That Time That Butterflies Explained it All.

I was walking along, minding my own business, enjoying the sweltering humidity that is a June-Day-Between-Thunderstorms, when I all of a sudden found myself in a deeply philosophical place.

There was a flutter of activity, and I looked about. Butterflies. Blue butterflies. Green Butterflies. Orange Butterflies. Busily flapping about and clearly engaged in an important task.

Then I noticed that two landed on the ground near each other. I needed to get my camera ready!

Then a third!!

Oh, this was a regular butterfly convention happening. Thank goodness I was present to record the moment for posterity.

I got down on my knees and held the camera to my eye, which is when I realized what exactly they were all so excited about.

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They had all landed on a nice, fresh pile of dog poo and were busily sucking away at it.

This was more than I wanted to know about the dietary habits of butterflies. About the origins of their bold colors and their graceful flying abilities. About the tastiness of dog poo.

Yet, this moment seemed to offer so much wisdom. I found myself involuntarily creating new Southern Colloquialisms – an unavoidable past-time in Alabama, because we do love a memorable saying…

For when that annoying person is really getting on your last nerve…

“Three butterflies could land on that turd and he’d still stink.”

For when your kid has had an exceptionally whiny day…

“He’s three butterflies short of a turd party.”

When there’s that perfect Mom with the perfect hair and perfect nails and perfect outfit and perfect makeup and perfect kids and perfect house…

“She may look shiny and bright, but I guarantee you she’s sitting on a pile of dung somewhere in her life.”

When you’ve had a spectacularly pleasing day…

“I’m as happy as the first butterfly to a fresh dog log.”

For that person who always seems to make the worst choices…

“She could’ve had every flower in the forest but she chose to slurp on a turd.”

 For when you’re trying to look at the bright side of a bad situation…

“They say you can’t polish a turd, but you sure can land three pretty butterflies on it.”

To remind yourself that the fifteen dollars worth of Taco Bell you’re about to eat is totally normal….

“No matter how pretty and tiny you are, sometimes you just wanna eat like crap.”

When things are going too well…

“There’s dookie somewhere under all these butterflies.”

So go forth out into the world. Bolder and more confident. Having gained the wisdom of butterflies who make poor nutritional choices.

Boom. A Decade.

Last week was my ten year anniversary of writing on this blog.

As in, a decade of my life has been lived, and is recorded, on this website.

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It’s really quite mind-blowing – to me, and probably only to me. My first feeling about all that is that I am so much older than I was a decade ago.

I started on a complete whim. With way too little thought put into the commitment I was signing up for. It was as if I was purchasing a baby parrot and nobody happened to mention that parrots live 60 years and hey I might wanna take a minute to consider how my next 60 years look and if I have room in my schedule for a talking bird and all the poop it’ll make.

But the friends I’ve made from blogging have outweighed the crap I’ve had to clean up due to blogging, so, totally worth it.

Because I do adore numbers as well as friends, let’s talk numbers.

In ten years, I have written 2,353 posts. I started out writing more than seven times a week (It was before you could have a Facebook status, so I had a lot to say), and now write one, maybe two times a week. And I’m actually finally cool with that.

Of the 2,353 posts, I am most likely now embarrassed by 600 or so. I have only deleted 2. Oh – and I have 6 secret posts. You’ll have to ask about those.

I have had over 11 million visitors, with the completely random day of January 10, 2014 being my most heavily visited day – with a total of 126,847 visitors. Currently, a normal amount of daily visitors is around 1,300. Because, as we all know, blogging is extinct. It’s the Dodo Bird of the internet. The Pterodactyl of Social Media. But as I am the worst at quitting while I’m ahead, here I still am.

But back to the numbers.

My most popular post, at over 5 million views, featured photos of my butt a few dozen times. Its various prequels and sequels fill out my top 5 posts, because denim wisdom is, apparently, my most valuable contribution to society. Too bad it’s all outdated and I have no motivation to spend my days photographing my hind quarters in a dressing room.

After the jeans posts, Ali’s debut into Geography at 2 1/2 years old is next most popular. For the record I’d like to say that Noah is seven and doesn’t know all his states. This was one of those weird first child freak accidents. But her voice is fantastically adorable so it makes up for my cluelessness about how education works.

Oddly, the most therapeutic posts for me were the ones about what would have been tragedies, except that I was able to share them with you, in all their ridiculous how-did-this-happen-to-me glory. Such as when I went to get Noah up from a nap and discovered a bat flying around his room. AND HE CLAIMED IT BIT HIM. And the time I picked up my kid’s giant turd out of the bathtub and “accidentally” threw it at my husband. When I lived out the worst nightmare Chuck E Cheese can deliver a mom. And multiple sleepwalking injuries (some requiring ER visits), such as the time I jumped out of bed and ran into a wall – twice in one night. And also the time that my children were chased by an angry cottonmouth – and also we found a misplaced boob.

And of course medical posts. What is a blog without stories on colonoscopies, vasectomies, tonsillectomies, hysterectomies, stress tests, swallowing a camera on purpose, and illegal lactation medications.

In random news, breast pumps talk.

And I’ve had some fun with Essential Oils. Maybe a little too much fun. Is there an oil for that?

I got to interview a graffiti artist named Moist.

I met and befriended a family of bunnies.

I was able to track down and crack the case of Uncle Joe, owner of Uncle Joe’s Tot Locker. I stalked down my mysterious celebrity twin. I stalked my hacker and found the street view of their house. (I might have a stalking problem.)

I found, and watched, the movie I was in as a kid – the one where the gangster dies of syphilis.

I was able to prove that children aren’t, and perhaps shouldn’t, be bathed as often as our Mommy Guilt tells us.

I struck up a relationship with a spammer.

And it took me nine years, but I finally dipped my toes into political commentary – but only with lots of .gifs and because Alabama is so cray.

Noah starred in memes and fashion videos and was, to be quite honest, the best blogger’s toddler ever. And also the butt of all my jokes for years.

I made an entire blogging series out of my favorite neighbor ever (who has now left me and is therefore my ex-neighbor, much to my daily tragic loneliness), Not-Crazy-Renee.

My husband and I did, and blogged about, stupid insane things like making a meat bouquet. And, although we did this before our blogging days, there needed to be a record of the time we fibbed (stretched-the-truthed) ourselves out to the roof of an Atlanta skyscraper – then got locked out. Oh – and we took our wedding cake topper on our thirteenth anniversary trip?! Because blog.

These are just a few of the posts that I remember. I often click on a link to an old post and have absolutely zero recollection of ever writing it. Which is why, for my tenth anniversary of recording our family’s history, I am rewarding myself with getting my entire blog printed out into an Encyclopedia-Brittanica-Sized set of hardback books. For me to read, for Ali to read (she loves reading the first 500 posts, which I printed out many years ago), For Noah to browse and read one day, and for there to be an actual, physical product to represent the thousands of semi-pointless hours that I’ve put into this endeavor.

But the absolute best product to come out of this blog have been friendships. I have met up in real life with more blog friends than I can count, and have had those meetings in at least six states. I have dozens of friends that I would have never met were it not for me sharing my endless meanderings here. I have learned with you, laughed with you, and lived life with you. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

How long have you been hanging around here?

Pokemon Is The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me.

My exhaustion of hearing about the HP of every Pokemon ever created can be a heavy burden. And I grow weary of hearing the difference between GX and EX and Ultra and Mega and X. I languish from my child asking me for eBay searches and Amazon browsing for more and more and more Pokemon cards.

But oh.

The power one wields when a child of questionable temperament falls hopelessly and completely in obsession with something is indeed a very, very effective power.

It is worth every banal conversation. Every. Last. One. Of. Them.

Noah is not a people pleaser like his sister before him. So I must find new and creative ways to constantly encourage him in the way he should go. Some things work, some things don’t. But nothing – NOTHING – nothing in the creation of everything has worked as blazingly efficiently as Pokemon Cards.

The first use that made my eyes light up with the power I now held had to do with dirty plates.

Noah has never, not once, picked up his dirty lunch plate or snack napkin or gummy wrapper and put them away without being told to do so.

No matter how many times I tried to tell him he needed to do it without me telling him, or offering him tickets to help him remember, or threatening consequences if he didn’t remember – it literally did not matter. He would not, could not remember to pick up his trash.

But then one day I told him if you don’t pick up your trash, I will take away two Pokemon cards. And the next day he didn’t pick up his trash. And I don’t think he had even conceived of how cruel I could possibly be until that moment. When I told him to go get his Pokemon book and I thumbed through, looking specifically for the cards he talked about the most.

I took two of his most precious cards. His Jumbo Snorlax GX and his Mega Charizard.

He cried. And cried. And cried some more. There is no possible way that he will cry so many tears of grief when I die. He used all his tears on Snorey and Charz.

Since that day, at least a month ago, he has not left a single plate or piece of trash out after consuming food. Not one. He went from a .000 batting average to a 1.000. And, for the record, the consequences weren’t even permanent. I sprung Snorlax and Charizard from the slammer after a couple of days for good behavior, with the dire warning that next time, they would find a permanent home swimming with the fishies in the septic tank.

(Before we continue, I need to say something to Chris. No, dear, if you’re reading this, I would never *actually* flush Pokemon cards down the toilet. I know how you coddle our septic tank as if it were a colicky newborn baby. But I must add an appropriate amount of drama to my threats to be the loving, effective mother that you desire me to be.)

My second brilliantly evil use of Pokemon cards was to get my daily dose of exercise. I’d bought two junk boxes of random Pokemon cards off of Amazon a while back to use as prizes. I had so far used them as rewards in mental math contests between my children (turns out Noah is really good up in his head with math and can nearly compete with his four-year-older sister – when appropriately motivated), so I invented the most genius exercise game ever created for kids. WAY better than Nintendo Wii.

Pokemon Run.

For every quarter mile you run without stopping* or complaining, you earn one Pokemon card.

* Up to five second walk breaks were permissable for road crossings and side stitches and such.

For every continuous mile you run, you get two bonus Pokemon cards, bringing the potential total Pokemon cards up to six earnable per mile.

I explained the rules to the kids. Noah shivered with excitement. Ali, who also enjoys Pokemon cards but doesn’t need as much motivation as her brother, was also excited to get something for something she’d do anyway. And probably secretly relished the opportunity to earn more than her brother, but she’s a people pleaser. She’d never say so.

The run was every bit as magical as I’d hoped.

Noah is usually complaining just for his own personal entertainment at the .2 mile mark. But this run, there was no complaining. None at all. The kid even got a wretched side stitch and DID NOT WHINE. He was leaning over while running, cramming his hand into his side, BECAUSE HE NEEDED THAT LAST POKEMON CARD.

Ali earned 19 cards. Noah earned 12. And they were both thrilled and freaking thankful that I had taken them on such an amazing run. And begged to have another one soon.

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There is nothing like finding the currency that motivates a child. It’s as if I truly finally am in charge of my situation. I use Pokemon cards like they grow on trees now, and it’s worth every penny of all the money I send to Amazon.

So, mothers. So, fathers. I urge you. Find your currency.

Find it soon.

And treasure it with all your might.