Issue 19: my hilariously horrible day | Ash Wednesday / Lent ! | Chickpea tacos View in browser
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Issue 19: February 19, 2020
my hilariously horrible day | Ash Wednesday / Lent ! | Chickpea tacos

[4-minute read]

Dear Sisters,

Do you remember the movie "Meet the Parents" with Ben Stiller? I always thought it was hilarious. Ben's character goes home with his girlfriend for the weekend to meet her parents, and what could go wrong for that poor guy did. As horrible as his weekend went, it was all comedy and no real tragedy. My kind of movie. 

Every now and then I have what I refer to as a "Meet the Parents" day—you know, one of those days that is just SO BAD you have to laugh. 

Today was one of those days, and in an effort to maintain my sanity, rather than penning something serious this week, I'm going to walk you through this day. I hope you can enjoy a good laugh with me this time... I don't have any deep thoughts to share. 😜 

Just in case you thought I had it together.... 


February 18, 2020. 

Exactly one month from my due date with a second baby God apparently thinks we can handle. 😅

3:34 a.m. I wake up with residual sinus blockage from a minor cold I had last week. I reached the three-day Afrin limit, so I can't just squirt that magic chemical up my nose and go back to sleep like I've been doing. My mouth is insanely dry, so I chug some water, knowing I'll be back up in an hour to pee it all out because there is a human being's head on my bladder at all times. I decide to Google acupressure points to relieve sinus pressure and spend 15 minutes pressing on my face. I return to bed and barely drift off to sleep after 20 minutes of tossing and turning when... 

4:12 a.m. "MOMMY!!! MOMMY!!!" I swing myself over and lift my 35-week pregnant body off the bed. "Creeeeaaaaaakkkkkkk" goes the bed frame or whatever part of our bed makes that God-awful noise every single time I get up every single day of my life. "We need a new bed," I think for the 870th time. "Julia. It's still night time. Lay back down." She reluctantly does. I get back in bed. Gotta get her one of those "OK to wake" clocks. 

4:20 a.m. "MOMMYYYY! MOMMYYYY!!!!" (Repeat)

4:35 a.m. "MOMMYY!! MOMMY! ALL DONE SLEEPING, MOMMY!!! ALL DONE SLEEPING!" I give up and flip on her light. I figure she is also struggling with her sinuses and mouth breathing, which must be hard when you want to suck on a pacifier to go to sleep. So today is not the day to fight this battle. I peel her wet pull-up off and put her PJ bottoms back on. We share a bowl of granola, which she calls "SOUP! MMM!!!" 

5 a.m. "I'm so glad today is a school day," I think to myself. "I'm going to take a nap today."

6 a.m. We both fall asleep snuggling on the couch. Not gonna lie, I don't hate it. I love snuggles. 

6:35 a.m. We are both awakened by the last frontier of potty training, which we have not mastered—bladder control while sleeping. Thus, the need for a pull-up at night. Remember how I took it off and didn't put another one on? Yep, she peed all over me and the couch. 

6:40 a.m. I realize my couch cushions have removable covers and Google how to wash them. I note how disgusting it is that we've owned this couch since 2014 and I've never thought to take off the covers and wash them. *Add washing 10 cushion covers to my to-do list before baby comes* For now, just the peed-on ones. Julia decides now is the time to cling to me and start whining. Exasperated, I say in a litttttllleee bit louder voice than normal, "Julia. I am trying to get the couch cleaned up. I need you to leave me alone for two minutes. Please back up." She looks at me, STUNNED, and pokes her little lip out, tears welling up in her eyes. "Uh oh, Mommy." Her classic line when someone does anything to hurt her feelings. "I'm sorry sweetie. Mommy is feeling frustrated. I'm almost done, and then we can play, OK?" 

7 a.m. I wake Scott up. He makes coffee and breakfast. He gets Julia dressed in the cutest outfit while I get ready for the day. I'm planning on dropping her off at school, coming back to finish getting ready and then driving to my midwife appointment at 10 a.m. 

9:01 a.m. We leave the house. I realize the carseat is inside. I go back and get the carseat, install it and put Julia in. She is SO EXCITED to go to school since she missed last week with her cold. She is literally giggling and saying "Matt-tew!!! Tatah!" over and over (her two besties). 

9:03 a.m. We arrive at school. A nice lady lets me in a door I don't normally go in because it's raining. I get to the door leading to the preschool part of the church, and the hallway is dark. I look in her room. Dark. NO ONE IS THERE. BECAUSE IT IS "WINTER BREAK." Whattttttt? I realize I didn't get a reminder because we were not at school either of our days last week. And also I apparently need to put school holidays on my calendar because that's what adults do. Julia melts into a puddle on the sidewalk when I tell her the news. We are both very, very sad. 

9:12 a.m. I decide to just drive straight to the birth center with Julia for my appointment because I'm worried I'll be hurried if I go back home, and I don't want to be hurrying while driving in the rain. I know I'll be early, and that's good because I normally take the train to the birth center, so I haven't actually driven there many times. I almost always miss a turn when I drive because it's in a weird spot. Also, my GPS no longer works on my iPhone 6, so I have to be old-school and look at directions before I go anywhere and do my best to navigate using my actual brain! 🥴

9:39 a.m. I make it to the birth center. As I pull in and press the button for my parking ticket, I realize I did not grab my wallet. I will not be able to pay the $1 parking fee to get out. I decide I will figure that out later. I also realize as I'm getting Julia out of her carseat I don't see her bag! Where is her bag? Did I leave it on the concrete next to the car while I was loading her into her carseat at the church/school? I call the church and the secretary confirms, I did in fact leave her bag in the middle of the sidewalk, fortunately under an awning. She will hold onto it for me. Thank you. 

10 a.m. My appointment was the highlight! We had one of the best midwives, Julia did great and they did a quick ultrasound just to let Julia to see the baby and to confirm baby is head down. It was a really sweet time and Julia was so happy. She kept saying, "Doctor! Baby!" 

10:40 a.m. I reach in my cardigan pocket for my parking ticket. I had decided I would ask the girl I've gotten to know a little at the front desk if I could borrow a dollar and pay her back next week. However, my parking ticket had fallen out of my sad little cardigan pocket. I didn't have Julia's bag or my wallet to stick it in, and I don't own a purse because I used a diaper bag as a purse for over a year and then never bought a purse when we stopped using the diaper bag. 

When I announced to the waiting room I had lost my ticket, a new friend I made before the appointment told me someone picked my ticket up, said, "Oh, I guess I dropped my ticket!" and took it. 🙄 

Everyone at the front desk told me I'd have to press the help button on the parking kiosk and talk to the parking company's remote customer service. As I left, that same failure of a pocket got CAUGHT ON THE DOOR HANDLE and I whisper-yelled, "OH MY GOD!!!! SERIOUSLY???" as everyone in the waiting room who knew of my parking plight looked on. 🥳

The lady in the speaker told me I'd have to pay a $20 lost ticket fee. I told her, "Look, it doesn't matter if it's one dollar or $20, I do not have any money. I have one quarter. I left my wallet at home. I am so sorry." She somehow had compassion on my insane self and got permission to lift the gate for me.

11 a.m. I swing by the church to grab the bag. A homeless man is exiting the door I'm trying to enter and closes it before I get there. When he realizes I'm trying to get in, he starts talking to me excitedly and says A LOT of indistinguishable words (very close to my face) before deciding he MUST help me get in by pressing the speaker button and happily yelling three times in a row: "THIS PREGNANT LADY NEED TO GET IN HERE AND GO TO THE MEETING!!" Thank you, kind sir. 

11:15 a.m. We get home, eat lunch and play for a while. Julia refuses her normal (like clockwork) nap time. Of course. 

3 p.m. Julia finally succumbs to exhaustion and decides she does need some sleep to function! "Mommy. Bed. PahPah." OK girl, you got it. 


I write this to you as she sleeps. I'm laughing, I promise. Ben Stiller and I have a good sense of humor about these things. Tomorrow is another day—hopefully one in which my toddler sleeps until 6:30 and my brain decides to function correctly. 😎 Maybe next week you'll get your essay about our church search. Only the good Lord knows.

*Thanking God nothing important was lost, no tragedies occurred and I have a healthy baby (soon-to-be two of them) to wake me up and pee on me*


Love, Jill 

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Ash Wednesday / Lent is approaching!

I did not grow up in a faith tradition that followed the liturgical church calendar, but it's been something I've been interested in for several years. I attended an Ash Wednesday service at a Catholic Church in college, and last year, Julia and I went to an Episcopal church's service down the road (no childcare... that was quite an experience). Both were beautiful, and I left with a cross made of ashes on my forehead. 

Sometimes church should be weird, you know? I've done a lot of "cool church" in my life, and it's just kinda refreshing to get some ashes put on your forehead and hear "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Makes you feel appropriately small and humbled, in a good way.

Anyway, this year, we'll attend the Ash Wednesday service at our new church, and I'm so excited to see how they do it compared to the other two I've experienced! 

For the uninitiated, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, a 40-day season leading up to Easter that is meant to be a serious time of repentance and reflection about sin and redemption. A lot of people "give up something for Lent," but that's really not the point. Fasting is certainly a traditional part of it, but if you're just giving up sweets for 40 days to lose weight, that not really getting to the heart of the matter. 🤣 

I used a great devotional by Erin Moon throughout Lent last year, and she has a new one available titled "Every Broken Thing" I plan to download this year! 

If you're a church going person, what are your experiences with or thoughts about Lent or the liturgical church calendar? 

Does ancient tradition in church sound refreshing to you, or do you like church to feel modern, culturally relevant and free of anything that feels "weird"? 

Does something like the church calendar, which isn't explicitly described/commanded in the Bible, feel like extra rules, or are you drawn to the added structure and support?

Recipe: Chickpea tacos

We've been making this recipe since our first year of marriage, and it's been a keeper. It's insanely adjustable, cheap, vegetarian and delicious! I made it tonight after my no-good-very-horrible-crazy-stressful day and it was the perfect low-key meal for a day like today. 

Chickpea tacos 

Serves 4

Start-to-finish: 15 minutes

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (I didn't have one tonight—oh well!) 
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (really into my garlic press these days) 
  • Taco seasoning (about 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika—or use a packet)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 can chickpeas (tonight we also added a can of black beans, because why not?)
  • Corn or flour tortillas

Topping ideas

  • Pepperjack cheese
  • Salsa 
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado or guac 
  • Cilantro 
  • Onion 

In a large frying pan, saute onion in oil over medium heat for about five minutes, until it starts to brown. Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Add seasonings and tomato paste and cook for 30 more seconds. Add beans and cook until heated through. 

Serve with desired toppings. Also makes good nachos! 

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