Evil Joy Speaks

Spawning the next generation of evil genius, one misadventure at a time

Pay Attention

IF ONLY THIS TIME – Pay Attention.

Louisiana needs our help.

The devastating flooding has left 13 dead and tens of thousands with damaged or destroyed homes.

Here is one link to help.

Baton Ridge Area Foundation

 

In 2008 there was massive flooding in Iowa. My parents’ home was nearly part of a forced buy-out and houses just down the road were bulldozed down and empty lots stand there still today – 8 years later. Cedar Rapids was underwater – so many towns, villages, and cities were wiped out. While I didn’t experience it directly, we went down to my hometown as soon as we could for the “All Calls for Help.” We tried to adopt an surrendered animal and donated what we could.

I can only imagine what life is like right now. I can’t grasp the depth of despair of losing your home to unforgiving water. The home I grew up in flooded twice in the years I can recall. I vividly remember watching my Barbie dog float by wondering what I should do with him. But to loose everything…I can’t even…

So I’m going to do what I can. Share the link with you. Send what i can. Spread information as it becomes available. Support as best I can from a far.

While the devastation is overwhelming, I hope the people affected can feel just a touch of the love, support, hope, and dedication from those of us in other parts of the country.

Louisiana…we are here for you.

 

Time to Fly

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Climaxed submitted this awesome topic : Someone has come up with a potion (Harry Potter style) that will bring luck to anyone who drinks it. You’re offered a free test if you write about your day on your blog with the caveat that you wait for something pretty important going on–meaning the company doesn’t want you to take it and write about a regular but super lucky day at home. They’re really wanting you to test the boundaries of the potion and show your audience what it can do. What might you use yours for? Write about your luckiest day.

Here goes….

“Today’s the day!” I think as I pack up my gear for a day at the hill. I’m going to go and attack the jumps and features for the first time while snowboarding. Normally I’d just head over and ride, starring at the tow rope pulling people up to the top of the terrain park. Normally I’d watch on the lift, cranking my head around as far as I can, in awe of people in the park.

Today…I’m doing it. Because today…I get to try the “Potion.” Since I’m not allowed to enter politics or the medical field on this trial of the potion, I can’t find the solution for world peace or the cure for MS or cancer. I’m supposed to make a day extraordinary by pushing my boundaries within my own world. I decided if I can do these things I’ve dreamed of doing, have worked towards but not yet achieved, and succeed with this potion, there’s hope for making it happen without the potion too!

I’m a decent snowboarder. I can get out of most anything I get into….except that one time when my son had to rescue my laughing self when I got into too thick of trees. (He heard me “cackling” and found me, found us a route out, and marveled I had gotten that deep without hugging a tree!) It may not be pretty or perfect, but I love a good challenge and will take on moguls and steeps with a smile on my face and in my heart.

Boxes, features, and jumps….uummmm nope. I have done some boxes – at the speed of snail – going so slowly that I fall due to lack of forward motion not balance.  Jumps…I dream. I dream of finding that right combination of physics, fear, exhilaration, and skill.

Today I do. I’ve decided this is the test. My personal ultimate test of the “Potion.” Today will erase the memories of being stuck with a child on an icy hill, not visible from above, not able to get her to move, as people and their harsh words flew around us. Today will replace the days of doubt and make the mountains of bruises worth it. I will jump and feel like I’m flying. And it will be awesome.

I put the potion in my front pocket, ride the lift to the top, and get off. I am so terribly fearful of the lift – it’s really ridiculous. But I don’t want to waste the potion on something I should not fear and have conquered several times over. I strap in, drink the potion down, and take a test run.

Okay. This is okay. I can do this. I carve a little. And back to to the top we go.

Back up. To the top.

Time to fly.

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Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

 

Baking In A Tornado

The Bergham Chronicles

Spatulas on Parade

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Southern Belle Charm

Confessions of a part time working mom

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

The Lieber Family Blog

Never Ever Give Up Hope

When I Grow Up

Climaxed  

 

 

Being Present…And Still Planning

Given the speed of life I’m always planning but not always present. “Today is Monday and we have x, y, z to finish before Friday with the weekend holding q, r, and s.”

Here’s a more concrete example. It’s now 02 August 2016. School starts on 01 September. This weekend we have friends in town. Next weekend is camping and football. The following weekend is football, travel to Seattle, a potential college visit, and two softball tournaments. Then football. And finally Labor Day Weekend. Our weekends are full of fun, amazing, busy, and chaotic events. As are many days of the week. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of getting the right kids, two cleats, a cello, and kneepads properly delivered.

Finding the presence of mind to be present in the moment is necessary. We’ll lose the memory if we’re always rushing and thinking ahead. I’ve been guilty of this many, many times. I’m determined to fix it.

I realize now, more than ever, the time we have with our kids is short. I’ve been focusing on grabbing the moments I can…whenever I can. If it’s in the car driving and a chat happens…I turn off the radio and listen. Or maybe it’s turning up the radio and singing at the top of my lungs with my daughter while we try to figure out who’s got the melody and who’s covering the harmony. We try to walk to the library and sneaking in a visit to the candy shop once a week. God knows we spend a lot of time watching softball. It’s good to walk to the park or off to play catch with the kiddo who isn’t in the game. And sometimes…some of my favorite times…we sit quietly in the same space and read. Even right at THIS VERY MOMENT, one of my children is trying to figure out how to get her brother’s bedroom when he moves to college…in TWO YEARS. (I finally set a timer and sent two of the girls off to tidy up their toys – that way we both can focus for a few minutes.)

I have a hard separating the need to do – write this now – and the want to do – play with them. “Do I need to write this right now? Can it wait?” Sometimes it can wait. Taking the time to write has always been the one thing I let slide. It’s the one thing I miss the most. Learning to prioritize and not beat myself up for taking time from “the family” to take care of myself has been hard. But when I do the self-care of meeting my needs, I can be present during the other instances. The ones that generate memories for us all.

I’m not easy-going enough to just let it all flow. At times, I wish I were. I’m working on accepting that isn’t my personality and embracing my love of planning. Why not build on a strength? I plan what I can – the devil is in the details – so that when we’re “doing” I’m there – physically and mentally.

It would be easy to miss the moments that make each day special in the hectic nature of planning but we’re finding our way to making each point in time matter…..and still looking forward to the next.

 

If You Take Joy to Ball…

If you take an Evil Joy to a Parent versus 10 year old Travel Team softball game…
She’ll want to play ball.

She’ll go up to bat and “Squeeeee!” as the ball flies past – (these young’uns throw fast and hard). On the next pitch, she’ll hit the ball.

When she hits the ball, Evil Joy will run to first while covering the back of her head because she’s afraid of the ball (with good reason).

Once she’s on base another parent will hit the ball. She’ll run to second base….

Or will she?

I ended up hop/skipping to the next base after a few steps. I felt my arch pop. Then start to cramp and hurt. I got to second base and stood there rotating my ankle and trying to stretch out my foot……..And told the girls’ coach I needed a runner – I was done for. I hopped to the stands and sat down. I peeled off my sock and shoe. And there was a dent in my arch. An honest to God dent. And a swollen area under it.

I sat for an hour with some of the parents and tried to roll it out on a cold water bottle. That hurt like a mother so I settled for resting the water bottle on my foot. I finally said “Uncle” asked Dr. Evil to take me to the ER.

I tried to walk to the car. HAHAHAHAHA! That was funny. I thought positive thoughts. I envisioned it happening. And was carried to the car by two awesome mamas on the team. Yes, two women hauled my arse to the car.

After several x-rays I was informed I have no broken bones and “Barbie Doll” feet. Now is is awesome – no broken bones – and hilarious “Barbie Doll” feet. I have feet the width of a howitzer. I wear a size 7 (barely – yes – I can wear children sized shoes) and have an extra, extra wide foot. With ridiculously high arches. I am going to carry the “Barbie Doll” feet thing to my grave as it’s the one and only time anyone has ever or will ever say that about my Fred Flintstone feet!

Next step…MRI. Had that mid-week. I’m not a huge fan of small spaces. But it went okay…and now….we wait.

Until 3:30 today. I will find out I’m just a weenie and will be fine in a few days. That’s what I’m going with. I will gladly wear the title of “Supreme Weenie” if it means I’ll be back to normal in a week or less.

The lesson here is…..

If you take Evil Joy to ball, eventually she’s going to end up at the emergency room.

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Always Carry Your Own….

I’ve noticed a trend lately that is bothersome to me and should be to you too. I became aware of a change that has happened so slowly the shift escaped my attention.  And now…I’m blantantly aware.
In general I’m overly prepared and tend to carry a bag with contents that rival a drug store. Ace bandages, ice packs, Tylenol, Benadryl, bandages, water, granola bars, glucose tablets, hair binders, clean socks, pens, pencils (mechanical and old school), a graphing calculator, paper, crayons, and normally….tampons.

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I was caught unprepared. I had no tampons, no pads, nothing, none, nada. And I needed all the things. I was out shopping with my mom and two of my daughters. They didn’t have the goods either.

Into a department store I ran. Straight to the bathroom. Do not stop at shoes, sporting goods, or children’s’ clothing – Do not pass go – Proceed directly to the ladies’ room.  Where there was no dispenser to be found.

Into the restaurant near by. I ran straight to the restroom after throwing money at my daughter to pay for our lunch. NOTHING.

To the running store where I get my beloved running shoes. NOPE.

I gave up, went to Target, and bought enough supplies to get through the day, restock my bag, car, truck, and house, your house, and both of our towns. I will never again be caught unprepared.

When did businesses stop stocking and/or installing machines with supplies? I didn’t notice any change because I’m always prepared…except for last week. I have noticed a few places who place pretty baskets with supplies out in the general space of women’s restrooms. And today at a gas station in the middle of Wisconsin there was a note on an obviously out of service machine saying, “If you need a tampon, please ask at the front.” with a smiley face. At least there was an option had i needed one.

Because that’s fun. In a truck stop. Imagine me, with my streak of blue hair, in the middle of a rural truck stop walking up among a bunch of men driving semis (there were no women drivers there – I’m not being sexist), and loudly requesting a tampon. That would be all sorts of fun.

So ladies pay attention. Learn from my mistake and lack of planning. ALWAYS carry your own supply of feminine products. Always. Hey…you can use that to remember to carry your Always, Tampax, Kotex, CareFree, DivaCup, Thinx, Playtex, or whatever you use. Be like a Boy Scout. Be prepared. Aunt Flo doesn’t give a flying fig if you’re not.

Running On Empty

My legs needed a break but my brain needed a run. Obviously…….. I went for a run.

There were goosebumps on my arms and I was shivering just a touch as I began the walk to the highway where I start. I was working hard on my psyching myself out. I knew my legs were tired and I was running on empty. I also knew my mind was so restless I wouldn’t be able to function all day if I didn’t do this thing for myself…..this run.

I started out. And was immediately met by traffic – it’s a two lane highway – I was heading up a hill – and trucks were coming from each directions. I popped off into the ditch as is frequently required….and I noticed the horses on the road watching me. I don’t stop the first mile of any run – I haven’t for a long time. I run in the ditch as long as necessary and hop back onto the road as soon as possible

Not today. The horses were so peaceful and beautiful. One of the horses just stared at me while the others munched on the grass. I found myself admiring them.

I snapped some pictures. Then I looked down the road and saw the gently rolling hills ahead. Normally hills make me cringe. I don’t look at upcoming inclines and focus only on what is in front of me. But today I saw the hills and reminded myself I’ve run these hills countless times and today I’d just do what I could.

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Then the song “Talking is Hard” by Walk the Moon started playing. “I know everyone you know. You know everyone I know. A Venn diagram is one circle.” I smiled. My awful run and my happy take on it made a new Venn diagram – a diagram with only one circle!

I had one of the worst runs on this route ever – but only time wise. Every other aspect of this run was amazing. I saw horses, fields being worked by hand, seas of dandelions, and the positive of doing something good for my body and mind. For the first time ever I enjoyed an awful run. I found my happy every step.

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Where Did Our Free Time Go?

We have NO free weekends until we take forced family fun time in July. None. Nadda one. We may have a Sunday possibly but more likely we have half a day EITHER Saturday or Sunday from here until …. forever. Because as soon as the crazy of summer ends, school begins, then snowboard season, then spring is back again. There is a two week period towards the middle of March where we have some semblance of calm.

I own the fact that we have a large family. I wanted my children so desperately, each and every one of them. I knew we’d be busy.

I had no idea.

I own the fact we allow our kids to participate in multiple activities throughout the year. (Except in the winter. We own the winter. It’s snowboard season. End of discussion. And even that’s total crap. Winter is snowboarding, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, gymnastics, dance, and religion. But no school sports.) Softball, dance, gymnastics, volleyball, orchestra – those are the voluntary ones. Religion, not state mandated, is required by me.

These are choices we make.

In my imaginary world, the one I created as a child, my family would be active and participate in the world. We would greet each other with a smile in the morning, go our separate ways until after whatever sports or music practice was over, and would gather ’round the dinner table and ask, “How was your day?” And we do get to eat together…once in a while. More often than not in the spring, summer, and fall months dinner may consists of grabbing whatever is handy, eating around the kitchen island in shifts. Whoever is home will eat together, then the next crew, followed by second and third dinners (I am raising hobbits) after practice or rehearsals.

Growing up Wednesday nights were off limits for all school or extra-curricular activities. It was a given. Here that is true for middle school (grades 6-8) activities for the most part. But it doesn’t apply to club sports. Or board meetings for adults. Because the family with busy, active kids comes from a set of busy, active parents. My husband and I are both on boards, volunteer throughout the year, and coach.

When we commit to a team we commit to the schedule. To bow out is to let down the team. But when did youth activities become so consuming? When did the first slip of the slippery slope begin? And how do we not get caught up in the tidal wave of activities and schedules? How do we say “No” to practice that falls on a holiday weekend or not play in a tournament that falls on Father’s Day? Do we take the punishment of reduced playing time or sitting the bench in order to maintain freedom? Or do we suck it up, go, and deal with the consequences of being constantly busy? When did the shift happen? So slowly that we didn’t notice our weekends being consumed one by one, over and over until we’re left with little down time?

I recently read an article by Gunmetal Geisha – you can read it here (and you should!). She dialed in on how marketing has us always thinking ahead – missing the moment we should be enjoying RIGHT now. Why in the world is it possible to walking into a store on February 13th  purchase Easter eggs but not Valentines? Why do we always have to be 17 steps ahead of where we need to be tomorrow? It made me realize I tend to measure days by our busy. It’s become a marker of time and season for me.

In the summer I tend to shut down. We watch more television than we should, lay around, play in the pool, and play with friends. I don’t have my kids in camps and classes. Often feel a little like I’m letting them down. But this is one time of the year where we can just be…and not worry about where we need to be during the day.

I’ve been pondering how to take back time for my family. How to incorporate the activities they love and the time we need to connect as a family? And the only conclusion I’ve come to is….we travel as a pack. We snowboard together. Why not attend ball games together? Concerts? Forced Family Fun is only a little tongue in cheek…we do often force everyone to come to an event even if they are not participating. More often than not we end up having a good time and the ones watching support the ones participating as only siblings can do….by making fun of them. But it’s INTERACTION in the HERE AND NOW.

I’ve decided to embrace the crazy, love every minute I can, suffer through the minutes I can’t, and smile every single chance I get. And try to not sign up for any more than we can handle. Because at the end of the day…we’re in charge of our busy and how we handle it. As long as I stay in the here and now….I can keep us focused on what matters…our family.

Super Hero. Girl. DC SUPER HERO GIRLS!!

If your kids are looking for action-packed girl power, look no further than DC Super Hero Girls. DC Entertainment’s latest animated series features a dynamic group of Super Heroes on their journey of discovering the power of their unique abilities and friendships. What I love is how dynamic the characters are – strong and fearless – edgy and fun; there is a character for everyone. As different as my three girls are each of them LOVES these Super Heroes!

The DC Super Hero Girls YouTube channel makes it easy for our kids to watch their favorite characters, on-demand, and from any device. For even more fun there is an extended online experience on the website where kids can play games, download free printable activities, and more. We love the printables and my Littles enjoy the activities and games on this great website.

Check out the DC Super Hero Girls YouTube Channel!

Click the link below to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway! There are three $100 Visa giftcards up for grabs! Enter to win one of three giftcards! Click on the blue words below to enter! Who doesn’t love giftcards!?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

This post was sponsored by DC Super Hero Girls. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

Wifi – where are you?

Seriously. We are the people who shut off the Internet access at the house at 10 pm to ensure kids sleep, kids don’t use phones at night, and kids …well….sleep.

We set it so the devices of the adults work 24/7.
Except when they don’t. Like now. Forcing me to create a post on my PHONE using LTE. And causing me to send Dr. Evil a text message saying “The wifi isn’t working on my laptop. What the hell?!?” while he’s running a meeting.

I have the perfect post saved. I was ready to add a picture and make it live. But I can’t get to it on my laptop. Or the Mac. Or the PC. (Yeah I know. 1st world problem.). I also can’t work on stuff I’m submitting to other places.

But you know what?  After an insane Monday I’m ready to chill. Our Monday nights are ridiculously packed with events and activities. It’s just the way it worked out. So while my plans have shifted, I’m rolling with it and even a bit thankful I won’t be up until midnight working on posts.

Oh who am I kidding?!?!  That’s what paper and pencil are for!!!

How do you deal with changes in plans?

Lunchtime Woes

Can you believe the audacity of my kid? He asked for something different for lunch. Something other than the sandwich, apple, carrots, crunch something or the other, and yogurt I’ve lovingly packed for 11 years straight?

It’s only been 11 years. I mean come on! He’s a sophomore and thinks he wants something else now? Are you freaking kidding me?

I figure he’s gone to school roughly 180 days a year for the past 11 years. That comes to 1980 instances of sandwiches made of two pieces of bread, deli meat, mayo, cheese, lettuce and sometimes pickles. Never mind that during football season he gets four sandwiches a day – one he eats for “breakfast” between classes, two for lunch, and one for before practice. That means he’s had at least 3060 sandwiches. Surely the minimum before complaint is closer to 10,000.

Let’s talk apples. He eats at a minimum one apple a day. I’m going to round this up to 2500 apples. He doesn’t care to pack bananas – too messy. He doesn’t like oranges – even if I peel them ahead of time. Pineapple is great except it makes my face tingly so we don’t have it around much anymore. Grapes – they just don’t do it for him. So an apple a day it is.

Baby carrots. Or normal carrots, peeled and cut up. I prefer the normal ones but after going through more than 5lbs of carrots a week for years I’ve given into laziness and a need for non-orange hands. Baby carrots are a staple in this house. He eats more carrots than any one person should! When he was a baby he was actually a bit orange for a while – think Pinkalicious – but Orangeahue. I’d gather he’s consumed at least 800 pounds of carrots since kindergarten.

Yogurt. I deserve the gold medal of variety in this category. The kid likes green yogurt – key lime to be precise. He also likes yellow yogurt – lemon – NOT banana. (Okay, okay…this was true from the ages of 2 through 6. But to be fair, those two flavors are still his favorite.) There’s the tube yogurts, the Greek yogurts, the whipped variety, and even kinds with fruit on the bottom. This kid has had so much variety of yogurt in his diet I can’t believe he’s asking for more!

Crunchy stuff. This is a labor of love. I don’t like chips. I don’t care for pretzels. Now…if we’re talking kale chips – I’m the one fruit loop out there who truly enjoys kale chips! But not him. He thinks they’re gross. If Dr. Evil does the shopping there’s some sort of something crunchy in lunch. Cheese crackers, fish crackers, chips  – something. So again – VARIETY IS BEING PROVIDED!

Why does he think he should have something other than his standard lunch? Doesn’t he know I’ve been trained to pack this? After this many years I don’t know that I am capable of providing a different lunch for him!! His sisters will take left over pizza, noodles or soup in a thermos, or home made lunchable type deals. He has always refused those options.

So guess what buddy? Until you get up early enough to make your own “different” lunch – you’re stuck with my standard lunch box. I mean really…who gets sick of sandwiches after only 3000+ of them? (And I’m fairly certain we alone are supporting at least one apple and carrot producer with our current consumption. I wouldn’t want to put anyone out of a job.)

 

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