This is me...

This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and its 80 degrees

I’m wearing a T-shirt, flip-flops, and capris

I’ve broken a dish, I’ve burned my hand

But the dinner is coming along just as planned

My kitchen is full of the scents of Thanksgiving

My house could be featured in Southern Living

The Turkey is buttered and seasoned and cooling

The thought of it all sets my mouth to drooling

Friends and family will soon come to the table

To eat and to eat ‘til they’re no longer able

When the table is cleared and the dishes are done

And the kids are outside to play, scream, and run

We’ll turn our attention to the Black Friday Ads

Making out lists for our kids, moms, and dads

Some will lie back and soon they’ll be snoozing

While others will talk about whose team will be losing

And when the guests head out to go back to their houses

And we’re left all alone with our kids and our spouses

We’ll clean up the kids and get them into their beds

With thoughts about Christmas now in our heads

Thanksgiving’s a time that I forever will treasure

My blessings have been too many to measure

I’ve got 4 great kids and a husband I love

Great family and friends who were sent from above

Warm clothes and a home which is much more than most

Of my blessings on Earth, I truly can boast

I’m thankful for family, for friends and much more

And my God has more treasures for me in store

The Lord has provided His mercy and grace

And no earthly blessings could dare take His place

So tomorrow when gathered with family and friends

While reflecting on all of your life’s dividends

Remember to thank the Lord for his love

And for all of the gifts on this Earth and above


Monday, November 22, 2010

30 Days of Thankful

Alot of my friends have been doing this wonderful thing on Facebook where they post what they are thankful for for 30 days straight. I wanted to do it too, but I am just now getting around to it, and I am horrible about consistency so here are my 30 Days of Thankful all in one list:

1) I am thankful that I have a God who is merciful and forgiving and loves me even though I fall short daily.

2) I am thankful for my husband who works a job he dislikes, on crazy shifts, including many weekends, so that I can stay home with our kids.

3) I am thankful for my 4 beautiful, smart, hilarious kids who drive me to the brink of insanity and keep me grounded all the time.

4) I am thankful for loving parents who try to help and support me anyway that they can, even when it is to tell me I am wrong.

5) I am thankful for truly good friends -- the ones I see nearly everyday, the ones I see a few times a year, and even the ones that I never see anymore.

6) I am thankful for all of the teachers who have impacted my life. There are the traditional teachers, and there are the teachers who impacted me just by being in my life.

7) I am thankful for a roof over my head, clothes in my closet, food in my fridge, and a car to get around in.

8) I am thankful for the soldiers -- both past and present -- who defend my rights to have all of the above and to do with it whatever I want.

9) I am thankful for my country. Despite all of the flaws in our government and the more obvious flaws in our politicians, it is still the BEST country in the world.

10) I am thankful for family -- my extended family is absolutely wonderful (and a little crazy).

11) I am thankful for Facebook -- I have reconnected with so many people from my past and it has been a great joy to hear what has happened in their lives over the past 10, 20 or in rare cases 30 years!

12) I am thankful for coffee -- to God for creating it, to the man who discovered it, to the genius who decided to roast it and pour hot water over it...

13) I am thankful for my digital camera. I cannot literally freeze time and keep my kids from growing up, but with it I am able to hold onto those moments.

14) I am thankful for TV -- there are days that I just need to escape into an alternate universe for an hour or so and there are many choices on TV (if I can locate my remote).

13) I am thankful for my DVR -- there is rarely a time in my day that I can sit down and watch TV uninterrupted for even 10 minutes, so being able to record, rewind, fast-forward through commercials, etc. is a true blessing.

14) I am thankful that I can cook. I have eaten at enough people's houses to know that this is actually not as common as one might think.

15) I am thankful for my health and the health of my family. I pray daily for those who do not have this blessing.

16) I am thankful for electricity. I am not the pioneer type.

17) I am thankful for my cell phone and I honestly do not know how I ever lived without one.

18) I am thankful for Nick Jr. -- the only kids network that airs shows buffered by songs, dances, etc. and NOT by commercials for the latest Lelly Kelly Shoe ad or Bendaroos or any of the myriad other craptastic things that I will not buy for my kids.

19) I am thankful for disposable diapers. I know that it isn't very environmentally conscious of me, but I don't care (refer to number 16).

20) I am thankful for sippy cups that actually don't leak.

21) I am thankful for easily accessible carpet cleaners for sippy cups that DO leak.

22) I am thankful for the Library. I devour books, and if I had to pay anywhere from $7 to $35 for all of the books that I read I would be even more broke than I am now.

23) I am thankful for grocery stores. If I had to make, grow, hunt, or otherwise obtain the food that my family of 6 consumes in a single week, we'd probably have all died of starvation years ago.

24) I am thankful for consignment stores. Not because they buy my "gently used items at a fair price" (because they don't -- they cheat me), but because I can buy their gently used items at a fair price.

25) I am thankful for college football. It allows an outlet for pent up aggression for 4 months out of the year. (War Eagle)

26) I am thankful for soap, shampoo, and deodorant. I know that this one might seem a little weird, but think about what we would endure without them.

27) I am thankful for seat belts and car seats and airbags and the fact that I have not had an accident where I had to rely on them to save me or my family.

28) I am thankful for nature. I may not like to be immersed in it, but I do admire it from a distance...

29) I am thankful for heat and air conditioning -- I am very fickle when it comes to body temperature and I often have the heat on in the morning and the air on by noon.

30) I am thankful for everything and everyone in my life. I tried to imagine as I went through my day "How hard would this be if I didn't have 'X' to do it with?" and I realized that I am one very blessed individual.

And there is my list. All 30 days of Thankfulness. I may have done this all at once, but I really do thank God for everyone of these things almost daily.  If I had done it daily, I am certain that it probably would have been more cynical and I am positive that it would have been more focused on what was going on that day -- something about the kids, of my husband, or my dog.  But this is a better reflection of the things I am most thankful for.  Take a moment (or two) to reflect on what you are most thankful for, and have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let Us Stand and Sing....

One Sunday at church, I had one of those parenting moments. This was before Jackson and before we moved here to Texas. It was Gary’s week to help serve communion, so I picked the kids up from their classes and went to sit down. Lorelei had entered her "noisy" stage -- she would sing and talk all the time as she had just recently discovered that she could, so I opted for the "cry-room". If you are not familiar with this concept, it is a glass fronted room in the back of the auditorium where you are meant to “train” your children how to behave in church.

The problems started when the kids realized that Daddy was not going to be sitting with us until the sermon started and got worse when they realized that they weren't going to be sitting in "our pew”. Then they thought that since we were in the cry-room, they could run around and make noise. Lorelei was getting increasingly hungry and therefore fussy. So picture me holding and trying to calm and pacify Lorelei, snapping my fingers at the other two to sit down and behave while they are running in different directions all over the room. Finally, communion is over and the sermon is about to start, so here comes Daddy. As soon as he walks in, I leave to go feed Lorelei in the nursery (I DO have a little bit of modesty left, I was not going to breastfeed IN church.) I was gone maybe 15-20 minutes. I missed the first half of the sermon. When I get back with Lorelei, my husband immediately says "They want you to take them to the bathroom." So I pass off Lorelei to him and head out with the other two. As soon as we get out of the cry room they start running -- one to the left and one to the right. I finally wrangle them into the bathroom, where they fight over the stall -- now, there are probably about 12 stalls in this bathroom, but my kids want to use the exact same one. I tried to be the good mother and explain that all of the toilets were the same and that it didn't matter which one they used but we finally went with Isabella gets to go first because she is younger and might pee on herself. Potty issues solved, we proceeded to the sink to wash our hands -- 4 sinks, 1 argument over who gets to go first. Since Isabella got to pee first, William got to wash up first. Then they wanted lotion, since the good ladies of my congregation had kindly supplied the lotion, I gave them each a squirt. While I was washing MY hands, I turn around to see Isabella using her lotion to paint the full-length mirror on the door. I take some towels to try to clean it up, but only end up making it worse. So now we are finally ready to go back to sit down. Once again, I open the bathroom door and they are off like a shot across the lobby; giggling and squealing all of the way. Trying to maintain at least the "illusion" of control, I rush to catch them and steer them into the cry-room and sit down -- just in time to hear the last two words of the sermon and stand for the closing song.

As funny as that may all be, the ironic part came when we got into the car and my husband told me that the sermon was entitled "Discipline in The Christian Home." Wow.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Remembering Halloween the Way it WAS

**Disclaimer:  I was feeling pretty nostalgic about Halloween this evening and I sat down and just started typing.  I rarely do that.  Usually there is a whole blogpost in my head before I even pull up this site, but this one...this one is purely for me. 
I remember alot of Halloweens growing up.  Probably one of my first memories is when I got my 1st store bought costume.  I think I was 3.  We went to the Big B store on the corner of Sparkman and Jordan Lane and bought a Mickey Mouse costume.  What I remember about it was this -- it was cheap.  The mask was uncomfortable plastic that was so thin and stiff, you could probably cut yourself on it.  The "costume" was also plastic and you stepped into it and it tied in the back like a hospital gown.  I remember that the mask cracked before the night was over and that a couple of the ties broke when we put it on.  Maybe that is why I didn't have another store bought costume until I was 14 and needed something impressive for a friend's Halloween party.  One year I wore a purple sweat suit and painted my face purple -- I was The Purple People Eater.  Another year I wanted to be a ghost, but mom wouldn't let me cut holes in a sheet, so I was some kind of incredibly politically incorrect version of...well, I don't know what I was.  I wore a shirt that my grandparents had brought me from the Caribbean, holey jeans, a gardening hat of my mothers, and I carried a coffee can with beans in it like some kind of drum/maracca hybrid.  It was horrible -- but I walked around the neighborhood like a panhandling migrant worker asking everyone for candy.  One of the most memorable costumes I ever made was when I was about 12.  I was a robot.  I painted a huge Whirlpool Dryer box with silver paint, as well as a smaller square box that I affixed to the top for the head.  I raided my dad's garage and found all sorts of weird looking bulbs, wires, etc to form a face, cut the sleeves off of an old shirt, attached gloves at the ends, stuffed them with newspaper and duct taped them to the sides for arms.  The most ingenious thing I did though was to push dozens of Lite Brite pegs through the front of the box, so that when I lit my flashlight on the inside of the box and swung it back and forth, the costume came alive.  I did not go trick-or-treating that year -- I went to the Halloween party at our church and won the costume contest.  I have been thinking alot about my childhood and how much holidays like Halloween have changed since we were kids.  The idea of having "decorations" for Halloween beyond a Jack-O-Lantern or two was ludicrous for our family and our neighborhood.  No one had Halloween lights, or stretched fake spiderwebs over their bushes.  Occasionally, we might come to a house that had a blacklight in their porch light, or a scarcrow on the porch, and I think that there was one house that had fake ghosts hanging in their trees one year.  But for the most part, a grinning Jack-O-Lantern was it (not the elaborate pumpkin sculptures that you see today, but just triangle eyes and nose and a jagged grin).  The Jack-O-Lantern went out the night of or the night before Halloween and went into the trash the next day (unless your mom was like mine and made it into pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, or pumpkin muffins). 
We have become so commercialized as a society that a simple holiday that used to be comprised of a $5 pumpkin and a homemade costume has become one of $50 kids costumes, $200 inflatable spiders, and month-long celebrations.  People rarely have ONE Jack-O-Lantern, but instead they have several -- many of them fake and plugged into the wall.  I love Haloween.  Fall is one of my most favorite times of the year, and Halloween is consumate "Fall" with pumpkins and apples and red and gold leaves.  The crisp Fall air that is cool and dry and the coming of Halloween go hand in hand, and you know that soon after will be Thanksgiving, with turkey, sweet potatoes, family and football, followed closely by the holiday of holidays -- Christmas.  I really miss the simplicity of the holidays the way we used to celebrate them -- Halloween was like a warm up of good holidays to come.  The candy we collected was an appetizer to the rich foods of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Now, people decorate more for Halloween than they do for Christmas and many families never see each other -- even on Thanksgiving.  (sigh)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Growing up at Central

As a Southern woman raised in the Church of Christ, a lot of people believe that I am rigid -- believing that I am "saved" and you are not.  I have heard all of my life that "those Church of Christ folks think that they are the only ones going to heaven" but I have never been taught that -- it has never even been implied to me.  I even attended a Church of Christ private school from the age of 4 through the 8th grade and I never heard it there either.  I was taught what it took to get to heaven based on the scriptures, no more, no less.  Prejudices about other faiths was not part of the curriculum. 

I grew up as a bonified member of the Central Church of Christ in Huntsville, AL and I loved it there.  I do not know what others who grew up in the church went through, but for me, it was a blast.  I loved the people and the building and the quaint downtown atmosphere.  I was baptised there and on a cool, sunny, Saturday in October 1998, I was married there.   A lot of this will not make sense to you unless you also attended church and some of this will not make sense unless you attended Central. 

We were not an affluent church, full of monetary wealth.  No, the riches of Central lay in the hearts of its members.  As a young child, I worked hard in Sunday School to impress David and Marlene Thomason, Tim and Jimi Johnson, and even Marrietta Neiland (even though she never taught me personally, she was like the "Matriarch" of Central's youth).  I opened my heart, sharpened my wit, and delved into more serious theological questions with Mike and Lora Porter, David and Laura Bell, and Dorthea Thompson as a teen.  I learned to respect my elders -- Henry Bragg, Clyde Jones, Richard Brown, D.O. Matthews, J.D. Jones, and countless others.  I wrote a letter to the elders when I was about 12 asking to be moved into the teen group early because I felt I was "much more mature" than the kids in my current class.  I have no idea what it said, I would love to read it now for a laugh, but it worked, (much to my older sisters chagrin who had hoped to avoid me encroaching on her territory for at least 2 more years).  I do not know if I impressed them with the words in the letter, or simply by the act of writing it.

I do not remember how old I was, maybe 8 or 9, but I still remember a lesson that J.D Jones taught about singing.  What I remember about it is this:  Singing is important.  It is as important as praying and sitting still and listening to the sermon.  He told us that it was important to not have instruments crowding out our voices as we lifted them in praise to God.  And he told us to breathe which I thought was a little unnecessary until he explained further.  We shouldn't all breathe at once so that a song sounded like this:  "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound (GASP) That saved a wretch like me! (GASP)..."  It is an odd lesson to have stuck with me for so long, but it has, and I still try to practice the intermittent breathing when I sing at church now.  We had no organ, no piano, no bass guitar or drums, but on a good Sunday with Ed Smith or Gerry Binford leading the singing you would never miss them.  We sang, we clapped, we stomped our feet to the rhythms of "In My Father's House" and "Amen" until I thought that we would raise the roof or at least blow the doors from their hinges.  We had an inner-city ministry, a class for divorcees, a jail ministry, a class for single parents, and 2 college ministries -- one at UAH and one at A & M.  On any given Sunday, you could look out at the congregation and see people from as many as 4 or 5 races and 10 or 12 countries all side by side smiling right back at you.  We had no qualms about race that so many churches in the South do even today. 

The building was old (still is) but it was my playground every Sunday and Wednesday night.  I would hold onto the brown metal poles that stretched to the ceiling as part of the staircase and swing from the 3rd or 4th or 5th step while holding onto the bottom pole in an impressive display of upper body strength that would make any stripper proud.  I swung like a monkey on the silver painted poles that barricaded the parking lot across the street with my long brown hair dragging through the dirt.  I begged every Wednesday night to walk to Gorin's for a waffle cone after church and was usually told no.  I took great care in my hard soled Sunday shoes to pop as many seeds that fell from the huge tree out front.  That tree is gone now.  Its huge roots were buckling the concrete and its towering branches stretched high over the church roof.  I wriggled in my seat as the invitation song, the announcements, and the prayer were concluded so that I could bound from the pew and run to the gym (we called it "The Family Life Center," but it was a gym).  I would play while my mom and dad visited (or fellowshipped), and then I would whine when it was finally time to leave.  I helped decorated that gym for the Harvest Banquet every year, and hosted several Parent Appreciation Dinners there as a teen.  Some of my fondest memories are of the Halloween parties that they used to have there -- popcorn, Abbot & Costello, and costume contests.  I won the year that I made a killer robot costume out of an old dryer box, silver spray paint, and light bright pegs. 

For those of you not raised in the church, this might sound odd, but when you are raised in the Lord, surrounded on all sides by Him, even before you choose to be baptised, you have taken Him on like a reflection from those around you.  I always knew that I would choose a life with Christ, and at a weekend teen retreat at Henry and Melba Bragg's Elk River cabin, I decided it was time.  I was 14, and I was baptised by Clyde Jones at Central the Sunday morning after we got back with my parents and grandparents looking on.  It was a good day. I didn't know it at the time, but the first real attack on my faith was just a few months away in the form of "The Boston Movement" where I saw our congregation that was bursting at the seams one Sunday go to a meager gathering of the faithful just a few weeks later.  Although I have prayed alot about forgiving those responsible, I will never get over the effect that it had on me.  It was my first experience with church "politics" (for lack of a more universally understood word), and in many ways it left me cynical.  I am certain that the church had its problems before that, but I was oblivious to them.  Sometimes, growing up sucks.

I know that I have romanticized the building, the grounds, and even the people in my head, but they are still the standard by which I judge other congregations.  Central, in all its glory, warts and all, is "Home."  There will never be another church that I can walk through and feel so at ease, so comfortable, like I belong.  The people who taught my Sunday school classes, now teach my kids when we go home to visit.  Ed and Gerry still raise the roof with the singing.  Kids still swing on that banister.  It is a constant comfort to me to know that it is there -- growing, flourishing, changing, yet always the same.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Letting Go

I have been working on streamlining things around my house lately -- getting rid of the junk, the old, the worn out.  Today I tackled the linen closet.  I finally bagged up all of the old hooded baby towels.  It looked great when I was done, and it no longer takes excellent hand-eye coordination to open the door and put in the clean towels and washclothes so that the entire contents don't come spilling out onto your head.  But as I looked at the pile of old towels I had removed, many of them grayish with the wear and tear of 9 years worth of use and washing, I got a little pang of regret.  I mean, these were the towels that I wrapped William in after his first bath, the washcloths that I washed Bella with for the first time, the towels that Lorelei and Jackson played "super-heros" with just last year, and I was bagging them up to give to Goodwill.  Some stranger is going to buy these and probably use them to wash his car or his dog.  How could I let that happen?  These are precious mementos of my kids, of too many "firsts" to count, and they are destined to become someones "rags".  

I know that you cannot hold onto everything.  It is a lesson that I learned after we moved and I realized that we had too much "stuff."  With 4 kids, I cannot hold onto every picture that they draw, every card that they give me, or every cute outfit that they ever wore.  And the truth is, why would I want to?  I used to think that I would hold onto their "special" outfits and give them to them for their own kids some day.  Then my mother moved to a new house and gave me a virtual trunk load of MY old baby clothes.  Now, I was a child of the 70's -- there was NOTHING in the things that she gave me that I would ever put on my kids unless the only other choice was that they go naked.  The same will hold true for my kids in 25 years or so.  They are not going to want to dress their kids in the height of early 21st century fashion.  And since I know I am not having any more children, what would be the point of holding onto a bunch of clothes that they will never want and that I will never need? 

Memories.  Of course I hold onto the things from when my kids were little because they will never be little again.  William is already catching me in height, Bella's attitude and wit rivals my own, Lorelei is growing like a weed and Jackson (who was never little to begin with since he was over 10 pounds at birth) is almost as big as his sister.  I tell myself to hold on.  Hold on to that sleeper, that blanket, that towel, or whatever it may be as if their childhood is somehow magically contained within the fibers.  It is a HARD lesson to learn that those things are just things.  They are not my kids.  They are not even my memories.  My memories of those times are not going to Goodwill -- just some old gray towels.

So I paused to think about those precious times that are long gone now as I folded each item and placed it into the bag.  I remembered the way each one of them squirmed in my arms all slippery with soap as I gave them their first baths, how clean they smelled as I sang to them wrapped up in those now old towels, and I cried a little as I reflected on how they will be constantly growing and changing.  It is one of the hardest things about being a mother, a parent -- letting go.  I WANT them to grow and change.  I want them to mature, to learn, to try, and to sometimes fail because that is how they become adults.  It would be nice to freeze time and hold onto them for even just a little while longer as they are, but it is not possible and it would be going against my job as a parent.  My sole responsibility to them in this world is to help them grow up -- to teach them how to be responsible, contributing members of society.  I cannot do that if they never grow up.  So I am learning how to let go.  It is a daily struggle, and it isn't getting any easier.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Moms and School -- the TRUE Story

I did not write this, but I soooooooooo  could have.  Whoever the woman is that penned this masterpiece is a champion of truth.  I know I should have posted this a couple of months ago when school was actually starting, but hey, I'm lazy.  A friend sent me this in an email about 3 weeks ago and I JUST read it today, so you are getting it as soon as I could get it to you, enjoy! (And Thanks to Cari for sending it in the first place!)

10 Misconceptions of Moms and Back-to-school

Misconception Number 1: Moms miss their kids when they go back to school Seriously. I’ve had enough of you by now. Every morning with the “what are we going to do today, Mom?” is finally over. I’ve had looked at your face twenty-four seven for the last 77 days. It’s time to go learn something. No more asking me about the pool, when is the next snack or if you can stay up late and watch a movie. It’s over….You’re going back to Hogwarts and I get to have a life again. There is a Christmas morning for parents and it’s called “back to school”.

Misconception Number 2: Moms like to go school shopping. Are you freaking kidding me? Why do I pay taxes?…so I can rack up a 200 dollar bill at Staples for crap that we have laying around my house in junk drawers. Why does it have to be new pencils? What’s wrong with the chewed up, broken strawberry shortcake pencils sitting in the bottom of the toy box for the last 6 months? And how many subject books can you possibly need? What happened to reading, writing and arithmetic. If they added a couple of things for parents to that list I wouldn’t mind so much….why not pencils, erasers and vodka …..or some Nyquil.

Misconception Number 3: Moms like back to school night. Why must we do this every year? I got it already. You’re the teacher…I’m the parent. My kid is either going to be smart or dumb. If he gets a certain number or colored dot on his discipline chart, he can’t get a prize from the prize box. Pretty simple stuff. Listen, I’m pretty old school. If he doesn’t listen to you…you can throw something at him. I don’t care. But I got a lot of work to do at home and I’m paying a babysitter right now. Plus, I’m pretty sure you are going to assign some project on wigwams made by some Indian tribe I’ve never heard of, so I need to get home and start my research. So, I got it. We’re all here for the betterment of the kids. Blah Blah Blah. Can I leave now?

Misconception Number 4: Moms like school paperwork. How many trees are you planning on killing to tell me the same stuff I had to pay a babysitter to listen to the other night? You know our name, where we live and our emergency phone numbers. He doesn’t have a nickname….call him “stinkbutt” for all I care. We don’t have any “special circumstances” that you need to know about. He lives in a home with two parents who may or may not like each other at any given time and they will fight. If that qualifies as a reason he can’t get his homework done on time then he won’t be able to function as an adult and have a real job so you may want to “educate” him on that life lesson.

Misconception Number 5: Moms like covering books in that annoying sticky paper. What exactly will you be doing with these books that I have to cover them in a plastic laminate? Do you often teach in the rain? Or while the children are drinking soda and eating soup? Do you know how long that takes? Has any parent in the history of education been able to do it without any air bubbles in it? From now on I’m covering it the old way…brown paper bags. That way I can cover the books and pack their lunches at that same time. Who says moms can’t multitask?

PS. Please tell my son if he can’t find his lunch to look in his science book.

Misconception Number 6: Moms like helping you with your homework. What? I am scared out of my mind. I’m pretty sure that I forgot everything I learned in fifth grade by the time I was in sixth grade. I have no idea what you are talking about most days. I don’t really know my 12 times tables, I read the cliff notes to all your summer reading and I don’t know how to conjugate anything but I do know that song “conjuction junction what’s your function” if that helps at all. And please don’t even say the words “new math” to me. What the heck was wrong the old one?

Misconception Number 7: Moms can’t wait to pack your lunch every day until we die.I hate doing laundry. Making dinner every night is the bane of my existence, so making your lunch every day for an entire year, in terms of “mom fun”, lies somewhere between brushing plaque off the dogs teeth and scheduling my annual pap smear. Listen, as a child I hated what my mom packed me for lunch. But, like every kid before me, and every generation to come you will find a kid to trade with…I’m sure someone likes sardines.

Misconception Number 8: Moms love after school activities. I don’t know who made up this idea of organized clubs and sports but they should be the ones in charge of carting your ass around. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all after school programs. I just wish they would offer it during hours that would work best for me so that dinner wasn’t at 8:30 at night followed by 4 hours of homework. Why not do it on the weekends and call it “after-hours activities” so mommy and daddy could actually go out one night and pretend that we have a life of our own. Don’t worry about us though I’m sure that me and “what’s his name” will be married a very long time.

Misconception Number 9: Moms don’t mind taking you to school if you miss the bus. Your bus comes at 7:10 am….which means that you should be standing by the door at 7:05 am. Not eating breakfast , chasing the dog around the house or in the bathroom, asking me to check your homework while I’m taking a shower. Get it together! I don’t like running down the street in my jammies at 7:12 screaming “Please wait” or “If you stop I’ll show you my boobies.”

Misconception Number 10: Moms cry on your first day of school. We do cry but they are tears of joy. I have done my job. I have successfully kept a human child alive for at least 5 years without doing any major damage. Motherhood is the hardest job in the world!! Sure, doctors save lives and CEO’s run million dollar businesses but…you teach a kid not to poop their pants and then you can say you’ve made the world a better place.”

Friday, September 10, 2010

Another Political Rant

I have had a lot on my mind lately about the way the events of 9/11 are being recognized.  I know exactly where I was that day -- I was getting onto I-85 in Buford, GA on my way to have an ultrasound for my first child.  It was my husband's birthday, as well as my dad's, and I had just gotten off of the phone with my mom who told me that my dad was en route to Washington DC for work when the news came on the radio.  The initial impression was that this was an accident -- not a terrorist attack, so while I was horrified for those involved, there was no fear yet.  By the time I reached the doctor's office, the second plane had hit and there was speculation forming about what was going on.  Then we heard about the Pentagon, and I began to think of my dad who was "en route" to Washington.  Then the 4th plane went down and I began obsessively switching from CNN, to NBC, to Fox News looking for ANY new information.  Panic doesn't really begin to describe that feeling.  Fear is a short word with heavy meaning that I never fully understood until that day.  It was afternoon before I got through to my mom who told me my dad was safe.  But even then, I knew that there were thousands who were personally effected by these tragedies, even if I had been lucky enough to have not lost anyone.  The coming days and weeks were full of stories of tragedy, heroism, loss, and rescues.  There was hope, and lost hope, and this country went on an emotional roller coaster ride that I do not believe any of us will ever forget or would want to repeat.  There were images of people celebrating this attack in other countries -- dancing in the street chanting "Death to America," and there were little children who were being taught to trample and burn our flag by their parents.  Those images made me angry.  Angry at any country who celebrated the tragic death of innocent men, women, and children and thought that it somehow proved that we were infidels and that "Allah" was on their side and not ours.  That anger took a long time to dissipate.

Some people in our country are still holding onto that anger.  They spout off without thinking at the drop of a hat, and go into tirades about the Muslims, the Arabs, the terrorists as if they are all one in the same.  While I relish the fact that we live in a free country, and I understand that the Freedom of Speech applies to everyone (even those who make an ass out of themselves every time they open their mouths), I believe that this particular freedom is frequently abused.  The men most directly responsible for the terrorist attacks on our country died along with their victims.  Many of those who helped to facilitate those attacks have been captured or killed in the War on Terror.  As for the thousands, or perhaps millions, who relish in America's pain...well, they have their own pain.  They live in countries where their freedoms are few, their luxuries far between, and their "government" cares little (if anything) about their plight.  I learned in elementary school that you cannot make everyone love you -- or even LIKE you -- so it should come as no surprise that there are countries out there who do not think America is awesome the way that I do.  However, the key is the same with countries as it is with a 7 year old -- you may not like them, but you have to share the classroom.  So while I do not believe that we can force them to like us and our lifestyles and our religions and our way of life, I KNOW that we have to coexist with them. 

So why, would ANYONE in their right mind think that burning the Koran would accomplish anything other than inciting more anger and hatred?  I am not suggesting that we all hold hands and sing "Kumba Ya" or get together for a picnic, but how is burning the sacred text of Islam going to help anyone move forward?  How would this Pastor Jones feel if a Muslim group recommended that everyone burn a Bible on December 25th?  It is ludicrous.  On the flip-side, why would anyone think that it would be a good idea to build a mosque on Ground Zero?  I personally believe that that is sacred ground -- not "religious" sacred, but patriotically sacred.  It belongs to our nation -- not to the Baptists, the Catholics, the Mormons, the Jews or the Muslims.  NO church should be allowed to build there.  The men who caused all of that mayhem, death, and grief did so in the name of Islam.  And while "true" Islam (as I understand it) does not support their actions, they did what they did in the "Name of Allah."  Building a mosque on that site would be like building a Nazi Cultural Center at Auschwitz -- completely inappropriate.

And that is my rant for the day.

God bless th USA and may He be with all of the men and women who serve this country and often die to protect the freedoms that we so often misuse and abuse.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Aunt Dot

I haven't written on here in awhile.  I could sit here and make excuses about how I was visiting family and friends, then school started, and how things have just been crazy; but the truth is that if you read my blog, then you know that I have four kids and that my life is ALWAYS crazy and hectic, so I don't really have any excuse except that I am lazy about my blog.

When I was on my way to visit my family in Alabama, my mother told me "Say a prayer for Aunt Dot.  She went to the hospital last night."  When I got to about Texarkana, I spoke to her again and she told me "Aunt Dot has been moved to ICU."  By the time I got to Memphis, the doctors were telling them to gather the family and as I crossed the Mississippi/Alabama state line, she was gone.  I didn't get to tell her goodbye.  I didn't get to tell her that I loved her one more time.  The last communication I had with her was the Tuesday after Mother's Day when she called me to thank me for the Mother's Day card that I sent her.  It had not arrived until Monday, because I was late getting it in the mail, but she had appreciated it so much. 

Dorothy B. Ware was her name.  She was a teacher, a Methodist Lay-Speaker, a Christian, a horsewoman, a fisherwoman, a fellow Auburn fan, and my great-aunt.  She was the youngest of three sisters from Millerville -- my mom's mother was the oldest.  She married Clifford "Pete" Ware, who preceeded her in death.  She lived in a 4 room house in Valley, AL and raised horses while Pete "raised" roosters.  She used to say "We might seem a little bit wild to ya'll, but our grandmother was a Wolf."  (My great-great-grandmother was Indian and her last name was Wolf.)  She loved to fish, and while she was not monetarily rich, she was very happy in life.  When we were helping my mother and my aunt clean out her house, I found the following poem which is a better snapshot of the Aunt Dot that I knew and loved than I could ever write:

Drinking From My Saucer
I've never made a fortune
and it's probably too late now.
But I don't worry about that much,
I'm happy anyhow.

And as I go along life's way,
I'm reaping better than I sowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

I don't have a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going's tough.
But I've got loved ones around me,
and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for his blessings,
and the mercies He's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong,
My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke,
and the sun peeped through again.

So God, help me not to gripe about
the tough rows that I've hoed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

If God gives me strength and courage,
when the way grows steep and rough.
I'll not ask for other blessings,
I'm already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy,
to help others bear their loads.
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

~Author Unknown~

Rest in peace, Aunt Dot.  You were loved very much and you will be missed.  I will think of you often and I sincerely hope that my life is every bit as fullfilling to me as yours was to you. 
(And War Damn Eagle!)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I Learned How to Raise Four Kids in College....At a Frat House

I would LOOOOOOVE to say I came up with all of this, but I didn't.  A friend posted a link to this on Facebook, and I laughed and laughed, so I thought I'd copy it and share it here with a few of my own additions.  The original was a Top 10 list, I obviously added some of my own from 11 on.  The original title was "Why Living With a Toddler is Like Being at a Frat Party,"(From Suburban Snapshots)  but as you can see, I amended that as well to better fit some of my own additions and since my kids are now 8 1/2, 6 1/2, 3 1/2, and 2 years old.

50)   There is no food left in the house even though you went grocery shopping yesterday and no one will admit to eating any of it.

49)   The next morning, no one except you remembers what happened.
48)   Running around in underwear, a weird hat, and rain boots is not in anyway strange
47)   The older ones are always hazing the younger ones.

46)   People are in and out of beds like it's some sort of French farce.

45)   The toilet is never flushed.

44)   The neighbors call the cops because of the noise.
43)   Someone always has "the munchies."
42)   You often find unidentifiable stains on your clothes and have NO IDEA what they are or how they got there.
41)   Someone is telling jokes that don't make sense and everyone is laughing hysterically anyway.

40)   You stop asking what you stepped on. It is better not to know.

39)   Everything is sticky
38)   No one can ever find their shoes.
37)   It is not uncommon for someone to find out - midday - that they are wearing someone else's underwear.

36)   People fall asleep everywhere - the couch, the floor, the chair, the table - at all times of day.

35)   Spinning around and flapping your arms counts as dancing.

34)   At least 10 times somebody will be yelling "Hey, watch this".

33)   If there's a wet spot in the bed at 2AM, you just throw a towel over it or move to the other side.

32)   When you get unexpected company you pray that everyone has pants on.
31)   There is a guy in the next room who can tell you what system, planet, and ship every Star Wars Character is from, and you are praying that NO ONE gets him started on the subject
30)   By early evening, general silliness has broken out and uncontrollable laughter rings out through the house with little apparent cause.

29)   The music is REALLY annoying, but everyone else in the room seems to love it.

28)   Rinsing something out with water and reusing constitutes as washing it.
27)   At any time there is a chance of someone running nude through the house.
26)   You spend hours playing a game you don't understand because it has no discernible rules and is made up of seemingly random components, and then you win and somehow the person you played is naked.
25)   You constantly say things like "Please, don't lick my pants!" and wonder why on earth you would EVER have to say that out loud.

24)   Whenever you sit down some weird guy is RIGHT there, hanging all over you. Not taking a hint.
23)   If you miss a period you are truly horrifying because as you look at your life you realize that you are in know way ready to be a parent (again).
22)   You don't remember the last time you looked at your television set and saw something other than cartoons or video games.
21)   Try as you might, you cannot get people to stop dancing on the furniture.

20)   There's always someone that wants to stay up all night.
19)   No one walks in a straight line and they randomly fall down.

18)   For reasons unknown, there is a half-eaten grilled cheese on the stairs.
17)   The most popular snack food is Pop-Tarts.
16)    People can't climb the stairs without using their hands.
15)   All conversation occurs as though at least one of you has forgotten the language.
14)   Eating utensils are optional.
13)   At least one person is lying on the floor, either face up or face down, singing at the top of their lungs.

12)   You lie to your mother about what is going on at your place.
11)   You have a TV theme song stuck in your head, and when you start singing it everyone joins in.

10)   There are half-full, brightly-colored plastic cups on the floor in every room. Three are in the bathtub.
9)   There's always that one girl, bawling her eyes out in a corner.
8)   It's best not to assume that the person closest to you has any control over their digestive function.
7)   You sneak off to the bathroom knowing that as soon as you sit down, someone is going to start banging on the door.
6)   Probably 80% of the stains on the furniture contain DNA.
5)   You've got someone in your face at 3 a.m. looking for a drink.
4)   There's definitely going to be a fight.
3)    You're not sure whether anything you're doing is right, you just hope it won't get you arrested.
2)   There are crumpled-up underpants everywhere.
1)   You wake up wondering exactly how and when the person in bed with you got there.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rant, Rant, Rant -- Not Sure What Has Gotten Into Me!!

I was listening to the radio today and they were talking about divorce -- what causes it, the statistics for it, how having faith effects it, how money issues are the main cause for it, etc.  And a few things occur to me as I am listening.  We live in a disposable society that wants immediate gratification.  We get married and think that we should have everything that our parents have even though it took them 30 years to acquire it.  Money problems are the number one cause of divorce.  And these are usually problems that we bring on ourselves.  The average American household with at least one credit card has nearly $10,700 in credit-card debt, according to, and that number increases for those that have more than one card (and most do have more than one). 
Debt is something I COMPLETELY understand because I have been in deeper than most.  But I am lucky enough to have a loving husband who worked WITH me to clean up our mess so that we could start acting like adults about our money.  I would love to be able to say that our debt was purely a result of our circumstance and that it was beyond our control, but that would be a lie.  Granted, most of it was due to the move and the inability to sell the house for more than 2 years after the move, etc. and some was due to unforeseen medical issues, but lets get real here: we could have let the house go 18 months before we did and we could have cut up the credit cards and cut our expenses before we did.  We could complain about the unexpected expenses caused by having 4 kids, but...well...we have 4 kids, so those expenses should not be all that unexpected.  If there is one thing I have learned in the time that we have gotten all of our finances under control and started doing a written budget every month is that there is no such thing as a "Normal Month."  I mean, sure, your house payment, your utilities, your phone, etc. will not change much month to month, but there will ALWAYS be some sort of "emergency" that is not in your normal expenses.  That is why we have an "Oh Crap" line item in our budget.  This month it may be 6 visits to the doctor (which exceeds our "normal" medical budget).  Last month it might have been soccer or dance pictures or recital fees (or all of the above).  Next month it might be a special contribution at church.  My point is, it is always something and the key is to be as prepared for that stuff as possible.  The idea that "Life takes Visa" is bassackwards -- Visa WILL take your life.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Political Rant (Try Not to Be Offended)

This is the 4th blog I have started about the presidential address last week and current state of our great nation, and if it weren't for the delete and backspace buttons, I would probably be on some sort of extremist watch list.  I got so aggrevated watching Obama's press conference last week, and I get increasingly annoyed by the liberal views in Washington.  I am feeling a little better after 4 personal rants to myself, but it has brought me to another, related subject:  Why is it that because I am a Southern, white, Christian, I am automatically a racist bigot?  Have you noticed that the liberals in this country are all for free speech unless what you say is "As a Christian, I oppose abortion, and same-sex marriage, and here are the passages from the Bible to support my views?"  They do not recognize the authority of the Bible, so they say that none of what it says is relevant.  Well, I disagree.  I say that MY opinion is just as important as theirs (isn't THAT what they are arguing for?) and doesn't MY voice deserve to be heard?  That is the problem with equal rights -- they are EQUAL.  If I have to listen to you drone on and on about how it is a woman's choice, not a life, or how government should step in and get everyone a job, a car, and a house, or how gays should be allowed this that and the other, then you cannot complain when I quote scriptures and disagree with you.

And let me say this:  As long as the choice does not have an impact upon me or any other human life, I don't oppose it.  I believe homosexulity is a sin -- it is one of those black and white issues from the Bible, it is not open to interpretation.  If you are gay, and believe in the Bible, then I do not know how you reconcile that, but that is between you and God.  Am I politiacally or socially against gay marriage?  Not really.  I know it is going to happen.  I fear the long term consequences on our schools when the family ideas are challenged to accomodate same sex couples and how I will have to explain that to my kids, but beyond that, it does not effect me -- I am not God, so I pass no judgement.  As for my stance on abortion, I am vehemently opposed to it.  I consider it a life at the moment of conception, so to me it is murder.  Would you expect me to not protest murder?  Now, I do NOT understand the people that bomb abortion clinics or shoot abortion doctors, since that is also murder.  I guess that I am anti-abortion, but I am also anti-Extreme-Anti-Abortionists....
I have a serious issue with this concept that the Government is supposed to take care of all my problems.  Since Uncle Sam doesn't have any money that We The People do not give him in the form of taxes, I am slightly offended by these programs that pay for mortgages, cars, and even cell phones for people who do not work.  Now, don't go get on your soap boxes about those that cannot help their situations, I am not talking about them.  But I do not understand why the lady at the grocery store used food stamps to pay for groceries with her obviously manicured and blinged out hand and then put said groceries into an Escalade while chatting the whole time on her i-Phone (meanwhile I am digging in my purse for my Kroger card, my coupons, and my CASH to pay for my groceries).  When we couldn't sell our house in Georgia after we moved here to Texas, I made it work for as long as I could then we let the house go.  We looked into government programs, but there were none.  So we cut our expenses down to next to nothing, we sold stuff on Craigslist, we cut coupons, and we did WITHOUT.  It wasn't enough.  We lost the house.  And the world kept on spinning.  We had a very high opinion of ourselves and our "stuff" and God shook our lives up and taught us a lesson about humility, necessity, and ingenuity.    If you give people everything that they need, they will not only not appreciate all that they have, they will cease trying to get anything for themselves.  Very few people will refuse the things that the government provides in order to get to work and get better things for themselves.  And it is contagious -- the children and the neighbors see that the government is providing people with everything that others are working for, and they wonder why they should work.  If you think I am wrong, look at the statistics of welfare and other government aid programs 50 years ago and today.  Look at how many people started out on welfare and got off of it 50 years ago and those today.  Look at just how many MORE programs there are now -- it is ridiculous.  Here is the bottom line -- we are a selfish, snobby, country who thinks that the world owes us something when we used to be a God fearing nation who helped ourselves. 
I have a whole other post in my head now, so I better stop there before I get going again.  Please pray for our country and its leaders.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just A Couple of Exerpts....

 I am working on a novel.  I have written several children's books (which I cannot get published to save my life) so I thought, "Hey, why not waste some REAL time and write a novel?"  Below are 2 exerpts, and before I spend any more time on this, I'd like HONEST opinions of how it is.  These are 2 of my favorite passages -- one is inflection and one is dialouge.  It is not a funny book, it is a "Coming of Age" story if I had to attach a cliche to it.  No blowing sunshine up my ass, I only want the truth! 


As I watched her say her vows, surrounded by all of her friends and family, it dawned on me what I was feeling. It wasn’t the fear of losing my best friend, it was the realization that I had lost her long ago without realizing it. I had been static in forming new friendships – opting instead for more casual relationships and reserving my “bestness” for her, while she had formed bonds with so many others. I did not know when it had happened, but sometime in the past 5 years, I had ceased being the person who sprang into her mind when she was in trouble, or needed help, or had good news to share. There were new faces surrounding her now that were unfamiliar to me. Hell, I had only met her husband once before the wedding weekend. She hadn’t even asked me to be her maid of honor. Now, as she stood at the alter of this church that I had never been in with this man I did not know with her “bests” all beside her, I felt very alone. I was an “old friend” without any of the warmth that the moniker was supposed to provide. I had no other “bests” to replace her with and so I was drifting between acquaintance and friendship with no tether, no one to draw me close. Why had I sequestered myself? How had I not seen my friend slipping away? Then it was over, the “I do’s” had been recited and I realized that I was crying. Those watching had probably thought it touching that the “old friend” was so moved by her happiness that she’d shed silent tears during the ceremony, but only I knew that I was in mourning for a friendship that had passed into the ether without notice until that moment. I smiled, shook hands, and hugged like a good bridesmaid. I cheered and threw birdseed as the new couple climbed into their limo. I stayed to help clean up the reception hall with the family that I had once regarded as my own. Then I left – I went back to my hotel, packed my car and began the long drive home, alone.


The storm was moving in. The leaves on the trees flashed their lighter undersides as if paling in the face of the angry winds. Their branches waved to and fro as the wind struggled to find a direction. Lightning flashed behind the clouds and thunder rolled across the sky. Then came the rain. Big heavy drops at first and then sheets carried by the increasing wind. Our little porch provided little shelter as the rain went vertical and soaked the wall beside me. I stood there entranced. Unable to move. I loved the rain, but I was in love with the storm. It was majestic, powerful, enthralling.

My mother came to the screen door “Didn’t God give you the sense to get out of the rain?” she said playfully through the door.

“Nope. But He did give me the ability to admire it. Come here.”

She walked out in her bare feet wrapping her thread bare tan sweater around her.

“Oooh, that’s cold rain for June,” she said, “but I ‘spose the Miller’s will be happy. They were getting worried about their corn. Sarah was going on about it at church on Sunday.”

“Hmph. This week she’ll be fawning all over everyone, thanking them for their prayers when none of them probably remembered to pray for her,” I retorted.

“Hey now, be nice. I prayed for her. “

I raised one eyebrow the way I do when I think that my mother isn’t being completely honest with me and folded my arms and leaned back against the wet wall of the house.

“Well, I prayed for rain; it wasn’t necessarily for her, it was for everyone,” my mother replied sheepishly before flashing that devilish grin that my father had loved and that I had rarely seen these past few weeks.

“Granny always said ‘it rains on the just and the unjust.’ I wonder which group Sarah Miller falls in,” I said as I laughed with my mother. We used to laugh all of the time, but not so much since my father had died.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Seriously? Yep, Seriously.

I am in trouble.  I have been warned by my mother that "You cannot use sarcasm on children, it will only confuse them."  Crap.  I am quite possibly the world's most sarcastic person.  My kids must be the most confused kids on the planet then.  I say "Seriously?" at least a half dozen times a day, and there is rarely a day that goes by that in response to some complaint about how unfair it is that they have to pick up their messes, that I don't respond by saying "I know, you guys are so mistreated." or "Yep, I am a mean mommy.  Now do what I said."  When my kids tell me some absurd reasoning that only makes sense in the world of those under 8, I recount it in the form of a question followed with "Yeah, that makes sense."  For example, when I ask them to pick up the playroom and literally 3 minutes later they come chasing each other laughing down the stairs, I say something like "Hey!  What are you supposed to be doing?!"  And they say "Oops.  We forgot."  My reply is "You forgot?  Seriously?  In the 3 minutes since I told you to pick up, you forgot?  Yeah, that makes sense.  Get up there and get back to it."  It is not entirely my fault, I am going to blame Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. See, I was raised on good, old fashioned, honest sarcasm, courtesy of Warner Brothers.
I learned to recognize sarcasm early on, to laugh at it and move on.  But one afternoon with kids' cartoons these days might explain the real problem.  Have you watched it lately?  Everyone is so happy.  And if they aren't happy, then the entire show is about how everyone is working to MAKE them happy.  I know that kids' programming is fiction, and that it is only entertainment, but it give a seriously deranged look at the world and I am not sure that all of the lessons it is teaching are good ones.  No lie, one of my kids favorite shows is called "Miss Spider's Sunny Patch" and it is all about this spider couple who have adopted all of these bug kids and they all live together in a tree.  Yeah, that's a good lesson to teach kids.  HELLOOOOOOO -- Spiders EAT bugs. They do not adopt them.   Ni-Hau, Ki-Lan:  Kai-Lan spends 30 minutes trying to discover why Tolly, Ho-Ho, and Rin Tu are mad and how to fix it -- in real life she would take her ball and go home.  Dora and Diego are great, but I question parents who would let their kids run around all over the world with a jaguar and a monkey.  Even their story lines are all about making everyone feel better -- I mean, OF COURSE all of the animals ran away from the cougar, they are what he eats.  And I do not think that a real cougar would get his feelings hurt at all.  Then there is "Yo Gabba Gabba" -- singing "I like bugs!  I. Like. Bugs!"  I am not an alarmist, but as a person who carries an Epi-pen in her purse, I DON'T like bugs, and I know that there are dangerous bugs (bees, wasps, scorpions, etc.) and there are annoying bugs (cockroaches, fleas, ticks, ants), and I don't like the idea of my kids being taught to be friends with bugs.  Not that cartoons should be all about "Hey, this bug can kill you!"  or that Miss Spider should eat her adopted kids, or Ni Hau, Kai-Lan should look at Tolly and Ho-Ho and tell them to get over it, or anything like that, but shouldn't there be more of a mix?   Our kids are growing up to be shiny happy people who are going to fall apart the first time things don't go their way.  Well, everyone else's kids anyway. 
I think I will have to disagree with my mother (*gasp*).  I do not believe my kids are at all confused by my sarcasm.  On the contrary, I believe that through sarcasm, my kids will be ready to face the real world with the ability to laugh at themselves, make their friends laugh, and shrug off alot of what might well cripple the fragile psyche of the rest of their generation.  If our kids believe that the world is full of creatures who will only work to make their lives better, then how will the handle it when their team loses, a mean kid singles them out to humiliate, or despite all of their best efforts, they fail?  My kids will be able to say "Well this sucks" and move on.  I do not mean to imply that I am raising 4 little cynics, I do praise them when they do well, and I reward their good behavior.  But I do NOT stop life and turn my world upside down to correct every wrong that is inflicted upon them.  When Bella says in her drama queen manner that William won't play with her, I tell her that I cannot force him to play with her and to play with Lorelei or Jackson instead.  When William says "Bella called me stupid" my canned response is "Well, are you stupid?" and when he says no, I say "Then don't worry about it."  Then I have a talk with Bella about how it isn't nice to call names.  When Lorelei comes crying to me that Jackson took her toy, I tell her to take it back before talking to Jackson about not taking toys away from others.  Kids need to know that they are loved, and mine do.  They need to know that we do our best to treat others fairly, and that there are often consequences when we don't, and mine know that as well.  But they also need to understand that the world will not cater to them,  and mine DEFINITELY know that.  Seriously.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ummmm......yeah......I Want to Go Back to Work.....Eventually.....

I need advice. As much as I would like to believe that my books will eventually be published and I will become the next Judy Blume, I have to accept the fact that as AWESOME as that would be, it isn’t likely. So I am trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up (or more appropriately, when Jackson grows up). I really enjoyed Outside Sales for the time I was in Louisville, but it sucked in Atlanta. And to be honest, I do not think that I could effectively do Outside Sales and be a good mom and wife. So this will mean going back to school for a second degree in a more marketable field than “Motherhood.”  I DO NOT want to do clerical work (office manager, medical billing, receptionist, etc.)  I welcome any advice and suggestions that any of you may have to offer, and I will close by including a few facts about my background and working style:

1) My 1st degree was in English and Marketing.

2) I enjoy thinking up things for friends who either a) own their own business or b) need to create something for church or school or whatever.

3) I do not mind being corrected as long as I am wrong (hee-hee) but I dislike the kind of manager or boss who constantly looks for something to be wrong, and/or “hovers” like a spy-copter.

4) I really would like a job that would allow me to telecommute and/or be flexible on the hours. (not all of the time, but with 4 kids I will need SOME flexibility)

5) I am a decent photographer and have worked with some of the best in the portrait business. I would love to do something that involved photography, but since we are more than likely going to move again (we don’t like Texas that much) starting my own business/studio would be unwise.

6) I would love to get into advertising, but I do not want to live in Chicago, New York, or LA -- ideally, there would be an advertising agency in Huntsville, AL that needed a copywriter or something.

7) I am not really a science person, so I think that the medical field is out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Before I go off on today's rant, I would like to make it perfectly clear that my house is not "nasty" -- cluttered, sure, but not grimy, nasty, gross.  Yes, there is often spilt apple juice or grape jelly that needs to be wiped off of the table or counter top, but it is not like that for days on end or anything.  And yes, I have found the occasional half eaten Pop Tart in the kids room or the playroom, but there are 4 of them and I only have 2 eyes.  I DO miss some things.  And in fact, last week while picking up laundry, I found half of a grilled cheese sandwich from that days lunch and I totally freaked and started vacuuming and wiping down things.  The reason is I. Hate. Bugs.

SO, having made all of that abundantly clear, it will make more sense to you all why I did not sleep AT ALL last night. 

I got all of the kids bathed, teeth brushed, and tucked into bed at a relatively decent hour.  I then cleared 2 whole shows off of the DVR, brushed my own teeth, washed my face, and prepared for bed.  I was drifting that blissful twilight where you are thinking that you should have turned on the dishwasher and then you are suddenly in Willy Wonka's factory, when my eyes fluttered open.  Just for a second.  Just long enough to see a huge, nasty, winged, cock-roach crest the edge of my bed.  Right in my face.  Twitching his horrendous little antennae inches from my face.  I think that in order to have seen me move, you would have had to slow down the film.  I was LITERALLY out of the bed, lights on, SHOES on, within 3 seconds.  This was not a normal household cock-roach -- it is the kind that lives outside around woodpiles and flies around the street lights.  It took me 15 minutes to track the offensive creature under my bed, another 5 to chase it out with the use of bug spray (by this I mean "OFF" not Raid, because I could not find any bug spray since we never have roaches), and 0.06 seconds to squash it to oblivion.  My heart was pounding as if I had just fought off an attacker twice my size, there was sweat on my upper lip, I was breathing heavy, and my adrenaline was through the roof.  I went and unrolled no fewer than 6 feet of toilet paper to dispose of his remains before flushing him down the toilet.  I managed to find a 1/2 empty container of "Home Defense MAX" bug spray that Gary uses to treat the garage and outside of the house, and I sprayed all around the door to my bedroom.  The bathroom.  The hallway.  The doors and windows to the outside.  Basically everything I could until the damned thing was empty. 

I was so freaked out that as I lay there trying to calm down so that I could get a little sleep, I thought every little noise was another bug.  The AC kicking on was the flutter of wings, the tick-tick of the clock on the bathroom wall was hairy little roach legs walking, and then of course, there were all of the bugs that I "felt" that weren't there.  One of the problems with having long hair is that you have strays; little hairs that tickle the back of your arm or your face.  This, is NOT a good thing when you have just been molested in your bed by a roach.  So I stayed awake, rather unintentionally, just unable to settle down and relax.

Even now, more than 12 hours later, the slightest brush of hair against my arm sends me reeling.  The slightest shadow in the corner of my eye makes me think I am about to be attacked.  I had an exterminator in Georgia once tell me "Oh, those are wood roaches.  They cannot survive more than 3 or 4 days in a house."  As if this somehow made it okay that they got in in the first place.  We did have one in the house last year.  I was in the kitchen, barefoot, making lunches for the next day and the damned thing attempted to crawl up my leg on the INSIDE of my yoga pants.  I screamed like a mountain lion and danced around like a whirling dervish and the kids had to help me kill it because I was so shaken.  I do not care if they are only able to live inside for a few days, I do NOT want them in my house.  Ever.  Period.

Man, I HATE bugs.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Purse-onal Inventory"

Tonight at the soccer fields I was tuning out the kiddos in the backseat and "Finding Nemo" on the DVD and I decided to clean out my purse.  So what exactly is in the purse of a mother of 4 young children??  Many, many things.  Here is the inventory:
1 Wallet (mine)
1 Datebook (mine)
2 lip glosses (1 mine, 1 Bella's)
4 Antibacterial wipes (mostly for wiping down the kids)
1 Fingernail File (mine)
1 Purse-sized Bottle of Advil (mine)
18 Ballpoint Pens (even though I can never find ONE when I need it)
1 Bottle of Hand Sanitizer (mine)
5 Band-Aids (for the kids...and other people's kids...)
1 Packet of Anti-Bacterial Creme (ditto to the above)
1 Business Card Case Full of Mommy Cards (for the mommies' of the other kids)
2 Small Bottles of Baby Lotion (kids)
1/2 Pack of Gum (supposed to be mine, but mostly for the kids)
2 Sudafed (mine)
4 Lollipops (kids)
1 Ponytail Holder (supposed to be mine, but I think Bella used it last)
1 Juice Box (kids)
1 Packet of Graham Crackers (kids)
1 Packet of Goldfish (kids)
6 Packets of "Fruities" (Welches' Fruit Juice Snacks)
No fewer than 26 stickers
14 various coupons, 10 of which were expired, 4 of which expired last year.
And too many receipts to count.  Although, I did find $1,873 in medical receipts.  Only $86 of which was mine.
No one, at least no sane person, who looked into my purse could ever mistake that I was a mother.  If I didn't have kids, I could carry a MUCH smaller purse, but I would gladly lug around half of the medicine chest and half the pantry for my kids.  And really, all of those snacks, Band-aids, etc. are as much for me as they are for them.  Nothing will calm a kid with a skinned knee better than a Band-aid, nothing will make a child who will not stop talking hush faster than a packet of fruities, and nothing will buy you 15 minutes in the store like a lollipop.

Friday, May 7, 2010

It's Okay

As I sit here contemplating what I should write, and trying to come up with something sweet and sentimental to say in honor of Mother's Day, I have yelled at each of my 4 kids at least once, and I have made NO dinner plans. Hmmmm....

So, in honor of all mothers everywhere, I would like to tell you that it is okay. It is okay if you have just as many clothes in your CLEAN clothes hamper as you do in your DIRTY clothes hamper. It is okay if you have to pick up half eaten food off of your floor. It is okay if you don't get the beds made, the dishes done, or the bathroom cleaned. It is okay if you do not wear make-up everyday, or even SHOWER every day. It is okay if you never go and get a "mani-pedi" or a facial or wear the latest fashions. It is okay if you have not scanned all of your kids' artwork into the computer and made a digital scrapbook for them, or even filled out all of the pages in their baby books. It is okay that your kids' clothes do not come from a high-priced boutique or if they even match! It is absolutely fine if there are fingerprints on your mirrors, crayon on your walls from three-feet up to the floor, and and smears of God-knows-what on various hard surfaces in your home. YOU are normal. You are not Martha Stewart and you do not live in this month's edition of Better Homes & Gardens. If your kids are loved and happy, none of the other stuff matters.

We all know "that" mom -- the one who has it all together. Her house is clean, her kids are all dressed alike, she is perfectly coiffed, clipped, and painted and you stare at her in full-on green-eyed monster mode in your faded yoga pants, ponytail, and t-shirt with the bleach stain near the hem and the spit-up on the shoulder and wish you could get it all together like her. Her kids had homemade pancakes for breakfast and your kids had Pop-Tarts. Her kids take French, Ballet, violin, and voice lessons and your kids play soccer. She goes to yoga every other day and only drinks soy milk and your idea of a work-out is to clean out from under your kids' beds and you had 4 cups of coffee and a slice of cheese for breakfast. Her min-van is the pristine model from last year and yours is from the last millennium with precisely 76 stickers on the 2 back windows, and a slightly offensive odor when temperatures climb to over 100 degrees. Yes -- you are jealous of her perfection, but if you look closely.... there are chinks in her armor. Remember, you see what she WANTS you to see. No one is THAT perfect.

However, you do not need to know what her faults are. It. Does. Not. Matter. You were not feeling inadequate before you ran into her in the car-pool line, so why does she make you feel that way now? Remember that your kids are loved. They are happy. They do not want to take French, or violin. They did not ask you for pancakes this morning. They do not have to worry about wrinkling your clothes, smudging your make-up, or messing up your hair when they throw their arms around your neck and say "I love you, Mom." Ahhhhhhh, there it is. That is YOUR perfection. (And mine!)
So Happy Mother's Day. Ignore your laundry, dishes, and general housework and sit on the couch and cuddle with your kids. You are the perfect one for them.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Holidays.....

Feliz Cinco De Mayo!!!
Today is the 5th of May and it is some kind of Mexican holiday that requires everyone in the US to go out and drink Coronas with lime, sip Doe Equis, or slam Jose Quervo shots while eating obscene amounts of chips and salsa.  I do not know what the holiday actually commemerates, it was some kind of independence thing like our 4th of July.  I don't judge -- I mean, we celebrate our independence by setting our backyards on fire either with illegal fireworks or out of control bar-be-que grills.  Ironically, some of us also slam Jose, and sip Coronas on our own independence day, although I think Bud and Miller may be a little more common.  :)  I am more likely to celebrate by drinking an entire pot of coffee this morning, eating way to many Special K Tomato and Basil crackers with lunch, being lazy and feeding my kids a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup for dinner instead of actually cooking dinner, and giving into temptation and drinking a real Coke tonight.  Because, honestly, what better way to celebrate ANY holiday than to be lazy and to give into our harmless yet totally worth it temptations?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More Nudity Issues

So what is the topic for discussion today?  My kids haven't flashed any of the neighbors in a couple of days, so no new subject matter there....however....
Jackson has become a nudist.  It was a gradual transformation.  He used to love to take off his shirt.  It could be 20 degrees outside and he would take off his shirt and run around in just his diaper and pants.  Then he switched and he would keep on his shirt and diaper and just remove his pants.  But lately he has been taking off his pants, then his diaper (because keeping his shirt on disguises the fact that he has no diaper) and then finally he will take off the shirt and be stark naked.  Of course, he always does this right before the doorbell rings, or while I am making dinner, or at some other equally inconvenient time.  Last night, I was standing at the stove cooking dinner and I turned around to find his naked little butt sitting in the middle of the dining room table.  Obviously, we had to clean the table before eating on it.   This morning, I went to wake him up and found him lying in his crib "reading" a book in the buff.  And even though he is too big for it, he still loves his bouncer.  He was in his bouncer, I was doing laundry when I heard "Maaaaaaaa-maaaaWeeeeeeeet!"  I went to see what was wrong, thinking he must have spilt his juice, but no.  He had somehow figured out how to get completely nude while in his bouncer.  Shirt off.  Shorts off.  Diaper off and all thrown to the side.  He then proceeded to pee on the floor without peeing on the bouncer.  He can get his diaper or Pull-Up off even if he is wearing a onesie.  Nope, nothing can deter the little guy from taking off his clothes. 
So what do you do when your child won't keep his clothes on?  You stay home until he gets over it and you continue to put his clothes back on him over and over and over again. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Who Knew?

Well, today I got a wild productive hair up my butt and decided to REALLY clean my bathroom.  Not Clorox Wipes, but actual cleanser and a sponge and elbow grease.  Now, please understand, I am not a "nasty" kind of person.  My house is almost always cluttered, but I do not let it get grimy and nasty.  Or at least I didn't THINK I did.  I started with the double sinks and vanity.  I removed everything off of the counter top, sprayed cleaner and wiped away the spilt toothpaste and make-up residue, etc.  Then I cleaned the mirror, followed by the toilet and the tub -- no surprises, just gave them all a good, deep cleaning so that I could go on using the Clorox Wipes weekly for the next month or so to maintain it.  Then I thought, "Hmmmm...when is the last time I cleaned that shower?"  I couldn't remember.  I am not sure I have ever really deep cleaned it in the more than 2 years that we have been here.  I mean, I have sprayed it with Tilex and wiped it down, but never really gotten in there with a sponge and cleanser and scrubbed it.  So I thought, in for a penny, in for a pound and dove into the task.  We get in this shower every day to get clean.  I never thought it was all that dirty.  It is a small, glass shower seperate from the tub.  Well imagine my shock (and general disgust) when I discovered that our shower is NOT (as I have always assumed) made of "frosted glass."  The "frosted glass" was instead layers and layers of soap scum and hard water stains!!  I am happy to report that our shower is now sparkly clean -- no "frosted glass" left!

The One That Got Away?

So recently I was chatting with an old friend on Facebook and she was talking about the one guy that she had liked or dated way back when that she had always wondered about. She said she'd love to see him but that she wasn't sure what would happen if she saw him because he was "that special" to her. She then asked if I had a guy in my past like that. "You know," she said, "The one you think of as 'the one who got away.'" I quickly typed "Not really" and changed the subject.
This person is married, she has been for more than 8 years and she has 2 cute kids and I THOUGHT that she and her hubby were very happy together. Don't get me wrong, I wonder where people from my past are, what they are doing, did they ever get married or have kids, blah, blah, blah. But I have never thought of them as having gotten away from me. I love my husband. If he and anyone from my past standing were standing side by side and I could choose, I would always choose him. There would be no internal debate, and it would not be out of obligation that I would choose him, it would be out of love -- love for him and love for our 4 kids. The people that have come into my life have shaped who I am. They helped, in whatever way, to prepare me to be the wife and mother that I am today. And I am thankful (regardless of how or why those relationships ended) that they were part of my past. Because this guy broke my heart, I not only learned to be a little more cautious, but I can help my daughters through their broken hearts with empathy and understanding. Since I was a total ass to this guy, then I can try to prevent my kids ever acting that way, and I can help my sons through a similar experience should it ever happen to them. I can relate to my husband because of little things I gleaned from these relationships. I interacted with their friends and families and that taught me alot about how I want my own family to be viewed by others and how to make our home life a reflection of who we are. No matter how small, I learned SOMETHING from every dating relationship that I ever had.
So no, I do not have "one that got away." My dating life was more of a "catch and release" experience. Those guys (most of them anyway) were mine while I had them, and I was theirs. Until, at some point, one of us let go of the other. So to all the guys that came before my husband, thanks. I am the perfect wife for my husband and the perfect fit for my family because of something I learned from you.

Parenting = Epic Fail

So this evening, we had a total fail as parents.
We had a friend of Bella's over to play. The kids were all upstairs -- being loud and obnoxious, playing like normal while I made dinner. Now, you have to understand something about my kids; it has almost always been just us in our house -- we either didn't know alot of people, or the kids were too young to have alot of regular company. Most of the kids that they have played with over the years were their cousins, so we are all related. (Not that this fact makes up for what happened at our house tonight).
So this friend of Bellas is obviously a little girl and she is the same age (6), but all of the kids were playing together -- William the 8 year old, Bella and her friend the 6 year olds, and Lorelei the 3 year old. (Jackson was not present as far as we can tell). After dinner, they all went back upstairs and played for another hour or so until the friend's mom came and got her. About 30 minutes to an hour after she left, the little girl's mom called me and said that she was very concerned by something her daughter had told her. Apparently in the course of playing Vampires, Bella got hit in "the privates" and felt it neccessary to pull down her pants to check herself out right there in front of everyone. Well this got attention (obviously) so Lorelei felt the need to check herself out, so she dropped trou as well. I guess William thought that he was just playing along when he decided to do the same which got an "Ewwww!" from the little girl who later went home to tell her mother about it. Greeeeat. So the mom calls to tell me that she is concerned by this, and obviously, I am too. We go to try to talk to the kids about it and they confirm the story. We try to express our disappointment in this type of behavior and they honestly do not get why this is so bad. Sooooooo....short of having the dreaded sex talk with our 8 and 6 year old, how do we handle this?? I mean, up until 18 months ago, our kids were still bathing together. They come and talk to me and Gary (and to each other) while we are in the shower or while we are using the bathroom. We feel horrible that it happened, but it did. Our fear now, is that that this incident will prevent the parents from allowing their daghter over to play. I mean, I am not sure I would want to my kids to go play at a friend's house where this had happened. Arrrrgh! So frustrated!! I mean, I am happy that the mom called me -- I would hate for this to have happened and her NOT call me. But what do I do now? I feel embarrassed, no, check that, I am MORTIFIED that this happened. But it is an isolated incident -- kids being young and stupid. So is anyone reading who has advice for me???