On Moving to Belize

Apr 18 2018

Exciting news, friends! Greg and I, along with our kids, are moving to Belize! We don’t have a timeline yet, as we’re just in the initial phases of looking for riverfront property in the Cayo district — probably on the Macal River — but stay tuned for more info.

Also — IMPORTANT — don’t tell Greg yet, please.

I haven’t technically mentioned it to him yet because I’ve learned it takes a while to break news like this to him.

First of all, he has no sense of spontaneity, so as soon as I say, “GREG! EXCITING NEWS,” he won’t wait to hear what it is. He’ll just say no by default, and then when I actually tell him, he’ll begin a litany of Why The Amazing Thing Beth Is Planning Is Impractical, Financially Impossible, and Against The Natural Order. As a result, I’ll need to both craft a slow and subtle way to ease him into this news — my current plan is to manufacture a surprise confrontation while he’s pooping so he can’t escape — and also prepare My Defense so when he says, “The kids have to finish school, Beth,” I can say, “There are schools in Belize, Greg, OR our kids could drop out of school and become billionaires like Richard Branson, or awarding-winning directors like Quentin Tarantino, or rappers-turned-entrepreneurs like JayZ.” I feel like that logic is infallible.

Secondly, Greg tends not to believe me when I make Exciting New Plans for our lives, so I’m going to have to invent a way to ensure he knows I Really Mean It This Time. See, THIS is why it’s dangerous to get someone a fake miniature horse instead of a REAL miniature horse; I SHOULD’VE FOLLOWED THROUGH ON THE HORSE, y’all. I KNEW I should’ve followed through on the horse. If I’d followed through on the horse, he’d know I mean it about Belize. So, you know, if you have any suggestions for convincing him I’m serious, LMK, K?

That’s really all I’ve got for now. I’ve been radio silent around here for a couple weeks because I’ve been on a homeschooling road trip with the youngest two, and now I’m visiting the oldest at college. I think I had a day and a half at home in between the two (five kids’ needs is a lot of kids’ needs, friends), and so I spent it wisely — researching real estate in Belize. 

More soon.

Love to you all,

 

 

 

P.S. Abby and I are busy creating new twinsie pics for you.

Because we care. 

 

Trophy Time: GOT DRESSED

Mar 21 2018

Hey, BIG NEWS. I got dressed today. To my shoes. In Not Pajamas. With everything right side out. BEFORE NOON. I have thus been awarded the following trophy.

GOT DRESSED!

To be clear, by “I’ve been awarded,” I mean I awarded it to myself which is only appropriate as I’m the Governing Body that oversees Dressedness in my home. 

You may remember last month, when I accepted trophies in myriad categories including Smothered Zero People With a Pillow and Injury Free Workplace: 60 Minutes. Well, this trophy was available to me then (in a burst of unbridled optimism, I’d ordered it for myself from the Trophy Store), but the time never seemed right to bestow it, partly because I avoid getting dressed whenever possible, and partly because 1. Getting Dressed, 2. Remembering I’m Dressed, and 3. Taking a Photo to Prove I’m Dressed was two steps too many. My three steps looked more like 1. Getting Dressed, 2. Getting Undressed as Soon as Socially Feasible (i.e. upon walking one step in my front door), and then, 3. much later, going, “DAMN. I FORGOT MY TROPHY AGAIN.”

In other words, it’s been a long, hard road to the trophy podium, friends. I had to get dressed, like, a dozen times at least, practicing and persevering like all elite athletes. Sometimes, I awoke before dawn to dress, and sometimes I found myself still wearing clothes when the sun went down. There were days of Clothes-Wearing that seemed endless, y’all, but I never — not once — took my clothes off during a school district meeting that ran late, or while having fancy dinner with my cousin when my waistband pinched, or in the grocery store parking lot even though the drive home would’ve been way more comfy without jeans.

I earned this award, in other words, so I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to work hard and TRY. Success comes one pant leg at a time unless you’re smart enough to wear a skirt which takes way less effort. And, in the end, dreams DO come true. 

With love,

 

 

 

P.S. I ALMOST FORGOT PROOF. Jeez.

Special thanks to Greg who took this pic in which I’m DRESSED…

…thus reminding me to award myself this long overdue prize. Sure, I’m both dressed AND back in bed in that pic (because what’s a girl to do when her puppy and her kid want to snuggle?), but that just means I ALSO get the “Made the Bed: HA HA JUST KIDDING” trophy today. 

P.P.S. Did anyone notice this in the first pic?

Yeah, me, too. IDK what that is or how it got there, but, y’all, I just left it the hell alone because it looks dangerous. I feel like that’s a solid choice. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Your Advice Needed: Prank Emergency

Mar 9 2018

EMERGENCY, friends. We have an emergency, and your advice is needed.

You may have heard that Easter is on April Fool’s Day this year. THIS GIVES US BARELY OVER 3 WEEKS to create a Master Prank Plan to Fool the Children. This is TIME SENSITIVE, folks. We have Things to Do, Plots to Scheme, and not a whole lot of time in which to accomplish it. I feel like it would be ungrateful to the cosmos that went to so much trouble to align these two events to waste this opportunity. I also feel like Jesus would want us to celebrate his resurrection by tricking small humans. I mean, WWJD, right? J is cheering us on here. I’m sure of it.

Here’s the thing, though; we need to make this April Fool’s Easter-specific. THEMED pranks, if you will. The plastic wrap on the toilet seat and the rubber band on the kitchen sprayer are good tricks for a Regular April Fool’s Day; I just feel like they’re insufficient for EASTER April Fool’s, you know? Like we’re required to step up our game here and make this super Easter-y.

Our family usually does Extreme Egg Hunts, Hunger Games Style, so our kids are primed for egg hunting as a full contact sport. We make all the kids stuff the eggs (because that’s a lot of work, man, and we had children for the free labor), and then the adults head outside to hide them in trees, on roofs, duct taped to top of the swing set; basically anywhere our children must risk life and limb to retrieve them. Obviously, this can take us a significant amount of time involving, as it does, ladders, rope, tape, and the occasional garden hose. 

I feel like the Easter Egg Hunt is a prime opportunity to commit acts of foolery this year. Like, the kids can stuff all the eggs per usual, and then we can swap those eggs with pebble-stuffed eggs for the actual hiding. OR we can simply take all the eggs under the premise of “hiding” and make a run for it. The kids won’t notice we’re gone for at least 20 minutes. We can head to a neighbor’s house, hide the eggs there instead and have a glass of wine while the kids try to find us. That feels like a win/win, you know?

BUT THAT’S ALL I’VE GOT so far. Two egg-related ideas. Which is why I NEED YOUR HELP, friends. I need a more comprehensive plan. I need better tricks. I need more tom-foolery. I need bigger ways to celebrate the Risen Savior by pulling one over on my kids.

EMERGENCY. TIME SENSITIVE. Help a mama out?? What ideas do you have?

With great anticipation,

 

 

 

P.S. I do have some teeny, tiny rules for pranks. I don’t like pranks that make people feel stupid or that make them feel sad. Except for the time I made Greg feel sad by faking the purchase of a miniature horse and having it delivered to our house. In my defense, he had it coming by telling me I couldn’t have one. I really had no choice. Pranks that force children to run all over the neighborhood to find the egg hunt I stole? Approved. Pranks that make them think it’s canceled altogether? I can’t do it. I’m too much of a softy. But other than sadness or making people feel dumb, I’m all ears. Minor physical jeopardy is fine. Emotional jeopardy, not so much. I can’t wait to hear your ideas. 

Greg Said I Can Have a Domesticated Fox

Feb 12 2018

Greg said I can have a domesticated fox. He also says he did not say I can have a domesticated fox, but he’s wrong about the second one.

Specifically, our conversation went like this:

“Hey, Beth, did you know the Russians spent the last 60 years selectively breeding wild foxes to create a domesticated version? They actually did it. The science is amaz…”

“OH MY GOSH, WE’RE GETTING A FOX?”

“No, we’re not getting a f…”

“We’re getting a fox! WE’RE GETTING A FOX. KIDS?? Listen up! Dad says we can have a FOX.” 

**kids cheering**

“Beth. Beth! We are NOT getting a fox.”

“Of COURSE we’re getting a fox. You JUST SAID there are DOMESTICATED FOXES in the world. What POSSIBLE REASON do you have for NOT GETTING a fox?”

“Well, they make terrible pets. They’re only domesticated. Like, they can’t survive in the wild, and they’re happy around people. But they’re not necessarily good at living in the house, and they tend to mark their territory, including indoors.”

“OMG. That’s the stupidest reason EVER, Greg, not to get a fox. Our children are all feral, and we keep them. One of them peed on the inside garage walls. Several kept a poop collection under the front porch. God knows, we’ve cleaned urine and feces off nearly EVERY surface and textile in this house, thanks to myriad small creatures, human and otherwise. And I pooped the closet. Marking his territory is just a reason why a fox will fit in perfectly with this family.”

Greg rolled his eyes. It’s how he flirts with me. “You can’t just import a fox to the States.” 

“According to Google and PBS, though, you CAN, Greg. You CAN import a domesticated fox to the States for just $9,000.” 

“Right. NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS, Beth. Nine THOUSAND.”

“I hear you, Greg. I hear what you’re saying loud and clear. Got it, kids? We just need to raise $9,000 and then we get to have a fox. A WHOLE FOX.”

“And they’re specifically outlawed in Oregon…”

“So noted. Step 1: Raise $9,000. Step 2: Change Oregon State law. Step 3: WE’RE GETTING A FOX.” 

In conclusion, Greg made sure to let me know there are domesticated foxes and then helpfully outlined what I need to do to procure one of my very own, which is pretty much exactly the same as saying I can have one. Yes? Yes. I knew you’d understand.

With love (and great excitement),

 

 

 

P.S. FYI, I think we’re going to start with a girl fox. I shall name her Megan (obviously). Then we’ll get a boy fox and name him Michael J. They will have sweet baby foxes. We will keep one of the boy kits and name him George because George Fox was a weird weirdo who was weird and counter-cultural and founded Quakerism because he radically believed there is that of God in every person, made, as we are, in God’s own image. I cannot think of a better reminder of the tenets of our faith than a baby fox named George. Next time Greg panics even though he said I can have a fox, I’ll remind him it’s because it’s what Jesus wants for us, else why would he have brought the article to Greg’s attention in the first place? WHY are we getting a fox, Greg? DIVINE INTERVENTION is why. And also, it will remind us of our FAITH. Don’t argue with me about this; argue with GOD.

P.P.S. OMG! GUESS WHAT? I JUST REALIZED WE’LL NEED TO SELL THE OTHER KITS. To good homes, of course. But the average litter for a fox is 4-6 kits… and it’s not uncommon to go significantly higher… up to 13 (!). THAT MEANS I’VE ALREADY SOLVED THE $9,000 QUESTION. I just need to buy Megan and Michael J. for $18,000, have one litter of minimum 4 kits, keep one, and sell 3 for $27,000 total. I JUST MADE US $9,000, GREG. You’re welcome. 

P.P.P.S. While we wait for our foxes to arrive, our next Golden Retriever foster dog is coming. Her name is Nikki, and she’s 3 months old. I CAN HARDLY STAND HOW ADORABLE SHE IS. 

P.P.P.P.S.

 

 

I Accepted on Behalf of All of Us. Also, I’m Going to Need a Trophy Case.

Feb 1 2018

There’s always a fine line to walk between celebrating one’s success among friends and tooting one’s own horn. I’m going to go ahead and call this the former as I tell you I WON A LOT OF AWARDS THIS WEEK. 

A lot, a lot, friends. 

But I want you to know, as I accepted these and had my moment behind the podium* to speak to the masses**, I made sure the crowd understood I was accepting them on behalf of ALL of us. All of us mamas. And all of us parents. And all of us HUMANS who somehow ENDURE and BEAR WITNESS to each other again and again.

I was nominated*** in myriad categories, and I won a bunch of them, but I’m only going to give you a quick tour of my favorite hardware from the ceremony because I don’t want to brag too, too much. I’ll save the rest for another time.

…..

Award #1: SMOTHERED ZERO PEOPLE WITH A PILLOW

Lots of humans have smothered zero people with a pillow, and I am one of them! Huzzah! I accepted this award with a lengthy speech to itemize All the Things for which I COULD HAVE Smothered People but DIDN’T. It was very passionate. Also, loud. Also-also, some of the crowd put on headphones and Stopped Listening, and there were a few who Rolled Their Eyes****, but I don’t feel like any of that undermines the fact that I both earned and deserve this trophy which so beautifully memorializes my excellent Self-Control. 

…..

Award #2: TOOK MY MEDS

It’s true! I did. 

…..

Award #3: INJURY FREE WORKPLACE

 

Sixty minutes, friends. Sixty WHOLE MINUTES injury-free around here. I’ll be honest, we almost didn’t qualify, but somehow, at the last minute, we pulled it off. 

…..

Award #4: HA HA JUST KIDDING

Awarded for all kinds of Ha Ha Just Kidding situations, this trophy only symbolically says Made the Bed, which is obviously not a thing that happens around here because science, thank God, has put the kibosh on bed-making. I mean, I was given this trophy for Making the Bed (Ha Ha Just Kidding), but I also qualified for other categories of Ha Ha Just Kidding, including Showered Today, Found Clean Panties on the First Try, and Drank My Coffee While It Was Still Hot.

….

In conclusion, I’m going to need a really big trophy case, because there are more***** where these came from******, and I’m bound to keep winning and winning. 

With love,

 

 

 

*Podium: aka, the kitchen table.
**The Masses: Several children, all apparently mine, some sans pants, two muddy dogs, and Greg.
***I Was Nominated: with special thanks to Me for nominating myself.
****A Few Who Rolled Their Eyes: Greg Woolsey.
*****There Are More: OF COURSE there are more. There are more already made, AND there are more to come. For example, I am currently reading Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach and have decided my next trophy ought to be for Not Coercing Greg into Having Sex in Front of a Medical Audience for the Purposes of 4D Research like Mary, my hero, did her husband, Ed. I mean, YES I made Greg believe we were getting a miniature horse, and YES, I’m blessing him with a house full of Golden Retrievers, but it turns out I HAVE NEVER, EVER FLOWN HIM TO ENGLAND TO PARTICIPATE IN SEX STUDIES. I am a Paragon of Virtue. Now to make that concise enough to go on a trophy. I’m open to suggestions.
******Where These Came From: My friend, Shelley, who, for reasons I don’t understand, was getting rid of trophies, instead of awarding them to herself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Also from our local trophy store where the receptionist was very, very confused and troubled by how I intended to repurpose these. On the bright side, I think that lady prayed for me when I left.

 

 

Today’s Avoidance Technique Brought to You by the Letter P

Jan 30 2018

Do you ever feel like pterodactyl is an inside joke? Like, do you look at that word and think, “That cannot possibly be right?” Do you see pterodactyl and suspect it was maybe, probably, actually spelled teradactile until one day, at their top secret, annual, global conference, All the Paleontologists decided they were sick and tired of being belittled by the Other Scientists as the Ross Gellars of the Science World and never, ever invited to sit at the Cool Kids’ Table with Neil DeGrasse Tyson or Lisa Randall? Do you think the Paleontologists were bitter they’re never invited to play themselves on Big Bang Theory like Stephen Hawking and The Wild Thornberrys like Jane Goodall? Do you think they were enraged their conference is always during the mid-summer heatwave in Fresno, California or Trenton, New Jersey while All the Physicists toast each other with fine wine just after the new year in French ski villages like Val Thorens and Alpe d’Huez?

I do.

I think they were all, “NOPE,” and “DONE,” and “OVER AND OUT, Other Scientists,” and that’s when they made their pact to just EFF WITH US FOREVER AND EVER by agreeing to insist teradactile, which makes sense, is spelled pterodactyl. 

Tommy was all, “We could throw a P in front of that.” And Patrice went, “And spell the end with a Y.” And then Robertta goes, “Let’s just arbitrarily change the A in the middle to an O,” because she’s still angry her mom spelled her name with two t’s.

I mean, it was a joke, obviously, after a few too many fancy cocktails at the conference center bar themed to look like a tacky Tiki Shack, but then they all looked at each other. It was an instant mindmeld as they simultaneously thought, “We could pull this off. Who’s going to tell All the Paleontologists in All the World that we’re Wrong about how to spell pterodactyl?”

They were drunk on power. And a little bit on rum punch. So they pulled the trigger.

They never meant it to go this far. They were in a bad mental space, and they didn’t think it through.

They never meant to harm all those Second Grade Spelling Bee hopefuls, dashing their dreams on P’s and O’s and Y’s. 

But it’s just too late to come clean now. 

They have to live with it. 

Every day, they have to live with regret.

Let’s think about that for a while, shall we?

Sincerely,

 

 

 

P.S. Did you know that the pterodactyl’s scientific name — pterodactylus— means winged finger? I bet you dollars to donuts every single time a paleontologist says pterodactyl, that’s exactly what they’re flipping the world, y’all. #TheMoreYouKnow

P.P.S. I have a lot of laundry and dishes and children’s hygiene issues to attend to today, friends. Also, news and politics are depressing. Thus this dive into the word pterodactyl. Today’s avoidance technique is brought to you by the letter “P.” 

P.P.P.S. Also, anyone but me think narwhals are a hoax? Because seriously.

I Had It All Together

Dec 6 2017

I had it all together yesterday. I woke up early. I ate breakfast. I drank an entire cup of coffee. I wore clothes that weren’t pajamas. I put on makeup so I didn’t look like the living dead. OK, fine; I had to throw the hair into a bad braid because who has time to do hair after all the above? But still, I had it all together yesterday.

I had it all together yesterday because I had a Place to Be; an Appointment volunteering at the local high school which made me feel magnanimous. I was both dressed and volunteering which qualify me for at least a few hours of super hero status, yes? Yes. I’m glad we agree on the criteria. 

So I had it all together yesterday. I volunteered at a school, and then I had a break, and then — wait for it — I volunteered again

Now, I realize there are parents in this world who volunteer regularly, in all the schools, all the time. They are not super heroes. They are magical, mythical creatures of light and love, imbued with benevolence and grace. They are better than super heroes, is what I’m saying. Still, being a Sometime Super is nothing to sneeze at, and I was super, if only for a day.

I had it all together yesterday. I walked with confident strides and shoulders back and smiled at All the People, as one does when one has it All Together. And so, to celebrate, I took myself to the Fancy Restaurant in town for lunch. Just Me, who had it all together, ordering the Cheapest Thing on the menu so I could sit and soak in the atmosphere, look at the giant, expensive Christmas decorations, and enjoy being pristine a few more minutes before going home where there are rice crispies ground into the couch and our giantest decoration is the tumbleweed of dog hair and spilled sprinkles roaming from room to room.

I had it all together yesterday until I laid my napkin in my lap and thus glanced down at my Super Self… which is when I realized I had my sweater on backwards and also inside out… which is when I hightailed it to the ladies’ room to fix the sweater… which is when I saw the Giant Spot on my pants… which is when I remembered my son “blessing” them with a handful of cupcake frosting… which is when I remembered I’d meant to wash these jeans but had relegated them to the recesses of my mind where all the non-urgent things go. You know, all the non-urgent things that don’t have to do with stopping someone’s bleeding or telling the legions to TURN DOWN THE TV VOLUME OR I’M TURNING IT OFF or running to the store for emergency toilet paper because no one ever puts that on the shopping list.

I had it all together yesterday until my clothes were on backwards and inside out and decorated with a spot that looked like feces but smelled like chocolate frosting. And until, while standing at the Fancy Sink in the Fancy Restroom of the Fancy Restaurant, using their Fancy Cloth Hand Towels to try to scrub the icing from my pants, I glanced in the Fancy Mirror to see that my hair had fallen out of its braid — or rather, half of it had while the other half struggled valiantly but futilely to stay coiffed. Really, by the time I noticed that, I just felt the hair was trying to fit in with its peers. The sweater and the pants had jumped off the cliff, so, by God, the hair was going to jump, too, and damn the consequences. 

But I had it all together yesterday, and even though I didn’t — not really — it felt good while it lasted.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

P.S. We are officially in Christmas Christmas season now, as opposed to Halloween Christmas or Thanksgiving Christmas. This is FULL CHRISTMAS, friends. Thus we begin our Christmas Christmas posts on this blog.

P.P.S. Christmas Christmas posts on this blog are the regular mish-mash of posts that wreak havoc and have no overarching theme other than the usual magic and mess and bizarre, beautiful bits about being both human and divine. 

P.P.P.S. I have things Planned — thoughts on faith, thoughts on politics, easy peasy recipes to share, an Escapist Book Club book for December, a Gorgeous Piece on Authenticity and Grace and Mental Health by my friend Eleanor who is Wise and Beautiful and Amazing, and more. When I listen to my fears, I’m afraid I’m going to give you whiplash, diving as I do from the mundane to the meaningful in rapid succession. When I listen to Love, which drives out fear, I realize this jumble of shallow and deep is simply Real Life, and Real Life is worth sharing.