Not your average suburban mom. I’m more your typical, normal, commonplace, everyday, garden-variety suburban mom. With a thesaurus.

Monday, December 30, 2013


Words are usually my thing. In person I may have bouts of incoherency, but given time and a keyboard I can string along a sentence or two that adequately communicates the mess in my head. (But only if you include the word "totally". If "totally" was struck from my vocabulary I would be effectively rendered mute.) It is unsettling to stare at a blank screen for so many hours and discover language has failed me.

My Grandfather died on Saturday.

When I was little, The Grandfather took on mythical proportions. I was sure he was a rich business man who intimidated and ruled the whole world. He only furthered this perception by signing all my birthday cards "GRANDfather", because he was decidedly grand. He lived in a "fancy" house and owned a grand piano - two irrefutable symbols of success to an eight year old. He had a sun porch where I watched The Golden Girls and he drove a car that spoke. In 1990. (#baller) ("A door is ajar," to which he would reply, "Kelly! This car is crazy. A door is not a jar; a door is a door!")

When I was a bit older and he retired for the first time, my grandparents moved south and formally introduced me to one of my favorite places on this planet - The Great Smoky Mountains. My Grandfather would drive through the mountains to show off beautiful mountain properties on our way to Gatlinburg, where we would ride the sky tram, buy a personalized airbrush t-shirt, and explore the haunted house, all before piling back into the car to find the first appropriate stop-off on the mountain drive home. He would pull over and I would climb down the embankment and swim in the river with my clothes on. It was freezing, and more importantly felt forbidden and exciting and is one of my favorite memories of my youth.

This pic is saved on my computer under the title
"Tampon Boat with Grandpa".
Also, 1989 was a great year in swimwear.
In Tennessee* my grandparents also bought a boat, which my sister dubbed a "tampon" boat (because vocabulary is hard and sometimes "pontoon" and "tampon" get confused)(holy cow would that be an awkward mistake the other way) and we would take day boating trips on Tellico Lake to Fort Loudoun or to eat dinner buy hand-dipped milkshakes at Calhoun's. He put me at the helm, teaching bow from stern, starboard from port, and how to steer into the waves at the correct angle to avoid pitching or yawing (knowledge I still employ today when I am training in the water and using the kickboard for drills).

You guessed it. "Tampon Boat with
Grandpa 2".
(*Story for free* - Tennessee is also where my seven year old brother announced in a Subway restaurant he was going to live in a condom when he got older. At thirteen years old I was both mortified and tickled such a scandalous thing was said aloud. My mother quickly deduced he meant "condo" - which honestly has much better amenities and is a tad roomier - and set his terminology to right.)

My youth is comprised of memories of my Irish grandfather singing freestyle with a drink in his hand.

"Kelly Sue
 Don't be blue
 Grandpa loves you"

(I come by my lyrical skills honestly.)(He was also a faithful Catholic and to this day my children sometimes pray singing in made-up Latin using their best Gregorian-style Chant - just like Pappy.) 

Above all, I remember my Grandfather loved me. He was interested in my life. He talked with me about God and eternity. He wanted good things for my future. And, most importantly, he made sure I knew all this. What a gift.

Thank you for leaving me with that memory, Grandfather.


Goodbye, Grandfather.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Case of the Mondays: Merry Christmas! Love, The Internet

Friends, it's been a rough season of life. Thanks for hanging in there with me as I mostly get out these "Case of the Mondays" posts and very little else. Life is beginning to ease up, so I am looking forward to the new year when I can regale you with tales of my physical therapist, surviving weight gain, and how (knock on wood) I totally potty trained Ezra is just two weeks like a rock star mama. (We begin December 26. Pray for me, y'all.)

Since I'm adding Christmas Cards to the list of "Crap I Never Got Done This Christmas", I wanted to share the next best thing with you. This is how the Internet sends out some holiday cheer. Enjoy!

This year when I took the kiddos to see Santa, he looked right at 6 year old Esther and said, "What do you want for Christmas, little girl?" Esther firmly stated, "A maid."
That's how it's done.

Everything about this man makes me giggle.

I'm putting "Friends like these" on my Christmas wish list.
UPDATE: It's like the Internet is Santa Claus. The woman who made this card contacted me so I would source her work back to her like I'm supposed to because she totally answered the call on my Christmas wish list. You can visit her at:

I would add "Friends like these" to my list as well (because do you see the festivity of those sweaters?!), but I don't do well with lap goats. Which she is holding.

Close your eyes, Kids.

These people are doing our Christmas card next year.

Love, The Johnsons

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

He only needs to pass the bar.

Ezra is three years old. He has speech and fine motor apraxia. While his language is delayed, I'm discovering that his cognitive abilities are spot on.

Also, I think I just got played.

This is how you raise a lawyer.

Ezra: Mama, I want snack.
Kelly: I want world peace.
Ezra: I want snack. I huuuuuungry.
Kelly: I want a subscription to Runner's World.
Ezra: I thirsty. I want drink.
Kelly: I want my foot to stop hurting.
Ezra: (smirks) I want puppy.
Kelly: (thinks, "That backfired.") Esther is scared of dogs, Dude.
Ezra: Me get mean dog, me throw him away and get nice dog.
Kelly: We can't throw a dog away, Dude. A dog is alive; we don't throw away living things. We take care of them. (Gives a two minute lecture on animal care to a now glazed-over three year old.)
Ezra: Yeah.
Kelly: Besides, why wouldn't we just get a nice dog first and skip the mean dog part?
Ezra: Yeah, we get a nice dog. First. For Christmas.
Kelly: Um, what?
Ezra: You say, "Get nice dog." (smirks again) I get nice dog for Christmas.

BAM! That's how you play Mom.

I find about 14 thousand of these on my iPad camera roll.
Three years old and already a whiz at Photo Booth.
Sorry if you can't handle this much awesome.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

'Tis the Season to be a Hot Mess And a Rant For FREE

Guess who got prescribed a muscle relaxer?

This girl did.

I've been faithfully attending physical therapy three times a week for a neck, shoulder, and upper back pain. The pain started as stiffness in my neck towards the end of October and morphed into a pretty impressive headache (not in intensity, but in longevity), and by the end of November I couldn't tilt my head back to wash my hair, and looked like I was doing the Robot whenever I was asked to look sideways.

I knew I needed some sort of physical therapy when my self-treatment (a.k.a. Googling videos of people stretching themselves out and doing massage with tennis balls) proved ineffective, but first I needed a referral from my Primary Care Physician because that extra appointment scheduled two weeks out doesn't waste time at all.

After all we went through with Brian's PCP, may I take a moment to love on my PCP? She is amazing. First, her name is Carol King, which is pretty sweet. Second, her husband is an Ironman, so she is well versed in the sport of triathlon. When I went to her and said, "I can't do any of my normal activities," meaning swim, bike, and run, she knew that was kinda sorta a big deal for me. The first thing she did was tell me to take more drugs if I was comfortable doing that (twist my arm), and then she referred me to a physical therapist.

The drugs are awesome. The Ibuprofen is dealing with the pain and inflammation, and the muscle relaxers are making me sleep um, very relaxing.

The hardest part of physical therapy is finding child care so I can go. I've been trying to schedule as many sessions as possible during Ezra's school, but I still have to take the three girlies with me. One day when I had Ezra all day, Stacy down the street took my littles, and a friend from church is watching all of the kiddos during my Friday sessions. (Those sessions are longer because they include massage therapy.)(Like, it's been medically prescribed for me to get a massage once a week.)(Yep, if it wasn't for the knowledge that I'm dealing with constant pain, I'd hate me too.)

I've only been seen a little over a week, but I have faith it's helping. My therapist told me she needs a jackhammer to loosen up my trapezius muscle, but she's been making do with her bare hands because she is a beast.

In other news, I'm a little miffed at Facebook. Roughly half of my blog page views come from people who have personally chosen to follow me on Facebook with the sole purpose of getting updates when I post them. Facebook is now charging fan pages to show their updates to everyone who follows them, resulting in a 60% decline in my Facebook blog traffic. (Because I math-ed that mess, y'all.)(That's how you know it's a serious issue for me - the occurrence of voluntary ciphering.)

You know what? I'm a stay at home mom with four kids. One of my kiddos is in (really expensive) therapy. Another takes (really expensive) medication. I have this teeny-tiny blog as a means of preserving my own sanity in this season of life, as well as carving out a space in this world to capture the craziness of raising my children. All so I can remember it and be thankful when I'm old. I really can't afford to spend money on a recreational blog.

But blogging does take time. Sometimes it takes a lot of time. And especially because I'm teeny-tiny in size I treasure every person who takes time out of their day to read whatever drivel I'm peddling. If they have signed up to read it, all the better; I treasure these people because it's like a promise they will be returning. But when Facebook won't let me post to everyone unless I pay at least $5 each and every time, well, that's some buh-loney right there.

In conclusion, I have no idea yet what to do about this. But I needed to rant, so thank you. Have a lovely day, and, if you read this from Facebook, throw me a "like" or a comment to let me know you are among the treasured few. Please and thank you.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Case of the Mondays: Yoga - Discover Your Inner Poop Chute

The other day someone wrote a lovely blog about how she didn't understand why women found the holiday season stressful. With proper organization, she reasoned, all the tasks could be broken into manageable bits. There was no reason for anxiety!

Silly me. Apparently I'm just not organized enough. I'll add "Get organized for the holidays" to my To-Do List.

Since that's not likely to happen anytime soon, I realized I should probably pursue methods of stress relief. Since my yoga class is so relaxing, I'm planning to attend as much as possible between now and Christmas. To celebrate that decision, I'm bringing you a Case of the Mondays post filled with actual quotes from yoga instructors. Enjoy. And for Pete's sake, go make a list so you can relax.

Did you read this in Forrest Gump's voice? If not, you're doing it wrong.

Yoga is way more about gardening than I previously thought.

Now we know what's really in the Advocare "fiber" shake.

Sadly, something I could actually do.

*snort* No, she didn't.

I feel kind of conflicted about this one, because that's
almost verbatim the way I describe labor.

Make sure it sticks - like spaghetti.

This is why I'm bad at yoga. When I read this I thought,
"What's my anal canal?" and then my brain
answered, "Poop Chute." And then I
got the giggles because I think my brain is hilarious.

Happy Monday!

Friday, December 6, 2013

For the Sake of the Ovaries ... Please Stop

Dear You,

I'm reaching out to you as a desperate woman.

You see, I have four kiddos. I love them madly. Sometimes I want to freak out because I didn't know it was humanly possible to love so much.

Mixed in with all that love is a quiet desperation. While my children are some of the greatest joys of my life, parenting is slowly killing me. Which I'm pretty sure it's supposed to do. Parenting is about learning to sacrifice joyfully for someone else's needs. It's calmly cleaning up puke at 4:00 a.m. and soothing an irrational and scared child when really you need to be in bed because you cleaned your own puke 45 minutes prior. It's wanting "just one freaking second to think without interruption" but helping with school work while cooking dinner and tying a shoe. All that sacrifice makes you a better person. But it is hard, and I've become very familiar with the end of my rope.

I have four kiddos. I homeschool them. I have a food allergy child. I have a child with speech and fine motor apraxia. We are on our ninth month of potty training. (Shut up.) I have a six year old daughter who is on a pirate joke kick. This is an intense stage of life. We have reached capacity.



But maybe probably not.

Which is why I am publicly pleading my case.

You, dearest Facebook/Instagram/Twitter parents of the world, please stop. Stop with the pictures of your babies.

Your baby in her Christmas picture, with her chubbo cheeks and unruly wisps of hair peeking out from beneath the Santa hat? Just stop.

Your tiny newborn all swaddled in fleece, showing off his first gassy smiles in the midst of peaceful slumber? C'mon on.

And you with the video? Do you know happens when I see the ten second clip of your three month old expressing their pleasures with their new-found ability to coo? Puppies wrapped in red bows shower down from rainbows and Dove chocolate grows on the boxwood hedge in my front yard. And honestly, that's too much happiness for one planet to contain.

The worst by far is this type of picture:

Do you know what happens when I view any baby from this angle? I am made acutely aware that my "baby" is now three years old and it has been a long time since I snuggled someone using only my arms. And then my ovaries explode.

Every time I see one of these adorable pictures, I want another baby of my own. To snuggle, to feed, to coo with. My kids would looooove another baby. But we are at capacity.



Or maybe probably not.

So please, for the sake of my ovaries, stop. Your baby is awesome, and I just can't handle it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Maybe I wouldn't mind a padded cell. Also, Bradley Cooper and I are working on a thing.

Stephenie Meyer built an entire empire based on a dream. Not an idealistic Martin Luther King, Jr. dream comprised of a desire and vision to better the world, but a literal dream. While peacefully at slumber she experienced the meadow scene from Twilight when Edward and Bella declare themselves to one another. She turned that scene into a four novel series that spawned a career as a Hollywood producer. Whaaaa? The lesson we can all learn: your billion dollar idea is on the other side of consciousness so you should take every opportunity to sleep.

Because I've always suspected my genius was buried deep within (and consequently mostly inaccessible), I now sleep with a pad of paper on my bedside table so I can record any brilliance a nocturnal muse might deliver. This has been a fruitless endeavor thus far. (With a brief exception of an idea that garnered so much enthusiasm in my reposing brain it carried over into wakefulness. It was only when I was describing my idea to Brian that my revelation of stupidity was achieved.*)

(*Okay, twist my arm. The idea? I'm still not entirely sure. But you know how "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" is a thing? Well, I totally dreamed that Bradley Cooper and I were going to start a "Bradley Cooper Photo-bombing" thing. I'm a little fuzzy on how this makes me a billionaire, and I hadn't yet worked out the logistics of how I was going to convince Bradley to give up acting to, you know, go into professional photo-bombing, but for a solid fifteen minutes I was pretty sure my idea was golden.)

But the other night I had a legit idea as I was trying to go to sleep. I was reviewing my Black Friday purchases in my head (because it makes me way happier than counting sheep) and thinking of the amazing memory foam bath mat I scored from JCPenney at over 80% off.

This bath mat? Is amazing. I'm pretty sure the "business time" spent on the john in our house has increased ten-fold because no one wants to remove their feet from the coziness underneath. As I was remembering the way my feet were enveloped in the heavenly comfort I thought, "Duuuuuuude. That's it."

(This is when the angel choir sang and Keanu's face (in my head)(I don't know Keanu personally) was all, "No waaaaaaay," because he was astounded by the magnificence of the idea before him.)

Because I'm a good wife, I thought I'd give Brian a heads up that our lives were about to change forever.

Kelly: Hey, Babe. I had the best idea ever.

Brian: Yeah?

Kelly: Seriously. We are going to make so much money. We'll finally be able to afford to move to Disney World so I can front a cover band that performs in all the parks.

Brian: What's the idea?

Kelly: *huge dramatic pause* *wide eyes* *smirk* *head nodding yes*

Brian: *rolls eyes* What?

Kelly: Wall-to-wall memory foam carpet. *waits expectantly for the accolades*

Brian: They already make that.

Kelly: What?! Why don't we have it? I've never seen it!

Brian: Oh, I can find a way for you to see it.

Kelly: ... ?

Brian: It's called a padded cell, Babe. I'll just finally have you committed. Enjoy your carpeting. *laughs because he thinks he's hysterical*

And *that's* why I'm patenting wall to wall memory foam carpet in my name only.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Case of the Mondays : Memeday Morning Cheer Up

It's been so long, am I right? I think I only blogged four times the whole month of November. They say bad things happen in threes, and I'm relieved to count Brian's sickness, my broken bone spur, and the Horrendous Stomach Bug of 2013 as my quota of craptastic events allowed to occur at present time. I'm declaring I'm officially in the clear. Name it and claim it, yo.

Brian returned to work on November first; he is as healed as he's going to be. He did fall off a chair putting lights on our Christmas tree, but, in his defense, maybe I shouldn't have pushed him the chair was a bit wobbly, and anyone's balance would have been challenged.

My foot is slowly healing. That's all I can really say about that (without copious usage of colorful phrases that would feed the Swear Jar). I do have an appointment with my doctor on Wednesday to discuss my neck and headache. For those keeping track, that's no running, elliptical, or swimming now for over a month. As a result, I'm super fun to be around, and looking incredible in my skinny jeans - or, as they are known by their new name - the Jeans Formerly Known as my Skinny Jeans.

*cough* Black Friday *cough*

I will write about how I am dealing with this in an upcoming post, but in my best Pollyanna moments I simply insist people call me Ariel.

Since I promised a "Cheer Up" in today's post title, I'm leaving you with something to ponder. This is mainly because I believe that stressing your brain makes you smarter, and we can only do this by occasionally asking the really hard questions. Today's brain teaser:

Mensa, here we come.

Happy Monday!

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