Midweek Confessions

Well friends,

It’s that time again.  The middle of the week when I hook up with e, myself and I to let you know everything that is REALLY going on in my life so that you can feel just a little bit better about yours.

Here we go:

1. Currently I have a blister on my lip.  I burned it.  While trying to sneak a bite of too-hot, full-gluten cinnamon roll.  I think that God was like, “Girl, I love you but you know you can’t eat that!” BAM. Blister. 

2. The blister is only slightly less humiliating than the fact that yesterday I spent about 1/2 an hour digging through the trash can…not the one under the sink (all you Dutch folks know what I’m talking about), the one on the curb. The big blue one. With all of our trash from the past two weeks (because remember, Chris was out of town last week and I wasn’t about to move the trash to the curb – that’s a boy’s job!) Anyway, I accidentally threw away a $100 Visa gift card, and as I looked at that big blue can on the curb, I just couldn’t bear to think that the card might be in there…sure enough, a few layers past the wads of used paper towel, bags from the bathroom garbage (no way I was opening those), one decayed chicken carcass, and 15 gaggy dry-heaves later, there it was…$100 Visa card!  Hallelujah!  And then I spent it. On Kaitlyn.  Seriously, that girl should have been out there digging through the trash with me.  Here’s her new comforter that we ordered from IKEA with the Visa card:

3. Finally, I have spent two hours today watching Toddlers in Tiaras…and by watching I mean emotionally investing myself in the lives of spray-tanned and hair-teased 7 year olds.  I caught myself saying, “Doesn’t that mom know this is full-glitz? That second-hand dress is not going to cut it!” and “What exactly is going on with her hair, it looks like a rat’s nest!” before catching myself and deciding to be polite and judge these women inside my head rather than out.  And this then leads me to my true midweek confession.

4. It’s not just that I like Toddlers and Tiaras because of the drama and the sass and the moms who are trying to relive their  glory days…but because…wait for it…I WAS ONE OF THEM.  Okay, not a glitzy seven year old beauty queen, but I was the second runner up in Miss Teen Grand Rapids my junior year of high school.  That’s right. 2nd runner up. Just 2 spots behind 1st place (and in all honesty that 1st place girl was 6 feet tall and looked like a man). Just to prove how awesome it was, here’s a little photo gem for you…

Seriously, didn’t I know about tanning in the 90s?? Geesh!

Anyway, that’s my week so far.  As you can see, it’s been painful (the blister), stressful (the garbage incident) and emotional (reliving my glory days).  But that’s the real deal…and hopefully it’s made you a feel a little bit better about your day/week/life (choose only one, please).  Hopefully you’ve had a great week with no need for confession…but if not, you know where I am…I’d love to hear about it!

 Cheers from a second-runner-up Small Town Girl

P.S. For those of you who have asked how you can follow my blog more easily…check out the “follow by email” spot on the right hand side of my blog and leave your email.  You’ll get an update each time there’s a new post.  Just a thought 🙂

Small-town Saturday

“Ain’t nobody celebrate a festival like those that live in a small town.” – Me

Ok, so that quote really isn’t from anyone famous, but it’s pretty darn accurate.  Small towns take their celebrations seriously, none more than Grand Haven and it’s famous Coast Guard Festival.  As this weekend is the kick-off to a week full of carnival rides, caramel corn, concerts, and crazy tourists, I thought I would start off by sharing how we spent our opening day weekend…

Grand Haven, Michigan…Home Sweet Home

1. The Coast Guard Run – no, I’m just kidding.  It started at 7:30 and it’s 3.2 miles…both of which are beyond my scope of interest.  But some people ran, and I’m sure they had fun…but it was running. For 3.2 miles. So probably not.

2. The Farmer’s Market – This really is where we began our morning.  It’s lovely, with its flowers and fruits and veggies.  I was tempted by the blueberries which are perfectly in season…but of course, in true VanHekken fashion, we only made two stops…at the VanderMill booth to get 1/2 dozen freshly baked donuts (Sidenote: we also stopped here because our darling friend Sam works here and texted us at 6:30 AM to let us know he would be at the farmer’s market today.  6:30. AM. Anyway, 1/2 dozen VanderMill donuts and a gluten-free strawberry and banana muffin…which was delicious by the way…but probably not as delicious as the donuts…and we were done with the market.  Sorry fruits and veggies, that’s not really how we roll.

Our almost-empty bag of VanderMill cinnamon donuts

3. The Children’s Parade – We headed from the Farmer’s Market to the parade, which I’m sure is actually designed by dentists in order to draw in customers…seriously, the amount of candy that was chucked out of fire trucks could cause decay enough to leave every dentist in town busy for the rest of the year.  We hooked up with some friends to watch the various church groups, schools, and the Home Depot pom pom girls march through the streets, but really, the highlight was the local horse group who brought a donkey with them…the donkey, in apparent donkey fashion, stopped directly in front of us and for a solid 5 minutes refused to move.  The first minute was funny…and then it just wasn’t.  It did however make me want to step into the street and say to the handler, “Hey, can you please just move your a$$?”  But A.) I would NEVER use that kind of language, and B.) I think he was probably using worse language in his mind already, so it really wouldn’t have helped.

Patiently awaiting an onslaught of candy
The stubborn-as-a-mule parade moment

4. Baseball – After the parade we headed to a friend’s house for a little family lunch followed by sandlot-style baseball.  We had an assortment of kids and dad’s playing a variety of positions, and I like to think that I played the role of Wendy Peppercorn to Chris’s Squints pretty well.  (Please tell me that you understand the reference…if not, go RIGHT NOW to a video store to rent The Sandlot.  Seriously. Right Now.  Anyway, it was very quaint, and even the dads played…which was great…until today, when I will have to slather icy hot all over Chris’s non-16-year-old shoulder.

Carson pretending he’s Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez

5. Friends and Pickles – Finally, we finished the day with a good ole small town cookout.  Burgers on the grill with friends, the Tiger’s game on in the background, and homemade pickles.  Yes.  Homemade.  They were amazing, however, it did bring out a new understanding of how un-vegetabled my kids are:

Kaitlyn: You MADE Pickles?
My friend Amy: Yes, haven’t you ever made pickles?
Carson: You can MAKE Pickles?
Amy: Yes, try one
Kaitlyn: Oh my gosh, I didn’t know you could MAKE pickles!
Our friend Sam (who texted at 6:30 in the morning): Where did you think pickles came from? The ground?
Yes, that is the end of the conversation, because obviously my kids thought pickles came from the ground, and me, well being born and raised in Holland, Michigan, I just assumed that they came from the Heinz Pickle Factory on 17th street.

Amy’s soon-to-be-famous homemade pickles

6. Sunday – Our small-town Saturday has continued with a small-town Sunday – church, the Car Show, a slow stroll through The Bookman, where I was the only one even remotely interested in purchasing a book, and brunch at the Morningstar…each of us declaring that ours was possibly the best thing we have ever eaten in our ENTIRE LIVES!  (Although, Kaitlyn did order the lemon poppyseed pancakes stuffed with fresh blueberries and topped with homemade raspberry sauce, which I secretly think were the best…but I’m definitely not telling her.) Here’s a link to their menu, just so you can see how awesome it truly is!

Best moment of the day – Chris and Carson enjoying the car show

 Now we’re home for a Tiger’s game, a nap and a book (just me, of course) and we’ll probably wrap things up with an evening on the boardwalk for Worship on the Waterfront.  It’s a chilly but grand start to Coast Guard Week…and I fully expect that in the next week there will be a blog post about “People who wear things at small-town festivals that they totally shouldn’t.”  But until then, enjoy the rest of your weekend…I know I’m enjoying mine!

Lots of Love,

Small Town Girl

Flashback Friday

Today’s chilly weather has me wrapped in a blanket finishing “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn – have you read it? If not, DO…and when you hit page 221 let me know so that we can gasp loudly together and hysterically discuss the crazy…and I mean CRAZY plot twist that I almost didn’t see coming (but I do watch “Castle” regularly so I almost saw it coming).  Since I’m determined to finish my book this afternoon, I thought that instead of blogging today, I would let you read a previously written post from EXACTLY 5 years ago…the last time that it was this stinkin cold in July!  Oh…and I hope you like the new layout…it took me 2 full hours to put together…2 hours in which I could’ve finished my book! Ugh! Anyway, enjoy…

Happy Reading!

Small Town Girl

Midweek Confessions

Thanks to the blog E, Myself, and I, I have learned about Midweek Confessions.  A fun little way to share the parts of my life with you that I otherwise would keep totally secret.  For example:

1. I only wash my hair once a week (sometimes one and a half if it starts getting those gross, white flakes in it).  Those of you longing for curly hair…please stop.  No one is born with beachy waves…those are man-made, God-made curly hair is more like a cotton ball, teased with a comb, and doused with glue.   Therefore I either have to spend 45 minutes with a blow-dryer (not happening…it would take away from my Pinterest time) or scrunch it with handfuls of mousse which usually works, but sometimes leaves me with a half-curly, half-awkwardly wavy head.  My solution: Wash, air-dry, wear in a messy bun (so glad they are finally cool!) and repeat one week later.

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

2. Yesterday I ate 1/2 a box of Cheez-its…the Chipotle Zinger ones…I couldn’t help it, they were amazing!  I, however, have a gluten sensitivity (which is the doctor’s way of saying “I have no idea why you have so many stomach problems, why don’t you join the bandwagon and avoid gluten.”)And I fully know that eating Cheez-its will wrack my insides…but do I care?  Apparently not yesterday, because like Eve, I knew the consequences of changing my diet, but I was fully ready to accept my fate.  And like that darned apple, those cheez-its were fabulous…the whole 1/2 box.  And I spent the rest of the evening regretting my fateful choice…but it was kind of worth it…I mean, they were amazing!

These are currently 2 for $5.00 at Meijer…so I have another box in the cupboard.

3. Speaking of yesterday, I had a slight suspicion that one of my cats might have peed in the basement…disgusting, I know.  I love my kitties, but seriously…why is their pee so foul.  Of course, instead of searching for the offending spot, I did what any excellent homemaker would do and Febreezed the heck out of the carpet and couches.  Problem solved.

It’s highly likely that Leo was the offender.  Yes…we dress up our cats…don’t judge.

4. Finally, Chris was out of town last night, but I figured why waste a perfectly good glass of wine…so I drank…alone.  If that’s not depressing enough, I sent the kids to bed and had a second glass. ALONE. ON A TUESDAY.  Where is my self-control!! Oh, that’s right, it’s buried deep in a 1/2 eaten box of Chipotle Zing Cheez-its and camouflaged by a healthy dose of Febreeze!

This is not the wine I had last night…obviously Chris is home in this picture…and, I was too busy actually drinking the wine to stop and take a photo of it.

Anyway, that’s the real happenings in my small town life this week.  I’d love to hear about yours…and I promise…no judgment! (You know you can trust that statement from a girl who cleans with Febreeze).

Small Town Girl <3>


I love Pinterest.  Especially in the summer when I’m not working…Pinterest is like my best friend.  Need a pick me up? Check out the “Funny” tab.  Not sure what to wear? Check out “women’s fashions.” Bored? Browse through “Everything.”  And therein lies the dilemma…half the time I look at stuff on the Pinterest everything board and think “What was that person thinking?!”  And I desperately want to pin each horrible and ridiculous pin I find…but I’m too afraid that my Pinterest followers will see it and think that I actually like the ridiculous pin and secretly judge me the way that I judge the original pinner.  That being said, what better way to share of few of my least favorite pin-fads from the past week…

1.The dress-like-a-Disney-character fad:
Ok, I like Disney just as much as the next guy (well, probably not as much…but close).  But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why I would want to model my next outfit off of a fictional character living in the woods…I mean, she only wears primary colors:

And although Snow White seems to be the most popular option, if she’s not exactly your style, no worries.  There are options for EVERY. CHARACTER. OUT. THERE! Check it out:

Want to feel like a mermaid? A chinese revolutionary? A frog-kisser? No problem, Pinterest has the outfit for you.  And if princesses aren’t really your thing, no worries. You can even dress like Flynn Rider:

Or Mickey Mouse:

Now I apologize to any of you who look to Disney for your style choice…I’m not really judging…but kind of. But while we’re on the subject of cartoon characters, can I just introduce my next least favorite Pinterest pin idea…

2. The I-love-cartoons-so-much-that-I-got-one-tattooed-on-my-arm craze.
Really.  Please know, this is not about tattoos.  I like tattoos. I have tattoos (yes, plural.  If you don’t know about the second one, you probably don’t really need to.)  I don’t even have a problem with visible tattoos…but can I just make one teeny-tiny suggestion…if you are going to get a tattoo, please consider location and subject matter carefully.  Just because you love “A Charlie Brown Christmas” doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to permanently ink yourself with a Snoopy or Woodstock picture.

Unless of course you are going into illustrating.  But honestly, a cartoon character on your forearm? What if (and again, I say this without judgment) you one day outgrow cartoons?  I mean, don’t get me wrong, it probably won’t happen, but let’s say when your, oh I don’t know…OUT OF COLLEGE?  Just sayin’. And finally, my last irritating pin of the week…

3. This picture:

Be honest, what do you notice the most about this picture.  I’m sure you are much more pure of heart than I am, but really, all I could see was the girl on top flipping me off…let’s be honest, she could have totally used her pointer finger for this picture…and seriously, I was so focused on her finger, that I never even noticed the caption, which read “Oooh…arm bangles”  Arm bangles? What arm bangles?  I was so busy being annoyed by the top girl’s middle finger that I didn’t even notice the bangles…admit it…you didn’t either.

Well, I guess that’s all for today, I have to get back to scrolling through Pinterest, which, by the way should have less of the above and much more of the following:


Ryan Gosling Memes!! (I just had to ask my 13 year old what a meme was…this is it…I think)

And, of course, CUTE CAT PICS!! Awwww….

I mean, the recipes, and outfits, and workout ideas are nice too…

Have a great day!!

Small Town Girl <3 br="">

My So-Called Life

 In theory, I’m living the American Dream…2.5 kids (seriously, my brother has been here all summer and eats $100 worth of groceries every 3 days…that has to count for at least 1/2 a kid), 2 cats (the equivalent of 1 golden retriever), and a 4 bedroom house with a white picket fence…ok, there’s not really a picket fence, but we have a front porch overlooking the neighbors across the street who have currently moved their indoor furniture to their front lawn and invited every unemployed friend over to hang out around the clock…but yeah, other than that…the American Dream…or so I thought, until I started stalking the profiles of some of my high school classmates (Go Dutch!).

I don’t know exactly how it happened this morning…but I started by looking at my news feed…which led to checking out a friend of a friend…which led to profile pages of people that I literally haven’t seen in 20 years…and voila! 2 hours later I was sitting in a puddle of self-pity.  That’s the trap of Facebook…you post all of the great things that your kids have done, and then you realize that while you were cooking and cleaning and going to Little League games (ok, not really cooking and cleaning…who has time for that? I mean…if I wasn’t on FB for 2 hours…but that’s besides the point) your classmates were out in the world being awesome.  Seriously, here’s a little snippet of what I found…

One of my classmates is a supermodel.  I’m not joking…believe me, I wouldn’t joke about that…it’s too depressing.  She’s my age and she just had a bikini layout for Mercedes-Benz fashion week…in Miami…she looks 18.  I’ll be honest. She’s hot. I hate her.  I’d post the pics for you, but then she might see it and know I was stalking her…although let’s be honest…she wouldn’t see it…she too busy BEING A SUPERMODEL.  I almost grabbed a glass of wine to soften the blow…but it was 10am…and I’m out.

Another classmate is an artist.  Like for real.  I read her resume…she has artwork on display in L.A, Toronto, New York, Italy, and Chicago.  And she’s a professor. At a University.  With a degree from U of M…I mean, I’m pretty happy to be a Spring Arbor Cougar (I think we were the cougars…wildcats? Not sure) but I’m a bit jealous…about the degree, and the artwork, and the university.

But she’s not the only one, another classmate is also a professor…of urban studies…at a big university…and he’s not even a classmate, he was my little sister’s friend.  I think pushed him in a pool once and he almost drowned. He has his own website with head shots.  And I think he might be published.  I’m not published. I”M. NOT. PUBLISHED.

I seriously need to get going on my life.  I mean, I have a Bachelor’s degree…ONLY A BACHELOR’S! and I went to a small university…after I had kids…seriously, they came to my graduation. And I’ve only written 1/2 a novel.  And I’m 5’2″…with hips…child-birthing hips…I’ll never be a supermodel.  Ugh.  Facebook almost ruined my day.

But then Carson (aka: Little Buddy) got up from watching T.V. in his middle class, mid-west house and came over to the computer to sit on my lap for a few minutes. Sigh…and my life makes sense again…and anyway, I don’t have time for self-pity…we have a 2 day Little League tournament to be at this weekend, and I have to pick up my baby girl (who’s no longer a baby) from her babysitting job, and reschedule cheer practice for next week…and well…I might not have a picket fence, and I might never have a website and a head shot and illustrious career, but I have great kids, and a great hubby, and a great job (which will all be looking fabulous on Facebook, just in case anyone from my high school class starts stalking around) and really, who wants to be a model anyway? All that standing around looking fabulous…no thanks…I’ll take my so-called life…unless Mercedes Benz wants to make me an offer…then of course, I’m all in!

That’s all for today from a Little League watching, 2.5 kid having, middle-class, Midwest,
Small Town Girl.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name…

I’m very up front with the fact that I am a much better teacher than parent.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a good parent, but I often have to say things like…”You understand that the fact that I make you buy hot lunch every day doesn’t mean I love you less, right?” or “I’m sorry I forgot that you were going on a field trip today, please tell Mrs. So-and-so that I’ll get her $10.00 right away…and please say thanks for spotting you the money…again.” So it is usually the summer time when I begin to feel recovered from the burden of being the absentee-parent and get recharged to make a full turn around before the next year starts…but Carson’s 3rd grade teacher, in all her perfecty-perfection (and here folks I am not exaggerating…she is perfect…our whole family cried when Carson was done with 3rd grade – well not Chris, he doesn’t cry much…and not Kait, she was too focused on her almost-highschool-ness, but anyway, Carson and I…ok, just me. But she’s great, just sayin.) Anyway, she’s so wonderful that she decided to host a summertime swimming party with her newly-graduated little-uns.

This was perfect, except for the fact that even though Carson has been at the same school for 3 years, I still don’t know the kids in his class or their parents…seriously, my focus is on other people’s children during the school day – I don’t have time to figure out what my own kids are doing.  So imagine my embarrassment when I introduced myself to another adult at the pool party by saying, “Hi, I’m Carson’s mom, whose parent are you?” and she replied, “Oh, I’m actually the babysitter.”  Of course you are.  First of all, you look like your twelve…and if I was actually an involved parent I would have realized that you are not in the pick-up line every day.

Even more mortifying was that fact that every other parent seemed to know exactly who I was; they peppered me with lovely comments such as, “Oh Carson is just so great!” “Sam loves playing with Carson.” “I’d love to get the boys together this summer.” To which I replied “Uh, huh” “Carson loves Sam too.” “Sure. Our number’s in the directory.”  I’m not quite sure which one was the so-called Sam, but I’m sure he and Carson really do love each other, and the playdate? Well, if I get a phone call from a Mrs. So-and-so, I’ll just make sure she drops Carson at our house, so that I don’t have to pretend that I know where they live or who they are for that matter.

That’s the blessing and curse of a small town… everyone knows your name, and if they don’t exactly know your name, they generally know something about you…in yesterday’s case I’m just glad it was that my kid is so stinkin awesome.  I suppose it could’ve been worse, I could’ve gotten, “Oh, so you’re Carson’s mom,” (just a side note, that my sister met her son’s class on field trip and it took about 1/2 an hour for everyone to realize that she was with their group – I guess they thought she was some sort of weird child-stalker?  We have a lot in common.) or even worse, “You still owe me $10.00 for that field trip last May.” In the end, I made a few new friends.  I have no idea who their kids actually are…they were all a blur in the watery recesses of the pool, but I met Lily’s mom, and Jacob’s mom, and of course someone’s babysitter…I’m sure we’ll get it sorted out at the next playdate.

That’s all for now from a needs-to-invest-more-time-in-my-kids-lives
Small Town Girl