Monthly Archives: August 2015

Ode to Zumba

Zumba dancers

Zumba started back up in Haviland yesterday, and I think my life is complete again. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I think Zumba is my soul mate workout. I get to dance and call it exercise. I have genes in my body that tell me that this might be the true meaning of life; or at least about the best possible way to spend forty-five minutes working out.

And when I’m in Zumba, I can really dance.

In my head I look just like our instructor, who’s totally awesome and Zumbas like she was born to do it. I wasn’t there, but I’m pretty sure she came out of the womb shimmying to a Samba beat. I imagine it would’ve been a difficult delivery; but it was a service to the world and to the saddlebags that have fallen in love with my thighs and made them their permanent home.

It doesn’t matter that my face looks like it’s about to explode, or that my ponytail keeps getting stuck in my armpit, or that I have to wear maternity leggings to make sure my stretchmarks won’t accidentally see the light of day.

For forty-five minutes, I get to be completely delusional.

So what if I’m actually flailing when I’m supposed to be shimmying; in my head I should be fielding phone calls from Beyonce, begging me for dance lessons.

There’s no mirror at Zumba, so there’s no proof that I’m not a world-class dancer just “keepin’ it real” with the peeps while I get my workout on.

It’s probably a good thing there’s no mirror, or Zumba might not love me back anymore.

Maybe one day I’ll step up my dance training to find out that I missed the boat to being a good dancer by roughly twenty-seven years. But for now: Zumba is back; and twice a week I get to be the ‘winning-est’ America’s Best Dance Crew contestant that I was definitely born to be.

So let’s all raise our water bottles to Haviland Zumba!

And to my saddlebags: May you rest in burning misery.


What to do When the Toilet is About to Overflow

I think most of us have been in this situation at some point in life: You were at a friend’s house, and suddenly you really had to go to the bathroom. Or maybe you didn’t really have to go to the bathroom; you just casually had to go to the bathroom, and got a little carried away with the toilet paper. I can totally relate because I have this “thing” that when I wipe I like my hands not to get wet, you know, so I’m definitely in the use-all-the-toilet-paper-you-need camp. My husband’s family somehow imagined this “thing” as me wrapping layer after layer of toilet paper on my hand until it’s completely covered and protected enough to remove a casserole out of the oven, so they call it the “oven mitt.” That’s not quite what I do, but it doesn’t really matter exactly how I use the toilet paper. The point is I’m pretty handy with a plunger.

I’ve had this experience more than once at friends’ houses. One time was when I was dating Joel, at his parents’ house, with a mess no teenage boy ever needs to see – and I didn’t let him – but I had to ask him for a plunger, so he knew about it. He married me anyway – it must have been for the illusion I gave of superior calm in the face of adversity, because I told you I can handle myself with a plunger.

Anyway, if you’re ever in this situation, it’s good to know exactly how to handle it and come out with probably not even a shred of dignity left. It’s also really good to know how to use a plunger – just in general, you know. So you don’t have to call the maintenance man for help when you plug your toilet.

So here goes –

What to do When the Toilet is About to Overflow

You’ve just flushed and it doesn’t look like the toilet is up to the task of digesting the three-tiered wedding cake you just made out of soggy toilet paper on top of whatever mess you made in there in the first place. The situation is looking grim. Here’s what to do. There are a lot of steps, but every step is crucial, so don’t skip any:

Step One – Stare at the rising water in the toilet to see if it’s actually going to overflow.

Step Two – Keep staring at the water in the toilet, and start praying that the suction force of the flush combined with the weight of the three-quarters-full water level will miraculously break the clog that you know is at least three times the size of the hole at the bottom of the toilet.

Step Three – Keep staring and praying until the water reaches the “lip” at the top of the bowl. Sometimes it will stop filling at this point. Watch carefully to make sure the water is still rising, and not just slowly swirling around the bowl. You might catch a break here.

You’re not catching a break.

Step Four – Panic.

Step Five – Bend elbows to ninety degrees and begin making small, rapid, up-and-down motions with your clenched fists.  Make a real quick constipated face and whisper “crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap”.

Step Six – You need to find something to break the clog. Standing directly in front of the toilet, make three quick circles to look around without actually looking at anything.

Step Seven – Search for a plunger. Become disproportionately outraged at the number of people who don’t feel a need to keep a plunger in the bathroom.

Step Eight – Half-cry a little bit, then take a deep breath.

Step Nine – Panic.

Step Ten – Decide to be proactive, and look for something to sop up the water which has reached one-eighth of an inch below the brim of the toilet bowl. Grab the hand towel and all the towels you can find under the sink. Start imagining how you will ever be able to look your friend in the eye when you show her what you did to her bathroom. Worst case scenario is happening in T minus 4, 3, 2…

Step Eleven – Hold your breath and watch as the poop water and toilet paper cake stop rising one-sixteenth of an inch from the loss of every last shred of your dignity.

Step Twelve – Gasp in giddy disbelief, and steady yourself to keep from passing out.

Step Thirteen – Swallow your pride, find someone who lives here, and ask where they’re hiding the plunger. If you’re feeling embarrassed about having to ask for the plunger, remember they brought this upon themselves.

Step Fourteen – CAREFULLY plunge the toilet, and for the love – don’t let anyone see it!

plungertoilet paper  wedding cakeplungertoilet paper  wedding cakeplungertoilet paper  wedding cakeplungertoilet paper  wedding cakeplunger

P.S. There’s always a plunger next to my toilet.

toilet           BFFs


13 Signs that You Will Probably Need a Vacation from Your Vacation

Okay guys, so we just finished an unbelievably fantastic vacation in Ohio. We had a blast! We fished, we swam, we partied, we zooed, we got ears pierced, and we visited and visited with family that we miss like crazy. It was amazing. The thing is – being away from home for two weeks is really hard! So, in honor of our vacation that was totally awesome but still left us feeling like we weren’t going to live to see another normal day, here is my take on the fallout of the “family vacation”. Here are 13 signs that you will probably need a vacation from your vacation. Really these are 13 signs that we will probably need a vacation from our vacation, but maybe you can relate to some of them.

  1. You are starting to have trouble recognizing your kids. As they grow more and more sleep deprived by the nanosecond, all you can find when you look for them is “Fluffy”, the snarling three-headed beast that belongs to Harry Potter’s friend, Hagrid.
  1. You’re starting to have a little trouble remembering their names, too. Don’t worry; it’ll all come back to you when you eventually see their sweet faces again – after they pass out at the end of each day.
  1. Your husband tries “have his way” with you every time you walk into an empty room because you’ve been sharing a room with three kids all week and “he has needs too, you know”.
  1. Your cooler looks like this


(those are boneless wings floating in the melted ice)

  1. And this isn’t even your jelly


  1. So, you start feeding your kids by throwing handfuls of Kix over your shoulder in the van.
  1. You’ve scheduled three weeks for vacation, but by day thirteen you find yourselves on the road home filming Fast Family, the highly anticipated fifteenth installment of the Fast and Furious saga in which five ordinary people cover 1100 miles of open road in sixteen straight hours without stopping to eat or use the restroom; only enduring the unavoidable fuel-ups long enough for the dad to drive the van screeching back onto the freeway on two wheels with the gas hose still dangling from the pump, while the mom throws some money at the cashier and dives in through the passenger window – narrowly avoiding losing a foot to the “Thank you for visiting Illinois” sign.*
  1. You’re so desperate to get home that you opted to drive through the night, even though your kids never sleep well in the van. Twenty minutes after you finally doze off with your feet on the window and your head hanging perpendicular to your neck off the edge of your reclined seat, four precariously slumbering people in your vehicle begin taking turns crying out in agonized exhaustion. One of them is you.
  1. You actually duped yourself into believing that you and your road-warrior husband had agreed on stopping at a hotel if driving through the night wasn’t going well. You’re an idiot. He can drive all night, and he thinks this is going pretty well.
  1. When one of your kids complains about a tummy ache because she’s hungry, you chastise that it’s her own fault because she wouldn’t eat the McDonald’s breakfast you graciously provided this morning.
  1. While you contort yourself over the back of your seat to mop up her vomit thirty minutes later, your feral growling that “a stop would be fantastic” (because you thought that would’ve been obvious), is met with “yes, it would” while road warrior continues in the center lane of the freeway for another forty minutes to avoid stopping in the city. Because he’s not a mom, and he might actually be an android.
  1. You finally make it home and spend fifteen minutes hysterically cackling and hugging your bed before asking your hubby if it’s your birthday. You haven’t known what day it is for two weeks, but you’re pretty sure you’re in the right month.
  1. You’ve never been so happy to find out it’s not your birthday.

birthday cake

And by “you”, I mean “I”.


So, while some might be slightly exaggerated, most of these are pretty true by the time many of our family vacations come to an end. Can anyone relate? Feel free to join in and share your vacation craziness in the comments below!

*Joel just corrected me that we did not stop in Illinois (or Indiana), we filled up in Ohio and did not stop until Missouri.