Jalapenos In My Pants

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I’m trying to organize my life, but it isn’t working because apparently I don’t have that skill set.

I can organize other things. Work things. School things. My pantry. But life things… not so much.

I’m like an idiot savant. (I’m not even kidding.)

Take for example my phone. I have no idea where it is right now and honestly I’m not too worried about it communication wise. I’m just concerned about the pictures on it that I wanted to use for this blog post so that I could pretend like I’m one of those bloggers that actually has their shit together enough to make you hate me a little. When in reality I’m just planning on using those pictures to distract you from my short comings (if that’s what they are) by wowing you with photos of my amazing garden because that is something I used to suck at but have some how mastered this year.

I shouldn’t have told you my scheme because it turns out my phone wasn’t really needed since I had already posted those pictures on facebook. I had posted them on facebook so that I could show everyone what a wonderful mother I am. You know, watering my garden, playing with bubbles, stuffing home grown jalapenos in my pants…

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It’s beautiful.

But don’t let it fool you. If you look in my house you will see that I have maxi pad “stickers” stuck to various pieces of furniture and a bedroom door that is locked from the inside with no one on the other side to unlock it.

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I’m not sweating it though because I have long mastered the art of jimmying every lock in the house open thanks to YouTube… and Penelope’s penchant for locking doors and then shutting them. (Thank you hoohoohoblin, you have been invaluable to me.)

I was so excited to spend time with my kids this summer but now I’m over it. Teens and Toddlers don’t mix. They’re driving me crazy and that might make me a shitty mom for actually saying it out loud. But you know… it is what it is.

On a daily basis I have to endure a mashup of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song and a Spotify Five Seconds of Summer Play list playing in the same room at the same time. All the while both of my kids are talking to me at the same time about two different things (Penelope: “I want milk! Mom, I want milk! Mom, Mom, Mommmmmy! I want milk!” Bridget: “Chemical Romance’s concert tickets are only fifty dollars… I want to get my nose pierced. Izzi said it would be cool…”

Then I will have to tell Penelope that no she can not stick her finger in the pencil sharpener while I pour her milk (too late… shit where are the bandaids?) and Bridget that no she can not wear those shorts to Izzi’s house (because they look like underwear) and both of my children will simultaneously let me know how displeased they are with me in their differing but equally annoying ways (Penelope: “Mommy I don’t like you. Go away.” Bridget: huffy-breathsullen-glance-eye-roll-silence).

I can’t take it anymore.

Honestly, I just want a moment to hang out with me. Just a moment. It could even be in the bathroom… pooping… without someone talking to me through the door crack.  Or maybe even just a conversation… talking in the mirror and enjoying how hilarious we are together, the reflection and I. We’ll ignore the sounds of my children as they waft under the door, toddler whining and teen whining so alike yet so different, and we’ll just spend some time together. Me and I looking into each others eyes and not at the blonde mustache that seems to gleam on my face now that I have a tan. ( I should really get that thing waxed.)

We’ll just. Be.

It’s my dream vacation.

Yet, at the same time I feel so guilty about it. I’m coming to terms with the fact that summer is almost over (teacher standards). I have to pay attention to emails again and plan lessons again and move classrooms again. And I’m really excited about it and yet I feel bad for welcoming it. I have less than a month left before I have to go back to work for good, and a stark realization has hit me…

I haven’t done any of that healthy stuff for me that I had planned on doing over the summer, aside from the occasional vagina killing class spin class, a few sessions of yoga and a salad. Instead, I got lost in the art of taking care of my kids.

Weight loss has not been a priority because honestly I didn’t want it to be. I didn’t want to commit to it. I wanted to just hang out with my kids. I was busy not having a schedule and committed to being non-committal. Then there was also that whole business of me not hating myself enough to create an urgent need for a whole “Overhaul Yourself” Campaign. Because let’s face it, those are usually triggered during times of self-loathing.

Unfortunately, this summer I’ve been pretty okay with myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am seriously flawed but I am TOTALLY okay with that… and that makes it really hard to find the motivation for any kind of self-growth.

I’m not sure that’s a good thing. In fact I’m pretty sure that’s arrested development.

I’m developmentally arrested due to my high self-esteem. 

What the hell does that even mean?  <—- (That’s not a rhetorical question.)

But I guess the time has come, before I know it another school year will be upon me and along with it other stresses. I needed to mentally get to a good place. I’ve done that and now it’s time to get there physically. That requires, organization… which also requires communication… which means, I might need to find my phone.

Where is that damn thing?

That leaves me with the ultimate debate…

Should I get up and look for my phone some more OR I should watch another episode of Girls because it’s too inappropriate to watch with kids around and I’ve finally found myself alone in the house during a time of the day that isn’t meant for sleeping?

You know what they say…

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Yeah, I know! I know that’s not what they meant… but I’ll take what I can get.

Typed While Snacking on Graham Crackers

Is it really Friday already? Where did the week go?

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We spent our Fourth of July in Breckenridge with family from out of town. Normally we just drive up for the parade and head back in the same day, but this time we all rented out condos and stayed for the weekend. Our first stop was at the fire station so that we could go on bucket rides on the ladder truck. (Perks of being married to a fire fighter.)

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We spent the rest of the weekend participating in the parade/ Independence day festivities…

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… and just simply enjoying the mountain town atmosphere and each other’s company.

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(Oh yeah, and the bubbles… you’re never too old for bubbles.)

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Unfortunately, Penelope came down with a fever and ended up puking all over our bed during our stay. By the time Monday rolled around the rest of us were coming down with Penelope’s cold. Our out of town family had already left so the girls and I dropped Brent off at work before having a breakfast picnic and heading back down the mountain.

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As we made our way down we descended into gloomy rainy weather that didn’t let up for three days solid.

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The temperatures were in the 60’s but it was a welcome reprieve since we all fell victim to Penelope’s cold. Soup was on the menu and snuggling/Netflix was the only thing on the agenda. With the weather being crappy I didn’t feel too guilty about it. When the clouds finally parted I made my way to the garden to see how it had faired while we were gone and was surprised to see that it had grown a ton in just a few short days!

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This is perfect timing because after enjoying all of the holiday fair my body was craving something straight from the ground.

(Typed while snacking on graham crackers.)

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I’m such a hypocrite…

It’s okay though, because I can feel my arm muscles twitch every time I shovel a cracker into my mouth due to an unusually hard yoga class in which I almost suffocated in my own boobs. But that’s a story for another day…

That One Dimple

Insecurity… it’s a weird thing.

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The other day I was at the pool with Penelope in all of my glory eating Cheetos. Yes, Cheetos. (Lack of weight loss Mystery solved.) It was rest period and I was sitting on my damp towel in a less than flattering position crunching on my snack when I decided to take the opportunity to people watch.

Watching half-naked people in a public setting could very well be one of the most interesting social experiments you can conduct. You can tell a lot about a person by how they behave in their bathing suit… the way they pull at their suits, the positions they insist on lounging in, the way they hunch their shoulders or arch their backs… very telling indeed.

But the thing that stood out to me the most was the universal fact that nobody really cares how YOU look in your bathing suit. Pool patrons are mostly just concerned about how THEY look. Nobody is looking at you and judging you. In fact, people probably appreciate you more if they look better than you do. Because let’s be honest, we’re all a little bit self-centered like that.

Later the whistle was blown and it was time to get back into the pool. I sat in the shallow end with Penelope within earshot of a gaggle of women, all of whom looked fantastic in their bikinis. I was wearing my sunglasses and was secretly scoping them out. Divying up which of their body parts I wish I had… I’ll take her boobs, her butt, and her flat abs. As I was admiring these women I could hear them talking among themselves. The conversation turned to insecurities. “Ugh I hate the cellulite on my butt. I have this ONE dimple that doesn’t go away no matter how many squats I do.”

I decided to check it out. Sure enough she had a dimple. I hadn’t noticed because I was too busy admiring her stomach from where I was sitting. Then I thought about it some more and it dawned on me that we all have insecurities because we are all imperfect. It’s how we approach those imperfections that determines how insecure you are.

It was a shame that lady had such a rocking body but she couldn’t enjoy it because she couldn’t see past that one flaw. Then I looked at myself and all of the things that bother me about myself and I decided that the same rules applied to me as well. Later that day I decided to go shopping for some summer clothes. I’ve been avoiding it because I’ve gained a little weight since last summer.

 

So far, for the majority of the summer I’ve been feeling pretty good in my skin. Then I went shopping and couldn’t find anything that fit right and BAM! I turned into an epic asshole to myself. I talked myself down and convinced myself that there was no use in trying to shop anymore because nothing would fit. (Apparently I wasn’t only an asshole but the middle school bully version of myself as well because I was pretty dramatic about it.)

This only lasted for a day because realized I was being stupid. So I went back to doing my summer thang…

Gardening…

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Bike Riding…

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Having picnics at the park…

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Writing…

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Waking up early to go running…

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Picking flowers…

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and eating yummy food…

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It didn’t take long to feel better about myself.

Insecurity ebbs and flows. Somedays I could give a shit what people think of me because I think I’m pretty great. Then I’ll be a complete asshole to myself and talk myself down.

Throughout writing this blog I have discovered that there is something empowering about not giving in to the urge of talking down to yourself. I find that time is much better spent simply enjoying where you are in the moment… flaws and all.

I Don’t Know What Happened…

Hi guys. I don’t know what happened…

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One day I’m at IKEA and the next thing I know… it’s a week later, my legs are speckled in paint and I have a deep desire to hunt down the previous owners of our house and give them a good talking to about their poor choice of paint colors. (Black trim and brown paint- it took me two solid days to paint over the black.)

I could not, would not stop until this project was finished!

It was an obsession really, but the results paid off. By the time Brent came home from work his man(ish) cave was ready after he put the furniture together himself. He finally had a nice place to sit back and watch his Cardinal’s baseball games. And then during commercials he could admire the Cardinal’s memorabilia he’s been waiting to hang up.

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You can take the boy out of St. Louis but you can’t take the St. Louis out of the boy, I guess.

I owed it to him after all because 1.) Father’s Day was coming up and 2.) He has stayed at home with the kids to let me hang out with my friends a lot lately.

Like that one time I got to go see Wicked!

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(I’m really just telling you about Wicked so that I can post this picture of me wearing lipstick.)

It’s a new discovery, lipstick. I never wear it, but Penelope got into my makeup bag and found the obnoxious lipstick I bought a few years back to compensate for my shortcomings as a woman. I never wore it because it was a bit over kill, but on this particular day when I had nowhere to go I decided to give it a whirl. (After I wiped it off of Penelope’s forehead, of course.)

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And I liked it… kind of.

Maybe I just needed the color after having chosen not to wear makeup for three days in a row. Having gone for so long without makeup meant that there was no mascara residue left over to indicate that my blonde eyelashes actually existed. One swipe of lipstick and a pair of sunglasses made it look like I had actually taken the time to fix up my face. I was impressed.

So I did what anyone does when they are overcome with vanity. I took a selfie. (And then kind of regretted it because it was so… well, vain.)

I was scheduled to see Wicked the next day but didn’t have anything fancy enough to wear to the event. I decided to overcompensate for this fact by accessorizing with a huge necklace and bright lips. It worked and I ended up having a blast that night!

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The day after Wicked was the IKEA day and then all time was lost. Three days and three buckets of paint later I was free to meet Brent in the mountains for the Frisco BBQ Festival.

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Brent’s fire department was participating in a cooking competition to raise funds for our friend, Jason, who just found out that he has cancer.

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Cancer is common among firefighters due to all of the toxins they encounter in fires, so a Presumptive Cancer Act has been passed to make sure the financial burden does not lie on the fire fighter. Jason, however, has a rare form of cancer that does not respond to chemo or radiation, nor does it fit into the CPFF Presumptive Cancer list. Therefore,  treatments aren’t covered and his family will ultimately have to cover the costs out of pocket.

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Jason is the shirtless guy…

(From a far it looks like he’s taking donations to fund his protein shake habit.)

He’s shirtless because a few ladies kindly offered to make a sizeable donation if he took his shirt off. Plus, he looks good without a shirt sooo he’s just doing us all a good favor. Brent is the union president for the fire department and has been racking his brain trying to come up with ways to raise funds for Jason and this cook off is just one of them.

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Plus, Brent’s super competitive and really just wanted to win.

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 (They got 2nd place. He doesn’t want to talk about it…)

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I jumped on board because this Texas girl will find any reason to head for the mountains. It’s always so beautiful!

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Besides, the girls love participating in the festivities.

The next day was Father’s Day and we surprised Brent with photos of the girls for his locker at work…

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And then I made him some of his favorite St. Louis style foods…

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Gooey Butter Cake, Rich and Charlie’s Salad and Toasted Ravioli

Luckily our air conditioner wasn’t working properly and I was too hot to eat too much of it. However, I did suck down the iced tea with a vengeance. After partaking in BBQ festivities and Gooey Butter Cake I decided to set my alarm on Monday morning to ensure I woke up for an early morning run.  It was time to get back on track!

It was then that I rediscovered why I love  early summer mornings so much…

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Hotair Balloons! (Ugh and black trim paired with brown paint…)

Summer Snackin’…

FYI: The title to this post is supposed to be sung to the following song…

Because it’s summer and lets face it… snacking is the same as loving, healthy or not.

Since school has let out I have relished in my freedom via making all of the home-made concoctions I didn’t have time to make during the school year. But once I actually made some of these things I realized that it didn’t really take any time at all and I hope to continue the trend throughout the school year. Because there is something just so satisfying about making home-made products that are healthier, cleaner and not to mention… cheaper.

(Take that you unseen corporate force… damn the man!)

Ahem…

Take for instance this easy home-made hummus

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(My husband is a die-hard Cardinals fan as you can see by the cutting board my sister made him. Therefore, it was only appropriate to serve this hummus with red bell peppers. GO CARDS!)

I had put off making hummus for a long time because I didn’t want to have to buy a ten dollar jar of tahini for something I wasn’t so sure would turn out. Then I stumbled upon a tahini free recipe (link above) and I fell in love. Ingredients include canned chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, olive oil and salt.

That’s it. So Good!

I served this when we had an impromptu deck party with some of my fellow teachers and once again when I rode my bike over to my friend’s house for an Outlander watching marathon… (You know, that one time I got called a goddess. No big deal.)

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Being the super host that she is my friend KJ was already prepared with snacks, so we had a feast that night. She even made a strawberry lemonade cocktail that went down like kool-aide. (Needless to say, the bike ride home was a bit interesting. But I digress…)

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In preparation for our festivities I had also managed to sneak over some of my home-made jalapeno yogurt ranch made from herbs in my garden. (Yay me!)

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I wasn’t able to bring much because Brent (the guy who can’t eat anything without a condiment) didn’t want to share. We actually served it with Avocado chicken burgers for dinner one night and it was seriously the yummiest meal. Ever. Brent has taken it a step further and has put it on everything… including eggs.

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(Don’t make fun of my scratched up plates.)

Things kind of turned for the worst nutrition wise the next night we went to one of Brent’s beloved baseball games. We managed to mow through nachos, beer, popcorn and even the saltiest pretzel known to man. But I didn’t let myself feel too bad, because well… when in Rome.

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I did however feel a little hung over the next morning when I woke at five to meet my friend Andrea for one of our morning walks. I don’t know what made be feel worse… the salt or the beer. (Or maybe even the fact that I had partaken in drinking shenanigans two nights in a row. But who’s counting?)

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By the end of the walk I felt so much better, even if I did get rained on and my hands were swollen.

When I got home I tried to sneak in through the back door so that I wouldn’t wake anyone up. On my way in, I passed the strawberry patch and noticed that a lot of my strawberries were already over due for picking, even though Penelope goes through the patch nearly every night.

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When all was said and done I had more strawberries than I knew what to do with so I decided to make jam.

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I don’t know what possessed me. It’s not like I had ever made jam before. But I had remembered stumbling upon a strawberry jam recipe that included chia seeds during the winter months when strawberries were super expensive to buy. I dug through my Pinterest account, passed all of the pins that I had never put to use, and finally found it…

Strawberry Chia Jam

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It turned out awesome! The smell of the simmering strawberries wafted up to Bridget’s room and woke her up from her slumber. She thought it smelled like cotton candy. Then later Brent came home from his walk with the dog and thought I had been toasting marshmallows over the stove again. (What can I say? It happens…)

Later that day, Brent had plans to watch the Cardinals game again, this time with some of his firefighter buddies, and Bridget had an important rendezvous at the pool. That left Penelope and I alone for lunch. I felt like it was only appropriate that we eat Peanut Butter and Jam sandwiches…

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… and s’mores

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Because now that you mention it, toasted marshmallows do smell pretty tasty.

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It’s a work in progress, a little yin for the yang. As long as we keep moving this summer there’s nothing wrong with a little summer snackin’. Amiright?

(Don’t answer that…)