I have a new blog! For no other reason than that my free storage space was full on this one. The new url is scribbleandjotblog.wordpress.com and I have a couple new posts up. Make sure to change it on your bloglovin or feedly or whatever if you want updates!
The thing about Tanner’s intense school schedule is that division of labor in our house pretty much doesn’t exist. I really believe in men taking on equal responsibility for housework, especially in a home where the woman works, but our reality is that long hours for Tanner mean long hours for me. Tanner studies and I do everything else– all the childcare, cleaning, cooking, bill paying, & yard work. I’m the one who takes the cars in for safety inspections, waits in line at the dmv, calls insurance companies, budgets our money, cleans our cars (ok, I wash our cars like twice a year, but still) and rakes up the ridiculous number of leaves that fall from our lovely front yard oak tree. I’m pretty independent, but there are things that you just need another person for! Those things that for some reason or another you just have no idea how to do or how to handle and your other half does. Sometimes it’s just to ask “am I doing this right?” or, “what do you think?” or “who do we call for this?” Well, I’m learning quickly that the new order of things is that I just need to figure it out. More and more often, I can’t call Tanner, or if I do, he can’t really do anything to help me and it just distracts and stresses him out. I’m not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me, mostly I’m here to brag about all my new skills!
Like my gutter cleaning skills. You guys, I cleaned out our gutters myself. Ok, it sounds really simple when I say it, but I felt really badass cleaning out our gutters. I had to get the heavy ladder out, figure out how to extend it, figure out how to remove the covers and get a screwdriver to remove the elbow of the downspout thing that was clogged with leaves. I was sweaty and filthy and standing on a ladder holding a tool and I felt pretty good about it.
Behold: clean gutters
And last month when I had a flat tire, I was the one to get the tires replaced. I’d sound a lot more awesome if I could say I put on the spare myself, but I got halfway through trying to figure out how to do that when I realized I could call Geico and they’d do it for me for free.
I learned to mow the lawn. Is it amazing that I went 26 years without ever mowing a lawn? My dad did a lot of things right, but c’mon dad– parenting fail on your part.
One afternoon found me climbing the red bud tree in our backyard with a handsaw, sawing off dead branches.
I unclogged the bathroom sink drain.
I learned how to use the grill.
I overcame my severe technology challenges and hooked my new label printer up to our computer. Our computer wasn’t recognizing the software <insert technologically sounding jargon jibberish here> or something. To Tanner’s credit, he spent a couple hours on that one, and to my credit I figured it out after he gave up and let this one be written down in the Staples books as Dana’s victory of a lifetime.
And then there was the ladybug fiasco. Ooooh man this one really stressed me out. I went up to my office one day to work, and when I looked up, I realized there were hundreds of lady bugs crawling all around my window! Ok, maybe just dozens, but there were a ton. They were highly concentrated on and just around the window, but were branching out from there and getting all over the place. Tanner has jerry-rigged my window to make it so I could have a window AC unit. (My office is a little attic space above our garage and not actually part of the house.) The window opens out and not up and down like you need, so he got a clear plastic pane and screwed it to the frame all around, with the AC unit under it, like so.
There was a small gap on one edge from the wind blowing it in one day, and that’s where the lady bugs were flocking in. Google quickly told me that on warm autumn days they like to find a sunny side of the house and will get in if they can and will overrun your house all winter! I couldn’t shut the actual window until I removed the plastic pane, but I couldn’t get the screws out and none of the screwdrivers I could find were working. Meanwhile ladybugs were crawling across my hands and falling in my hair and totally grossing me out while Camryn was shrieking in delight telling me on repeat to ‘look how many ladybugs!!” Tanner wouldn’t answer his phone, so I found and taught myself how to use our electric drill, figured out what a drill bit is and how to change one, found the right one, got all the screws out, and finally shut the dang window. Then had camryn help me catch dozens of them and take them out to our garden.
My dad says he’s proud of how resourceful I’m becoming and says it reminds him of his mom. He said my grandpa went to work and brought home a paycheck, but wasn’t a handyman at all, and grandma was the one fixing everything–she even added a room onto their house once by herself! Go grandma. That sounds just like us except for the part where Tanner brings home a paycheck 😉 #medschool I love you Tanner! And I’m super super grateful that you saved us $100 by halfway fixing our dishwasher! And fixed the tub!
I hope those are the last of my “do it myself” stories, but something tells me I won’t be that lucky. There are still some things on Tanner’s “honey do” list that baffle me . . . like what is the difference between a modem and a cable box? What witchery and magic are behind framing and hanging pictures on the wall? How do I screw our bookcase to the wall so it doesn’t fall on our babies one day? How did anyone know how to fix anything before YouTube?
I know it took me like 6 blog posts to recap our summer trip to Utah, but we packed in a lot during those 3 weeks, and I couldn’t leave out our camping trips! It took an insane amount of planning and packing on our part, but I think it turned out to be worth it. I want my kids to have fond memories of hiking, camping, and National Parks like I did and they’re not going to get that in Missouri, so we’ve got to get it while we can!
I honestly can’t remember a ton of details from this trip. . . I do recall Drew (+parents) having one of the worst nights of his life, the weather being perfect, and my family repeatedly applauding the food (tin foil steak dinners, pork skewers, peach cobbler, dutch oven breakfast, no wonder it was so much work!)
My dad took some great photos & they are interspersed with my iphoto ones, sorry
Capitol Reef National Park is seriously underrated. I’d say it’s the least popular and lowest attended national park in Utah, but that’s only because it’s in the absolute middle of nowhere and not really on your way to anything, but it’s beautiful. The Fruita campground is this oasis in the middle of red rock dessert. You are literally camping in a fruit orchard with red rock cliffs right next to you and deer wandering around, it’s about as idyllic as it gets. We were there mid July and it was still perfect weather.
Tanner took Camryn to the nature center to become a Jr. Ranger. Cutest thing ever. She had to learn about the park, the geology & plants, the wildlife, not to litter, etc and they gave her a badge and stickers.
And we totally got dumped on on the way back! It was fantastic. You can’t tell in this picture how hard it was pouring, but all these little waterfalls started streaming off the rocks
The next weekend we camped up near Ogden for just a night and my sister’s family the Rawson’s joined us this time
All the kids were throwing rocks here, and my 5 year old nephew Ethan kept throwing big ones too close to my dad and splashing him. My dad told him over and over to stop and the kid wouldn’t listen. My dad finally said “Ethan, you do that one more time and I’m throwing you in the lake.” Well, THUNK, another huge rock splashed him and my dad grabs Ethan by one arm and one leg and totally dunks him in the water. Ethan was shocked silent, and we were all stunned hoping he was okay–all except Tanner who was laughing his head off.
I’ve been thinking lately about and idea I’ve started to think of as momentum and the areas of my life in which I do and don’t have any.
I heard once that 95% of the battle of working out is putting your shoes on and closing the front door behind you. I think about that almost every time I work out because it is so so true for me, and actually applies to a lot of things that I do. Things that, like working out, are good for me, that I LOVE doing once I’m actually doing them, that I am always happy I did after I do them, that would make me happier, more fulfilled, etc. etc. but why on earth are those things just so hard to do sometimes?! I’ve been learning the life lesson that sometimes you just have to START what it is that you want to do. My new tactic is timer setting. I used this with doing family history, which was something I really wanted to be spending time doing and learning about, but I had no idea how and the whole thing just seemed daunting. I didn’t know how to get going, so I decided that once a week, every Sunday, I was going to spend 30 minutes on family history. I would set a timer for 30 minutes and do whatever I could, and when the 30 minutes was up, I could be done. Sometimes that only meant figuring out what my username and password on ancestry.com was. Sometimes it meant emailing a friend asking them a question about getting started. Or watching a couple video tutorials. It was slow going at first, but eventually I knew enough and had enough momentum that sometimes the timer would end and I’d keep going for hours just because I could and wanted to. Now I know where to go, what to do, what to read, how to use programs, and there are endless hours I could spend on family history without getting stuck.
I hear people say all the time that they want to be better at journaling. Or blogging. Or exercising regularly. And for things like this, daily habit items, a little bit of momentum goes a long way. When I used to bike a ton, hopping on my bike and going on a 30 or 60 minute bike ride was no big deal. Last week, I decided I wanted to go on a ride after thinking and thinking about it for weeks, finally drummed up the energy, but it took me almost an hour just to get out my bike, pump up the tires, find my helmet, water bottle and biking shorts. I gave up on finding my gloves and patch kit, then dinked around on googlemaps trying to figure out a good route for how far I wanted to go, yada yada yada, it was waaaay more effort than it used to be, but once I get into the groove of doing it and it’s habit again, it won’t be nearly so hard. Starting the project is the hardest part, and once you’ve started, all you have to do is just chip away at it every day. An object set in motion will stay in motion. . . or something like that.
I’ve noticed a phenomenon about my evenings. I put my kids to bed really early (for sanity purposes) and depending on what time I’m trying to get to bed, (read: how desperately exhausted I am) I have about 2-3 hours to do whatever I want. I’m sure every mother of young kids knows that those hours are precious. For me, I’m probably starving, dinner leftovers need to be put away and my house could use an hour (or seven) of solid cleaning time. I want to spend a good chuck of time bookbinding, but also I need to RELAX! rejuvenate, maybe read a magazine, zone out on social media for a minute, take a hot shower, watch a show and have ice cream with Tanner, take time for spiritual upliftment, and . . . two hours is not a very long time amiright? And the phenomenon I’ve noticed is that what I usually spend almost all of those two hours doing is whatever I started doing during the first 10 minutes of it. If I go straight up to my loft and start working, I will gain momentum and get a ton done. If I sit down with dinner and a magazine, I’ll want to finish the article I’m reading and spend longer than I intended. If I decided I’m going to spend a quick 15 minutes loading the dishwasher and switching the laundry, I usually won’t stop after that–I’ll wipe down the counters, pick up the toys, and keep going because I caught a second wind and it really won’t take that long to get things looking really clean. And if I pull up Facebook, I will still be on it an hour later, kicking myself for wasting my precious downtime.
What I’m NOT trying to do here is convince you to maximize your efficiency during these hours and get as much as possible done. What I am endorsing is using your time to actually do what it is you want to do and what will bring you the most benefit. Where do I feel depleted? Does my body, mind, or spirit need the most help right now? Do I want to create and accomplish something I’ve been wanting to do, or do I need to veg? If cruising pinterest or binge watching The Mindy Project is just what you need that night, then by all means go for it! But if you accidentally did that instead of what really would have filled your cup, you’re probably going to go to bed wondering why you never have enough time to do what you want.
Right now I have some good momentum going with my etsy shop, with organization, with meal planning and cooking—but. . . exercise has stopped dead in its tracks, I rarely write, and my guitar has gathered much dust. That’s okay because, a time and a season, and you can’t be awesome at all the categories all the times, but sometimes I unintentionally gain momentum in areas that I really don’t need or want any. (I think that’s how the science of addiction reads right?) Any I’ve realized than most of the time, if I wish I had something better under control, or was dedicating more of myself to some dust-covered area of my life, it takes much less than I used to think to get the ball uprooted from it’s resting place, gaining a little bit of speed, and then forging ahead full force.
And after I wrote this (and thinking I’d come up with that clever timer trick all on my own), you know what, I found out that Elizabeth Gilbert already wrote it better than me, so dang it, here you go:
“Don’t wait for the world to clear out time and space for your dreams and your art. It doesn’t happen that way. The world rushes in, and always will. Wait for things to be perfect and you’ll die waiting. Push back a bit. You go get yourself a kitchen timer and clear out your own little space. You’ll be amazed what happens.
Every single day. 30 minutes. I’m serious.”
- Well, the beginning of this school year really just reads out like a Series of Unfortunate Events–the flat tire, the poison ivy, the stomach flu Labor day weekend from hell, the $1,052 bill I got in the mail from the water company because they forgot to be sending us water bills for the past 15 months we’ve lived here. . . wtf KC Water Services? W. T. F. !?!?? two pricey car repairs, oh, and then the dishwasher breaking. Washing dishes by hand is like, the funnest ever.
But don’t worry readers, Tanner’s new tutoring position is paid and really bringing home the bacon
Almost an entire Andrew Jackson. This is what financial security looks like, folks.
Remarkably, despite all of that, I’m feeling like this year is going to be a whole lot harder for Tanner, but easier on me. It’s nice to not be new–I think I hate being new. I have friends now, I’m busier than I was last year, and I know how to get more than 3 places without the help of my gps. Things are on the up & up.
2. I need some flannel. Like, why don’t I own 10 flannel shirts? I guess probably because flannel wasn’t cool at H & M 3 years ago when Maddy was buying all the shirts that she just handed down to me. So, when did flannel come to H & M? because I am likely to inherit some a couple years after whenever that was.
3. Meg Conley is my absolute favorite blogger right now. Her last piece blew me away and little strings of words from it have been running themselves around my brain and won’t leave me alone since I read it. Anyone else a fan?
4. It took me until our 5 year anniversary to grow my post-wedding mistake of a hair chop back–but it’s back! I’m full circle back to my old do (this is even after a 2-3 inch trim!), and let’s be honest, I’m probably going to have this same haircut until the day I die
6. This is drew chowing down asian cabbage salad by the handful without discrimination towards raw cabbage, peppers, spinach, or red onions, while camryn is telling me “mom, in nursery today they gave us square cheese crackers and I don’t like the square kind, I only like the fish kid.”
7. That moment you’re pulling out winter clothes and find 2 adorable summer baby outfits you didn’t realize you had and it’s almost enough to make you wish summer would stick around for another month or two. Almost.
Bonus adorable children photos since I happen to have some adorable children on hand.
Drew has always been a really really happy chill guy, but has recently taken a turn for the grumpier. I hope it’s a phase, but he also starting sleeping 11 hours through the night without exception since mid August, so I’m thrilled about that!
These 7 quick takes brought to you by writers block.
One early summer afternoon, long before target’s announcement that they are phasing out gender based signage, I stood in their water toys aisle trying to select a flotation device for my two year old daughter. I was annoyed and confused. I wanted a “puddle jumper” and had two options– a pink and purple one with a hideous plastic dolphins face coming out of the front of it, or one with a blue and green turtles design that was much cuter in my opinion. One was clearly being marketed as the “girls” puddle jumper, and the other was for boys. As a consumer, I was getting the loud and clear message that I was to buy the pink and purple dolphins contraption for my daughter, but I couldn’t bring myself to. It was ugly. And what if my next kid was a boy? I’d get a lot of eyebrows putting a boy in the pink one, and maybe a few, but far fewer putting a girl in the green one. I walked out of there with the turtle alternative wondering what on earth pink dolphins and green turtles have to do with girls and boys anyway.
When I read the headline that target was phasing out gender based signage my jerk reaction was a fist pump. I read the article and target’s official statement on the matter which prompted still more fist pumping. (Tangent–the truth is that my initial glee came because I misread the headline and thought that this new policy was going to apply to all children’s clothing. And I am so tired of gender specific children’s clothing!! It should all be gender neutral until they hit Kindergarten. Because all that would mean for me is not being expected to purchase an entire new wardrobe for my baby boy instead of dressing him in his older sisters hand me downs. Gender specific clothing is a joke. But that’s a blog post for another day.) Then I started reading some comments and descended slowly into a pit of despair, gloom, and apparent imminent destruction. Funny how comments sections can do that. I was completely floored and dismayed by the conservative backlash against this announcement. Many swore a boycott and railed that the world is headed towards the notion that gender doesn’t matter or even exist. Religious conservatives were freaking out about how boys and girls are different and gender differences matter.
But here’s the thing– gender differences DO matter, but they have nothing to do with the color of your child’s bedsheets or legos. I believe that gender is essential to our identity and that men and women have distinctly different, inherently feminine and masculine God-given characteristics that are that equip them for fulfilling their roles in a family unit. I don’t want my kids or grandkids growing up in a world where the notion of those differences is outdated and politically incorrect. But I want to grab and shake the shoulders of every religious conservative out there freaking out that removing blue and pink sectioning and changing the gender stereotyped way that their gender stereotyped toys are displayed is going to end the world. Think about what gender differences actually truly mean to you–the parts really matter, the character traits that you want your daughters and sons to emulate. Do you feel that the current status quo of kids toys does anything for those values of yours? I just google imaged “girl toys” and was horrified. The vast majority of those products tell our girls that they should be completely obsessed with their self image. The kind of dolls being marketed these days have nothing to do with fostering nurturing traits–they are about perfecting bodies, make-up, hair, and obsessing over outfits. Beauty counters, blowdryers, jewelry kits, with a smattering of kitchens and t-sets. These are the toys being marketed to our girls. There was also a vacuum. And some grocery store and food kits. And every single blasted thing on there is pink. Do the same for boys and you get cars, action figures, sports equipment, building sets, tool kits, trains, nurf guns, gameboys, drumsets. Toys of all colors.
I don’t like that at all. So excuse me while I not only celebrate Targets announcement, but hope that my daughter makes it to at least the 3rd grade without developing an eating disorder and a crappy self esteem. I want her to walk into toy sections full of all kinds of toys that encourage her to imagine, move, create and explore, without being limited by gender stereotypes and marketing. And that doesn’t mean that I don’t think it matters that she’s a girl. It just means that I want her to know that girls can play with cars too. And drive them. Or build them, design them, fix them, or shoot them. Their bodies need just as much exercise as boys do, so it’s cool if they are into basketball hoops and skateboards. They have just as much intellectual ability to conduct science experiments or build model airplanes and just as much potential in this world to become an amazing scientist or engineer.
I think that the social conservatives are kicking themselves in the foot with this one. If they continue to hyperventilate about pink and blue sheets and promote arbitrary stereotypes that don’t actually have anything to do with the gender differences they believe in, the next generation isn’t going to buy it. If you keep telling girls that their Womanhood is divinely inspired, and then hand them pink sparkly beauty kits to play with, they are eventually going to reject the entire message of femininity altogether–as the package that society handed it to them in. If you want your kid to have a strong sense of gender identity, recognize this one as the victory that it is–at least they won’t be shaking their heads like I am wondering what on earth pink dolphins and green turtles have to do with any of it.
Poison Ivy update: Ahhh, poison ivy! Is there a support group for this stuff? A hotline?! I seriously wondered this as I wandered my house at 2:00 a.m. a few nights ago wishing I could clench my fists and produce wolverine claws to scratch it all away. Since last time I posted, it spread to cover both of my inner arms from wrist to armpit, a few bad patches on my legs & stomach, and things just got really ugly. Really ugly. I couldn’t sleep for the itching, couldn’t pick up Drew without, well, getting pus all over him, and the most recent development is that my right arm has swollen up like I’m the Michelin man. That arm and hand honestly looks how they would if I gained 150 pounds. Tanner’s weird med school friends gawked over a picture (because rashes are interesting?) and said it looked like I’d grown bark. I’ve had one of the more miserable weeks of my life and once this heals, I feel like there isn’t much 2nd year could throw at me that will top it. My new mantra will be “at least I don’t have poison ivy!” The good news though, is that it’s finally turned for the better. I really needed that turn (and Chipotle + help from 2 amazing friends) to help me climb out of my pit of despair, so even though I’m still firmly planted in hot mess territory, there is hope! It’s finally dried up and is healing to my unbounded relief. The parable of the ten lepers will never be the same.
Now that you’re all up to date on my skin, let me tell you about Cherry Hill. It’s kind of a big deal. In our hometown there is this amazing family fun place called Cherry Hill. It started like 100 years ago as an RV campground (this is an unofficial history according to Dana Staples with possible inaccuracies) in a Cherry orchard with a small swimming pool for the guests. A lot of people will do big family reunions there and all stay in RVs. Then they added two big blue water slides, the Pirate’s cove pirate ship and kiddie pool area (that plays that musical pirate diddy all the live long day), and the cardiac canyon river run and it became a really great water park.
My siblings and I had season passes every year and I spent most summer days riding my bike there with friends or my brothers, or getting dropped off by mom and swimming all day long. I would often order big bowls of Farr brand mint chocolate chip ice cream from The Pie Pantry, an on site adorable little home converted into a pie, sandwhich, and soup shop. We’d sit under big umbrellas on its wooden wrap-around porch devouring our ice cream. I liked to play Mrs. PacMan or air hockey in the arcades and duck into the office to buy 25 cent boxes of LemonHeads and Laffy Taffy ropes that we’d eat as we sat on the cement wall at the bottom of a grassy hill, wrapped in beach towels waiting for our ride home. We’d run between the pool and the blue slides, trying not to burn our feet on the sidewalks, always stopping at the gutter that ran between them to cool our feet, then racing off, leaving footprint patterns behind us.
Four out of the six kids in my family worked there many summers, in the office, the Pie Pantry and snack bars, grounds crew. When my older sisters were teenagers, we’d get to go on employee family days and do the extras that didn’t come with our season pass like the mini golf and batting cages. Sometime during my high school years, they expanded to add a much larger pool, and a lazy river that my brother nearly singly handedly dug by hand, the way he tells it.
As much as I loved Cherry Hill, it played a bigger role in Tanner’s life. He had one best friend all growing up– Mitch Lloyd, whose family owned and ran Cherry Hill. Mitch lived next door to the water park, only a few streets away from Tanner, and they pretty much lived there as children. Tanner worked there something like seven summers on grounds crew and as a cashier, handing out entrance wristbands and arcade tokens. I only worked there one summer, 2006, on foods. I flipped burgers, cooked fries and chicken popcorn, distributed slush puppies and soft serve cones. On slow days or rainy days we’d see who could get the most kills with the fly swatters. Tanner and I weren’t really friends back then, but I have a couple of specific memories of talking to him through the windows of this very snack bar.
I also remember one day manning the giftshop right next to it, bored out of my skull, watching Tanner walk by several times within an hour and thinking he was really really cute.
These days, Tanner’s friend Mitch is on his way to taking over the family business. He lives with his wife and baby in a trailer home between the mini golf and the pool, his parents still live next door, and there are like 5 Lloyd satellite families living behind, next to, and within the park–it’s a hilarious commune. He was kind enough to get us in for free and we promised vericose vein surgery in the future in return should his wife ever need it 😉
One of the best parts of being from the same place as your husband is that these kind of places mean something to both of us! We were really excited to take our kids there and let them experience a family fun day at the greatest fun spot you’ll ever know (says their slogan and commercial that I’ve had stuck in my head the whole time writing this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXuUmXk3Z10)
we’re 1000 times happier than we look, promise
Thanks Cherry Hill for a fun day and years of memories!