FAQ’s on Dan’s Facebook Hiatus

In an unexpected announcement earlier this week my husband and partner-in-mess stated that he will be taking a 22 day break from Facebook. Because we recognize the personal angst and interruption to daily life that this will cause to you, his followers, we have created a FAQ section of The Mess to address a few of these issues.

What brought this on? I mean, is he dying or something?
Technically, we’re all born dying. Deep, I know.
No, Dan isn’t dying, nor is he trying to reach a state of nirvana or some spiritual high note. He just realized that his phone, Ipad, and computer have created some unhealthy habits. The other day Andrew started crawling and Dan literally pushed him over so he could get his phone out and take video to post. In an attempt to take a selfie while snow blowing the driveway Dan accidentally ran over Mr. Fluffykins, the neighborhood stray cat.* It’s bad folks.

Will I still be able to receive real time social media updates of publicly televised sporting events?
Most definitely! But they won’t be from Dan. He will no longer be furiously typing after bad calls or great plays. He’s goin’ old school, folks – yelling at the TV, throwing the remote at an arbitrary spot on the floor, and fine tuning his touch down dance. As an added bonus,he will now be able to eat foods deemed incompatible with touch screen technology. Sunday evening BBQ wings here we come!

Each weekend Dan posts pictures of the stage at PLC. Without him on FB, how will I know what the set looks like?
I feel your pain. Did you know you can view the actual set from which the pictures originate?! All you have to do is attend a weekend service. What? You can’t make it because [insert excuse]? Such a shame! And by that I mean it’s a shame that there really isn’t an excuse. Watch online during the service, or watch the video the following week.
If those options aren’t suitable for your needs, you can always find a church with a service time that works for you. While you’re there, do Dan a favor; sneak into their tech booth and post of picture of their set and their sound board. Be sure to filter the picture (toaster is Dan’s fav) and tag Dan so he knows what he missed while he was gone.

Who will tell me how many squats or push-ups he did or how many sets of stairs he ran?
Good question. I have no idea. But I do know it won’t be me, because as my last post clearly states, I am not coherent in the morning until I’ve had 2 cups of coffee. Each morning Dan tells me what they did for a workout. While I’m always impressed, it also always sounds unpleasant, if not painful.

How will I know what type of weather related phenomenon is happening just outside of my door?
I mean, how WILL you find this information out? If you’d like to know what our junipers look like all snow covered, or during a storm, or sunrise we’d love to have you over for lunch, or supper, or coffee, or even just because.

Annie, will you periodically post obnoxious updates on Dan’s wall in his place and not tell him until just before he comes back?
Glad you asked, friend. You know me so well. Yes. Yes I will.

Author’s Note: This was written in good humor. Dan not only gave his consent but helped write it. While he likes his Facebook family, he loves his real family more and wanted to make sure our kids know it. Sounds a bit silly out loud, but ask yourself who you’ve spent more time with today – your Facebook friends or your real friends and family. Did you interrupt a face to face conversation to read a status you’re tagged in, like a comment, or post a picture of the coffee you’re sharing with the actual person who is right in front of you? Just a thought, but you may want to join Dan in re-prioritizing and starting off 2014 right.

* No babies or cats were harmed in the making of this satire.


Competitive Parent Confession

It’s Sunday morning which makes me in charge of breakfast. This is typically delegated to Dan during the rest of the week because I am worse than the Walking Dead before coffee. But he is at work so I cheat every weekend and let the kids sit in bed with me and watch cartoons and eat dry cereal until the caffeine kicks into my system, and I return to the world of the living once again.

I asked the kids to get what they wanted for breakfast. Oatmeal. This is good. Then Isaiah got the chocolate syrup from the fridge. This is strange. Thinking he was confused I told him the maple syrup is in the cupboard. He laughed and said “No. Daddy said.” “Daddy said what?” Natalie chimed in, “Daddy made us chocolate oatmeal the other morning and it was GREAT! Will you make it for us?”

Clearly these kids don’t know who they’re talking to. I am not the fun parent. I am the consequence enforcer, the rule maker, the eat-all-of-your-vegetables parent. On Crappy Mohs scale of crunchy mamas I’m like a 7 (<– contains some crude language amidst the hilarity). Keep in mind you only have to fit into 2 of the criteria to move on to the next one, and I did have to Google a few of the descriptions because I’m admittedly crunchy, but I’m not THAT crunchy.

I told the kids there was no way I was putting chocolate syrup in their oatmeal. It wasn’t even chocolate syrup. It was chocolate FLAVORED syrup. And I shot off a sarcastic text to my husband that started with “really? Chocolate syrup and oatmeal?” He LOL’d back at me. Modern parenting at its finest, I tell ya.

I’m typically not a competitive person. Like, not at all. But this really chapped me to I decided to exact some revenge in the form of chocolate oatmeal. Real chocolate oatmeal with real ingredients. Why? Not because I’m not foodie who loves to make elaborate breakfasts for my family complete with pancakes in the shape of the Eiffel Tower with a side of maple deer sausage links that I ground myself. If that’s you – more power to you. But I’m just not like that. Especially in the morning. I’m more like 2-3 word sentences or grunts while I look at my kids through squinted eyes and the hair that didn’t get pulled back into my lumpy ponytail.

No, not because of any of that. It’s because…deep breath…because I needed to be better than Dan at something fun. Cringe. Oh, like you’ve never wanted, just one time, to have your kids like you more than your spouse. Okay, maybe you haven’t. If that’s true, you’re probably reading the wrong blog.

So anyway, I made it.
-Plain oatmeal
-Unsweetened cocoa powder
-Sugar (could use natural, I used white – like it said crunchy, but not THAT crunchy)

And they ate it. And they LOOOoooooOOOOOVED it. They loved it more than Dan’s chocolate-flavored-high-fructose- corn-syrup-polysorbate-60-xanthum-gum-oatmeal. And so I took a video as proof. I sound super arrogant in the video. “Sooo what you’re saying is…Mommy’s is better than Daddy’s.”

The fun-parent-score now stands Dan 7 Trillion and me 3. But when you’re the underdog, those 3 victories come with incredible bragging rights. He will hear about this for years. And I can now go back to telling my kids to pick their clothes off the floor, denying them treats every 22 seconds that they ask for them, and reminding them that snacks are usually fruits and veggies. Because. This morning. I. Won.

What God Wants For Christmas

It had been a rough evening. The kids were poking at each other through the late afternoon and by supper time I was up to my eyeballs in “Maaaaahh-aaahhhmm!” followed by tattling, then time out, then apologies, then 3 minutes of peace and then “Maaahhh-aahhhmmm!”

In an attempt to salvage what was left of our evening, we set up our family’s Nativity. I should have known better, but it started off well so well.  As I took out the first piece (Joseph), I talked about how he was significant in the story of Jesus’ birth. How God had placed him there on purpose. Then I handed the figure to one of the kids who put it in place. Gotta admit, I felt pretty darn good about my mom-ness in that moment. Can’t you just picture it – kids in their pj’s, shining faces staring up at me, thoughtfully putting each piece into place while I recounted the story of the Greatest Miracle. Smiles, cocoa, sweet laugher.

That lasted all of about 43 seconds. Then the kids started grabbing at the pieces. First a sheppard, then Isaiah started swinging the camel around by its leash, and before I knew it the sheep were tap dancing, and Mary was soaring through the air like she was wearing a jet pack.

I started micro-managing and talking at warp speed trying to get them to calm down and listen. “Please sit down. You’ll know it’s your turn when I – please stop. Listening ears. Put it down. Guys – seriously. It’s time to listen, not to- Wait! Whoa – be careful you’ll break that. Put it back in th-” And that’s when I lost it and yelled for them to sit down because I was “freaking trying to tell them about how much Jesus freaking loves them!”

Yes. I said that. Just like that. To my children.

And it IS true – he does love them a lot. But I’m not sure that’s the method with which He’d like me to deliver His message to my kiddos. And I knew it the second I said it. I apologized to them which led them to apologize to me.

Some of Jesus’ followers brought their children to Jesus; they wanted Him to place His hands on the children and pray for them. Some of the disciples, thinking that Jesus wouldn’t want to be bothered with a bunch of kids, began to tell the crowd to go away. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me; do not get in their way. For the kingdom of Heaven belongs to children like these.” (Luke 18:16)

Natalie and Isaiah approached the Nativity like children, excited, wanting to be completely involved, no reservations. I approached it with caution and a desire for order…like the disciples did…like a Pharisee. Ouch.

About 5 years ago we received a kid friendly nativity called “What God Wants for Christmas” as a gift from my sister, and I would highly recommend it for younger kids. It breaks the story down into 7 chunks with Bible verses from the new and old testament. Last night Natalie read from the book that goes with it while Isaiah held the figure of Jesus.

As I held Andrew on my lap and read from Luke, Isaiah started arranging the angel, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Then Joseph and the angel started conversing which led to wrestling, then an epic battle on the roof tops of the backdrop, and after few punches between them the angel reigned victorious – which, when you really stop and think about it is pretty theologically sound.

I took a deep breath and instead of chiding I thanked God that I was able to sit in my bedroom with the three children he’s entrusted in my care; with a grateful heart I smiled at my babies and told them how thankful I was that Jesus loves them so incredibly much.

What God wants for Christmas isn’t perfect order, or perfect reverence, or perfect gifts. He wants us. Just us.  He wants to reclaim the hearts of my kids and he wants my heart in all our glorious mess.