Becoming a Disco Ball: (Yeah, That’s My Kid)

disco ball costumeThe big excitement around here with my children and their friends is “What are you going to be for Halloween?” This is an important question. After all, there is the school parade, the town fall festival (and parade), the church’s Trunk or Treat event (and parade), and the annual “get candy from your neighbors” ritual (with spontaneous rush-to-the-next-house parade). I count at least five chances to dress up for Halloween, and we aren’t even talking about any private Halloween parties.

The choice of costume is a big deal. While hoards of Disney princesses, pirates, cheerleaders, zombies, zombie cheerleaders, and a superhero or two will descend upon our town in October, this group will also include a disco ball. Yup, my kid wants to be a disco ball.

I’m cool with that.

It is going to take a lot more work on my part, this disco ball thing, and my initial reaction as I gazed longingly at the vinyl and fabric ready-made costumes on the rack was, “Wouldn’t you want to be Jack Sparrow instead?” But, I swallowed that thought and that comment, and put it away fast, because I am secretly proud of my child. He is showing his independent spirit.

The youngest of three, Henry has always been one to go with the crowd, padding along behind his brother and sister, sometimes stepping painfully on their shadows, sometimes getting the benefits of an ice cream half finished, or a fuzzy Buzz Lightyear shirt that has been washed a hundred times into softness. More often, though, this easy-going child gets dragged about where everyone else wants to go, sometimes literally and with a sigh.

So, if my guy decides to exert his independence as something involving mirrors and spray paint, something most of his peers have never heard of, something that may well be a literal chance to shine? Yeah, this mama is going to make it happen.

Because, I think we have to look for these moments. The ones where our kids don’t go along with the crowd, where they are thinking out of the box. There are those little creative moments, when a toddler puts his underwear on his head because it is different, or a second-grader decides to dress herself in something resembling Rainbow Bright, because they have the freedom of trying it out, of anticipating the reaction with joy. When those moments happen, we adults better not disappoint them.

Will encouraging one lone disco ball in a sea of cartoon characters mean that I will never have to worry about Henry making the wrong choices due to peer pressure? Of course not, but I hope that by encouraging his independent, slightly quirky choices, he will feel confident in his creativity, his instinct, his internal compass of who he is and what he will or will not do; how he can choose to live his life.

We have to give them those moments to be reflective. We have to let them shine, even if that means in the guise of a disco ball.

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Random iPhone Photos or Death Plot by Cats?

Somewhere near the corner of 1,600 hundred photos and needing to upgrade my iPhone I realized I had a problem–lack of iPhone space. This required the shifting through of said photos, with the intention of deleting all of those blurry scenes of kids who never sit still and the what-was-I-thinking selfies. Too bad I wasn’t prepared for what I found, a bunch of seemingly random photos that I don’t remember taking.

There can be only one explanation. Frustrated with my ineptitude to understand the basics and my sad lack of telepathy skills, the cats have resorted to trying to communicate through my iPhone. After all, I do stare at the phone more than I stare at them, which has got to be frustrating for superior beings such as themselves.

So, I share these with you for you to make your own conclusions, but I think I have figured out what they have been trying to tell me.


That white cats have secret snow stealth powers.


cat in kitchen

That their butts are not big. More food is required.


cat selfie

That the food thing was not a request.



That I should be using those nails to scratch delicately behind the ears. Anywhere else is not advisable.


living room and cat

That sometimes life is art. Sometimes life is also food.



That if they had opposable thumbs, they would drive themselves to restaurants. Seafood ones.


photo copy 6

That it takes a lot of work to get the sofa pillows just right. I should stop fluffing them.


bird in window

That these might be good to eat.


cat on stairs

That they know where I sleep…



…Oh yes they do.


black cat portrait

That they are much better at taking selfies than I am.

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Labels Are for Sissies

labelYes, I realize I am thin. It is right there on the label of the shorts that are still too big for me in the waist–double zero. Maybe you are trying to be helpful or even trying to flatter me, but it really feels like weight shaming to me. Yes, this applies to thin women, too, especially ones who once embraced their now-shrinking curves.

I love you for being concerned for me. I know you mean well.  Please understand, though, the advice that I just need to eat more is a little overly simplified. So is the implication that because I am currently thin, I must have an eating disorder. This is not the case.

The fact is that I am eating. Come take me out to a meal and see for yourself. I really like omelets. And ice cream. While we are there, notice that I won’t get up several times in the middle of the meal to go to the bathroom. This is unless, of course, that I have had several cups of coffee, and our conversation is running long. Even then, you are welcome to stand outside my stall and listen to me pee, although that would be kind of gross and a little creepy.

I see that you still need an explanation for why I am looking thin these days, so here it goes. I am under a huge amount of stress–the life changing-just-trying-to-breathe kind of stress. Professionals have compared it to living in a bombed out town where there is the constant risk of being hit by sniper fire. Yup that is me, the little dot in the corner, aerial view, trying not to get blasted, keeping my kids hidden and well, despite it all. I grew each one of these people in my body, fed them from my body, and this body gave its resources to grow them strong. Now is no different. I love my curves, but I love my children more, and here is my reality right now. My energy, resources, my fat cells, are channeled toward them. My strength is at their disposal.

I don’t want to give you a false idea. I don’t want to be a masochist. I am taking care of myself as I can. In fact, I choose to deal with my stress by eating healthy food, going to the gym, running, and weight lifting, and stretching my body into all the wonderful shapes it can be. I confess that I like the new muscles, strength and, endurance. They remind me that I got this. Yes, I do. I also treated myself to a pedicure, done in dark blood-red polish, which is huge for me, and frankly does make me feel a little guilty but fabulous. I have fabulous toes.

Hey, did you notice how my strong quads stand out on my “skinny legs?” I’m tempted to show you my abs and my six-pack, too, but I am a little too modest for that. Besides, after three kids, I will never have anything more than a four-pack that tops the place of a soft spot, where my belly stretched itself, willingly, to make humans. I’m cool with that, because isn’t making humans the ultimate superpower?

My doctor is good with my weight. My body is thin for my frame, but healthy. My blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels are better than the average woman of my age. Much better. I’m proud of my body. This is its natural reaction to stress. It just so happens that I am in fight or flight mode, and this body is choosing to fight with everything it has. Yay, me.

So while my shorts do have a label on them, please don’t apply one directly to me. Unless it is beautiful-most-awesome-kissy-face, as my youngest child tells me after I have bribed him with extra TV time, so I can go quietly in my room and give myself a 15-minute time out. It is what it is. Beautiful-most-awesome-kissy-face. I think that is a label I could live with.


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The Clutter of Unfinished Projects

file00074170513Unfinished projects, whatever they may be, can be double trouble when it comes to clutter. First, there is the actual physical clutter of the supplies needed, the stamps and scrapbook paper, the yarn and needles, the candle molds, the paints, how-to books, whatever the projects require.

Next, there is the mental clutter. Do you feel good when you look at your unfinished projects, excited by your progress, or do you feel a sort of dread because they still haven’t been completed. For me, looking at unfinished projects starts negative thoughts because I feel like I have failed. The unfinished project supplies mock me.

In my experience, there is the initial excitement of starting a project that may carry through for days or even weeks, and then something happens. Life comes along, the project gets put aside and there isn’t the time or motivation to get back to it. The usual response is “Of course, I can’t just throw it away, right? After all, I have already invested money and time into the project.”

So there the project (or more likely projects) sit, waiting. Sometimes we move them around the house a bit, from a desk to under the desk, to a closet or a tub, but like they never go away.

Letting go of unfinished projects is hard, but I challenge you today to try to release at least one unfinished project around your home. Maybe pick the oldest project. I’m going to do the same. Free yourself of clutter space in your home and in your head.

Meanwhile, out the door for me today are two large bags of clutter (garbage) and a car full of stuff ready for donation.

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Why My Chicken is Dr. House

House-M.D.-Gregory-House-1479Warning, grossness ahead.

We were all ready for a nice dinner of homemade biscuits, salad and roasted chicken. When my husband started carving the chicken, he discovered that its insides were lime green. I’ve since learned that the most likely cause is Deep Pectoral Myopathy, the same thing that gives Dr. House his limp. In other words, the muscle of the chicken likely died while the chicken itself was still alive, and then both muscle and chicken started to rot.

In the interest of not making everyone throw up, I decided not to post any photos.

Since the kids were grumbling the other day about not being visited by a naughty leprechaun who unrolls all of the toilet paper or turns their milk green, I took full advantage of the serendipity of green chicken. Then I promptly excused myself and turned the bathroom toilet bowl salad green.

Update (3/20/13) Lesley H had the same thing happen to her. Her brother-in-law, who is a butcher, had another explanation for the green chicken meat.

“He said that what can happen is when the chicken is kept at a temperature that only partially freezes it, the deepest part of the chicken will sometimes not reach a temperature cold enough to prevent bacteria from growing.  This is more common on larger chickens- and in fact, the one I had was nearly 6 pounds if I recall correctly.  He said the outside may seem frozen, but if it hasn’t been allowed enough time to freeze through all the way and then is moved to higher temperature conditions (such as for transport) the deeper parts can begin to rot out.  I do recall that the chickens at the grocery store usually are only partially frozen, so the explanation made sense in my situation.  Who knows though.  Since what happened to me, I am careful not to choose those really large chickens anymore, and haven’t run across it again.

“ETA, I wanted to add that my chicken had NO foul odor whatsoever- it seemed perfectly fine from the outside.  It was only when I cut into it after it was fully roasted that I discovered the disgusting green meat.”


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When It Comes to Laundry

When It Comes to Laundry

I’m trying to teach my oldest child how to use the washing machine and dryer. Any tips?

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March 15, 2013 · 4:41 pm

It’s 1996, Let’s Buy Cheez Whiz

file0002020216998De-cluttering and becoming minimalist has had some fun moments. My husband is starting to get on board and agreed to go through old paperwork with me that was stored neatly, although obsessively, in our many (Eight! Seriously!) file cabinets. I found an entire set of folders of old grocery receipts, dated in the 1990s. I learned some interesting things about my husband from them.

“I never bought Cheez Whiz,” he says.

“Hoo Hoo, it says Cheez Whiz, right here. April, 1996. You bought Cheez Whiz.”

“Maybe I was making Macaroni and Cheese?”

“Cheez Whiz is the stuff that you spray out of a can, right?”

“I don’t eat that stuff.”

Pause for “the look,” which after 12 years of marriage is close to being perfect.

“It must have been for a party or something.”

“Uh huh.”

Days later, I proceeded to shred the evidence, along with stuff that had financial information and social security numbers, perhaps more damaging in the wrong hands than even the Cheez Whiz receipt. The somewhat ancient shredder died on me, so I bagged it up along with the paper shreds. I actually made it so far as to toss the whole thing in the trash can (cut me some slack, our recycling bin was full, and I just wanted the stuff out of the house).

Later, my husband rescued the whole thing.

The shredder was just temperamental, he said (sure enough, scared for its life in a land fill, it started right back up). The shreds were not cross-cut, so they needed to be burned in the backyard. (Yes, yes, green police, I know, strike two.)

So, what was the purpose of spending time with the old shredder if it still required burning paper in the backyard?

Booyah! score one for Minimalist Wife and the shredder is no longer taking up space in our basement. (Minimalist Wife is blessed to have a husband who can concede defeat when presented with logic.)

The shredder never did make it out to the donation pile in the car, so I have my suspicion it might have been quietly buried in the backyard where it will one day be unearthed and declared an ancient device used in religious rituals.

Progress is progress.



Filed under Minimalism

I Blame The Muppets


Spring cleaning…a necessary part of modern society, or a crafty well-organized government alien conspiracy to get us to buy things that smell like lemon?


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Is There Such a Thing as Too Modest?

modest girls clothingI just returned from an outgrown clothing sale at a local church. My good friend, Amy and I, along with my littlest boy had a good time hunting for bargains. I think we moms both made out well, especially for our girls, but even at this church-sponsored event, there was quite a bit of immodest or inappropriate clothing, I thought.

When did our little girls go from pretty dresses in pastel colors to belly shirts of dark purple and black or from rolled up jean shorts to booty shorts with attention-getting sayings on the behind? When did the boys start wearing T-shirts with leering and suggestive writing on them? I know it is an old rant.

Sorting through some girls dresses, I narrowed down my selections and decided to put two dresses back. They were pretty dresses, one a white eyelet and the other with pink ribbons sewn at the hem. As I passed one of the tables on my way to return the dresses to their rack, I stopped to offer the dresses to two moms who were sorting through girls clothing of the same size. We had chatted earlier for a bit about our daughters. “Oh, no,” the one mom replied. “My daughter is too old for those styles.” Her little girl is eight. The other mom just shrugged and went back to sorting.

Later, while I was sorting through some boys jeans and chatting with some other moms that were browsing through the same sizes, I examined and put back one pair of jeans. It had a number of strategically placed holes, and I thought they were immodest. “I can’t believe someone would sell something like this,” I muttered when I should have been quiet. The lady next to me snatched up the jeans and proceeded to tell me that this was the style, and I must not have any style. She talked about how she used to work in the fashion industry and knows these things. “I think you are right, I muttered,” and then made my excuses to move on. I don’t have much style, admittedly, but…Dejected, I left the piles of clothing with a sense of ickiness.

I promised my little guy that we would look at the toys, and he had been so good through the clothes shopping. As we walked to a different section of the sale, up the stairs and into a different room, it was easy to see the excess out there. That is the topic for a different rant.

Anyway, we made our way over to the toys, and my child selected a small blue teddy bear that he insisted on paying with his own money. Thinking back to the many, many stuffed animals we have at home, I almost said no. I did sort of try to talk him out of it, but I am proud of the fact that I stopped myself. It was one stuffed animal. How could I deny him the chance to embrace and hold on to his childhood, when society will want him to grow up before his time?

So I ask you…am I making too big a deal over the clothing choices that are out there? Am I dooming my kids to always look old-fashioned with longer skirts and plain shirts? Is there such as thing as being too modest?


Filed under Parenting

Money Saving March Day 5

money saving marchWelcome to Day 5 of Money Saving March! Each day during the month of March we will take on a new challenge that is easy to do and will save or earn us some extra money. 

Well, March is certainly coming in like a lion with yet another winter storm. Today, I think we need an easy money-saving task that will also help improve our homes.

The challenge for today is to go around your home and find at least five things that no longer add meaning to your life. Place these things in a box or a bag and set them aside to either donate or sell. Selling the items may earn you some cash, but if you donate them instead, you can get a write off on your taxes.

After doing this little purge, the items will no longer take up valuable space in our home, so you won’t be paying the square footage just for storing things you don’t really need or want. If you rent a separate storage unit, then today’s challenge can have even more impact. The more clutter you remove from your life, the closer you are to removing the monthly storage fee!

Ready? Set? Go!


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