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meatloafI made meatloaf the other night.

Not my mom’s meatloaf recipe, because that would have been too easy. I already knew that one would taste good.

No, this was experimental meatloaf.

I’d attempted an awful meatloaf recipe a few weeks previous. It relied heavily on bulking up its mass with shredded carrots. The result tasted like a sponge. Dipped in boring. Boring sponge.

This one seemed more promising.

In addition to using plenty of seasoning, the recipe had a unique plan of dividing the ingredients between 2 loaf pans, cutting the cook time down to 25 minutes.

That was a really awesome idea, because through the years, the majority of my meatloaf trouble has come from, “cook for 40 to 45 minutes.” Being a procrastinator, that means I start preparing dinner 53 minutes before I need it. And prep always takes longer than 13 minutes. And cooking ALWAYS takes longer than 40 minutes.

My other meatloaf pitfall has been that my meat never thaws as quickly as I expect. It’s very hard to mix all the ingredients together while there are still big chunks of icy ground beef.

Even though it was ground turkey this time, the pattern stayed true to its non-thawing form. But it didn’t daunt me. I scraped off the thawed part and put the still frozen chunks in the microwave on defrost.

While that problem was resolving, I finished mixing the spices and other ingredients into meat that had thawed on time.

While I was doing this, my husband called on his way home from work.

Let me just say something about this. Chris is my favoritest person in the whole world. There is no one I’d rather talk to. But he literally calls at the craziest point in my day. All the kids are home, and the dogs want dinner and I’m chopping things. So I try to just add him into my multi-tasking, because that’s how much I like him.

This time, I managed to do all-the-things simultaneously. I divided the meat into the two loaf pans and popped it in the oven for its 20 minutes. All while finishing up my conversation with my husband.

And you know what? The 2 pan method worked! The meatloaf was totally done in 25 minutes. Obviously the pieces were smaller/shorter, so I had to serve each person more, but my husband loved the flavor. And the kids didn’t hate it, which is basically a compliment from them.

After dinner, Chris opened the microwave to heat up some baby food. And do you know what he found? The rest of the meat that was supposed to be in the meatloaf.


There was a reason those meatloafs were so short. Literally a third of dinner was missing.

And the thing is, if I make it right next time, the family probably won’t think it tastes as good. But with my track record, do we really think that making it “right” is a concern?


Because people always seem to want these things, here is the recipe. My husband took a bite and let out a happy sigh. I asked if it was good and he replied, “It tastes like meatloaf.” This glowing review lets you know how bad the previous attempt had been.

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Flip-Flops and Old Feet

There are few things I dislike as much as wearing shoes. (OK, I hate socks more, but whatever.)

I would go barefoot all the time. Except the rocks on the ground and the restaurants not serving you.

But if I have to wear shoes, I’m at least going to wear comfortable shoes.

Now, I’m not talking about tennis shoes or trainers or whatever you call them. That would imply that I’m athletic. I refuse to wear anything that would make me look athletic. Because if I look athletic, someone might ask me to run. Not happening.

No, I’ve always opted for shoes that don’t really feel like shoes. So in the summer I wear flip-flops and in the winter I wear Toms.

And I only wear the Toms because it’s too cold for flip-flops.

Old-Navy-Flip-FlopsThe thing about flip-flops is that they are awesome. It’s pretty much like being barefoot. And they’re so cheap at Old Navy, that you can have a pair to go with each outfit. Isn’t it a woman’s dream to have a pair of shoes in every imaginable color?!

So when the warmer weather rolled around this spring, I pulled out my faithful flip-flops.

The first couple of days of foot freedom, I did notice the big toe region of my foot hurting a bit. A couple of more days and it was hurting really bad.

I should give you a little back story on this. At some point during the previous year or so, I had experienced achiness in this same part of my foot. It hurt for a while: maybe weeks, maybe months. I put a heating pad on it and eventually it was better. I didn’t care why it hurt, as long as it went away. And I didn’t document what else was happening at the same time. Was I wearing flip-flops? I don’t know. It’s not like I have brain power to expend on trivial stuff like that.

But this time, as much as I hated to admit it, I couldn’t help but recognize the coinciding of pain and flip-flop wearing.

So I got out my heating pad and and quit wearing flip-flops. A couple of days later and my foot was pretty much back to normal.

I’m no doctor, but I think I know what this means.

And guys, I’m freaking out! I don’t even know who I am without flip-flops! They are my summer, foot-loose joy. I am devastated beyond all reason.

Now I have to go shoe shopping for a whole new summer foot wardrobe. Now…


Shopping? Shoe shopping?

I think I’m going to make it.


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Mother’s Day Angst, Because: Social Media

Holidays on social media are weird, you know?

Basically everyone posts about the holiday that we already know we are all celebrating. Like someone announced, “We pause our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this bulletin: IT’S MOTHERS DAY!”

I have this inner hippie or hipster or something. It crops up unexpectedly, causing me to feel extremely resistant about doing whatever it is everyone else is doing. Because it’s already been done, man.

Mother’s Day, for example, people posted pictures of their mom or with their mom. Husbands posted pictures of their wives, declaring her to be the best mom. mothersdayMoms posted pictures of their kids, because that’s what makes them a mom. And even if people weren’t sharing pictures, they gave us status updates containing these same sentiments.

Being a cliche-hating rebel, I don’t know how to handle this.

Obviously, I too am celebrating Mother’s Day, so do I talk about it?

I want my social media presence to be an organic representation of my Instagrammable life, which means I should post. However, anything I could say about my Mother’s Day sounds just like the stuff that everyone else is putting out there.

So if I share any kind of Mother’s Day status, I’m a sheep, just following the herd. (Or fold. Or whatever sheep travel in.)

I can ignore the holiday completely, but then it’s like Mother’s Day isn’t even real. Because if you don’t Facebook it or Tweet it or Instagram it, it didn’t happen.

And if I post about non-holiday related things…

like a picture of my plain Greek yogurt with fresh berries, hand picked from my garden that have glow decoration accessories(but NOT an adorable breakfast-in-bed because that’s a Mother’s Day cliche that’s been posted 20 times before 9am)

…then I feel like a compete Grinch. People will probably think, “She must not believe in Mother’s Day. Maybe she’s judging all of us for celebrating Mother’s Day.”

Plus, I have to consider the pressure on the people around me. Do I want my husband to post a status about how I’m the awesomest mom in the world? If he does, he’s a sell-out, buying into greeting-card propaganda. But if he doesn’t, will people think he doesn’t love me? Or that I’m a bad mom?

To conclude, I should probably add a serious plea to break free of social media angst and be liberated from its control. I should tell you that you’re all beautiful, no matter what you posted on Mother’s Day and to just be yourselves. But I won’t. Because that’s SO been done before.

* Just to clarify, I succumbed to peer pressure and posted all kinds of Mother’s Day related pictures. But my husband kept it cool and didn’t do any cliche status update about my Proverbs 31-ness. He’s rad like that.

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Don’t Do As I Do

It happened again.

Always, always, when I’m telling someone about our newest diet endeavors or the secret that lost us a bajillion pounds, I look down and realize I have a plate of ridiculously unhealthy food in my hand.

A heaping one.


Years ago, Chris lost 70 lbs and I lost a bunch too. Ever after, we kind of got on the merry-go-round of calorie counting and then falling off the wagon. And our jeans slowly got tighter and tighter.

But, since we KNEW the secret to weight loss, even if we weren’t utilizing it, we could totally share our tips with others.

While we ate cake.

The problem is, I love pitch-in dinners (or pretty much any social event where my friends make their tastiest dishes). We have a lot of them at Destiny Church and our people are really, really good cooks. There’s this mac-n-cheese that’s probably going to be in heaven…

So it doesn’t matter what “diet” plan I’m on, when a pitch-in comes around, all bets are off.

Most recently, it was a lingerie party that did me in. Just a bunch of girls, gift bags filled with lacy underwear and plates full of delicious treats.

I had been eating great for like 3 weeks straight. So I was totally justified in having a splurge.

But somehow, we got talking about gardens and then vegetables and then “eating healthy.” And I was sharing about how we’d been doing so great.

And I looked down at my plate: Mint-chocolate cake balls, chips and queso, cream cheese veggie pizza.

So then I felt like I had to EXPLAIN. And the explaining is just awkward. Kind of a “the lady doth protest too much,” feeling. Like no matter what I say, everyone is convinced I live off of Twinkies at that point.

And that’s OK if they think that, except I don’t want to lead other people astray. I’m not here to justify your bad eating, you know?!

I need a T-shirt for pitch-in dinners, with a disclaimer:

**The food on this person’s plate is not recommended for a healthy lifestyle. Do as she says, not as she does.

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Giving Up on Gourmet

When Chris and I first got married, we didn’t hang out with people our age a lot. I mean, I was 20 and he was 21, so most of our peers were just trying to finish high school or college or something.

If we were invited to someone’s house for dinner, it was generally a couple who’d been married for like 15 years and had it “all together.” Their houses were not only clean, but actually decorated. Our house looked more like a college dorm room, complete with put-it-together-yourself bookcases (which we still have 5 moves later, by some act of God).

And they didn’t just cook. They PRESENTED their meals. With more than one fork. I was lucky all my forks matched.

So my expectation of normal was a bit skewed.

Somehow, a few years later, everyone our age caught up to the stage of life we were in.

eating spaghettiThe first time a family with little kids invited us over for dinner, they served spaghetti. I was like, “Wait, you can serve spaghetti?! I could do that.” It was like the heavens parted and angels started singing.

Somehow, I’m still learning and lowering my expectations. Recently, a friend commented that when she had company, she wanted to enjoy them rather that being stressed about dinner. So they ordered pizza.

Again, angels singing. You could do that? My life was revolutionized!

It turns out, people don’t actually mind eating Jimmy Johns or Dominos. What’s really important is welcoming friends into our homes, having them sit on our couches and share our lives.

Hospitality is not about presentation or impressing our friends. It’s about sharing stories, and laughter, and making time for each other. (And clean bathrooms. That’s still important.)

**My dessert cheat: A bucket of vanilla ice cream and a couple of toppings. I promise, no one will think you’re a slacker when they see caramel sauce.

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Devious Dogs and Countermeasures

photo(5)We always get dogs and then wish we hadn’t gotten dogs. Because dogs are super annoying.

We thought we’d learned our lesson with Chester, the grumpy old beagle. But then we needed to get Oliver, my therapy dog. So lesson-learned turned into lesson-forgotten.

And once you get a dog, you have to keep it.

(I mean, I understand that sometimes it’s impossible. Like if you adopt a dog and then realize your throat starts to close up every time you’re around it, that’s something to consider. Or if your landlord threatens to evict you… I get it. But if it’s just that you realize they poop a lot? Not a good reason.)

Because when you get a dog, you’re committing to care for it. JESUS wants you keep that dog, because he made people to be caretakers of the earth and animals (but hopefully not plants, because I always kill plants on accident). And dogs are people too (not really), and they have feelings (really). And if they get ditched, they are sad and confused.

So dogs are for life.

But they are annoying. Because of them, we had to get a new garbage can.

What we used to have was the kind with the swinging top. And I wasn’t in love with it or anything. Because it always swung shut just as you were dumping the coffee grounds in, and then you’d end up with grounds on the lid, on the floor, in your shoes, etc. And the kids only half-heartedly pushed it open as they threw away the foil from the tops of their yogurts. So there were always yogurt foils stuck to the lid.

Basically all the garbage was on the lid instead of in the garbage can.

So it wasn’t the garbage can of our dreams. But when I go to the store, there a lot of things on my list before buying something new to throw waste into.

Chester, the beagle, had become pretty adept at swiping stuff out of this trash can. But he tried to be subtle. If we weren’t looking, he’d poke his nose in and quickly sneak something off the top of the garbage pile.

But lately… Lately, he’d lost even the hint of subterfuge. Also, apparently his neck had grown 3 sizes longer. Because I started to find pieces of garbage strewn around the house when the can was barely half full.

Oliver, the Yorkie, loved it. He was too short to get in the can himself, but he was happy to take the remnants of anything Chester pulled out. For all I know, he was egging Chester on. I just kept picking up garbage and dealing.


Chester got a diaper. A poopy one.

That was the last straw. I mean, I don’t know what that stuff in diapers is, but it’s awful. Like little gel-balls of sticky evil. You can’t vacuum it up. You can’t wipe it up. I don’t even know…

So I told Chris that it was time for a new trash can. One with a foot peddle to lift the lid. I highly doubt that Chester can figure out how to get into that.

If he does, I’m sure you’ll hear about it.

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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

were-breaking-upThe thing I probably hate the most about moving to a new city is finding all new doctors, dentists, veterinarians, etc.

It’s hard to make wise choices when we are unfamiliar with the layout of a city and don’t know a lot of people to ask for recommendations. Every move, we’ve ended up just picking something or we’ve gone with a chain. Because at least we’d heard of them before.

Unfortunately, we haven’t usually liked what we’ve ended up stuck with. Once we’ve gotten used to the city and make some friends who know of good places, we just have to switch again.

And that is actually even more awful!

Because you have to break up with your old dentist/doctor/vet.

Personally, I want to sheepishly just NEVER GO BACK. But the new office always needs my records and apparently it’s illegal for them to ask for them… or something. So I have to do it.

There are awkward phone calls, where I try to make nice excuses for never darkening their door again. Like, “Oh, we just needed to find something closer to our home. Yes. Yes, I realize you have a location only 8 minutes from my house…” UGH!

It’s just that I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’ve been known to stay in an unpleasant professional relationship, just to avoid making someone feel bad.

So. Within the past few months we’ve switched pediatricians, dentists and our veterinarian.

I’ve been ignoring our old dentist’s calls and voicemails. Poor guy, he’s probably worried our teeth are rotting out of our heads. But I just don’t have the heart to tell him I couldn’t handle the guilt and constant up-selling of fancy procedures any more.

With the vet, our old one was a chain location and our new one is a little, local place. Up until this week, I hadn’t needed to “fess” about leaving the old one, but now Chester’s shots are overdue. So I had to make the call to get his immunization records faxed over.

I rationalized that the old vet is a chain, so they probably don’t care one way or the other, right?

They answered the phone, “How can I help your fur-baby?” Gah. The guilt!

But I was cool. I asked for her to fax Chester’s records “somewhere.” When she asked where to send them, I simply gave her the fax number.

Then she said, “What company is this going to?” DRAT DRAT DRAT

I told her the name of our new vet and then she added, “By the way, it looks like Chester is overdue on his shots.”

Seriously! Stop with the caring, already. I’m dumping you! Don’t you get it?

I mean, so far, we love all of our new dentists/doctors/vets. So it’s worth it.

…Right? Tell me it’s worth it.

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How to Smell a Baby

Babies smell awesome. I should know. I smell one every day.

Now, I’m not talking about poop-smell. No. Poop-smell exists to weed out the weak, the unworthy.

But the good smell. Oh man. If you could bottle that and sell it, you’d be a millionaire. It smells like happiness and joy, and (in my baby’s case) coconut oil.

Now, there is an optimum way to smell a baby. You can’t just walk up to an infant and sniff. I mean, it wouldn’t be bad if you did, but you’d miss out on the full experience. photo(4)

How to properly smell a baby:

1. Find the sweet spot. This is typically located between the cheek and ear. Or sometimes on the neck.

2. Press your nose and lips to the sweet spot. It helps if your nose is slightly smashed into the sweet spot.

3. Kiss and inhale at the same time.

You have officially smelled a baby.

You are now addicted.

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Shy No More

Shy-peopleThe other night, I commented to a group of friends, “I’m shy.”

I’ve been saying some version of this for years: “I’m shy until you really get to know me.” Or, “I really am shy, but I’m just good at faking it.”

The thing is, I think I’m wrong. I’m not shy at all.

I’m just potentially awkward and sometimes anti-social. Which is totally different.

I think I must have declared myself shy before I heard of the concept of introverts and extroverts. Growing up, I just thought, “Everyone I know always wants to hang out and PARTAY! And I just want to sit home and watch a movie. I must be shy.”

No. That’s not shy.

Sometimes, when I’m talking to people, I don’t know what to say. But I keep talking anyway. Because that’s what I do. Or, I stop abruptly, because their eyes are glazed over. So that’s awkward. But not shy.

It was a couple of weeks ago when it started to dawn on me that I might not be shy. I was talking to someone, who said that she’d heard when a person is shy, it’s a form of self-obsession. Because they are always worrying about what other people think of them.

Not trying to hate on actual shy people. But what I just shared is obviously scientific FACT. You can tell, because I heard it from someone, who heard it from someone. And that’s how FACTS are proven.

But I started to wonder. Because I have lots of faults, but worrying about what people think about me isn’t on the top of my list. Mainly because I forget to worry about it. When I do find out that people think something about me, I’m always very, very surprised.

Whether they think nice things or what could be construed as not-so-nice things, I just kind of marvel that they used brain space on me at all. So, it’s actually very thoughtful of them, either way.

But it’s weird, because I’ve self-styled myself as shy for years. Realizing I might actually not be is like an identity crisis or something.

Instead of saying, “I’m shy,” what do I say now?:

“I’m a bit awkward and need copious amounts of alone time in order to avoid feeling like an insane person.”

It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Or, I could just let them figure it out for themselves. But that would require people to be thinking about me, which I doubt they really have the time for.

It was so much easier when I was shy.

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My Country Song

nowsongI only listen to country music when I go to the dentist, because he likes to add to the torture. But I am very concerned about people in Nashville. They must have the saddest lives.

Today, I think I empathized with them a bit.

Well. Actually it started yesterday, which was a snow day.

Not the…

bundle up, go sledding, build a snowman, come inside and have hot cocoa, curl up by the fire and watch a movie… kind of snow day.

No, only kids get those kind of snow days. Moms get…

“I’m bored,” piles of wet clothes, whining because the glove is missing, arguing over the Xbox, “why didn’t you buy hot cocoa?”, no personal space… kind of snow days. Which are not quite as exciting.

So, while I should have been doing happy dances because JCPS had declared the roads drivable and everything was going back to our regularly scheduled programming, my minivan thwarted me.

(The fact that I even have to say “my minivan” should have been enough for a sad country song.)

But, as if my imposed soccer mom status wasn’t enough, it also decided to freeze its automatic doors shut.

This wasn’t really a shocker, since it had been tormenting me this way all winter. Ironically, it only froze shut on the side that the baby-carrier base was strapped in. And it wasn’t satisfied with just a door that wouldn’t open. When it refused to budge, the internal sensor decided the door was indeed open, and felt compelled to warn me of impending doom. By beeping. All the way to school.

Eventually by shoving on the door, I convinced it that it was shut.

With the beeping stopped, and since we didn’t have hot cocoa or milk or bread, I followed the school drop-off by going to the grocery store, before our lives came to a grinding halt via another snow day.

You know I wasn’t going to touch Enoch’s door again, and risk the beeping. So after struggling to get him out by crawling across the seat from the opposite side, I tried to get my reusable grocery bags out of my trunk. Turns out, that was also frozen shut. The trunk is kind of important for grocery shopping, but whateves… I was in too deep to stop now.

After I had successfully purchased the hot cocoa and other necessities, I loaded the baby back in and shoved all the groceries into the front passenger seat.

I just wanted to drive home. But now the sensor for the trunk was going off. Eventually, I just gave up and drove home. Beep. Beep. Beep. All. The. Way.

When we arrived at our house, the back door (that’s been sticking recently) refused to open, so I lugged the baby carrier across the snowy yard and through the icy bushes to go in the front door.

And did I mention that I forgot my gloves? And that I spilled my coffee coming back into the house? But that’s OK, because the coffee had gotten cold anyway.

This is my sad country song. But I’m singing, “amazing grace” and sipping my beer cold coffee with my dogs at my feet. I’m praying for the soldiers. And it’ll all be OK, because I’ve got my pickup truck minivan to see me through.

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