Monthly Archives

March 2015


Sometimes you gotta …

March 29, 2015

Life can be tense from time to time. It can be a downright kick in the pants. When a case of the Mondays descends, or tempers run high, I think you just gotta dance it out. A good old fashioned dance party is the antidote for what ails and annoys. Bring the funk to ban it.

If your motions are a merger of your mama’s sweet moves and dad’s stiff hips, it might look like this:

It’s cool. Own it.

But there is one caution I feel compelled to share with those considering an all-family dance party – something that must be anticipated and addressed as a household before a situation arises and you find yourself ill prepared. I’m talking about Taylor Swift. Now, I am not anti-Swift, as a general rule. I am also far from a Swiftie. But sure as a death in a Disney movie, your kids are going to flipping love her. Be ready.

I feel that my organic reaction has been genetically transferred to Sloppy Joan. Watch as, at just 10 months old, she has the I-can’t-freaking-believe-I’m-actually-dancing-to-this-shit-and-I-love-it response to America’s revered pop anthem:

The amazing thing is, this was the first time Sloppy Joan clapped. This night, dancing. Taylor Swift is so good, her sick beats elicit human reactions beyond existing motor skills. I can think what I want about her gaping, girl power expressions, but the B is good. Damn good.


My heart and soles

March 26, 2015

From the moment you arrived, my heart told me this was going somewhere. If I married up the seconds I’ve stolen with thoughts of our life together, it would add up to days … maybe weeks. And now the love affair of my daydreams is tangible, it’s standing right in front of me. 

As with any enduring relationship, I must request your unwavering support. That you take me to unforgettable places that mean something so special, even if only to us. And that you at least try to be dependable every step of the way. Here’s to our new romance and the promise of getting lost together in the right direction.


The wonderful whoops, or Phillip Douglas took forever, or My birth story

March 24, 2015


There’s a section in Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please! (superfluous praise here), where she recounts the day she was born. Her parents even make an
appearance to narrate their respective recollections in the audiobook. It’s adorable.Anyway, Amy, my new best friend, encourages people to ask their parents about the day they were born. If you think about it, it’s astounding how many people don’t know their story. My Dad didn’t know his. So, even though I’d heard parts of it before – specifically how they had a great 10th anniversary
celebration and nine months later an unplanned blessing ­­– I asked Rog and
Marilyn to crack open the vault and share the story of the day I came into the

How Mom remembers it …

“I woke up in the middle of the night and felt a little crampy. Instead of staying in bed, I went downstairs to
watch television. There was a stupid movie on called Islands in the Stream. It was about Papa Hemingway … so boring. At
around five in the morning, I heard this gurgling sound and realized that my water was about to break. I called for your Dad, as I figured I would probably have you right there. Your sister came so quickly. We went to the hospital where I had many hours of labor, during which we were trying to pick out boy names since I was sure you were a boy. I believe we settled on Phillip Douglas.  After hours (yes hours with no medication) of labor they finally
decided that they needed to do something to make things happen. I was reluctant, but your Dad told them to go ahead bring in the pit drip. Really? (Sure, it wasn’t him having the labor.) It looked like a foot-long needle that they inserted in the side of my wrist but within a minute all heck broke loose. With constant contractions, I was in delivery within 45 minutes.  I was not aware, but it seemed your heart rate had dropped, so they were anxious to get you delivered. Bing, bang, boom, there you were in all your glory! My beautiful Courtney.”

So, to recap:
I always thought the whole Islands in the Stream thing was why I have an affinity for Dolly and Kenny. Turns out, maybe it’s why I’m a writer.
“Your sister came so quickly” = Kirsten’s is perfect.
Phillip Douglas sounds like someone who signed the Declaration of Independence. Actually … is that someone who signed the Declaration of Independence?“a foot-long needle inserted in the side of my wrist” = thank you, Mom, for my horrendous fear of needles.

“Really? (Sure, it wasn’t him having the labor.)” = homegirl still isn’t over

How Dad remembers it …
“I woke up early that morning.  I found your mother in the family room watching Islands in the Stream about Hemmingway. Her
water had broken, and she felt anxious about getting to the hospital. You were the third baby, and you were the first that they didn’t have to break her water. We thought that we were in for a quick delivery. Hours went by with no progress. Finally at about 4 pm or so, the nurse suggested a Pit drip to get things in gear.  They were concerned that we were coming up on 12 hours after the water had broken and the risk of infection. Of course,
being the brave one in the family, I said yes. Once they started the drip, things went very quickly. Your mother was in pain almost continuously, but she had no anesthetic. You were born at 5:15 or 5:30. You cried right away. You were pretty and pink with all of your fingers and toes. We were beaming with happiness! You and your mom only spent about a day in the hospital and went home. You were the biggest of the babies at 9 pound 2 ounces.  Cute as a bug’s ear and still are!”
A few final thoughts:
Does anyone else find it disturbing that these people barely remember that my heart rate dropped – clearly a near-death experience – during delivery, or the exact time of my birth for that matter, but Islands in the frickin Stream stands out clear as crystal?“You were the third baby, and you were the first that they didn’t have to break her water.” = Why can’t you be more like your brother and sister?

“Of course, being the brave one in the family” = I get my ability to bullshit
from my father.

… The rest is actually pretty sweet. Thanks for having me, Mom and Dad! Best decision you two crazy kids ever made.

My daughters’ differences

March 20, 2015


As I watch the ladies in my home grow and transition, and bicker and prod, I realize with absolute certainty that my frazzled, thirty-something mind will never comprehend the ancient complexities of how two human beings, created by the same two human beings, can be so completely, drastically different. Hank and I are opposites, no argument there. It is frequently pointed out to me that the older two pull their dominant qualities from the maternal side, but it’s hard to tell with such a sprawling spectrum of genetic attributes in both directions.
JoJo is inquisitive. She worries and ponders and seeks the truth. She cries often, and asks about things that people my age don’t understand or only contemplate when they’re really, really stoned. She has concerns and she likes to direct action and take the lead when she feels comfortable.
Spike is my wild card. She, too, is emotional, but it’s more for dramatic effect and from frustration. She demands to be heard and she doesn’t have much patience for parenting. I don’t worry about Spike when it comes to friends or the pursuit of her dreams. I think all that girl needs is a compass and she’ll be on her way.
While I celebrate these beautiful, mystifying differences between my babies, they are often the culprits for our sibling domestic disputes. The girls are the only players in a tireless game of tug-of-war … the yin and the yang … the opposites that often don’t attract. They would move mountains both to defend each other and to defeat each other. The fights. The crazy, yelling, name-calling, remote-throwing, door-slamming fights. About whose turn it is, or who was telling the story, or who gets the green plate. It’s exhausting, but common. I’ll catch myself tiptoeing toward losing it before I plant my feet, take a beat and remind myself that my actions become their reactions. That sisters fight. That this is life in our house right now, and it looks like this sometimes in ours and all the other houses with little firecrackers running around.
But a shaken soda settles eventually, and bitterness dissolves with distraction. And that’s what I adore. It’s then I like to slow the narrative and commit it to memory. It’s in the moments when, unprompted or pushed, they hug, or tickle or have those amazing conversations when you turn your back and laugh from your heart, out through tiny tears in your eyes. And my soul feels so full and I think,
I love these little humans. And I love that they have each other
. They talk about the planet and God and monsters. They solve the day’s problems and only ask for my confirmation at the very end. “Right, Mama?” Sometimes I correct them, and more often I let their little imaginations govern the day. Because, really, wouldn’t we all be a little better off with thoughts of smiling moons and horses named Kiyango at the front door?
I simultaneously dread how quickly the time will pass, and eagerly anticipate the day when Sloppy Joan joins her sisters at the kitchen bar. If my predictions are on point, she will be her father; the calming rhythm that steadies the noise. I’m sometimes wrong about these things, but I see a peace and joy in her little eyes that reminds me of the man I married, and also why I married him. And it’s reason No. 5,986 why I love her so much.
So, this post is dedicated to the slower, happier moments. To dancing to Beyonce’s “Girls” in the basement, and imaginative time playing mermaids in the tub. To saving each other from the top of the slide and falling asleep holding hands. To reuniting after school and smothering hugs. Here’s to my delightfully different, dynamic, amazing girls and the perfectly imperfect sisterhood they share.

Spike and Daddy vs. Goose and Maverick

March 16, 2015

They felt the need for speed and Spike felt the need, the need to pee. And we didn’t make it in time so she had to change into a Pull-Up at a rest stop somewhere in the Midwest. But, going by strut alone …

Who has the right stuff?

Spike + Daddy …

or Maverick + Goose?



Spinning my wheels

March 14, 2015

Tune in today to see if she can … survive a spin class.

As a new gym goer, I am quietly, privately geeking out about all the classes. I love trying new things as it is, but a paid membership and knowledgeable instructor are even greater incentive to jump into a room full of strangers and sweat profusely. But I tend to obsess a bit and get anxious about finding the lay of the land.I really wanted to try a spin class. Because I have no experience and have not, for that matter, had a bike between my legs once in the past two years, I knew I was going to need reinforcements. I lined up both a coworker and my brother to meet me. Why is it so much easier to do new things when someone you know is there? What is that about? Anyway, it doesn’t matter now because both backed out by the end of the work day and I was thinking I would just go row. And then I thought, “You chicken shit. They aren’t going to help you pedal. Be bold and go in the direction of your dreams already!” Not that spinning is my dream, being skinnier and badass is, but I’m getting side tracked …So, I went. Right away people were moving bikes around and panic set in. In these situations, I tend to smile an obnoxiously large, twitchy smile and scan the room for the nicest face. I locked eyes with an older gentleman.“So, I have no clue what to do. Do I just grab any bike?”

“This is like my third class. But I think you want one of the red ones with the RPM reader,” he said.

Oh man … here we go … I don’t know what an RPM reader is and I have no clue how to move this bike. Newness makes me itchy.The instructor helped me adjust my seat height, handlebars and whatever the word is for how far forward your seat sits … fore-something (not skin or play). And then I clicked my toes into the little cages and it was time to start spinning. About 3 (yes, just 3) minutes in I was feeling good, and then she announced it was time to “come out of the saddle” and jog. Now, dear friends, first of all, I used to ride horses and that strip of pleather is not a saddle. No sir. It was at this point I realized two things: 1) I hadn’t been in my target heart rate zone in 18 months, and 2) this was going to kick my ass.
Thoughts that ran through my mind during CycleFit:
Are there special shoes for this, too? What a conspiracy.

There is no way she turned her dial to the right.

I need to stand up, I need to stand up, I need to stand up.
Is the bike moving? Oh my gosh, if this thing tips I am canceling my membership, effective immediately.

I have to sit down, I have to sit down, I have to sit down

If she says, “Here comes the hill,” one more time …

Is that sweat or is my crotch crying?

Can a person’s ass just break in two, right down the middle? I think it’s

In the end, I survived. And I will go back for sure … after my undercarriage heals, of course.

Oil thrill

March 13, 2015

Tune in today to see if she can … clear the air and create a healthy, happy utopia using essential oils

I’m a sucker for a good holistic sales pitch. I just am. I think we give too many antibiotics and use too much antibacterial fluid. Things like “superbugs” keep me up at night and I don’t understand the flu shot. Having said all this, our winter was brutal. We had:


3 strepped throats

2 rounds of the flu (the last time all 5 of us were invited to the party)

3 sinus infections

1 terrifying case of RSV

And just a general hacky cough and sniffles for going on 5 months


I fear there is an evil living somewhere in our home and until we can open some windows and release its devilish hold on our immune systems, we are held hostage to its reign. So when a dear friend emailed about her essential oils party, I didn’t need much convincing. I was at a point where I was willing to try anything.


I believe this is the part where, in an effort to maintain some of your respect, I whole-heartedly admit that I have fallen down the rabbit hole. Way down. The smells, and the blends and the promises of lifted spirits and calm, sleepy children. It’s just too much. It’s also extremely overwhelming (and expensive).


I like to dabble, so I went with the DoTerra Family Physician’s Kit to start, which includes: Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Melaleuca, Oregano, Frankincense, Deep Blue®, Breathe, DigestZen®, On Guard® and Slim & Sassy.


Here is an honest report of what I’ve tried to this point and some early feedback.


Diffusing – I have put Wild Orange, Lemon, On Guard and Lavender into our atmosphere. They all smell amazing, but I think the trick here is going to be finding the right diffuser-space combination. I ordered a cute one and quickly realized it was more for a whisper next to my bedside than taking down flupocalypse ’15 in my open kitchen area. This is another facet of the hobby that can get pretty pricey; diffusers. I don’t need it to change colors or look like a tulip. I need it to be quiet and push that goodness into as much air as possible.


Tootsies – I have been rubbing Lavender on the older girls’ feet before bed. JoJo loves it and has said, at least once, it helped her sleep better. And she did stay in bed, which is a huge victory. The verdict is still out with Spikey.

Cheers – I’ve been putting a few drops of Lemon or Slim & Sassy in my water. The Lemon is supposed to help with stress and immunity, and the Slim & Sassy … I’m not really sure, but the name implies good things. They taste wonderful (it only takes a few drops) and it makes me drink more water (a Superwoman goal for sure). Also, when the flu bug set up shop in our cramping stomachs, I, who volunteered as oil tribute, seemed to have it the shortest amount of time.

Face ­– Just last night I put a few drops of Frankincense around my eyes before applying my moisturizer. My consultant does it and her skin glows like a lily on a dewy spring morning. I’m buyin what she’s sellin. I do think you need to dilute it in some lotion or oil though. It’s intense.I hear myself becoming that girl. While still a bit of a skeptic, I suggested peppermint oil for a coworker suffering from vertigo and I was wishing for a Happy Blend at a particularly low point in the day.

Here are a few things I want to try next:
Back Pain – Hank has a terrible back. The dude is crooked, no joke. So, when he stops thinking I’m crazy, I want to try Deep Blue to see if it offers any relief. Then I’m going to make him return the favor (wink, wink).
Cold Combatting – I picked up some Eucalyptus to try, and I also have the Breathe Blend, for the next time a sinus infection comes calling. I’m so eager to see if it works, I keep touching handles in public spaces but so far, nothing’s got me.
Flu Bomb or Bombs of any kind – I am all about this right here. Adults can take it like a shot, and kids can have it cut with oil and rubbed on their feet. Would have really loved this like 10 days ago, but all eyes forward.

Sleepy time – I ordered Vetiver for my nightstand diffuser and I think my dreams are going to be of me and Cheryl Strayed chatting as we stroll the PCT.

Follow my That’s the Rub board on Pinterest to see what you can mix up.
(Disclaimer: I’ve been learning about oils for like a week now, and my friend, Nurse Jackie, insists that there is much to educate yourself about here. So play with caution.)