Oh Emma, Oh Kate.

Oh Emma, Oh Kate is a series of funny things my kids say. Emma is 11 and Kate is 8. 

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I walked in the living room. Emma and Kate were watching Princess Diaries 2.

Me: Hey girls. Oh, I love this movie! Did you know Julie Andrews is Mary Poppins? (singing) Just a spoon full of sugar helps the….

Kate: Princess Mia is 21 and she can drink wine now.

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Me: Don’t put a lot of salt on your food, please.

Emma: That’s your own opinion.

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We took the girls to an outdoor concert in Minnesota. Kate followed me to the port-a-potty. I used the handicapped stall so we could both fit inside. I didn’t want her waiting outside in the dark by herself.

Me: Here, hold my wine glass.

Kate: Ok.

Me: And here.

I pulled my phone out of my back pocket. Kate “cheers” the wine glass to my phone.

Me: Hold my phone too.

Kate: Oh, I thought you wanted to cheers.

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Scott: LET’S GO, KATE! WHAT’S TAKING YOU SO LONG?

Kate: Knock it off, mommy’s teenage son.

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Kate: Can I make lunch?

Me: Sure. We have mac and cheese, sandwiches, and ….

Kate: Blah blah blah.

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Emma: KATE! Oh, my gosh! I think there’s a rat in your room!

Kate: WHAT!

Emma: Oh, wait. It’s you.

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Scott: You can never have boyfriends, Kate and Emma.

Emma: Neither can you, dad.

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Me: Let me pull that tooth out, Kate. It’s just hanging there.

Kate: No! I’m going to pull your teeth when they fall out!

Me: Mine already fell out. I have adult teeth.

Kate: I mean when you’re an old granny.

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Kate: Where did you go?

Me: I did a workout class with Cody.

Kate: Did Cody make it funner?

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In a crowded grocery store aisle.

Kate: Oooooo!! MOM! Remember these things?! Sooo good!

I took the margarita mix out of her hands and put it back on the shelf.

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Me: You better not be texting boys on your iPod, Emma.

Kate: I have a boy I text.

Emma: What?!

Kate: Papa’s my boy.

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I tried on a new shirt in front of Kate. I was checking out my backside in a mirror.

Kate: NOT cute on the back.

Me: What?

Kate: Just my opinion.

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Scott, Kate and I went shopping at Nordstrom for their Anniversary Sale.

I took Kate to the kids section while Scott shopped in the mens. I checked out at the register.

Saleslady: These socks are nice colors.

Me: Oh. My husband picked those out for himself downstairs. He’s down there now.

Saleslady: Such a good deal too.

Me: Yeah, he’s good at finding deals.

Saleslady: These jeans are adorable.

Me: For my other daughter. She’s not here.

Saleslady: And I’m guessing these are for you, young lady?

Kate: Yeah.

Saleslady: And what about you? The whole family got something but you!

Kate: HERS IS COMING IN THE MAIL. SHE SPENT ALL DAY SHOPPING YOUR SALE ONLINE.

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Kate walked in my writing room with one of my expensive charcoal facial masks smeared all over face.

Me: KATE! HEY! Is that my charcoal mask?! Those are so expensive! You need to ask me before you go through my face stuff.

Kate: (lips not moving because the mask hardened) Don’t make me laugh.

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My in-laws were driving the girls somewhere.

Nana: People with food allergies are getting bad nowadays, huh? Even Southwest Airlines won’t serve peanuts if someone is allergic to them.

Kate: Maybe those people need to think about driving to their place.

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Scott, Emma, Kate and I were driving in the car.

Emma: Can we go to Winstead’s? I love their shakes.

Scott: No.

Kate: Mom, you don’t have to let dad decide. You’re the mom, you know.

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Emma knocked down Kate’s hula hoop.

Kate: HEY! Dad! She knocked down my hula hoop!

Scott: Then defend yourself, Kate. Hit her back!

Me: SCOTT. Don’t tell Kate that! She’s going to …

Kate hit Emma.

Emma: OW! I’M TELLING NANA AND PAPA HOW YOU’RE PARENTING, DAD!

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In the car.

Emma: Stop smiling, Kate. It’s annoying me.

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Kate: Can I have a Luden’s? My throat hurts.

Me: Ok, but your friends can’t come back over.

Kate: What?! Why?

Me: If you’re throat hurts, that tells me you’re sick. I wouldn’t want your friends to catch something contagious from you.

Kate: (swallows) Just checking. Yeah, my throat doesn’t hurt anymore. Weird.

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Special Edition: Oh, kids

Lane, 2nd grade: Has anyone ever told you that a candy cane looks like a crow bar?

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Lane: Wyatt, rain is just God sweating.

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Gabby, kindergarten: You can call me Cicada now.

Me: Like, the bug?

Gabby: Yes. That’s my name now. Cicada.

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Me: Goodnight, girls!

Savannah, preschool: But I want to talk about booties.

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Colton, 1st grade: I remember when Stella was a puppy!

Me: Aw, I know! She was so little!

Colton: She was tinier than my sister’s head.

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Evelyn, preschool: Can I watch Sofia on your TV?

Me: Well, the TV isn’t working.

Evelyn: Maybe it’s dead and it needs to be charged.

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And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

My husband is well endowed.

My husband is well endowed.

I know that’s not anyone’s business but it is a piece of information you need to know before you continue reading because unless you’re me or maybe Scott’s high school hockey player friend or his mom, you wouldn’t know this.

Scott is well endowed.

Stop squirming. I have a point.

Remember the Oregon Trail computer game where we learned how to ford river, caulk a wagon, and then we died of dysentery before reaching Oregon? Your success was largely due to which profession you gave yourself. Banker? You start with extra cash to purchase supplies. Doctor? You’re more likely to survive accidents or illness. Hunter? Your family will never starve.

In many ways, the Oregon Trail is like modern life. Doctor? Your kids will never see the inside of a hospital unless they’re literally dying. Hunter? You’ll never have to shop the meat department at the grocery store. Banker? You’re probably a good saver.

Writer? Oh, this shit is funny as hell and gather, gather around.

I am a writer. One of the things I love about Scott is he allows me to write about our family. I don’t normally ask Scott permission to write about him but this time I did. He said it was fine but his mom and grandma couldn’t read it.

So if you’re Scott’s mom or grandma, please stop reading. Everyone else – you’re good.

My writing niche is humor. I never meant to become a humor writer; the words just happen to come out that way. But a few times – oh, a few times – life hands me a slice of a bulging, ripe piece of fruit and it goes straight to the blog.

For months, Scott complained of a “pulling, achey” sensation in his lower abdomen. The degree of discomfort varied on the day but it was constantly present. He made an appointment with his internal medicine doctor.

Scott wasn’t seen by his doctor on the initial appointment because Scott’s doctor was on vacation.

I’ll tell who wasn’t on vacation – his doctor’s smokin’ hot nurse practitioner. A true ten. A knockout. An beautiful angel saving others in the name of medicine, even if her contribution means asking Scott to drop his pants, turn his head, and cough.

To stand in front of a medical professional with your pants down and legs spread apart is probably uncomfortable. I’ve never stood in this position but I’m guessing it’s similar to the “slide your butt all the way to the edge of the table” speech women hear every year. You have to remind yourself that medical professionals see this every day. You’re one of a million penises, testicles, vaginas and buttholes they’ve seen in their life.

When a patient comes in complaining of a pulling or achey sensation in the groin, the first thing a doctor – sorry – a smokin’ hot nurse practitioner will do is check for a hernia. Based off my WebMD search, I diagnosed Scott with a hernia when he walked in the house.

Me: You never texted me back! What did the smokin’ hot nurse say? It’s a hernia, isn’t it.

Scott: No, no hernia. They did an ultrasound too. I’m still waiting on the radiologist to call me back but the tech said he didn’t see anything.

Me: Well, that’s good. I wonder what it is?

Scott: The nurse said it sounds like a lower abdominal muscle tear. I still need to drop off my urine but she’s guessing it’ll be fine.

Me: Hm, so maybe stop working out so much? What’s wrong with you? Why are you so quiet?

Scott:

Me: Hello?

Scott: LIKE A BUTTON ON A FUR COAT.

Me: What?

Scott: It shrunk. He shrunk up like a frightened turtle.

I laughed.

Me: Ummmm. What?

Scott yanked his jeans open and dropped his underwear and jeans to his feet. There he stood with ‘ole morning glory whipped out in our kitchen.

Scott: LIKE THIS.

Scott folded his penis like an accordion so the tip was showing.

Me: No! It’s never shrunk that small, Scott. I’ve never seen it like that. You’re probably overreacting. Just the tip? It’s too long to go back that far inside your body.

Scott: Just the tip. I looked down and there he was, all scared with stage freight. I’ve never seen him like that before.

Me: But you said the nurse was hot?

Scott: HELL YES, SHE WAS HOT! Smokin’ hot.

Me: Hotter than me?

Scott: Of course not, baby. It doesn’t really matter because I couldn’t even get a chub. I would’ve been happy with it halfway normal. Like this. Or maybe this. She asked if I’ve been with any partners other than you and I’m like, “well, obviously not. Apparently I need my wife in the room for him to come out of his shell.”

Me: SCOTT! NO, YOU DIDN’T.

Scott laughed.

Me: Maybe she didn’t look. Did she laugh?

Scott: No, she had two fingers digging in and told me to cough.

Me: I’m sure she’s seen all kinds of penises. I’m sure it wasn’t that bad. Look at women’s vaginas after giving birth. You…

Scott: LIKE A BUTTON ON A FUR COAT.

My husband is well endowed.

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And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

 

I dumped Scott for Cody.

I know many of you have been reading my blog for years now.

You’re probably not shocked at the title “I dumped Scott for Cody” because you know I’m scheming you with my words.

You are correct. The title is not what it appears.

Cody is a girl.

I dumped Scott for Cody. The statement is still true.

No, I’m not a lesbian. 

I dumped my old workout partner – Scott – for a new workout partner – Cody.

I do not sugar coat blog posts. We’re all friends here and by friends, I mean real friends. Not some Facebook friend that has OMG. Best. Husband. Ever. Or an Instagram friend with smiling kids at the park, because it’s a good day with good friends! Friends also don’t let friends post videos of feet climbing a stair stepper. We get it. You’re working out.

I mean, it’s totally cool if you scrapbook your life on social media. You’re proud. We all are.

But I don’t scrapbook.

I’m a storyteller. If my husband gives me a present for no reason – he did something awful and he feels guilty. If I go to the park with my kids and friends – you won’t know about it unless something monumental happened, like the time 4-year-old Emma dropped her pants, squatted, and peed in the splash park. And as far as working out – again, you won’t know about it unless I dump Scott for Cody.

Fitness is not new to me. I’ve had a gym card since college and I use it a lot. I’ve worked out with Scott at a gym for the past 15 years. I’ve trained like an elk hunter. I’ve trained for a 5K with my friend, Heather. My new neighbors dragged me to a mud race.

I’m not athletic. I never played sports. I guess the only reason I’ve worked out for so many years is habit. And I train my body to handle something specific – reeling in a marlin, skiing in the mountains, running a 5K or a mud race. As Scott’s wife, my lifestyle is an active one.

Cody is drowning me facedown in my own puddle of boob sweat at Fusion.

Fusion

There are three locations in the area but one concept – you sign up for a class at any of the locations. You show up, take the hour-long class taught by an instructor, and you leave. It’s not an open gym; it’s classes only. And if you miss the class you signed up for, you’re charged. This forces you to not be a quitter. This is good for me because I have no problem quitting free of charge.

And now I can’t quit. I’m a hostage.

That came out wrong. Let me try that again – I dread walking into the building.

Fusion’s tagline is “shock your body.” It’s printed on the door and it makes me feel like I’m going to get electrocuted if I touch the door handle. But that’s ridiculous. Electrocution.

They shock your body during class instead.

Things I’ve learned the past few weeks at Fusion:

  1. I’m the stumbling baby giraffe everyone watched on the Internet and I swear everyone is watching me. Not only am I tall and lanky but I can’t tell my left side from my right side. The mirror confuses me. Cody reminded me that everyone is lost when they first start Fusion. She gave me helpful words of encouragement like “find a spot so you can shadow the instructor” and “your days of not washing your hair are gone” and “don’t bring a tiny washcloth as your sweat rag. You might need a beach towel at first.”
  2. Barre is not pronounced “bear” as in “the bear is trying to kill me.” It’s pronounced “bar” as in “the workout is on the ballerina bar” or “I swear to God, if I make it out alive, I’m going straight to the bar after this.” Ballerinas make me cry.
  3. Cardio Sweat Lab should be called Class Swamp Ass. I asked Google if excessive sweating is a health condition. Google said I might die. I apply deodorant on my crotch now. I say this like I’m joking but, in fact, I am not.
  4. Bikini Boot Camp is not taught in bikinis. So don’t ask, guys. Bikini Boot Camp refers to kicks, jabs, jumps, and uppercuts for the next time you ask if this class is taught in bikinis.
  5. I don’t understand why we have eyebrows anymore. The sweat, you guys. The sweat. Isn’t the point of eyebrows to stop sweat from dripping and burning saltwater into your eyes? I peel off my workout clothes when I get home because they’re stuck to my skin. And then I go straight to the shower because Cody brought me to a new level of boob sweat Scott has never given me. I’m still not a lesbian.
  6. The burpees at Fusion make me see the Devil himself. Did you know burpees are a workout developed by Satan? It’s true. I saw him. Here’s what you do: Stand, drop to a squat, jump your feet back to a plank position, jump your feet to a squat again, and jump up to a standing position. Repeat. The stars come out and meet my friend, Lucifer.
  7. Everyone at Fusion has favorite instructors. I haven’t found my favorites. Each one has a special way of making me wring my sweaty hair all over my mat at the end of class. I’ve determined Satan must be a woman with a rocking six-pack body.
  8. No one will call you out if you show up with your workout pants inside out. I had two choices once I realized what my dumbass did: 1. Grab the instructor’s microphone and announce that I know my pants are inside out, please don’t judge me. Or 2. Text Cody what I did and tell her I must walk out of the building backwards, reading “Shock your body” as the door closes in front of me. I went with option 2.

I don’t sugar coat my blog posts. Fusion takes me through a workout I’ve never experienced before. When I’m done with a class, I get in the car and sign up for another one.

Because I dumped Scott for Cody.

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Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

Date your spouse.

This post is sponsored post by Fyllan and Rozzelle Court Restaurant in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Date your spouse.

It’s marriage advice. You’ll hear it at weddings. You might even hear it repeated at a baby shower. It’s advice for empty nesters or retirees too, although that’s a guess. I haven’t reached that point in life.

The fact that it is a piece of advice will tell you it’s hard. Dating your spouse is hard.

Babies are good at putting out a rockstar couple’s fire. Really good, like rolling in on a firetruck with a water hose. But I’m not here to tell you that. You know. You also know it’s not always the kids. It’s stress too – the adult kind of stress that no one sees coming. A job loss. A breast cancer diagnosis. Losing a baby. Caring for aging parents. Life will throw something at you.

Even the day-to-day repetition can turn a marriage from for better into for worse. This isn’t a sad post. It’s a real one.

Date your spouse.

What kind of date? Well, that’s up to you.

I’ll tell you one of my favorite dates – feed me and take my dirty dishes away. 

For better is red lipstick. It’s watching Scott knot a tie even though he changed his mind later and went with a cowboy shirt instead. It’s curling my big hair. Scott trims his beard. He won’t shave it all because he knows I love his beard. For better is when Scott kisses my hand in the car on the way to our dinner date. I’m driving, of course, because I wear the pants in the relationship. That was a terrible joke, Scott. I’m sorry. For better is a dress and high heels. The heels that are just high enough to put me face-to-face with Scott. I love being his equal. He opens the restaurant doors for me and lets me walk in first.

For worse is putting in our name and waiting. It’s staring at other couples waiting. Everyone is on their phones.

For worse is making a mental note who was waiting before you. It’s our night, not theirs.

For worse is knowing you’re paying a babysitter to watch the kids while you stare at a hostess. You question if you remembered to give her your name after asking how long the wait is. Yes, I have done this before and Scott will never let me live it down.

Romance shouldn’t come with a wait.

Fyllan (pronounced “fill-in”) is a new restaurant app for your android or iPhone. I got to try out the app on Friday. We never waited for a table at Rozzelle Court Restaurant in the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City. Scott and I checked in by showing the app code and we were ushered directly to our table.

The app works in real time so you never have to call or book a reservation days in advance. The app is free to download.

The app is easy to use. We picked a restaurant from the map.

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We wanted a restaurant with ambience. Oh, I don’t know, maybe a 15th-century Italian courtyard ambience. And live music! Sold.

Rozzelle Court Restaurant at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

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We booked two guests for a 7 pm dinner time on July July 21, 2017.

Each restaurant will display a price to book. The price is determined by the restaurant according to the average ticket cost. This cost, paid on your credit card at time of booking, is used as a credit towards your final bill. The credit will also cover gratuity. Restaurants may list specials or additional options such as “meet the chef.” Fyllan charges 10% of your final bill for its service. Fyllan will make sure you’re dating – not waiting.

And rest of your night is yours.

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Thank you Rozzelle Court Restaurant and the Nelson-Atkins Museum. I am not a food blogger or even a foodie but you sure do make me look good on a Friday night.

And Fyllan – thank you for giving us a date night without the wait.

Scott still knows how to make me laugh for the better.

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Links: 

Fyllan app

Rozzelle Court Restaurant

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

I interviewed Trooper Ben.

We all have those friends with certain careers that can hook us up.

Maybe you have a friend that works at Chick-Fil-A and you score free chocolate shakes when you walk in.

Or it’s possible you started choking on a fish bone at dinner and your doctor friend jumped up and performed the Heimlich Maneuver on you.

Photographer friend? Maybe she gives you a family photoshoot for your birthday.

Or maybe, just maybe, you know a highway patrol trooper. You can throw questions at him without feeling like you did something wrong.

Meet Trooper Ben on Twitter.

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Trooper Ben works for the Kansas Highway Patrol. The man has 28,000 followers on Twitter – although, I would call them more his friends. He’ll answer your questions with humor but he also keeps in mind he doesn’t want you to die either. If he has time, he’ll tweet Q&As from his followers.

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I found Trooper Ben’s twitter handle from Eric Stonestreet.

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Yes, this Eric Stonestreet. The K-State family is a close one.

It doesn’t really matter how I met Trooper Ben. We’re friends now even though I’ve never met him in real life. And hopefully, I never meet him because I’m a safe driver.

Mostly.

Ok, like one speeding ticket.

I’ve gotten out of two speeding tickets with warnings.

Oh, and then there was that one time I got a ticket for not moving over a lane while a South Dakota trooper pulled over another car on the highway. Yes, I broke the law and I wasn’t safe. My ticket was fair. I should have moved over a lane. But that wasn’t my question for Trooper Ben.

My question for Trooper Ben:

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If you want the long version of this story, click here.

In short – I was pulled over for not moving over a lane. The South Dakota trooper asked me to leave my car, walk along the side of the highway, and sit in his car while he chatted and wrote me a ticket. This happened in the middle of the afternoon. My husband and two daughters were in the car. It was clear we were on a family road trip.

Trooper Ben was kind enough to give me a call today and explain the trooper’s possible reasonings.

I did not record our conversation for direct quotes but I did take notes.

Trooper Ben asks drivers to sit in his car for various reasons, although it is rare.

If he smells alcohol, he has been known to ask the driver to sit in his car. Using his car as a “neutral scent” zone, he can smell possible alcohol on the driver’s breath. My breath smelled like coffee, cream, sugar, and nachos cheese Doritos.

Another reason – smuggling drugs. By questioning a person away from the “comfort zone” of their own car, he can gather more information from the driver to make sure stories add up – Who is in the car with you? What are the kids’ names? Where are you going? Believe it or not, people have been known to smuggle drugs with kids in the car. The particular car I was driving at the time was a rental and it had Florida plates. I gave the South Dakota trooper my Kansas driver’s license.

I asked Trooper Ben the number one answer I’ve heard when I tell this story – was it possible the trooper just wanted to hit on me away from my husband? Trooper Ben said he hopes that’s not the case. Looking back, I don’t feel like this particular trooper was hitting on me but I do remember being scared that he might. I felt vulnerable away from my husband.

My biggest question for Trooper Ben – did I have the right to refuse to get into the trooper’s vehicle if I wasn’t under arrest? Trooper Ben said it wouldn’t be an unreasonable request if I feared for my safety. Another option Trooper Ben suggested is to ask if I could record the conversation via video or voice.

In the end, everyone was safe. I still got a ticket. It was possible the South Dakota trooper thought I was smuggling drugs. But I can’t interview that trooper to ask him why.

I can only interview Trooper Ben.

Don’t forget to move over a lane when you see another car pulled over.

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Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

Oh Emma, Oh Kate.

Oh Emma, Oh Kate is a series of funny things my kids say. Emma is 11 and Kate is 8. 

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Me: It’s 9:00! Go to bed!

Kate: Mom, it’s 8:49.

Emma: Yeah mom, stop rounding.

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Kate: Wait, a minute. Are you writing down what I’m saying?

Me: Yes.

Kate: Write to the people that I said you have a big butt.

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Kate: Happy New Day’s Eve!

Me: What?

Kate: Every day is New Day’s Eve.

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Kate: Can you imagine the first person to eat an egg?

Me: Yeah, can you imagine someone saying, “I should eat that thing sliding out of a chicken’s butt.

Kate: What?!

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Emma: MOM! I picked off a scab where Kate scratched me and now I’m bleeding again and basically this is all Kate’s fault and needs to be grounded again.

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Kate: My temperature is 89.1.

Me: That’s low. Pretty sure you’d be dead. That’s not right.

Kate: I put it on my chest.

Me: Well those kind of thermometers need to be put inside your body – like under your tongue. Or up your butt.

Kate: Butt?

Me: Sometimes they do that for babies since they can’t hold a thermometer under their tongue.

Kate: What about poking inside the eye?

Me: It’s placed somewhere in your body that wouldn’t hurt, crazy.

Kate: So putting things up your butt doesn’t hurt?

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Kate: What was your first job?

Me: I worked at a daycare.

Kate: Yeah right.

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Leaving for the pool.

Me: Anyone need to pee before we go?

Kate: Nah, I’ll just go in the pool.

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Hostess: If you can follow me, your table is ready.

Kate: I’d rather just sit at the bar.

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Me: STOP. FIGHTING! Kate! Stop being bossy. I’m going to start calling you momma bear!

Kate: Stop it, mom! I’m going to start calling you mommy bear don’t care!

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Me: Girls, today is the first day of summer!

Kate: It is?

Me: Yep, longest day of the year.

Kate: In real life?

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I asked Emma and Kate the same question, but separately. They didn’t hear each other’s answers.

Me: So who’s the cutest boy in your grade?

Emma: Ugh, mom. They’re all so annoying.

Me: So who’s the cutest boy in your grade?

Kate: Why are YOU askin’?

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Emma: Mom! Kate’s being rude to the neighborhood kids!

Me: What did she do?

Emma: She said we live in the biggest house on the street and she’s making people feel bad.

Me: KATE! GET IN HERE! NOW! Kate, you watch your mouth. Stop saying we live in the biggest house on the street. One – it’s not true. Two – Stop saying things like that. How would you feel if someone said that to you?

Kate: Sorry. The words just come out of my mouth.

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Emma walked in the kitchen.

Me: Hm, I don’t think Kate will like my dinner tonight.

Emma: Looks good to me. Who cares? The kid will survive.

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Kate had a friend over.

Friend: What’s this?

Kate: That’s a National Geographic Kids book. My mom gets free stuff from them because she writes for them. They’re in Washington, DC.

Friend: Where’s Washington, DC?

Kate: (points) Like, way over there or something.

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At Target with Kate.

Kate: I need a new bikini.

Me: You have a lot of swimsuits! No, you don’t.

Kate: Only one bikini.

Me: You’ll have to ask your dad about that one.

Kate: He won’t understand. He’s a boy.

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Kate rambled something.

Me: Sorry, I was reading something. What did you say?

Kate: Don’t make me waste my voice again.

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Kate: Emma has lipstick on!

Me: I don’t care.

Emma: Kate, you wear lipstick too!

Kate: No, I don’t. DON’T make me raise my voice at you, Emma!

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Me: Ready for math camp next week, Emma?

Emma: Ugh, I don’t know why you’re making me do this.

Me: Because your teacher highly suggested it before middle school. I put you in the same week as one of your friends. I figured you’d have a funner time.

Emma: Funner is not a word, WRITER.

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I was working on an article for SimplyKC magazine. Kate walked in my writing room.

Me: Hey, this is a work day for me. You need to get out of here.

Kate: Sorry. Can’t. I’m not old enough to leave the house on my own.

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Me: Oh my gosh, girls. 105 heat index today.

Kate: No wonder I’m so hot! I thought it was my shirt.

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I took the girls out to get things for our upcoming road trip to Minnesota. I pulled up to the library.

Emma: Can we stay in the car?

Me: No. It’s too hot. And I need you two to pick out some library books here for our road trip.

Emma: I thought we were going to Barnes and Noble.

Me: We are because I need to get something from there. You’re going to get books from the library. It’s free here.

Kate: But everything in life is free to me and Emma.

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There’s a new grocery store in our part of town. I took the girls in to check it out on the first day. A lady handed Emma a store map. Emma opened the map.

Emma: We are here. And this is where mom made us follow her into the exit door because she doesn’t read signs.

 

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Oh Kids: Nieces Edition. 

I put sunscreen on myself before I got my nieces ready for the pool.

Evelyn, 4: You smell like swim lessons.

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I took my nieces to the library. I let them walk around the kids’ section with other kids playing.

Kid: Is that your sister?

Evelyn, 4: Yes, her name is June.

Kid: Oh.

Evelyn: You should say hi to her.

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Me: Do you take naps with your nana, Evelyn?

Evelyn: No, I don’t take naps.

Me: Oh. Hm, are you lying to me?

Evelyn: No.

Me: I’m going to ask your nana.

Evelyn: But you can’t ask her because she doesn’t lie.

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This picture cost me $20.

I don’t post many pictures of my kids on social media.

It isn’t because I don’t want others to know what my kids look like or I’m trying to protect their digital footprint.

I am in a unique position when it comes to social media – I have public accounts. Anyone can look at my Facebook page, Instagram page or Twitter page. We don’t necessarily have to be “friends.” I made those public because it’s a platform to showcase my work. I’m a writer.

And to be honest, an Instagram account with pictures of my kids would be boring to everyone but me. It’s the same concept as handing someone my kid’s scrapbook – anyone can look at it and enjoy it but I am the most proud of it. Social media only shows the good memories. Happy moments. Sometimes people forget that and families appear to be perfect.

I’m not perfect.

My family is not perfect. Happy – yes, most of the time, we are. Do I patiently wait for my family to run out of clean clothes before they realize I’m retired from picking up their their dirty clothes? Why yes, I do, because I’m a mean mom and evil wife.

I don’t post many pictures of my kids because I ask my kids’ permission to post pictures. Emma is eleven and Kate is eight. They both realize people they’ve never met will see the pictures. For the most part, Emma always gives me permission and Kate never does. I also never ask Kate because she rarely smiles for posed pictures. Her reason is because she “doesn’t like fake smiling” and no one needs to be in her damn business. Ok, she didn’t say damn but I know she’s thinking it.

I asked Kate to take a selfie with me at a neighborhood party this weekend.

She agreed.

I was shocked.

We took the photo.

Kate: That will be $20.

Me: What?

Kate: You heard me. I know you sold one of your books and you have a twenty dollar bill in your pocket.

Me: I’m not giving you twenty dollars to smile for a picture.

Kate: What if I let you put this picture on Instagram or Facebook?

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This picture cost me $20.

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Kate will take your money.

Biodegradable marriage.

Today’s blog post is brought to you by the sun, sunscreen, bleach cream, and Scott and I were married on July 17, 2004 by a pastor in front of one hundred witnesses.

When people say they don’t want to get married because it’s a piece of paper – they’re right. Marriage is a piece of paper.

It’s a piece of paper that can be easily misplaced when a newlywed couple moves from Manhattan, Kansas to Charleston, South Carolina. Misplaced meaning it probably got thrown in the trash. Thirteen years later, it most likely doesn’t exist because paper is biodegradable, much like a marriage. Hold on. That last sentence came out wrong. Scott and I are still married. According to our health insurance, we are not.

“Mr. Burton, we regret to inform you that Julie Burton will not be covered on your health insurance policy effective immediately. Please submit a valid marriage license stating you are married.”

Proof.

The insurance company wanted proof Scott and I are married. They also wanted proof that Emma and Kate are Scott’s dependents. Emma and Kate’s birth certificates were sufficient to prove that Scott is the father of Emma and Kate Burton. The birth certificates also lists the mother – me, Julie Burton. I share the family last name because we’re married and Scott didn’t bang his sister. 

I’ve nagged the shit out of Scott to order a new marriage license. No, I didn’t politely remind Scott. I nagged because we’re married.

A few months ago, Scott pointed out a dark discoloration on my face because we’re married. 

Scott reminded me for weeks that my face is flawed and I should get checked out by a dermatologist because we’re married. 

I lied. Scott didn’t tell me my face is flawed. But he was concerned I would get skin cancer. But, to me, he totally looked for flaws because we’re married.

I finally made an appointment with a dermatologist.

“Mrs. Burton, your insurance card isn’t working. We even called and they said you aren’t covered anymore. You’ll have to self pay and resubmit it when it’s working again.”

Mrs. Burton.

My thumbs rage-texted Scott in the waiting room.

“Julie Burton? If you follow me, I’ll take you back to the room and the doctor will be right in.”

Burton.

The doctor walked in the room.

“Hey Julie, what’s going on today?”

“I have this discoloration on my face. I’m a little concerned about it. It’s been there for months now. The intensity changes but it’s always there.

“What SPF sunscreen do you wear?”

“Oh, high. 70, maybe? I’m paranoid about that stuff. I’ve been at the pool with my kids a lot this summer.”

“Do you reapply?”

“I do to my kids. Hm, no, not to me. I kinda forget about taking care of myself when I’m with them.”

“I see. This is from the sun. Make sure you continue to wear a high SPF and reapply. That’s key, make sure you reapply. I’ll prescribe some bleach cream that should help balance out the discoloration.”

“That’d be awesome. Thank you.”

I walked out to the receptionist.

“That will be 108 dollars, Mrs. Burton.”

Mrs. Burton.

Dear health insurance company, I regret to inform you you didn’t get a wedding invite on July 17th, 2004. You missed a hell of a party. You also missed being a witness to the words, “I take you in sickness and in health as long as we never lose the marriage license because official name changes, tax returns, and bank account statements won’t be enough to prove we’re married.

Marriage is a piece of paper.

Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

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But Did You Die?: Setting the Parenting Bar Low.

Stop here!

Just scroll.

You found the landing page to purchase an autographed copy from Julie Burton of But Did You Die?: Setting the Parenting Bar Low by A Bunch of Know It Alls.

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But Did You Die? is the fifth hilarious installment in the New York Times bestselling I Just Want to Pee Alone series by Jen Mann. But Did You Die? is a collection of terrible (but also kind of good) parenting advice from some of the funniest moms and dads on the ‘net. And that one super helpful childless friend we all have who loves to tell us we’re parenting wrong. So put your kids in front of the TV and let them eat junk while you read this book and laugh your tail off. We set the bar low so you can feel better about your parenting skills. You’re welcome.

Thank you for giving me the gift of your time over the past eight years to read my words on this blog. Your support allowed me to land a spot in my first book. I hope you like my essay titled, Oh Shit.

Because the day your child cusses is a huge milestone.

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An autographed copy of But Did You Die? is $15 payable via PayPal or credit card.

Shipping is included if you live in the U.S. If you are overseas (including Canada and Mexico), I would love to send you a copy but the additional shipping is between $15 and $25. Please email me if you are still interested.

Also – if you would like the book to made out to someone other than you, please shoot me an email and let me know after you’ve paid.

Any additional questions or to check your book status, feel free to email me at: Jbugbytes@gmail.com

And thank you! Thank you so much. — Julie Burton

Ok, now you can stop scrolling and click here: 

Buy Now Button

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Shiplap lover.

What makes something funny?

I don’t have an answer for you and I consider myself a humor writer. I can tell you humor is an art. There are different styles of humor – parody, satire, slapstick, irony, sarcasm, puns, spoofs, dark humor, the unexpected. Any stand-up comedian will tell you timing plays a role in humor. My parents will tell you humor is genetic.

But recognizing when you’re a dumbass and telling the world takes a certain skill. I once told Scott that people only think I’m funny because I’m good at making fun of myself.

It’s called the dumbass humor.

I was in the bathtub when I realized – holy shit, I might be the dumbest person I know. And I know a lot of dumbasses.

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What is this empty tub you see?

That’s the after.

Before I get to my story, let’s talk about my house. If Scott got his way, our house would look similar to a mountain lodge. Towering windows, ceilings that can easily fit a 15-foot Christmas tree, wood beams, a statement shed chandelier. Animal fur rugs under your feet and big game animals staring at you as you drink your hot cocoa with a splash of whiskey.

I mean, I don’t have anything against mountain lodges. They’re beautiful. They have a charm about them that makes you go straight for the red wine, the stout beer, the whiskey, and the medium rare steak. It’s hearty, warm, and full bodied. It’s man versus the wild – even if the eyes of the wild are made from glass.

We live at an elevation of 1,040 feet above sea level. We live in Kansas. We do not have majestic views of mountains but one time Scott saw our next door neighbor topless, popping a zit on her face in the mirror. Stop. It wasn’t at this house. Scott closed our blinds at our old house one night and there she was, really digging in with her nails. And Scott isn’t a peeping tom if he called me to watch too. That’s as far as we get for views of majestic – fine – full but a little saggy mountains.

In order to make our house a normal looking Kansas home, I need to balance the man vs. wild on our walls. I try to soften our home with flowers and white knit blankets. I weave my love of script and words with Scott’s fur and glass eyes staring at us. I think I do a good job. I am always looking for ways to mix our own version of the outdoors into our home.

The first weekend of the month, thousands of people head to the historic West Bottoms of Kansas City. You will find stores filled with antiques, one-of-a-kind vintage finds, thrifty picks, other people’s junk, whatever. It’s an interior designer’s dream. I went down to the West Bottoms this past weekend with two girlfriends. We wandered into store after store, each talking about our homes and our personal styles.

I found a perfect piece.

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Shiplap lover.

Me: Oh! This is cute. I have a whole fishing theme going on in our bathroom. Shiplap lover. Sounds sexy.

Cody: Oh, you should get it then.

Me: Yeah, I think I will. I’ll get it to decorate the shelf by our tub. It’s perfect.

Kathy: What’d you get?

Me: Isn’t this cute? I have a fishing theme in our master bath.

Kathy: Oh. Yeah. Get it.

It was perfect. There’s something about the master bathroom, especially the bathtub, that can be intimate without mushy. Shiplap lover is sexy. If there’s one thing Scott and I love with a passion, it’s fishing. You will see that love in our personal spaces.

Scott: What did you buy with Cody and Kathy?

Me: This. This. Isn’t this cute? Oh, and this too! For the tub.

Scott: What’s a shiplap?

Me: Oh, you know. Like lovers on a ship. It’s like us and fishing!

Scott: I’ve never heard of that.

Me: You’re not romantic. It’s a thing. It’s cute.

Scott: Oh.

Sunday night. I put my new decor pieces out. I filled the tub with epsom salts and oils. I applied a facial mask to my face. I poured a glass of wine, grabbed a book, and my phone. I sank into the tub and looked over at the words shiplap lover.

What is a shiplap anyway? I better make sure it’s not like the bottom deck with the rats or something gross.

Google search: shiplap

Um, what the hell is HGTV’s Fixer Upper? Who is Joanna Gaines and what the hell did I tell everyone I was buying?

Shiplap refers to a style of building material made of wood boards that overlap each other. No, not in the form of making a ship but in the form of wood pieces being nailed up on a wall like a barn. Go ahead – Pinterest search: shiplap. It’s bringing the look of a barn indoors. Some woman named Joanna Gaines from a show called Fixer Upper made it popular.

Shiplap has nothing to do with ships or fishing or getting drunk on the high seas with a lover. Nope. Any reference to fishing and shiplap makes zero sense to anyone that is not a dumbass. I don’t have one wall in my house that is shiplap. How can I be a shiplap lover if I don’t have shiplap? I love fishing and Scott not Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper what the hell? Is that what I’m declaring now? My love for a television show that made shiplap popular?

Not only did my girlfriends probably think to themselves, what the hell was Julie talking about? But Scott called me out on it too. The employee at the store in the West Bottoms probably thought, this dumbass is buying a turquoise starfish with a shiplap sign. Every person I have ever fished with is sitting on their phone and laughing at my anchor, a turquoise starfish and shiplap lover. HGTV viewers, Joanna Gaines and interior designers everywhere are thinking, but those are rocks on her wall. Where’s the shiplap?

What makes something funny?

My dumbass.

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