Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My First Date

Excuse me while I dust off my keyboard...

Okay. Better.

It's been a really long time since I've blogged. I've wanted to write posts so many times throughout the past two years but life just got busy... and one must prioritize internet time when one is busy. I only have 3 spots available for internet usage in my life. Blogging, unfortunately, took the #4 position:
1. Pinterest
2. Facebook
3. Instagram
4. Blogging

I've decided it's time to be funny again. Perhaps this will be the only post in 2014--- I hope not but let's not get ahead of ourselves...

I think a good story to get back into the swing of things would be "My First Date". So without further ado...

Let's take a trip back to 1995. It was chilly outside. It was November if I remember correctly. I was fifteen years old. Tall, thin, and lanky with just a hint of awkward. I had gold-rimmed glasses that were entirely too large for my face. And braces. Fifteen did not look that good on me. Picture a blonde Olive Oyl...

Anyway, I had a crush on an older boy in my school- Ryan. I think it's safe to say that 99% of the girls who were at my school back then thought Ryan was "like, totally cute" and had a crush on him at one point or another. (The other 1% would have been his sister.) He was fun and funny and well-liked- so imagine my surprise when he asked me if I wanted to go out to lunch with him and his brother, Joel and his girlfriend, Christine.

*Fun fact: Joel and Christine are married now with 5 gorgeous children!

Do you know the sheer terror and nervousness that goes along with excitement when you are a teenage girl who's been asked out by an older, popular crush?

So after several distracted days and nights of replaying how the entire event would go in my mind over and over and over- I was ready. It was going to be perfect. I would look adorable. The date would be fun. I would be charming and witty.  It would be the best day of my entire life!

Oh Lauren, you sweet little delusional teen.

Pizza Hut was the destination for lunch.

I like pizza. Excellent.

I remember not saying much on the drive there. I was nervous. My hands were clammy. We get there and are seated. I sat beside Christine, across from Ryan.

Good. We can gaze into each others eyes. Wait, am I staring too much? When is the last time I blinked? Blink Lauren, BLINK.

Okay, maybe he'll order a drink with two straws that we can share. Here comes the waitress... she's asking what I want to drink. He's not ordering us a drink to share so answer her Lauren, ANSWER, and blink for crying out loud... 

The inner monologue was not helping my situation. So I quickly told myself to shut up and order a drink. BEFORE I GO ON, you must know something about me- I love water. I rarely, if EVER, order something besides water. I drink water pretty much all the time. So, for what ever reason I tell the waitress...


This was my first mistake.

We order our pizza and the waitress leaves to go get our beverages. As we waited, the juke box starts playing random songs as it did back in the good ole days. We no sooner get our drinks, me with my LARGE ROOT BEER, and a song comes on... "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?" by Elton John. Now, anyone who is older than 25 should know how popular The Lion King was back then and how great that song was from the movie. Well, my daydreaming, overly nervous, teenage-self took this as a sign from God.

Why else would this song be playing at this exact moment in time? We are meant to be together! Oh my goodness! And caaaan you feel the loooove tonight? {tonighttt} 

You know you're singing it.

And of course the guys make some comment about the song (or probably were singing it) when it started to play and that was about all it took- I animatedly tried to partake in the conversation but instead knocked my entire large root beer all over everything. and everyone.

Umm, waitress? Check please.

Next stop on the date course- the park.

Okay, good. Open spaces, no liquid in cups of any kind... This will be fun. Nothing bad can happen here.

So we go to this little park full of beautiful trees and gazebos. It was November so any leaves that were left were red or orange. It was still lovely. We kind of paired off and walked around. I became more relaxed at this point since I didn't figure I could be any more embarrassed than I already was at lunch.

This was my second mistake.

We were walking around, seeing who could identify the most types of trees. It really was nice- wholesome, innocent fun. I don't know what came over me that I thought perhaps now would be a good time to be athletic. 

I'll race him over to that gazebo. I'll be running and he'll be running and I'll leap into his arms and he'll swing me around and it will be magical.

I took off running and leaped up into a gazebo, ran right through it to the other side where I tripped and flew right out the other side...

 into a pile of mud. 

I just lay there.

Joel and Christine were probably like-

(You like that Lion King reference there?)

Well, that was the icing on my gigantic root beer flavored cake. I was mortified. Of course, he helped me up. We laughed about it- even though I didn't find it the least bit funny at the time. It was probably an absolute riot to see in person. Anyway, I brushed myself off and finished our date as humbly as humanly possible. We made a few more stops after that and it ended up being a lovely first date. I have fond memories (clearly) and can't listen to that Elton John song without smiling...

I should have braced myself for the future. Apparently I have some sort of genetic problem where I become klutzy in any sort of  dating scenario. This was the first of many weird, embarrassing events that happened to me on dates. I'll save that for another post though.

I miss those innocent days. I miss hearing stories like that. Things are so different now- and not in a good way. I pray that my boys have plenty of funny, good, clean stories to share. I hope they meet some nice, na├»ve, clumsy girls to take to look at trees. Those are ok dreams to have for your children, isn't it?!

Until next time...

Root beer & Mud,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

For Amy...

As a parent of a special needs child, there are many things you never get to experience. Many, many, many things... One of those things is having a baby book. I have 2 baby books upstairs: Hunter's is full. Dylan's is empty. Not that Dylan hasn't accomplished so many wonderful things! It's just that by our society's standards- he hasn't met very many typical "milestones" and to keep opening that book- waiting and waiting to record something... anything... just became discouraging. As time went on I realized I didn't need that book. I had something way better. I looked around at our lives and saw the tiny group of people that had been brought into our family by Dylan's life- doctors, teachers, and therapists- and it dawned on me...

They are my 'Living Baby Book'.

Landon and I are so blessed to have these people in Dylan's life- in our lives. They have been through it all with us- the pain, the struggles, the absolute joy, and the triumphs. Each of them has special stories about Dylan and will be able to share them with him (and with us) when he gets older. They have all made a huge impact on our lives and I'm thankful for each and every one of them (you know who you are!).


This week has been unbearably painful for me. I lost a member of Dylan's Living Baby Book. Amy passed away on Sunday night. She was Dylan's physical therapist. She started treating Dylan when he was 8 months old. I liked her the second I met her. She was a cowgirl at heart, tall, thin as a rail, and tough as all get out. Her truck broke down the very first session she had here- which if anyone reading this knows Amy- will laugh so hard. It didn't matter what vehicle Amy was driving- it always broke down. It didn't take very long at all for Amy and I to become good friends. Dylan would fall asleep on her halfway through his "workout" and we'd always say it's because he'd mistake her bony lap for mine. And we'd sit and chat about this and that whilst trying to wake up the "turkey". When Dylan started with her- he couldn't even hold up his upper body. He had no strength. All he could do it lay on his back. By 3 years old, he was running. There were times I didn't know if I'd ever see Dylan run. I had a Dr. tell me once- "Don't expect an athlete." Amy had some words for that guy. I never once heard her mutter a negative word about Dyl and his abilities. She knew he could do it all and then some. She knew all I needed to hear was- "Well, we'll prove him wrong now won't we??" Dylan would surprise her all the time- Dylan actually learned to jump before he could walk. Amy said she'd never seen anything like it before in all her years. That's Dyl for you...

I could write pages and pages of things about our years with Amy. She loved coffee and B12 vitamins. She loved jalapeno-cheese filled pretzels. She loved her horses. She was incredibly passionate about her work- she was a phenomenal physical therapist and cared so much about those she treated. She loved her Dad and Mom. And most of all- she loved her own children. They were her absolute pride and joy. I don't know a mom who worked harder than she did. Her kids were her life. She was, to say the least, an amazing, amazing mother...

Amy was an important part of my life- an important part of MANY people's life. I am devastated she isn't here. I want her to be here. I want my phone to ring and it be her or my door to fly open and have her come in and eat donuts with me. I want her to come and pick Dyl up and swing him around and call him "turkey" or "duderruder".

As hard as this has been, I know she won't ever be gone. She'll live on through her children, her family, her friends, and all the many children's lives she made a difference in- like Dylan's. Even though she's not with us- she'll still be a part of Dylan's 'Living Baby Book'. 

She really was one of a kind and I miss her so very much.

Love you Aim.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Completely Magical and Delusional World of Barbie!

Hello. My name is Lauren. I'm 29 years old. And I still play with Barbies.

I have always loved Barbie Dolls. I still have mine from when I was little. They were just so much fun! Their clothes, shoes, homes, cars, hair, accessories, EVERYTHING was awesome. I still remember hoping and praying I would get Peaches n' Cream Barbie...

I never did....(a lone tear rolls down my cheek)

But I digress! My best friend Shannon and I would get all the Barbie stuff out. We go back and forth choosing our pick of Barbies, Kens, then clothes, accessories, then housing stuff. Then we'd organize everything, set up our own separate houses, then dress the dolls, do their hair, and so on. By the time we did all that, 2 hours had passed and we gave up on any sort of role playing with them. But that was okay with us- We loved them.

I've officially lost all the males who follow my blog. Sorry dudes.

Then the 90's came and once the Spice Girls showed up promoting GIRL POWER! then all of a sudden Barbie needed a makeover. Apparently this tiny little plastic doll was causing every girl in America to have a bad image complex about themselves. Barbie needed to get serious about life. She needs to have a bigger stomach, smaller chest, wider hips, and a darn good career.

Give her 10 lbs of baby weight, 3 kids, dark circles under her eyes, and a mortgage payment. That will give little girls a more accurate idea of real life.

I call horse apples on all of it. Why does everyone make such a big deal out of everything? At the end of a day it's still a doll! If your child is that confused, self-conscious, and worried about how they look then clearly there is a bigger issue at hand then BARBIE.

I'm getting off track again... So anyway, last year my friend Michelle and I went shopping for a gift for one of Hunter's little girl friends. We went through the Barbie aisle and noticed that they came out with a line called "I Can Be.... Barbie". We laughed so hard... If we are going to be picky about giving little girls a REALISTIC view of what they can be or do in life- then perhaps you should edit Barbies career choices. Let's take a look at Barbie and her line of "I Can Be..." careers...

I can be... Swim Teacher: Absolutely you can be! There is an incredible demand for swim teachers. You'll never go wrong with a career in swimming. The best part is, you don't even need to finish high school! You'll never make enough money to support yourself but the good news is that most pools have a shower area. At least you'll be shiny and clean for your students.

I can be... Pet Vet: In every 'Barbie I can be... Pet Vet' box you get the most adorable little puppy or kitten to take care of and love. It's awesome taking care of sick animals. They are so tiny and cute and cuddly! I never have to deal with any animals that could bite or harm me. I just love being a Pet Vet! And the reason I say 'Pet Vet' is because I don't know how to spell Veterinarian. 

I can be... Baby Doctor: Yeah, okay. Ken's not going to support you through 7 years of medical school.

I can be... Computer Engineer: Perhaps a better career for you would be "I can be... Married to a Computer Engineer"

I can be... Race Car Driver: Hi, I'm Barbie and I drive a race car! It's pink and I've installed an additional 7 internal mirrors so I can check to make sure my lipstick is the perfect shade of pink! I don't know why everyone drives so fast on this road. SLOW DOWN PEOPLE! And is it just me or does it feel like all we're doing is driving around in circles??

I can be... Wedding Stylist: Actually, I think this is a fairly attainable career for Barbie.

I can be... News Anchor: I don't know how seriously I could take world news updates from Barbie... Reporting to you live from Libya, giving us the latest news on the capture and killing of Muammar Gaddafi is our lead News Anchor- Barbie.
"Good Evening everyone. I'm Barbie. We're here to bring you the latest on Muammar Gaddafi. Wait, wasn't that the bad guy from Aladdin??"

I can be... Bus Driver: This has to be the MOST PRACTICAL career they have in the line! Seriously. And you know what, Bus Driver Barbie is the one that always left on the shelf. Sad.

It's great that they have this "I can be..." line out- but I don't always agree with the creed- You can be anything you want to be as long as you put your mind to it! That is so not true in most cases! (No Hunter, you are not going to grow up and be Mario someday. I don't care what Luigi says.) I don't think you can ever go wrong with supporting your kids wholeheartedly and realistically encouraging them to pursue the things they are passionate about. And by doing this you end up giving them a sense of security that allows them to avoid being consumed by what society has done to body image and self worth. Then your kids can just be KIDS! Play with toys! Dress up! Make believe! Be outside enjoying everything that goes along with being a child!

I'm glad though that they've made Barbie look a bit more educated and put her in such diverse rolls. There are so many horrible role models and little girls never get a chance to be little girls anymore! Why is everyone in such a hurry to grow up? There are days I wish I had a daughter and I could take her in and let her pick out all the Barbies she wanted. Which brings me to my own Christmas Wish List for this season...

The Barbie Loves Elvis Doll.

I really want her.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Was that an earthquake? No, my stomach just growled.

So this past Wednesday the east coast experienced an earthquake. Yes, it was crazy weird. Yes, we all felt it. But was it a big deal? No, not really. I'm sure people in California want to smack the crap out of all of us for going on and on and on about it.

 A 5.9??? We sleep through 5.9's. And why, pray tell, are the rest of you states freaking out? We've burped bigger disturbances than what you just experienced.

Ha! But seriously, it was cool though. I am actually mad at myself for not being more aware of my surroundings that day. Let me tell you my earthquake experience:

Dylan was taking a nap. So Hunter and I decided to take all our art stuff outside on the back deck and color, paint, etc. It was so beautiful out. The sun was shining, the sky was deep blue, there was a lovely warm breeze... We had been coloring for about an hour and I looked at the paints and thought- I should try and make a tie-dye painting.

**Sidenote- I have a slight obsession with tie-dye. I just have always loved it. It's totally rad, like, for sure.**

So I'm all excited about this painting and it's actually turning out REALLY AWESOME. So Hunter is assisting when all of a sudden we hear this strange rumbling noise (very muted, muffled). It did vibrate the house. Hunter stops and says- "Mom, is our house haunted??". To which I reply- "Of course not Hunter, DON'T BE RIDICULOUS!!"

**Sidenote- Ghosts really scare me.**

Then I told him it was just construction or heavy equipment of some sort. As soon I said that though I thought- You know, I honestly don't know what that noise was...

Within 5 minutes my phone started ringing off the hook. First, my brother Stevie- who filled me in on the entire situation. My Dad lives in Virginia so we were wondering if he was alright. Then Landon called. Then my cousin Sarah. In between all this I was trying to get ahold of my Dad but couldn't- all circuits were down. Then my mom. Then Landon again. Then my Dad finally got through. I texted my Aunt Susan. Then Landon one last time.

And then facebook.... oh sweet, ridiculous facebook. That place BLEW UP with earthquake posts.

And all of these people: Steve, Dad, Landon, Mom, Aunt Susan, Facebook- had awesome earthquake stories. Everyone's talking about walls swaying, computer monitors sliding across desks, things falling off shelves, being in meetings and cubicles almost tipping, people mistaking the swaying for themselves getting sick, sitting on the toilet when it happened and being oh so confused. Yes! These are all true tales!!

And me?? I was covered in paint, screaming about ghosts and constructions crews, trying to discern a rumble that was the equivalent of a hunger pang. Yeah. So that's my earthquake story. Nothing exciting what.so.ever.

I bet I would have noticed it if I would have been inside, sitting on the couch, with my laptop, 'liking' stuff on facebook.... Lesson learned.

And one last sidenote- Here are our two earthquake paintings! Hunter's is on the left. Mine on the right.

You should see mine all framed- it looks too cool. I told Landon I want to sell them to which he laughed. I can only assume he LOVES the idea! haha, perhaps not...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shark Week

As I was watching t.v. 2 weeks ago I saw a commercial for the infamous 'Shark Week' on the Discovery Channel. Shark Week is pretty awesome- scary- but awesome. I was a bit disturbed however to find out that 'Shark Week' fell on the exact week of our vacation... at the beach... where I would be swimming in the ocean. I told Landon before we left...

Me: You know it's shark week...
Landon: So??
Me: We're totally going to see sharks at the beach this year...
Landon: So??

Well fine then. And sure enough... we saw sharks. Dylan, my 3 year old, LOVES to swim in the ocean. Hunter is more cautious but enjoys being out there as long as someone is holding his hand. I had taken Dylan out fairly far and we were enjoying floating over the waves. A HUGE wave came in and I hoisted Dyl up as far above my head as I could while the wave crashed over my head. I took that as a sign: time to go in. So we went up on the beach and sat under the tent for a while. It wasn't too long when I saw some people running. I saw Landon get up and walk very quickly toward the ocean. I thought someone got hurt actually... but none of the lifeguards seemed to be doing anything so I was confused. Landon walked a bit faster and a instinct told me to get up and grab the video camera. I ran toward him and hit record and sure enough- Sharks had flooded the area we just got out of. They appeared to be "playing". The entire section of ocean had cleared out of course and by then the lifeguards were making everyone get out of the water. There was a whole family of sharks swimming right up to the shore. And, in true doofus fashion, I was so immersed in the situation that I was videotaping about 2 feet too far to the right and only caught the fins of the sharks for a second. The whole clip is just of the waves. Nice Laur, real nice.

Here is the clip... fins on the left hand side, at the 3 second mark.

The lifeguard talked to us and told us that the sharks were confused by the tide change and that they COULDN'T swim back out. Yeah. Okay. All I kept picturing was this:

They also said they were "scared" of us and that we shouldn't worry. Whatever you say lifeguard who I've never actually seen touch the water. I'll just send my kids out there for a swim now. Maybe Hunter can help them with their math skills and send them on their way back out to the briny deep.

In the end it was pretty cool. We got to see sharks firsthand and after an hour everyone was back to swimming. We didn't see them again either- thank God. Landon actually caught a baby shark in his cast net at the end of the week. Pretty sweet...

Shark week indeed.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A vacation story: how ridiculously stupid other parents are.

I have a few blogs I hope to post about our trip last week to the beach. I took some great pictures and I am hoping to make a vacation movie of sorts- but all in due time. Life is back to its original busy state- even one day after vacation ended.

The story I want to tell you is a short one... and as you can see by the title- it's all about stupid parents. I am truly convinced that you should have to apply to become a parent. The application process should be so difficult and exhausting that only people who really want and love children would go through with it. I am a people-watcher so I enjoy watching others interact. Unfortunately there is no filter on this "hobby" so I have to take in all the crap as well the interesting stuff... Enter my story...

I think that every kid loves tickets: winning them at an arcade or a carnival or having to give one to someone at a fair to go on a ride. I found a great site online that makes up printable tickets- movie tickets, carnival tickets, prize tickets, and I printed them out and set up little games around the living room and each one the kids win they get a certain amount of tickets. They trade them in for snacks or toys I've put away for a while. It's alot of fun. Hunter will even set up the games for me and let me win tickets. OHH YEAH!!! GAME ON!!! As I whip the ball at a stack of cups....

SO, Landon had taken the children to Alligator Adventure for a little boys afternoon out. I met them at the park and waited outside the gift shop for them. As I waited I watched a whole parade of parents, dragging their children into the park, 92% of them chain smoking and yelling at the kids to watch out for the turtles. (Umm, first of all, why in the name of all that is fresh air would you smoke in your kids face? And second of all, turtles? TURTLES??? You are entering a place called Alligator Adventure and you're worried about your kids walking around turtles?? I think you need to visit a different place, maybe someplace without animals, like McDonalds, or Mattress Discounters.) So, this disturbing parent/child parade clears and out comes a Grandma and her 2 grandchildren. I thought to myself- "How nice! She took her grandkids out in this heat to see the animals. Good for her!" So her little granddaughter runs ahead of her, laughing and skipping- she was adorable- and she runs to the end of the bridge and blocks the way. When her Grandma and brother made it to the end of the bridge she holds out her hand and says: Two Ticket Please!!!! The Grandma smiles and says- Okay sweetie! Reaches into her pocket and.....

Wait for it......


Pulls out a pack of cigarettes and puts them in the little girls hand. Here you go kiddo! 2 tickets!


My mouth dropped open so fast I looked like one of those fake singing fish. The little girl handed her Grandma the cigarettes back and they got in their car and went home. Wow. Just wow.

I guess when you don't have any real tickets, cigarettes are the next best thing. I'll have to remember that next time we set up a carnival in the living room.... Sorry kids! No tickets this time... but if you knock down all the bowling pins I'll give you each 5 cigarettes!!! HOORAY! I'm only kidding of course.

*Fun fact: Hunter thinks 'cigarettes' are actually called 'ciggaroos'. I don't correct him. It's too funny.*

So yeah, I got to witness some real gem stories this past week. You gotta love vacation!! It's good to be back though... till next time...

Seashells and cigaroos,


Friday, July 15, 2011


Robots are pretty awesome. I feel like perhaps this might be one of several posts about them over the years. I guess you'll have to wait and see... but today I wanted to hop on the computer and share a brief tale of what just happened but 1 hour ago.

Dylan was eating breakfast in the kitchen. Hunter wasn't hungry quite yet so he was watching cartoons. I walked into the living room to see if Hunter was ready for breakfast. I was being my usual goofy self and decided to be a "robot" to make Hunter laugh. I walk in all robotic and talking in that go-to monotone robot voice.

"Hunter. I. am. a. robot. I. am. a. robot."

Hunter looks at me. Looks back at the tv. Looks back at me. Then back to the tv. I'm sorry, was I just being a robot and got completed ignored???? So I try again. This time, with more gusto!!!

(Doing a really cool robot dance move) "HUNTER. I. AM. A. ROBOT... A. TICKLE. ROBOT... AND. I. HAVE. COME. TO. TICKLE. YOU."

Then I proceeded to tickle him. I waited for a roar of belly laughter and his usual response of jumping right into whatever character I've started. But no! Nothing!! He just stared at me and was doing his best to squirm away from my tickling. Then he started to CRY....

"Mom, will you just stop it! I hate it when you're a robot. You're a person. A PERSON!!!!"




Wow, what just happened here? That is not how I envisioned this going...

This brings up a few questions:

1. How many times do I pretend to be a robot?? Clearly if I made my child CRY then it has to be a ridiculously large amount. But I honestly don't bring out the robot too often.... 3, maybe 4 times a day. No, I'm kidding...

2. And why would it upset him so much? Is it because I am just that convincing? Does it really appear to him as though I've morphed into a robot that he feels the need to remind me that I'm a person? (A PERSON!). .

3. A tickle robot! Come on kid! Who doesn't like a tickle robot?!

Well, I'm happy to say this story has a happy ending. I gave Hunter a hug. Wiped away those 2.5 tears he managed to squeeze out of his little cute eyeballs during the ordeal. (I'm convinced it was fake crying...) And I went a made a peace offering: 2 Wildberry Toaster Strudels, icing strategically placed on top, both cut in half. Just the way he likes it.

"Here you go Hunter. 2 toaster strudels for you, just the way you like them. I'm sorry I made you upset. Love you bud. You little robot you."

"Thanks mama. That's okay. I love you too...... Wait, what did you call me????"

Haha, sometimes I crack myself up...
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