What a Homeschool Mom’s Therapy Looks Like.

It was the first day back to school after the holidays.

Not only after the holidays, which included two 3.5 day weekends with Daddy at home, but also after a “snow” weekend, full of frolic and laziness.

There was no way this would go well.

And indeed it did not. No one was prepared for academic pursuits, and the dunking of all three of us back into the books was traumatic, to say the least. By 8:54am, everyone had cried. Including nearly almost myself.

My amount of thankfulness I experienced when Not-Crazy-Renee texted me is indescribable.

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She was on her way out of our neighborhood to fly out of town. Yet she had the kindness, thoughtfulness, and compassion to think of me in the midst of her travel flurry.

(Unlike my husband, who had seen the possum on the way to work earlier that morning, but forgot to mention it. Forgot to immediately inform his wife that there was a dead animal just down the road! Inconceivable.)

I attempted to focus on school for a bit longer, but then decided I needed an outlet. Stat.

So I grabbed some supplies, left my children home alone (for my half-mile drive up the street), and set off to find my happy place. My therapy. My mood lifter. But not before appropriately thanking Not-Crazy-Renee.

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I drove slowly up the referenced road scouring the area for a good looking possum. Finally, I spotted her. She was indeed a lovely specimen.

(Except that her eyeballs already being eaten out by a greedy crow, but I could work with that.)

I turned around and parked on the hill. Why do possums always die on hills? Maybe they’re slow like semi-trailer trucks on an incline. Perhaps I should launch an investigation.

I waited for the cars to pass, realizing that I parked in just the wrong spot that forced all the passing cars to straddle my new friend. I hoped they didn’t hit her again in the process.

The area cleared out and I toted my supplies, took some shots, ran most of the supplies back to the car while another car passed, then took one prop back, and shot again.

Photo Shoot #1:

First-Day-Back-to-SchoolThe first day back to school will be the death of us all.”

A dead animal acting out a commentary on my immediate circumstances. Could there be anything more therapeutic?

I think not.

And then the second shot, with a book picked off my shelves specifically for her…

Possum-Reading-Naked-Mole-Rat“Quit trying to be what you’re not.”

I went back to my teaching pursuits with a bounce in my step, happy that I had accomplished something meaningful that day.

But what I couldn’t figure out is what this model’s name is. She now joins the ranks of Buck Skywalker, Crunchy the ‘Possum, Sloppy the Squirrel, Sunset the Armadillo, and Sleepy the Chipmunk, but she herself is currently nameless. Please help.

Who. Is. This. Little Lady.

Now taking suggestions.


I swear this blog isn’t just becoming a roadkill blog. I think. I don’t know. Is it? My apologies. My writing subject matter tends to meander through many various fields of study – from denim to poop to chocolate to roadkill. Follow me on Instagram at @HappyRoadkill. I’ll begin moving my stories over there. Maybe. Unless you want them kept here? I just don’t know what the future holds. 2017 may just need a roadkill blog.

The Tale of Buck Skywalker.

Noah’s most prized gift that came out of Christmas was his very own Noah-Sized Darth Vader.

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Darth wasn’t from us or from Santa, but from Tanya, who knew JUST what Noah was missing in his life.

Noah, who has been wearing a Stormtrooper costume daily since his birthday.

Noah, who told me pre-Christmas as I was putting him to bed, “Every morning when I wake up I have to fight Darth Vader for practice, because I’m just a Stormtrooper in training.”)

So clearly he needed a real Darth in his life. A Darth that is motion sensing and talks every time something moves. A Darth that has a friend mode and a foe mode. A Darth that was ready for the most adoring fan.

I mean. LOOK at that giddy grin.

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LOOK at those toes curled in with excitement!

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It was a match made in heaven. Or on the Death Star. Whatev.

But I didn’t go without observing that Darth could potentially be very beneficial to my own interests as well….

Which brings us to the day after Christmas.

I got a text from my ex-neighbor-still-friend Marliese.

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I did not currently have a deer in my collection. My checklist currently consists of:

Sloppy the Squirrel
● Sunset the Armadillo
Crunchy the ‘Possum
● A Lizard
● A Bird Head (With Spine Sticking out Mortal Kombat style)
● A smashed Vole on a Tortilla chip.

So far, I hadn’t repeated any animals. And I clearly and desperately needed a deer in my collection.

And what a better time for a large animal to show up. …For such a time as this, Darth. For such. A time. As this.

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It is both a terrible and wonderful gift to have friends that encourage me in my most disturbing of hobbies. It is even more terribly wonderful when they provide me tips on where I can go to fulfill my darkest dreams.

It took a couple times driving up and down Highway 119 to find our new friend. Ali was the look out for the right side, Noah the left. Ali felt very concerned about what would happen next.

“Hey Mom, if I see him, you’re not going to slam on the brakes, are you?”

“I promise. I will be very careful.”

Finally, we spotted him. As promised, I carefully pulled into the neighborhood right around the corner – the neighborhood that even possessed an empty lot at which to park – as if it was made for a roadkill photography crew to set up shop.

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I grabbed my camera, and I gave the children their marching orders.

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Darth’s motion sensing dialogue was in full-on manic mode as the children lugged him along the busy highway.

“Your destiny lies with me.”

“Join me and together we can rule the galaxy.”

“Your skills are complete. Impressive. Most impressive.”

“You have learned much, young one.”

“Your destiny lies with me.”

“Join me and together we can rule the galaxy.”

“Your skills are complete. Impressive. Most impressive.”

“You have learned much, young one.”

“Your destiny lies with me.”

“Join me and together we can rule the galaxy.”

“Your skills are complete. Impressive. Most impressive.”

“You have learned much, young one.”

“Your destiny – your destiny – your destiny – your destiny – your deh your deh your deh your destiny lies with me.”

We reached the deer and did a general inspection of the scene. Marliese was right – he was perfect indeed. And he was a he – the tiny antlers that looked more like devil horns gave it away. We took a minute to be sad for him, then began the wait.

Thankful for the generous shoulder and some nice shrubbery for the children to play in (and me to partially hide Darth while I hoped for the amount of passerby to lighten), we waited and watched.

(Because I’m a wuss. I don’t want to be seen taking a picture of roadkill. Maybe I was scarred by the whole Crunchy incident.)

While I worked up my courage, the children slathered me with their usual onslaught of questions.

“Why are his eyes open?”

“He doesn’t look dead. What killed him? Where’s he hurt?”

“Can we get sick just from being near him?”

Finally, just to escape the Inquisition of Children, I braced myself and ran Darth to his prey. I placed him where I wanted him, I knelt in my photographer’s position, and started snapping.

I got all the angles. You never know which one is the one you want to end up with – even the Dark Lord of the Sith can have bad angles.

I ended up with two shots that meant the most to me, and quickly named the deer.

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Buck Skywalker.

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Ali was DONE carrying His Majesty, and left it up to Noah to gracefully escort Darth back to the car.

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We shoved him in the trunk and quickly left the scene, forgetting that it might have been a great idea to switch off his motion sensor before leaving. All the way home we were gently, yet repeatedly, wooed to The Dark Side.

“Your destiny – your destiny – your destiny – your destiny – your deh your deh your deh your destiny lies with me.”

Oh Darth, if only you knew.


p.s. Yes, note cards are already printed and available.

note card Buck Skywalker

p.p.s. That night, still basking in the glow of the christening of Buck Skywalker, I decided it was finally time to create an Instagram account for my Dark Side. And so, @happyroadkill was born. It won’t get updated nearly as often as my main Instagram account, but when it does, I promise it will be worth it.

p.p.s. All of this occurred approximately 24 hours before the passing of Carrie Fisher. From what I know about her personality, I hope she would find it all amusing.

Hate-Fueled, Lovingly Crafted Christmas Cards.

A couple of weeks ago I got served some sponsored posts that made me very angry.

It was an illogical anger – holiday-induced-insanity even – but it happened.

The first one occurred on Instagram.

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First let me say that I do not follow Melissa Joan Hart. I do not follow any celebrities (with the exception of The Big Bang Theory Cast because they’re funny and I do not really know why I follow them but I do.) The fact that I was getting sponsored posts not from brands but from celebrities really irritated me. At first I didn’t know why it angered me so intensely, until I got the second one – this time on Facebook.

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I don’t follow Melissa Joan Hart at all but I don’t follow Tori Spelling even harder.

Getting two in a row, from different social platforms, really helped clarify what I hated about these ads. Even more helpful was discussing them with Not-Crazy-Renee. Being each other’s Spirit Animal often enables us to articulate the whats and whys behind what the other one is currently hating, even when it’s petty and ludicrous.

So let’s bullet journal the reasons my heart was overflowing with holiday hate.

● I have enough angst and guilt over my short-lived season of family photo Christmas card making (was it 2012 and 2013? Or maybe 2011-2013?) that I do not need celebrities I don’t even like showing up in my feed to humble brag about theirs and remind me that I don’t have it together enough to make that happen.

● Really, Tori? You’re unveiling your holiday card? As though there is a crowd gathered around you with bated breath, just dying to see your Christmas card? Oh wait – I guess since you sponsored the post, that answers the question. You’re going to force us to attend your unveiling whether we want to or not.

● The name of the company that is underwriting these ads – Simply to Impress. Yes, that’s the holiday spirit we’re all trying to get back to. That’s why we send Christmas cards. That’s the Reason for the Season.

● The leather-couch-outside thing is so 2013, Tori. Everyone knows that leather couches do not belong in the grass, especially when accompanied by perfectly coiffed humans in formal wear. And if you’re going to do the leather couch thing, at least do it in a large field, the place where leather couches seem to be indigenous (at least that’s what cultural anthropologists will think when they study their excavated collection of 2013 Christmas cards.)

● And Melissa – it’s super obnoxiously cute that your friends and family know you’re actually Melissa Wilkerson and not Melissa Joan Hart. It’s a good way to show that you’re totally a real person, and not a celebrity bot living a perfect life and sending out Christmas cards simply to impress.

● Tori, how embarrassing was it for you to have to go into your Facebook and BUY a sponsored ad? Isn’t the point of being a B-List celebrity that you have the world’s attention? I mean sure, Simply To Impress reimbursed you for your social media sell-outedness, but tell me – was it worth it? Did that little paycheck really make an even more lavish-on-the-leather-couch-outside lifestyle that much more attainable?

● I love how you both sound exactly alike in your accompanying flowery descriptions. I wonder which lucky intern got to write the copy for both of your posts. (“All you have to do, Tori, is copy my email, hit CTRL-C, and then go to Facebook and hit CTRL-V.”) (“Hey Tori, can you go in and edit your post and take my email address off the very beginning of it? That’d be great.”)

● Who, exactly, are you trying to reach? Are their people out there that will go buy the identical Christmas Card design so they can tell their friends “Oh yes, I have the same Christmas Cards as Tori McDermott. That’s Tori Spelling, for those of you who don’t know her legal name. #SimplyToImpress”

I spent a week hating on these posts in the darkest, least Holiday-Spiritest parts of my soul, then another week hating on myself for not winning at Christmas enough to send out my own Christmas cards. Also because I really LOVE to address Christmas cards all fancy-like. It’s a favorite holiday tradition.

And then, in a flurry of inspiration and dark-mindedness and manic preparation and fancy writing, I decided that I would, indeed, send out a small batch of Christmas cards.

I took my list from the previous years and pared it down a good bit, then asked my blog readers if they would like a Christmas-Ish card. Because really, these Christmas Cards had to be wantedthey best arrived anticipated, not out of the blue and unexpectedly.

I hurriedly ordered a new batch of my favorite creation of 2016 and then ran over to Hobby Lobby and bought decorative stickers.

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Then, attempting to make each of the cards unique, Noah and I set out on a holiday deco-fest, while Ali preferred to watch in wonder.

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Sloppy the Squirrel and Crunchy the ‘Possum were redeemed, one by one, into a beautiful celebration of the holiday season.

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Because nothing says Jolly like a ‘Possum and her oils.

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I have never in my life had so much fun with Christmas Cards, giggling as I created each one – especially when I realized that Crunchy was able to hold a small gift.

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My envelopes were just fancy enough to hopefully hide the unexpected turn of events that would be found within,

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And I knew that my goal was to add some levity amongst all the cards that my friends and blog readers would be receiving this season.

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Lest you miss the gravity of the moment, this is a story of redemption. Because just as Crunchy and Sloppy had been redeemed for the holidays, so had Melissa and Tori, along with my Happy Holiday Heart. Because yes, I despised them and their obnoxious sponsored posts, but ultimately they drove me to the cheeriest Christmas card making of my life.

So thank you, Melissa.

And thank you, Tori.

And even thank you, Simply to Impress.

I am certain that this outcome was your exact intention.

Editor’s Note: If you didn’t receive a card from me this year, I apologize. I sent out a much smaller batch than usual due to the labor-intensity, the limited number of cards on hand, and not wanting to cause any queasiness in those who hadn’t been slowly immunized to my sick sense of humor. If you would like to receive a card, albeit late, email or message me your mailing address. Maybe Crunchy and Sloppy can be repurposed for New Year’s, Valentine’s or Easter. If you would like your own set of non-holidayed Roadkill Note Cards to send out to your friends and family, they can be purchased here – with 100% of the profits being donated to The WellHouse.