The Year Of Broken Plates

She is everywhere.

Your Instagrams, your Pinterests, your blogs, your billboards, your Wal-Marts, your coffee shops, your gyms, your parks, your schools, your TVs, your dreams.

The Mother.

Her hair is done, her house and clothes are clean, her body is healthy, her coffee is hot, her kids are happy, and like, she’s busy but she is HANDLING IT.

This time last year, I was suffering from a common condition known as “summer pregnancy.” I knew this part was hard, but then the baby would be here, and I would become THE MOTHER and everything would be great.

And then, suddenly, I remembered that I’m terrible at juggling.

Good china plates are lying in shards around me; my brain is dizzy and my feet are bleeding. The baby is screaming, the dishes are crusted with 3-day-old food and flies, the house carries a faint but distinct odor of wet towels and shit, the floor is sticky, and TBH I’m probably gonna throw a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner…again.

I have one baby. ONE.

The Mother did not come to me; the Mother betrayed me. The Mother didn’t tell me that she had to give up everything else she loved, like music or writing or friends, in order to be considered a good mom.

By her standards, I have failed spectacularly.

“It takes 9 months to put on the weight, so give yourself at least 9 months to lose it and then #HustleYourButt!” but instead I gained it all back and heyyyy it brought some friends!

I was given TWO Baby Bullets, and I rejoiced because I wanted to make fresh food for my baby every day.

I have used exactly ONE of them ONE time. And I remember to brush those 2 preciously sharp little chiclets in his maw about once a week, so he’s definitely going to need dentures by the time he’s 5.

Does it sound bad if I say that my 11-month old son already has favorite showS? #YesThatWasAnEmphasizedPlural #ILoveYouMoana #AndDinoTrux #BasicallyJustAllOfNetflix

If I get all the laundry done, it’s a good day.

If I get all the laundry done, folded AND put away, I’m pretty awesome.

If I get all the laundry done, folded AND put away AND take a shower, I deserve sexual favors and Chinese take-out, full stop.

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This little helper gently rolled into the sink head first about 2 seconds after this picture was taken. #MotherOfTheYear

I’m honestly a little sad. The first year is already almost up, and the only thing I feel confident in showing for it is that Harrison, Steven and I are still alive.

Maybe in Year 2, I’ll figure out how to keep the house clean as well as get in shape, and return to music/writing/friendships on a regular basis. Maybe I’ll just drink my coffee while it’s still hot.

But one thing (lol, probably a FEW things) I do pledge: to be okay with being JUST okay, and to be okay with NOT being okay.

To delegate those chores. To not do IT ALL. To get together with a friend, like, once a week, even if the dishes aren’t done. To kiss my hard-working husband at the start and end of every day. To unfollow the perfect Instagram moms.

And lastly, to donate the good china plates and settle for some good ole indestructable Corelle and Tupperware. I’m a mom now, after all.

 

…maybe it’s PPD

Earlier today, I posted my very first Facebook Live video. For some reason, I decided to make it light and fluffy by asking people to tell me their stories of Post Partum Depression – or PPD.

The response I got was…immense. 

Sometimes I feel like God’s sole purpose of putting me on earth is to ask the hard, awkward questions – because out of 7 billion people planet wide, I cannot be the only person who thinks/feels/wonders about certain things? And maybe if I just sack up and take one for the team, then maybe others will feel like it’s okay for them to talk about it too? 

The thing is, I’m not sure if I have PPD. I wouldn’t blame or shame myself if I did. If you’ve followed me at all in the last couple of years, you’ll know that pregnancy and birth and motherhood has kind of done a number on me. 

But maybe it’s just the circumstances we’ve found ourselves in. So if I just list off all the pinballs that are bouncing around in my brain, maybe I’ll win the game instead of dropping like it’s hot. 

Winter.

It’s the middle of February and I have never done well in winter to start. I need sunshine and blue skies and lake days and smelling like campfire smoke to really thrive as a person. 

So why would I question my well-being when I’m basically trapped indoors with a helpless creature who would probably burst into flames if exposed to the sun longer than 5 minutes?

I’m talking about the baby, not my husband. *ba dump chh*

Sleep

I’ve never been a sleep-till-noon sort of person but I truly fire on all cylinders when I’ve had 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. And being a mom is not like your teen years where you babysat for 6 hours, then spent your money at the 7-11 and video store (oh I am soooo dating myself right now) so you could stay up til 3am with your girlfriends, and then be *so tired* the next day but it was fine because you could settle the sleep score the next night. 

No.

This is sleeping two hours, being awake for an hour, sleeping maybe another 2 hours etc FOR MONTHS. There’s a reason why they use sleep deprivation as a torture device, friends. IT SHITS ON YOUR BRAIN. 

Stuff I’ve known my whole life is now living in that deep chasm from Inside Out, full of colored memory marbles that are slowly becoming dust. 

And all the new stuff I know, the stuff I do every day, starts to run like cookies in the oven that were put too close together. The thing I did 5 minutes ago was actually 5 days ago.

Last night, I forgot to medicate my son. He went a whole 16 hours without the medicine that literally helps his heart not beat too fast. Because I’ve done it approximately 360 times, right, so why would last night be any different? But there it was this morning, an already-full syringe that should have been coursing through Harrison’s blood stream for the last 8 hours. 

And also? *straps on a megaphone*

SLEEP TRAINING SUCKS BALLS (BALLS) (BALLS) (BALLS) 

My words echoed because I was standing on the edge of my Inside Out chasm. 

On that note…

Dreams

 In those precious hours where sleep does come, your thoughts might occasionally dance on your shit-for-brains and proceed to make a Jackson Pollack on the walls of your subconscious. 

I have had dreams where my baby is dead. SIDS, drowning, heart failure, I could go on. 

I have had dreams where the hospital doctors decided he wasn’t thriving with us, so they took him away to live with better parents. 

I have had dreams where he never gets here because I’m having another miscarriage. 

I’ve had dreams where he never talks or laughs or plays because he is destined to be a baby FOREVER and I think it’s our fault for calling ourselves The Buttons. 

I f*cking hate dreaming. 

The World Sitch

As an adult that was raised in a lot of end-of-days theologies I’ve had to toss out to maintain my sanity, I’m feeling pretty damn triggered lately. 

So much shit that I was taught to keep an eye out for is actually happening now. I don’t care what your worldview or political affiliations are, you have to admit that every morning brings a new shitshow to read about or watch on the news. 

So? You say. Just ignore all of that. It’s so negative and you can’t trust what you read/hear anyway. 

That’s part of the problem. I feel like I have two choices: feel shitty about bringing a child into the shitty world all the time, or be ignorant, uninformed, and ultimately unable to make the world a better place in my corner of it. I don’t want to block my senses, singing LALALA, IF I CAN’T SEE YOU, YOU CAN’T SEE ME. 

I want to care, and to me that means not letting my privilege make me selective in what I care about.
Being what kids these days call WOKE feels impossible when a mama just wants to sleep. 

The Future

Que sera sera, and all that. I have no control over any of it. I just know that it’s going to be different than what I thought. 

Right now, my husband is mostly unemployed and soul-searching. Maybe he’ll morph into a stay-at-home dad. Forever, my son has Noonan’s syndrome. Maybe he’ll grow up accepted for who he is, where he’s at, and maybe he won’t. A few years from now, we’d like to take our family to Disneyland, or maybe it’ll all be underwater. 

So? Am I suffering from PPD? I still don’t know. As someone brilliant once said, “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, surrounded by assholes.” 

Or sleep deprivation, or World War 3. You know, those old nuggets. I guess time and sunshine will tell. 

5 New Mom Truths I Didn’t Know Until I Knew Them

I’ve been a mom for 4 whole months now so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about.

1. You learn to function without sleep.

All I had to do was stop visualizing my life as “day” and “night”, and start visualizing it as nap #3 of 6 in a 24-hour period. So go ahead and have that coffee at 9pm, because nothing matters anymore.

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2. Breastfeeding can be REALLY difficult. 

And just like pregnancy, I did not love it. I  wanted to, and I thought that would be enough to make it a reality.

 

Nope. I could not Desire Map my way into this delicate, hormonal endeavour called breastfeeding. But after doing it for 3 months, I can say YOU GO MAMA to anyone who manages to do it for longer, while eating, while lying down, while in public, while being covered up, while being stared at, while being given advice. YOU ARE MADE OF STRONGER METTLE THAN I.

3. Successfully putting your baby to bed is like a scene from The Hurt Locker. Or any movies involving bombs, really.

Their bellies are full, their bums are clean, the room is dimly lit, the white noise is whirring, the lullabies have been sung, and Baby is so sleepy it’s adorable. You debate just holding and snuggling them for the duration of their nap, but then you remember you have shit to do. And so, you must GTFO before this happens:

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If you succeed, this is how you will feel.

 

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4. Any amount of personal hygiene will feel like a spa day.

If you’re wondering about the state of our hygiene as new parents, a mouse lived in our tub long enough to chew the shower curtain and drop 40 poops in it before we noticed. But once we decided not to burn said tub to the ground, man, those showers felt great.

5. Your love for your child will be infinite.

All the songs on the radio will be about them, you will sacrifice everything you once loved to take care of them. Every smile and achievement they make will convince you that surely it’s never been done before, and they are the first ones, and they are THE BEST at it.

But you’ll be amazed at how much MORE you love them when they sleep more than one hour at a time. It may occasionally happen at the expense of your husband’s feelings (“If you fart like that one more time, you cannot sleep here! At least muffle it with a pillow for the LOVE OF GOD!”) but it will be worth it.

Actually, everything is worth it.

Talk again in another 4 months…maybe…

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Somewhere Over The Rainbow: A Birth Story

It is absolutely surreal to me that, at this time 5 weeks+3 days ago, I had just given birth.  First of all, thank you for receiving my last blog post so graciously. I was a little unhinged, so y’all have … Continue reading

13 Inappropriate Status Updates I’ve Wanted To Make Since I Got Pregnant

Oh, good. Another blog post about pregnancy. This should be informative, fun, cutesy, non-judgy and—*retches into nearest garbage can*.

Oh, sorry, that wasn’t about the topic – that’s just my life now. Any conversation I have from now until September is 90% likely to be interrupted by me retching into the nearest garbage can.

Cause I got knooooockedddd upppp hawrrrrd. 

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Two hours into my shift and I'm ready to go home. I am the weakest link.

It was really difficult for an oversharer like me to achieve but Steve and I decided to keep this news fairly on the down low this time around until it was impossible for a photo of me to be shared without cropping half of me out. We wanted to make sure that everything was okay first, as if we are going to have control over a concept like *that* ever again.

And now, unfortunately for y’all, I have a serious backlog in my brain (and phone) of everything I’ve wanted to say since the day I found out I was pregnant again.

1. “This pregnancy test better not be f*cking with me.”

2. “Oh shit, this is actually happening. I should probably find a doctor or a midwife. And tell my husband. In that order? Will he be less panicky if I say I already have a care provider ready to go, or will he want to do that together? Yes.”

3. “Wow, I’ve made it 6 whole weeks, and I feel great! But that’s bad. I should probably be sick, right? I wasn’t sick last time, and that was a bad sign. Oh no.”

4. *one week later* “Ohhhh Goddddd, when will the vomiting end?” #SecretlySuperRelieved

5. “I just vomited from the hours of 3am to 6am and now I have to go to work for 8 hours. I’m no mathematician…but this kinda sucks.”

6. “I am the worst human being in the world. Like, here’s Donald Trump and waaaaayyyy down here is me. For I have just desecrated Her Majesty Queen Adele. She was on the radio, and lo, I could not stop barfing from beginning to end. Off with my head.” #HelloFromTheGarbageCan

7. “Did you know you can get a sinus infection, just from all the extra fluids being produced in your body during pregnancy? I SURE DIDN’T! Seriously, Adele, if you’re not gonna cut off my head, I’m just gonna do it myself.”

8. “Sweet, I finally lost that 15 pounds I’ve been chasing for 3 years, and the curves are landing in all the right places! Hello, boobs, nice to meet you at last!” *smacks husband’s hands away for the 27th time cause these new bubbies HURT, BITCH*

9. “Steve just told me that he feels like our bodies are singing Sarah McLachlan songs to each other, it’s been so long. And then to prove his point, he burst out, I WILL REMEMBER YOUUUUUU WILL YOU REMEMBER MEEEE DON’T LET YOUR WIFE PASS YOU BY *reaches towards new boobs* WEEP NOT FOR THE MAMMARIES

I should probably do something sexy before he leaves me.”

10. “I am in the bathroom at work. I have just barfed, peed myself a little, switched gears for diarrhea and had a nosebleed in the last 5 minutes.

Baby Button, I love you, but seriously CALM YOUR SHIT.” #AlwaysKeepAChangeOfClothesInTheCar #ThanksHusbandForBringingMeClothesAndAlsoForNotLeavingMe

11. “Omg our maternity photo shoot is in 3 days, and everything is terrible! At least on my wedding day, someone could use the power of foundation and witchcraft to make me beautiful, but NOW I’m on my OWN! I need a haircut! There are burst blood vessels in my face! I have nothing to wearrrrr…”

12. “Did I actually forget how amazing our photographer is? For. Shame.”

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13. “Hold up. Did I just…? Yep, there is *something* moving inside me, and for once, it’s not gas! Or maybe it is? Wait, now I’m being punched in the ribs by the tiniest little fist in the world, yes I am, hello baby! Steve, come quick! Everything we’ve gone through in the last 5 months is about to be worth it!”

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To be continued…

A Canadian’s Guide To Understanding How Donald Trump Made It This Far

I know, I know. *already shaking my damn head*

After much deliberation, I’m adding my opinion of the 2016 US election to the growing pile. At this point, you’re probably even more sick of it than I am, and won’t want to keep reading.

I don’t blame you. But hang on for a moment longer.

I’m not here to make a list of everything wrong with Donald Trump – you’ve already been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt.

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No, not this one

I’m here to set a few records straight, because as a former American living in Canada, I’ve been getting some inquiries:

“How is anything Trump even says sounding good to Americans??”

“Are evangelicals *really* the majority of his voters??”

“Just…why?????

They deserve some answers, and even though I’m just one woman with little to no understanding of how politics works, I’m here to share what I see.

1. Many American people suffer from a major spirit of poverty.

I’m not just talking about poor and homeless people, which it sadly has plenty of – I’m talking about people who have enough, but don’t know it. With some of the largest records in credit card debt, workaholic standards, food waste, welfare, obesity, environmental hazards and privilege in the world, Americans are drowning in the pool of Too Much & Not Enough. And the fear that one day everything they hold dear will be taken away from them is firmly in the driver’s seat.

2. Many American people have been blaming immigrants and citizens of different skin colours alike for the state the country is in, for years.

Most of us can admit, looking back, that the whole enslavement of black people leading up to the Civil War was pretty wrong. (In fact, the enslavement of any people group in any point of history is pretty wrong.) We’re thankful for people like Abraham Lincoln who helped abolish that law; we remember his assassination still.

So why are the KKK still in action? Why is the Confederate flag such a sacred cow that no one had better speak against? Why are people being shot down in the streets daily because of how they look?

Because you can abolish a law, but it doesn’t change a person’s heart. Your mom can *make* you apologize for punching your brother, and you can say it well enough to appease all parties involved, but maybe your fingers were crossed and you can’t wait to punch him again when no one’s looking – because only you know how much the little punk is really asking for it.

There’s a movie from the late 90’s called American History X. It’s focused in L.A., on the gang wars between multiple races and a white supremacist neo-Nazi group, and two brothers caught in between.

It’s disturbing, eye-opening, horrifying, violent – and I believe it should be required viewing for every university-age person on the planet.

It has challenged me multiple times, seeing how subtly deep the levels of racism go, mixed with a prominent attitude of “I’m a good, hardworking white American, so if anything bad happens to me, it’s definitely the fault of that guy over there! America was so much better before people like him came here.”

Sound familiar?

3. Many Americans identify as Evangelical or Christian in census and survey, without even realizing what those words imply.

I mean, you’re not an atheist or a pagan or *shudder* a Muslim, right? Your hardworking, white American ancestors that *ahem* emigrated over on the Mayflower raised you better than that. And you definitely were in church at least twice this year, so put a little ✔ next to that Evangelical box and you’re good til next time.

4. And sometimes, in a perfect clusterf*ck, all of these attitudes collide in the same people.

They are the ones voting for Donald Trump.

And why not? Finally, after EIGHT YEARS of having to deal with a president who’s black and probably secretly a Muslim, here comes a successful white guy who is promising you more money and less immigrants – all under the banner of your Evangelical flag. He gets you. He knows what you need, and he isn’t afraid to speak it out boldly, like a kid in a candy store who’s never heard the word “no.”

Except, PSYCH! He owns the candy store, and now you can never leave because he’s going to feed you sugar until you die.

Whether he completely believes everything he says or not, he knows you’re ripe for the picking.

All of it bums me out, but highest on the list is how the label of Evangelical has been dragged into it.

JESUS WOULDN’T VOTE FOR DONALD, MMKAY?!

Somewhere deep down, I’m sure Jesus loves Donald as much as he does the rest of us, but even he has to admit the man is batshit crazy.

Jesus wants a government of justice and peace for ALL, not just the hardworking, white American. His heart breaks every time one of his children is gunned down in the street again, no matter what color their skin is. He designed that skin. He knows every scar inside and out, and he says you are enough.

That’s what I believe with my whole heart; that’s the Jesus I know.

But if you don’t know that, then it makes sense that you would see the label Evangelical Christian and automatically brace yourselves to meet another asshole like Trump.

And sometimes, honestly, we are. But some of us are trying our hardest to show the difference.

I hope you see it, I hope it gives YOU hope, and I hope that the next 8 months will go by quickly and painlessly.

Goodness, can I have some fries and gravy with that cheese? Canadian OWT.

Build a Bigger Table

Since the beginning of time, we have been on the move.

For any number of reasons: water, food, shelter, dinosaurs, volcanos, family ties, earthquakes, adventure, danger, curiosity, beauty, divine calling, opportunity, safety, home.

Home; the thing we long for most, the reason for all the wandering – we want to go to there.

Look around you.

None of us originated where we are. Maybe you have to go back a few generations, but chances are, someone somewhere in your family took a chance – a leap from where they were to where you find yourself now.

The square root of all humanity is immigration.

Only in the last few hundred years (maybe longer, I wasn’t there) has the world begun to define its resources as “mine” instead of “ours.” Finders keepers, losers weepers.

We think we actually own stuff, just because we have it. Meanwhile, the bank, the credit card company, maybe even God himself, are all chuckling to themselves a bit because they know you’re almost nothing without them.

I was almost nothing, once.

I was 18, living on $5-an-hour in a $12-an-hour world. Somewhat educated, a whole lot unprepared for real life.

Why? Because I was an immigrant. Not from Syria or Africa or India – from the United Freaking States of America.

How did this happen?

My family situation was one of fear: the future, the US government, relationships, Harry Potter. Nothing was to be trusted except ourselves and God. But he’s kind of a wild card, so tread lightly.

I’m 28 years old and I’ve lived in Canada since I was 10. But only in the last 5 years have I been legally able to drive, work, travel, get married and have an education. The previous 13 were spent in fear, hopelessness, depression, guilt, worthlessness and secrecy.

Once I took the step and made myself known to the Canadian government through refugee status, I didn’t know what would happen. Jail? Deportation? I had not kept up connections with anyone in the US except for a couple of friends. No family. I’d barely graduated high school, and I had no resume except the occasional babysitting and housecleaning. #HollaAtMeMexicanStereotypes

I was scared. My mom (at the time) did not support my decision to officially emigrate. Are you *supposed* to do things your mom doesn’t want you to do?

But after 4 long years of waiting, surprises were in store. I was not deported, but my mom was.
Turns out working 40 hours a week is really hard, but minimum wage is really nice.
Europe was pretty amazing; I’ve heard other places are just as good, so I might go there too.
I can’t imagine my heart or my life without my husband.
My home, with my little cat and my big dog and the dishes I hate doing and the laundry machine that whirs peacefully, is a gift.
In the big scheme of things, I have absolutely nothing to complain about, and everything to be thankful for.

I want that for my Syrian humans. And my East Indian humans, my Asian humans. My native American, African, South American, Mexican, Russian, European, American & Canadian humans. All the humans.

And if they have to come to where I am to receive that, then my arms are open.

Because I’ve lived with nothing, and others have shared with me. If they hadn’t, I’d probably be dead, inside and out.
And now that I have some things, I want to share with others in need too.

What we have before us is an opportunity to love greatly with simple actions. Don’t miss it.

**On behalf of the town of Smithers, British Columbia, I say WELCOME to the Syrian families that will be joining us soon. I hope we can make things better.**

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The Turkey & The Hurricane

Last Friday, the Button family went on the road trip of a lifetime.

We just didn’t know it at the time.

1. The Hurricane

It was a dark and rainy morning. We had the next 4 days off work, because we’re in Canada. And instead of celebrating the domination and desecration created by that Columbus guy, we eat turkey while knowing little to nothing about Sir Martin Frobisher.

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We left our house around 6am, so it was still dark. For the next 3 hours, we were blindsided by driving rain, gale-force winds and nasty-ass dog breath.

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The weather was actually a little scary. Our little car tried to leave the road several times.

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Thankfully, Steve was the one driving.

Later, we would turn on the news radio and learn that an event called Hurricane Oho was occurring off the Pacific coast, and we were literally feeling the after-effects of it in the middle of British Columbia. Steve quickly coined it Hurricane Uh-Oh, and I quickly coined us Bill Paxton & Helen Hunt.

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^^^ Dat’s us. #DriversAndSurvivors

2. The Never-Ending Ride of Burgers, Weed & Sh*t

Hear this: I love coupon day. I love opening my mail box, and seeing those shiny red papers filled with pictures of food I want to eat and money I want to save.

No more.

We brought all of our coupons for the road trip because #poor, so we basically ate burgers and potato-related foods, all 3 meals, in the span of 14 hours. Sure, we saved money, but by the end of the day when I could no longer poop, I found myself wishing they made coupons for organic salad.

Oh yeah — we were in that car for FOURTEEN HOURS. Because the freeway between Hope and Vancouver is bat-shit crazy on a good day, and we were there on a Friday. On a holiday weekend. And while the Fraser Valley has many lovely qualities…

Smelling good is not one of them.

I know they *say* marijuana hasn’t been legalized in Canada yet, but in that valley, it might as well be. Also there are cows and mushroom farms and lifted trucks that are singlehandedly putting a hole in the ozone.

Did I want to poop? Did I want to throw up? I couldn’t tell anymore.

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3. The Golden Anniversary

But the reason we drove (besides turkey) was well worth it. It was the 50th anniversary of my mother-and-father-in-law.

And they didn’t know we were gonna show up.

I was a little nervous; I hadn’t seen them since we moved away a year ago, and I feel like a golden anniversary is kind of a big deal. I wanted it to be memorable.

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I found this beautiful British-style teapot awhile ago, with them in mind, as well as some loose-leaf earl grey tea that could be used to fertilize Mum’s garden after they were diffused.

To me, it was meaningful on many levels.

To them, it was too.

But that wasn’t the only surprise of the night.

4. Poppy vs. The Pool

It was dark by the time we arrived at the house, and we thought Poppy should explore her new surroundings.

I didn’t see any of this happen, so this is how I understand it.

Poppy was busy sniffing the backyard by the light of the back deck, when she suddenly came upon a strange new surface. It was blue, kinda wet and level with the ground.

It was the tarp cover on the swimming pool.

She quickly realized she’d made a terrible mistake, and tried to swim her way to the sidewalk. Instead, she started sinking.

Very calmly – like Jesus, one could say – Steve reached in and pulled our Precious out of the pool just as the cover was starting to blanket her.

And since she’s smart, she remembered and avoided the special blue ground for the rest of the weekend.

5.The Guardians of the Toy Store

We’re nerds. Straight up. We collect Funkos from multiple fandom’s, and our Christmas tree looks like the entire pop culture from the 1970s-now threw up on it.

So when Steve showed me the newer, much bigger location of our favourite toy store, I nearly had a heart attack.

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Ewoks on a tree bridge over the toy shelves! #UhhhhCha!

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Treebeard & Gollum creepin’. #We’reTakingTheHobbitsToIsengard

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Completed by the best: Groot & Rocket extending hands of friendship to yours truly. #WEAREGROOT

And finally…

6. The Darla Effect

Have you read Darla Halyk, from New World Mom?

You probably should. She has amazing stories, from comparing herself to Amy Schumer to her literal, actual, text-the-Vatican miracle baby.

I had no idea, until recently, that she lived near Vancouver her whole life – up to and including the time I lived there. When I think about the coffees and laughs and sisterhood wasted, I wanna cry.

Because I got to meet with her for approximately 90 minutes before heading back north, and you guys.

She’s amazing.

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We hugged upon meeting, because of course we had to. She drank out of a coffee cup the length of my forearm while we talked non-stop about writing and our pets and her kids and food and it all ended too quickly. She is the Real Deal, from her sweary-mouth to her sparkly eyes and again to her fierce love for life. I can’t wait to hang out with her again.

So, I am very thankful. I made it to my 28th birthday with little mental breakdown, I ate turkey dinner twice, laughed at YouTube videos with my sister-in-law until my stomach hurt, made great memories with friends & family, and I survived a hurricane.

But above all, I am thankful this picture exists. Because we’ve had enough of Sharknado to last a lifetime. Haven’t we earned…

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…Turkeycane???

My Inner Child Is A Cool Teenager Now

I have an admission to make:

I’m turning 28 in a matter of weeks.

But I’m pretty sure I’m still 16 on the inside, and last weekend I discovered…I love it.

When I actually *was* 16, I constantly heard from strangers that they had taken me to be at least 25. Now, people are surprised to hear that 28 is approaching. That’s not a humble brag – that’s actually a sort of effed-up psychological facet that I’m starting to explore.

For starters, I didn’t have much of a childhood. As a homeschooled only child preparing for the Apocalypse to hit in Y2K, I took life (and what I thought was left of it) pretty seriously. Books were for learning survival skills in the woods, even in something like Little House on the Prairie. Movies were for becoming desensitized to blood and violence and end-times scenarios. Music was for prayer and thoughtful reflection. I “grew up” pretty quickly.

I learned a lot. I learned that you can’t predict anything the future holds. And because of that, I learned that you have to live a little, otherwise you might as well already be dead.

As you can imagine, my upbringing made me a little…awkward out in regular social circles. I was not cool, no matter how hard I tried. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I found my self-deprecating charm that people enjoyed. I joined Facebook; I started blogging. My “voice” online feels like it could be important, but out in the real world, there’s no way that being 28, among all the other 28 year olds, is something I’m ready for.

So I hosted a sleepover. At my house. For 6 teenage girls, and one 7 year old little sister. Throughout my childhood, I had been the babysitter for almost all of them. #OkayIDOFeelOld

It wasn’t hard for me to come up with ideas for our sleepover. Teenage girls? Cupcakes, dance competitions, pizza, face masks, nail polish, Bollywood musicals and Disney cartoons and selfies.

It’s so simple. *mic drop*

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17 hours later, it was declared “the best sleepover ever”; we stayed up til 3am, talking about The Hunger Games, Divergent, as well as Shawn Mendes, Imagine Dragons & Taylor Swift. I knew all the songs on their iPods, to their genuine surprise. They all want to divide up my house into their own rooms to live there permanently. As long as they have access to an easy-bake oven.

Quotes of the Night

“My booty is unshakeable!” – Alys

“I’ve been interpretive dancing for approximately an hour and a half.” – Journey

“Um, esscuse me, is that fruit punch organic? If not, I’m leaving.” – Camryn

“Burn! That’s checkin’ your white privilege right there!” – Avery

I never thought I’d live to see these little girls become teenagers. They’re enchanting in their almost-woman-ness. And now, like some sort of weird Benjamin Button story, we have met in the middle. I finally belong.

I used to be ashamed of myself, my weird amalgamation of balancing my checkbook and watching The Vampire Diaries, not being late to work while eating leftover Kraft Dinner for breakfast. (Although I AM determined to finish Anna Karenina & Les Miserables, maybe even find someone to have an intelligent conversation about them.)

I’m sure I’ll grow up one day. Just, for now, let me have this. It’s the most myself I’ve ever been.

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“Be who you needed when you were younger.”

Dump Etiquette

A few weeks ago, I took a big step in the world of fashion: I bought my first above-the-knee skirt (above? below? It’s shorter than my legs are, period.) I love wearing skirts, especially in the summer, especially if they have enough material to allow a little swirl in my twirl.

This skirt is all that and a bag of chips. It’s from Bootlegger, navy blue with colored anchors and cutesy shit all over it. I can wear it with literally anything. It even looks good wrinkled, not that I would know that. *ahem*

So last weekend, I was emptying our storage barn of garbage and recycling, getting ready to make a dump run – maybe make some money at the bottle depot. (To buy more pop and beer, of course. It’s the ciiiiiircle of liiiiiife.)

I don’t know what possessed me to decide that wearing the Skirt of Wonder to the dump was a great idea. Probably the same demon that convinced me to wear my lacy white underwear underneath it. I guess I was feeling good about myself.

So there I was, tossing bags of garbage and bottles into my car in a manner that would make a Tetris champion cry.

When I got to the dump, I had to unload a bag of recycling to get to the garbage underneath.

And then, a hurricane-force gale blew in from the coast of South America to make all hell break loose.

The big blue bag of bottles and cans tipped over, and all of my drinking problems scattered around the dump.

Have you ever been to a Walmart on a Saturday? Then you’ve been to our local dump on a Saturday.

I chased my recycling all over the gravel parking lot, hoping one of the thousand people there might help me, but alas. Also? It’s very difficult to grab errant recycling when you’re busy trying to keep your extra-twirly skirt (God why did I choose the extra-twirl?!) where it belongs.

I’m not saying I publicly exposed myself indecently – I’m just saying that Marilyn Monroe would have been embarrassed.

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"Really? Lacy white underwear to the dump? Oh, honey."

After a few moments of “The Carly Show”, I finally dumped my shit, re-packed my other shit and peeled out. To their credit, I didn’t see anyone staring after me.

Less than an hour later, I made $23 dollars at the Bottle Depot. Suck it, Marilyn.

I told Steve when we saw each other that evening, and we had a bit of a giggle. Then I moved on.

The very next day, we were at the grocery store. (Like I said, we had $23 fresh dollars.) We turned down the pet aisle and saw our friend Mik pushing her cart towards us, her 9-month pregnant belly being adorable. We smiled and chatted for a couple of minutes, and then she threw in this offhand comment – “Oh hey, I saw you at the dump the other day!”

“Oh!” I replied nonchalantly. And then I remembered. “…oh?”

She smiled compassionately. “Yyyyeaaahh.”

“I am so sorry you had to see that.” I’m surprised the sight of my booty didn’t send you into labor immediately.

She was full-out laughing now. “I thought you recovered very gracefully!”

In an attempt to change the subject, I *very gracefully* gestured to her belly and very loudly did my Brian Regan impersonation: “So when’s that BABY due, eh?!” #ProudDoula

What am I trying to say?

A.) Buy the cute skirt, no matter how insecure you are about your legs. Cause your legs are awesome.
B.) Don’t wear it to the dump.
C.) Even if you think you’re at a place where you don’t know anyone, you’re wrong. You live in a town with less than 10,000 people; you are never alone.
D.) Seriously, don’t wear a skirt to the dump.
E.) All of the above.