Grandpa Knows Best

My Father:  Harrison!  Harrison, come in here.  I’ve gathered some reading material for you.  Get your parents in here, too, they should also be prepared for what you may come into contact with now that you’ve started Kindergarten…

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…it’s worth noting that when glancing through the pamphlet for “Party Drugs” Harrison excitedly cried out, “LOOK, CANDY!”

Thanks, Grandpa.

 

 

The Intensely Named Custom Lego Minifigures For Dad’s Birthday

 

 

 

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After deciding that he wanted to make his father custom mini-figures for his birthday present, 5 year old Harrison put together somewhat normal looking figures…with intense back stories…

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Me: So…what’s this guy’s story?

Harrison:  He’s a warrior…and he uses a bow and arrow that was his brother’s because his brother got kidnapped.  He wears his hair like his kidnapped brother now because he misses him and has been searching for him for YEARS but the bad guys have him hidden.  So his name is, “Warrior Guy Who Got His Brother Stolen And Now He’s Looking For Him And He Uses His Bow”.

Me: Nice.

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Me: Why doesn’t this guy have arms?

Harrison:  He isn’t a guy, he’s Slimer from the Ghostbusters movie. He has the cat because he eats cats because he hates them. Only he doesn’t eat the cat like WE would eat the cat (side note: we don’t eat cats in this family) he just kind of gobbles him up in all the slime.  So his name is, “Slimer From The Ghostbusters Movie Who Eats Cats Because He Hates Them”.

Me: (a little creeped out by the cat bit)…okay…I guess I can see that…

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Me: This guy?

Harrison: MOM!   He’s a scientist…and when he isn’t doing experiments he dresses up like Darth Vader.

Me: Hm. He’s for sure my favorite.  So…is his name, like, “The Scientist Who Cosplays As Darth Vader In His Downtime”?

Harrison: Mom. Stop. He’s just a scientist!

Me:…um…who cosplays as Darth Vader on the down low, so we’re using my name.  Next, son.

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Me: Who’s this guy with the shirt and the cuffs?

Harrison:  “Rockstar Dancer Who Got Arrested For Dancing Too Much”.

Me:…where was he dancing…?

Harrison: What?

Me: Nothing.

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Me:  So…a king?

Harrison:  Yeah.  “King Guy”.

Me:  Really?  That’s it? “King Guy”?

Harrison:  MOM!  Geez.  Fine. “King Guy Who Wears A Big Crown And Can’t See Good Because The Crown Is In His Eyes And He Sometimes Falls On His Sword”.

Me:  Better.

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Me:  Ninja?

Harrison: A SAMURAI, not a NINJA.

Me: He’s holding a club…

Harrison:  THAT’S because he got his sword stolen when bad guys came and killed his father, so he uses a club like a caveman until he can kill all the bad guys and get his sword back.

Me: Intense.  So…is HIS name, “Vengeful Samurai Who Uses A Club Because His Sword Was Stolen By Evil Father Killers”?

Harrison:  I guess.  Can I have fruit chews now?

Me:  Sure, kid.

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Happy Birthday, Dad.  

Love,

Your Highly Imaginative & Creative Son

It Was Time For a Puppy

IMG_5224Dear Darling Children,

In honor of National Dog Day I’m going to share the story of how Gaston Alexander Frazier came to be part of our family.

It was a warm, drizzly Sunday.  The night before I had far too much wine because both of you had been screaming, hitting and spilling your juice all over the house.  After your father put you to bed and I was sufficiently intoxicated I started sobbing about how much I missed my sweet dog, Alexander, who had passed away just a month or so before.

“I miss him. I also miss the unconditional LOVE he gave me.  These kids hate me today, they hate me because I won’t let them have 20 bags of fruit chews or watch Caillou.”

I whispered this, my voice cracking, huge teardrops running down my face.

Your father stared at me, at his absolutely stunning and wonderful wife who could do no wrong and was HIS REASON FOR LIVING and he made a decision.

If his perfect wife wanted a dog, she would get a dog.

Cue the warm & drizzly Sunday.

After we undid the hog ties we had to use to get you both into appropriate non-pajama clothing, we all climbed into the car to “visit” the pet shop.  You yelled at each other the entire ride, angry because you had wanted to go to McDonalds but I had said no since neither of you would quit picking your noses or making gagging sounds.

I ignored you both, anxious to see what kind of puppies the shop had.

Your father picked up a mini dachshund immediately.  I wasn’t sold and kept pushing a slightly older light brown puppy in your father’s face, making it speak in a British accent about tea and whatnot.

You both lasted about 10 minutes before imploding, bored, making robot noises and dancing around like a college student on crack.  I put the dog back in his cage and walked out, tears already forming in my eyes.

“They don’t even want a dog. I’m the only one who cares.  How can they not care?  It’s a PUPPY!  A FREAKING PUPPY!!!!  WHO DOESN’T WANT A PUPPY?”

I sobbed this to your father, hysterical once we got to the car.

“You’re right.”

Your father said this calmly, taking my delicate bird hands in his strong ones and gazing at me with his piercing blue eyes that see right into my soul.

“They don’t care.  I don’t care, either.  You’re the one who cares, and that’s all that matters.  So go inside and find yourself a dog.  Find YOUR dog and we will all love it because YOU love it.  This isn’t for the family.  This is for you, my perfect, beautiful wife who I love more than the moon and the stars even though you don’t cook and typically leave the laundry on the couch until I finally fold it while you’re taking a 2 hour bath.”

I’m paraphrasing, but some of that is what he said.  So I listened to him and while he took you little monsters to get some food I went back into the pet shop.

Upon my re-entry I caught sight of something bouncing wildly to my left.  Turning, I spotted a black ball of fur, peppered with tiny spots.  Was it a dalmatian/dachshund/chihuahua hybrid, a brand new designer dog?

No.  It was a mini dachshund.  THE SAME MINI DACHSHUND YOUR FATHER HAD BEEN PLAYING WITH JUST MINUTES BEFORE!

He recognized me when I came back in.  He KNEW we were meant to be!

I picked him up and carried him to the puppy play area, sure that he would do something to make or break the huge decision that was upon me.

I sat down.

He immediately crawled onto my lap and fell asleep, snoring like a drunk, overweight old man.

I realized that I was exhausted, too.

We were perfect for one another

$105,985 later I walked out of that puppy shop, rounded the corner and saw your father leaning up against the car.  He looked at me.  I looked at him and immediately started sobbing.

“I love him.  I love him.”

Your father smiled knowingly.  He had been eyeing a $400 Lego set.  No way would I try to block that purchase NOW!

Just kidding.

He smiled LOVINGLY and said, “Anything to make you happy.”

Anything.

I love him.

…and my new puppy.

Happy National Dog Day, Darling Children.

The End.

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They Should Just Build a Garden

 

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Yesterday, after turning up his nose for the umpteenth time at a wonderful dinner because it wasn’t a corn dog,  my son said he was starving.  In justifiable anger I whipped out my cell phone and brought up pictures of starving children, telling him to look at them.  To look at their ribs, their bones, their faces and that THEY were starving.  That is what starving looks like, I said, and for you to say that YOU are starving…YOU, who just ate a corn muffin and 3 brownies even though you didn’t eat your entire meal…for you to say that is insulting to the people who are actually starving.  So don’t say it.

This opened up a whole conversation on world starvation and why it exists and hearing such simple ideas from a 5 year old was…heartbreaking.

“Why don’t they just build a garden and plant orange trees?”

We weren’t sure, but figured it had something to do with the location and proximity to water.

“Why don’t they just borrow some money and buy some food from their parents?”

Because their parents are starving, too.

“We can give them food and money. They can have my dinner since I don’t like it.”

It just isn’t that simple. I don’t now why it isn’t that simple.  It should be that simple.

I don’t know why the planting a garden idea has stuck in my head.  Something so theoretically easy, obviously someone has thought of it.  Someone must have tried it.

Sometimes my darling 5 year old says things so heartbreakingly simple and my hope for a better future doesn’t seem so unreasonable.

Hobbies, Work & Motherhood

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My life does not consist of just making waffles one right after the other because the first one is too soft and the next is too hard and then when I finally get the waffle at the perfect consistency the child waits too long to eat it and it becomes too “crunchy, like a leaf”.

I also run Redbird Vintage Box, a vintage clothing & accessories styling service (and shop) with my sister and we have some changes and a amazing sale coming up this weekend.

You can check out a few of the past boxes & outfits below.  You can also follow us via Facebook and Instagram to see more and keep up with everything!

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***   FACEBOOK   ***   INSTAGRAM  ***  SHOP SITE   ***   TWITTER  ***

 

 

 

 

Everything Isn’t Terrible (as Long as You Stay Away From the News)

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5:00 AM wake up.

The storm outside provides the calming sense that my children will sleep in later than usual. They both sleep more soundly when the weather is terrible. Strange.

I get coffee.

I check Yahoo.com for the news, wondering if any new horrific events happened while I slept. The top story is about how the Russian passenger plane crash that killed 224 people in Egypt last month was caused by a homemade explosive device and Putin is vowing revenge on terrorists. I wonder briefly how it was possible that I wasn’t more informed of this huge plane crash that killed so many people. I decide it must be because nobody had taken cell phone pictures and tweeted about it with the right hashtag. Or maybe it was because the people who died were all Russian and I’m American so…it doesn’t pertain to me?

Does it?

Or maybe I’m just a self involved person who doesn’t read the news enough.

Right next to it is the story that will surely be at the top within a few hours: Charlie Sheen allegedly has HIV and will be announcing it on the Today show.

I allow myself to feel sad for humanity for 5 seconds and then move on.

I decide to follow a few more people on Twitter, not really reading anything because Twitter bores me but I like the little rush of the “ding” when I get a notification.

I check out Instagram and covet the new jacket Stitch Fix has posted even though I know it won’t look nearly as cute on me. I also don’t need a jacket but don’t really have a problem buying one because my husband makes a great salary and shopping gives me a temporary high.

I get more coffee.

I move on to Facebook. I decide to scroll through my feed to see how many people have the “We Support Paris” stuff as their profile pictures.

A lot. There is a lot of support for Paris.

I scroll past an article someone posted that includes pictures of dead people from the massacre. I wonder how those pictures are allowed to be public. I remember when I watched the Nicholas Berg beheading online. That was over 10 years ago. It still haunts me.

I read an article someone posted informing the world that the article about the 10,000 Syrian refuges arriving in New Orleans and all of them being men is false, that only 7 people (2 families from Syria) have been settled in New Orleans. I wonder if THAT article is true. I wonder if anything I read is true. I feel grateful that I didn’t talk too much about the 10,000 refugees arriving in New Orleans even though the timing of it all seemed terrifying.

I start scrolling again and see that 17 people have a variation of the, “It’s Christmastime and Christians are stupid because Mary and Joseph were refugees and needed a place to stay and now the Christians are wanting to turn away the Syrian refugees who need help” posts.

I notice that a few atheist friends are pretty happy that their states don’t want the refugees. They probably have a better reason for not wanting the refugees, though. A smarter reason than the Christian folk. Surely.

I wonder if people would feel differently if, instead of Mary and Joseph being turned away because they were poor and different, the bible story went, “…and the inn keepers kept turning them away because just a few days earlier reports of men using their pregnant wives as a sympathy ploy to gain access to inns in order to murder the owner and take over the business surfaced and the innkeepers had to make the decision to err on the side of caution in order to protect their own families…”

Fear is a funny thing. Or not funny, depending on the situation.

I decide to unfollow people.

I start feeling depressed as it starts raining harder.

I subscribe to a new subscription box. Makeup.

I hear children crying. I check on mine but they’re still asleep. I start thinking about ghosts. I start thinking about how it is entirely possible that I’ve somehow stepped into another dimension and their reality is melding with my reality and I’m going to be hearing children crying forever and I’ll be unable to do anything to help them.

I feel silly for thinking that.

…but not really, because who knows?

I feel sad. I feel scared. I feel helpless.

So much is wrong in the world, so many people are in need. So many people need protection. The horrible things just keep coming and are peppered with things like Charlie Sheen having HIV or Lamar Odom drinking himself into a coma and I feel terrified for our world.

But also paralyzed. Paralyzed in the midst of excessive horror and so I do nothing. Because I just don’t know where to start.

My son runs into my room, crashing into my bed, still half asleep because he doesn’t understand that it’s ok to just stay in bed a few minutes until you’re completely awake. He climbs up next to me and snuggles under the covers, under my arm, completely uncaring about the fact that I’m trying to type on the computer.

Because he knows that nothing is more important than he is.

He knows I would easily cast aside 10,000 or more people I don’t know to keep him safe.

“Mommy…Mommy…Mom…”

“One second.”

Big sigh.

“MOMMY! I don’t have patience!

At 6:24 AM I get more coffee.

I make pancakes.

I brush my hair.

I put on makeup.

I pack my son’s lunch.

He gets upset when I put a banana in his lunchbox even though he begged me for bananas just two days ago. I get upset with him and tell him about children who would kill for a banana and he looks confused because he is only 4 and shouldn’t have to think about starving children.

He’s right. Kind of.

None of us should have to think about starving children. There shouldn’t be any children who are starving in this world.

I decide to unplug from social media for the day and vow to do things that will make the world a little brighter for tomorrow.

***published 11/17/2015 via my http://www.ragsrestyled.com blog originally but reposted here because that blog has moved in a different direction.

Dear Darling Children: The Current Existing Privilege

Dear Darling Children,

When I was 25 years old I made a cross country drive from Arizona to Florida. Alexander Marco, my darling little chihuahua maltese, was riding shotgun. While traveling through Texas I was chatting with my friend Leslie.  Even though it was (and still is) illegal I was talking to her with headphones on, thus drowning out everything else around me.  I have a hard time obeying speed limits, so I wasn’t terribly surprised when I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw police lights flashing. Feeling nothing but annoyance for getting caught I told Leslie I would call her back in a few minutes. I pulled over, grabbed my license and insurance, lowered my window and impatiently waited for the officer to get out of his car so I could start trying to flirt my way out of the ticket.

Then I heard the yelling.

“Get out of the car!  Get out of the fucking car!” (Don’t curse, it’s tacky.)

I was confused.

Not scared (that’s important).

Confused and slightly annoyed.  I started to open my door.

“Put your hands up!  Hands up where I can see them!  Now!”

Still annoyed, I opened the door the rest of the way with my foot and got out slowly with my hands up (and with an angry, put out expression on my face because who did this cop think he was to yell at me like that?).

The moment I stood up and was completely out of my car was the moment Alexander Marco chose to leap out of the car as well, straight into oncoming traffic.

All hell broke loose.  My hands went down as I ran after Alex, another police car flew up with the officer jumping out and pointing his gun at me, I’m still running around trying to grab Alex and when I finally catch him I scream at the officers.

“WHAT is WRONG with YOU!? I have to GET MY DOG, PUT YOUR STUPID GUNS DOWN!”

And they did.  They lowered their guns.  The one who had stopped me in the first place ran a hand through his thinning hair and stared at me.

Me.  A lovely white girl, shoeless because I had a blister on my ankle, with long red hair and a short blue dress that the wind was lightly kicking up.

They relaxed.

He told me I had been driving 75 in a 55 zone, and had been doing so for almost 10 minutes.  My car was packed up high with all of my belongings so the officer couldn’t see in the back window.  He had been following me with his lights and sirens blaring for at least 10 minutes (but I hadn’t heard because of the illegal headphones I was sporting).  He said he was about to shoot out my tires when I finally pulled over, that he thought I was running from him.

He said it like a joke.

“Girl, you were 5 seconds from getting your tires shot out!”

Laughs.  Everyone was safe, crisis averted.

I wasn’t able to talk my way out of the ticket.  I also never paid it.  My husband paid it for me after we were married because he had gotten a job in Texas and I mentioned that there was probably a warrant for my arrest there due to this delinquent ticket.  I never worried about getting arrested, though.

Because I’m a white, educated, upper middle class woman and I don’t have to worry about those things.

I used to tell this story as an amusing anecdote at social gatherings.  Me!? Sweet SARAH, almost gunned down by the police, how PREPOSTEROUS and SILLY. In the last year, though, it has taken on a sinister tone and I instead tell it to those who mention how they don’t understand what white privilege is.

Looking back, if the officer had shot me dead, I can see how HIS story would have played out and I would have 100% been at fault. It would eventually come out that the entire thing was a horrible misunderstanding but the result would be the same.  He was scared.  He had reason to be.  I was arrogant. I shouldn’t have been.

Had I been a large black man, under the exact same circumstances, would the result have been the same?  My head and heart tell me that it wouldn’t have been, but I still stand by my statement than any force used would have been justified.  So the story now leaves me conflicted, because I believe the only reason I’m alive (or, at best, don’t have a jail record) is because I’m a white female (sexism can on rare occasions can be extremely favorable).

I think it’s important to note that this entry is in no way meaning to comment on any specific event that has happened in the last few years.  It is only meant to share my own personal experience. I don’t always succeed at not expressing my opinion on hot topic events that I’ll personally never have enough information on to make an educated assumption about, but this entry is definitely not a comment on…any of that.

Though obviously all of those events combined is what made me start thinking about my own story again after so many years.

It’s a lottery, where you’re born, who you’re born to.  My children both struck gold being born into our family.  There isn’t a reason for them to feel guilty about it, to apologize for it.  This is just life.

But they should be taught to respect the life they have.  To be grateful.  To be aware.

In the moments that I clearly see so much hate, fear, injustice and sadness in the world the helplessness I feel is paralyzing to the point where I want to crawl into the pantry, close the door and cry.  But that doesn’t help anything or anyone.

The world is changing fast, both for the better and for the worse.  People are passionate, they see injustice and loudly fight for change.  Others who have far more power spew hatred, fear and lies.  This is life and the only way for it to change is for us to raise our children better, braver, smarter and wiser.

So…let’s do that.

Try to make the world a better & happier place today, Darling Children, one good deed at a time.

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I promise to raise you to be smart, adventurous, brave and wise.  I will raise you to be a fearless leader who will help march the world into a better, less scary place.

 

“Small steps are better than no steps at all so drop the iPad and do something productive .” – Me

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”   – Leo Tolstoy