How I Fell In Love With A Honda Odyssey

This is a sponsored post. Honda was AWESOME enough to let me borrow an Odyssey from their Alabama plant to lug around all my extra kids last week. I was not paid for this post but recieved the use of the van at no charge to myself. Which obviously– was awesome.

It’s time for a new car. I have loved, loved, LOVED my Toyota Highlander. So much so, that I was planning on getting a newer one with a third row of seats so I could haul all of my kids, run carpool, go to the grocery store and all that other glamorous stuff that I normally do.

That was my plan– before I met Honda’s Social Media Director, Alicia, at Mom 2.0. I missed the session she was teaching because my session ran simultaneously but I introduced myself to her later and mentioned that I was looking for a new car. She said if I was ever in a large city and wanted to test drive an Odyssey or a Pilot to let her know.

Only a few weeks later, I found myself in Birmingham, surrounded by my nieces and nephews and I realized that my mother and I were going to have to take two cars everywhere we went, so I emailed Alicia. There wasn’t a fleet of cars nearby but the Honda Odyssey plant just happens to be located in Lincoln, AL, only 40 minutes away. Ted, Manager of Corporate Affairs, brought me an Odyssey a few days later and spent about 20 minutes with me showing me all the bells and whistles: all FIFTEEN cupholders(!!!), how to fold the third row into the floor (you can do it with one hand and a baby on your hip, by simply pulling on a strap),the navigation system, the FOUR different ways to open and close the doors. I was impressed.

But I didn’t fall in love with the Odyssey until I loaded five kids into the car. They were all comfortable and magically– not touching each other, AND everybody’s sippy cup or water bottle had its own little home. The girls in the way back could easily flip the second row seat forward to get in and out. I was twitterpated.

How I Fell In Love With a Honda Odyssey

How I Fell In Love With a Honda Odyssey

REAL TALK

When I initially got the van I knew it would be a great car, but I wanted to stick with what I knew. I loved my Highlander, it just wasn’t big enough anymore, and also… (confession time) I DIDN’T WANT TO DRIVE A MINIVAN!!

Why??

1) Um. Well… When I was teenager, ya know– back before I HAD kids? I swore I would never drive a minivan. So there’s that.

2) Also? Uhhhhh, it was a minivan and obviously I am so much cooler than that. (It is sad to say that this really is the breakdown of my thought process.)

3) IN ADDITION, it was a MINIVAN and I am Robin O’Bryant and I don’t “DO” minivans because apparently my teenager street cred was more important to me than my mommy street cred.

WHAT I REALIZED

It’s sort of like my yoga pants… (Am I about to make a yoga pants/life/minivan analogy?? Yes. Yes,I am.)

I want to wear my yoga pants all of the time. They are comfortable, versatile and get the job done. If I see you at the girls’ school and you are dressed up all cute, I’ll notice. I may even say, “Hey! Lookin’ good Momma!”

But don’t you think, for ONE FLIPPING SECOND, that I wish I was wearing underwire and makeup– ‘cuz that took some work and I know you aren’t as comfortable as I am.

In fact, I know that as soon as you get home, the first thing you are going to do is slide your bra out the sleeve of your shirt then go put on your yoga pants– but here’s the thing: I’M ALREADY WEARING MINE!

I want to wear my yoga pants all the time.
Physically and metaphysically.

And in the same manner, I want to drive a Honda Odyssey. It is the perfect car, and I may have cried a little when I drove away from it.

Then I may have put some pics in a music montage…

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How do you feel about “minivans”? Why? What’s your perfect “Mommy Ride”?

 

 

 

 

Random Rant Regarding Instagram & A Story About My Dog

I know what you are thinking… you are all, WHAT THE HAIL has happened to my dear, sweet, friend Robin who used to only write about hilarious things her children said and poop?? WHO is this woman who is now writing about yoga and gardening??? When is she going to get BACK in the bed and watch more Netflix so I can feel better about myself?

Well– just so you don’t worry about me too much– I watched an entire season of The Real World on Hulu this week. First I was stuck at home because Sadie was sick. I wasn’t feeling very good on Friday and was trying to show my mother how to use our new thermometer on Sadie, but she wouldn’t stand still. She knew if she was running a fever then she had to take medicine, so I took my own temp just to show Shuggie how it worked and realized I was running fever. #winning

I wasn’t sad about this at all– I got back in the bed and finished up The Real World while Sadie slept curled up next to me.

In other news Aubrey would like for me to announce to the world that she is “getting to that age that she doesn’t want me to talk about her or take her pictures anymore.” This happened after I posted a picture of her (with her permission) on Instagram then she went to school and people said something to her about it. I’d like to know who lets their second grader get on Instagram?? Especially my Instagram, seeing as how my target audience is NOT eight-year-olds.

Regardless, I will respect her requests because she is my daughter and I love her and want her to feel like she has privacy. It would HELP if people didn’t talk to her about what I write but I can’t control that, so– just know that I realize I have three children, but Sadie is the only one wanting to strike a pose these days. AND if I can figure out how to ban anyone under eighteen from my Instagram feed I’m totes going to do it.

In other news, Zebulicious was working on our vegetable garden this weekend as I caught up with The Real World: Virgin Islands. He planted tomatoes and cucumbers, rattlesnake beans, and a bunch of other stuff. As you may or may not know, our dog, Moses (aka the only dog I’ve ever liked) can occasionally be a pain in the ass. I don’t particualarly care when he tears stuff up because no one has broken into our cars since we got him. In fact, the UPS man and pizza delivery peeps won’t even step into our driveway because he goes nuts when he sees them. Which makes me laugh because if they walked up to them he would probably just lay down and roll over for them to scratch his belly but his bark is pretty ferocious and I LOVE it. (I say probably, but MAYHAPS he would rip your head off. I wouldn’t risk it if I were a creepy type person.) Zeb and I both travel a lot and I like having Moses outside to scare the crap out of anyone who might want to step on my property.

At any rate, this morning, Zebulicious went outside and came back in cracking up.

Zeb: Moses tried to plant tomatoes last night.

Me:  Whaaa?

Zeb: The dang dog tried to plant tomatoes. Come look.

So I did. Y’all!! Bless his sweet little baby head. That dog dug a big ole hole, drug the tomato plants that Zeb hadn’t planted yet, into the hole, the WRAPPED landscaping fabric around it!! I can just hear his little doggy thoughts:

My Daddy is gonna be so proud of me! Imma do it just like he did then he is gonna be so happy!! He’s gonna pet me and play with me! 

moses

naileditDid I just edit a photo to include a thought bubble for my dog? Yes, I did.

Did I just refer to Zebulicious as Moses’ “Daddy”? Yup.

Did I just write actual DIALOG for my dog as if he were speaking????? Again, yes. Yes, I did.

I’d tell you what in the world has happened to me but I caught myself riding my bike with a yoga mat strapped to my back the other day, right before I went to the health food store to buy a case of Kombucha, so I can’t say that I rightly know.

What have you been up to??

Top 7 Reasons Blissdom is the Best Conference Ever

I’ve been home from Blissdom for about two weeks and it’s taken me that long to recover and to gather my thoughts. I’ve tried to concisely boil my thoughts into the top seven reasons that Blissdom is the best conference ever.

1) The PEOPLE! I didn’t realize that so many of my bloggy peeps that I’ve met at other conferences were going to be at Blissdom so it was a sweet surprise to get to see so many friends. I made a ton of new friends as well and everyone was easy to talk to and super friendly.

Blissdom-2013-Girls-Night-Out

2) The SIZE! The size of the conference is perfect– not too big, not too small. It’s a small enough scale that I felt like I got a chance to really connect with other bloggers AND the brands without being overwhelmed.

3) The BRANDS! I was super excited to see my girl Brittany from TechnoGel (makers of my amazing unicorn pillow). Rachel from Soybu, won my love forever when she gave me the softest infinity scarf ever touched by human hands. And I fell so in love with Bre and Alexis from Obagi that it’s gonna require a separate blog post to tell you all about it.

4) The CONTENT! Blissdom is savvy and soulful. I go to a lot of conferences, writers’ conferences tend to focus on the creative side of things while blogging conferences tend to focus on tech skills. I found that Blissdom had just the right amount of both. I especially loved Megan Jordan’s talk on the power of uninterrupted focus (good lord I need to CLOSE SOME TABS when I’m writing!) And Shelly Kramer’s talk about SEO– I actually learned things that I am using right now. Right this very second, in front of your very eyes!! Aren’t you amazed?!

5) The Speakers! There is NOTHING I detest more than being at a conference and running into a “big name” speaker and getting blown off. Or talking to someone and notice them looking over my shoulder for someone more interesting. You can TELL when people are uninterested. Every. Single. Speaker that I had the opportunity to meet was engaged and interested. Including…

6) ANA GASTEYER!!!!

Y’all. Y’ALL!!!

I was having drinks in the lobby with a group of bloggers when my Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop bestie , Kim-Marie Evans of Luxury Travel Mom, came running up to me and said she’d just had her picture taken with Ana Gasteyer– whom I have loved wholeheartedly since she was on SNL back in the day and CONTINUE to love on Suburgatory (watch it!!) After I freaked the freak out, Kim-Marie pulled me across the lobby and introduced me to Ana. I gave her a copy of “Ketchup” and we stood around chatting about internet shopping. Then I realized one of the women talking with us was Patty Breen, one of the producers of the show, and freaked out again. I may have cussed.

Ana, Patty and Jeremy Sisto did a Q&A that night about Suburgatory and the creative process. After the official interview was over, mics were passed through the audience for questions. EVERYBODY was whispering about “Schweddy Balls” but nobody was asking questions so I stood up, grabbed a mic and asked Ana to please for the love of God, to say “Schweddy Balls.”

Which apparently threw her a little bit because she said this was her worst nightmare. WHICH I get because when I tell people I’m a humor columnist I get, “Really?? Tell me a joke,” all the time like I sit around writing knock-knock jokes. (“You’re a clown fish! Tell us something funny!”) It’s annoying. So afterwards I slid into the end of the picture line and apologized for putting her on the spot.

I’m pretty sure she loves me back.

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7) Jon Acuff was the closing keynote and he was amazing. I didn’t realize he was going to be so funny. And y’all know how I feel about funny. In addition, he gave us all copies of his latest book Start: Punch Fear in the Face. Escape Average. Do Work That Matters,which hasn’t even come out yet! I have 9 extra copies that I’ll give to the first 9 people who email me with a mailing address! They are all spoken for! Gotta be quick!

Start by Jon Acuff

I do need a little help though, Jon is having a contest to see which Blissdom attendee can send the most traffic to his site in the next month. The winner gets to go to dinner with Jon and Dave Ramsey in Nashville in September!!

I really wanted to win until I realized that I’m going to be in Nashville the following week with my kids and there is no way I can drive there twice. SOOOOOO I really want my Blissdom roomie to win! Mandy Rose of House of Rose– she is a HUGE fan of Jon Acuff and her husband is a financial blogger and this could be a huge connection for them. SOOOO click on this link to check out Jon Acuff’s book and help get Mandy to Nashville! (Also check out her blog because I am newly obsessed with it.)

If you are looking for a blogging conference I HIGHLY recommend Blissdom!

 

 

TOASTing Fifteen Years of Marriage

I cook a lot and for the last few years I’ve been wanting to upgrade my old recipe box to a binder. The binder has page protectors with two slots for cards and flipping through it is much easier than digging through a recipe box. Last week I finally got around to ordering one and the day it came in the mail I spent about an hour filling its pages.

As I flipped through recipes, I remembered distinctly where I was when I wrote them down. I remember being nineteen-years-old, newly engaged, in my mother’s house and pulling her recipe box out of the cabinet. I sat at the kitchen table for days, the cool gray tile on my bare feet, scribbling down my favorite recipes.

Each card that I picked up reminded me of something different: the pattern of a recipe card that I recognized as my mother’s next door neighbor’s. The recipes were printed with a careful hand with thoughts of marital bliss on my mind.

I was looking forward to living in the one bedroom garage apartment Zeb and I had arranged for after we married. I was used to cooking simple meals, my own mother is an excellent cook and she didn’t mind at all for my sister and I to be directly under her feet in the kitchen. Measuring, mixing and stirring– even though I’m sure it would have been easier for her to kick us out and do it herself. But my Momma’s kitchen was open to everyone and there were usually four or five extra mouths to feed. My mother, sister, two brothers and assorted and sundry friends— whoever was at our house at mealtime– that’s who was eating. I had unknowingly been training to cook for an army. The first year of marriage, it would take Zeb and I almost two weeks to eat one batch of spaghetti, until I learned how to cook for just two.

A stained and rippled card holding my grandmother’s vegetable soup recipe transported me to my first year of marriage. I remember distinctly standing in the kitchen of our one bedroom apartment in Fort Worth, Texas. It was so small I could stand in one spot and wash dishes, cook on the stove, grab something out of the pantry and open the fridge by simply pivoting my hips. I was sick and away from my family for the first time when I called my grandmother for her soup recipe. I’ve used it so many times, I don’t need to look at it anymore, but why wouldn’t I? Looking at the card and remembering the conversation I had with her makes me feel as good as eating the soup when I’m sick.

Each card was a memory: a pecan pie recipe by a friend of my mother’s who passed away several years ago, a batch of beef stroganoff that had to be thrown away because I mistakenly thought that cooking sherry was an acceptable substitute for burgundy. A peanut butter pie recipe with an Oreo crust from my mom’s crazy friend, Brenda. Brenda told me to double bag the Oreos in gallon-size Ziplock bags and put them under the wheel of my car and back over them twice— obviously not three times— that would be ridiculous.

I grinned ear to ear as I flipped through cards and organized. Then I reached for a recipe labeled, “Toasted Croutons,” and lost all composure. Standing in my kitchen all by myself, I laughed until I was wheezing and had tears streaming down my cheeks. I remembered writing down the recipe. My older brother had made a hot crab dip recipe of Emeril Lagasse’s which was served with toasted crostinis. It was delicious— delicious enough that I felt the need to write down every single step of how to toast the bread.

Bless my sweet baby heart.

I wasn’t kidding. I wrote this down.

Toasted Croutons:

Thinly sliced French bread

Brush with olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Flip and repeat.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Turning cookie sheet for even baking.

I wiped the tears of laughter out of my eyes and thought about how far my husband have come since we were married fifteen years ago. I was barely twenty-years-old when we married. We had zero dollars, so I didn’t have an engagement ring– but I had a box full of recipes, and an eagerness to learn: about married life, about my new husband and, of course, how to make the best toast ever in the history of the whole world.

“Ooo Boy, Imma make you toast you’ll never forget.”

After fifteen years not only can I whip up a delicious meal just by glancing in my fridge and pantry, but my marriage has gotten better too. I wondered where we would be in ten or fifteen years when we got married. Where would we live? How many kids would we have? Would we finally have jobs with health insurance? Would we ever be able to afford an engagement ring? Would we still like each other?

SPOILER ALERT: We do.

It makes my heart feel full as I answer all of those questions today. I want to pat my sweet nineteen-year-old baby-self on the head and say, “Don’t worry Baby Girl, you are about to marry the best man you’ll ever know. He’ll never raise his voice to you. He’ll do laundry when it needs to be done, take out the trash, fix anything you break (and you know you break a lot of stuff.) He’s going to be an amazing father. He’ll take your kids fishing and camping. He’ll paint their toenails and read them books. He’ll choose staying at home with you over any number of other activities and he will give 150% of his energy to provide for you and to protect you. Fifteen years from now, after your body has been pillaged by three pregnancies– he’ll make you feel as beautiful as he does now. He’ll never so much as glance at another woman and even though he’d lose his head if it wasn’t attached to his shoulders, he will be your champion. And not to brag– but in fifteen years? You are gonna be able to make toast
blindfolded with your eyes closed, and with one arm tied behind your back.”

Gluten free. No recipe. BOOYAH!

My 6-Year-Old Drops the Eff Bomb, Learns About The Birds & The Bees, Then I Do a Shot at 4pm

If you’ve read my book you know I’ve had “The Talk” with Aubrey, my oldest, about a dozen times. She was four-years-old when Sadie was born and while little two-year-old Emma was unwrapping her new baby to look at her toes, Aubrey was jumping up and down on the bed yelling, “HOW DID SHE GET OUT?! HOW DID SHE GET OUT?! HOW DID SHE GET OUT?! HOW DID SHE GET OUT?! HOW DID SHE GET OUT?! “

Aubrey, at the ripe old age of eight, has known the down and dirty for a looooooong time. In addition, she’s learned a few bad words over the last year that we have discussed ad nauseum. Every time she learns a new word at school she comes home and tells me. I tell her what it means and that if she says it at school she will be in deep, um, well… sh*t. *ahem*

A man I respect a WHOLE lot has said that these days you should have “The Talk” with your kids before second grade to make sure that they are getting their first bits of information about sex from you instead of some kid on the playground. I’ve been looking for opportunities to talk about this with Emma since she is in first grade, but the child is so sweet and innocent! She’s curious but she’d rather disassemble the pencil sharpener to see how it works than to wonder where babies come from. An opportunity hasn’t presented itself so I’ve been reluctant to give her extra information.

After school today, Emma perched on the kitchen counter while I cooked dinner and chattered away. She spoke of Valentine’s Day and a certain little boy’s name she had been writing in hearts on the back of her worksheet. (Sidebar– a totally different little boy than the one she said she was going to marry last week. #WorriedAboutThisOne)

Then out of the blue she said, “Somebody said The Aff word at school today!”

Me: Whaaaaa?

Her eyes got big, “YOU KNOW… The AFF word!!”

Me: The Eff Word?

She nodded.

Me: Oh? In your class?

Her: No. In another class.

Me: How do you know they said it?

Her: I heard it! (She beamed.) I have GREAT ears!

I snickered, “Oh… well, then. Do you know what The Eff Word is?”

She nodded her white blond head. “Yup.”

I don’t know why I did this. Y’all!? WHY did I ask? I don’t think I really believed her, so I said, “What is it?”

And that sweet innocent little baby looked me straight in the eye, with her index finger halfway up her nose, and said, “F***.” Matter-of-factly. Nonchalant. No biggie.

This face. This face is the one that looked at me and said that word.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I turned my face away from her and let out an all purpose snort. I turned back to her with a straight face.

Me: Who told you that?

Her: Aubrey.

(I was FILLED WITH A FIERY RAGE which she saw in my face.)

Me: Oh. Did she tell you what it means?

Her: Nope.

She looked scared.

(Deep breath. I gave her a hug.)

Me: You aren’t in trouble. I want you to talk to me about this stuff, okay? Did she at least tell you how bad it is?

Her: Oh YES! It’s the worst! The MOTHER! The Queen Mother! The F Dash Dash Dash word!! The worst word in the whole world!

I nodded my head. “Right. And it means having sex. Do you know what that is?”

Her: Uh-uh.

Sweet Baby Jesus. Help me, help me, help me.

I cleared my throat. “Um well…” I launched into a brief but thorough AND anatomically correct description. Her eyes got huge. I took another deep breath.

“Do you have any questions?”

She shook her head, ” Um, NO. This is weird, gross, funny… and a little confusing.”

Me: Agreed.

Then my husband came and picked up all three girls to take them to church so I could do this podcast interview. Fingers crossed she doesn’t tell everyone in her class what she just learned.

When did you talk to your kids about sex? How’d that work out for ya? 

ALSO if y’all could vote for me in this contest I would really appreciate it! Scroll down to my name and click the button to vote. That’s it! Two clicks! 

 

Jesus or Zoloft? Yes, Please.

I’ve been following Jamie The Very Worst Missionary for a couple of months now. I was pretty sure that I loved her before she wrote this blog post Jesus or Zoloft– but that sealed the deal for me. Love. Her.

Y’all remember when I said that I wasn’t scared anymore? That I was fixin’ to bring me, ALL of me to the blogosphere? Well here comes some of that. Last year, I was struggling with the worst bout of depression and anxiety I’ve ever experienced in my life. I worried about the very same questions that Jamie poses. I worried that taking Zoloft was “giving in” and that it equaled spiritual failure.

There were days I couldn’t get out of the bed. There were days that Sister Wife had to drag me out of bed and make me exercise or go to the grocery store. Then there were a few really bad days when she climbed into bed with me and waited for me to lift my greasy head off the pillow.

I don’t like writing about this stuff. I didn’t and I couldn’t when I was going through it. But I have to write about it now because I get emails every. single. day. from women who have read one of the very few posts I’ve written about depression and thank me. I talked to women all over the country who are struggling with the same things and I feel like I am failing them to not be completely transparent and honest. I feel like because of what I publicly stand for–”finding the funny”– that you need to know the whole story.

You need to know that my sense of humor, that any laughter I experience or bring– is the grace of God in my life, because left to my own devices, I’d curl up into a greasy stinky ball in my bed and watch Netflix 24 hours a day. And you need to know that you can get better. It’s going to be work and it’s going to suck.

A lot.

But if you go to therapy (I did) and if you take meds (if you need them and I DID! I’ll save my panic attack about the fearsome Dayton International Airport for another post for another day.)  If you get help, you will get better.

So I did therapy, I take meds and I took a strong shot of Jesus with it. It was hard for me to go to church. It was bad enough that I was having to put a happy spin on all of my writing when I didn’t feel like writing at all, but I simply couldn’t go to church and smile like everything was fine. Sitting in the pew with my kids crawling all over me was torture. Making small talk between the sermon and Sunday School was excruciating.

My Give-A-Shit-O-Meter got broke– the miniscule filter that used to keep me from putting my foot in my mouth every single time I opened it, was gone. If someone asked me how I was doing, I was incapable of smiling and saying, “Fine.” I was much more likely to snarl at them and say, “I hated that song we just sang. When are we going to sing a song written in the last 500 years?”

So I hid and prayed. I went to therapy, took my meds, traveled all over the country and met women who unknowingly helped me heal myself and I clung tightly to these Scriptures. I’m sharing them here because as I said before, I have this conversation with someone EVERY SINGLE DAY. I want to be able to send them a link with my story, my verses and hopefully your comments and let them know they aren’t alone.

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He ONLY is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” Ps 62:5-6 ESV

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait I say, on the Lord!” Ps 27:13-14 NKJV

Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.” Heb 10:36 NLT

“He will have no fear of bad news, his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.” Ps 112:7-8 NIV

“I’ll run the course you lay out for me if you’ll just show me how. God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course.” Ps 119:32-33 MSG

“Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Cor 15:58 NIV

“You’ll use the rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild & renovate, make the community livable again.” Is 58:12 MSG

“Relieve the troubles of my heart & free me from my anguish.” Ps 25:17 NIV

New year, new me.

I’m not apologizing for cussing or posting Scripture. If you don’t like it– it’s THE INTERNET! Go somewhere else.

If you need help, please ask for it. If you’ve been there, or are there now, I hope you’ll share your story with us. This is a safe place. A-holes will not be allowed in the comment section.

This post is dedicated to a very special friend of mine who is on her way out of the pit. Love you. xo