Learning From the Mistakes We've Made

This week’s big task is packing for a ski trip to Telluride, Colorado, that Mark and I are leaving for on Saturday.  By “ski trip” I mean that he will be skiing, but I’m opting out this time, and will instead spend my days curled up in front of the fireplace reading and writing.

The truth is, most of our rockiest marital moments have happened on the ski slopes.

Small Steps to Big Change: My Interview with Carla Birnberg

Back in November I attended the Texas Conference for Women and I had the greatest pleasure of meeting and interviewing Carla Birnberg, author of Mizfit and What You Can When You Can, the latter creating its very own movement on social media through the hashtag #wycwyc. 

I was excited about the opportunity to talk with Carla because What You Can When You Can was perfectly written as if it were just for me.  It might as well have been handwritten on spiral notebook paper, folded into a paper football, and signed, “Lylas.”

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This Year Has To Be Different

Y’all.  I’m just so freaking behind.  I feel like in 2016 - while it was a great year for me personally, and I met a few really important goals - there were some hard things, too, and I fell behind on a lot of stuff, and basically just let my house and myself go.  

My house right now looks like one of those you’d see in the TV show, "Hoarders," with newspapers and boxes piled to the ceiling and when the UPS guy comes to my door with my daily Amazon delivery, I answer it wearing my duster and slippers, my hair in pink foam curlers, with a cigarette hanging out the side of my mouth and I don't even smoke.  

I’m tired of it.  This year has to be different.  

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This Is The Worst-Case Scenario

I’m blaming the fact that I’m running late on Christmas prep on the fact that I was still wearing shorts until just last week, and I just cannot force myself to get in the mood until I have to wear fuzzy socks and pajama bottoms when I take my dogs out back to potty (I apologize to any neighbors who can see in my backyard when it’s warm outside, because I tell myself that wearing a t-shirt and undies is no different than wearing a swimsuit and coverup.)  

We just got our first cool snap last week, so it was in the upper 70’s until then.  Now it feels like winter, but this weekend it’s going to be almost 80 degrees.  

Texas weather is a box of chocolates, y’all.

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Dirty Laundry, Doing Less, and Idiots' Guides

Not to air out my medical dirty laundry, but I have a mental condition that you may have heard of:  I have ADHD.  I haven’t been diagnosed by a doctor, but trust me: it’s obvious.

I fill my days with all the hundreds of things I want and need to do, trying to cram it all in, rushing around to keep the house together, letting dogs in and out and in and out and in and out, writing words for this very blog, with the hope of making other moms realize we’re all dealing with the same B.S., and that, yes, they are “doing it right,” whatever that means, and that it’s totally okay that their kids think their name is “Ja-Co-Li-Coo-Dammit!” because - by the end of the day, our brains are just piles of slop.  

Thank goodness for tomorrow. 

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Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

A week or so ago, a young man that goes to my son’s high school was arrested for graffitiing a terroristic threat on the school’s bathroom wall.  I texted a picture of the kid’s mug shot to my son and asked if he knew him, and he said that, yes, he did - that they even worked together, and that he’d given him a ride home from work a time or two, and that he’d told me about him several times.

I’ll tell you what irritates me more than the itch of a growing-out bikini area, it's finding out my son’s been talking to me, and I haven’t been listening.

I immediately searched all the local news media posts about the arrest, not just to fulfill my need for juicy gossip (but that, too), but also because - now that I was paying attention - I realized how close to home it hits:  the guy's being my son’s age, going to the same school, working at the same place, and **gulp** riding in my son’s car.  

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Problems With My Uterus

Sorry I’ve been off the grid for the last week or so.  You may remember that we’ve been prepping for a new addition to our family, and last week, Mark and I drove the six hours (one way!) to pick up our new little puppy-nugget.

We argued for the entire six-hour trip over what her name would be.  

Me:  I love the name Ivy.

Mark:  **Crinkling his nose up in disgust**  But that's a plant.  No.  What about Rio?

Me:  Ew, no.  Rio Braziel?  No.  That sounds like a strip-dancer.  What about Birdie?  Or Bunny?

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Hypocrisy & Other Life Lessons For Your Kids

My teenager asked if he could stay home from school this morning because - get this - he didn’t have any clean clothes, and he even went so far as to say, “...because you didn’t do my laundry.” 

Before you get all judgy about me as a mother and housekeeper, let me say this:  he’s been responsible for doing his own laundry since he was about 13.  

But yesterday - as a favor - I offered to throw some of his things into the washing machine, and he of course jumped on-board.

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Why I Stay Married

There was a time - about 15 years ago - when I threw my bags into the trunk of my car, tears streaming as I vowed through gritted teeth to myself that I wouldn’t spend another night with this man I called my husband.

I don’t remember what we were fighting about, I just remember we were about to leave to go to a holiday party and I had just put a casserole dish filled with baked beans I’d made using my mom’s scrumptious recipe into the trunk, carefully sitting it on a layer of towels to keep it from moving around.  

In a huff, I yanked the trunk open, snatched out the hot casserole dish, trading it for my packed bags.

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I'm Struggling Here, But I Guess It Could Be Worse

I promised my youngest last night that we’d go for a jog this morning, and I immediately regretted making that promise when I woke up because I had a screaming headache.  Since I get them almost daily, I figure I might as well plug on through.  I’d never get out of bed if I waited till I was headache-free*.  Besides, I'm trying to be a role model of health and responsibility to my kid.

We’ve been thinking of cancelling our gym membership because we’ve been paying for a family membership for years, and we suddenly realized:  that gym doesn’t freaking work.  

We’re still not healthy, and we’ve paid that place thousands of dollars. 

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“To the Mom in the Dark Blue Sedan...”

Last week I was about to make a left into the driveway of my kid’s school, and the lady opposite me was making a left, too.  She and I started going at the same time, which would have been perfectly fine, except that the lady behind her didn’t want to wait, so she cut around, putting her car and my car nose-to-nose before we both slammed on our brakes, puckering us both up in the anal region nice and tight.

I realize this would have been my fault, if we’d actually collided.  

I waved in my, “Omg, I’m sorryyy!” at her, dropped my child off, then raced home to get on Facebook and make sure she hadn’t posted something in our neighborhood page about me and what a horrible person I am.

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We're Expecting!

We’re expecting! Not a human, good God, no.  I’m almost 47 years old - my eggs are like the crusty old raisins you find when you pull your oven out to clean behind it once every five years, surrounded with fur and dust bunnies so big, they require vaccinations.

No, no.  The baby we’re expecting is a Goldendoodle!  A petite one so freakin’ cute, I want to eat its little face.  

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I'm not bad looking, and I don't mean to brag...

I’m not bad looking.  Let's get that out of the way at the very start. 

Not to sound all braggy, but I’ve got a mouthful of straight teeth (and I never had braces!), tiny ankles, and naturally thick, healthy nails.  I only recently started seeing a few gray hairs, and I have cute little Fred Flintstone feet.

But I’m embarrassed to say that I stepped on the scale this morning and I’m exactly 100 pounds heavier than the day I graduated high school.  

I'm going to let that sink in for a sec.

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A Day in the Life of My 12th Grade Self

Scrolling through all the First Day of School pics in my Facebook feed a few days ago made me think about how different life is nowadays than it was when I was a kid.  Not that I’m a cane-wielding geriatric, but I’m no spring chicken, either.  

And, let’s face it, if you’ve got kids in high school, you aren’t either.

When my kids come home from school, they’re sucked into the zombie-creating arms of technology.  My 8-year-old doesn’t even put his iPad down when he goes to the bathroom.  

He takes it with him, which launches me into a full lather, because I’m worried the child has addictive tendencies - what starts now as an addiction to his tablet, will surely progress to a full-on addiction to booze and heroin later in life.  

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Back to School: How the 504 Is Keeping Your Kid From Adulting

Let me start by first saying that I’m not judging you if you have a 504 Plan in place for your kid.

In case you aren’t sure what that even means, I’ll explain:  Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  It’s part of the civil rights law, and its purpose is to prohibit discrimination based on a mental or physical disability. 

Basically, it serves to sort-of level the playing field, to give a student with a disability the same opportunities for success as those without a disability.  It’s a list of accommodations offered to students who aren’t eligible for special education services, but their special health needs require special consideration, and slightly different rules.

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Back When ISIS Was A Good Thing

I've gotten into what some would view as being a very bad bedtime routine with our youngest son.  At his bedtime, I go upstairs with him and we snuggle up together in his bed, and read a story.  Then it's lights-out, but instead of me tucking him in and leaving the room, I continue lying next to him reading on my phone or iPad until he falls asleep.

Isn't it funny how people will give you their opinions on this?  "Oohh, you're going to regret that!" they'll say.  

But I haven't regretted it, yet.  

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The Good News Is, My Foot Still Fits In My Mouth

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, or if you've read my book, you know that the battle between me and my mouth is very real.  

From cliche's, which I slaughter to pieces like some sort of harebrained butcher, to awkward small-talk exchanges that are so heavily wrapped in social anxiety, I invariably say something that earns me a furrowed brow and a silent look of confusion.

And sometimes I just get my words all jumbled up.  

We went to Florida last week for a family vacation, and on the way there, I pondered whether I'd fit in my swimsuits or not (I did, but only the super-stretchy ones.)  

I didn't wonder whether my foot fit in my mouth.  But, alas, it does.

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Family Vacations: Memories of Armpit Hairs and Salami

We're about two-thirds of the way to our destination - Panama City Beach, Florida - for a family vacation with my husband's side of the family, who we'll be hanging out with for the next week.  

This is the longest road trip we've ever been on with all four of us, and I'll admit that I was worried about being cooped up in a car for the 12-hour trip, mainly because I remember what road trips were like when I was a kid. 

The main things I remember about those trips was leaning up over the front seat to chitter-chatter with my parents, my mom reading a book in the passenger seat, responding with, "Mhmmm...wow...hmmmm...oh yah?  Hmmm..," my brother announcing to my parents that he could see a hair growing in my armpit, and my dad periodically leaning over the back seat with one hand on the steering wheel, the rest of his body almost completely in the back seat, as he swatted at anything he could with his other hand, shouting, "Do you want me to pull this car over?  Huh?"  

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Dad, You Need to Know What Annoyed Me As A Teen

My teenager was forced to emerge yesterday from his dark hole of a bedroom because it was the first day of summer break, and we had to go get his passport renewed.  

Just a few days before, I'd stood on the front porch, bantering with him as he walked out to his car, watching him pull out and waving goodbye to him as he left for one of his last few days of his junior year.  

He hates when I do this.  

"Why do you do that?  It's so weird," he'll say in a tone that makes it clear he's disgusted by the whole thing.

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