Misadventures in Babysitting

I recently reread the first three books of The Baby-Sitters Club series, and the nostalgia was overwhelming. I remember being inspired back in the day to make my own “kid kit” and be the best babysitter EVER. I’ve been blessed to care for children of all ages, and I like to think that I made some kind of positive impact on their lives. This is starting to sound heartwarming so let me put on the brakes because this is not about the good times. Be honest; you’re here to laugh at my expense. 😂 This is a more accurate description of what you’re about to read:

Just to be clear, I am a responsible babysitter, and nothing dangerous has ever happened in my care. The tales I’m about to reveal weren’t directly my fault, just a handful of humorous and unfortunate events.

– Board Game Gone Wrong –

The brother & sister I was babysitting suggested we play chutes and ladders, and I eagerly agreed because I thought it would be fun to relive my childhood. I have to be honest and tell you that I got beat fair and square. I didn’t come in first place nor did I come in second; I was dead last. This particular board game is meant for kids, and even though I had no intention of beating my young companions, I didn’t think I would be so terrible. We hadn’t been playing long before the sister turned to me and said with a straight face: “You’re really bad at this game.” There is nothing quite as humiliating as an insult from someone who is less than half your age. I haven’t played that game since.

– Late Night TV –

This particular situation was mostly my fault, but have no fear because it had nothing to do with my young charges. For an extended period of time, I had a steady babysitting job with a family who lived in my neighborhood. One night while sitting at their house, I decided to watch some television after the kids were sound asleep; of course I had the parents’ permission. It was late at night, and there was a thunderstorm brewing. Of all the things I could have watched, I settled on a crime show. That was my first mistake. I eventually decided TV was a bad idea, and picked up the book I brought with me which just so happened to be a mystery. That was my second mistake. My third and final mistake was leaving only one lamp on. I’m not sure why, but I never turned on the room light to make myself feel safer. It was a tense few hours. I didn’t know nighttime could be so noisy! I can’t even tell you how many times I checked the doors and windows to make sure they were locked ( once I built up the courage to do so ). When the parents arrived through the garage, I naturally thought they were murderers until they stepped into the house and greeted me by name. That was the last time I ever watched a crime show or read a mystery while babysitting.

– I Cry Fowl –

I will ease you into the fourth and final story with the typical babysitting story of a bird in the garage. It happened while I was outside with the “chutes and ladders siblings” for some fresh air and playing time. While taking a brief break from the sun, a curious bird joined us. He was harmless, but I couldn’t help panicking. The brother’s personality was unpredictable, and I pictured him opening the door and accidentally letting our new winged friend inside the house. Of course I had to cage (get it?!) my fear so the kids wouldn’t panic and do what I just described. I spoke softly and encouraged them to stay still so the bird wouldn’t feel threatened. He explored a little more and flew away, never to bother us again. Crisis avoided! I swear the animal kingdom is out to get me.

– Dino and the Popsicles –

I realize that the title sounds like a cool band name, but the following events are anything but cool. Literally! I was once again babysitting my neighbors, but this time it was during the day. The parents provided popsicles and told me the kids could play outside. Simple enough, right? WRONG!! When the time came, the siblings grabbed their cold, refreshing popsicles, and we ventured outdoors into the unbearable heat & humidity. After some quality playing time with their dog Dino, the sister informed me that she had to use the restroom. I thought nothing of it until she went to turn the doorknob, and nothing happened. I thought the door was stuck because that is normal in Texas, and I gave it a try. Nothing happened, and my heart started to sink into my stomach. I took some deep breaths and reminded myself that I had to stay calm because I was in charge of two kids and one dog. I made my way to the front of the house to try the garage door; I brought along the sister because she was old enough to stay calm and help me with the code to open the door from the outside. I managed to get the garage door open, but the door to the house was locked, and we had no luck finding the spare key. Trust me, I searched high and low. I had told the brother stay in the backyard with the dog; thankfully the garage wasn’t far from the gate so the sister and I pulled double duty keeping a close eye on them. Unfortunately that didn’t work. The little boy gave in to his curiosity and opened the gate before we could reach him. That wasn’t my main concern. Remember who he was with!! I spent the next 10-15 minutes running up and down the street yelling “DINO!!” No, this is not an unaired episode of The Flintstones. I desperately tried to shepherd him into the gate held open by the sister while simultaneously keeping my eye on the brother because, as you already know, he was very unpredictable (typical at his age). He tried to help by joining in with his small but mighty voice, but really it was just more noise and extra stress. Finally I got that darn dog into the backyard and locked all of us in. I had a mischievous dog and two sweaty, sticky kids in my care, and I felt helpless. I hated to pull them away from something important, but I had to inform the parents of our predicament since I had tried every other way to get back inside. Thankfully I had my phone on me so I called and left a calm, collected message. I spent the next hour or so keeping the kids distracted on the trampoline until their parents came to our rescue. I profusely apologized and fully expected to never work for them again. The parents shocked me by apologizing about their faulty lock, which they forgot to tell me about before leaving, and applauded my ability to stay calm in a stressful situation. I did indeed work for them again, and thankfully the preceding story was the worst experience I ever had, both with them and with babysitting period. It was a tough experience to go through, but I learned a lot.

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Lost in Translation

Time for another story from the misadventures of Lauren Michele Stewart! Just kidding. This tale is actually very thought-provoking. *GASP*

Back in my college days Spanish dramas were my escape from reality, Isabel, Los Hombres de Paco, & Un paso adelante being my personal favorites. On top of that, I listened to a lot of Spanish music in an attempt to perfect my ear for the beautiful language of España. Never in a million years did I think that music and TV shows in another language would affect me around English speakers, but it did indeed happen. One day while I was in class, my ears started to interpret English in a different way. At first I thought I was just extremely tired, which is normal for a student, but careful listening proved that I was indeed hearing what sounded like the only other language in my life: Spanish. At one point I silently prayed that the teacher and students wouldn’t talk to me because I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. Even though I was hearing a familiar language, my brain wasn’t distinguishing the words. After a few minutes everything went back to normal, but I never forgot what happened.

The experience gave me a higher level of respect for both polyglots and immigrants learning a foreign language. I wasn’t necessarily scared or overwhelmed, but it was unexpected and left me feeling disoriented. I don’t necessarily have a moral or a mind-blowing message to share with you. I just thought the experience was unique, something I’d never heard of before. I wish my tongue had miraculously become bilingual in that moment and remained so. 😂 As a side note, I highly recommend utilizing television and music as immersion techniques for learning a language. I am by no means fluent, but I understand a decent chunk of Castilian Spanish. I refer to a specific type because that is what my ears are accustomed to; I have a very hard time understanding accents outside of Spain. 🇪🇸

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Out With the New, In With the Old | Throwback Thursday

What does that title even mean??  Patience young padawans.  Let’s look at some of the facts:

🕸️ A certain witchy drama is getting a reboot; yes, I’m talking about Charmed.

🐘 A continuation of the 1995 film Jumanji premieres at the end of 2017.

🌟 All is well with the Force because new Star Wars movies are being produced & released.

💰 DuckTales is coming back to television!  The reboot will premiere on Disney XD this year on a to-be-announced date.

👠 Fashionistas could step back in time & fit right in because many of the current trends were pulled from previous decades.

🎤 Gwen Stefani and JoJo released albums last year, a first for both since 2006.

⌚ If names like Andy Griffith, Buffy, The Cheetah Girls, and The Parent Trap ring any bells, you might want to make space in your schedule for binging sessions because Netflix has what you need.  Two seasons of Fuller House, a Full House sequel show, are also available.

📺 TeenNick airs retro Nickelodeon shows overnight, a programming block known as The Splat.

✨ The classic animated Disney movies are one by one being made into live action films. So far so good!

👾 The demand and availability for retro merchandise is widespread and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

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That is just the tip of the iceberg, but you get the picture.  Not a day goes by that I don’t hear about nostalgia.  I’m not sure of the main cause.  It could be adults missing the carefree days of childhood; you don’t truly appreciate what you have until it’s gone.  It could also be consumer attitudes turning against the present-day options in media and merchandise.  Personally, I think it’s a bit of both.  To clarify, no fault lies with the evolution of technology & entertainment.  There’s something endearing about what we grew up with.  Those memories are ingrained in our minds and hold a special place in our hearts.  Enjoying something from the past is what I imagine time travel to feel like, a transportation of mind, body, & soul; bliss takes over the senses along with admiration for a way of life without the advances of the present.  Here is an example.  Most of us can’t live without a cellphone in our hands, but I think we subconsciously miss a time when they were nonexistent.  Each household had one stationary telephone, and phone calls were special.  There are problems as far back as history goes, but this topic is less about politics & society and more about the ideology of “simpler times.”  When circumstances become overwhelming, we revert back to when life was, in the mind of a child, simple.

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Show Your Colors

July 4th, the day that Americans put the flag on display and shout their pride from the rooftops in honor of freedom.  Now is the perfect time to share what makes me feel patriotic.  I love my country, but I’m not the most vocal about it.  However, there are two things that make my blood run red, white, & blue.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I respect that.  But, I can’t help feeling rage when someone born and raised outside the American borders feels the need to judge.  I am American-born and American-raised.  I can count the number of times I’ve left this country on one hand.  I speak English with an American accent.  I received education and now work as an adult here.  I can criticize this country because I am a citizen and know what I’m talking about (for the most part 😉).  Think of it this way.  As a brother or sister, you can tease your sibling(s) to your heart’s content, but God help the outsider who feels led to do the same.  Suddenly you’re on the defensive!  Perhaps that paints a clearer picture of my point.  Moving on.  I see or hear stories about soldiers every day, but nothing compares to seeing or meeting them in the flesh.  As a retail employee, I meet military personnel of all races and ages and feel an indescribable level of honor and pride to serve them.  I respect the diverse group of people willing to train and fight for this country.  If any soldiers, past or present, are reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Go out & have fun readers!  I wish you a safe, happy holiday.

🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

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The Power of Makeup

*** If you like this beautiful illustration by Joanna Baker, click the Etsy link to purchase it. ***

*** The Power of Makeup Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcMU-S3eZYg ***

I saw this tag on Youtube and immediately wanted to be involved.  This topic is important and needs to be discussed.  Makeup is a powerful thing and should be used with care.  With great power comes great responsibility!  Here is my story:

Growing up as a dancer, one of my favorite times of year was the annual recital.  The downside, however, was having to wear makeup.  The worst part was the eyeliner and mascara.  I would yell at my mom for poking me in the eye even though it was my fault because I was complaining and fidgeting.  I hated makeup!  Then, sometime between junior high and high school, I fell in love with makeup.  My mom eased me into it, but I was already head over heels.  I rarely left the house without wearing it.  As a college student, I had more important things to focus on therefore I was barefaced 75% of the time.  Even though that was merely a season in my life, I learned a lot from something as simple as not wearing makeup.  Fellow students still looked me in the eye and talked to me.  That may sound lame, but the experience broadened my comfort zone.  I have struggled with insecurity for as long as I can remember.  I had this idea that if I didn’t cover up my blemishes and under eye circles, people shouldn’t look at me lest they be disgusted.  Nowadays, I have no problem walking out of the house with as little as mascara and lip balm on my face.  There is nothing wrong with makeup, no matter how much or how little you prefer to wear.  The message I want to emphasize is using makeup to enhance the face God gave you.  Don’t use makeup to hide behind.  You are beautiful!!  Please do not listen to hurtful words and ignore those who try to push you around and make you feel guilty about loving makeup.  There is nothing wrong with makeup, and there is nothing wrong with how you look.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

“Put your makeup on, Get your nails done, Curl your hair, Run the extra mile, Keep it slim.  So they like you.  Do they like you.  Get your sexy on, Don’t be shy girl, Take it off, This is what you want, To belong.  So they like you.  Do you like you.  You don’t have to try so hard.  You don’t have to give it all away.  You just have to get up get up get up get up.  You don’t have to change a single thing.”

“Try” by Colbie Caillat – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXoZLPSw8U8

 

“Days will come when you don’t have the strength.  When all you hear is you’re not worth anything.  Wondering if you ever could be loved.  And if they truly saw your heart they’d see too much.  You’re beautiful.  You’re beautiful.  You are made for so much more than all of this.  You’re beautiful.  You’re beautiful.  You are treasured, You are sacred, You are His.  You’re beautiful.”

“Beautiful” by MercyMe – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vh7-RSPuAA

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

*** If you are interested, I made a “Power of Makeup” video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcMU-S3eZYg ***

The Power of Makeup

The Power of Makeup

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– Lauren Michele :)

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Dear Younger Self

(Image Source: https://worthyofagape.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/dear-younger-self.jpg)

Two nights ago, I had an eye-opening experience.  I couldn’t sleep so I decided to read through my old diary, and what I found shocked me.  I used vague language and failed to mention most of the significant events from my childhood.  There was no substance!  I am a writer; when the need arises, I express myself through words to vent and heal.  In my poetry journals, I was completely open about what was going on around me and how I was feeling.  However, those poems were written within the last five years.  My diary was started four years prior to my discovery of poetry.  Perhaps I’ve been watching too much “Criminal Minds” because I have an analysis.  I wont give explicit details, but I went through a lot mentally and emotionally.  My memories are crystal clear, but, based on my diary, I was not aware of how I was being affected.  I brushed aside contributing factors as minor annoyances.  I believe that repression is why, years later, I react so explosively; I am overcompensating for my silence in the past.  I don’t want to drag on so I will end with these words, a note to my younger self and girls who have gone through/are going through similar struggles:

“You feel ugly, fat, alone, and hopeless.  You have given up on yourself because no matter how desperate you are to speak up, you are afraid.  Let go of your emotions; allow yourself to scream and cry.  When you feel better, pick yourself up and start anew with your head held high.  It may feel impossible now, but you make it farther than your young mind can imagine.  Do not lose the fire inside of you.  Never stop fighting!”

(Image Source: https://img0.etsystatic.com/024/0/6604282/il_570xN.509481350_gcnr.jpg)

(Image Source: https://fightingchronicpain.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/never-stop-fighting.jpg)

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“And all those things I didn’t say, wrecking balls inside my brain.  I will scream them loud tonight.  Can you hear my voice this time?  This is my fight song, take back my life song, prove I’m alright song.  My power’s turned on.  Starting right now I’ll be strong.  I’ll play my fight song.  And I don’t really care if nobody else believes ’cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc

                                   (Image Source: http://frenchpressmornings.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Hebrews13.5.png)

(Image Source: http://megansmidt.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/jeremiah-29-11.jpg)

“In the midst of deep sorrow, I see Your light is breaking through.  The dark of night will not overtake me.  I am pressing into You.  Lord, You fight my every battle.  And I will not fear.  I am not alone.  I am not alone.  You will go before me.  You will never leave me.”

“I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfveawSAHJA

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I hope you feel better!  Feel free to talk and/or vent in the comment section.  This is a safe environment.  “See” you soon readers.  :)

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– Lauren Michele <3

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