Old Friends and New Places

When one returns from 13 days either in a car with two small humans or bunking at someone else’s home, one has a few choices.

1. Throw the entire contents of one’s suitcase into the washing machine and pass out
2. Make everyone go to bed early so you can finally get a moment alone
3. Revel in how easy it is to sleep in one’s own bed WITHOUT a three-year-old’s feet in your face
4. Attempt to write a blog post about one’s trip

We just returned to Kansas City after about two weeks of driving across our beautiful state of Kansas. I am always amazed when Kansas is described as boring, because I honestly believe it’s one of the most beautiful and diverse places around. We spent a few days in my hometown in the Flint Hills, then headed west, where the trees are scarce and the sky seems like it’s never going to end. Our first stop was in Hays, Kansas, where a great friend of mine from high school lives with her sweet family. There is something really special about watching your kids become friends with children of your own childhood friends. Watching our silly boys make trouble or seeing our girls share a private joke, it makes me wistful for the days when my friends were my whole world. It’s nice to know that even after all these years, grown-up responsibilities and professional living, we can still get together and giggle until our bellies hurt. We visited the Natural History Museum, spotted some bison, ate some great food, attended a neighbor’s surprise birthday party, and even gave Tate a little buzzcut on the front porch. Such a fun time, and I’m feeling especially grateful for old friends these days!

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Cruisin' in Hays, KS, USA...

The Natural History Museum with @hjbieker and family! So fun, and only a tiny bit scary  #museum #hays #kansas #history #fossil #fun #friends

Silly boys! So grateful to watch my kids become friends with my best friends' kids! #365grateful #silly #boys #goof #love

I am mostly posting this because a lifeguard yelled "No photos!" when she saw me taking it and I think that's straight up dumb. Rebel without a cause over here ✌️ #summer #pool #rebel #lazyriver #fun #friends #cantkeepmedown

The magic of @hjbieker is she's able to convince Tate, who screams in terror at the thought of a haircut, to shave his head on the front porch. Magic, I tell you!!! #haircut #friends #yay

I’ll be blogging more about the rest of our trip for the next few days. Next up, what happens when two city kids see a teeter-totter for the first time? Pandemonium.

Top photo taken with the Canon 60D, all other photos taken by my iPhone 4s, edited in Afterlight

Summertime Nostalgia

Summer is here! I can’t believe it. Every year it comes faster and faster, and as the kids get older, each summer seems better than the one that came before. We are taking some time to see family and roadtrip across Kansas for the first few weeks of the summer, so while I’m away, I thought I’d share some of my favorite videos from summers past. Happy summer, friends!



(As always, you can follow our summer adventures on Instagram under the handle @crazy_bananas)

Holding On

I feel like I’ve lost a major coping mechanism in my life. Somewhere I could always feel better, more joyful, even when I was struggling. A place where I could pour my heart out, even if it felt like an insane thing to do, and I’d feel less alone. There is a saying, “I write because I don’t know how I feel until I read what I say (Flannery O’Connor).” This, my friends, is the crux of it all. I have to write. I am not a debater, or someone who skillfully wins arguments with flair and a smirk on my face. Nope, I mumble and second guess and question myself. I say things like, “You might be right” or “I believe you believe that.” I am not argumentative. I am not eager. It’s just not me.

However, I do have opinions. I have thoughts and feelings and grand ideas and silly ideas. I like to cultivate my questions until I’ve been over them a hundred times in my own head. Then I let it all pour out on a computer screen or in a notebook until my heart and head feel purged.

For the longest time, this place, this weird, strange land of the Internet, was where my thoughts landed. When my brain raced with excitement, I would write here. I’d share my fear with you and I felt immediately better. This is my home.

But lately, there have been things I just can’t write about. It’s too raw, too real and too f’ing scary, honestly. A few weeks ago, at my daughter’s school carnival, some sweet tween girls came up to me and said, excitedly “You’re Crazybananas!” They remembered me from a writing workshop I had done a few months back. “My aunt reads your blog, she loves it!”

There is something supremely strange and wonderful about knowing some girl’s aunt is reading your deepest mental musings. But it’s also terrifying. Because I can’t just put it out there anymore. There has to be some censorship, not only to protect myself, but my family. And that’s hard. Really, really hard. All of a sudden, my sacred place isn’t the same anymore. I cannot share my struggles, and so, instead, there is silence.

For a while I tried just posting photo shoots or sweet images of my blessed life, but then my computer went kaboom (something about not backing it up and not enough memory…whoops), and now I’m just sitting here. No images. No wise words. Just a blank screen and a blinking cursor.

Blink. Blink. Blink.

Just know I miss you. I miss our talks, friends. I’m finding it hard to share about silly, trite things, when life is seemingly so complicated right now. But I still love my life. I love hats and Britney Spears and sales at H&M and Doctor Who and red lipstick. And maybe now that I’ve emptied this load in my brain, I can get back to some of the fun stuff. Because, you guys, life is actually really fun. Even when it seems like it isn’t. Actually, that’s probably when it’s the most amazing.

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Kindness and Fun

The other night Lucy and I were laying in bed and I asked her how her day was. She was messing around with some stuffed animals and offhandedly said, “It was okay, not great though.”

I asked her what happened and she shared she had her feelings hurt by a friend. When she told me what happened I asked her how she felt about it. She seemed so nonchalant about the whole thing, and I wanted her to know it’s okay to be sad or upset. I feel like much of my childhood was spent ensuring everyone knew I was okay.

Me, I’m okay. Are you okay? Are we okay? Is everything okay? Okay. Good.

When I was sad or angry or upset, I learned at a young age to stuff it deep down until I couldn’t feel it anymore. Except, of course, that never really works, does it? Bad feelings don’t go away by ignoring. You have to face them! And it took me about 30 years to figure that one out. That’s a lot of years of stuffing and having resentment that easily spiraled out of control. I don’t want that for my kids. I want them to know being angry is natural and normal. Being hurt sucks, but it’s worse to pretend you’re okay when you’re really not.

So sitting in bed with Lucy, knowing she must feel hurt and sad, and hearing her say “I’m okay,” really triggered me. I asked gently, “Are you sure you’re okay? It’s alright to be upset. I’d probably be upset if I were you.”

She looked up at me and said, “Yeah, mom, I was upset. I didn’t say anything though. I’m all about kindness now! And fun! So I’m not mad anymore. I’m just gonna have fun instead.”

Kindness and Fun

Well, crap, you guys. I was just schooled in the arena of mental stability by a 7-year-old. It seems I still have much to learn. At least I have the best teachers around me.

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