The day we spent $127 on soap

Alternately titled: I hope all the women in our lives like to smell good because you’re getting soap for Christmas…


We were in Hallstatt, Austria.  It was our second day there and the weather was spectacular.  Before heading up the mountain, we decided to walk through town and shop in the local shops.  The night before we had walked by a shop filled with the most beautiful soap I had ever seen.  It was all different colors and flavors and it smelled amazing.

“Let’s get some soap tomorrow to give our moms for Christmas,” I suggested.  I don’t know why I suggested this.  Who wants soap for Christmas?

*pause for flashback scene*

When I was in first grade, we had our annual Christmas party.  As is tradition in every single elementary school since the very beginning of time itself, we drew names and had a Secret Santa giveaway in which we bought a small, inexpnsive present for someone in the class.

My name was drawn by a boy named Troy.  Apparently his mom did not have girls and did not know what to get a little girl…so while everyone else got cute little Hello Kitty trinkets and bracelet, I got a bar of soap.  The class played with their toys and I held my…soap.

Second grade, Christmas rolls around again.  My name is, yet again, drawn by a boy.  I don’t remember his name.  What’s another good ’80’s name we could give him?  How about Brandon.  Let’s go with that.

“Brandon” got me soap.  It was shaped like a Hippopotomos and it was pink.  I tried not to cry because dangit! I didn’t want soap.  My friend Leslie got Poochie stickers.  I got soap.

Third grade.  Mr. Stephens class.  My name drawn yet again by a boy.  I think it was David, but I’m not entirely sure.  And I’ll give you a second to guess what I got.

I know.  It’s almost unbelievable, but my mom will vouch for me.  I got soap.  SOAP!  It was a little red, Christmasy roller thing of soap.  Like a bar of deoderant…but soap.

I didn’t even try to hide my disappointment that year.  I burst into tears and my mom had to usher me out of the room. 

I never received soap again at a class party after that, thankfully.  But my faithful parents, being the loving, supportive people they are – they give me soap in my stocking every year.  Hardy har har.

So now you know my background with soap and Christmas. 

* End flashback. *

Which is why it is odd that I would choose to buy someone soap for Christmas.  But these little bars were so pretty and they were made in the most beautiful town on earth so it seemed like a good idea.

When we walked by the store, the overwhelming aroma took over us.  It was like drugs. And the prices seemed so…inviting.

“Hey,” Lee said.  “This stuff is cheap.  Let’s get some for everyone.”  At a Euro or two a bar, this felt like a steal so we grabbed a basket and started filling it.  Lemon Verbena, Chocolate, Lavendar, Honey Suckle….so many enticing flavors.  We grabbed something for everyone and danced to the register, our basket overflowing.

I handed the woman our basket and credit card.  I was adding up the soap in my head and figured we had about 35 Euros worth of soap.  Still a little much, but I figured it would cover several people for Christmas so no big deal.

She handed back my credit card and the receipt and pointed at my total.

96 Euro.

Let me say that again.

96 Euro.

That equals 127 dollars.  On soap.  SOAP!

And then it hit me.  We weren’t paying a Euro a bar…we were paying by the gram.  Sweet Mother of God!  We spent 127 dollars on soap.  I don’t even like soap.  And I certainly don’t like to give it for Christmas.

To the women in our lives…I hope you like soap.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving, right?!  Don’t take it personally.  We don’t think you stink.  We just can’t afford to buy you anything else.  Because we spent 127 dollars on soap.


Merry Christmas…er…


I Said “A Boom Chicka Boom…”

This post has nothing to do with that title – I have just really wanted to title a post that for a long time now…

Actually, this post really has to do with nothing at all.  You’re ripe with excitement to read further aren’t you? 

Maybe I should do an entire post of one liners.

So there was this blogger who walked into a bar…


We’re T – four days and counting until the big trip.  I’ve had some freak out moments in the last few days, the biggest being when I realized that we might have to cut Hallstatt out of the itinerary.  My Hallstatt.  My preciousssssss

I fretted and fraught (fraught?) and worried and moped.  But it was a reality that we had planned way more than we could probably feasibly accomplish in our short time over there.  And I really didn’t want to cut out Tuscany.  Something had to go.  Until…wait a minute.  Maybe not.

What it boiled down to is this: We need to be flexible.  We I need to be willing to cut out Hallstatt if it becomes apparent that there is just no way we’re going to make it all the way there and still have time to book it down to Tuscany.  And so I still have hope, my friends.  You see, the goal is to try and stay off of the AutoBahn (and Autostrada) as much as possible.  We want to explore and get the flavor of the land.  We want to round a curve and be looking down at a village nestled in the mountains.  This means that it will take longer to travel.  But it also means we’re going to have an adventure.

And if we miss Hallstatt, we’ll just have to go back, right?  Deal!

Moving on…

See?  More one liners.  There is always room for one liners.

Too bad these aren’t the funny kind of one liners.

They’re kind of boring actually…

Ah well.

Sloan woke up with a low grade fever tonight.  I gave him some Tylenol and piled him back in bed where I hope he’ll wake up fever free for school tomorrow…because I’m that mom.  If you’re not dying, you’re going, kiddo. 

We’ll see. 

We will also be buying Emergen-C in bulk tomorrow.  And Zinc.  And Echinacea.  I will not come down with a fever on my dream vacation.  Oh, and to our parents who are splitting kid duty for the ten days while we are away: I’m so, so sorry.  Here’s to hoping whatever Sloan has doesn’t spread.  Or maybe he doesn’t have anything.  Here’s to hoping that.

Speaking of Sloan – he and I had a duke it out, we-might-not-make-it homework session tonight.  I won.  Barely.  We’re having this minor issue with child #1 in that every.single.time we bring him to the table to do homework, he brings along a massive chip on his shoulder.  He is heaping with sass these days and it’s never more apparent than when he is under educational duress.  It is especially evident when it comes time to do russian homework. Ay-yay-yay.

When it was all said and done and that which could have been completed in twenty minutes was finally finished after an hour of sweat and tears (no blood, thankfully) I felt defeated and dejected.  Now that I know he is running a low grade fever I feel a little better, but the truth is – homework is often painful.

But, just before bed, Sloan grabbed my hand and led me back to our bedroom and sat me down on the bed.  “We need to have a little talk,” he said.

“I had a bad attitude tonight and I was just angry and upset and sometimes russian is really hard and I feel like I can’t do it.  But I didn’t act right.  I wasn’t ‘quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry’ and I’m sorry.  Will you forgive me?”

He did that on his own.  Without any prompting.

My heart is still a little gooey.  Of course I was quick to offer my forgiveness and apologize for my lack of patience.  Amends were made and we agreed to work as a team to make homework more fun.  It is moments like those that I truly, truly love being a parent.  Sure it’s cool when they hit a home run or draw you a picture, but when they exhibit a heart attitude that you have worked so hard to help shape and mold?  That is when parenting is most rewarding.  Just when I felt like I was the worst mom ever and totally incapable of successfully parenting that boy, he reminded me that his sweet little heart is full of gold nuggets just waiting to be dug up and harvested.

Do you harvest gold?  Did I just mix metaphors?

So yes…parenting is wicked hard.  But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I wouldn’t even trade it for Hallstatt, Austria.

I Said “A booma ticka rocka ticka rocka ticka boom!”

The End.

Post edit: Sloan woke up fever free this morning and he happily skipped to school (well, happily skipped onto the school bus anyway).  Whoop!

Fluctuating Between UberExcited and Totally Freaking Out

We leave for Italy in ten days.  Let me write that again in case you didn’t catch it the first time.


Someone actually asked me a couple of weeks ago if I felt guilty spending the money on such a “lavish” trip when the economy is bad, so many are in need and on and on.  Um…no.  I don’t “feel guilty.”  I am proud and grateful, actually.  Proud of my marriage of ten years.  Grateful to a husband who loves me so much that he wants to do nice things for me and have an adventure with me.  Grateful that God has blessed us with the funds to be able to take this trip (and the wisdom to be wise with our money and budget accordingly so we could save what we needed over the course of this past year).

We are not wealthy people.  Not even close.  But we are blessed.  And we work really hard to be good stewards of those blessings.  We don’t always do a great job at being good stewards.  Sometimes we (ahem…I) make frivolous, unnecessary purchases.  Sometimes we forget to tithe at church.  Not because we don’t want to, but because we just…forget.  We are working on these things (and many other things!).  But we are careful with our money and we do try to use good judgement in how we spend it.

There is nothing I love more than being with my husband.  I think he’s hilarious, fun, sweet, caring and easy on the eyes.  Why would I not want to see the world with this man?!  I can’t wait to spend ten days alone with him, exploring and making memories to last a lifetime.  Memories that we will look back on in fifty years (God willing) and laugh with fondness of the days when we were able to travel the world without a box of depends and a walker…

We won’t regreat doing this in fifty years.  We won’t regret it ten days from now when we step on that plane.  And I have a couple of photos to prove why.

One of the first places we will drive through is Lake Como, Italy:


From there we’ll be driving through southern Switzerland into Austria.  We’re planning on heading to Salzberg, although we have since found this gem of a town and are now contemplating skipping Salzberg, or at least just spending less time there, so we can have more time here:


Hallstatt, Austria.  Did your heart just skip a beat?  Because mine does every time I look at this photo.  I want this very shot on my own camera.  The hair on my arms is literally standing up right now.  Isn’t God’s creation magnificent?!

From Austria, we plan to scoot down to Italy where we will spend four days in Tuscany at a gorgeous resort like this (we’re waiting on confirmation that we will be able to stay here):


We plan on tooling around Tuscany visiting Florence, Sienna, Montepulciano and wherever else the apartment owners tell us to go.  Just me and my man.  Why would I feel guilty about that? 

I will tell you what I do feel…a little nervous.  If I think about us being gone for ten days, driving through foreign countries, too long, I start to panic a little.  What if something happens to us?  What if something happens to one of the kids and we’re so far away.  What if, what if, what if???

So I try not to think about it.  Because the fact of the matter is, something could happen to one of us at the end of the street.  I can’t live my life in fear of the what if’s.  I can think about them and I can even panic momentarily, but then I need to move on and trust that the God of the Universe is in total control.  Our children will be in the loving hands of all four of their grandparents.  They will probably be spoiled mercilessly.  They will likely be watched closer than they are when I’m home.  You know…because I encourage them to play in the street and juggle knives.

I’m kidding.  I never encourage them to play in the street.

And I am praying with full trust and belief that my God will answer my prayer, that Lee and I will be kept safe and we will be reunited with our children as a stronger, more united front in our marriage and parenting.  I think this trip will make us better parents and better partners.  So no, I don’t feel guilty about leaving for ten days to celebrate my marriage. 

I do feel fleeting moments where I’m quite certain I could dissovle into a massive freak out.

But mostly I’m just so excited it’s kind of hard to sleep.

Not that hard, though. 


Post edit #1: I wrote this last night when I was wiped out from a fun but busy weekend.  However, when Lee and I went to bed we started talking about the trip and got so excited we couldn’t fall asleep.  So Lee got up and searched the internet for more places to go and things to see while I tossed and turned, imagining all the fun we’re going to have.  So it turns out we really are so excited we can’t sleep.

Post edit #2: I had the wrong date in my head when I wrote this.  We’re actually leaving in eleven days.  Whic isn’t quite as thrilling as leaving in TEN days.  Re-read this tomorrow and I won’t be a liar…