Monday, September 5, 2011

Parents: Just Playing It "Cool"

the character Fonzie from the sitcom Happy Day...Image via Wikipedia"Your mom is so cool," I heard the child whisper. "I wish my mom was more like her."

My head grew about 50 times bigger. She was talking about me. I was the "cool mom" of whom she was speaking.

And then I immediately became suspicious: Had I allowed something that most moms wouldn't? Had I unwittingly contributed to the delinquency of a minor?

I reviewed the evening's events and, having found no glaring error, dipped my head back down to eavesdrop some more.

"My mom would never dance around the living room to Selena Gomez songs with me," she gushed.

I beamed, feeling much more secure in my "cool" status once again.

Then I peeked cautiously around the corner to see if my child was doing any eye-rolling to protest her friend's proclamation. Seeing none, I chuckled to myself, "I'm cool."

Being a parent gives us many opportunities to be the "bad guy," to be the one who has to say "no" because we want our child safe, to be the one who has to be the voice of reason, which is hardly ever "cool."

However, the truth is, even as parents, we want to be liked. We want to be the envy of every other parent on the block. We want our kids' friends to want to hang out at our house.

And I'm not going to lie, it felt really nice to think I was in the lead of the non-official parental popularity contest. Maybe, just maybe I was doing something right?

I wanted to pull my child aside and say, "See, I told you I was cool. I mean, I know you thought I was completely barbaric for not allowing your friend to come over until your chores were done. But look- it didn't turn out too badly, did it? After all, they think I'm cool."

But, I knew better. As all we "cool" parents know, part of the "cool" factor is pretending not to care whether we are indeed "cool" or not. And, I'm here to tell you, I've had my share of practice in that department.

For example, when I took the cell phone away from my child because she talked to me in "that" tone of voice, she made it all too clear to me that I was decidedly "uncool." And when I made the mistake of acknowledging that I knew her in a public place, she completely shrugged off my question of going with me to the grocery store by glaring at me, and through gritted teeth saying, "NOT COOL, Mom." I managed to walk away with my head held high, repeating to myself, "You are the parent. You are not the friend. You will not always be cool."

And yet, miracle of miracles, today I have been dubbed "cool" by her peer, her friend, her confidant. I feel victorious, and, dare I say it, "cool."

Of course, I realize parenting is not a popularity contest. And sometimes something "cool" from a kid's perspective is "bad" from a parent's. But who in the world doesn't like to be liked and recognized every once in a while? I'd be lying if I said I didn't.

For now, I will hold on to this whispered revelation with both hands. I'm sure that in a very short while, my "cool" title will be stripped from me, and I will be back to the Queen of "uncool."

But as I dance around to the Selena Gomez song, laughing with my daughter and her friend, I realize something else: I am having fun. Cool, uncool, or otherwise. And really, that's the most "cool" part of all...

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thank You... I Think...

thank you note for every languageImage by woodleywonderworks via FlickrIn my lifetime I have received compliments. And, of course, I enjoy receiving them.

However, there are some that I could have done without. Thus, I have a list of my top "un-compliment" compliments. And, as luck would have it, I will now share them with you:

1. This one started out fairly nicely:
                 Them:"You've lost weight."
                     Me: "Thank you."
                  Them: "How did you do it?"
                     Me: "Well, I'm pregnant. And I've been very, very sick the first trimester."
                   Them: "Oh. Well..." (And here's where it goes bad.) "That's too bad that you're
                               pregnant... You really look good having lost weight."
      Too stunned, to speak, I merely smiled and walked away...

2.  The ultimate back-handed compliment:
                 Them: "You look great."
                      Me: "Thanks."
                  Them: "I mean, you lost A LOOOOOOTTTTT of weight."
                      Me:  "Um... Thanks?????"

3.  Them: "You have great teeth. They are so white."
             (Sounds okay on the surface, right?
              But what you should know is that he meant that as a romantic gesture.)

4. Weirdest ever:
     Them: "You are an excellent cook. How do you get your chicken so white?"
       Me: "Um... I boil it???"
      Them: "Huh..."

5.  Them: "You aren't THAT fat..."  (Need I say more?)

6.  Them: "You're hair is awesome."
       Me:  "Thank you.
     Them: "Is it really that thin, or do you have it specially cut that way?"
       Me:  "Oh, no, Um..."

As you can see, I've had lots of opportunity to feel good about myself in a bad way. I will keep the list updated as I receive more...

Hopefully it will be a while...
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Zingers & Gotcha's

Chocolate ZingersImage via WikipediaQuestion: Just because you CAN say something, does that really mean you SHOULD say something???

Answer: Sure- if you're on television.

However, if you live in the real world, sometimes it behooves you, as an adult, to be the better person and shut your trap.

On television and in movies, characters rip off one liners that verbally push the other person into a little corner. We celebrate the victory of the winner. We laugh at the wit and are impressed by the quickness of our new "hero."

We laughingly utter, "I can't believe they actually said that," as we shake our heads and grin.

We think, "I would've added ________," imagining our our own verbal sparring skills, and all the sarcastic and caustic ways we would finish off the scene.

On television and in the movie, the scene fades to black, and we imagine the whole issue has been put to rest and forgotten about.

HOWEVER, in REAL LIFE, the camera doesn't turn off. If we are the recipient of a verbal "throw down," our emotions have been turned over, turned on and are ready for round two.

Would it sound more "cool" to battle it out? Sure. Would it "feel" better to throw a great big temper tantrum and roll around on the floor, then congratulate ourselves for really "getting" the other guy? You betcha'.

Sometimes being a grown up stinks. Sometimes being the better person feels like you're actually being a better doormat.

But I don't know that life is always about feeling "triumphant".

I think it's more about the relationships we maintain and the way we treat other people.

The world tells us how cool it is to be the big shot. Christ tells us to love our neighbor.

Often I have thought, "Well, is it cheating if I love my neighbor SO much that his head just accidentally pops off?"

That would make me feel better- for the moment. But then again- life doesn't stop at the end of a conversation. So I have to think about what comes next. What is my next encounter going to be like?

Holding my tongue stinks. Struggling to hold my tongue makes me tired.

But if the ultimate goal is to effectively communicate with people to our mutual advantage- sometimes that's what I have to do.

In fact, I still have to resolve whatever issue it is I had with the person. But I have to do it in a mature, non-name-calling way.

Wish more people outside of my television set and off of my movie screen felt the same way.
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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to Me

CAMBRIDGE, MA - JUNE 4: Musician Wynton Marsal...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeAll three of my children are extraordinarily bright. Academics are their "thing". They don't necessarily "love" sports. Of course they don't necessarily "love" school. But they excel at school & get really excited about learning and being challenged. In fact, they all go to an academic magnet school.

Hubby & I have sacrificed to make sure they are well-rounded and every opportunity. They've done dance, soccer, field trips, church activities, fencing, archery and just about everything else under the sun. We have wanted to prepare them to be anything they want to be.

To be honest, we believed we were preparing future doctors, lawyers, Congressmen and other such community leaders, as, I expect many parents believe. We even had our youngest boldly proclaim she wanted to go to Harvard. We could not have been more proud...

Then we had our aspiring Harvard academic tell us she wanted to be... a hair dresser.

How does that work? Does Harvard have a cosmetology school I wasn't aware of? Then the other two said they were planning on being a massage therapist and a salesman, respectively.

What about all the college prep work we've been working so diligently on? Do they need to go to college if they are going to trade school? Will they be able to live a lifestyle they choose with those careers? We have many friends whom we love dearly in those very professions, who have told us what a struggle it can be, and that they are not as lucrative as they had hoped. This compounds our worry.

However, when the kids talk about their (current) chosen professions I see them full of excitement because they are viewing them as ways to help people while using their creativity. And they see them as being family-friendly careers, as far as time is concerned- even if they don't make a six or seven figure income.

And I have to remember that these kids are still young enough that they could quite possibly change their minds a ton more times.

Of course first and foremost - as a parent I want my children to be HAPPY- regardless of what they do when they go to work.

So I have shifted my thinking. I will continue to make the sacrifices, continue to push them to do and be their best. I will try to promote well-roundedness and academic excellence. But I will remember my ultimate goal is: their happiness, which will make me a very happy mommy, indeed.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Young at Heart

iPhone 4 showing the home screen.Image via WikipediaWhen my children were younger, they went through all the normal milestones: crawling, talking, walking, etc. I'm sure I went through them when I was young, too. The thing is- I don't remember them.

However, my children are beginning to hit the age where I have started remembering my own personal experiences. Now I have something to compare.

So begins the phrase every child hates, "When I was your age..."

"But, kids," I say, "You don't know how good you've got it." And I watch watch as they try to be respectful by suppressing the eye rolls, the involuntary twitches and the sighs.

But in truth, I don't know how my parents would have reacted to this modern-day world, where we have products never even dreamed of when I was growing up.

I grew up with a phone that had a rotary dial, a cord that stretched almost the length of the house, and no call waiting or electronic voice mail. Cell phones were only something imagined on Star Trek, and they were called "communicators."

So, how would my parents have handled cell phones? Well, if having my own phone in my own room was any indication of my communication privileges, I would say I probably wouldn't have had a cell until every last one of my classmates had one. And even then, I doubt they would have allowed the texting feature unless I paid for it.

Does that sound harsh? Well, to them it was about allowing a child to grow up slowly and not giving them access to friends 24/7. Or at least I think that's what it was about.

They were probably just feeling their way along the whole parenting thing. Just like I do today.

Our family rule now is that children are allowed a cell phone when they are 10 years old. Many would argue that is way too young. But with our busy family of five, it works for us. The unspoken rule is that "if mom calls, you had better answer."

And my kids and I use our cell phones to text and call each other. I have been able to talk more with my daughter via texts than I ever believe I would be able to face-to-face.

I know of people who have let their kids have cell phones at age 6. Now, there's no way I would do that. First of all, at 6, my kids would have lost the phone in 15 minutes flat. Secondly, what does one 6 year old really say to another?

I also know of people who wouldn't let their child have a cell phone until they were old enough to purchase it on their own. That, in itself, is not a bad plan. However, it's just not one that necessarily works for our family. But then, that's just me.

I guess a lot of my parents decisions could have been based on affordability, too. Because my kids don't have "data packages" on their phones. I don't know if they would if I could afford them or not.
But I do know that I also want to limit their access to the internet and the world (via the computer & said data package). Why? So they can maintain some of their innocence and grow up more slowly.

Besides the differences in phones, I remember growing up with a tiny closet, the ability to walk to the store six blocks over without having a parent with me and thinking how "worldly" I was because I knew people who lived in Georgia- a whole state away.

Today, my closet is probably as big as my room. I wouldn't let my child walk more than about three blocks by themselves- and they had best have their phone and text me to let me know they got there okay. And I have friends all over the world through the magic of the internet.

The point? There are many lessons I learned in my childhood that I wish for my children to learn in theirs. They may not learn them the same way I did, simply because we live in such a different world than I did growing up.

But remembering my youth helps trigger some of those all-important lessons so that I can know the approximate timing for teaching my kids. And it also gives me a place to compare and contrast to try to remember what worked on me and what didn't.

My youngest child is currently counting down the months until she turns 10. I'll be very interested to see how she handles the responsibility, and how many friends she has with whom she can actually text & talk.

I'm also anxious to see how things change in the future. I mean, my youth was great. But how can you compare a rotary phone with an iPhone? Like Billy Joel sang, "The good old days weren't always good. And tomorrow's not as bad as it seems."
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Monday, May 2, 2011

Soapbox: the Un-tied States of America

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: People celebrate in the...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeSo yesterday my hubby and I were trying to moonwalk because we had heard the news that Osama Bin Laden was dead. -Not that we rejoice in anyone's death. We were rejoicing at the end of the tyranny exacted by this particular man.

Of course we weren't naive enough to believe he didn't have some protoge' waiting in the wings to continue his work, and possibly even be worse (*shutter*). But it was still a day we had wondered if we would ever actually see.

Facebook & Twitter jolted to life, heralding the news that Osama Bin Laden was dead. The President and the Former President congratulated each other on each of their parts to make that day possible. And Lee Greenwood's career was resurrected once more with every radio station in America playing "I'm Proud to be an American."

And then... The "talking heads" chimed in.

Suddenly, what seemed like a celebration turned into a very ugly civil war. The Conservatives and the Liberals were baring their teeth at each other to show who was the Alpha Dog. And every bit of the hatred once reserved for Osama Bin Laden now turned inwards toward each other.

Americans who once actually believed the words that we were "one nation under God" were now rather gun-shy to utter those words. "Isn't that rather politically incorrect?"

People who saw strangers have differing opinions from their own slandered the other opinion along with the other person. We felt the need so strongly to be "right" that it didn't matter if we really "made sense," because the Talking Heads could put the correct spin on any opinion to make it sound "right."

And suddenly, I wondered: What have we become? Who are we?

Are we really a nation with a cause and a purpose? Or are we really just a bunch of whiny babies who are only in it for what we, personally, can get out of it?

What happened to our integrity? Our honor?

If a war was waged on US soil, would we be able to counter attack? Or would we be too busy being worried about who would lead the charge?

The fact is, the United States of America has always been a "melting pot" of ideas as varied as the fish in the sea. But, we have always come together under the banner of our flag and our freedom.

I now wonder if that could be the case any more? Would we be able to put aside our opinions and our differences in the name of the United States of America? Or are our individual egos too big to fit under one banner anymore? Has our sense of entitlement grown to such an epic proportion we don't know how to stand up for our fellow man (or woman)?

Today our country is completely polarized by politics, religion and entitlement. People see no middle ground. The rough and tumble promise of "proud Americans" has boiled down to "proud individuals." We fight for our personal rights, but not the rights of our neighbor-- unless it can bring fame, wealth or both.

I am glad to see one bad guy out of the picture today. However, I would love nothing more than to see a truly United States of America, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

I would love to see us all just get over ourselves, our political parties, our religious persuasions, our lifestyle choices and our unspoken class system and just get along!

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Sign Me Up for SPAM! NOT!

What's for Dinner! - SpamImage by brizzle born and bred via FlickrI am an admitted "sign me up now" junkie.

It's sad really. I can't help it.

Evidently there is some sort of camera on my computer that allows internet businesses to hone in on the "SUCKER" stamped across my forehead. I'm minding my own business, browsing through the internet, (usually late at night when I'm drowsy and my common sense is snoozing) when I see some ad that promises youth, wealth, beauty, brilliance, creativity-- "and all for FREE". Wow! All that for FREE??? Sign me up!

And in goes my email address. And I'm signed up. For life.

Despite the fact that all these great offers promise you they "won't share your private information" and that "you can unsubscribe at any time," I have the sneaky feeling that they might be LYING!

Not only do I get solicited via email for stuff I would NEVER, EVER sign up for, when I try to unsubscribe, I usually end up jumping through a series of hoops which never get to that magical "Thank you. You are now unsubscribed." In fact, I'm pretty sure that when I try to unsubscribe, it is actually just subscribing me to additional lists.

The worst part? It's my own fault!

But really- Who doesn't want to lose 35 pounds in 14 days by following one simple tip? Who doesn't want to get free designer hand bags and shoes you get to test and keep, and only have to fill out a short survey to help the manufacturer? Who wouldn't want to clip coupons so valuable that the supermarket will have to pay you to take the groceries? Of course I want a free iPad, iMac, iPhone and iPod for simply completing offers from two sponsors.

I am a glutton for punishment and an advertiser's dream come true.

The result of all these impulse mouse clicks is an email inbox stuffed to over-flowing every time I turn on my computer.

I almost need a little shock system installed in my computer keyboard that zaps me when I initiate a certain series of key strokes that are required for almost every smoozy deal out there.

What is your name?

Key Stroke: K-R-I  **ZAP**

See? Sign up aborted; Junk email avoided.


If it were only that easy....

For now, I guess I'll continue to get email offers: for diapers, although my youngest child is 9; for AARP membership, even though I'm not even 45 yet; and for everything in between...

You know, maybe there's a course or a self-help book that would help curb my impulse clicking. I think I'll see if I can sign up for a blog or free offer...

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Beauty & the Beast

I tell stories about my children so often, because they are such good subjects for material! But this post is dedicated to one of my greatest goof-ups of all time. (Just so you can feel a little good about yourself today.)

I have dark hair and dark eyes, which I got from my mom. I feel very blessed to have gotten her beauty- both inside and out.

CAUTION: MommyBarbie Waxing!
However, as the saying goes, "No good deed goes unpunished." Dark hair on my head also means dark hair on my legs. (ew) Not the best look for bathing suit season.

For years I have shaved. And shaved. And shaved. Only to have to shave again, lest we have a "five o'clock shadow" on the beach or at the pool.

This year, I decided, would be different: I would somehow resolve my "beastly" problem in a way that involved me being in the shower less and on the beach more! My conclusion? WAX!

I checked out the local prices for waxing. Yikes! To actually achieve a smooth, hair-free body from head-to-toe we were talking major bucks! Suddenly, I was having to choose between a hair-free vacation at home, or a somewhat less hairy vacation. Of course, I'm a sucker for that golden sand, so I determined I would just wear a wet suit and be done with it.

But then- wait! Sally's Beauty Supply sells all of the "stuff" needed to wax like a professional- in my own home! Eureka! And the cost of all the supplies was about 1/3 of what it would cost to go in for that head-to-toe intensive follicle rip. I'm in!!!

Fast forward to Friday night. (Yes, my life has come to waxing on a Friday night. *sigh*)

I prepared the wax in the special warmer, read the instructions, decided to be "dangerous" and NOT watch the enclosed video (how hard could this be?), and went for it!

My legs were not too bad. One big rip like a band-aid and my hair was gone! This rocks!

Then I got to the back of my knees & upper legs. Oh how I wish I had been a fly on the wall to watch the gymnastics and contortions of trying to reach the backs of my knees & upper legs. They are not easy to reach even when I shave without some interesting positions. But add in the extra "wow" factor of hot wax and waxing strips, and we had ourselves a show! (Thank goodness no one was watching!) Finally, I believed I had at least scared most of the hair into deciding not to grow any further, even if I hadn't gotten it off. So it was time to move on to...

The bikini area!  Okay- let me just say: OUCH! This is one area I can totally say would be worth any amount of money not to have to self-inflict. But once I was half-way in, I could not bring myself to stop and go to a "professional," to whom I would have to explain myself. I could only imagine the conversation: "So, I got this waxing kit..." No... I couldn't imagine the conversation. So I had to move (proverbially) onward and upward.

After the stars in my eyes began to clear and I stopped weeping openly (My gracious, the things we do in the name of beauty!) I figured it may not look great, but it was decidedly better than before. So on to the arm pits...

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

First of all, the wax is HOT! And somehow every nerve ending in my body was concentrated in my left arm pit. Talk about "no pain, no gain." Geesh!

Then, just as I was reaching for the strip to put over the wax, so that I could then rip away the hair... middle daughter came in the bathroom totally distraught, having gotten ill with the stomach virus.

Without thinking, I turned to her to check on her...

and put my arm down...

with the hot wax...

and no strip.

By the time I realized it, it was too late.

My left arm pit was waxed shut.

So then, I was dealing with my daughter and getting her cleaned up with the equivalent of a broken left wing. But with the extra excitement of having movement cause intense, blinding pain.

Finally having gotten her settled, I returned back to my poor, sad left arm pit. "At least," I reasoned, "the hair will be gone once I get my arm pit un-stuck."

Um, no.

After prying it open enough to put in warm water & the special spa stuff that takes off the extra wax (Thank you, God, for making me buy that on impulse!), I realized that not a single hair was pulled out.

I spent a good twenty minutes trying to get the gooey, sticky wax out of my arm pit.

Then I jumped in the shower and went back to the trusty razor for both Arm Pit One, and Arm Pit Two.

On the whole, I would say my waxing experience was a success. And I will probably stick to some waxing- particularly from my knees down.

However, it will be quite some time (and perhaps a hefty dose of some sedatives) before I venture into the arm pit waxing business again.

But, on the plus side, I am beach-ready... Well, at least I'm (body) hair-free...

Now I just need to lose some weight, find "the" bathing suit and wait for June to get here!
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is Lent That Stuff You Find in Your BellyButton?

The seal of Martin Luther. Also used as the lo...Image via WikipediaNo.

That's Lint.

I'm talking about Lent.

It is a tradition in my church that to help learn discipline, we "give up" something for Lent each year. There is something comforting in sharing each others' misery as we bemoan whatever we're missing.

My father gives up sweets every single year. In the past, I've given up sweets; I've traded my time for bible study; I've given up going out to eat, and various other things.

This year my family has decided to give up television as a family. I expected a lot of resistance and much weeping and gnashing of teeth. However, they have been particularly good about it. (Especially since Sundays are not included in Lent, so we can watch television those days as a family.)

Prior to their Spring Break, we took a trip to Wal-Mart and bought out all their board games and craft supplies. We came home and compiled a list of alllll the things they could do that did not require television.

As a result, my kids are talking to each other more than fighting with each other (which I assure you is no small feat). They have enjoyed numerous board games and craft projects, and rarely even mention television at all.

Obviously, I am very proud of their faithfulness and discipline. I wish I had half of what they have.

I have given up more than just television. I decided I needed to get healthier so that I could be a better steward of my time, money and body. So to help jump start this process, I also gave up soda, FaceBook and fried foods. And I have chosen not to take the "day off" on Sundays, but rather plow on ahead (being the black & white kind of girl I am).

I have managed to not break down into tears in public as my kids order their McDonald's french fries and coke. And I have pulled myself away physically from the computer to keep from checking FaceBook. And every time, I think to myself, "Whose stupid idea was this, anyway?"... "Oh yeah, mine..."

When Easter comes, I will go back to my beloved FaceBook. However, I am choosing to permanently delete soda and fried foods from my diet (with the rare occasion of a treat).

My kids will get to watch television again. I hope that we can keep the drooling-zombie-inducing practice to a minimum. Perhaps a schedule that outlines the few times during the week we will watch it. Or maybe just watching it one day a week.

Either way, this experience is proving to be much more of a blessing than a chore. And we are all more appreciative of the things we once took for granted on a daily basis.

I guess that's the real reason for Lent.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Slumber Party is an Oxymoron

Texting on a keyboard phoneImage via WikipediaSo, what began as a "lazy, relaxing evening," quickly turned into a sociology experiment run amok. I planned on me and my kids having a do-it-yourself dinner, then playing board games for the evening.
Ha! And I say "Ha!" again!
Dear son invited three (3) other 14 year old boys over. Dear older daughter invited one friend over. And dear younger daughter invited one friend over. I should also mention that we are watching my brother's dog, too. So there was a total of: four boys, four girls, two dogs, a cat and me.
I'll give you three guesses as to what dinner was like. The boys plowed through the pizzas like it was their job. I've never actually seen two slices of pizza eaten in three bites- until tonight.
The girls giggled and carried on, while primly sitting at the table and eating their miniature pizza slices with a pinky in the air. However, they found the candy bars- and hid them from the boys, even feigning ignorance when questioned by said boys.
Then there were cell phones. Wow. I was in invisible parental heaven. While I sat quietly in my room, I eves-dropped on the boys calling girls from their class and asking them, "So, if you HAD to like one of us, which of us would it be?" And I listened to the girls giggling madly as they texted back and forth with a particularly "cute" boy from their class.
If I ever asked them point-blank about these things, I would likely get no more response than a hair toss and a shoulder shrug. But in their ego-centric world, where they can't believe that anything happens unless they witness it, I was a fly on the wall, soaking in every word.
I was pleasantly surprised at how appreciative and polite all of the kids were. Typically, kids have a bad reputation of being snarky, disrespectful and generally feeling like the world should cater to their every whim. However, these kids thanked me for the pizza, in between snarfing it down in large gulps. They made sure the dogs didn't eat extra food lying around. And, they were respectful of my (very generous) curfew times.
Yes, it was very loud. Yes, I felt considerably old and quite out-numbered. But, over all it was a very nice experience. And my kids had a blast.
And the best part? I'll bet we can all go to bed early tomorrow night. :)
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Monday, January 24, 2011


MoonImage via WikipediaRecently I had the privilege of helping my grandmother, whom we call Ooma, as she had an extended stay in a residential facility while my parents were out of town. She usually lives with my parents in her own little apartment off of their house. However, while mom and dad were out of town, she decided she might like to try staying in a place where she could talk to other folks her age.

Every day she was there, she appeared to have as many, if not more, visitors than the Pope. There was a constant stream of family and friends visiting with her. And she, being the ultra-extravert that she is, delighted in every moment of her visits.

In the evenings I had the unique blessing of going to help her as she prepared for bed. At 95, she is exceptionally spry mentally. However, her osteoarthritis has given her lots of physical ailments that make her occasionally need some assistance. And even though the facility staffed people to help her, I was honored to be asked to go in to provide a familiar touch.

It is beyond amazing to imagine what she has seen and been through in the last 95 years. She has been through The Great Depression, World Wars, and too many presidents to count. And she remembers it all.

I think that is one of the things I marvel at the most. I can barely remember where I parked my car when I come out of the grocery store. She can remember making root beer with her five brothers and sisters when they were young, how she and my grandfather courted, the way my father was as a boy, and my childhood and adult years.

She is so very gracious about any little thing you do for her. I would sometimes put her toothpaste back in its holder for her since it was a bit hard for her to reach. She would thank me profusely, as though I had invented toothpaste and named it after her.

My whole family got to take part in our visits. And my brother's family did, too. We even got an "adopted" member of the family in on the fun!

She is now back home with mom and dad. I know she is much more comfortable, since there is no place quite like home. But part of me will miss spending those hours with her in the evenings, as the moon was high in the sky, listening to her tell me about her day. And then, on occasion, she would delve back into time and tell me the stories of her youth. And stories about my father as he was a boy.

I know I will see her frequently at her home with mom and dad. However, I will forever cherish that time I had with her. We talked about the way the world is, and how it was. She told me about growing up and growing old. She voiced sadness over bad times. But we also laughed- a lot. 

She is a very, very special lady. And I am so honored to call her my Ooma. And I feel blessed to have my children know her, too.

I love you, Ooma.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Politically Corect" is the Anti-Snark

Free twitter badgeImage via WikipediaDear Reader,

Let me be absolutely, perfectly, 100% clear: I LOVE my kids, my husband, my family, my friends, my life. I am so very, very blessed.

However, I am human. And I have some very, very human moments when I get frustrated with one, some or all of my blessings and have to rant a little to blow off some steam.

For the last several years, I have used blogging, Twitter and Facebook as my ways to vent and let go of my steam. It has been mutually fulfilling and cathartic to be snarky, sarcastic and sometimes borderline caustic to spout off.

BUT (and this is a big but) I am (sadly) going to have to pull in the reigns to my snarkiness, tone down some of my sarcasm and completely curtail anything that could smack of being caustic.

Evidently in some circles my cathartic spouting is considered to be un-PC (Politically Correct).

And, in fact, some people even believe my sarcastic wit to be the gospel truth. For example, if I say I'm going to duck tape my children to the mail box, they would believe that. (Silly, silly people. If "they" knew me at all, they would know that I would NEVER, EVER hurt my children physically or verbally. So instead, I grouch about them. That way we all laugh instead of being ill.)

Anyway, back to the subject: I will be working hard to make sure all my public comments, essays, rants, or otherwise, are completely PC. My blog posts, my Twitter posts and my Facebook posts will be written as though the very most discriminating viewer will be scrutinizing my every word.

And I promise to still try to be light and fun to read.

Just know how hard I will be fighting my inner-snark to keep her down.

Stay posted & wish me luck...


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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day with the "Naked Brothers Band"

Rock University Presents: The Naked Brothers B...Image via WikipediaEver heard of the "Naked Brothers Band"? If not, consider yourself lucky. Not that it's bad, per se. Just that it's taken over our day.

This snow day has consisted of back-to-back episodes of watching pre-teen, angst-ridden kids chasing each other around and trying to sing. (Think "Hannah Montana," but with nine year old boys.)

Needless to say, I'm rethinking my excitement over the whole snow day thing. But my kids? Oh my goodness- they are completely mesmerized.

Maybe it's the idea that anyone can be "famous". Or it's that marginal talent (coupled with famous parents) can make a "rock band". Or maybe it's just that there's nothing else on (that the kids are allowed to watch). But my kids are thrilled.

Me? My migraine from last night is not helped by this at all. I actually had to take an extra Exedrin.

What the kids don't know is that in a few minutes, the TV is going to go "to sleep" and they are going to read or do something more constructive than watching the "Naked Brothers Band" episodes back-to-back.

Now. For the big-time, serious question of the day: Will they be out for a snow day tomorrow, too?

I'm okay with it...  as long as we run out of "Naked Brothers Band" episodes before tomorrow!
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Monday, January 10, 2011


Southern SnowImage by J Crow via FlickrWhat is it about snow days that seem so fabulous? Is it the fact that it's (relatively) unexpected? Is it the fact that it effectively clears your schedule for the day- without any work on your part? Maybe it's a little of both.

Last night (after making our obligatory run to Walmart for bread, milk and eggs: required sustenance for Southern Winter snow) we went to bed to a crisp, clear sky, the kids praying for a miraculous twelve feet of snow. While the inches may have fallen somewhat short, we did get snow, and it did achieve the desired result: school was closed.

Then, miracle of miracles, this afternoon it was announced that school is closed again tomorrow. The kids were delirious with joy. I expected open weeping.

I, too, am excited for another snow day. I have several assignments for school I'm trying to get the jump on. So I'm actually trying to be somewhat productive with my time- while admitting I have also enjoyed staying in yoga pants and a sweatshirt all day.

If tomorrow it is announced that we will be out again on Wednesday, it may begin to lose its charm, as cabin fever sets in and the kids look for ways to bug the snot out of me. That's when I start threatening things like duck-taping them to the mailbox (in warm clothing, of course) until their father gets home.

But for today, and hopefully tomorrow, we will enjoy the beauty of the snow- along with the sheer joy of the snow day. My alarm is NOT set. And I have fresh yoga pants and sweatshirt ready to wear
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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011!

Times Square New Years CrowdImage by J. Griffin Stewart via FlickrWow, where did 2010 go? I swear it just started 10 minutes ago.

Some of our highlights of 2010:

  1. Franzi, our German exchange student, left (We miss her terribly)
  2. My sister-in-law's wedding
  3. Our church celebrated it's 40th birthday
  4. My grandmother's 95th birthday
  5. Connor's tonsils came out
  6. Hubby's deviated septum was un-deviated
  7. Kids all finished up school year strong
  8. Family beach trip
  9. Family cruise
  10. Kids in 8th, 5th & 3rd grade
  11. Connor's 8th grade football season
  12. Courtney takes up the trumpet
  13. Courtney's sewing skills
  14. Caitlin's ability to keep from getting sick
  15. I got invited into the Master's program for Teaching at Trevecca (will start next week)
  16. Had a fabulous Wii Dance competition. Naturally, the kids won!
  17. Christmas with family & cousins!
  18. Hubby got a cpap machine and now doesn't snore (Yipee!)
  19. Tigger (the cat) is Pet of the Year
  20. Dixie (the dog) is not
Resolutions for 2011:

Well, pretty much the standard stuff: You know, lose weight, save money, work smarter not harder, exercise, and generally be a better person.

This blog will let you know if and when I succeed. And you can laugh along with me as I chronicle my short-comings.

Here's hopes for you & yours to have a wonderful, blessed 2011.
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