Riddle Her Lucy – Finding the joy in my personal screwball comedy.

Sometimes people say to me –‘Hannah, you are so wise and beautiful, but how do you survive with the constant embarrassment of being who you are?’

And, well, I am finally taking the time to answer that question.

This morning, right after my husband put out the fire I started in our oven, I walked into the bathroom and found our youngest covering himself in red lipstick. A few moments ago, in an attempt to walk from one room to the next, I gave myself a bloody nose.

And I survive all of this by one simple rule.

Always laugh.

Did you accidentally create a cyanide-like poison while trying to clean your house? Worry. Research. And laugh.

Did you run full force into a body of water in the dark of the night? Get out. Take a shower. Check for ticks. And laugh.

Did you set fire to your kitchen while trying to make breakfast? Put the fire out. Calm your kids. Open a window. And laugh.

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I don’t know what tomorrow will bring me. Or what chaos I was create. But I know I will laugh.

You see, all through life we stumble upon days, weeks, months, and years that are filled with hurt and pain and stress and disaster. I have walked a long year of worry with our youngest child. I have raised a stubborn and headstrong threenager who will likely cause me irreversible aging damage. And I have an-almost-nine-year-old who is too smart for his own good.

Beyond my children, I have a husband who is a creative genius and not always easy to communicate with. I have family members who make me want to commit crimes. I have passions that I can’t always pursue. I have finances that don’t always add up the right way. I have childhood hurts that I battle with daily. I have crap. By the boatload.

But in the midst of all of the boats in this sea, I have laughter.

Good friends to laugh with. And constant chaos to find hilarity in.

Tomorrow, I will likely accidently pants myself in the market. Or maybe I’ll run face first into the all-too-clean window of my daughters ballet class. Who knows? But whatever it is, I’ll laugh. And I’ll tell you all about it so you can laugh at me and with me.

xoxo

hannah

Riddle Her – The Do’s and Do’s of Motherhood

10 Moms That Need To Stop

5 Moms At School That You Want To Punch

The 15 Things Moms Need To Stop Saying

8 Kinds Of Moms You See At The Store

Do I need to go on? We’ve all seen these headlines. We’ve read the blogs and giggled at a few comments. But, maybe it’s just me…I’m so tired of being told all the ways I’m failing.

But not because I take it to heart. Not because I see myself in those lists and feel like a failure. Not because it hurts my feelings. No, I’m tired of those headlines because I’m tired of accepting the fact that, when I go out, there are other women…other MOMS who are watching me and finding issue with all of my parenting techniques (or lack thereof). I’m tired of worrying that if I strike up a conversation with another mom, she will think I’m judging her every move.

And that’s what those blogs serve as. They serve to further perpetuate this idea of Mommy Wars. Not due to our differences in parenting, but due to the fact that how we are parenting is even being noticed.

So I’ve come up with my own list of things I think moms SHOULD be doing.

Here it goes:

1 – Say hi to me. I like when you say hi. I enjoy any effort from a fellow mom to make a connection. Motherhood can be lonely…and I don’t bite.

2 – Breastfeed – Or Don’t – either way, cool. Good on you for feeding your child and making sure they are nourished! Way to go, momma!

3 – Post pictures of your kids. All the time. I mean it. You can’t post too much. I love seeing those photos of smiling faces. I love your excitement about milestones and regular Wednesdays. I get excited too! I love when I see other moms as mushy and gushy over their kids as I am over mine.

4 – Baby-Wear – Or Don’t – Did you bring your baby out of the house with you? AWESOME! End of story.

5 – Take your time in the carpool line. I can wait an extra 30 seconds so you can say goodbye to your kid. And, if I can’t, that’s on me. I’ll leave the house a little earlier tomorrow.

Moms, everything we are doing is fine. And, if it’s not, we will be like all the moms who came before us…and we can pay the therapy bills later.

At the end of the day, being for or against different styles of parenting doesn’t even matter. Loving our kids. That’s what matters.

Xo

Hannah

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Riddle Her Offended – By everything. Always.

I like getting offended. I do. Maybe it’s that high school girl in me that likes having something to bitch and moan about, but I like it. I like complaining to my husband about things and having him validate me despite the fact that I’m clearly a crazy person.

If you do a quick Internet search for things that offend people, pages upon pages of articles and blogs would be available to you… because everyone is offended by something. We all like being offended. Sometimes we even decide to find things offensive that weren’t designed for offense.

If someone says to a mom ‘My, you have your hands full’, there is inner outrage. But, why? As a mom to three children, I can honesty say, there have been days when I felt overwhelmed before my kids were even out of bed. I DO have my hands full! Why is that observation from a stranger offensive?

I bring this up because I think we are being conditioned. We are being conditioned to complain. And I am the worst of all. I have found the most absurd things in the world to complain about.

We complain about silly things and then hash tag them as #firstworldproblems when, in reality, they are very rarely even problems at all. They are just inconveniences. But, in a world heavy laden with convenience, we find ourselves forgetting what a problem looks like.

We have defined inane everyday occurrences as problems; we have become offended by people noticing us. We have even taken it so far as to begin lists of things that people can or cannot say to us.

We have become a nation of people who are expected to walk on eggshells and to point a finger anytime anyone other than ourselves shatters one.

We get to say things like ‘[Opposing political party} people are morons’ and then be offended when others say the same about us. We get to tell people that, because they chose the life they have, they cannot complain about it. We get to be offended by any and every thing that happens in our daily life.

And with the rise of social media, we seem to have grown what I like to call ‘Internet Balls’ where we can post articles, photos, thought, ranting’s…about anything we want to without having to face the people who see it.

We get to tell people how offended we are by every little thing throughout our day and then, when there is someone willing to dispute our feelings, we get to delete their thoughts from our view.

I say all of this because I want help. I need help. I need to be held accountable. I want to be less offended. I want to stop letting little things become big things. I want to be able to engage in a debate without letting offense stop the progress.

Imagine, if we stopped being so easily offended, how much more conversation could be had.

And – it is through conversations, through COMMUNICATION, that we actually begin to find resolve.

If I am going to make a difference, I am going to have to stop letting myself become so offended. I am going to have to stop seeing everything as a problem. And I am going to have to start persevering.

So offend me. Challenge me. And I am going to do the same to you. I’m no longer going to stop conversation when it gets difficult. I am going to raise the bar of difficulty in my life. I am going to redefine offense in my world.

Starting now.

Xo

Hannah

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Riddle Her a Secretary – How to win an election.

When I was in the fifth grade, I went to a private Lutheran school and wore a uniform everyday.

Despite what TV and movies would lead you to believe, my school uniform was neither form fitting nor attractive in any manner. Something about putting on that blue plaid skirt, white socks, and white button up each day made me feel regal though. So regal, in fact, that I decided to run for student council.

Now, at this point in reading I need to say something. There are two kinds of people reading this. People who have seen me talk in front of crowds, and people who haven’t.

For the people who haven’t – here’s a fun fact – I have never in my life said more than 3 sentences in front of a crowd without crying. Ever.

For those who HAVE – can I get an ‘amen’?!?!

I’m a crier by nature. Movies, greeting cards, and insurance commercials…I’ve cried during them all. But more importantly, crying is my go-to for any emotion I feel. So whether I am sad, happy, angry, stressed, or just running late, I am likely crying. It’s not only an annoying trait, but very frustrating when you are trying to yell at a terrible driver, but you look like a 13 year old who’s favorite 1Direction-er just died.

You lose credibility when you cry.

Which brings me back to my story.

I decided to run for Class Secretary. Because I like paper and pens and had a hobby of sticking paperclips on the ends of my fingers and tapping them on desks to sound like acrylic fingernails.

Those were my only reasons for running, in fact.

Which should probably have been my first clue.

Anyway – I did it. My mom helped me make posters and write a speech and I put my name in the running. It was exciting – really, truly exciting! I had a great speech.

So the day came where I had to give my speech to the entire student body. No problem. A few competitors would also give speeches and then the student body would vote and I would win. Then I would celebrate by sticking paper clips on my fingertips and tapping things while I laughed maniacally.

So I walked up to that podium and I started my speech.

“Hi, I’m Hannah. I would like to be the class secretary…’

…And then nothing. That was it. I said words. And then I stopped saying words. And all of the sudden, words didn’t exist. For what felt like seven long hours (but was likely about one long minute), I did not utter a single word. Every previously learned phrase in my ten years of life left my brain. I could say nothing.

So.

I dropped to the floor crying and then got up and ran off the stage.

No redemption. No, ‘I’m sorry’ through tears. Nothing. I just cried and ran.

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I won that election.

#GOVERNMENT

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In case you’re sitting back thinking ‘I bet it wasn’t as bad as it sounds’, here is a photo of what I looked like in the 5th grade.  It was definitely as bad as it sounds.

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And that, dear friends, is the end of my story. I have no moral or hidden motive. I just wanted to remind everyone that I’m a fool.

A crying, mess of a fool.

Riddle Her Learned – A lesson in tact.

I had my oldest son when I was only nineteen years old and, though this may shock everyone, I didn’t really know what I was doing.

I had my daughter when I was twenty five and, honestly, still didn’t know anything.

In fact – if we want to be really technical, to this day, I have no clue how to parent.

And thanks to technology, I can now be reminded each morning via an app on my phone of all my previous mistakes.

So, about a week ago, when this photo popped up, it got me thinking.

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This is a photo of my then 3-year-old, Tucker, asleep in the car. Our car was moving. And I didn’t fix his seatbelt after the photo. I didn’t add a tagline of ‘don’t worry! I’m fixing that chest clip!’. And (everyone get ready to gasp) – I didn’t even know that’s what it was called.

So, I bet you are all thinking right now how I’m a terrible mom, or how you hope I learned my lesson, or maybe you’re busy formulating a strongly worded e-mail explaining the importance of car seat safety to me.

Well, stop all of those things.

I know the importance of car seat safety now. I’m passionate about it. And I DID learn my lesson. And I’m not a terrible mother.

How did I learn my lesson, you ask? GREAT QUESTION!

Well, I was on Facebook one day and received an e-mail from an acquaintance…

It looked something like this:

Dear Hannah,

I can’t believe how you have Tucker buckled in that picture! You know, it’s called a CHEST clip, not a belly-button clip, right?!? He could die! Please, I can’t handle seeing kids buckled in like that. Fix it before something terrible happens! I will follow this email up with a laundry list of information on state laws so you know how bad it is.

Xo

That Girl You Met Once

Just kidding, y’all. No one e-mailed me.

And yet I learned learned, not because a stranger in a parking lot snidely informed me, but because friends who were having babies were learning the same things alongside me. We were seeing the research. We were seeing each other. And we are all better because of it.

So, my daughter’s chest clip was stationed on her chest from day one. As was my youngest. And my daughter stayed rear facing until she was over two years old. My youngest will do the same. I always check to make sure the carrier bar on the infant car seat is pushed into the reclined position. I don’t buy car seat accessories that might interfere with the safety of the seat. I know my kids height and weight limits on their seats and I will gladly sacrifice their comfort for their safety any day.

My point is this –

Every single time I have received unsolicited advice from people, I have shut down completely. And maybe that’s just me. Maybe you really did change the life of the woman at the grocery store when you told her that she was failing. Maybe you DID save her daughters life when you informed her of all your research. Maybe. And every child’s life is worth the effort, but I think maybe it’s time we all learned some tact. Myself included. How do we help, and yet not sound like self-righteous jerks? You may be thinking that you don’t care if that’s how you sound, because you care more about children’s lives. In which case, this is not for you.

This is for those of us who know that, with every word we speak, we are given an opportunity to show love. And we want to help, but also be kind and loving. This is for those of us who want to learn better how to choose the right words and make people feel blessed by us, not condemned. This is for those of us who have made mistakes and spoken out of turn. This is for those of us who have a hard time sometimes knowing how to speak kindly and reach people, but who want s badly to do just that.

And for us, I think I have a solution –

What if, instead of trying to fix everything, we just simply loved people and were willing to help when asked?

It’s just a thought.

Xo

hannah

Riddle Her Impressed – The aliens are stealing my stuff.

I think sometimes it’s easy to pretend to be normal. I live in a normal neighborhood. In a Texas suburb. I have three kids, a dog, and a single fish in a fish bowl. We mow our (front) lawn and take our kids out for bike rides.

I think if someone never had a real conversation with me, they would be inclined to think ‘Hey, that chick Hannah is pretty regular’.

That’s why I feel like this may come as a shock to some of you:

I’ve decided aliens are real.

Here’s why.

I am missing a ton of crap. For real. Tons. Like – I could name 12 items off the top of my head that I know I owned and now I don’t.

And I think the only logical explanation is aliens. Because aliens need stuff. And I’m missing stuff. Dude, I know a lot about aliens, okay? They need ALL KINDS OF STUFF!

When I was thirteen I had THE COOLEST stack of eye shadows EVER. My stepdad bought them for me at a kiosk in the mall. They haven’t been seen since that day.

When I was seventeen, I had this vintage Mr. Peanut t-shirt that I still dream about today. Where is it, you ask? Aliens. Duh.

Somewhere out there, there is an alien rocking a vintage Mr. Peanut t-shirt and some seriously outdated eye shadow from a Canoga Park mall.

Now, some people might be thinking that, what with having three children, that maybe it is possible that I have simply misplaced some of my items. No! It’s not. Because I’m a grown-up and I don’t lose things. I am responsible. People who are smaller than me call me ‘mom’. I don’t lose things, I find them. I don’t ask questions, I answer them. I don’t get driven places, I drive places. I AM A GROWN UP!

And when exactly did that happen? Because, quite frankly, I still feel like a kid. When I walk into my sons classroom and sit with all the other parents, I feel like a little girl. With purple hair. And chipped nail polish.

Believe it or not, I have a point here.

Kind of.

I think I’ve made some bad first impressions in my lifetime. And honestly, I’ve made some bad 50th impressions as well. I can come across as cold and snobby apparently. And I have been told that I am hard to approach.

I sometimes have a hard time being kind and keeping my sarcasm in check. And there are days weeks months when I have trouble talking to people who I don’t know.

But somewhere in my apparently cold exterior is a very strange girl who likes to laugh and daydream about aliens stealing her things.

So, from now on, let’s meet people a few times before we make a decision about them.

Thanks.

hannah

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Riddle Her Warned – My world, labeled.

My mom has always been a tea drinker. It’s a trait that I inherited and cherish now. I love starting my morning with a hot cup of tea and honey. A nice added perk is that I don’t have to drink coffee, which, in my correct opinion, tastes like bad breath.

But, as a kid, I vividly remember not liking tea. Something about it looking like dry salad. Who knows?

So, in lieu of hot tea, my mom would make me warm milk with honey and I would sit on the bench in our kitchen and talk to her while she drank tea. It’s a happy memory for me.

So tonight I decided to make Charlotte Louise a mug of warm milk and honey. But, as I lifted her mug to see if it was microwave safe (dude, we like a little radiation in our diet – don’t send me any e-mails), I couldn’t help but laugh at the warning label. ‘Dishwasher safe. Microwave safe. May get hot in microwave.’ MAY get hot in microwave?!? Uh, y’all. That crap is totally getting hot in the microwave. And it should. It’s being microwaved.

We’ve all seen these silly warning labels. We’ve all wondered who the idiots were that necessitated these warning labels. But tonight, what it got me thinking about was – what if my world was labeled?

What if my house had a warning sign?

Warning: Nothing matches. Residents don’t mow the backyard because they are lazy. Dog in back looks like a wolf, but won’t actually do anything so feel free to break down the doors. Enter at no risk.

What if my car had a warning sign?

Warning: Driver has road rage and children. Driver is neurotic – if you drive behind her for more than 2 turns, she will think you are following her to murder her.

What if I had a label?

Warning: Emotionally delusional. Talks about things no one else cares about. Insecure. Takes online quizzes, but is too cool to post results to Facebook. Dances to Britney Spears in private. Cries about everything. Perpetually worried.

What if my world was labeled? Would I be married? Would I have a husband, kids, a home, friends? Probably not.

The moral of this story is a fairly serious one, actually.

It is so easy to see someone else’s garbage. You know, the obvious kind. The person who is battling an eating disorder, the person who is doing drugs, the person behind bars, the person on the news for a shooting…

It’s so easy to judge what we can see.

But perhaps if we took a minute to think about what we carry that no one else can see, we would be more inclined to forgive what we CAN see.

That’s all.

Goodnight, y’all.

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