Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Be Nice

Since when did good manners become an option? Aren't you supposed to be polite? Seriously, I thought it was just a given that everyone in the world knew good manners and displayed them at every chance they could. Why do we keep asking what is going wrong in the world when the answer is so simple? The more we act without good manners and allow our children to not have good manners, the worse things seem. It's such a simple fix, yet not enough of us think anything is broken. How many of you have children that think the magic word is Now instead of Please? How many of you don't teacher your children proper salutations for elders. How many of you don't get up from your seat to greet someone? Do you let an older person sit in your seat or go ahead of you in line? Remember, your kids see what you do and model that behavior. So, it's great to tell them to have respect for age, but if you don't have it yourself, then they won't really learn. During this parenting class, I read something that said teach your kids not to be rude. What wonderful words. It's one thing to teach your kids to be polite, but how much easier it is to teach them to not be rude - to not push or grab or whine or yell. And, one of the golden gems of advice? The interrupt courtesy. I know a lot of you already do this, but if you don't - give it a try. Teach your kids that when you are having a conversation (in person or on the phone) and they need your attention, that they should put their hand on your arm (or shoulder or side). That let's you know that they need you. You can then respond by putting your hand over theirs, letting them know that you are aware they need you. When there is an opportunity for a break in the conversation, say "excuse me" and then address your child. It even works with adults! This one little trick can save you from getting frustrated with your child - you know the one who only wants to talk to you when you pick up the telephone! It will also show other people that you have respect for them. How rude is it to stop someone mid-sentence to bend down and talk to little Becky, who was tugging at your shirt and saying "Moooom, Maaammmaaa!" The child is not the center of the universe and if you keep letting her think she is, she'll believe it. You might think it's not so important, but it is. I know it. It will change the way your children treat other people. Children without manners become adults without manners. They become the people who don't say thank you when you hold open the door or let them in front of you in traffic. They become the woman who walks down the aisle of the supermarket reading a magazine (yes, it's true) so that you have to scurry out of her way. They become the people who think it's okay to talk on a cell phone in a restaurant or library (where I am blogging right now and yes, a phone just rang). Even if you don't feel like being nice, be polite. Show good manners. Let your kids see that it's okay to say Ma'am or Sir or call someone Mr. or Mrs. or not to run in the store because it might startle someone or not to try to be first in line all the time. It's okay to hold open the door for the lady with the stroller or the man with the packages. It's a good idea to let your grandfather say grace or your grandmother be the first to roll the dice during the game. Good manners are good things.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


You hear it all the time - live each day like it's your last. Enjoy your time together. Cherish every moment you have. But you forget. Today, a little girl from my church is going to be remembered - not for succumbing to the leukemia that attacked her body for the last four years - but for being a joy to her family and her friends and to God and everyone around her. I can't imagine how hard it must be for her parents today and it makes me want to hug my kids a little longer and tighter. Sometimes it takes a bad experience for us to remember how blessed we are to have people in our lives. Do you thank God every morning when you wake up that He lets you share another day with them? I know her parents did. I know I do. But, I still feel guilty when I don't cherish every moment. I get angry when I don't leave my children feeling like they are the most loved person in the world. Sure, they're not going to want hugs and kisses all the time, but was the last thing I said to them words of kindness and affirmation? Or was it sarcastic or stern? I know life isn't always a country song, but if tomorrow never comes, will they know how much I love them? Some people aren't good with words or physical affection. My love language is acts of service. I do things for people to show them I love them. But, for my kids, that language is foreign. I used to think they didn't appreciate the things I did, but now realize it's because they don't have the same love language as me. When you show love a certain way (as I do with acts of service) then you hope to receive it in the same way. So, when someone does something nice for me, I think of that as a loving gesture. For my kids, physical affection (hugs and kisses) and words of affirmation (good job, you really did well on your math test, I'm so proud of you) are what they speak when it comes to love. So, my mission is to work on that. I'm not a huggy, kissy type of gal, but I have to be when it comes to my kids. I have to let them know that I cherish them and the time I have with them. I never know when they or I will be called home to be with our heavenly Father. And, while we're still here, I've got to show them that you're never too busy to show someone you love them.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Near and far

My dad once told me he never thought I'd still be living in New York. He thought after college I would get married and move away to some other part of the United States. I don't know if it was a hint or something. Maybe he wanted me to move so he'd have an excuse to go somewhere on vacation. Actually, I thought it would be the other way around. He always said he wanted to move somewhere warm after my sister and I finished high school. Then my little sister had to finish school (She's 26 now Dad, I think she's done). But, now I have kids so that might be what's keeping him here. Sometimes I feel boring. I was born in New York (Albany, to be exact) and lived in this state my entire life. I grew up in Yonkers, went to school in New Paltz and now live here in Dutchess County. When I was a kid, I rarely met someone from another place. Being from somewhere outside of Yonkers meant, like, Hastings or something. Now, I meet people all the time who are from other places. Usually, in this area, it's because a job at IBM brought them here, but there are lots of people here for other reasons too. I'm always interested in hearing where people are from and what exactly brought them here. My mom grew up in England. When she came to America, she lived in Connecticut. How do you get from England to marrying a Yonkers kid? My in-laws are from Cuba. Why did they pick New York instead of Miami? Some people are happy to stay in one place their entire lives. Heck, my uncle is in his 60s and still lives in the same apartment he was born in! Some people don't mind moving from one town to the next. It's like an adventure. Sure, I like visiting other places, but I don't know if I could up and move somewhere else and just start my life over. You've got to be a special sort of brave for all that. I think if I were to live anywhere else, it would be Chicago - that is one great city. But, I'm glad I live here. And I'm glad my kids live here. Sometimes, I take it for granted that my immediate family is all within an hour's drive. I see all of my friends talking about how they just got home from their parents' house and have to remember that for many of them, that meant a plane trip or 8 hours in the car with two children! I'm blessed to have my parents nearby. My dad came over today to celebrate Thanksgiving and I love when he is here. I love watching him interact with my kids and wonder if he felt the same way when he saw me with his dad. It made me think about how busy everyone gets and blames that for not being in touch with people more often. I mean, with the technological advances we have, there is no excuse for not staying in touch. You can text, call, e-mail, instant chat, post your status, tweet, whatever. It's not like you have to sit down and write a letter! Heaven forbid! Or, worse yet, spend an hour "visiting" with someone on just a regular non-holiday day. My goodness, please don't raise your kids to think that taking the time to share your life with someone you love is a chore - something you need to pencil in or carve out time for in your busy day!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Why? It's a question children seem to ask a million times a day. I thought it was only 2- and 3-year-olds who asked "why" over and over and over and over. Nope. Eight-year-olds do it too. At least mine does. My mom keeps telling her she's going to be a lawyer. It's possible. And if she becomes one, I'd had to be sitting there for her cross examination. All she does is ask questions all day long. It's a good thing. She's very inquisitive. I'm glad that she wants to get information and understand things. But sometimes I wish she would just not care. Like, we're watching The Wizard of Oz and she wants to know why the Tin Man has teeth. Valid question, sure. I think the reason that I get so exasperated is because I just have no answers to some of her questions. And she wants answers. She isn't really satisfied with me not knowing something. She wants me to find out. But, sometimes when I tell her the answer, she doesn't even believe me! I can't win. She's one of those people that asks questions throughout an entire movie. She'll ask questions from the moment she wakes up in the morning and on an hour-long drive. I've got to start doing more research, I guess, just to keep up with the demand. You know what my dad used to say to me when I asked Why? He'd say "Z" and that was the end of that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Not always a winner

Today, my little girl came home and told me how happy she was for her friends at school for winning the coloring contest. "They were really neat," she said as she showed me her turkey picture. She told me hers was pretty neat too and that she didn't color outside the lines too much. Hold the phones. Are you telling me your teacher is awarding children for coloring inside the lines??? I'm about to get all hippie and lose it. Why are you going to stymie my child's creativity? Why put her in a box and not let her express herself? Why award the little Stepford kids who do it just so? Hmm. Am I regressing? Am I remembering the Flag Day contest from so many years ago where a child from each grade won a prize if they colored the best American flag? I'm sure I never won that one! What is wrong with me? I'm a huge fan of coloring inside the lines. I don't like messy papers, that is for sure. So why am I getting so upset? Here is my five-year-old showing me such grace and telling me how wonderful it is that her friends won that day even though she didn't. My heart is breaking! When is my daughter going to win the contest? When will she be student of the week or the school star or whatever they get these days??!! I should be seeing the good in this situation, right? I should be appreciating the fact that my daughter is not a sore loser and praising her for her wonderful attitude and her beautiful picture, but all I can think about is Why not her? Well, because not everyone can be a winner all the time. We've been programmed to thinking that every kid gets a trophy. There are no outs. Everyone gets up to bat. No one ever loses. That's not how life is, so why are we teaching our children this? Should we let them go through life thinking that they will never lose anything and then let the harsh reality smack them in the face once they get out of elementary school? I'm glad I held my tongue and didn't say anything about the coloring contest. Turns out, the teacher doesn't choose the best by who stays inside the lines. She picks the kids' names out of a hat! As Billie Jean said, Fair is Fair.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Good, better, best

Do we really know what is "best" for our children? This week, I learned two lessons on getting the best. The first was pretty basic. During a Girl Scout tour at Hannaford, we learned that the store gives stars based on nutritional quality - one star for good, two for better and three for best. Now, you'd think all fruits or veggies were three stars, but they aren't. The ones you like the most might have one star and the rutabaga, parsnips and cauliflower have three. It's the same with life. That fact was cemented at church when pastor talked about time management and how many people do things that are good, but don't always do what is best for themselves or their families. It may be good to volunteer at school and go to soccer and karate and gymnastics. It may be good to work out every morning and have a guys night and watch football on Sunday. It may be good to work extra hours or spend your savings on a new car. But, what is best? What is the best thing for your family? Are you the kind of parent that stretches herself to the limit, constantly doing things for others? Are you the room mom for your third grader and the chair of the fundraising committee and the coach of a soccer team and the one that makes the fancy cupcakes for the holiday party? While all that is good, do you really know why you are doing it and who you are doing it for? Are you making your children happy? Are you making yourself happy? Wouldn't your kids still think you are great even if you didn't stay up until 2 in the morning icing cookies? Recently, I had something taken away from me - something that makes it nearly impossible for me to live my life the way I did before. It forced me to give up things that I didn't want to let go of. I felt like I was letting a lot of people down. But, I realized that for a very long time, I was stretching myself so thin. I was making a ton of sacrifices and giving myself to everyone and everything and people were letting me. I was doing all of these good things, but I didn't stop to think about what was best. Your kids might not tell you what is best for them. You have to be able to read it in them. You have to be able to see that they are tired or stressed or over-scheduled. You have to know that they might be acting out because all they really want from you is not fancy cupcakes but to snuggle on the couch. You have to see that even though it's great for you to spend time helping out at school, they would rather have you spend time sitting with them while they do their homework. God can help you see what's best for you and for Him and for your family. You just need to stop thinking you know what's best. I hope you take some time today or this week or this month to think about what is best for your life and make the changes you need - no matter how hard they might be - to get to that best!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Raising a moral child

One of the most important things we can teach our kids is to have morals and virtues. But, here is the kicker. We can't keep nagging them and reminding them to do the right thing. We've got to put it in their hearts so that they know to do the right thing and they do it even if they think no one is looking. It doesn't really count if you have to tell your child to give up his toy. That way, he's doing it because you told him to not because he thinks he should. If a child makes the good decision on his own, that means you have instilled that value in him. As our world continues to deteriorate, it's more important than ever to teach our children the right way to be. They've got to go to church. They've got to see us being good wives and husbands. They've got to see us making good choices in politicians. They've got to know that the reason we don't let them listen to pop radio is because the music on there is provactive and filled with sexual innuendo. And the reason they can't watch certain television shows is because it's really not comedy when a child is sassy and rude and talks back to adults and calls other people a 'nub'. Seriously, we can't keep letting our kids dance like Beyonce because "it's so cute when she does it". It's not cute. What is wrong with our society? We keep blaming all the problems of the world on everyone else but refuse to take any responsibility. There is nothing wrong with saying NO to your child. Sure, maybe they will throw a tantrum when you won't let them watch the particular show or listen to the song or buy the shirt. But that's okay. It's okay for a child to be disappointed or upset. We need to shape our children to be a joy to others. We need to have communities where it's okay to tell a kid that they are exhibiting bad behavior and not give in to every whim because we are afraid of litiginous parents who criticize and complain and fly off the handle. It's not an easy process. It takes time and patience and diligence. And it is a process. Baby steps.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Part of the problem

I've always been one of those people who thinks if you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Do you notice when people just like to vent their drama and never want to hear any answers? They want to know why their life is so screwed up and why their kids don't behave and why their job is so crummy and why they never have enough money and why their husband isn't more attentive and why their neighbors don't mow the lawn. I guess some people just like to complain. They like to keep their lives in this constant state of worry and negativity. I've got to admit, I'm that person sometimes. I guess sometimes I'd rather not fix the problem and just whine about it. But, once you get older and have kids and see all the issues that they have to face, do you wonder why moms can't just figure out that their worries should be more about the future generation and less about gossip and catty behavior? I met a young man this week who runs dance residencies and classes for elementary school children. His mission is to change the world. And he's doing it one kid at a time. He said there is so much intolerance in the world and that people judge each other because of their insecurities. His insight was refreshing. His ambition to help children learn to like themselves and accept and appreciate others was moving. Seriously - can you just stop whatever it is you're doing right now. Is there something or someone that has been bothering you? how do you react to that person/situation? Remember, your children see what you do and hear what you say. You are their model for behavior. if you can't handle a woman you don't really care for without saying nasty things about her to your friends, can you really expect your daughter to treat other girls at school in a different way? We can't keep blaming other people or "society" for the way kids are today. We've got to stop this vicious cycle. We have got to teach civility and manners and discipline. We got to stop this whole idea that no one ever loses and every kid gets a hit and wins a trophy. And, as parents, we've got to stop looking down our noses at other people and their children. No one is perfect - not even close. Let's all stop being part of the problem.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Changing minds

Isn't there a saying that a woman has a right to change her mind? Should that rule apply to girls? And, if so, how often should they be allowed to change their minds? For Halloween, my oldest daughter wanted to be a crayon. Well, not just a crayon. She wanted to be a purple crayon inside a box of crayons. I remember her planning it with my sister. I remember them talking about it and even drawing a picture of what it should look like. I don't remember my sister or my darling child asking me to make the costume - I think they just assumed. So, the night before her class party, I told my child that if I made the costume, she would have to wear it. Yes, I waited until the night before to make the costume and I'm glad I did. Because as soon as she realized the cumbersome outfit she would have to wear, she said she would just be a crayon. Forget the box. Great. Less work for me. So, then she wanted purple face paint. Sure, why not. She brought the paint to school, put it on, realized how uncomfortable it was after about five minutes and then it was gone. Later that night, it was another Halloween party. Guess what? She didn't want to wear the crayon anymore. I think she had on some halloween-y type tights or something. The next day, there was no dressing up. It's embarrassing, she said. By Halloween, the crayon was sitting by the front door - all alone with no kid to wear it. She decided no more crayon. Now she was on to wearing a blond wig. She had on capri pants and legwarmers. Somehow, she turned into a rock star. She was a rock star last year too. I actually like that costume. It's easy. I don't have to buy anything. We can just fashion it out of stuff we have at home. I wish she would just get to that conclusion sooner. I realize we have to let our children make mistakes so they can learn from them. I realize they have to learn how to make good decisions. Next year, though, I hope those decisions don't come an hour before trick or treating begins!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Make it or break it

2 a.m. I finally finished making the Halloween costume for my oldest. Note to self: do not wait until the afternoon before the party to buy supplies for the costume. And, especially do not wait until 9 p.m. to make the spider lollipops, origami craft, Halloween cards and costumes. Maybe next year I'll learn. At least my little angel finally agreed to be just a single crayon instead of a box of crayons. Believe me, I had all the stuff ready to make the box of crayons, but when I informed her that if I made it, she would have to wear it, she begged off. Lucky me. I know that girl would have worn that box for all of three minutes and then complained that it was too cumbersome and I would have been left lugging it around. Oh, but she would in no way allow me to throw it away so it would be saved along with the rest of the useless stuff in our house. I'm tired, yes, but it's done. She will be the best little purple crayon this year!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Couch Time

I don't often give advice in this blog - mainly because I'm in no position to tell others how to parent. But, I'm taking a parenting class at church and learned some valuable bits of information that I just have to share. Couch time is a concept I have heard before and, unfortunately, never actually used in my life. That changed yesterday. If you don't know anything about couch time, read on. If you've heard of it and dismissed the idea, read on. The course I'm taking is based on a series called On Becoming Childwise by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. Now, it was originally a Christ-centered course, but has been adapted for use in public schools. I strongly encourage parents to consider it. Anyway, the brief lesson is this - your children will feel more secure if they know that YOU are secure. The couch time idea is for couples, but can be adapted to the single parent. Every day (or when your schedule permits) when you come home from work, say hello to your child, but let them know that it is mommy and daddy time. Then, spend 10-15 minutes (or more) sitting together on the couch and talking. It doesn't matter what you talk about, but if your child comes over and demands your attention, simply tell them that they can go and read or play with toys but that this time is mommy and daddy time. Don't scoff at the idea. It won't kill you to try it! And I promise you, your life will change. It may not happen overnight, but it could. If your child has trouble sleeping - this could work wonders. Kids feel anxious and insecure. Letting them see that their parents are "okay" means the world. If you're a single parent, this could be your own time to pray, read the Bible or reflect. For me, my couch time is with my heavenly Father. When my girls see that I am okay and that I am secure in my relationship with God, they will be more secure in their relationship with Him and with me and with others. Oh, and it doesn't count if your kids aren't there to witness it. You can't do couch time while the kids are at school or down for a nap. You need to carve out that time. I promise, you will see a change. Just try it. If you aren't willing to put aside 10 minutes to see positive influences in your family, you need this more than ever. Good luck and God bless.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Maid service

The other day, I was talking to some girls about their chores at home. As we went around the circle, I heard the answers you'd expect to get from 8-year-olds. I clean my room. I make my bed. I walk the dog. I help with the dishes. I set the table. Then, we get to my daughter. Do you feel me cringing? My little angel. My firstborn. The light of my life. I sit on the couch while my mom does all the chores. Yikes. I can't believe my child actually said that. I can't blame her though. She's kind of right. I pretty much spend my life cleaning up after my kids. She learned a bad habit of leaving her dirty laundry on the floor. She'll take out a game or activity and leave it there when she's done with it. She'll forget to take her dish to the sink after a meal. And I've rarely said anything. Sure, I'll complain that her room is a pigsty, but I'll say it while I'm picking the stuff up from the floor. Cleaning up after her has just become such a habit that I do it without thinking and I guess her thought is why should she clean up after herself if she knows I'm going to do it eventually. She knows me. She'll say she's going to do something - later. She knows I can't wait until later, so I'll pick it up. I know where she learned the habit, but I'm not going to say it here because I know her dad reads my blog and might feel offended. ;-) I guess my daughter is one of those people that isn't bothered by mess. Clutter is comforting to her. Now, I'm not saying I'm the queen of clean. I'm far from it. I hate cleaning. I wish I could push a button like Jane Jetson and have it all done for me. I just think if you are finished with your glass of milk, put the glass in the sink. Or if you take off your dirty clothes, throw them in the hamper. Or if you open a package, take the wrapping and plastic and put it in the trash. I'm not asking for miracles here! But, I can't blame my kids. I've got to be more proactive. Instead of just automatically doing a chore, I've got to stop and let them know that it's their job to feed the cat/fish/turtle. It's their job to set the table, put their dishes in the sink, pick up their clothes, wipe the toothpaste off the sink, put their shoes away.....Maybe I'll put a rubber band on my wrist and every time I bend over to pick up a book or a sneaker or a doll, I'll pull the band and snap it and the pain will remind me that this is not my job. No pain, no gain, right?

Saturday, October 16, 2010


At a recent meeting, I had members of my Brownie troop playing charades - acting out various careers and letting us know what they wanted to be when they grow up. As you can guess, there were the standards - teacher, firefighter, singer. I loved some of the other ones they came up with - cowboy, scientist, farmer. I don't remember what I wanted to be when I was a kid. When I was in high school, I always said I wanted to be a lawyer. I don't know why. I didn't know anyone who was a lawyer. Maybe I got the itch after watching LA Law or something (dating myself, sorry!). In college, I was a political science major - not that you would think that now. As I've gotten older, my interest in policy and public administration has waned and the idea of being a lawyer conjures up visions of confusing, mind-numbing laws filled with words that I'm too tired to try and understand. I do remember my dad telling me I wouldn't ever be a lawyer since I had too many earrings and my handwriting was too poofy. I guess he was right. I wonder if I kept the idea of that career in my sights just to prove him wrong. Not that I did. He was right. I wasn't ever going to be a lawyer. It just wasn't in God's plan for me. And I'm glad. I'll leave all that lawyerin' stuff to someone else.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Street lights

Yesterday, I stopped at a playground with the girls. I don't know how they weren't exhausted - all day at school, then a Girl Scouts meeting and they were still able to run and climb and jump for an hour before dinner. Anyway, there was the sweetest little boy there and the girls played with him for a bit. While they were playing, both girls ran over to tell me that the boy was at the park by himself. You had to see the looks on their faces. They were utterly amazed that this kid was allowed to take his bike and ride across a street to the park and play there alone. He comes here all the time! one whispered. Can you believe it? I can't believe that a seven-year-old is allowed to ride his bike in the street! the other one said. I swear, all they wanted to talk about was his independence. Meanwhile, he wanted to play zombies or army or something equally fascinating. Oh, it gets better. He told them he didn't have to go home until the street lights came on. Wh-wha-what??? Their jaws dropped. Okay, I guess it is a big deal for them. We don't have street lights on our road and there is no way my kids are crossing the street alone because people go way too fast and it's a pretty busy road. I'm from a time and place where we did stay out until the street lights came on. Heck, most kids I grew up with left their house after breakfast and didn't go home until they had to eat lunch or dinner or maybe use the toilet if they couldn't find one closer to wherever they were playing. Wouldn't it be nice to live like that again? Wouldn't it be nice to not worry about crazy people and people who drive past stopped school buses because they're texting (yes, happened to me and my little one the other day). Wouldn't it be great if our kids could just go outside and play? When I think of all the things I did and places I went when I was a kid. We hopped the fence and played in the park. We had fun and we were together and we didn't worry about all the horrible things that happen in the world today. And why is it that all those things happen? Why has the world gotten so evil and criminal and perverted and hideous? We all talk and talk about how bad things are getting and how we wish things could be like they were 50 or 40 or even 20 years ago. Yet, we do nothing about it. We do nothing when our government takes God out of school. We do nothing when we are attacked for saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. We buy the slutty clothes that designers make for our little girls. We read the trashy magazines that glorify pornographic stars like Britney Spears. We buy into the culture that lets a teacher or a firefighter make one-tenth of the salary of a rookie ball player. Gotta stop blaming the system, my friends. If we're not part of the solution, we're part of the problem. Think about it tonight - maybe while you're outside playing until the street lights come on.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fashion show

What's up with girls and clothes? I'm sure I was like this too, but my kids seem to want the flashiest, most uncomfortable stuff because everyone else has it! Can someone please come up with a trend to get rid of the uggly boots? If I see one more teenage girl wearing these stupid boots with a pair of shorts, I will scream. Why are you wearing shorts and fur-lined boots? Are you filming an adult movie in Aspen? Stupid. My girls today begged me to get them the boots. Um, no way Jose. First off, boots are for work or bad weather. Boots are mean to be worn in the mud or the snow or hiking in the mountains. Why would you wear boots that get ruined the minute water hits them? And they're hot. They're lined for crying out loud. My kids complain about their feet being hot when they wear sneakers! They won't even wear socks in the winter time! Can you imagine them with boots? Those things would last all of five minutes. Listen, I'm sure you can relate - when we were kids we had three types of shoes - school shoes, play shoes or sneakers and party/church shoes. Of course, I was lucky. I didn't have to think about what I would wear every day. We wore uniforms so fashion wasn't much of an issue. But, it really doesn't matter. I could spend a fortune on clothes and my daughter would still wear the same outfit all the time. She has a favorite shirt that she wears at least once a week. Funny thing is, I got it for free!

Monday, October 4, 2010


I need to finally accept the fact that I am NOT a morning person. Never was. Never will be. My oldest daughter doesn't understand that and does everything in her power to change me. It's not that cute little way someone will creep up to you and gently rouse you. It's WAKE UP! and turn on the light and annoying me until I finally roll out of bed and try to greet the day. Then she wakes up the younger one and that is when the place gets crazy. All of a sudden it's TV and talking and toys and where is this and what time is it and can you find my clothes and can you brush my hair and I'm hungry and I'm thirsty and do I have to brush my teeth and, well, you get the picture right? The older one waits until the last minute to do everything and then, when she gets manic about it, the little one starts needing help with something or other. So, then they're fighting and wanting ten different things at once and demanding and, well, just driving me absolutely crazy. It's only 7:30, I protest. Can't you just chill out for a few minutes? If you just relax, everything will get done. Don't worry. But, then they get the wrong idea about chillin'. They chill hard and then don't want to do anything at all. They want to lounge and watch TV and then, two minutes before the bus comes down the street, they're scrambling to get shoes and pants and fresh breath. Meanwhile, I'm wishing it was still dark out and I could climb back under the covers. Remember, the early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

100 percent

Yesterday was Caty's first test. It was on the continents and oceans. The day before, they had a pre-test. Now, if you get 100 on the pre-test, you don't have to take the actual test the next day. The teacher warns you - everything has to be right on the pre-test. If you get a 99, you still have to take the test the next day. You have to capitalize properly. You have to make sure your name is on the top of the paper. You have to spell Arctic Ocean properly - Artic will not suffice. Caty found out the hard way. Artic. She left out the "c" and got a 99 percent. I can't even begin to tell you the amount of disappointment this little girl endured. She came home with friends from her Brownie troop and delivered the sad news. One of the other girls in the troop got 100. Another one spelled a few wrong and really didn't seem to be bothered by it. But, Caty? Yeah, she was bothered. She was mad. Of course, she thinks the teacher is no good and totally unfair for being so picky. Me? Sure, I would be happy to see my daughter happy. and yeah, it sucks to miss it by one measly point. But a 99? If I got a 99, my mom would think I was Einstein! What's wrong with a 99? Okay, admittedly, I am an under-achiever. I got the name around the junior high period of my life and it kind of stuck. That was when I realized that I hated getting out of bed in the morning, hated thinking about math and thought history and social studies were just different words for "naptime". I'm sure I could have done better if, like they all said, I had applied myself. But, really, my sister was the smart one - I don't think my family could have handled two geniuses in the family. Granted, I suffered in college because of my lazy work ethic. I spent more time doing extra-curricular stuff (not just drinking) like student government, sorority, newspaper. I was actually philanthropic! But, my report cards showed it for sure. It's not that I want to pass that down to my kids, but I also don't want them to stress out and get stomach cramps because they're worried about failing! Especially when they're nowhere near failing! Am I doing my child wrong by not forcing her to read and giving her extra educational activities when she's done with her homework? Am I setting her up for a lifetime of mediocrity? What to do, what to do? She studied for the last test, I swear. Ask my parents! Ask my sister - they even quizzed her and she did great. She's got her next test on Friday. It's on the Scientific Method. Maybe I should hire a tutor!

Friday, October 1, 2010


I'm a pretty decent seamstress, I guess. I usually leave the hard stuff up to my mom and there's nothing I hate more than re-threading a sewing machine, but I can hold my own. But, for some reason, my children think this means I have the ability to create the most realistic and elaborate Halloween costumes in the history of the world. I'm going to let them share the blame with my sister. I've told you about my sister before. She's 10 months older than me, but maturity-wise, it's more like 10 years! She is very smart, very thorough, dedicated, driven, yada yada. She's the person that laughs at me because I use frozen pancakes or bisquick instead of making them from scratch (which she does with my kids on the weekends). She doesn't buy boxes of brownie or cake mix or tubs of frosting or rolls of cookie dough. To her, you use flour and all that other stuff to make cookies. There's a lot more about her, but you get my gist. She told my oldest yesterday that in her entire life, she has never once purchased a Halloween costume. She said that's the fun of the costume - finding the stuff and making it. Who hasn't gone out dressed as a hobo or an old lady or a hippie? It's just all the stuff you find in your parents' closet and scrounge up to make. Like when I was an old bingo lady and I used my mom's curlers and fuzzy slippers and housecoat - you know what I'm talking about. So, Caty and her creative aunt get to planning. Caty wants to be a crayon. Perfect, I say. My freshman year of college, a bunch of us got poster board, make it look like a crayola wrapper, folded it around our bodies and made a paper hat and voila we were crayons. Oh, no, poo poo cries my critical child and non-supportive sibling. One crayon is not good enough. She must be a crayon in an entire box of crayons. They are formulating plans and drawing designs and discussing materials. I am pretending to pick at something really interesting on the carpet so I don't have to listen to the plan. As I type, the blueprint is hanging on my desk mocking me. I don't want to build a crayon box. And I will tell you why. I know my children. A crayon box? That will last maybe 20 minutes. Maximum. My daughter won't even wear a hat when it's snowing - you think she's going to wear an uncomfortable paper triangle all night? Every year, I end up carrying around every prop, accessory and non-essential piece of clothing these girls have on while they run from door to door and hog all the candy to themselves. No dear, if you're going to be Batgirl or Supergirl, you should wear your cape. You should wear the mask and the gloves too. No mom, it's itchy/hot/poking me. So, I've got to put a nix on the crayon idea. I guess I brought it on myself. She wanted to be a witch and I said no. Serves me right! I will come up with a good idea between now and October 31. I will not tell my daughter the idea because she will refuse it on principal. I will find someone cool to tell her and then she might go for it. And if you see me out trick or treating later this month, could you please stop and give me a hand? I will be carrying a huge crayon box for pete's sake!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Doctor Doolittle

I am seriously done with animals. And I really mean it this time! There is nothing wrong with being an animal lover, but it gets to a point where you cross that line and become the crazy cat lady. I don't want to be the crazy cat lady. Someone needs to save me. This morning, I found one of the turtles floating face up in his tank. Immediately, the child said "When we get another one, can I...." Whoa, wait a minute! Who said anything about getting another one? Wrong number, sister, I'm sorry. The dead hermit crab last week got nothing but a trip to the garbage can. We're down to five of those and I'm fine with that number. There is one turtle left and that's fine with me too. The stupid crayfish that she got from her teacher in May is hanging on even though I keep insisting he wants to live in the wild. The fish are fine. One dies every few months and is treated to a lovely funeral flush. But, none of these animals are all that bad. I just have to remember to feed them and clean their tanks (which I hate!) But now the menagerie has grown even more. My sister got a dog - for the girls. Yeah, right sure. The girls don't walk him. They don't feed him or give him water. They rarely even play with him! The dog lives downstairs, which means the cat came to live up here. She doesn't bother with anyone really except when she bites your toes while you sleep. Other than that, she's fine. But, apparently, that wasn't enough. Because now we have two kittens. Adorable, yes. But what a pain in the butt! It's like having babies! They stay up all night. They want to be fed all the time. They have stinky little poop. Ugh. I guess, just like a baby, you forget about all of that when you snuggle with them or when you watch them sleep. Having all the pets really makes my kids happy so I'm dealing with it for now. I'm off to the store for some more kitty litter and Febreze!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Everyone's doing it

How many times did you mom ask you "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?" Lots, I'm sure. My daughter's answer to that questions is "Yes". She says she would do it too, so boy do I hope she and her friends never figure out how to get anywhere near a bridge! I don't get it. The girl has all the qualities of a leader, but it seems to me that she would go along with the pack. She seems like one of those girls that you'll see in groups of three or four - always giggling and playing with their hair. The other day, Caty got a fantastic bag full of hand-me-downs from a friend with a daughter in high school. One of the shirts was a halter and of course that was the one my lovely daughter zeroed in on. Why can't I wear this to school, she asked. Mary* wears one just like it. (*name changed to protect the innocent!) Today, my mom made her a shirt. It was at Caty's request. It was this black, shiny, ruffled tank top and Caty loved it. The minute she put it on, I could see the glimmer in her eye. It faded just as quickly when my mom told her she couldn't wear the shirt to school. My mom said it was because she did a rushed, unprofessional job of sewing it. Um, no, Mom, it's because it's the kind of shirt a 25-year-old would wear to a club and not something a third-grader can wear to school! My daughter thinks that if she sees someone else wear a certain style of clothing that she should be allowed to wear it too. I don't know what to do with this girl sometimes. All I can think of is to buy lots of sweaters and keep her away from bridges!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I was just responding to a comment by a fellow mom who was a little sad that her friends weren't there enough for her. She had a newborn and all of her friends had kids who were older. I totally get it. When you have kids and your friends don't, it's really hard for them to understand your life. They can still go out to dinner. They can still go to a movie without paying someone to stay in their home and watch their most precious possession and they can watch that movie without thinking every other minute about all the bad things that could happen to that precious person. When kids get older, their priorities change and so does the parent's schedules and lives. It's hard to stay in touch with people you don't see all the time. They don't go to the same school anymore or one of them is in a different dance class now or their soccer teams practice on different days. Out of sight, out of mind sometimes. Sad, but true. It's nice when you have a friend that your kid can play with. But what do you do when you stop being friends with that friend and your kid still wants to play with her kid? That's a tough one. It breaks your heart when little Susie asks when she can play with little Billy, but you know little Billy's mom isn't going to be calling anytime soon. The nuances of friendship are plentiful as you get older. Well, not for guys. They're friends with whoever lets them come over and watch the game and provides beer and food. I hope that mom stops being sad about the friends she lost and gets some new ladies in her life very soon. I love the girls my girls hang out with and their moms are a great addition to my life. But, I know, in the blink of an eye, things can change. So, we'll have fun while we can and maybe, if we're lucky, our kids will stay BFs Forever!

Friday, September 24, 2010

No time to play

I was changing a light bulb recently, when my children said something about their dad doing it. That led to a discussion about what moms and dads do. In our house, I do a lot of things beyond what someone would normally think is the job of the stay-at-home mom. I fix things and paint and build things and, well, you get the drift. But, my oldest doesn't see this as a good trait in a mom. She's not impressed that her mom will fix the leaky sink instead of asking someone else to do it. She doesn't care that her mom will climb a ladder to the roof to repair the sagging gutter. Here is what she said: Dads have more time to play. I took a step back, reeling from the blow. Time to play? I don't play enough? What the heck? Don't I play with you during Brownie meetings? Don't I sit with you and come up with fun crafts and color artistic pictures? Don't I buy you clay and beads and pipe cleaners? Then, I thought about it some more and realized she is right. I don't really just play. There's never really just any lounging and being goofy and doing nothing kind of play. That's what dads are good at. They're good at zoning out in front of the television. They're good at wrestling and tickling. They're good at doing nothing but making it fun. Moms are good at organizing and creating and exploring. I felt a little better once I rationalized it in my own mind, but that won't change the fact that my daughter's idea of fun is different than mine. So maybe tonight, I'll lay on the couch with her, tickle her feet and just make some time to play nothing.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm not your biggest fan

My oldest daughter lately is expressing an interest in singers and actors and looks to be one of those kids who is going to buy the magazines with the pull-out posters of the newest teen sensation/heartthrob/hottie. I don't know what they call them anymore, but I assume Tiger Beat went out of business sometime in the New Kids on the Block era. Have you seen some of these teen stars? They look like ragamuffins. I want to grab a pair of scissors and hunt them down just to get the hair out of their faces! I guess people said the same thing about The Beatles, but I just can't imagine Justin Bieber will have the longevity of Paul McCartney! I don't think the teen idols in my day had such bad hair, did they? Shaun Cassidy had the feathers and there is nothing wrong with that. Rick Springfield rocked a bit of a mullet, but who didn't back in the 80s? Beyond that, here is my deal with these pop sensations (besides the fact that they have no talent and basically rely on computers to sound decent)... when did being famous become such a big business? When I was young, I actually took an autograph collecting elective in school and got autographs from a ton of famous people (except Queen Elizabeth. yes, according to her lady in waiting, the queen does not provide autographs to anyone). And all of those people gave their autograph. Some gave a picture. Some even wrote a little note. But, not one of them asked for money. What the heck is this about? If you want to join Demi Lovato's fan club, you have to pay $29.99! Are you kidding? Who is doing this? What child is convincing their parent that they should spend money just to be a part of a club? Wait, I have to PAY you to be your fan? Isn't there something inherently wrong with that? My daughter is not going to like me much when she finds out that I will never pay for her to join a fan club. Did I have to pay to love Andy Gibb? No sir! And I won't start paying now!


I have never been a big fan of snapping to get someone's attention. I think it's kind of degrading and mean. The other day, while watching Sabrina's soccer game, there was a mom there and I nearly pulled a muscle as I jerked my head at her snapping. I don't even know if it was just the snap or her in general. Maybe it was the way she was loudly chatting with another mom and not paying attention to her kid. Or maybe it was when she finally did pay attention to her kid, she snapped at him with her tipped nails and yelled at him to get in the game. I wonder if she thought she was being supportive and encouraging her son to play properly. Obviously, she didn't see the dozen talented, professional soccer players on the field who were coaching the kids. Nah, what could they possibly lend to this situation? I wanted to go over to Snappy Sally and remind her that a) it's a game; b) these kids are 4 and 5 years old; and c) embarrassing your kid in front of his peers is no way to get him to do what you want. I'm sure little Tyson or Branson or whatever his name was just wanted to watch for a bit before he jumped in and showed his soccer skills. He seemed to be doing fine standing next to the boy that was rolling around in the grass and watching the airplanes fly by. And where was his mom? Why wasn't she snapping? I've gotta tell you - there is really no situation in life where it is acceptable to snap or clap or whistle at another human being to get their attention. Unless you're a construction worker and there's a hot chick walking by (no, I'm kidding, not even then!)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Manners, please

Do you think it's okay to parent other people's children? Like, when they don't use proper manners, is it appropriate to remind them to do so? Yesterday, I was volunteering at school and it was a situation where there was plenty of opportunity to give lessons in manners. Now, I know it's bad manners to point out when others aren't using good manners. But, as a parent in a parent-teacher association, should I be a role model. Should I remind the kids that they should say please and thank you? I found myself reeling when the kids said "yeah" and wanted to tell them to say "yes, please." Or when they said "I want red", my first impulse was to say "I would like". I guess it's hard, when you are constantly reminding yourself or your own kids to use good manners to not do the same with other children. Hmmm, how would I feel if someone reminded my kids to say please? I guess I would hope that wouldn't need to happen because my precious angels would never forget their manners!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


What would kids do? I was watching this news program last night where kids were put into these situations and parents got to watch on hidden camera to see how their children would react. Gotta say it freaked me out a little to see somewhat intelligent teens get into a car driven by a guy they thought to be drunk. They showed teens who promised not to use their phones in the car as they were texting and driving and hitting mailboxes and other stuff. They showed two kids home alone who opened the door to a stranger who said he was with the sheriff's department and then let him in to inspect the milk from their fridge. And all the parents sat watching that hidden camera saying "my child won't do that." And guess what, they ALL did - every one of them. And the whole time I was watching, all I could think was "Oh, yeah, I can totally picture my kid doing that." Sure, I can imagine them opening the door to a stranger. And the part of the experiment where one kid was the bully and the other was the victim? Well, if my oldest wasn't being the bully, she might stand up for the victim. I would hope she would and not team up with the bully! Do you ever wonder what your kids would do when they are faced with a certain situation? I guess the only thing we can do as parents is keep teaching them right from wrong and letting them know there are dangers out there. The best part of the show? 70 percent of kids said they talk/text while driving because they see their parents doing it. That's right friends - we the parents text more than the kids do! Think about it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What matters most

Everyone thinks their kids are the best, right? This weekend, my daughter showed me what a wonderful person she is and it just warmed my heart. During her soccer game, all the kids were running around and chasing the ball and a little boy got knocked down. Well, Sabrina stopped running and went back and helped him up. So, at the end of the game, we were giving high fives and I told her how great she played and that it was awesome that her team won and she said "and I helped that boy up, Mom." Of everything that she could have been proud of at that moment, she chose the most important thing - that she stopped what she was doing to help someone else. Yesterday, we were at a carnival with some friends and the kids were enjoying the rides and having fun. Sabrina played a water pistol game with one of her friends and the other girl won. Of course, you'd expect a child to pout or be disappointed or cry. But, my little girl turned to her friend and said "Good job! Congratulations!" and held out her hand for a shake. I was speechless. Sometimes, I think I expect the worst from children. I expect them to not remember the lessons they've learned and act out of character. But then they go and do something like that and it just astounds me. I love that my kids continue to practice the love and good behavior they are learning at home and in school and at church. I hope they keep it up. And I hope I stop expecting the bad behavior. That wonderful kindness that my little girl displays should be no surprise at all.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I know I have several years (10, I hope) before my girls start dating, but I really hope by the time they do that boys are a little different. Does it ever strike you that boys these days just aren't all that cool or tough? I'm not saying I want my kids hanging around with some rebel without a cause, but if some boy walks into my house with his underwear showing? Come on! I will have to laugh and let him know that briefs/boxers, etc. are not to be shown in public. And what's with these stupid hats? You wear a hat on your head. WEAR it. Don't rest it on the back of your head. Seriously, are these kids walking around with bobby pins holding these things on? And they have to be perfectly skewed to the side and have no creases or folds or anything. I remember when the fad was to have beat up, bent up caps and now it's gone to the other extreme. What are we all rapper that have to have the tag on our hat and not bend the brim? Please. And how about their cars? Since when did driving a little hyundai with a lawnmower become cool? What happened to Chevelles and Mustangs and eight cylinders? There is no muscle in these little cars the boys drive these days. Oh Lord, I pray that my girls don't ever find these silly boys attractive. Please let them find someone who plays football or works on a farm or can swim a mile without being out of breath. Please don't let them ever bring home a boy wearing skinny jeans. And since we're talking about skinny jeans (which my daughter calls jeggings - a cross between jeans and leggings) what's the deal with this? Two effeminate boys hanging out with one girl. I see that like all over the place now. I don't remember boys being so girly when I was a teen. I just remember them being boys. They didn't care about pants. Yes, sneakers were important, but it didn't really matter if your shirt was from any particularly dark, loud, overpriced, obnoxious store in the mall. Ah, the world is falling apart. I'm never letting my kids out of the house!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back to school

Yahoo!!! I mean, Boo Hoo. Okay, whichever you are doing right now, it's that time of year... when waking up isn't followed by a leisurely breakfast and some cartoons... when you have to start preparing the night before for whatever comes the next day... when the sound of air brakes mean the bus is coming down the hill. It's school time! I actually love this time of year and not just because it means my 8-year-old is out of the house and not fighting with her sister all day long. Sure, I love that part, but I love the crisp air, the excitement of seeing new friends, getting a new desk and opening all the new school supplies you got a month ago but couldn't touch. I know my daughter is anxious, but I am so excited for her right now. This morning was almost a blur. She had an hour to get ready. Her clothes were all laid out and her bag was packed so all she had to worry about was brushing her teeth and her hair. Of course, she started freaking out. Is that the bus? Mom, I'm gonna be late! Was that the bus? Mom, hurry up! Mom, stop brushing my hair. Is that the bus? Of course, as on every first day, the bus was 10 minutes late. She got her outfit on, used the lint brush (because it's black!) sat kinda still while I brushed through the tangles, put on her garish new sneakers - but packed flip flops because it's going to be hot today! She didn't even hit her sister once this morning! She said she was too nervous to eat breakfast and I even tried coaxing her with a chocolate chip pancake but no dice. Once outside, I made her pose for the obligatory first day of school photo. Mom, how much longer are you going to make me take these pictures? Answer? Until you're in college. I told her that some moms follow the school bus and then take a picture of their kid getting off the bus. Her response: please don't ever do that. And, no she won't let me wait with her at the bus stop. She wants me to watch her cross the street and then go back into the house. Not happening, but I hide a little bit just in case anyone is looking. What my cool daughter doesn't realize is that her friends on the bus wave to me when they see me. They don't think I'm totally uncool. So, she's off with her crazy sneakers and her Vera Bradley bookbag (a gift, people. I'm not that crazy!) and her big-girl attitude that provides a good cover for a nervous little girl. And no matter how grown up she tries to be and how much she pushes me away, I will always be there (even if I have to hide) because I know she needs her momma. Things will be different tomorrow when my other baby starts kindergarten. I'll be the one trying to hide the tears!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Tomorrow is National Be Late for Something Day! I've been practicing for it all year long so I'm sure I'll be prepared. I am late for everything and I don't know why. I could blame having kids but I'm sure my family will tell you I was always late before children and will continue to be late when they no longer live in my home. Here is my only defense. I have no real spatial sense. I am a really, really, really bad judge of time and distance. For instance, when I used to give directions to my house, I would say the turn was about 3 miles from the main road. It's about 1/4 mile. I think it takes "ten minutes" to get pretty much anywhere and that is not at all true. I don't mean to do it. I know it's a bit disrespectful to leave people waiting and I would never intentionally make someone wait for me. I just think I have more time than I actually do. I think 30 minutes gives me time to shower, dress, check my e-mail, have a cup of tea, walk the dog and get the kids ready to leave. And then, when I'm ready and they're sitting on the couch watching Hannah or Zack and Cody, I get all flustered and rush them to throw on clothes and brush their teeth and hair. Today, I was mentioning to my oldest daughter that her bus will pick her up at 8:29 a.m. this year instead of 8:27 like it did last year and my sister laughed and said "Oh, that means she'll only be tardy 18 times instead of 23!" What? I beg your pardon! My child was not tardy 23 times last year. It was only like 12 or something! When I was growing up (and she still does it to this day!) my mom would set the clocks in our house to be a few minutes fast. I swear, I never knew the exact time unless I called that number to get the time and temperature. (Remember now, this was back in the days before cell phones and computer clocks). Maybe she knew something I didn't. Maybe by making the clocks fast, she was helping me get places on time! It probably backfired though, because I always thought I had extra time and would hit the snooze button. Um, yes, I must say I was tardy quite often in my school career. It was only a five minute walk and I was late 2 days out of 5 at least! So, maybe I can change my stripes this school year. Maybe, I will lay my daughter's clothes out the night before and pray she will not fight with me in the morning. Maybe she will brush her hair and teeth without argument. Maybe she will not spill anything on her shirt and have to change her outfit. Maybe she won't want to watch TV in the morning. Maybe she will never miss the bus. It could happen. Don't count me out! And tomorrow, I will try to be on time for something - I promise.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just one thing

Recently, I won a complimentary session with a parenting coach. I contacted her to give her some background information on my children and the issues I have been having with them. Since it's only one, short session, we have to get down to business really quickly. Her response was to ask me what I wanted to get out of our session. Wow, just one thing? How can you pick just one thing you want to learn and accomplish as a parent? How can you pick just one problem you want to conquer? I wanted to tell her a slew of things. I want her to show me how to not lose my temper, how to make my children get along, how to get them to not talk back and be obedient. I want them to know how to clean up after themselves and show good manners at all times. I want my kids to learn that being naughty isn't funny. I want them to know that hitting is bad and calling names is hurtful. I want them to learn how to control their emotions sometimes. So, how can I pick just one thing to accomplish? I need a parenting coach every day. I need this woman to come to my house and help me all the time. I know my mistakes. I just don't always know how to fix them. Wouldn't it be nice if there was someone around you all the time to encourage you and help you along the journey of parenthood. Well, God is there all the time. You just have to ask Him for help when you need it. It's so funny that we think that we can be good parents. Do we have any type of training for this? Do we all of a sudden turn into Mary Poppins or supernanny just because we've given birth? And how does one become a parenting coach anyway? Did they play in the major leagues or something and get all that experience before doing this? I have so many questions. I need more answers. I'm getting back to her today. I still have yet to come up with the one goal I would like to achieve as a parent. Maybe she could give me the answer. If she does, she'll be coach of the year in my book.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The countdown continues

10, 9, 8... Eight days until school begins. Sabrina says she doesn't want to wait that long. Who can blame her? She's starting kindergarten and it's got to be the most exciting time of her life. The older one? Yeah, she wishes she could turn back time so she doesn't have to go to school. Who can blame her? Third grade! Isn't that when school actually starts to feel hard? When you have to learn division and all of a sudden it's not as easy as you thought it was? I always found the odd grades to be the hardest. Loved second and fourth - absolutely hated fifth. I wonder what that is about. But, I just know this week is going to be stressful - one kid anxious about finally getting on a school bus and going to school and the other one anxious about not wanting to go back! Maybe I can remind her of all the wonderful school lunches she'll get to eat. Oh, wait, I'm trying to make it sound good.

Just wondering....

Why do people put fake flowers outside in real dirt? Do they think it makes the dirt look better? Are they hoping they magically turn real? Or do they think they're actually fooling us? Hmmm.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Toy story

Today I was doing a little cleaning, I mean purging, in my daughter's room. (Shhh. Don't tell her. She freaks when she finds out I threw away any of her junk, I mean, stuff). When I'm cleaning, I tend to lose focus. I start on one thing and then see something else that needs doing, so I walk away and do that and leave the first thing half done. I'm knee deep in Webkinz and Build a Bears and Polly Pockets and Littlest Pet Shop and I'm trying to organize everything. I put the dolls in one spot, the clothes in another and the accessories somewhere else. Don't ask me why I'm doing it because she's just going to play with the stuff and fling it willy nilly wherever she wants. The girl just has no sense of how to do things the way I would do them. She's got naked Barbies out the wazoo! I don't get it. Here they are, naked, no shoes and their hair is an absolute mess. The American Girl dolls are wearing clothes that belong to stuffed animals. What is going on here? I must find a brush. I must coordinate the clothes and match the shoes and do something about this mess. Mind you, I could care less if my shoes match my outfit, but Barbie is a different story. As a child, Barbie was one of my favorites. I loved doing her hair and dressing her. My mom used to make the coolest clothes for my dolls and I had some favorite outfits. I still love playing with them. I dig it when the girls ask me to play barbies, which they don't do very often. Do you love playing with your kids' toys? What are your favorites? I bet all the guys still love playing with Matchbox cars. I'm sure there are some Lego fans out there too. I like puzzles and Lincoln Logs. Big fan of the Chinese jump rope. And if someone bought my kids TinkerToys, they'd have to fight me for 'em. Gotta go now. Supercool Malibu Barbie's got some knots I need to take care of!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blue Ribbon

This year, my daughters entered the arts and crafts competition at the Dutchess County Fair and they won some blue ribbons. It was very sweet to see their faces when they found out that they won. The older one was a bit disappointed that she didn't win as much as her little sister, but she's in a tough age group. There are some serious artists in the youth division. When I saw some of those items, I couldn't believe they were handmade, much less by an 11-year-old! The journey to the blue ribbon was a long one. These crafts aren't always easy. They have rules and you have to follow them. If you don't follow them, you have no chance of a prize. And, who's fault is that? Mine. All that work for nothing because Mommy didn't bother reading the directions! So, I didn't have her paint the egg carton for the paper-flower-egg-carton garden and put green paper grass on it instead. Fail. They give you great ideas for crafts to do with your kids. A felt name banner (just remember you must tie ribbons to the wooden dowel or you fail). A paper mosaic (use a colored background or you fail). A placemat with woven foam strips. A decorated t-shirt. Ojo de dios (the yarn tied around popsicle sticks). Next year, I will remember to start earlier so it won't seem like such a chore. At the end, we weren't having fun. We were trying to meet a deadline. And next year, I know the older one will focus on quality instead of quantity, because she saw what she was up against. Yes, the stiff competition of the county fair will compel her to new heights in craft making. But, for this year, the blue ribbons were fantastic. Next year, maybe even I will enter! Biggest pumpkin? Best canned jelly? Who knows!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back to school

Oh, today was one of those days when I wished I lived down South so my kids would already be back at school! There are about 12 days left until school starts and it can't come any sooner. I don't know if they sense the end of summer coming. I don't know if it's the rainy weather that we've had the past few days - but it's something. They are on edge, like tigers waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting gazelle at the watering hole. And, more often than not, I am that frail, injured doe laying powerless under the weight and force of the mighty cat. I think they have broken me. Lately it seems I've been walking around in this absent-minded state wondering what I'm doing and what day it is. Where are my keys? Why can't I find my money. Did I leave my credit card at the last store? Is that pain behind my right eye a migraine? Before I had children, I used to wonder why moms said they couldn't wait until September. I couldn't understand why they'd want kids if they wanted them out of the house so much. Believe me, before I had kids, I thought a lot of dumb things about motherhood. It's not that I want my kids gone, but I want my kids gone, you know? I just can't win. They're bored. They're over-scheduled. There's nothing to do. There's too much to do. It's hot. It's raining. They want to go somewhere. They want to stay home. And when you have more than one child, there are different opinions and desires. So, they're fighting with you and they're fighting with each other and everyone is just ready to kill each other sometimes. It's not all that bad. I'm just focusing on the worst part. I'm not telling you about all the fun and laughter and silliness and stuff we do - because that's not as funny. So, September 7, the big one starts third grade and the next day my baby goes off to kindergarten. And then, they don't get a day off until..... September 9. Yes, that's right. Thank you Rosh Hashanah. What a cruel joke!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Is it important to you that your child have good manners? To me, that's really high on the list of things my children need to learn. For some people, it's not a big deal but I just can't have girls who chew with their mouths open, don't hold the door for someone or interrupt when someone is talking. I think the biggest manner faux pas I see in kids these days is not saying please and thank you. It's bad enough when they say "I want" instead of "May I have" but not saying thanks is just not good. I got a real up close experience with this the other day with a child who kept asking me for things. I thought it was a little rude since the event wasn't for him and he wasn't really deserving of anything but he kept asking. But, you kind of let it slide when it's a kid. You cut them a break. And I cut him a bigger break when his chaperon did the same thing! If an adult has the nerve to walk up to someone and take something, why should a kid do it? They learn manners from us. We can't expect them to behave properly if we can't. At the same event with the rude boy, I saw a girl calling her mom over and over and over. She must have said Mom about 30 times. I thought she couldn't find the woman or something. But, there was the mom, standing right in front of the girl ignoring her while she talked on the phone. Now, I'm not saying to allow this type of behavior, but ignoring it does nothing. The mom shouldn't have been on the phone in the first place (but that's a whole 'nother show Oprah) and all she had to do was put the call on hold for a moment and tell her daughter politely not to interrupt and to wait patiently for her to be done. Easier said than done, but you have to use these teachable moments to teach your kids - not ignore their bad behavior and get angry with them for not using good manners! If you don't teach your kids to say please and thank you at home, they're not going to say it at school or at the park or anywhere else! Manners can't be taught by television. When is the last time you heard Hannah Montana say thank you or Squidward say please? And, yes, I know it's bad manners to point out that someone has bad manners, so please forgive me. Thank you and have a nice day.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Yesterday, my little girl wasn't feeling too well. Headache, fever, chills. Then, she let it all out and threw up. Unlike adults, kids don't really know when they're going to throw up so they don't think to run into the bathroom and basically puke all over themselves and the couch and the floor and blankets and pillows and anything else that is in a five-foot radius. Gross, right? Not so much. When you're a mom, you just deal with it and get on with life. You brush her hair out of her face and wipe the vomit off yourself and just make sure she's okay. But, it got me to thinking about what does gross us out. It doesn't bother you so much when you have to clean up your own child - when she's got a cold and you're wiping her nose or when she has an accident and you have to clean up a little poop. But, what if it was another child? It's not so gross when it's your own kid, but when it belongs to someone else? Yucky. Think about it. You're babysitting your nephew and he has a bad case of diarrhea. You're at the park and your BFFs daughter has a stream of something flowing from her nose. You're in music class and the baby next to you sneezes and sprays you. Ick. All of it. Ick. Did I just make you throw up in your own mouth a little? Sorry. Have a nice day!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

There goes my baby

My little girl is officially not little anymore! Sabrina is 5 today and I just can't believe it. I think five is a hard birthday. It means your kid is not a baby anymore. There's such a noticeable change in them. They want to do everything alone now. I know they should be doing things by themselves, but doesn't that kind of make you feel helpless as a parent? Sure, they still need you for lots of stuff, but now they realize that there are lots of things they don't need you for and they don't mind telling you that. I can remember five years ago like it was yesterday. It was so darn hot. I think there were more than a dozen days that summer that were over 90 degrees. I remember going to hospital on the 17th, only to be sent home with false labor. My first child was two weeks early and my second was born on her actual due date. They told me that only happens 30 percent of the time. Or was it 13? I don't remember - I was in pain. I think I got to the hospital around 5 in the morning and she was born at 8. Pushed twice. The nurse manager went around to all the other laboring moms and told them "Hey, that lady in there just had her baby in under three minutes so let's go!" Needless to say, they all hated me. But they got their revenge. Minutes after she was born, I was in the shower, dressed and kicked out of the beautiful room. They were so crowded with moms that I got sent to the annex - the old maternity wing. Ick. I was all alone and not in one of those pretty rooms that feels like home. Someone forgot to put me on the meal list so I didn't get food from the hospital until I was leaving. In the nice wing, your view is the Hudson River. From my room, I got to see the incinerator and listen to the garbage trucks at 6 in the morning! After my first night, they said I could go home. Yeah, right - I can get a free night alone where I can rest and get some sleep and you will take care of my baby and tend to my every need while my insurance company pays for it? Um, I think I'll stay - bad view and all. It was a weird time for me. When Sabrina came, I wasn't even sure what I was going to name her. Chris picked the name, actually. I wanted to name her Caroline and call her Carly. It's a blessing, now, because we would have ended up going nuts calling our girls Caty and Carly! It was just different the second time around. I wasn't as emotional because I knew what to expect. This time, I wasn't so scared. So, in a snap, it's five years later. I know I'm going to blink my eyes and she'll be 25! Everyone tells you it goes so fast. It goes too fast. Happy Birthday to my baby.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I know it's not nice to call your child names, but I think one of my kids might be a little hoarder! Just cleaning out my car and checked the seat pocket in front of her. When I tell you I pulled out a shopping bag full of junk, I'm not kidding. And I just can't describe it. It's junk. Trinkets and baubles and little games and kids meal toys and books and papers and pens and notebooks and dolls and toys and it goes on and on. Thankfully, she wasn't with me when the cleaning was getting done because she would have freaked when I threw it out. I am not allowed to throw out anything if that child is around. And no matter how much stuff she has, she always needs more. Take those silly bands bracelets. She's got a bunch of them. She doesn't wear them. She just has them. I think she actually likes just counting them. It's like some type of comfort to her knowing that she has more than most of America. I've tried to try to get her to give away one thing before she gets something else, but that hasn't worked much. She likes collecting things. Usually, a kid will have one collection, maybe two. Back in the day, it was stamps or coins or baseball cards. Now it's Pokemon and Littlest Pet Shop dolls and a zillion other things that have no value and confuse the heck out of parents. I can't blame her though. I'm sure she learned it from me. I don't like to throw things out either. I used to collect stickers for crying out loud. I mean, who buys stickers and never uses them? My kids now own some of the stuffed animals I had as a child, so I guess that was one of my collections too. I even tried to justify my collections of rocks and shells by thinking of them as souvenirs of my trips. And I didn't stop when I got older. I used to keep nametags and press passes. But, my collections had to stop when I had kids. I would love to say it was because I made life-changing decisions or became a new woman, but that's not the case. I had to make room for all of their junk!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


In my house, sorry sometimes seems the easiest word. And why is that? Why is it that my kids keep doing things they're not supposed to and thinking it's okay to be naughty as long as they say sorry? My oldest has this habit of opening things and leaving the wrapper lying about. For someone who collects so much stuff, this kid won't do anything about collecting her messes. She starts a project, doesn't finish, and leaves all the scraps for me to pick up. And before I can turn around, she's in the middle of another project. Me: "How many times do I have to tell you to not leave your mess for me to clean?" Her: "I'm sorry, Mom." Then she makes another mess. I love it! I don't know why I bother telling my kids not to do something. They just do it anyway. I remember, when I was a kid, my mom used to tell me "Don't be sorry. Just don't do it in the first place." Yes, I must admit, I say it too. It probably makes no sense. I know it made no sense to me as a child, but it just comes out. It rolls off the tongue so easily. I shouldn't do it. Sorry. I mean, I'm not sorry.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Being hands-on or off?

Are you a good teacher? I'm not. I will admit it. I think some people are just born with this ability to teach people how to do things. That was something left out of my genetic makeup, I guess. To me, it is easier to do something myself than to show someone how to do it. So, it is extra hard when it comes to my kids. Do you know how badly I want to fix that backwards "Z" every time my little one writes my name? Do you know how much I want to put the glue on the paper and lightly tap the jar of glitter onto the picture instead of watching my kids dump globs of glue and pour all the glitter all over the place? This week, my daughters have been working on some arts and crafts entries for the upcoming county fair. (Side note: That is a sentence I never would have thought I would utter in my life!) So, I've been helping them a little when they need something difficult done (hot glue, major scissoring, etc). But it is killing me! I'm not saying I'm an artist - far from it. But, I can draw a heart and a smiley face and a rainbow. I'm pretty good at coloring inside the lines. That's why it's hard for me to let them color outside the lines. But I do it. That is the important part. No matter how differently I would do the project, I never let them know. I never telling them what they're doing is wrong. I never criticize or say I don't like something. Sure, the fairy can have green hair and purple wings and a yellow dress. Yes, there are three noses on that fish and they are all beautiful. No, it doesn't look bad that you cut the girl's ears off and put her earrings on her fingers. Art is subjective, right? One person's trash is another person's treasure, right? As parents, they all have to be treasures. I'm not going to lie to my kids and tell them they're da Vinci or anything, but I will tell them I love the colors they used or that the polka dots really make that dolphin stand out in the picture. I will not do the project for them. I will not impress my vision on their creation. I guess my teaching method is as hands off as you can get!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Private time

When is the last time you went to the bathroom alone? If you're a guy, I'm sure this isn't an issue. Either you're completely used to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with someone while you relieve yourself or you have never had someone open the door while you're doing it. My kids seem to think the bathroom is our family room. It's our little social gathering area but they don't realize that I didn't send out an invitation. They haven't really grasped the whole concept of knocking. They just walk (I mean, barge) in and start a conversation. Today, I turn around in the shower to an open curtain and two little girls laughing telling me "Shave your armpits, Mom!" Apparently, shaving is funny to these kids. And, believe you me, I will be the mom that barges in on them when they're 16 and yell "Shave your armpits!" and laugh hysterically. I can't wait. They are just obsessed with me when I'm in there and I don't know why. Really? Is this fun for you? Sure, it is mom. It's even funnier when we snap a picture of you sitting on the toilet. That is just the funniest thing ever! Go away little girls. Give mommy some private time. I know what you're saying - lock the door. But that just causes them to go loony and try to kick the door down. So, it's save my dignity or save my hardware. I'm choosing hardware for now. Oh, yeah, I found the camera (finally) and deleted the picture. The kids are sleeping now so I'm off to the bathroom!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I'm sure you know this by now but God knows everything. And He really, really, really knows when to remind you that you are not following the right path in your life.
Today, the message at church was about integrity. It really hit home. Most of us think we have it but most of us don't. Of course, none of us want to consider ourselves phony or hypocritical, but we are. If you act one way when you're out with your buddies and another way when you're at the PTA meeting - you're being hypocritical. You should be the same person at all times so people will honor you, trust you and consider you a person of integrity. Sounds easy, right? Well, it's not so easy. If your heart is divided, it's impossible.
The message that really sunk in? Being a parent with integrity. You've got to walk the talk. You can't just tell your kids to do something if you don't do it yourself. It's that whole "do as I say, not as I do" mentality. With kids, pastor said, "more is caught then taught". They emulate what you do so much more than do what you say. Does your behavior match your beliefs? So, can you tell your kid not to give in to harmful vices if you smoke? Can you tell them not to curse while your dishing out the f-bomb while you're on the phone with a friend? Can you tell them not to be mean to the shy girl in class when you're chatting with your girlfriends about the other lady in the playgroup? It's one thing to make your outside look pretty, but the inside needs to match. You've got to model that good behavior for your kids...and you've got to mean it. Don't just give them lip service. If you do, they will never ever respect you. Just ask a friend with a teenager - is there something they would change if they could go back to when that child was 8? Or ask a friend with an adult child. Did one bad decision they made during the teen years have a major impact on their lives? I'm glad my oldest was sitting with me in the service and I really hope she "caught" the message. Well, maybe not, since I'm sure from now on when I make a mistake she will question my integrity. But, I will tell you this - and I am writing the message on my mirror so I see it every morning when I wake up and every night before I go to bed - from now on my goal is to make my walk match my talk.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good things

Is the glass half empty or half full? Well, if it's a glass of water with fiber powder in it, it is definitely half full. A glass of beer? it's half empty. Does the way you answer that question determine your outlook on life? I guess I'm a half-empty kind of gal. But that doesn't mean I'm negative. Critical, sarcastic, picky - sure, but not negative. This week, I met two women who brought a little sunshine to my days. They weren't all giddy and sappy and silly. They were just regular women who have regular problems and regular lives. The biggest thing they have in common? God. And I love that you could just tell that they have God in their lives and that they are grateful for their blessings. Even when their teenage son was giving them a hard time about something. Or their pre-teen daughter wasn't getting along with her siblings. These women realize that these issues are just a part of life and by putting their faith in God, they can help their kids make good decisions and be better moms. I need to do that more in my own life. I try to make all the decisions myself instead of asking for His help. Sure, we can learn from our own parents or read articles on parenting, but really what we should all be doing is praying every day to be good parents and to lead our children down the right path. I know I often get stuck in a rut of seeing the bad things my kids do. Of course, I praise them for the good things, but I think I make too much of the bad things. I need to not make small indiscretions into monumental acts of disobedience. I can pick my battles. I can shrug things off. I can count to ten. I can let things slide. I must. And remember, if your glass is half empty, you can always fill it up!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pick me! Pick me!

Do you ever feel left out? Do you remember how it felt when you were a kid? I can hear the hearts breaking everywhere. Over the past few weeks, I have been a few places with my youngest where they were doing audience participation things. She would raise her hand but didn't get picked. The look of disappointment on her face - oh, man, just thinking about it now makes me tear up. That poor little girl. Sure, she is going to learn in life that you can't always be chosen for everything. She'll even learn that there will be plenty of times when she would rather not be chosen for anything! But, I don't want her spirits to be deflated. So what do you do when the mom of the boy your child adores doesn't include your kids at the birthday party? How do you explain it to your kid? Do you just ignore it and avoid it and pretend it never happened? Do you say "Billy's mom didn't invite you to his party. I'm sorry. I don't know why." I think that's a bad idea, but I'm sure there are parents who do that sort of thing. Everyone wants their child to get chosen for things - we want them to be liked and admired and included on everyone's list of favorite people. But that can't always happen. So, I guess we just have to like them and admire them even more to make up the difference!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hear no evil

Isn't there a statue with some monkeys - one is covering his eyes, the other his ears and the third his mouth? See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, right? Lately, I've been hearing some things and seeing some things that I really really really hope my children aren't noticing. I know they pick up on the slightest things, so I hope some of the whoppers lately will quickly leave their memory. It started the other day when Sabrina and I were on line at the store waiting to pay for our gas. The lady in front of us was taking a very long time getting herself together and couldn't seem to locate the lottery tickets she just purchased and refused to believe that they were actually in her hand. Thankfully, Sabrina was too engrossed in talking about the pink snowballs on the shelf to notice the woman who probably hasn't seen a razor in a good 30 years. She was wearing a tank top and it's not like she even had her arms up but the hair was long enough to reach out and touch someone! Had my little one seen this, I am positive she would have said something. She thinks armpit hair is hysterical (just ask her dad). So, she didn't notice that, but she did notice the woman with the lip ring at the grocery store and managed to loudly mention it to me several times before we left and then again in the parking lot. Gotta love kids. At least my 8-year-old doesn't blurt stuff like that out anymore. She just stares at people and waits till later to talk about them.

Did you ever have one of those experiences where someone says something and you flinch and cringe and quietly pray that your child didn't hear it? The past few days have also brought some conversations I wish the kids hadn't heard. The oldest hears everything. My mom keeps telling her she's going to be a lawyer because she asks so many questions and has to know (down to the most minor detail) what everyone is talking about at all times.

We were at the craft store doing a project and someone used the word "abortion". Really? I mean, it was very innocent. We were talking about a composer being deaf and how she once saw a pro-life ad saying abortion could have killed Beethoven. Anyway, it was just the word. It's not something I want to explain to my 8-year-old. Then, at the library, a performer said "say no to drugs." Great message, yes, but do I want to tell my kids what drugs are? The other day, I told them we were going to the drug store and Caty said "Mom, drugs are bad." Part of me thinks this is the reason to explain to her what drugs are. She's the kind of kid that wants to know what everything is about, right? And just because something is considered bad, it won't stop her. It might actually make it more interesting!

I know I have to have these conversations with my kids some day. But, today is not that day. They are too young. They shouldn't have to know about stuff like that yet. Bad enough I had to explain the dead turtle in the tank or why mommy has to wear "diapers" (their word, not mine) once a month (okay, too much information, I know).

I want my babies to be like those little monkeys for a bit longer. I don't want evil in their lives - ever - but when it comes, I'd rather be the one to explain it to them instead of their friends. But, before I do, I might need an instruction manual! Better yet, I'll just get my dad to do it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My mom

Today is my mom's birthday and I just thought that in all the talking I do about my own parenting skills (or lack thereof) I rarely mention my own parents. My mom doesn't like me to talk about her - especially not publicly. I never understood why. She has a very interesting history. Her parents were taken from their native Poland to a Nazi labor camp during World War II. My mom was actually born in the camp before they escaped to Italy. They then moved to England where she grew up with her younger sister and two younger brothers. She had a really tough life and came to the States by herself when she was about 19. She worked as a nanny (how cliche!) and then met my dad. She had my sister when she was 25 and was told she had cervical cancer and couldn't have more kids. Ten months later, I was born and they immediately operated to make sure she didn't have any more children. My parents divorced when I was about 7 and my mom worked full-time, raised us, sent my sister and me to Catholic school and then onto college. Don't ask me how. My sister was a very good daughter. She was very smart and responsible. She got up on time, always did her homework, didn't disobey rules and helped around the house. Then there was me. Did you ever see that movie Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. Well, they attempted to make the perfect child (Arnold) and accidentally created some funky DNA and got an extra kid (DeVito). The perfect child was smart and kind and worldly and handsome and good-hearted and healthy and strong. The extra kid was not any of those things. He was a swindler, not good-looking, weak, mean.... you get the picture. So, that's kind of how I feel sometimes when I come my sister and me. I was the screw-up for sure. I did okay in school but never worked up to my potential. I dropped out of college when I was younger. I tried drugs. I smoked. I drank. I stayed out until all hours of the night. I used to cut up in school and get in trouble. I was always late. I was absent all the time and just forged my mom's signature on school notes. I got into fights. I shaved my head. I got a tattoo. I didn't really think about consequences. My mom used to always tell me she hoped some day I had a daughter who was just like me so I knew what it was like to be treated that way. She got her wish (and then some!) But, one thing I remember realizing when I was a kid was that I used to try soooo hard to impress my father but never really did anything special to impress my mom. I used to worry that my dad wouldn't make it to my special events or that he would miss me in the dance recital, but I didn't give a second thought to my mom. You know why? Because my mom was always there. No matter what I did or how bad I screwed up, she was always there. She was always proud of me and she always told me she loved me. That's her present to me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Have you ever told your children to pay attention? I know I have. But I'm not really sure they even know what it means. Sometimes, I'll tell them to look at me when I am talking to them because if I don't, they'll be looking at the television or the dog or the window or the wall or whatever else is nearby. I bet when they do look at me, they're not really looking at me. You know, they do that thing where they stare at your nose and still don't pay attention to a word you say. And then I talk and all they hear is "blah blah blah" like I'm an adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon. These days, it seems every child in the world has some form of ADD or ADHD. Listen, I'm not belittling anyone or taking away from those kids who have legitimate issues. But, it's just too easy these days for people to blame that disorder and give their kids pills and do nothing else. I may be wrong, but my thought is that these diagnoses are made because a child will focus intently on one thing like television or video games, but then not be able to focus at all on other things like their parents, homework or chores. Seriously? This is a disorder? No. This is childhood. Who can blame these kids? If you let your child play their handheld video game in the car, at the dinner table and in bed, are you just expecting them to say "Oh, thank you mother, but I would much rather sit quietly at my desk and review multiplication tables." Come on! Wake up! Everywhere you go these days, kids are thumbing something - texting their friends on their $400 phones or playing games on their PSPs. How can you, as a parent, allow that to happen while you and your husband chat over fried cheese at TGIFridays? Why are not talking to your kids? Oh, wait, because you don't want to? And then you say they have ADHD? Engage them in conversation for crying out loud! Listen, I know my kids lack focus. I say they get it from their father. He could focus on ESPN even if there was a tornado, alien attack and Victoria's Secret runway show in the same room. But, dollars to donuts, he will walk past the same dirty sock on the floor 500 times and not see it. It's not a disorder. It's almost like tunnel vision or having blinders on. People see what they want to see. My kids would rather jump on the steps and sing Demi Lovato songs instead of paying attention and putting on their shoes. They would rather stare at their beauty marks in the mirror than brush their teeth. I'm sure as they get older, they will doodle instead of pay attention in class. I'm not going to label that behavior and give them medication, that's for sure. I just think that focus is.... oh, wait, something good just came on television.....

It's not always about you

You know that Carly Simon song "You're so Vain"? You probably think this song is about you..... I think it's kind of funny that some people read this blog to see if I am writing about them. Some people think I am writing about them when I'm not. If you want me to write about you, let me know, I'd be happy to oblige. Especially if you do something funny - that always makes for good writing. Watch my kids and I'll write the most beautiful bio about you that the world will ever see!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


She's got more than me! I hear that, I think, a million times a day. She has two blue markers and I only have one. She got more ice cream. Why does she get to stay up later than me? How come she gets to go first? What is it with kids? Where do they get the idea that life is fair? When do they get the wake-up call and realize life isn't fair? Life will never be fair. You will probably never get the same exact amount of ice cream as your sister because by the time I measure and weigh it to create two exact scoops, it will all be melted! How can I get them to understand? Is it fair that the person at the gas station is driving a nicer car than mine? Is it fair that women age and get arm flab? Is it fair that there are people in the world without clean drinking water? I mean, the arguments could go on forever. Where is the book that explains fair? Why isn't there some professor around who can tell us, in kid language, how it is that a person who plays a game for a living makes five million a year while a person who molds our children and teaches them to read makes less than 50 grand a year? I guess fairness is subjective. And why is it I never hear "she has more vegetables than me?"

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Courses for Women

I just got this from a friend and had to share. It's a new listing of courses for women. Now, I've seen these for men in the past - you know Toilet Paper 101: The roll doesn't change itself - those kinds of things. But, this is great! Fall Classes for Women at THE ADULT LEARNING CENTER REGISTRATION MUST BE COMPLETED By Wednesday OCTOBER 30, 2010 NOTE: DUE TO THE COMPLEXITY AND DIFFICULTY LEVEL OF THEIR CONTENTS, CLASS SIZES WILL BE LIMITED TO 8 PARTICIPANTS MAXIMUM.
  • Class 1-Up in Winter, Down in Summer How to Adjust a Thermostat Step by Step with Slide Presentation.Meets 4 wks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hrs beginning at 7:00 PM.
  • Class 2 -Which Takes More Energy Putting the Toilet Seat Down or Complaining About It for 3 Hours?Round Table Discussion.Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.
  • Class 3- Is It Possible To Drive Past a Wal-Mart Without Stopping? Group Debate.Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.
  • Class 4-Fundamental Differences Between a Purse and a Suitcase Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.
  • Class 5-Curling Irons Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Bathroom Cabinet?Examples on Video.Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM
  • Class 6- How to Ask Questions During Commercials and Be Quiet During the Program -Help Line Support and Support Groups. Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM
  • Class 7 - Can a Bath Be Taken Without 14 Different Kinds of Soaps and Shampoos?Open Forum. Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.
  • Class 8 - Health Watch They Make Medicine for PMS - USE IT! Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.
  • Class 9 - I Was Wrong and He Was Right! Real Life Testimonials.Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined.
  • Class 10 - How to Parallel Park In Less Than 20 Minutes Without an Insurance Claim. Driving Simulations.4 weeks, Saturday's noon, 2 hours.
  • Class 11 - Learning to Live: How to Apply Brakes Without Throwing Passengers Through the Windshield.Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined.
  • Class 12 - How to Shop by Yourself. Meets 4 wks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.