Super-fun Craft You Can Do Today To Win Room Mom of the Year Award

There’s not really a Room Mom of the Year award.  At least, there isn’t at my kid’s school.  And if there were, I promise you I wouldn’t win it.  

The only thing I’m going to win is a shiny trophy for cutting corners.  

Because that’s what I’m best at.  People don’t know that, though.  

Every year (except last year, because I was overwhelmed and shirked most of my duties as co-room-parent, but thankfully my counterpart was kind enough to let me off the hook, and my son is oblivious, so he still thought I was doing everything for his class, making it a double-win for me) I come up with a craft for the class Christmas party, and every year people think the craft is soooo cute and so hard and complicated.

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A Few Ways To Save Your Marriage During The Trump Administration

It’s a bad time to be non-political, y’all (wait - apolitical? Pan-political? Anti-political?  Non-politics-specific?  I’m not sure which term is accurate, and with all the labels we throw out nowadays, I can’t keep up with all their meanings.  I just know that I’m not interested in any of it and I know that sounds naive and immature, but this isn’t about maturity.  It’s about politics.  And divorce.)

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Here's What Makes This Tree-That-Only-A-Mother-Could-Love Beautiful

Our Christmas tree has been up for over a week, but we only just put the ornaments on it yesterday.  It’s hard to get in the Christmas spirit when we’re walking around in shorts and flip-flops (to be clear, we are also wearing shirts).

This was the first time we decorated with only three of us, since the oldest moved off to college this fall.

That’s such a lie.  

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Silence Is Acceptance

He did it.  He admitted to it.  He did it and I am so disappointed.

Give me this one more day to grieve the loss of who I thought Matt Lauer was and I promise you won’t hear about it from me again.  

There are just a few things I need to get off my chest about it.

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I Wondered Who It Would Be Today

Ok, I just canNOT with all this sexual misconduct, y’all.  I mean - Matt Lauer?  Are you freakin’ kidding me right now?  I can’t even believe it.  

I’ve grown up watching Matt.  But not just watching him, knowing him.  Matt and I shared some laughs - albeit unbeknownst to him - over his Halloween costumes throughout the years.  

We shared tears through the unbearable sadness of the events of 9/11.

We traveled the world together through his annual Where In The World Is Matt Lauer series.

We shared the same disdain for Tom Cruise when Tom used that gorgeous mouth of his to blast Matt with an embarrassing misuse of his vocabulary by calling him “glib.”

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Why You Should Say The Nice Thing You're Thinking

A few weeks ago I was sitting on the train heading into Austin for the Texas Conference for Women.  I spent the hour ride visiting with my new friends, the veteran train riders, and also reflecting on last year’s conference.

Last year, I was honored to interview Carla Birnberg, a local author and blogger.  She and I had a 15 minute time slot, but she gave me nearly an hour of her time, and she’s so easy to connect with, that hour flew by.  

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My Birthday Wish

The story is that your birthday wish won’t come true if you share it.  But I’m feeling frisky, so I’m throwing caution to the wind.

Hopefully, by sharing, I’m not changing the course of my life’s direction, which is something I’ve worried about before:  when I got my driver's license renewed one year and checked the box labeled “Organ Donor,” and I stepped outside the DMV, I was suddenly paralyzed with fear, worried that I’d just set in motion a new purpose for my life - to be the body parts for someone else’s.  

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What Do Joanna Gaines & A Members Only Jacket Have In Common? Nothing. Absolutely Nothing.

Remember I told you we moved to a new house recently?  We moved over the summer to a town about 10 minutes from where we lived before, and I'm just starting to feel settled. 

I'm like a cat when it comes to change. 

The style of this house is a little more modern than our old house, but I don’t really “do” modern.  I love rustic - not country - but distressed, modern-farmhousey, industrial-ish, old-world European-esque.  

Like if Joanna Gaines and Michelangelo’s David had a baby and pushed it around in a steampunk buggy.

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The 4 Things I Learned From Taking a Break

You know how I recently took a hiatus from writing, right?

It wasn’t planned, and I mentally flogged myself daily during the nine months I was away from the keyboard, telling myself I was throwing away the following I’d worked so hard to build, and then mentally arguing back that, “yah, but what’s the point?”, and then mentally consoling myself, saying, “hey, there are always people who tell me how meaningful my posts are to them, so just keep on keepin' on, gurl!”, but then mentally belittling myself with, “I could poop out a basket full of Japanese howler monkeys before anyone would pay attention.”

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Conservative Christianism, Anxious Sweats, & Feeling "Less Than"

As usual when I’m heading someplace important, especially if I’m right on schedule - or more likely, late - as opposed to being early and relaxed, which hasn’t happened since before I had children and has somehow become a habit, just like writing run-on sentences, I start sweating and my freshly flat-ironed hair starts to pop into the most pubic and freakish curls around my hairline.

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Back By Popular Demand

Oh heeeyyy!  I realize it’s been a little longer than a minute since you last heard from me.  

I’ve been on a nine-month, unplanned hiatus during which I pretty much gave up my entire life in service of others (I’m disgustingly selfless), got my oldest son graduated and moved off to college, moved our family to a new home in a new town, planned a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation in celebration of The Graduate, and find myself now pale with dark under-eye circles, greasy meth hair, dressed like I lost a bet, and almost completely unraveled.  

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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.

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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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