Two Pretzels

August 28, 2016

Beyonce, that dress and Sia.



Beyonce is so fancy she brings her own mike up on stage when she wins an award at the MTV VMA awards.

Preparation is key, thanks for that reminder, Bey.

Moving on, I loved Beyonce's Francesco Scognamiglio (best name of the night) gown. Amazing.



Her Lemonade performance? Eh. I don't really need to know about her dirty laundry. I quit reading Pop Sugar years ago. Who has time for that?

::

Will tell you this, too -- what a horrendous show.

If being current means knowing who was on that show, I don't want to be current. I mean, eh. Britney? What was that?

Alicia Keys is stunning.

And I love Tracee Ellis Ross.

And, that's all.

#TheVMAsAreDumb

#LionelForever

#EasyLikeSundayMorning

P.S. Sia is the best pop singer / writer today. Hands down.

If you haven't seen her with James Corden, today needs to be the day.



(The real Sia minus the wig, which I happen to love.)




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August 23, 2016

To my husband on his birthday

Yeah, we weren't sure if it was legal for them to ride in it, either...

Dear Craig,

In light of the special day that is today, I asked your daughters, Lila (7-years-old) and Vivienne (5-years-old) a few questions about you.

Enjoy.

::

1. Tell me one word that describes your Daddy.

Vivienne: Guapo ("Handsome", in EspaƱol.)

Lila: Nice

2. Tell me one thing you like to do with Daddy.

Vivienne: Fix stuff with him.

Lila: Be silly with him

3. Tell me one thing that you know that Daddy LOVES.

Vivienne: Coffee

Lila: Us

4. What is Daddy's favorite animal?

Vivienne: I don't know. Me? An ostrich.

Lila: I think I know: a cheetah.

5. How old is Daddy turning?

Vivienne: I think he's going to turn 17.

Lila: 39

4. What is Daddy's favorite color?

Vivienne: Rainbow

Lila: Green

5. If you could do anything you wanted with Daddy, what would it be?

Vivienne: Buy a toy.

Lila: Be with him.

6. What do you think Daddy's favorite flower is?*

Vivienne: Rose.

Lila: Tulip?

*Question suggested by Lila.

6. If you could bake any dessert for Daddy, what would you bake him?

Vivienne: Cake

Lila: Pecan pie

7. If you could grant Daddy ONE wish, what do you think his wish would be.

Vivienne: He's perfect like he is.

Lila: To be a football man

8. What's the best thing about Daddy:

Vivienne: His hair is so guapo.

Lila: He's so cute.

9. What is Daddy's favorite thing to do?

Vivienne: Be with us.

Lila: Daddy likes to be with us.

10. Who is Daddy's Mommy?

Vivienne: Kylee, Oh. Wait. I was in a rush, Mimi.

Lila: Mimi.

11. What is Daddy's favorite food?

Vivienne: Bacon, of course.

Lila: The brownies that we're making him right now. The ones with the things on it. (Things = snickers bars.)

12. If you could give Daddy ANY gift in the whole wide world, what would you give him?

Vivienne: I would give him my love.

Lila:  I would give him a hug.

13. If you could say anything to Daddy on his birthday, what would it be?

Vivienne: How is your birthday, Birthday Boy? (She sang that...)

Lila: You're the best Daddy I've ever had. Well, you're the only Daddy I ever had... And, I love you.

::

I agree with them in that you are handsome, you can fix anything and you like coffee.

In addition, you are sweet and kind and the love of my life.

How blessed I am. (And vice versa. Kidding. Sort of.)

Seriously, though - Craig, you're my everything and you're theirs, too.

If Ferg and Millie could type, they'd chime in and say that you're the best.

We are beyond thrilled that you were born. Because there's you, there's them.

We love you so much.

Happy birthday, my love.

Love,
Me.


::

Your birthday posts...
Birthday post from 2016.
Birthday post from 2014.
Birthday post from 2013.
Birthday post from 2012.
Birthday post from 2011.
Birthday post from 2010.
Birthday post from 2009.
Birthday post from 2008.
Birthday post from 2007.
Birthday post from 2006.

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August 20, 2016

Safe Cookie Dough Recipe



It's no secret that I'm a huge Shakeology fan. I'm also a huge sweets fan. However, I am not a salmonella fan. (Can I get an amen?)

That said, I feel it's my responsibility to share this one with you. For you Fixers, it's one yellow and 1 tsp.

Makes 13 servings, 1 spoonful each)
Total Time:                          15 min.
Prep Time:                           15 min.
  • ½ cup all-natural almond butter
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • ½ cup finely chopped raw almonds
  • 2½ scoops Vanilla Shakeology
  • 2 Tbsp. mini semi-sweet (or dark chocolate) chocolate chips
  1. Combine almond butter, honey, almonds, Shakeology, and chocolate chips in a medium bowl; mix well.
  2. Spoon 13 equal-sized dallops of dough onto plate (or into the mouths of you and your friends), about 1-inch in diameter each.
Nutritional Information (per serving):
  • Calories: 127
  • Total Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4 g
  • Cholesterol: 1 mg
  • Sodium: 84 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Sugars: 8 g
  • Protein: 5 g
Fix Portions
  • 1 Yellow
  • 1 tsp.
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August 16, 2016

A bad joke, story telling and gratitude

In Amy Poehler's book, Yes Please, her sweet parents tell the story of her birth.

Amy recounts the details in the book: her Mom was twenty-four and her Dad, about to turn twenty-five.

Her Mom says this: "I was thrilled to have a daughter. My mother had modeled so successfully how to bring up daughters. I can still remember that first rush of motherly pride, that assurance that my child was perfect, and then that first twinge of self-doubt. Was I ready for this job?"

(We can all relate, no?)

Amy's Dad chimes in, "I was thrilled to have a daughter and specifically asked the florist to put a card on the arrangement that read, "Glad it's a girl!"

Amy went on to tell her readers, "If your parents are still alive, call them today and ask them to describe the day you were born. Write the details down here, on the following pages. Tell the story every year on your birthday until you know it by heart."

::

This part of her book made me cry when I first read it many months ago.

I have no idea what my Mom felt the day I was born. I never asked. I do recall her saying that I resembled a spider monkey. (tee hee.)

My Dad? I'm certain he felt somewhat nervous on that day in 1979 that I might possibly be another boy (no offense to my 3 brothers...) But how he felt after I was born? No idea.

What they were thinking?  No clue.

::

Today, this part of the book doesn't make me cry.

Instead, it makes me want to write more and more and MORE.

::

I started this blog 10 years ago as an ode to my favorite joke. Long before "two pretzels" came into my life. This blog was named long before I even wanted children.

Here's the joke that inspired it all. Are you ready? It's a show stopper.

"Two pretzels were walking down the street... one was a salted."

Get it?

A SALTED pretzels.

Too much.

Yeah. I know.

But I've always thought it was hilarious and it helps that it's the only punchline I've ever been able to remember.

This blog was started to be light, airy and to give me an outlet to be... me. Here's my first post.

Over time, it morphed.
It grew.
I developed friendships and readers who have supported and cheered me throughout the years.

For the first couple of years, I think Craig was thankful that the blog existed.
It curtailed my incessant talking to him. Instead of mentioning that I thought my current mascara was failing, I'd write about it here. He seldom read Two Pretzels, unless I asked him to. Now, I think he reads it pretty regularly.

My Mom even ignored the blog. I don't blame her. Our daily phone calls were probably all the Kylee she needed.

I kept writing.

We decided to move to Mexico, so I wrote about it.

I wrote about my sweet niece and the cute things she'd say and do. (CloMo's for those who remember. P.S., she's 16 now.)
I wrote about living in Mexico and the insane transition. ($15 butter and no JIF peanut butter. Oy.)

I finally wrote about how we couldn't get pregnant, after we tried and tried.
Oh, the envelopment of love and well wishes was incredible... this was the first time I realized that written words could connect us. Really connect us.

I wrote about my pregnancy, gave "produce reports" comparing my baby's size to farm vegetables and fruits.

I wrote about Lila's birth, then her life in my weekly "Lila Lunes." ("Lunes" means Monday in Spanish.)

And then there was another pregnancy! Surprise! And then Vivienne Kate arrived. My "Lila Lunes" was changed to "Ladies Lunes" and the blog took a definite "Mom" shift.

I wrote about the crazy, chaotic, full life I had.
The crying, diapering, pumping, body-changing, craziness.
I wrote about it all.
I started to consider this blog the girls' baby books.

And then, I wrote about that day when my heart was crumpled, like the car my Mom was driving, and about how she passed.
I had to. This space has been my safe space, my outlet, my respite.
And during that time... the love, the support, the prayers and the kindness... it lifted me and honestly carried me. I never realized the power of grief and how it really unites.

Thus far I have written 5,206 posts.

Why?

As it turns out, I've been writing for them. For my Two Pretzels.

I was writing this blog, my legacy, before I ever knew that I'd be their Mom.
Because of this space, my girls will know who I was before they were born.
They will know how I felt when I found out they were to be mine.
They will know the joys, the tears, the struggles and the treasures that they have brought to my life.
They will know who I am by these words.
They will know my love of fashion, of reading, of Lionel and Martha, mascara and dry humor and donuts.
They will know I love their Dad. With ever fiber of my being.
And, when the time comes, I hope they're able to wrap themselves in the words I wrote when I lost my Mom... to guide them through...

Today, on my birthday, I'm not sad that my Mom didn't write down how she felt when I was born. I'm not upset that I don't know how my Dad felt.

Instead, I am thrilled to pieces and beyond thankful that they gave me life and that today, I am healthy, drinking a lovely cup of green tea in a coffee shop on a rainy day in Ohio and I am here living it.

I am honored to be their child, to be their Mom, to be his wife.

I will continue to write so that they know me.

Thank you for reading.
Thank you for your support and love.



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August 15, 2016

Take the bet. Make some money. AND get healthy.



Beachbody is seriously paying people to workout from September 5th - October 2nd. We're calling it the Beachbody Health Bet.

Coaches AND customers (you!) who use the Challenge Tracker app will win an equal share of a $1.25 million dollar pot seeded by Beachbody. As a bonus, for every Challenge Pack sold from July 27th to August 31st, they're adding $5 to the pot, up to $3 million dollars.

All you have to do is:

1.) Download the app and tell me that you want to be part of the group. (The My Challenge Tracker app is available only in the App Store for iPhone and Google Play for Android.)

2.) Record in the app that you had shakeology at least 5 times a week (take a pic each day) starting September 5th.

3.) Log that you worked out for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week.

Please let me know if you want in! This is IN addition to my regular group that'll be starting on September 12th. It's a good way to keep at it AND to win some money.

It's easy - just email me at kyleeATtwopretzels.com, or use this form to get ahold of me.








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August 4, 2016

A wave.



Today I went to the cemetery.
I'm in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio and I drove to the place where my Dad was buried on that rainy day a few days after he died on the Ides of March in 1990.

I was 10.

But I was really 25.

It was hot today, by Toledo standards. 90 or so? I put my hot green tea in the cup holder and I stepped out of the car wearing my flip flops and I walked to his gravestone. The grass was still damp with the morning dew and my feet were a little wet.

And I stood there.

And I looked down.

And oh... it overtook me.

The wave.

That wave.

It's like you're gliding along perfectly when out of no where... you're pummeled.

My chest tightened and I inhaled and held my breath... and I tried to keep it in...

...and I bawled.

At 9:15 in the morning, in the heat of the Toledo summer sum. At the cemetery.

The tears wouldn't stop.

I cried because, "You never got to meet my girls, my Lila, my Vivi."

I cried because, "I'm doing ok. And you'd love my husband. He's kind and funny and he's handy and he can do anything."

I stood for a few seconds at his grave and then walked away.

Then I'd walk back. And cry.

And walk away again.

I couldn't stand there and read his name. It was too much. Where was this coming from? He's been gone, dead, for 26 years, and I'm crying like it happened yesterday.

So I walked away, and I saw her.
The sweet woman with the watering can.
She walked over to the spout about 5 yards from her loved one's grave. She filled it up and walked back toward the stone to water the colorful flowers she had so lovingly planted and cared for around the grave... and I cried more. I cried because she's someone and she lost someone. I cried for her.
I cried because grief unites. We go through our lives differently, but loss and sadness knows no color, no race, no age, no demographic, no time...

No one is spared the pang of loss.

And I walked back to his stone and I brushed off the grass and I stood there tracing the letters of his name hoping to absorb something from him as I stood there.

The hardest thing about losing a loved one is everything.

The hardest thing about losing a parent is everything.

"Kylee, pull yourself together. For the love."

I walked away. Then I walked back. Yet again.

I tried to talk out loud, but it felt awkward.
I don't feel like he's "there" or anything.
It's just a stone...

So, I just said the words in my head, thinking that God could pass them on, or maybe for that split second my Dad could see me, recognize the 10-year-old girl that he last saw, and hear what I was saying.

I wish I could tell him that I remember the way he smelled after a shower.
I wish I could tell him that I remember his laugh when he listened to Rosanna, Rosanna-danna, and that I watch SNL religiously because he liked it.
I wish I could tell him that I willed myself to drink hot tea becuase he drank hot tea.
I wish I could tell him that I practiced his signature years after his death, just because.
I wish I could tell him that it was ok that he didn't walk me down the aisle.
I wish I could tell him that I went to college and I got married and I bought a house and then I moved to a new country and I'm doing fine.
I wish I could tell him how amazing my nieces and nephews are and how all of us "kids" are different, but we still love one another with ALL of our hearts and we would do anything for one another.
I wish I could tell him that I'm so sorry that life wasn't easy for him.
I wish I could tell him that he made a difference in my life -- in just 10 years.

::

So many memories have been swarming lately about him.
I don't know where it's come from.

But I think it's part of the process.
Which makes me smile, because after more than a quarter of a century I still miss my Dad.

And that's ok, because he's worth missing.

::

So I left the cemetery and the tears flooded my eyes and I cried because I have no parents.
I'm not the only person in the world whose parents are dead.
There's a group of us, there's a club.
I usually put these feelings neatly in a box. I unwrap it on the rare necessary occasion. Usually though, I stay busy. I go. And go. And go some more.

But today. Time stood still. And... I felt it.

For that 12 minute drive back to the bungalow, driving the streets I had once driven with my Dad, I cried and I felt it. I felt the sadness that comes with not having anyone to praise you, to back you up, to love you unconditionally.

I just... cried.

It's ok to feel the feelings.

::

And then I got out of the car and I took a deep breath and I walked into my house.

And I thought to myself, "Twenty years from now... I want to cry these same tears."

I want to miss him and honor him and love him like this because his life, oh Dad, your life... it made a difference.

::

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July 19, 2016

Best excuse ever.



So while I'm in Ohio, I'm working remotely.

I make let the girls have "quiet time" in their room in the afternoons, after a bath and after horse camp.

Today, Lila came out and said, "My shirt has a weird texture."

"I don't think I can rest."

::

What do you even say to that?

::

I think I may try to incorporate that into my life:

"I'm sorry, I can't take care of you two today.  My shirt has a weird texture."

"I'm sorry, I can't come into the office today, my shirt has a weird texture."

"I'm sorry, I wasn't able to pay my bills on time, my shirt has a weird texture."

"I can't agree with you. My shirt has a weird texture."

::

Who is this kid?

And, is she on to something?

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