If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.

Family Story Pic

Family Story Pic


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A (Birth) Day In The Life

With my birthday falling a couple weeks before Christmas, it's not uncommon for my gift of choice to be family portraits.  Therefore, it's also not uncommon for my birthday to end in disaster.

You might remember our attempt to include our gassy dogs back in 2002 that infamously went down in history as Family Photo DayRon swore off dog-inclusive family portraits after that one.

You might not know about our experience last year because it's taken me a year to muster the courage to go public with it.  A photographer rented out a space in Walmart for 'Antique Canvas Photos' and Ron decided to surprise me.  It was scheduled 2 weeks post-tummy tuck.  Still not able to move around well, I was hopped up on Vicodin and made the fateful decision to venture out of the house without my safety net...the velcro wrap that squeezed me tight.  There was snow on the ground and as we left the house Caymen said, "I won't get snow on my dress, will I?"  and I said, "Not if everything goes well."
Why didn't I just say "Yep.  Vomit too."  Sometimes it's like I've never met us before.

Ten minutes down the road, the gagging started for who knows why.  Ron pulled over and Zac started videoing, because he's been in this family long enough to know.  (click here to watch if you dare.) It began with Caymen jumping out of the van and falling down.  Snow on dress.  It went down hill from there.  Mind you, this video will win me no Mother Of The Year awards, but I've accepted it for what it is.  I'll blame my gag reflex and the Vicodin.  But if you're appalled by this and you read my blog at all, you've probably already decided that we shouldn't be friends anyway.  I can't blame you.

Anyhoo, if you listen closely, you'll hear Ron swear off family portraits.  Again. But unlike last time, we didn't turn around and go home, because you might've also heard Ron say, "I paid $20 for this!"

So we walked into Walmart; Ron disgusted, me slightly bent at the waist and moving slowly, Caymen permeating a foul odor in her now splotchy white dress and all of us disheveled.

But thanks to our inappropriate sense of humor, it all turned around when the photographer had Ron get down on his knees and then she turned to me and said, "Mom, you'll go down on dad here."  I think we maybe could've held it together but then Zac said, "I didn't realize it was those kinds of pictures"...and we lost it.

As it turns out, Antique-style canvas completely disguises vomit, but this photo has yet to be displayed in our home.
That brings us to this year.  Our family now includes a new son-in-law, daughter-in-law and grandson, so it only made sense that for my birthday, I would want family portraits.  When Ron groaned, I explained that the photographer would come to us this time.  We don't even have to leave the house.  That makes it fool-proof.

Aaaaand, since we're talking fool-proof, we may as well include the dogs.

There was no way I could've known they'd be covered in mud when we let them in from outside.

Merry Christmas...

 ...from what Ron promises to be our last family portrait session ever.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


The words have become synonymous.

Annual. Mammogram.

No biggie.  Because in my mind, this little ritual has absolutely nothing to do with my age, but rather the distant connection of breast cancer in my bloodline.  It's a completely non-age-related formality to put my mind at ease and that's all it is.  The fact that this became an annual tradition the year I turned 40 is neither here nor there.  I mean, come on, their first question to me when I check in is always "Do you have breast implants?"  Not yet, but that's so sweet of you to think I might.

This, my 3rd annual mammogram, pushing my 43rd year on this earth, was not a big deal.  I still run, I still Zumba, I still lift weights and still buy my clothes in the Kohl's Juniors Dept...I mean, really, nothing has changed.

Sure, half of my children got married and moved out this year, we have a grandson, our 3rd child is getting her driver's permit this week and our baby Caymen has an adult tooth pushing through her gums that we fear might be larger than her face, but other than that, no changeNadaEverythingSame.

I showed up to my mammogram last month with no dread...and no deodorant and no lotions and no perfume and no powder and no jewelry...and no dread.  I'm going to put on a gown blouse, a very nice lady is going to throw me the implants question, I'm going to feign surprise and humbly thank her for the compliment, then she's going to apologetically invade my personal space, place each boob between 2 pieces of plexiglass and flatten them beyond all recognition while I tap into my socially adequate side and attempt small talk, thus making this process way more awkward and uncomfortable for her than for me.  This ain't my first rodeo.

So when the technician came into the room and I couldn't tell if it was a woman or man, let's just say I was thrown off my game.  As quickly and as casually as I could, I glanced down to the name on the smock.   


Holy crap, I've stumbled into a Saturday Night Live skit, and the theme song started through my head.  While my mind sang, "a lot of people say what's that...it's Pat..." I realized I was being asked a question.

Um, could you repeat that?
Barely hiding frustration, Pat repeated, "Do you have regular menstrual periods?"

What. The. H***. Is that supposed to mean.

My socially inadequate side that is my comfort zone wanted to say, I'd like to ask you the same thing...aaaand, if I had my Victoria Secret bra on, these things would be standing 6 inches higher and you'd be asking me about my implants right now.  Boom.

But instead, I said, "OF COURSE I DO!" because I've been working on the Fruit of the Spirit of self control.  You're welcome, Pat.

What followed were 15 of the most awkward minutes of my life and that says a lot because I've had an awful lot of awkward minutes in this life.

If you know me at all, you know I was dying to ask.  I had to clamp my teeth on my tongue to keep not asking.  Fifteen long minutes, face to face, while I was man-(woman?)-handled when all I wanted to do was ask Pat one question.  The question.  I wanted to know.  I needed to know. How could I leave there without asking...


In silence, I let my boob roll off the plexiglass and smack back into place before jerking my gown closed.

Now if you'll excuse me, Pat.
I have a grandson next door in the birthing center.

Good day, sir...or whatever...