I’ve Moved!

I realize it’s sudden, but welcome to my world of frenzied over-caffeinated impulse decisions. This site is now a memorial to the Life According to Julie archives. The new season of stuff? It’s bigger and better!

JulieDeNeen Header

I’m still redecorating so be patient!

Original Announcement Post

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Monday to bring you some alarming news that will mean absolutely nothing to you people not in the blog world.

This personal blog you’ve been reading for the past 5 years is hosted on WordPress.com. Now, that is not the “cream of the crop” for bloggers since you are subject to the terms and agreements of WordPress. I didn’t know this when I signed up five years ago.

Now that I know better, I’ve set up any other blogs I’ve created…on my own server. Fabulous Blogging is like owning a house verses renting.

Anyway, who the fuck cares right? Well I do. I toyed with the idea of moving this blog, but I have so many outgoing and internal links, I didn’t want to mess the whole thing up. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it right?

Wrong.

This morning WordPress sent me a note telling me I had violated the TOS of their platform. I have no idea if it was an error or a mistake or what. Honestly, I didn’t have time to scour the legal speak to see what I did that was so terrible…especially after the myriads of blogs I read on WP.com that are absolute shit.

But whatever. I wrote to them and begged for an answer but again, these free platforms are terrible with customer service. Who knows if I’ll hear back.

Could it be a mistake? Could it be true? Will my blog disappear off of planet Internet tomorrow?

Can you see why I’m flipping out? I have poured my heart and soul and writing in this blog and the thought that it would be wiped away? Well I’m not sure I can handle that.

That’s why I’m going to move.

Even though I swore I wouldn’t – I can’t take any chances. It’s just too scary a thought.

Of course, it is possible that they’ll come back and say – “Oh -we’re sorry! Bad mistake on our part,” and I’ll have moved for nothing.

Oh well.

So I’m writing this note to you all now, because it is possible I’ll be gone tomorrow or the next or the next…

This is rather melodramatic huh? That’s how it feels people!

Not how I recommend moving a blog. And since I do it for a living, I’m finding it not a bit funny that of all people to show how to transition a blog, I would be the one with my panties caught at my ankles.

I hate the word panties.

Learn from me. If you have a blog you love, move it to your own site. Don’t let the big people push you around.

My new website will now and forevermore be….

Wait for it….

http://www.juliedeneen.com

So any and all of you who read this blog, please take note of the URL change. In fact, I would recommend updating your bookmark, writing it down on a post-it, and sticking it to your forehead for a couple of days. It’s now JulieDeNeen, not jdeneen.

Since I had to do this in a matter of minutes, the new site is not fully set up yet – BUT, please please pretty please with a cherry on top, subscribe to it somehow or some way? Thank you!!!!

Halloween is Cancelled

fallToday is Halloween. Can you hear the enthusiasm in my voice?

Every year I write about how I hate Halloween. I know I know. I’m like the Ebenezer Scrooge of October on repeat.

It’s not for religious reasons. I know some Christians don’t do Halloween because of the celebration of ghosts and goblins. It’s not that.

It’s not because I hate candy and cavities. Of course, I do require the kids to brush their teeth twice a day, floss once, and mouthwash once– so I could be considered a tooth militant, but still. It’s not that.

It’s because of the costumes. I’m all for children dressing up and pretending to be things they aren’t. Fine (although I was that mom that hid the dress up clothes when the girls were younger because of the drama that ensued).

Halloween costumes are a pain in my ass in Connecticut.

Three kids equals a lot of time and money. Then they change their minds. Then the costume is too skimpy to wear in New England outside at night. Or it’s too warm to wear inside at their costume parties. Or it’s too itchy. Or too bulky. Or it rips because it’s the cheap ass costume from Walmart that didn’t really fit right but they HAD TO HAVE. Or they can’t bear to wear the mask because of the condensation on the inside from breathing.

It’s a financial money pit nightmare. And for what? SO they can cover it up with their winter coat and traipse around the neighborhood complaining the Miley Cyrus heels are making their feet hurt? Then they bring home shit loads of candy (that I eat) and we all gain 10 pounds and get at least 3 cavities each.

Whooopeee.

The thing is, fall is my favorite season. It’s the season of leaves and pumpkins and cider and yummy food. It’s the season of Thanksgiving and Evan and Ellie’s birthdays. It’s the season that Andrew and I began dating in. So Halloween just sort of ruins the whole ambience for me. Right smack in the middle of fall. Blech.

And perhaps my Halloween hating attitude has seeped into my kids, but they really don’t seem to care about it much either. This year, they didn’t even ask about the Monster Mash (which I’ve faithfully done for six years mind you). I asked them if they wanted to go trick or treating and I didn’t get a rousing YES! That’s all I needed to know.

I cancelled Halloween. Yes I did. If Hurricane Sandy and a freak October storm can cancel it, well then so.can.I.

fall1

Don’t toilet paper my house. I think people who love Halloween must be far more patient and creative than I am. But I am exercising my right as an American citizen to say I’d prefer to have Halloween removed from my calendar.

As for the DeNeen’s, we’re doing something totally different. Instead of celebrating Halloween, we’re going to do a Thanksgiving holiday kick off party. We plan to eat like champs (desserts, dinner, maybe even some candy). We’re going to do some crafts to get the house festive for the holidays. We’re going to watch Thanksgiving TV (Charlie Brown, Friends, etc.). We’re going to roast the pumpkin seeds from our pumpkin. Bob for apples. Sing Kumbayah.

Since Christmas always invades Thanksgiving anyway, I feel that we should be in the harvest mode all month long.

It’s gonna be fun.

A hell of a lot more fun than I would have trick or treating.

Banned from Church

Last summer I attended BlogHer Voices of the Year. 12 talented writers read their stories aloud and moved an audience of 5000 women to tears and laughter. One of those bloggers shot me straight through the heart.

Her name was Roozle. She spoke about her teenage years growing up in a conservative christian charismatic community. She was a youth group member, a missionary, a leader. Church was her life. She spoke about it with a hint of sadness, but no hatred. I was sucked into her story– it was so much of my own experience.

I knew where the essay was going before it got there. As her story unfolded, she talked about her internal fight with her own sexuality. When she finally acknowledged who she was, the external fight had just begun. She was taken out of the Church. Banned from the community. All because she was openly admitting she was a homosexual. By the end, I was sobbingnear hysterical. Sandra Sallin sat next to me with a confused look and said, “What’s the matter with you? Are you a homosexual too?”

I shot her a dirty look, but I did crack a smile. “No dopey. I’m not a homosexual.” She waited for me to explain. “We’re going to need some time,” I said. It took a long dinner to sort out why Roozle’s post had moved me so deeply.

Just for the record, this isn’t going to be a blog post about homosexuality and religion.

This is going to be a blog post about my own crisis surrounding my faith community.

Andrew was banned from our congregation on labor day weekend. I hinted about it in various posts, but at the time I was unable to speak clearly or without anger. Suffice it to say– I was enraged. The emotion has died down a lot, so I think I can put a few coherent sentences together without it sounding like a rant.

You see, all throughout Roozle’s reading, I thought to myself, “I’m not in a Church like that thank God. How awful for her!” Oftentimes I think Christians are more a deterrent for non-believers than evil and wickedness is. This poor woman had her whole community ripped from her because she wasn’t able to change her behavior. It was good I never had to deal with this, I reasoned.

Perhaps it was prophetic.

Andrew’s situation wasn’t quite as serious. He was in the middle of a mess yes. A mess he wasn’t ready to fix. When the Church got wind of it, he was instructed to repentor be banned. Roozle’s face flashed in my head. Turning away from something as integral as one’s sexuality isn’t a choice for her. She was truly stuck. Either abandon herself or lose her community. At least Andrew had a choice, even if he felt powerless in the midst of his crisis.

Her story was becoming my own. At first I thought that maybe if Andrew turned away from the problem, he’d be allowed back in. Our Church wasn’t as bad as hers right? Would Roozle’s Church have let her back if she stuffed her sexual preference way down deep where no one could see it?

I’ll never know. Of course, it begs the question– why does a Church command certain outward behaviors, when inwardly– the heart and mind struggle? To God, it is all the same. He sees us inside and outand loves us just the same. How would Roozle be any better off in that situation?

As it turns out, repentance wasn’t the only necessary ingredient for Andrew to return. Even though he and I are back on solid ground, he is still not allowed to come to Church, with no timeframe or concrete process for him to walk through in order to be restored. There are lots of vague explanations, buzz words, talk of safety and seriousness and unity of the spirit and proper procedures. And he is still at home after two months.

I went to Church a few times with just the kids and me. It was so strange, sitting there by myself.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t been to Church alone, it was that I knew Andrew was not allowed to sit with me. He was deemed too “dangerous” to the congregation. As I sang the songs, listened to the sermon, drank the coffee– I wondered– how is he too sinful to do this?

Then I wondered how many other members were sitting in their seats, with similar problems like his. What about the couple in the corner massively in debt? The guy in front with the porn addiction? What if someone found out about my secret crap? If we were called to account and unable to turn from our messes, we could all be banned too.

I started to think maybe there would be no Church at all if that were the case.

What would God say to all this? Is he happy that Andrew is at home on Sundays while his family goes to Church without him? How does He feel now that Andrew and I are doing everything we can to get back on track, and we still can’t attend services with our friends and family?

Roozle’s story haunts me. We can pick up and move on if we’re not allowed back into the fold. But she is forever going to face scrutiny, discrimination, and rejection because of her sexual orientation. Conservative evangelical circles will use her story to further scare other “on the fence” homosexuals into stuffing the battle that rages inside them.

There are no easy answers.

The longer I live, the more trials and struggle I face, the more I understand why Jesus only had stinging words of criticism for the Pharisees and Church leaders. Not for the lost. Not for the sinners. Not for the broken.

Only to the ones who stood in between God and His people, demanding behaviors and executing judgement that only God should give.

I want to hang with Jesus. I want Him to teach me how to never be the kind of person that is a stumbling block between God and people.

Did you like this post?

I’d be so grateful if you could vote for it as a people’s choice blog post for BlogHer 2014 by clicking on the link below and hitting “vote”. You need a BlogHer account in order to do so, which takes just a minute (and you can use Facebook or Twitter to create one seamlessly). Thank you!!

Vote for Banned from Church Now!

When Shit Breaks

This is Murphy’s Law — right before Andrew leaves on business — shit breaks.

Last time it was the toilet. Only 12 hours before he was supposed to leave, he went into the laundry room (on the first floor) and noticed that there was a water stain on the ceiling. When he went to touch it, his finger slipped right through the soaking wet sheetrock.

It took him all day to fix the toilet, and then he left. The day he came back? It started leaking again. This time, we went au professional. The guy fixed it except, it broke — again.

The hole in the laundry room ceiling. Makes no sense to patch it since the toilet keeps on leaking.

The hole in the laundry room ceiling. Makes no sense to patch it since the toilet keeps on leaking.

Turns out, we need a new bathroom floor that doesn’t shift when we sit on the potty. In fact, Andrew had the nerve to call a family meeting in which we had to employ hover maneuver techniques so we didn’t make the toilet move and break the wax seal.

“Isn’t there an easier way to deal with this honey? You know, like a new floor?” I asked.

“Well yes, but a new floor is not easier than hovering.” Good point.

“Okay, what I meant to say was isn’t there a more permanent and less aerobic solution?”

With an exasperated look he said, “Yes. There is. But until then, hover.”

I’m used to hovering when I pee in public bathrooms but have you ever tried to hover and poop? No, I didn’t think so.

We’re not really hovering, but there is a warrant out for the arrest of anyone who sits down too hard on the toilet. Be warned if you come over.

So today he left for Massachusetts. And right before he departed, he announced to me, “Julie, the light went out in the fridge this morning.”

According to Andrew, there is nothing worse (well maybe a few things worse) than trying to find your way through the endless leftovers in the back ass end of the fridge with no light.

“Okay, whatever. I guess I’ll get a new bulb,” I said.

“Uhhhh…no. Don’t. Bulb shopping is my business.” It’s true. If you follow me on Facebook, you saw the photo I posted of Andrew in the lightbulb aisle at Walmart. We stood there for 20 minutes while he hemmed and hawed. The old carefree Julie woulda thrown a few incandescents in her cart and been on her way, but the married Julie must stand there quietly while Andrew uses his PhD in lightbulbology to determine which one is best.

Notice the $500 million dollars worth of crap in our cart? What is in the Walmart air that causes that?

“Okay so I WON’T buy a bulb. I’ll just deal.” It was 7am — I didn’t really care that the light was out.

A few minutes later, Andrew yelled out to no one in particular, “AHA!”

“What?”

“Here. Just use my headlamp whenever you need to go into the fridge.”

He didn’t just say that. I tried not to laugh. Really I did.

“You want me to put on a headlamp every time I open the fridge? Do you know how many times a day I do that?!”

“Well just wear it all day then.”

Oh yes, so when the mailman comes to the door, or when I have to leave to take my kids to get their flu shot, I’ll explain that my husband’s solution to the broken light bulb in the fridge is to wear a headlamp all day.

I was going to put a picture of me with a headlamp, but I can't miss an opportunity to show the dorky-ness of my husband.

I was going to put a picture of me with a headlamp, but this one is so.much.better.

As it turns out, when I went to go LOOK for the headlamp (not to use it, just to mock him for suggesting it), it was nowhere to be found. I called him on the phone and his reply was,

“Oh. I thought since you were making so much fun of me, you wouldn’t use it. So I took it with me on my business trip.”

“Why? Because there are fridges with lights out up at the Best Western?”

“Shut up.”

If me or the kids get food poisoning because we couldn’t see the right leftovers to grab, and then the toilet leaks vomity water all over our laundry room — he’s gonna feel REALLY bad.

Friends Party Recap

The fact that I am blogging at 7:30am does NOT mean the party was a dud. I’m completely exhausted and hung over, but alas — we have to travel down to New Canaan today so my sorry ass is out of bed.

Here are some things you need to know about what went down last night:

1. Jessica has creepy knowledge of Friends and if you try to beat her, you will just end up drunk on Godiva raspberry chocolate vodka.

2. Jesse’s bowtie is a clip on.

3. Claire likes scotch?!

4. My kids — only having watched Friends for a few months — know A LOT about Friends trivia.

I think Eden has a crush on Jesse.

I think Eden has a crush on Jesse.

5. When Claire went up to say goodnight to Eden, she gently reminded her of the episode where Emma’s birthday cake looks like a penis. That’s my girl.

6. Rachel-style Trifle is nasty. The cold ground beef is enough to induce dry heaving. We ate it and watched the episode. Pictures below. Notice the trifle and the vodka? You had to pick your poison when you lost a question.

trifle

7. The food was delicious (if I do say so myself). HOWEVER, with the amount of prep it took — I expected it to be heaven, and it wasn’t. So I’m not sure I’ll labor over the main dish again. You should try it and let me know.

So pretty!

8. Andrew looks super hot in his teeny tiny tee-shirt.

From left to right, Jesse, Andrew, Jess, and Claire.

9. Children’s Tylenol medicine cups make great shot glasses in a pinch.

Don't tell the kids!

Don’t tell the kids!

10. The chocolate (butt) cake as Eden called it, was delicious. I didn’t want to correct her to say it was actually a “bundt” cake. Butt is funnier.

There was hot fudge to go on top of it.

There was hot fudge to go on top of it.

It was a roaring success. And it’s funny– our kids are starting to be the kind of people you want to have at a party– even an adult one. That’s such a strange and wonderful feeling. Little people starting to feel like actual mature human beings that can enjoy a dinner party. My favorite moment of the dinner conversation was when Evan said,

“Yeah – my dad will eat your leftovers if you are done. He eats anything. He’s like a bullshark.”

That was a factually correct joke by the way. Oh Evan.

As for the food, I tried to embed the pins but it’s not working. Go to my tasty food board. You’ll see recipes for:

1. Harvest Salsa
2. Captain’s Chicken
3. Cape Cod Salad
4. Pumpkin Cornmeal Bread
5. Chocolate Cake

Fall Foliage Centerpiece

I’m no DIY blogger, but when genius strikes, it must be documented. We’re in full preparation mode over here for the party tonight. I needed a centerpiece…and I’d much rather spend money on food and alcohol than flowers. So here’s what the girls and I came up with!

materials

Oh yeah – and you need a vase too!

  1. Fill it with popcorn kernels.
  2. Stick a bunch of sticks in it.
  3. Use a glue gun to attach leaves to the sticks.
  4. Tie a bow if you want.
  5. Done!

This is a fool proof child assisted craft that won’t frustrate you. Promise. We did it in 20 minutes (and then I had time to blog about it!)

girls

final