How to Houseplant

February 16, 2016 in Beth, Family by Beth Woolsey

My mom grew roses when I was kid. Gorgeous, HUGE roses with conceited, ruffled petals in every 80s pastel color imaginable, especially all the varieties of peach. She trimmed them, and dead headed the rose hips, and put tar on the end of every cut stalk to make sure the aphids didn’t get to the vulnerable plant, and my brother and I would play in the crab grass while she worked the rose beds, and threaten each other with bodily harm, but we stayed away from the roses because we knew what was good for us.

My grandma’s specialty was African violets. And cross stitch. And cross stitched African violets. I never knew her without them, the half wall in her dining room covered with her special white plastic shelves, grow lights, and precisely set timers eager to do her bidding. I bet if Grandma had put her mind to it, she would’ve grown great pot with that set-up. A carefully curated environment, every dead leaf perfectly plucked, and each bud babied. She could’ve made bank, friends, if she’d been just a little entrepreneurial.

But me? I didn’t inherit their green thumbs. Not even a little.

Or so I thought.

For YEARS.

I used to think I was bad at growing house plants, just because I always killed them. Now I know I was just growing the wrong kind of plants, and my technique was all wrong, because guess what I discovered?

I ROCK AT GROWING PLANTS, friends.

See?

IMG_8884A WHOLE BOWL OF HOUSE PLANTS.

I showed my kids, because I want them to have memories of their mom growing things and not, well, poisoning everything I touch.

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And my daughter said, “LOOK AT YOU, MOM! YOU ARE GROWING AN ONION FROM AN ONION!”

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WHICH I TOTALLY AM.

So I asked her if she knew what I was growing from the yellow potatoes.

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“What, Mom? What are you growing from those?” she asked.

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“A yellow potato plant,” I said, proudly.

“WOW, Mom,” she said, and she meant it, because she’s my FAVORITE, and I told her I’m growing sweet potato plants, too…

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… because I am.

Turns out, I’m excellent at growing plants. I just needed to find my kind. My mama rocked the roses. My grandma loved the African violets. I’m more of a tubers and root veggies girls, myself. Kinda makes me wonder what else I think I’m bad at that I’m… well… not.

 

 

With love, friends,

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P.S. In case you’re also good at growing house plants and need home decorating ideas, I tried out the following and can highly recommend:

  1. Decorate a Bookshelf

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2. Or a Mantel:

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3. Or, of course, a Restroom

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Never Trust a Fart. This Is Why.

January 31, 2016 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Frankly, I’ve had a lot of luck with farts over the course of my lifetime, and, not to brag, but I’m a pretty good farter, socially speaking. I mean, I know how to gently eke one out in public situations to see how it’ll develop, clamping down quickly if it’s too voluminous or odoriferous or loud. Or, alternatively, letting that sucker rip if my audience is my 9 year old boys. I got cocky, I guess, is what I’m saying. And my successful farting career lured me into a false sense of security.

Never trust a fart, they say. But I did. I did trust a fart, and this is my story.

I’d been feeling a little low the day it happened. A little down. A touch under the weather. But nothing terrible, you know? Nothing AWFUL. And, honestly, if we mamas stopped what we were doing and put our sweet selves to bed at the first sign of sickness, the world would stop spinning. Literally. Mamas stopping for the sniffles or a little tummy upset would cause a shift in the space/time continuum, or a rip in the fabric of reality,or California to slide into the ocean. Mamas do not stop for “a little” anything.

So even though I was a smidge sick that day, and slightly gaggy, and my insides were rumbly and tentative and uncertain, I proceeded with my day. Got the kids to school. Dressed (badly, in clothes that smelled like cheese) for work. Used dry shampoo. Spent my time wisely at the stop lights, throwing on make-up, smearing on mascara, and plucking chin hairs. And I went to work. Like a responsible person. With responsibilities. Who’s responsible.

Yes, I was gurgly.

Yes, I was nauseated.

Yes, I had a tiny case of the urps.

But not run-to-the-bathroom sick.

Not go-home sick.

Not STOP-THE-WORLD-I-WANT-TO-GET-OFF sick.

Just queasy.

Ignorably queasy.

So I kept my sushi date with Jen. Because a) Jen is good times and I love her very much, and b) SUSHI. It’s delicious. Even when I’m urpy. Delicious, I say.

And, mid-convo, I trusted the fart.

Just a little one, I thought.

A poof.

A puff.

And so, with a little subtle squeeze, I tested the farting waters.

And I got… farting waters.

Not a poof.

Not a puff.

That little push I thought was air, was not. And the clamping at which I was previously so accomplished? DID NOT WORK.

I looked at Jen, and to her I said, “Please pardon me. I must use the rest room. To potty. For a minute. Or two,” and I scooted off my stool, (my stool — no pun intended), while eyeing it surreptitiously to make sure I’d left nothing behind, because inspecting one’s stool before leaving for the bathroom isn’t suspicious at all. And I simultaneously prayed to Jesus.

“Dear Jesus,” I said, “I just pooped my pants,” because if I didn’t tell him, how would he know? And if he didn’t know, how would he keep it from soaking through my jeans? “And, DEAR GOD, if I’ve ever done anything useful in my entire life, please, please, please, please, please do not let it soak through my jeans.”

Thus I waddled to the potty with excellent and rigid posture and hind end out ever-so-slightly so as to not exacerbate the issue with unnecessary rubbing, and I arrived at the toilet to discover the mystery that awaited.

Here’s what I need you to know, friends: I have CLEARLY lived an extremely righteous and worthy life, and Jesus loves me to the moon. Or at least he loves me to the potty with poop-free pants, because when I arrived, I discovered the damage was to panties alone. TO PANTIES ALONE, friends, so TAKE THAT, Atheist, Godless Friends. (Ryan, hear me now…) GOD IS ALIVE AND ACTIVE IN THIS WORLD! I rest my case.

In conclusion, I suggest you avoid that sushi restaurant off the freeway by the big, new, fancy shopping mall. I hear patrons of that establishment discard their panties in the trash and have terrible theology.

Sincerely,

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P.S. I’ve been reluctant to tell you this story, lest you think I frequently poop myself. I told you about the time I pooped my closet. And now I’m telling you about the time I pooped the sushi restaurant. I swear, I don’t often poop myself. SWEAR.

P.P.S. Please do not send me religious hate mail for this post. If Mr. Trump can receive the endorsement and support of prominent Christian leaders, then my Poop Theology Proof of God is totes legit in current faith culture. Amen, friends? A-effing-men.

How’s It Going?

December 29, 2015 in Beth, But Seriously, Funny by Beth Woolsey

I’ve been a little quiet this week because I’m under water.

Not a LOT under water.

Just a bit.

Probably.

Maybe.

Although, to be honest, as a person with mental illness, I wouldn’t really know if I was all the way under water, so I’m historically unreliable on the whole self-assessment thing. I mean, what do I know about how I’m doing? NOT MUCH, friends. Not much at all.

Still, as best as I can tell, I’m just a little under water. Like, the kind of under water where I yelled at Greg on Christmas Day because he didn’t put his pants on fast enough.

Merry Christmas, Greg!
With Love,
Your Sweet and Darling Wife

In my defense, Greg put his pants on really slowly that day. Really, really slowly. As in, really, really, REALLY slowly.

Because it did not matter that the children left the front door open and the dogs escaped.

And it did not matter that those canines were gleefully running roughshod over the neighborhood.

It did not matter that Greg’s wife was fresh from the shower, soaking wet and naked, and therefore not as well positioned as he was to chase said dogs.

Nope; those things were irrelevant, and it was not possible to simply grab pants, throw them on and chase three dogs down the street. That is not how Things Are Done. There is an Order, after all. A Queue in Greg’s scientific mind. A Specific Process from which a properly ordered man shall not deviate. And Pants-Donning is faaaaarr down the list, it seems, after lots of other things that have to be done first.

First, for example, Greg had to source a pair of socks. Not the pair of socks laying next to him. No; he had to find a clean pair of socks as though we suddenly have sock standards at our house. And then a shirt. And then another, long sleeved shirt to go over the first shirt which, turns out, was just an undershirt and not a shirt shirt because God Forbid you chase three giddy, sprinting dogs with dirty socks and without an undershirt. That would be wrong. 

Eventually, Greg put on his pants.

And then he had to find a belt.

And then he latched the belt on the wrong hole so he had to redo the latching of it.

“DEAR, SWEET, BABY JESUS, HUSBAND WHOM I LOVE AND WHOM I SHALL THROTTLE. THE DOGS ARE IN CHINA BY NOW.”

“I only see my slippers,” said Greg. “Where are my shoes?”

“GO. GET. THE. DAMN. DOGS.”

Next time, I’m chasing the dogs naked. So let it be written. So let it be done.

So I’m under water a little, if you gauge drowning on the Yelling at the Spouse Scale, which I do, I guess, even if the yelling wasn’t yelling so much as, you know, me helping Greg. Helping him become a better person, really. I give and I give.

Still, I’m under water a little.

A little breathless sometimes these days.

A little emotionally gaspy lately as I surface for a minute and drift back under, not weighed down so much that I can’t see or participate in the joy which surrounds me, but weighed down enough that I’m not as gentle with my people or with myself as I feel I should be. And not gentle about not being gentle, either.

I have Things to Say, though. Things to Write. Thoughts about the year almost past and the year swiftly coming. Ideas about how we might lay this one to rest and welcome the year almost upon us in ways that are more full of freedom than fear, more graceful than grim, and more mindful of relief than insisting on rigor. But I’m under water a little, so I’m not sure how to start. And I’m metaphorically naked and wet, too, and rather sure someone else should go chase the thoughts that keep running roughshod through my head; certain others are more equipped than me to run them down.

I don’t know how to unstick the log-jam when I’m under water. I’ve never been good at this part. I don’t have neat endings or lessons learned when I’m in this place. The best I can do is kick for the surface every now and then. But I made a promise a long time ago — to you and to me — that I’d write anyway, even from here. Even badly. Even unsure. Even when I’m simultaneously yelly and breathless. So here it is, friends. The truth as far as I can write it from here.

That’s how it’s going around these parts. And what I really want to know from you — my companions above and beneath the water, who sit in the mud with me, and wave in the dark and wait for the dawn — how are you? How are YOU these days? And how can we hold hands in the dark?

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A Quick, Butt Important Question. In Addition to This One… Guess What’s Better Than Pants?

October 27, 2015 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Hey!

I have a quick question for you.

Guess what’s better than pants?

That’s not the question, though. That’s a lead-up to the real question, which is coming. It’s like a prelude to the question. An appetizer question. The processional question as we prepare for the grand entrance of the real question; like the flowergirl of questions, all cute and tiny, toddling down the aisle and lifting her fluffy, tulle dress over her eyes so we see her princess panties while all the guests giggle and her mommy stage whispers Put. Your. Dress. Down.

Still, it’s important so that we set the stage, so I ask you again…

Guess what’s better than pants?

Guess what’s better than pants, friends?

Nope; it’s not yoga pants. Those are still pants.

Nope; not leggings. Uh uh. Those are still sorta pants. Pants-ish, if you will.

You know what’s better than pants, though?

Like, seriously better than pants?

No Pants.

No Pants is what.

I mean, clearly the answer is No Pants.

We all know that, right?

No Pants is superior to Pants.

It was practically a rhetorical question. The answer so obvious it doesn’t require a response.

It’s just that my friend, Melissa Anne, told me she needs new pants because we’re going to Disneyland next week to celebrate a Big Birthday.

“I need new pants,” she wrote. “I have no comfy pants.”

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I suggested, therefore, No Pants. Which I have in writing. Which is important as we prepare for The Real Question I Have.

I suggested No Pants; see?

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In writing.

Like, ELEVEN DAYS AGO in writing WITH A TIME AND DATE STAMP.

And then. Then. Just a few days later, I saw this:

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This mannequin with No Pants.

Listen. Listen, friends. I don’t want to go all Conspiracy Theory or Big Brother on y’all. And I realize — I do — that I am not the first person to invent No Pants.

It’s just…

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…I obviously had copyrighted No Pants (in writing — IN WRITING), and then this guy started sporting No Pants.

Which brings me to my question.

My important question.

Because I live in America.

Should I sue that mannequin for copyright infringement?

I mean, I undoubtedly stood to make loads of money on all the people who bought No Pants from me, but now this guy is trying to edge out my market share.

Please advise.

Love,

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P.S. I realize this could, possibly be a situation like when Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz simultaneously invented calculus in the 17th century. I mean, genius can strike at exactly the same time, so I suppose that mannequin and I could’ve discovered No Pants concurrently. But what are the odds? And did Newton or Leibniz think to have time- and date-stamped proof of invention? NO. Because they didn’t plan ahead like yours truly. So who’s the smarty pants now?

P.P.S. ^^^ That P.S. was me blatantly trying to get into my husband’s pants, and has nothing to do with this post. Drop some historical calculus knowledge?? Sure fire way in, folks! On the other hand, if Greg would just take up the No Pants trend, I wouldn’t have to work so hard. Something to think about, Greg.

 

Why Science is Bad for Children

October 26, 2015 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

“Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT.”

That was my 3rd grader, friends, this morning at the front door, prostrate on the threadbare entry rug that desperately needs replacing but won’t get it anytime soon.

“Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT.”

That was my 3rd grader after the dogs, bless their hearts, knocked him into the wall while rushing past him playing their usual morning games of Bark, Bark, Growl and Bite, Bite, Chase.

“Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, SHIT, SHIT.”

That was my 3rd grader this morning, face down, rocking slightly, and expressing the heck out of himself, which we tend to encourage at our house, but I am a GOOD mama and a CHRISTIAN, damn it, so I told him to “knock it off, man” and, “we do not talk like that around here,” which was a lie, but also, “there’s no reason for language like that,” which I figured was true and therefore canceled the lying portion of my response.

“But I am HURT,” he said, and followed that with, “SHIT, MOM,” for emphasis, and also because he’s a punk.

“Still,” I said with Stern Face, “that’s no excuse.” And for once he didn’t say, “But you say it, Mom,” or, “But I learned it from watching you!”

Nope. He didn’t say any of those things.

Instead, he rolled over, looked me in the eye, and said, “SCIENCE, Mom. This is called SCIENCE. It has been scientifically proven that swearing helps with pain. SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN. Watch, Mom. Watch this. … … SHiiiiiiiiiiiiT! … … ” and then he sighed with satisfaction and grinned. “You know what, Mom? You know what? I feel totally better. I am HEALED because of SCIENCE.”

And he popped up off that floor and strolled away, every ounce of his 9-year-old body shaking with laughter.

In conclusion, my child is a butt.

Also, science should be banned.

Sincerely yours,

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Candid Selfies! The Hottest(ish) New Selfie Trend and How YOU Can Master It.

September 23, 2015 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

You know how sometimes you’ve turned your phone camera around so you can take a selfie BECAUSE SELFIES ARE RAD (and also so you can send a picture to a friend of the dot of probable chin cancer that has recently appeared so your friend can say, “Oh my gosh, Beth. You are SUCH A FREAKING FREAKER; it’s a ZIT”), but then your kid starts crying because his brother punched him in the penis because he stole all the Minecraft diamonds again, and you’re all, “HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THERE IS NO PENIS PUNCHING IN THIS FAMILY” and “PENISES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN DIAMONDS, YOU GUYS,” and then they gang up on you because they both want to argue that Penis Punching is OK when they’re playing the Penis Punching Game, and it’s the Stealth and/or Punitive Penis Punching that’s not OK, and you wonder how No Penis Punching became an item open for debate and when, exactly, you started ranking penises and diamonds in order of importance, but while you’re pondering that, another kid reminds you you’re late to take them to school so you start yelling, “GET IN THE CAR, GET IN THE CAR, GET IN THE CAR,” and they DO get in the car which is unusual and AWESOME, but they argue over who gets to sit where which isn’t unusual at all, and while you’re trying unsuccessfully to convince them All Seats Were Created Equal and We Believe In Equality Around Here so SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN, you see your neighbor trying to get her kid into her car, and she stops and grimaces at you with barely contained fury and laser beams coming out her eyes and offers her kid to you at a brand new low, low price because her kid is driving her straight up the wall and to the left, and she’s pretty sure selling her daughter is a better alternative than the double murder they’d clearly both like to commit, so you chuckle to yourself while you drive away because OH MY GOSH, YES, you’ve been there; you look around as you’re driving, and, although you’re pretty sure you’ve forgotten something at home, you appear to have all the children and your pants, so you proceed as planned and drop the kids off and make your way to work, but coming over the hill you see a gorgeous view of the mountain so you pull over to take a picture and when you turn your camera on, instead of seeing the mountain through the lens, you see yourself because you forgot you had the view flipped to selfie-mode earlier; of course, it’s not your usual selfie-self you see with its pre-planned, flattering selfie angles and nice lighting, nor is it your is-this-a-dot-of-cancer?-self; nope… it’s your SELF self — as in, your CANDID self that you see in that reflection — and you’re all, “OH Mah GAH. I look like WHAT?”

You know how sometimes that’s a thing? When you’re genuinely startled by your own face?

Me, too.

So I was thinking about that, and about how AWESOME it is when we get to see our candid selves, and how Candid Selfies should TOTALLY be a thing. Which is why I’m writing to you today. Because this is an issue of eternal significance.

We LOVE candid photos, after all. Small children running through fields of grass at sunset. Grandma with her head thrown back in laughter. And we LOVE selfies. It’s only natural that Candid Selfies are the next, best photo trend, yes? YES. Obviously.

Of course, a candid photo is one taken when the subject isn’t aware it’s being captured, which may seem challenging when the photographer and the subject are the same person. NOT SO, friends. Not so. I did some experimenting for us, and I’m here to tell you, THIS ISN’T AS HARD AS IT SEEMS. All you have to do, really, is set your camera to selfie-mode and then — this is the slightly tricky part — forget you did it. Granted, it helps if you’ve practiced forgetting things in the past, but, with discipline and focus, it is achievable, and, not to brag, but I’ve truly honed this skill over the years. I’ve forgotten my kid’s graduation; I forgot what time school started for an entire semester; and I once forgot my own pants. So I’m, like, super good at this already, but, most importantly, I believe you can be, too.

For INCREDIBLE Candid Selfies, there are just four easy steps to follow:

  1. Set your camera to selfie-mode.
  2. Forget you set your camera to selfie-mode.
  3. When you turn your camera back on and you’re startled by your own face, FREEZE. Freeze that face. Freeze that angle.
  4. Click the shot.

After you see the amazing shots I took of myself without me knowing, I’m certain you’ll want to join the trend. Here, for example, are just a few of my favorites of me, me, and also me:

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I know, right?!? I look AWESOME.

I mean, sure, we can take the usual selfies still. The ones with the good lighting. The posed shots with the camera angled down to eliminate most of the chins. The photos just the slighest bit prearranged so our asymmetrical nostrils aren’t showcased and our chin cancer is erased. After all, there’s nothing wrong with a classic, friends.

But who wants to look like this…

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… when, with a little extra effort, you can look like this?

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RIGHT?!?

 

Right.

Now who’s in?

 

Parents: Take the School Pictures CHALLENGE

September 15, 2015 in Beth, But Seriously, Family by Beth Woolsey

IMG_6463I asked my kids last night about School Picture Day. “It’s coming up, you know,” I said. “We should make plans! Want to do that now?”

But instead of the cheers and accolades I expected, my kids groaned. And moaned. And rolled their eyes. And schlumped in their chairs.

“Argrhuffslottle,” they said, or something like it, and I was offended. Offended, I tell you, because they were busy griping while I wanted major mommy props for thinking ahead. For planning. For being on top of the school schedule for once. But is that what I got? Noooooooo. I got argrhuffslottle from their ungrateful little selves. And schlumping. LOTS of schlumping down in chairs.

“What’s wrong with Picture Day?” I asked. And I followed that with a powerful, “I always LOVED Picture Day,” knowing my experience as a child is always paramount in their thoughts and super relevant to their experience. I am here to tell you, though, you should not ask questions unless you want to hear the answer, because my kids told me exactly what’s wrong with Picture Day, and apparently it’s me.

ME.

I am what’s wrong with Picture Day, they said, and they told it like this:

“See, Mom, you always make us wear stuff we don’t like very much.”

I do not.

“Sometimes it itches.”

Like a tiny bit of itching in order to LOOK NICE ONE DAY A YEAR is a huge sacrifice.

“Yeah, Mom. We never get to wear our favorite shirts just because they’re stained.”

Well, of course I can’t let you wear something dirty to Picture Day. I mean, GEEZ.

“And you make us not play at recess that day.”

That’s not even a little bit true!

“It IS true, Mom. You tell us not to play at recess very hard ’cause we’ll mess up our hair.”

Oh. Yeah… I do say that…

“Sometimes, Mom,” they concluded, “we just want to look how we like to look. Even in pictures.”

And then they delivered the clincher, “How come you don’t like the things we choose?”

…….

…….

Well… argrhuffslottle. And ppffffttttt.

I was stumped, truth be told. Dumbfounded. I had no idea what to say to them, really. How come I don’t like the things they choose? Is that the message I’ve been sending them?

But when I thought about it — actually thought about it hard — I had to conclude it is. That’s exactly the message I’ve been sending my kids, and I don’t like it. Not at all.

It turns out, I made my kids’ School Picture Days a way for ME to express MYself; kids coiffed the way I like, outfits picked with my brand of parental precision, stains and tears and foibles erased for a day to have a record that reflects what like and who I am, and, if I’m going to do a ruthless inventory of why I’ve done that, I have to confess I’ve used Picture Day as a way to measure my success as a mama; as though I’m saying, “Sure, I don’t have my poo together the other days, but I can pull it together for Picture Day, momrades! See??” Or, “I can send my children to school — clean — for one day a year, teachers!”

Here’s the thing I keep thinking about over and over (and over and over) today: we say we want our kids to be authentically themselves. We encourage them to be the people they were uniquely created to be. We beg our kids to think, to be confident and bold, and to follow their hearts. We tell them they’re the authors of their own stories, and that we need their stories in our world. We encourage our kids to stand up for what they believe — to stand up for kindness and for each other — starting in Kindergarten and even in Preschool, but then we don’t allow them to choose the outward expression of who they are inside; not when it’s going to be documented for posterity, anyway. Not when it’s going in the record books! Not when we’ll look back at these pictures which define their childhood school experience. I guess it just seems a little… off… to me when I think about it that way. A little off, and a tiny bit sad, this mixed message I send.

So I have this crazy idea, parents.

This CRAZY, RADICAL idea, and now I’m wondering if anyone out there is crazy enough to join me.

I’m calling it, “Let’s let the kids look however they want for school picture day.” And, by that, I mean however they want. Like, hair however they want, and clothes however they want; even jelly on their faces if they want.

Look; I don’t want to be extreme or dramatic or anything here, it’s just, oh my gosh, you guys. Oh my gosh! I’m pretty sure I’m onto something.

Instead of a School Picture Day about me, my kids can have a School Picture Day about them. A moment in time that captures exactly who they are, as they choose to be, and to receive the message from their mama — loud and clear — that that’s what I want on record.

Of course, if we do this, our kids’ pictures may look less like this…

 

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… and a little more like this.

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A little less like this…

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… and a little more like this.

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Which, let’s be honest, is the greatest school picture of all time, anyway. ALL TIME. And my personal favorite.

Of course, the BONUS in all this is we don’t have to do JACK SQUAT for Picture Day this year. We don’t have to do JACK, and we can do nothing NOBLY. For a GOOD CAUSE. Because we’re being RAD PARENTS who CARE MORE ABOUT OUR KIDS THAN OURSELVES. It’s a win/win, friends. A win/win, I tell you!

So, I’m on a need to know here, parents. What do you think? Too crazy to do? Or are you doing it with me??