and the girls (Avery 6 and Savvy 4) take turns “impressing” me with their knowledge while we float around…

Me: Who’s the President?

Savvy: JIMMY FALLON!

Avery: Donald Trump.

Me: And who was president before him?

Avery: Obama.

Savvy: OBAMA!

Me: And who was the other candidate besides Donald Trump? Remember? The woman candidate?

Avery: I don’t know…

Oh wait, yes I do! Celery! Celery Hilton!

Me: What state do we live in?

Savvy: AMERICA!

Avery: Kansas. Duh, Savvy America is where the President lives in the White House.

Me: I think you mean Washington DC.

Avery: Yeah. It’s super far away in Canada.

Me: Um, okay switching categories…What does Bonjour mean?

Savvy: YELLOW!

Avery: It means Hello.

Savvy: THAT’S WHAT I SAID!

Me: How do you say Hello in Spanish?

Avery (high-pitched): Yoo-hoo!

On the way out, Avery took a drink from the fountain and then helpfully notified the children and mother nearby that “This water fountain tastes like martini water.”

So I guess the take-away is that what Savvy lacks in knowledge, she makes up for in supreme confidence, enthusiasm, and volume. And I don’t know what to do about Avery, but I do know that my new alter-ego is a socialite named Celery Hilton who drinks martini water at the pool and calls out “Yoo-hoo!” to greet people Spanish.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from Summer Seventeen so far:

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