The Thing About Lice Shampoo

I walked up to the barely-past-teenage cashier at the crappy grocery store down the street much earlier than I was even usually awake and dropped multiple boxes of lice shampoo down on the conveyor belt much harder than necessary.

Barely-Past-Teenage Cashier: “Ooo, looks like somebody’s having a crappy morning.”

Me: “Yep. What gave it away? The fact that I just woke up and look like I crawled out of a gutter or that I borderline abused your conveyor-belt just now? Sorry about that by the way.”

Barely-Post-Teenage Cashier: “No worries. And I have some news… that lice shampoo works great apparently. So have fun with your killing.”

Me: “Yep, that’s why I’m buying it. It was either that or pour bleach over everyone’s heads.”

and without missing a beat the guy looks at me and says “Do it. I think you’d look great as a blonde.”

Well for the record I completely disagree that I would look good as a blonde, I think I would look jaundiced and awful. But the guy totally made my day.

That morning I found a lice. Or a louse. Or whatever the singular term is for those little fuckers that crawl from kid to kid, ruin my life, and haunt my dreams. I cannot get over how grossed out I am by the idea of tiny bugs crawling over or in and out of anywhere or anything because OMG ew. And I’m not even someone who’s super scared of bugs.

Anyway I found a lice, or a louse, or whatever, on Verona’s head so naturally I handled it like a totally level headed adult and checked everyone thoroughly for lice and then acting calmly and accordingly. Just kidding! I totally lost my shit, flew through the grocery store like a crazy bat out of hell grabbing every anti-lice product they sold, then upon arriving home I sprayed everything with horrible noxious cleaning chemicals that I normally never use (sorry essential oils but I’m benching you, shit just got real) and then accidentally saw a pair of scissors so I chopped everyone’s hair super short. Including about 18 inches of my own. My madness knows no bounds.

Here’s the thing about lice shampoo, it says right on the bottle that one of the side effects of using it is that your head will itch like mad…

…but your head itching like mad is usually how you know you have lice…

…so the stuff that’s supposed to kill the lice gives you the symptoms of having lice…

…which means you have no way of knowing if you still have lice or not…

…which is terrifying.

In retrospect I may have totally over reacted. But like I said… tiny bugs and whatever. Eww. And it’s been a couple weeks now so even if we were mostly lice free to begin with I’m pretty sure we are for real lice free now and that’s good. And just for funzies I took a picture of my new super short hair… the shortest it’s ever been since I first grew it past this length at age like 4… and did a 30 second awful photoshop job to it to make my hair blonde so we could all see what that would look like if I did a horrible job of dying it.

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10 on 10

10 on 10… the 10th of every month (or every 5th month if you’re me… don’t you judge) 10 pictures in 10 hours of everyday life in all it’s everyday glory.

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The welcome home banner since David came back from his business trip.
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Somebody got into the Halloween stuff.
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My blackberry bush has exactly one blackberry. If I were in an “everything is meanful” type of mood I’d point out that if you focus the camera almost anywhere else on the bush all you see is thorns, but if you focus it right here all you see is delicious fruit… and how that relates to your attitude towards life or something.
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What happens to your face when you eat an entire bag full of cherries super fast.
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When Staying Is Hard

I’m a Mennonite. We value hospitality and humility, justice and peace. It’s part of why I love being part of this tradition.

This last week at convention we passed some incredibly hurtful resolutions against the LGBT in our community. And I’m grieving.

I’m having a really really really hard time being a fucking Mennonite right now. I just… I don’t know… I always thought we were better than this. I know some congregations are more liberal (mine) or more conservative (the one I grew up in) but I thought over all we were better than this. I absolutely didn’t think we were going to be “those guys”, who took a million years to get on the right side of history. Who when we look back people say “Yep, those are the ones who opposed interracial marriage until the fucking 70s.” That’s going to be us on issues of sexuality. And that is heartbreaking. And infuriating. And absolute bullshit.

And I feel like we’ve been doing this my entire life. I remember hearing these “We talked about this at convention and decided not to make any changes now, we’ll talk about it again in four years.” updates from convention as a little tiny kid. The little tiny kid with the gay parent. No, there was never the anti-gay hate speech I’ve heard in other denominations… but refusing to stand up for us hurt too. Refusing to formally acknowledge my family no matter how much compassion was shown still hurt. It hurt then and it hurts now.

I’m hurt and I’m pissed and I’m OVER IT. I’m so so over it. And I want to just quit. Just quit and leave and find another faith. Because I can. I totally can. But what does that solve? If we all flee how does that help change happen? What does that accomplish but make more divisions? And if you can just divorce your community over an issue like this what does that say about your level of commitment? But I have kids and I don’t want them to grow up hearing the “four more years” conversation either. I want them to know that EVERYONE is welcome at Christ’s table. Everyone. Equally.

I don’t want to leave because this is community and that should mean something and because I love being Mennonite. But I’m tired of fighting. I’m so tired.

I’m exhausted and hurt and broken.

And usually when I’m exhausted and hurt and broken I go to my community… but to do that right now I need a community that accepts me completely no matter what. And accepts everyone in my family wholeheartedly with love. And accepts my children no matter who they love.

If you can’t do that maybe you’re not the community I thought.

I’m just so tired.

What’s Different When You Have Kids Young

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what is really the difference between having kids when you’re young vs waiting till you’re older.

Why you might ask? Because all my friends are like 10 years older than me… and I’ve realized maybe that’s weird. I like to joke that it’s just because I’m super mature (but then I usually follow it with some sort of MILF joke so clearly I’m not that mature) but the real reason is most people my age are working 20 hours a week at a coffee shop to keep their student loans deferred while they figure out what they want to do when they grow up and spending their evenings in trendy bars… and I have two kids and a mortgage.

So instead we mostly hang out with people who also have a couple kids and mortgages also and would rather drink those margaritas in my living room (because they agree that bars are way too loud)… and basically none of those people are also in their mid 20s because most people wait a second before popping a baby out of their lady garden. We’re in this weird middle place where we’re too young to be old but way too old to still pretend we’re young.

So what is really the difference between having kids in your early 20s vs having kids in your mid 30s? We parent similarly, so that can’t be it. That whole “the baby weight falls off faster when you’re young!” thing is absolute bullshit, if you don’t believe me go ask my poor abused spanx. What is it?

I think I finally figured it out.

The difference is that when you have kids really young you never have a chance to get your shit together first.

I mean, David and I had the major points of adulting under control… we paid our bills on time, held down jobs, stayed out of prison, and didn’t live with our parents. But all those finer points of adulting that everyone else figured out in their 20s was lost on us because there was basically no space between the “I was too drunk to remember to put my half eaten bowl of ramen in the fridge before I passed out last night so this morning I’m going to eat it for breakfast before I go to work” phase of life and the “I’m responsible for another human” phase.

And if you haven’t gotten those finer points of “adulting” down before you have kids you’re basically just not going to, because parenting is a whole new set of shit you’ve got to figure out so the “How often do I actually need to wash my sheets?” questions get put to the side. Indefinitely.

And even once you do sort of get your shit together you never know for sure if you really have or not because you don’t even know what “real adulting” means anyway. I am left constantly wondering, should I stop doing X because I’m “a grown up” or is this something everyone else does too and just doesn’t talk about?

Like eating the ramen you forgot to put in the fridge last night the next morning for breakfast… cause that still sometimes happens (although now it’s just cause I’m tired, not cause I’m too drunk). Am I allowed to do that?

Do all adults occasionally find a shirt on the floor and give it the sniff test to determine if it really needs to go in the hamper or if they can just wear it today instead?

And seriously, how often do I really have to wash my sheets? Can I just wait until they feel kinda gross? Or is just thinking that gross in and of itself?

I like my mediocre IKEA furniture and don’t ever want to upgrade to the nicer brands… does that mean I’m broken or is that a valid life choice?

Does everybody occasionally have that moment when they’re going to bed and realize the only things they ate that day was coffee and two handfuls of girlscout cookies? Or is that just some college level bullshit I need to seriously work on.

So yeah, that’s the difference between having kids in your early 20s vs mid 30s in case you were wondering. And also if anybody wanted to give me any insight into those other questions I would love it.

What It’s Like To Take Children To IKEA

IKEA, for those of you unfortunate enough to not live in a major city, is a magical land full of elaborately staged show rooms, $200 couches, and assemble-it-your-damn-self furniture that pretty much always comes with a bunch of extra pieces they throw in just to fuck with you.

Case and point, that time last month that I finished building a bedside table only to discover these fuckers still chillin' in the bottom of the box.
Case and point, that time last month that I finished building a bedside table and then discovered these fuckers still chillin’ in the bottom of the box. 

It also has free childcare for up to an hour and a half, free coffee, and super cheap dinners… all of which basically make it my co-parent when David is away on long business trips (which is more or less always). All of those amazing facts (well, mostly those last three) make me go even though I’m fully aware that you should NEVER take children out in public. Ever. Because they A) have no filter at all and B) have a severely inferior grasp on the concept of “indoor voices”. Or maybe that’s just my kids… whatever.

Anyway, since I’m out of interesting things to write about I’m going to tell you exactly what it’s like to take children to IKEA if you’ve never done it yourself. (Or more accurately, exactly what it was like to take my kids to IKEA tonight.)

First you’ll get the kids out of the car and expect them to run at top speed into the store like they always do… but since it’s raining today they’ll walk as slowly as humanly possible until you’re all completely soaked, then sit down on the sidewalk and cry because they don’t want to get rained on… so instead of through the door that 10 feet in front of them they’re going to sit down in the rain because they don’t want to be rained on anymore. Because of course.

You’ll get them inside and begin filling out the sheet to get them signed into the free daycare while your daughter announces to the childcare employees that “This rain is total bullshit.” followed a minute later by a loud and very dramatic rendition of “It’s Raining Men” sung as a duet by the two of them for everyone within 100 meters aka ear shot (my children have no problem with projecting.)

Once they’re signed in and playing get your free coffee and do your shopping. This will remind you of why you came in the first place… shopping alone and drinking coffee alone.

Once their time is up you’ll go get them and decide to have dinner since it’s kids eat free night which makes it cheaper than any dinner you were going to make at home anyway. You’ll ask them in the crowded elevator if they need to go to the bathroom before you eat… when they say no change your mind and demand that everyone go to the bathroom before you eat because you know otherwise there is a 110% chance they’ll suddenly have to pee the second you take your first bite of that meatball. This will be followed by a 20 minute excursion in the bathroom during which your 3 year old will attempt to touch every single surface with his hands, a large portion of them with his tongue, and then lock himself in the stall because he absolutely does not under any circumstances need any help… except he totally does. But he doesn’t want it from you. But he needs it. But go away mom.

When you finally get everyone’s food on the tray and walk up to pay for it that same 3 year old will announce that he has to go to the bathroom again. When you remind him that you were literally just in the bathroom for 20 minutes, 5 minutes ago, he’ll say in his loudest of loud voice “Last time I peed, and it was a good pee, I peed really really fast, but this time I have to poop. I would rather poop in the yard, but since IKEA doesn’t have a yard I have to go to the bathroom because I’m going to poop a lot. Like, a lot a lot a lot.” he will also throw his arms out in both directions to pantomime how big this alleged poop will be.

So you’ll go back to the bathroom where he will not poop or pee, but will touch everything. Again. Because of course.

When you’re finally back in the restaurant and eating your food your daughter (who overheard a conversation between you and a friend last week about how you need to go bra shopping) will loudly announce to the very full eating establishment, “I don’t even know why we’re here when the only place we REALLY need to go is to a store that sells giant bras!”

When you (and the people at all the tables around you) stare at her in horrified silence she will assume you just don’t understand what she said so she’ll elaborate. “For you. … You know, for your huge boobs. … You need to get bras for your huge boobs but have to buy them at a special store for bras for huge boobs. … Remember? You told Brittney about it? … Your huge boobs.” You’ll then explain that it’s not necessary to yell everything you say. Or talk about your huge boobs in restaurants. Or ever.

Then you’ll leave and swear you’re never taking your kids out in public again, while also knowing full well you will tomorrow partly because you believe in 932nd chances second chances and partly because you just have no choice.

And also a little bit because at least they were really nice to each other the whole time and at least they never lied… this rain today really is total bullshit, Finn does like pooping in the yard, and your boobs really are huge. *shrug*

Musical Cleaning aka My Boring Blog (pun intended)

After my emotional vomiting post the other day about how I’m too happy to be your lovable curmudgeon of a blogger I got a bunch of messages and emails crying out “Oh please Jen, just blog anyway! We need your voice in our lives! You’re amazing and fabulous and everything I want to be when I grow up!”

Well I might be exaggerating a little bit, but they did contain the general theme of “just write random shit Jen, I’ll probably read it anyway” which I promise is not what I was fishing for when I wrote that but thank you anyway.

I’ve decided to listen to both of all of my loyal readers and writing random shit that’s on my mind instead of abandoning the blog… today that random shit is that I have a new method of keeping my house clean that I’m calling “Musical Cleaning”. When I say I keep my house clean I should probably put “clean” in quotes… I am a highly creative and highly disorganized person with two small children. The only way my house is ever going to stay clean without the quotation marks is if I start doing meth or maybe crack cocaine and I have no intention of doing either. I value my teeth and ability to bend over in the shower far too much.

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This is a picture of my laundry room at this exact moment… I just wanted to make sure nobody was getting TOO impressed with my whole cleaning spiel.

Musical Cleaning is basically the adulting version of musical chairs. You pick a playlist (preferably something upbeat) and clean one room furiously and with great gusto until the song is over. As soon as that song is over you stop whatever you’re doing and move to the next room and clean it until the next song is done. Repeat until you’ve done all the main rooms in your house. If a room isn’t totally clean when the song is done, fuck it, it’ll be there tomorrow for another song.

There are a couple reasons I think this approach is the bomb. First, it’s not overwhelming. If I look at a super messy room and say to myself “I’m going to clean until this is clean” the reality is I won’t… I’ll find an excuse to do something else and not put a single thing away, but I can do basically anything for the duration of Livin’ La Vida Loca.

Secondly every room doesn’t have to happen at the same time, just at some point during the day. If I try to clean everything I will get interrupted two minutes in and then never start cleaning again after that, but unless one of my kids is bleeding profusely from the head they basically never need something that can’t wait till the end of one stupid song.

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, it gets me to do something without feeling like I have to do everything. And doing something… anything… is what adulting is all about after all.

See y’all, that’s what you get when you tell me to “just write”… you get posts about cleaning my bathroom and Ricky Martin classics. You brought this on yourselves.

Apparently I’m Too Happy To Blog

I’m not really sure what to do with this blog anymore.

If you haven’t noticed, the bulk of my writing over the last few years has essentially been hilarious complaining. Well maybe not hilarious… maybe more like slightly amusing and I’m flattering myself.

A friend told me once that nobody gave a shit about the things I wrote about… only how I wrote them. She said I had a talent for bitching about every day nuisances in such an amusing way that people actually wanted to hear me do it. I looked back through my most popular posts which were all about things like baby vomit, being slightly ill, or how poorly I react to 20 minutes without internet and couldn’t really argue with her.

But recently I’ve become unfortunate enough to have gotten basically everything I’ve ever wanted. Or… you’ve become unfortunate enough for me to have gotten everything I’ve ever wanted.

I’ve always had the best husband in the world but since he landed this fabulous new job I actually see him once in a blue moon (something that rarely happened before while he was working the old job that paid peanuts and trying to finish yet another degree). That job also moved us out of my least favorite environment (fuck the desert) and to my absolute favorite place where we bought my absolute dream house. My kids are healthy, my dogs are assholes but they’re adorable so who cares…

I think about writing here and have nothing to say that I think anyone gives a shit about. Nobody wants to hear “Dear Diary, Today I finished my book, colored with chalk for two hours with my kids, lazily sat in the sun drinking coffee and playing ukulele, and made salmon for dinner. It was a beautiful day.” My life is beautiful and amazing and fun and perfect… but I don’t know how to write those things. I know how to write about my inability to act like a grown up and trips to the ER.

I don’t want to just talk about my kids or homeschooling cause the world has enough of those blogs and honestly I think most of them are boring too. And I have my own story, I don’t want to drowned in my children’s.

I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who just writes responses to shitty things that happen in the world because that sounds depressing.

I don’t think I can write about serious stuff because I can barely take myself seriously, how can I expect other people to.

So what am I left with? I’m left with the perfect life but a blog without stories. And I don’t know what to do with it.

Funschool Sunday

What we’ve been doing instead of school these past couple weeks.
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1
. Learned the difference between the skeletons of birds that can fly and birds that can’t. What makes flight possible?
2. Aquarium
3-4. Zoo
5&15. Circus skills
6. Learned about the solar system through art.
7. Learned about crab life cycles, eco systems, how to find/catch/cook them.
8. Walked through the life cycle of salmon.
9. Learned about the edible plants in our yard.
10. Painting
11. Learning to ride bikes.
12. Climbing
13. Reading
14. How about pi and pie.
16. Powell’s City of Books

Hello, My Name Is Jen, and I Am An Old Lady

This morning started out like any other morning. I got up, started the coffee, went to the bathroom… but then, as I was washing my hands, I saw it. One bright silver hair mixed into my otherwise pitch black unruly mane.

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Just sitting there… staring at me. All silver and beautiful and very very much not black. Just sitting there staring at me like it was no big deal… like it’s very existence wasn’t a HUGE something.

The last time I found a grey hair on my head I was 20 and had a full on meltdown in the bathroom at my work, because I was positive I was now going to be like my stepdad… completely grey by the age of 22. My crisis was averted when I quickly discovered that it wasn’t actually a grey hair, I had just gotten sunscreen on one strand so I could wipe it off and move on with my life.

But this was definitely a real grey hair and it was definitely attached firmly to my head (I double and triple checked) and I couldn’t decide how I should feel. I’d always swore once I started going grey I was going to do so gracefully… because old age is a beautiful privilege that a lot of people don’t get, and because silver hair is gorgeous, and because embracing the maturity that you’ve earned is a wonderful thing, and because I want to set an example for my children about how I’m not afraid of getting old and about how society’s fixation on youth is stupid and blah blah blah.

And on the other hand I AM NOT EVEN 30!! All those cliche quips about aging gracefully I said when I thought I wouldn’t STILL BE IN MY FREAKING 20s when I started dealing with it! And OMG seriously you guys I AM NOT OLD YET!

So I had a crisis… but not a normal kind of crisis, I had a crisis over deciding whether or not I am supposed to have a crisis right now. A crisis over the possibility of a crisis over one stupid hair. Even at the time I realized how stupid it was so since I clearly can’t be trusted to think through this on my own I messaged a couple friends who’s opinions I trust nothing but the above picture… and got the following responses.

“It’s Beautiful!!!”
“I have tons of grey hair… clumps… but I kind of love grey hair so….”
“I’m jealous! It’s gorgeous!”
“I’m going grey all over, I hope mine turns silver like yours so I can be one of those badass silver haired old ladies.”
“Awesome! If you get a bunch more you can totally be Anna from Frozen for Halloween this year!”

So apparently the conflict I was having over the whole thing was not reflected in the minds of the women I love, trust, and turn to for advice in life. And since I pride myself on surrounding myself with amazing, strong, fabulous women I may as well take their advice when it’s offered… or when I specifically ask for it… so at least for now my crisis has ended. I am aging gracefully and embracing my new found natural highlights.

And yes I do mean “highlights” to be plurel… I went on a small search and officially have at least 3 shockingly silver hairs. But I’m ok… I’m ok… I’m ok… (I’m going to keep saying that until I’m fully convinced.)

The Beach is Only 1.5 Hours Away

So seriously… why don’t we go more? An hour and a half… that’s it. And we’ve been there only twice since we moved here how many months ago. (In my defense, David has been gone on work trips at least half that time and two kids at the beach by myself isn’t something I’m up for.)

Well yesterday we went. David is a hunter/fisher at heart and the Oregon coast is more full of clams, cockles, and crabs than you can shake a stick at.

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The kids spent their day building with the sand, drawing in it, digging for clams along side David, investigating all the different forms of beach life… they learned all about the different kinds of clams, especially razor clams because they were the kind we were looking for. Of course they wanted to know where the clam’s poop out of because everything at this age leads back to the topic of butts.

Finn spent most of his time just digging. Digging digging digging.

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And Verona spent a lot of the day just running along the surf with joy.

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