Old Testament boobs and other afflictions of motherhood.

Motherhood is a joy. It is a gift and a boon and to be absolutely forthright with you- it is an affliction.

After 6 years of pregnancy and breastfeeding- crammed as close together as Taylor Swift albums- I have become as dry as a page from Leviticus, as weary as Methuselah on his 969th Birthday.

Here I will list some afflictions, short and mostly to the point. (Shyeah right)

-I was sitting at a baby shower brunch (the only kind that exist in your 30’s!). And I caught an alarming glance of my side arm in a friends glasses! “They can’t be that wide” I thought “Perhaps they are distorted from the angle of her glasses”. The human heart has a high capacity for self deception…. but in that self same glance, out of my other eye, I perceived a lovely thing. It was a chocolate orange scone. And I forgot about my flabby arm and I ate that scone. I ate it real good.

-When given a moment to think, most mothers can speedily call up something to google. For me this mostly involves an appendage in -or function of my reproductive tract, like “why are my boobs a Chinese finger trap now?” Or “will this cystic acne from my spiraling soup of hormones ever leave?” I also have forlorn thoughts. I might just ask “Hey google, am I pretty?”

-Occasionally the old adage “The old gray mare just ain’t what she used to be” crowds my thoughts. Had I known what my body after 4 kids would be like I would NOT have squandered my youthful fawnlike body. What I lost in taughtness I gained in chin hair.

But I do think that there is something redemptive in naming your afflictions. Perhaps they seem frivolous in comparison with other afflictions. I mean, Leah had a ton of children and she had weak eyes and had to hauk a mandrake with her sister to sleep with her husband. I can certainly see where my pathetic groaning about the state of my rack can come off as a first world problem. It plagues us because the decaying of a fallen world feels so wrong. So absolutely backwards. 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. Our saggy Old Testament boobs? They’re a -okay. Because salvation does not rest on our beauty but it rests in Christ’s sacrifice for us. We will ultimately be redeemed and whole and a witness to the glory of Christ. A glory so filled with light that Moses walked away from it glowing. Paul tells us to give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I think it’s ok to lament the loss of your youth. But I also think it’s rich to praise God when you see the ravages of time and childbirth on your body. Because He entered into our world to deliver us from it.

Come soon Lord Jesus, until then, thank you for allowing the invention of underwire.

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this is the one where I talk about my butt.  

For all the lamenting, belly aching, and general stink I’ve put up about being pregnant on this blog, one would think that a fourth pregnancy would be ripe for the blog topic picking.  It ain’t.  It’s been a lot of things, but it hasn’t made me want to put my experience down into words until now.

Why now? 

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It’s my hump.

This pregnancy finally put a name to my hobbling Quasimodo walk, or as I also called it, my newborn baby deer walk.  Turns out I had inflamed sacroiliac joints!  

Friends, can I tell you the remedy for this malady?  Can you handle it?  It is a butt massage.  A massage where a strange person is in full view of your large (and I can only assume gelatinous) pregnant butt and also butt accoutrement- like- ya butt crack.  I personally try to keep the number of people viewing my buttcrack down to Nick, but at this point in my pregnancy it’s down to – 


I feel like I need to clarify because I just threw down that a strange person was massaging my dereraire and that’s hella shady.  This “stranger” is of course a licensed  physical therapist.  And they’re also a miracle worker because with kinesthtic tape and the directions to never pick anything up again including my own children, and to not push a stroller or walk up hills, my hips are feeling great!  Of course, I need help picking Owen up from school, grocery shopping, going to any store, and wrestling Henry out of the tub.  

This hump situation has led to a great need for humility in asking for help and an extremely greatful heart to those who happily help me every day.  I don’t like asking for help.  

1 Thessalonians says: 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

I am thankful when I see God’s provision for me, I am humbled by His providing.  I have felt the prayers of my friends and family.  I have eaten the meals of many and I have fought the guilt that Satan tempts me to feel when others come alongside me to help.  And I even made several jokes about my butt online for my children to discover in 10 years and be immediately struck with mortification when they read them.  

jesus and kaley, bff’s 4ever.

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I’m going to tell you a great little anecdote about the time Jesus and I went to get matching best friend tattoos.  (Okay.  That’s not true.  But He did tell me once that my name was graven on His hands so…..)

You might wonder how Jesus and I have gotten to the point in our friendship where we would consider getting matching tattoos.  I’ll tell you.  Early on, Jesus and I were more loosely acquainted.  I trusted Him and took His advice on a lot of moral issues.  I didn’t want to let Him in on too much of what was going on in my personal life.  It’s just that He was so holy, and I was so… not- despite attempts to remedy my condition.  I kind of thought he’d be mad at me.  Then I began hearing about grace.  One of the first pivotal breakthroughs in our relationship came after I read the book “A Praying Life” by Paul Miller.  Consider the following excerpt:

“In bringing your real self to Jesus, you give him the opportunity to work on the real you, and you will slowly change.  The kingdom will come.  You’ll end up less selfish.

The Kingdom comes when Jesus becomes king of your life.  But it has to be your life.  You can’t create a kingdom that doesn’t exist, where you try to be better than you are.  Jesus calls that hypocrisy- putting on a mask to cover the real you.  Ironically, many attempts to teach people to pray encourage the creation of a split personality.  You’re taught to ‘do it right.’  Instead of the real messy you meeting God, you try to recreate yourself by becoming spiritual.”

You see the real relationship change started when I realized that I could come and talk to Jesus, just as I was.  Like the famous hymn says, “Come ye weary, heavy-laden, Lost and ruined by the fall.  If you tarry till your better, you will never come at all.”  But let’s not just rely on the words of learned theological book writers.  I like when I see biblical hard hitters keeping it real.  It comforts me to see a great cloud of witnesses immortalized in the holy scripture who ride on the struggle bus and have glaring personality flaws.

Look at Jonah.  Jonah was called to preach a message of repentance to the people of Ninevah- the sworn enemies of Isreal.  He didn’t want to.  He fled across the sea.  And God followed him.  After a short stint inside the belly of a large fish Jonah repents and goes to Ninevah.  But hear what he has to say after his message of repentance is received and the people of Ninevah DO repent.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.  But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.  And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country?  That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.  Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”  And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?”      Jonah 3:10-4:4

It was all good when God was offering compassion to Jonah, but when He gave it to his enemies, this Jonah did not like.  It made him so mad that he asked God to kill him.  Jonah was so wrapped up in his rightness that death felt better than believing that God had a better angle.  So God smote him right then and there right?  Clearly Jonah was blaspheming away.  No.  The story of Jonah is a story of mercy.  God wanted to share His heart with Jonah and would not relent until Jonah saw that God was compassionate.  I hope that the story of Jonah draws you in and shows you that even in your sin, God is working to draw us closer to Him, to reveal His glory in us.  That our God is for us, and not against us.  To the ones who belong to Him, He doesn’t throw in the towel.  He pursues us.  We are safe to throw all of our feelings onto Him.  To pray prayers of anger, to admit our sins.  Phillip Yancey says in his book “Disappointment With God”:

One bold message in the Book of Job is that you can say anything to God.  Throw at him your grief, your anger, your doubt, your bitterness, your betrayal, your disappointment- he can absorb them all.  As often as not, spiritual giants of the bible are shown contending with God.  They prefer to go away limping, like Jacob, rather than to shut God out.  In this respect, the Bible prefigures a tenet of modern psychology;  you can’t really deny your feelings or make them disappear, so you might as well express them.  God can deal with every human response save one.  he cannot abide the response I fall back on instinctively; an attempt to ignore him or treat him as though he does not exist.  That response never once occurred to Job.

Job is another person who chose to engage with God rather than to shut down.  He threw at God all of his questions, his doubts.  God answered Job in a whirlwind and Job came away with a deepened respect, an awe for the Lord.  When we choose to tango with God, He reveals to us His character and we come away closer to Him.

I don’t know if you picked up on this vibe at all through my more recent blogs, but I really didn’t want to move to California.  I prayed that God would let me stay in Virginia.  A snafu in Nick’s orders was a direct message that He could keep me in Norfolk, but that we were being called to California.  I praised God for about a minute and a half until I moved here, got unexpectedly pregnant with my fourth baby and very shortly after, started experiencing debilitating morning sickness.  One day I lost it.  Crying in my bedroom I told him “I’m SO MAD that you made me come to California!  I hate it here.  I don’t know why you did this to me.  It sucks.”  That same day I was invited to attend a bible study.  He heard my cry and I, well, got all kinds of veh-clempt as I listened to the words of this song:

The power that raised Him from the grave
Now works in us to powerfully save.
He frees our hearts to live His grace;
Go tell of His goodness.

God’s mercy is humbling.  But it’s also humbling when it comes in the form of discipline.  I would never have thought that I would be thankful that the Lord brought me into circumstances where I would lose a cherished friendship or experience loneliness or endure the physical weakness that this pregnancy has bourn.  These circumstances revealed sin in my life, sin I would have never seen if I hadn’t opened all of myself to Jesus.  Jerry Bridges says in his book “Respectable Sins” (by the way- read this.)

Remember also that our God is a forgiving God.  Even our anger toward Him, which I consider a grievous sin, was paid for by Christ in His death on the cross.  So if you have anger in your heart toward God, I invite you- no, I urge you- to come to Him in repentance and experience the cleansing power of the Christ’s blood, shed on the cross for you.

Confidently I can confide in Jesus.  Why?  I rest in Jesus, His perfect record imputed to me.  What love that a just God would plan to include us in His kingdom, we a sinful people, can draw near to him by faith and repentance.  We can’t forget that while His grace saved us from our former lives, it still works to change our hearts now.  Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit, the ones who know their need of Him.

This hymn basically is saying everything I said here.  Plus, apparently, Cracker Barrel produced a worship album, so that’s worth noting.

“Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not forfeit, everything to God in prayer.”

*PS You can’t even know how many times my pregnant brain typed “Johan” instead of Jonah.  So I’m sorry for any typos that didn’t make it through the stern and persistent cloud of pregnancy fog over my brain.

are there rodeo clowns in heaven?

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Have you ever felt like a square peg in a round hole?  Paul writes in Galations that  “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”  Here Paul is stating that justification is through faith and that we cannot earn our righteousness by following the law.  But what if I don’t look righteous?  When I google righteous this is what comes up, which feels weird:

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When I imagine a righteous person I like to think that they are meek, gentle, slow to speak, that they comport themselves with a general dignity befitting such a holy person.  They would not, for example, tell a long anecdote about Michelle Duggar’s knees at Bible Study. What might they do instead?  I would expect them to share some piece of knowledge gleaned from an obscure minor prophet that I didn’t even realize was a book of the Bible.

This is the delusion I fight against almost all the time.  That righteous people have one foot inside a monastery and no feet in the “being ridiculous” arena.  But the truth is that when I professed my faith in Christ that His righteousness became my own.  And that His sacrifice covers all my sins past, present, and future. I need to trust that the Holy Spirit will lead my heart in sanctification and repentance.  One could be surprised to know that I spend a good amount of time each week reading the word and assorted theological books.

It’s not that much but for having three children proportionately it is a decent amount of time.  But when I open my mouth to speak, nothing eloquent comes out.  This is where I recall that Moses had a debilitating stutter and God appointed his brother Aaron to publicly speak for him.  Maybe Siri could be my Aaron.  I have not a debilitating speech impediment to get around, but debilitating awkwardness.  Excuse me, I digress.  1 Corinthians says:

“But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”

And this is where I wonder to myself, at the feast of heaven, will there be a rodeo clown?  Does Jesus need a body part akin to a humorous gag wig?  He made me and he loves me.  He loved Nathaniel and called him right after Nathaniel threw some major shade at Jesus under a fig tree.

Maybe there will be jokes in heaven.  Everyone really loves laughing.  I will remind myself that God’s creation is diverse and wonderful and that he loves monastery people just as much as he loves people who are quirky and awkward.

PS  This is a ringing endorsement for the book “This is Awkward” by Sammy Rhodes.  It’s like if I wrote a book, but a lot better.

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would that I could use an emoji for this title.

Well.  How are things going in California?

Oh great.  I’ve founded a book club and sometimes all the other military spouses and I meet up and perform impromptu musical numbers in the street because there are so many of us in this neighborhood that it breeds the kind of joy only dancing can express.

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Alrightalright.  The truth is that tonight in bed and wept because I missed my friends and I don’t want to make new ones.  I wept in that way that your tears sort of fly off of your face and commingle with your mucus to make some sort of sick nasal cocktail that really does convey the depth of your grief.  “The salt from my tears is what feelings taste like.”

Try as I might, I can not kick the loneliness and general bummer that moving is.  I want to, for your sake.  People only want to hear about your sadness for so long, then they move on to watching Gilmore Girls reruns.  Is this a dark night of the soul for me?  I’d rate it somewhere between how Rory felt when Paris told everyone her mom made out with her English teacher and when Lorelei married Rory’s dad instead of Luke.

 

I could be wrong, but as a believer there is a certain amount of fear and shame that comes from admitting that you are not thriving.  “Nope!  Still sad!”  Doesn’t sound like the kind of thing you are supposed to say.  I wanted to stay in Norfolk, but God had other plans.  It’s not like I can tell Him I have nothing left to say to him and leave it at that.  Clearly there is purpose in this duty station.  So tonight I am really trying to pull my head out of the sand, look around, and see Jesus.  I am sad, I am disappointed, and I am adrift.  But no matter what I am feeling, I am reminded that I am never beyond the reach of His grace.*  It is so easy for me to despair and forget that the Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.**  That when I sit with my head buried that He is not ignoring me, but sitting next to me with His hand on my shoulder.  The temptation remains to feel that His presence is gone when I am sad, that when I am failing, He abandons me until I can pull myself together.  But the truth is that He is near and accessible.

I don’t predict that the road ahead of me will be easy, but I do know that the Lord will throw unexpected blessings my way.  I also know that He will delight me with the comfort of His presence, if I would just maybe stop crying for, like, maybe even a minute and just let Him.

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I will remember His faithfulness to me, like when I was able to sit in the perfect spring weather, propped up against the brick and mortar of the most imperfectly perfect church around and spend time with the Lord.  I’ll remember that He doesn’t give up on me even though I’ve been reduced to googling tips for parenting strong willed children.  I’ll remember that He is for me and not against me when I am embarrassed by a toxic mix of my subpar parenting and my children’s willful disobedience in front of my neighbors.

“I have gone astray like a lost sheep;  seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.”  Psalm 119:176

Please seek me Lord.  I’m the one yelling “YOU LOOK LIKE YOU WERE RAISED BY WOLVES!!!!!” at my 3 year old.  Monterey, California.  Turn right past the sea otters and the kelp beds, past that forest fire, and you’ll find me.  Oh wait, you’re already here!

*Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace

**Psalm 145:8

***I didn’t really start a book club.   If I did, do you want to come?!?!

One year postpartum check up. 

Oh hey!  I’m writing to you because I just won a fit mom award for my vigorous participation in Stroller Strides!  Oprah is flying me out to film a featurette for Weight Watchers and FYI I look great.

Lol!

So, it’s been a year (and change) since I gave birth to a 9 pound baby, bless his heart.

Things are lumpy.  Things are stretched.  There are wrinkles and this one weird patch of skin where Henry kept his toes.

I prioritize exercise and diet somewhere down there with mopping the floors and baseboard maintenance.  Not that there is anything wrong with those things,  it’s just that I have so many other things I would rather do than eat a steamed sweet potato while jogging my three kids around the block.  Those things include, but are not limited to: reading, watching HGTV, smelling my kids heads, thinking about coffee, doing my job, where is that smell coming from, can baseboards start to smell?, googling baseboard maintenance, the Joss and Main app on my phone, praying, thinking, bible, napping, coloring pictures of My Little Ponies, using baby wipes on everything within reach, magazines, hugs, Calico Critters, hangin with Mr. Cooper,  texting, nap time, and various and sundry and other stuff too.

The point is, I’m busy even WITHOUT exercising and meal planning.  So, what next?  I do believe the next step is accepting and celebrating that this is how I look now.  Limit myself to one donut hole per offer to eat donut holes.  Stop buying giant bags of m&m’s and then tell yourself you are beautiful.  Because you are!  Focus on being kind and the great mercies of the Lord unto you, and sing Frozen songs!

I look like I had three babies.  And that. is. oh. kay.

It sure is true that I could go to the doctor on Botched and say “Can you please fix my saggy left boob, cuz it’s just a mess!”  and probably no one would blame me.  But when I think about this verse:

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

I just can’t see Jesus looking at me and saying- “Good work Kaley.  Now about that boob job”  Jesus wrote each one of my children into my life, and gave me the kind of genes that don’t wear a bikini to the beach after birthing those babies.  It’s probably because He wanted to protect well meaning Christian men from being sucked down into temptation.  Okay, it’s not that.  I think it is enough to say that HE is enough.  Being a good stewart of your body is great, but it’s not the only thing.  I like making other people feel comfortable around me.  I don’t think people would feel comfortable if I looked like Gigi Hadid.  They want a gal pal akin to Molly Weasley.  And great comedy can not come out of flawless beauty.  It can only come out of relatable looks.  Squashy butts and laugh lines.  So I am thankful, because Jesus gave me the perfect body for my personality.  I’m not thankful about getting a neck pimple at 30, but it’s just a fallen world people okay?

i’m back.

IMG_9283I am back.  Which begs the question- where was I?  I was saying goodbye to my favorite place, tidewater Virginia.  And my favorite people.  And my favorite church.  And my favorite house- that had a rat infestation, but that’s a blog for another day.  In May I said good bye to every dang body.

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Then I went home for a chunk- to tidewater Maryland and commenced saying goodbye to every dang body there.

Why was I saying goodbye?  Only because for not the first time in my life, I was moving away to California.  Bye East Coast!  Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

And so we geared up for the longest and most grueling road trip of ever, please Jesus say this one was the worst.

Start of Road Trip Day One.  Maryland- Kentucky

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Singing “Jesus Take the Wheel” by Carrie Underwood.  Feeling thankful for car dvd player recently installed.  Ready to learn the origin story of Ponyville for the first time (but not the last time.)

Driving through Wild, Wonderful, West by God Virginia was firstly very hard, because it is tres mountainous, and secondly very beautiful and heartwarming because my kinfolk happen to be friendly hillbillies from these here parts.  And I grew up going to WVA every summer.  So, memories.  My face is weird and puffy from realizing that I am, in reality, actually moving across the country.  And also McDonald’s.

Day 2.  Kentucky-Illinois.  8th Wedding Anniversary.

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That romantic beam of golden light is shining down on us, for it is our eighth year of wedded bliss.  We had just woken up and loaded the car and I am angling the photo just right so that you can not see the dog poop clean up station behind us at the hotel.  Kentucky.  Nick and I decided to take a selfie in every state.  So prepare yourself for just so many selfies.  Like really a lot.  And I don’t think I ever change these sun glasses, so good luck with that.

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Just wow.  What the heck state is this?  I want to say that this is Illinois.  Henry is doing Blue Steel.  Things I remember about Illinois… would be this rest stop and that it was there.  I have terrible news.  I deleted the selfie from Indiana on accident.  But kept all three drafts of the Kentucky selfie.  All aboard the hot mess express!  This would never happen to a successful travel blogger.

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Here we are in MISSOURI!  I always type MISSOURI in all caps because it is such an exciting state.  Behind us is the arch.  It is a giant arch of some significance.  And all I wanted to do was stop at Covenant Seminary while reading a book by R.C. Sproul and listening to Sovereign Grace so I could have the world’s most reformed selfie… but time would not allow.  I will keep dreaming big though.  You can’t keep me down.

I really enjoyed day 2.  The drive was beautiful, I got to eat dinner with a dear friend, and our hotel was actually gigantic because the Midwest is crazy affordable.

Day 3.  Kansas.  So.  Much.  Kansas.  Also- Colorado.

 

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This is Kansas.  Kansas is big.  Kansas is rural.  Kansas has got some farms.  And look!  I did change my glasses!

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At this rest stop Maisy Jo found this bird nest that had blown down.  It blew down because flat and wind.  I’m married to a meteorologist, that’s how I know all this weather jargon.  The nest was made up almost entirely of the stuffing that fills the discarded cigarette butts found at this truck stop.

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Speaking of Jesus- he showed up a couple of times in Kansas.  Most notably here:

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This is a billboard I encountered somewhere deep into Kansas.  And that billboard of Jesus made me laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.  Before I left on my journey one of my pastors wished laughter for my journey – and here it was.  In this wheat field in Kansas.  I don’t know what Jesus is trying to say here- that His power can overcome gluten intolerance?  That when you least expect it He might sneak up on you bearing a wheat frond?  Something about chaff?  I don’t know what it said to other people, but I know what it said to me.  That Jesus was with me on my journey.  That He understood my need for laughter and that He loves me.

Day 4.  Colorado.  Rest.  Rejuvenation.  Being scared of heights.

On day three Kansas slowly morphed into Colorado.  Because everyone knows that Kansas is flat and Colorado is mountains.  And if you’re like me- you didn’t know they were border states until the day you drove across one into the other.

 

On day 4 we stopped to spend the day with Nick’s sister who lives in Colorado, just around Colorado Springs.  Nick took Owen and his cousin to Pike’s Peak.  That’s a high peak.  And I stayed at home because I am scared of heights needed to let the little ones take a nap.

I also needed Jesus to intervene in how grumpy, yell-y, and generally terrible I had been being to all of my family members, especially the dog.  I hand wrote a blog while I sat on the porch of my sister in laws house watching that deer and drinking that coffee.  I’ll post it sometime soon.  When Nick got back we began our mission of tourism in the few hours we had been allotted.

Off we went to explore Manitou Springs.  Apparently the mountains are a boon for springs.  The sink water is off the hook and people drink from natural springs all around the town and no one even gets ebola OR dysentery.  We also bought several Colorado souvenirs because Nick and I collect magnets and post cards and there ain’t no shame in our game.  Hipsters be damned.  I need me some souvenir magnets.  I have a magnet from Guam.  Do you?  Yeah.  That’s what I thought.

Next stop: Garden of the gods.  They were very tall rocks.  I don’t get out much.

Day 5.  Colorado- Utah

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I was dreading Day 5, even though I was so thankful for the rest we had just experienced.  Nick and I had to drive through the mountains, at elevations of 10,000 feet.  With twists and turns and brake checks.  Day 5 is when I stopped being judicious with lollipops and began to throw them in the back seat with reckless abandon.  By this point the car had developed an abnormal toddler stench and crumbs were prolific.  “Do whatever you want guys, just stop screaming.  Here’s a bottle of cheez whiz.  Go crazy.” I also can not downplay the bloating effect of five days of fast food on the body.  Okay.  It’s BLOAT.  I ACTUALLY AM SKINNY IN REAL LIFE.  Now that we have that all straightened out, let’s get back to my captivating story.

Vail Pass, Colorado was only the most beautiful place in the entire world.  I think they filmed the Sound of Music here.  Behind me is a colony of Prairie Dogs.  Every time I come to the realization that North America has cool wildlife, I lose it a little bit.  That’s why my face looks like that.  I never wanted to leave this rest stop.  That’s right.  This is a rest stop.  That’s how beautiful Vail is.  Even their rest stop can’t be marginalized.

Speaking of terrible bathrooms, after Colorado and this neat valley we couldn’t get a picture of because we were both driving, and a nail biting descent, we hit Utah.  OhhOohhhh Utah.  The toilets in the Utah desert are simply very, very deep holes dug into the desert.  With a toilet lid.  I had a moment of anxiety when I imagined tiny Maisy Jo plunging into the toilet hole and me with no recourse.  I did not let MJ fall into the toilet hole, thank you Jesus and amen.

The desert is bleak y’all.  Not my favorite thing.  I’m not sure what to say.  There were plants and birds and rocks and things, there was sand and hills and rings.  After much desert and many gas stops, we made it to Salt Lake City, Utah.  For not any other reason than that of my love for cults.  After nine hours of driving I did not stop for dinner.  I did not stop at the hotel.  I did not pass go.  I went straight to the Temple.  The Mormon Temple.

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The Mormon Temple was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, especially because on many highways around the country you may think you are coming upon a theme park castle, only to realize that it’s just the Mormon Temple and you forgot your holy underwear so what is even the point?

FullSizeRender 21This is me taking a selfie in front of the temple which might be really disrespectful, but I just really wanted to and did you just say one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control, and oh gosh I’m the worst.  I went in excited and came out thinking “there but for the grace of God go I.”  I really hope to tell some Mormons about grace someday.

Day 6- Utah- California

And here is the most unexpectedly cool part of our journey.  The Great Salt Flats of Utah.  It needs to be mentioned that Utah felt really prehistoric.  I get why there are so many dinosaur fossils there.  It’s like hella mesozoic.  (Is that factually correct?  I only got up to teaching third grade science and we don’t cover paleontology)  Pictured above is some weird statue that Nick thought was interesting and I thought was lame, but was game enough to stop and look at.

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The flats were bright and crusty and crunchy and surprisingly delightful.  (I mean, look at those mountains in the background.  They’re really t-rexy aren’t they??)

They were the perfect place to execute my road trip dubsmash.

Next up was Nevada.  Nevada, surprisingly has a lot of wild horses, and unsurprisingly has terrible 4G.  I know this because I was streaming the HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone audio book off of YouTube.  Because Day 6 there is none songs that I want to listen to.  Not.  A.  One.  The kids had destroyed their earphones pretty much off the bat and kept asking me to turn down my music/audio/weeping, but I refused.  I’m selfless that way.

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Enjoy this time lapse of my children trying to return feeling to their feet after being constrained in harnesses for almost a full week.

Nick and I decided to spurge and stay at Lake Tahoe for our last night of our journey!  #worthit

Going back to Lake Tahoe is high on my list of priorities.  It’s so pretty!  Which you can’t tell from these low grade phone pictures, but maybe I’ll treat you to some pictures Nick took with his actual camera, and then it’s just like you’re there.  Sticky car seat buckles and all.

Day 7.  Lake Tahoe- Monterey

Oh easy.  Quick drive.  Let the kids take a quick dip in the lake.  Get a donut.  Then SIT IN TRAFFIC FOR FIVE HOURS.

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Maybe the craziest I have ever actually been is day 7 with my kids.  Not moving.  Ugh California!  Stop being so cool and overpopulated.  California is in a drought, so it is crispy and brown and about to catch on fire every single moment.  People beep their horns a lot here- I had forgotten that.

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We made it to California.  And after living in a hotel for many moons we made it into our house.  The only thing that got us through was the grace of God and lotsa prayers.

Now that we’re all caught up on each other’s lives I can start blogging again.  About what I do not know, but I’ll think of something.  I always do.  🙂