Thursday, April 30, 2009

We are all in this together......

On the news in the last few weeks there has been much ado about families starting to live together because of hard economic times.  Those of you who know me know that we have been living with Scott's mom for 2 1/2 years.  Although this started as a "stop point" for us, for several reasons we have stayed together.  I find it fascinating that the news media find this a phenomenon.  Really?  Up until maybe forty years ago, families did this for centuries.  We have become, in my opinion, too independent if we cannot see that family must stick together. 

Families used to rely on each other for all kinds of things, the least of which was sharing a home together.  Maybe the reason we have little patience with other people is because we have not mastered control by living with our families.  We tend to have more patience with people we are living with.  If, because of circumstances, we live with our family, all the things that drive us crazy about them would have to be dealt with, with diplomacy.  We cannot just leave and not see them for a couple of months until it all blows over.  Living together means the little stuff cannot bother us.  You know, "Don't sweat the small stuff" and all that.  

We have become, as an independent nation of everyone on their own, too picky.  A little too, "my way or the highway".  If you are living as a family together, there is no highway, you have to deal with it.  Family, sometimes in today's culture, has become the people we see on holidays and little else.  God has never meant for us to do our lives alone.  We are supposed to commune together and live with each other and learn our life lessons from our elders.  It works, if we can check our egos at the door.

So instead of regretting family, we should embrace our family.  Family means no one gets left behind.  Stick together.  We never know when God may take us out of our comfort zone and put us where we need to be to learn to rely solely on Him and not so much on our own understanding.  Embrace family, you only get one.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Mother's Work is Never Done

So last week I wrote about the possible interview questions for a mom and our jobs and all that.  As I sit here exhausted and my week is only half over, I realize that we as moms never get our fifteen minute breaks, we eat lunch standing up, and sitting is a luxury.  I have noticed, the second I sit down to do anything, everyone who was happy doing things elsewhere, they all need something from me.  Why?  Do children have some kind of sensor that when my butt hits the couch, they have this bell go off in their brains?  Suddenly they need something for a homework project.  Or just a cup of juice.  Or a snack.  Or their snow boots that I just packed away.

Just when I finish the laundry, my oldest son comes home from baseball practice.  Because it had rained and the whole field was muddy, they had sliding practice.  Makes perfect sense to me.  I now have baseball clothes that are literally brown.  No longer are they white and orange.  Cleats are soaked and on the hot water heater to dry.  They had to be hosed down in the front yard so the washing machine would not clog with mud.  Tyler is freezing cold and taking a hot shower, I now have two more loads to do.  

That is just one of the many things that happen on a daily basis.  Our work is never done.  Sitting is obviously taboo to our children.  Although, I have noticed they do they same thing when I am on the phone.  That must be in their radar too, butts hitting a surface and the phone in our ear.  That is when they need things, not when I am up and running.  Kids also seem to interrupt you in one room because they need something on the opposite end of the house.  Why?  I still vote for some kind of sensor.  God does have a sense of humor you know.

We have to schedule time away.  We need to get our toes done or have lunch with the girlfriends, all that jazz.  By the way, if you are having lunch with your girlfriends, resist the urge to cut up their meals for them, you will never live it down.  Since we don't technically get a day off, we must wrangle one away from the children and claim it for ourselves, and Mother's Day does not count.  Get some time away, so we can function again in our normal lives.

God bless you and  your toes (which you should go get done today).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The crazed look.....

We have all been there.  Right before nap time, kids really cranky, everyone poking or punching or grabbing or whining.  Then it happens.  Just one more thing that in a normal time would make you laugh, but at this particular time, shoves you over the edge.  Your older child pinches the baby or the baby reaches up and pulls the older one's hair.  Whatever, you are just at the end of your rope.  Chances are you freak out, start yelling and scare everyone into submission.  Then you put everyone down for a nap and close yourself into your room and cry like a baby.  

We have all had that crazy look in our eye, the, "it's gonna blow" look.  Your husband, if he is a smart man, has learned the look and knows when to hide in the basement.  Even the dog knows when to go to the kennel.  

We as moms tend to beat ourselves up when we freak out.  We feel guilty for yelling, maybe the spanking, whatever.  The fact of the matter is, we are entitled to freak the heck out.  We do what no one in their right minds will do.  We catch barf, we pick up the toy five hundred times a day, we change one poopy diaper after another.  Who does this kind of thing in any other circumstance?  Do you see your husband's secretary dropping a pencil five hundred times a day, and your hubby picking it up, time after time, with the secretary giggling and laughing and doing it again.  Does the waitress at the fancy steak restaurant pick up a spoon off the floor for you nine hundred times??  I think not.  

I do highly recommend locking yourself in the closet if you are beyond your boiling point.  Not that a spank on the bottom killed any kid.  We should never touch our child in anger.  I always said that I hug my kids more that I spank them.  I am sure you do to.  Yelling can damage only if you are yelling horrible words.  "Go to your room" are not a horrible words, it will save you.  Never degrade your child, never say, "you are a bad child". Bad behavior is no reason to humiliate your child.  Save that for showing your son's baby pictures to his girlfriend in college, then they can handle it.

I guess what I am saying is, every mom has freak outs.  We all reach our boiling point.  What we do with that is what defines us as moms.  Yelling and sending everyone to their rooms will give you a very calm place to regenerate yourself.  A closet is also a great place to hide and calm yourself down.  My head has popped off and  spun around more than once.  I send everyone to their room and calm the heck down.  Tyler, when he was three, would just turn back around and come out and look at me like, "what are you going to do now?"  I solved this by switching the lock to the outside, there by locking him in his room.  This saved his little strong willed life.

Where are you at today.  Hopefully your day is starting out happy and wonderful.  Keep the closet in mind if you need it.  Have a great day, and if your head pops off, go to the closet.

God bless you and yours.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Crayons and coloring

I have found, over many years of  being a mom, there is nothing quite like crayons.  Actually, there is nothing quite like a new box of crayons.  The points are perfect, they smell kind of neat, all the colors have cool names like, "cornflower blue" and "dandelion".  It just seems like crayons are the perfect unifier of life.  Any rainy day can be fixed with a new box of crayons and a new coloring book.  If you have not colored in a while, I highly suggest laying on your tummy on your living room carpet, cracking open a coloring book, finding a page you want to color and going for it.  It is a calming, relaxing thing to do.  Even kids calm down when they are coloring, it's like there is magic in the crayons.

I have to admit, as a child, I was forever lusting after the "64" box.  I don't think we could ever afford the "64" box, but they had one at school.  It had gold and silver crayons.  These are not your run of the mill crayons, they are gold and silver.  They were shiny and wonderful.  The "64" box had a built in sharpener and everything.  How can the "24" box even compete with the "64" box?  Seriously, you get 40 more crayons, that is major.  I loved the "64" box and even, briefly, thought of stealing Krissy Gill's "64" box.  Shame on me, but I did not steal her crayons, I just went over to her house to color.  

Crayons are even non-toxic, should your child eat one.  I once left crayons on our back patio in the summer in Arizona, that was one large collage of melted nastiness of crayons.  I actually cried, all my crayons lost.  My parents used this as a lesson to take care of my stuff.  Unfortunately, that did not solve my "no crayon" dilemma and I turned to a life of crime.  Just kidding, but melted crayons are tragic.  Broken crayons are broken dreams and all that.

I would love to name crayons.  Green yellow is very different from yellow green.  I had never seen a cornflower, so had not idea that it was blue.  It's kind of cool.  They have changed certain colors that were around when I was a child, they were not politically correct.  Flesh was a peachy color, thus leaving out 2/3 of the worlds population.  There was an Indian Red, not very kosher, but at the same time, my child's school mascot in 2009 is a Chieftan, so go figure.  I do love violet and blue violet and all the subtle changes in colors.  It's all about shadowing and shaping and such.

So if you are feeling down today, go to your local big box store and get some crayons (I would get the "64" box) and a new coloring book and sit down and color.  It will calm the savage beast within you.  Try it.  It also makes a great gift for a child with the chicken-pox or any kind of sickness who is stuck in bed.  Long before television, there were crayons and coloring books.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The best laid plans of mice and moms......

I know the quote is "of mice and men" and all that, but I took a little liberty.  I am usually very careful in my planning.  I am a planner.  I like to know what is coming up.  I write everything on the calender and it hangs on the refrigerator.  I like to know what my day is going to offer.  That is just me.  It helps when you have four kids in various activities.  That way, my work, their dad's work, school, functions, life, meetings, they can all be managed.  That is all we as moms really are, Family Managers.  We just don't get the six figure salary that we definitely earn every year.

So as I manage away, I have come to know that there are always monkey wrenches thrown into my loop.  Yesterday, I have my day planned.  Very simple.  I work from 10-2, did some fundraising on my ten minute break (still trying to get donations for our Silent Auction), and then on the way home, I was going to breeze into a couple of businesses to get donations.  Get home, make dinner, go to Tyler's game, leave a little early to take Grant to drum lessons, go back to Tyler's game, pick him up, feed him on the way to youth group, pick up Grant at drums, take him to his youth group, come home, feed Scott and then pick up Grant from youth group.  Simple, simple day.  Then came the phone call.....Tatum is sick in the school office.  Monkey wrench.  Because now, I cannot take all the kids to Grant's game and all the shuffling around.  She does not do well in the car when she has a headache.  She gets headaches from being dehydrated.  I know this because if she drinks water, takes a nap and then drinks some more water, her headaches go away.  Since she is not going to the game, I must rearrange my entire day.  

I took the call at work, but it was just fifteen minutes before I was getting off, so I did not have to call my mom-in-law to pick her up.  I pick her up (did not get to go to businesses to get donations), get her home and settled.  I cancel Grant's drum lessons (luckily his teacher is awesome and goes to our church and totally understands), realize that Grant is grounded and should not go to youth anyways (okay, I copped out on this one, but work with me), realize that Grant is old enough to watch the younger ones while I take Tyler to youth group and then come home to make dinner for Scott.  Okay, I heated up leftovers, but still I did make those the day before.

I always laugh at my friends who have been stay at home moms who have lost their confidence and say they could never go back to work.  Really?  I think we could run a third world country with unbelievable success.  We do it every day.  Our worlds are just smaller.  We constantly rearrange our plans, and can change directions and cope and do it all with quite a bit of success.  Plans change and stuff happens and we role with it.  Our management skills have no equal in corporate America.  We have five things on four burners at all times and we make it successfully work nine times out of ten, and we will make leftovers with the "ten".  

Celebrate my friends, we are the managers of our very full lives and we are mostly successful at it.  Definitely more successful than the banks and corporations that got our economy into this mess.  Now, if only we could get the government to bail us out with billions of dollars, or just write us a nice fat check, a couple of hundred thousand would suffice.

God bless you mangers of life and all you have to manage.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ten Up, Ten Down

At a women's retreat a couple of years ago, I received some great advice.  It sounds simple, but it is a great way to go through life.  I was told "Everyone should go Ten up and Ten down."  Have a friend ten years older than you to help guide you through life, as she has been where you are at.  Have a friend ten years younger than you, she will keep you young and will look to you for guidance."  It sounds so simple, but in reality it is just good, sound, advice.  Ten up, ten down.

It just supports my "safety net" theory.  We as women need a safety net.  Sometimes it is our surrounding, extended family.  Sometimes it is our girlfriends around us.  We were not meant to go through life alone.  God has designed us to live together and help each other.  Our problem is that society has told us we must be "super" moms and do everything ourselves.  I think we can all agree that this just does not work.  It may work for a time, but eventually life caves in on you.  Our grandmothers usually lived within shouting distance of all the family's aunties and grammas and they could go to them for help.  Women helped each other, and it was not considered weird or that they were lacking in some way.  We all pitched in together.  We all need help and advice from time to time.  The women we need to go to are the ones who have been where we were at, and have been doing what we are now doing.  We need our Ten Ups and Ten Downs in life to make life worth living.

So who are you today, are you a Ten Up or a Ten Down?  Do you have these wonderful women in your life?  What can you do today to reach out to a ten down and help her?  As the mom of older kids, I do try to embrace the mom with younger kids who looks a little frazzled.  I have been that mom.  That little crazed tic of the eye and the hair all askew.  Take a little advice and go ten up and ten down.  It will only enrich your life.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Mint Lady, It takes a Village

There are these adorable little girls at our church, Talia and Gianna.  Cute, cute, cute sweet girls.  About five months ago, their mom was very, very pregnant.  We've all been there girls, when you really cannot see the end of the tunnel, even though you are pretty sure you won't be pregnant forever.  Their mom, Carla, had to go run a quick errand in between services, Talia was at Jam'n Kids band practice with Tatum and Gianna was getting a little  bored.  Carla was trying to convince the precious three year old to get back in the car to run the errand and they would be right back.  Now, I have to say, our church is fun for kids.  They go to their own service and jump around, sing songs and learn about God at their own level.  Gianna didn't want to go, because like most three year olds, she could only see the "go" part, not the coming back part.

So I leaned over, and said if she went with momma and was "good", when she got back, I would give her a mint.  I even showed her the mints in my purse.  Off she went, came back, told me with big round eyes that she had been good and popped her little hand out.  I gave her a mint, congratulated her for being good for her mom and thought nothing of it.  The next week at church, up comes Gianna and her big sister Talia.  Gianna tells me how good she has been all week, and looks up expectantly.  Luckily, I have some mints, give both the girls one, they give me a hug and a thank you and they are on their way.

So now, I have to have mints.  Because I am the "mint" lady.  They run up every week, smiles on their faces, "Miss Kay, Miss Kay, mint!!!!"  That is little Gianna, how can I resist.  I have this huge box of mini candy canes left over from Christmas, I just keep handfuls in my purse.  I do look at the mom and make sure they have been good.  And at the Easter egg hunt a couple of weeks ago, Gianna was melting down (way too many things going on and way too much sugar) and I kind of butted in a little and told her how much it hurt me when she did not listen to her mommy.  I have to know she is being good all the time, not just on Sundays.  Her mom is a friend of mine and says I don't have to give the girls mints all the time, they love me anyway, and I know that, but I love it.

So as my children get older and are not so impressed with a peppermint from my purse, I am honored to be the mint lady.  I love speaking into their little lives.  It reminds me of when my kids were little and someone around them showed them a kindness, even a small one.

Doesn't it just warm your heart when someone shows a kindness to your child?  Can you remember someone from your childhood who was your mint lady?  What small thing can you do today to help someone who is five or six years behind you in mothering?  Our lives are not made up of huge wonderful gestures, but of many small kindnesses.  The grand gesture is not required, the small, sweet ones are.  Reach out and be kind today.

Be kind to the mom whose child is screaming in the check out line.  Give her a smile, assure her you have been where she is at, and smile.  Find someone outside of your circle and give them some grace today.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What's my job again?

So, if I work part-time and parent full time and do stuff for the church and fundraising for the Youth group and it's baseball season and I have two kids in baseball, what's my job again?  How come I am the only one qualified for this job and when in the heck did I interview for this one?  I do not remember any such interview.  I am sure it would have gone something like this.

"Are you available 24 hours a day?"  
"Are you willing to catch puke in your hands?"
" Are you able to live without sleep for days on end during a spell of stomach flu in your house"
"Can you still come to work with the stomach flu?"
"You do understand that you will be expected to run four children to four different activities all on the same day at the same time and no one can be late, right?"
"Whatever is going on, the laundry must be done every day, sometimes several times a day during a puking period or baseball season when they have games every day and the field was muddy?"
"At some point, your children will require a dog, you do understand that after the first month, if you don't feed, water and walk the dog, no one else will?  Are you willing to pick up dog poo?"
"You do know how to make a Jamestown village, in the winter, complete with small people walking around for school projects don't you?"
"Can you explain why your child's report was hand written and not typed by you at 3:00a.m.?"

The list of questions for said interview would have been pages long with me nodding along, "Of course I can."  "I went to college for this particular subject." "Not a problem, kids are my life"

What the heck?  Somedays I wonder how in the heck I got here.  Yesterday alone, I got up, did laundry, exercised, read my bible, read my book on fasting, got lunches ready, got four kids up and to school, took Tyler in early to school (I drove him in my pajamas and robe), got ready for my "real" job, went to Starbucks, made the coffee all day, got home from work, got Grant to the orthodontist, during his appointment made three calls regarding the Spaghetti dinner/Silent Auction for the youth group's mission trip, got him home, went to sign up Tyler and Grant for Hunter's safety (by the way, after running to the clubhouse in the pouring rain with no umbrella, the sign on the door said it was in the sign up was in the range house, on the other side of the parking lot), got home, ate, put away the laundry, made dinner for the husband, read a little bit and went the heck to bed.  And that was a slow day.

So again I ask.....when did I sign up for this job?  The only way to make it through one of my days is to start it with prayer and then keep on praying.  And I have to admit there are days I want to quit.  Just resign.  A small letter of resignation and I will take the credit card with the biggest limit and head off to the Bahamas.  Sounds like a plan today.  Just kidding, mostly.

What is your job description?  Share the love.

God bless you and yours.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Back to School after spring break

The groaning has begun.  They are all in bed trying desperately to wake up and face the day.  Back to school after a week of sleeping in and goofing off.  They cannot pry open their little eyes.  They cannot swing out of bed.  They are trying to see if they feel a little too sick to go to school.  Poor sweet babies.  Get out of bed and go to school, now, I need the house back.

They need to get the heck out so I can get moving on getting the house back in shape.  I have had skateboarders and kids and girls and everyone in between in the house for the past week.  Stinky boys, whining girls and the dogs have just about had it.  Don't get me wrong, I love my kid's friends, embrace them, feed them, all that.  I just want the house to be not so stinky or loud for a couple of days.  I need a little peace.

School is back in session and my kids have to deal with it for about six or seven more weeks.  Hazzah!  Yeah!  I like it when they are home, but I love it when they are in school and I can get some work done around here.  I know I will find the missing remote, wrappers and possibly a small child in the sofa.  I will find papers and junk and stuff all up in their rooms.  I will find the missing sock (unless of course the dryer has eaten it), the missing "cup" for baseball, the missing whatever, because the house will again belong to me.  I love it.  

I love my children, especially when I get a break from them.  I helps me to appreciate the wonderfulness of who they are.  A little distance never hurt anyone, ever.

Are your kids back to school?  Are they even in school yet, you will understand all this later if you still have little babies at home.  Trust me, the first time you get to go to the store by yourself is almost a religious experience.

God bless you and yours. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's going to be a sunny day

May not seem like much, but just ten days ago, it snowed here in Michigan.  Growing up in Arizona, I did not understand the changing of the seasons.  In my third spring in Michigan, I love the changing of the seasons.  It helps you understand the circle of life.  If you are constantly in one season, you might not get it.  You begin to appreciate the wonderfulness of sunshine.

As I look out my window today, the birds are back.  Robin Redbreast is in my yard.  I see blue jays (they are mean birds) and cardinals and our ducks are back.  Every year at this time, a duck couple comes and eats at our neighbor's bird feeder.  Pretty soon they will bring their babies.  I love it.  The grass is beginning to pop and the trees are beginning to leaf.  It makes you feel wonderful and gives you hope after a long, long winter.  

Sometimes life is the same.  Your life may be in a season of winter and you cannot see the Spring coming.  Just remember, spring always comes, even if it is snowing in April.  God is with us in the winter and the spring and the summer and the fall.  He never leaves us.  If you are in a season of winter, know that spring is just around the corner.  Ask God into your troubles to get clarity and vision about what is going on.  

So, what season are you in today?  Bountiful harvest of fall.  The newness of Spring.  The fullness of summer.  Or are you struggling in the bleakness of winter?  Remember it is just one season.  We have all had different seasons in different times.  Rejoice, your next season is just around the corner.  

God bless you and yours.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oh NO, Grant is coming off of sugar

So with Grant's birthday, we granted reprieve.  He got donuts for breakfast, a candy bar for lunch, and a sundae with dinner at Chili's and we had ice cream cake at home.  Yabba.  His whole body is one big sugar cube.  I don't recommend this on a daily basis for any child.  If your child has hyper activity problems, remove sugar and milk and food dyes, you will see a huge difference in two weeks.  I swear, try it, you will be amazed at the difference in your child.

I knew giving Grant sugar would be hazardous to the rest of us, but it was his birthday.  His one day a year to let it rip, and he is off of school this week, so the only people this will affect is his family.  We can take it.  Klebba's are a tough breed, we have to be in this family.  We are a competitive, teasing, good natured family.  Toughness is our life.  We will also pray a lot today for Grant to recover from his sugar intake.

He just woke up and already is complaining, should be a good day.  Not.  Oh well, time to pay the birthday piper.  I have been here before.  This is not my first rodeo. 

What's going on in your house today?  Any freakouts?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Middle Child

So my middle child is twelve today.  I remember his birth vividly, it was the only one that did not involve a C-section.  It was awesome.  I just sent him to his room for fighting with his brother.  A girl dropped off a candy bar with a note in our mailbox for his birthday and older brother knows this is perfect teasing material.  Anything that involves kissing and a twelve year old boy, perfect to just stick it to your brother about.  Off with their heads!  Everyone in their room and clean it while you are up there.

Birthdays as our children get older, get less complicated.  Grant wanted a Rip-Stick.  This is a two wheel skateboard type thing.  Fantastic.  Go to Target to look at one and boom, I get hit with the price tag.  Yikes is all I can say.  He got it, but that is it.  No more presents from us.  And he has to sleep with it and bring it in the house and never leave it outside and kiss it every day.  If he loses that thing, I may claim it on our insurance.  That being said, at least I am not up to my ears in birthday party kids and ice cream on the carpet and cake everywhere else.  Much cheaper to buy the toy they want than to throw a party.

It is tough as my children get older, and I see them turn into these amazing human beings.  It is a challenge, a wonder and a chaos all wrapped up into a child that you are responsible for raising into manhood (or womanhood).  What a blessing to be able to be a part of these creatures lives.  Okay, somedays it's a curse, but every now and then, they do something wonderful that blows your mind.  I am blessed.

How old are your kids?  What amazing thing have they done lately?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Break, Day Dos

Arriving home from work yesterday, I found a mostly peaceful house.  That being said, the oldest child was at the movies and my daughter was at a friend's house all day.  Considering that, the remaining two were getting along pretty well.  Mostly, except for the one Nintedo DS that is the bone of contention between them.

I also left the grounded child one thing to do.  One thing. One.  Find his baseball stuff for practice last night.  Just find your cup for gosh sakes.  Find some pants and your cleats.  He was grounded, he has nothing else more pressing to do.  And yet................

Practice is at 7:15 p.m.  "Did you get your baseball stuff together?"  "Not yet, but I will."  Then the questions start.  Do you know where my mitt is?  Do you know where my sliding pants are?  Do you know where my baseball pants are?  Do you know where my baseball bag is?  Did I not tell the child to go and get this stuff ready at 8:00 this morning?  Did he not have all darn day to find these things?  Is it 6:45 and he is running around looking for things that don't fit him anymore or are buried in the chaos of the closet?  One thing, find your stuff and be ready to go, no luck.

We also did not have a coach as of 7:15 last night.  One dad, who coaches two other teams stepped up and said he would do it if the other coaches of his other team......yadda yadda yadda.  I cannot coach baseball, I don't know enough about rules and bat weights and all that jazz.  Dear hubby is working fifty hours a week and cannot coach.  Sometimes you just can't do something and that is okay.  I think Coach Scott can do it.  I will bring snack.

So, day two of Spring Break starts today.  They are all still sleeping.  I am off to shower, go to work, go shopping for Grant's birthday present, come home and figure out the chaos.  I think the candy is officially gone, the sugar high should be over by this afternoon.  All is calm on the western front.

What's going on in your house?  

God bless you and yours.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Sugar Crash

So, this week the kids are all on spring break.  I am working, Scott is working and we are not going on vacation anywhere.  Most people in the Mid-west go to Florida for spring break.  This year, due to many financial difficulties, most people are staying home.  I say embrace this.  Staying home is not my issue.  I dig it, go out and play with your friends, it's what we used to do.  My problem is after yesterday's activities of sugar, sugar, and more sugar, they all want to kill each other.

I am not talking about your run of the mill killing, this is sugar crash killing.  There is throwing stuff, there is fighting over the television.  There is grounding to be dealt with.  Let us not forget that Grant was suspended last week, he is grounded, period.  That is not fair to him, everyone else gets to go outside.  He is lucky to be alive and just does not realize it.  I just sent him upstairs to do his bible study.  He wanted coffee with creamer in it.  The second ingredient is sugar, he is off sugar until he graduates high school.  That is so unfair.  How come?  Why not?  It's just coffee?  Off with his head.

I am blessed to be going off to work shortly, leaving my poor mother-in-law to deal with the kids.  I have every confidence in the world that she can handle it, she is amazing and raised six kids of her own.  I think she has this one.  

The good part is, their Easter Candy is just about gone.  We let them free for all on Sunday and crash on Monday.  They are eating good things.  Bagels, pretzels and peanut butter, wholesome goodness to kill the sugar in their bodies.  Yeah!  I don't have to cook for at least three days with all the leftovers we have.  I will make ham and bean soup with the ham bone later in the week.  Yummo.

So, how is the crash at your house?  Jelly beans rolling under the couch to be found by the dog in six months?  Wrappers strewn about?  Share the love and the rush.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

It's Easter weekend.  Time to remember the sacrifice God made for us in His Only Son.  What a wonderful gift.  Today's message is short and sweet.  As we run around this weekend for egg hunts and coloring eggs and getting on our Easter Finery, take a moment, and reflect on God's perfect love for His children.  Just a little bit out of your day to read the story of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.  Reflect upon our blessings.  If you woke up this morning breathing, you have something to be grateful for, so thank God for your blessings.  

God bless and Happy Easter. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Lunch Mom....

So, we all know Grant does not like the lunch mom.  It is only one certain lunch mom he does not like.  Upon further investigation, none of the boys like her.  Kind of weird, they all feel persecuted by this one particular person in charge.  But, kids can exaggerate, so I went to the school to do some investigating of my own.  Grant has been coming home for weeks saying that she loves the girls and hates the boys.  I told him that she is in a position of authority and he will respect her.  It is a great life lesson for kids when they have someone who they do not like in their lives.  Think about it, you had good teachers and bad teachers, good coaches and bad coaches, good bosses and bad bosses.  That is life, and you have to learn that you cannot quit everything because of one bad person.  Okay, but I decided to do some checking of my own.

Well, turns out, while he cannot call her names, he is basically right about the lunch mom.  She isn't consistent.  Her own daughter is in my son's grade.  And she probably should not be a lunch mom.  That being said, I work and cannot be the lunch mom.  She is going to be in my child's life, and he is going to have to deal with her until at least the middle of June.  

This is what I think happens in a majority of PTA's, lunch mom situations, the Book Fair at school, whatever.  Power corrupts.  It is a basic fact of life.  It is a major reason that I will help at school, but refuse to be on the PTA, in the lunch room etc.  These chicks are not to be toyed with and they like the way they run things.  One of my dearest friends and I attempted a hostile takeover of our PTA in Arizona, we just wanted it to be fun, while we get all the stuff done.  Have some fun, don't be so cliquey and laugh a little.  We failed miserably.  You have no idea how much those PTA moms want to be in charge.  They are ruthless.  Seriously.  If you don't have school age children yet, beware.  If you are lucky enough to have a fun PTA that gets things done, count your blessings.  They are few and far between.  Period.

I don't know if they are bored or if this is the only place in their lives that they feel they are in control.  I don't know if they really are that passionate and look down on all of us lowly peons who really don't care if the awning for the playground is gray or tan.  We obviously are not giving the PTA the respect it deserves.  Have fun at meetings?  Why?  When we have agendas and are following a protocol and all that.  Yikes.  I just know that my sense of humor would not survive being in the PTA.

I did not come to this place casually.  I wanted to be that involved mom.  I wanted to be in the PTA, on the PTA, about the PTA.  And I will write a check for the awning, don't get me wrong.  I have just decided that my talents along with my personality are better suited to helping at church or with fundraising for the mission trip.  At least then, if I encounter the power happy gal, I can give it over to God and I know I am not allowed to beat her to death with her gavel at the meeting.  It is church and I am a Christian.  I am not serious enough for the PTA, they cannot take themselves with a grain of salt.  I have to look at myself and know that I cannot be catty and judgmental and don't ever want to be.  I am not better than them, I just don't want to be them.  I think you are allowed to say that.  I won't conform to their way of doing things, so I don't belong.  That's my story and I am sticking to it.

Anyone out there feel my pain?  Am I completely wrong, let me know.  

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Back to School for the Delinquent

Grant is off to school today with apology letters in hand.  In addition to the lunch lady, he also had to write a letter to his principal for wasting his time in his office.  I try to hold my children accountable for their actions.  

Yesterday, in his room all day, he had to clean under his bed and make his room sparkle.  A huge trash bags of junk and stuff went bye-bye.  Amazing.  He also had to do his bible study and read his bible and he could not play his little portable gaming thing, which, for the life of me, I cannot remember the name of.  That's okay, it will come to me at 2:00a.m. and I will call all of you with the name.  Oh yeah, Nintendo DS.  He cannot have it and cannot play it while on punishment.  This is not happy hour.  He feels he is being tortured.  I say, Good.  I hope he hates it and never wants to do something wrong again.  I know he will mess up again, we all mess up, but I hope it something minor, not like this. 

I am glad he is going back to school.  That being said, I hope he is a decent human being today out there in the world.  Another call from a principal might put me in the looney bin.  Seriously, I don't think I can take it.  I am standing on the edge of mommy hood craziness.  Weeks like this make me nutso.  I have to come away from the edge, but then someone else in my home will act up and my head will explode.

So, when you hear about this on the news, don't be surprised.  "Mom's head explodes from children's antic, more at eleven".  That would be me.

How is your head sitting today?  Teetering, or sitting very firmly?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Eating Soap

Okay, just as I get out of my "I am a bad mother funk", I get a phone call from Grant's principal.  Grant apparently does not like that one of the lunch moms favors the girls.  So in line to go back into class from lunch, he very loudly to all his he-man friends says she is the "B" word and he is going to try to get her fired.  Nice.  He is suspended for a day and definitely on my list.  So, I ponder and ponder.  I know that this is the "man hair" in him, trying, testing, wanting to be cool to his friends.  Being a leader in the coolness department is very important to a twelve year old boy.  Very important.

So, here we go.  I pray, I call Scott, I do all these things and as I am driving home, it hits me.  What did my mother do when I would mouth off to her?  Eat some soap, get a big bite, chew it.  "Every time you want to use those words, you think of how this tastes"  Truer words were never spoken.  All stuck up in my molars, in every crevice of my mouth was a big old taste of Ivory soap, I still hate the smell.  Yuck.  But very effective.  I have never sworn in front of my mother until the day I was in labor with the twins.  That is a whole other blog.

Back to Grant.  There is new stuff in soap, all that anti-bacterial stuff, that is not good for kids to eat.  It can actually cause them to go into convulsions and stuff like that.  So I go to my friendly neighborhood Target to look for Ivory soap, it is 100% pure.  No Ivory soap.  Not one bar.  You have to have a bar of soap for the full effect of eating soap to work.  So I have to buy the vegetable base natural soap with rosemary and mint, to the tune of four bucks a bar.  But I am determined.  Off I go out of Target with just my hundred dollar bar of soap.  I have never left Target with just one thing, but I was on a mission.

Grant gets off the bus, I tell him to get in the bathroom.  I explain that we don't use those words in our house.  I know his friends might, but if I ever hear that he is using those words again, he will have to eat half a bar.  Today, you have to take two big bites and swallow the soap.  I wish I had video taped it.  The whole gagging, tears streaming episode.  He was laughing at first, until I made him chew it.  Did I mention that Grant now has braces and every little bit was getting stuck.  He could not swallow without barfing, so I let him spit it out.  Every minute he was picking that stuff out of his teeth, I was telling him that when he wants to use those words, remember this moment.  

Some people will call that child abuse.  I actually had a co-worker say I was torturing my children when we would discuss discipline.  I think not.  I do not beat my children, but a well aimed spank on the butt never hurt anyone's anything but their pride.  I don't want to make my children eat soap.  I don't want to ground them, spank them, talk to them incessantly about right and wrong, no one does.  That being said, it's my job and one I take very seriously.  I will drug test them if need be, search their rooms if I suspect drug or alcohol use, anything I have to get them to adulthood making wise decisions and being decent people.  That is all anyone of us wants for our children.  We want them to be decent human beings.

What form of discipline works for you?  What do you remember from your youth that still puts that taste in your mouth?

God bless you and yours.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Failing as a Mother

So yesterday we went to church, had the family over for lunch and dinner and had a great day.  Until about 4:00p.m. when my sister-in-law wanted us to go out and look for my son and her son.  They were playing in the woods.  She was getting a little antsy, so off we went to search.  Meanwhile, the older girl cousins were telling us that the boys had a stash of pop and gummie worms in the woods.  Pop and gummie worms?  Where would they get that?  We find the boys and I start questioning Grant, but in a way designed to see if he will come clean.  

"What did you do with your birthday money?" I ask. "What are you talking about?" says Grant.  "I want to know what you spent your birthday money on?"  "I gave some money to Jonathon (his friend)"  "To do what?"  "Mom, what are you talking about?"  "Did you go to the dollar store and buy candy and pop?" "NO", says Grant.  "Did you go to the dollar store?"  "NO!!!", I did not.  Then my sister-in-law asks her son and he confirms that they did indeed go to the dollar store.  So in front of his friends, I yell at him to get his bike, get his "stash" in the woods and get home.  

Upon further questioning, we find out that he has been going to the dollar store since last summer.  Something he has asked me to do on numerous occasions, but feeling he was too young, we said no.  Not a maybe, not a someday, but no.  No means no.  

All I could do once we left his room is cry.  We stress honesty in our home.  It is to be valued and upheld with all our children.  And how could I, as a mother, not know when my kid is running off to do things he is not supposed to do?  Last summer?  I have missed this since last summer?  Really?  I pride myself on being on top of things, and I missed by a mile.  Yikes.  What if he was sixteen and drinking?  What then?

So, down came the chopping block.  He is grounded until we say so.  If and when he becomes ungrounded, he can only go out to play if it is at someone's house.  The child he was doing the lying with and sneaking around with he is not allowed to play with outside of our home.  He has to do a bible study (which I am off to find today) about honesty and honoring your parents.  He is going to miss math club and possibly drums and possibly youth group.  I don't know what else to do, but then I felt guilty about punishing him too much.  That being said, if we don't get a handle on this now, when he is almost 12, it could spiral out of control.

So, today, as I face myself in the mirror, I feel as if I have somehow failed as a mother.  Why would he lie and sneak around all these months?  Why?  What have I missed?  What have I done or not done?  What have I not prayed over this child?  Where did I miss the boat on this one?  I feel horrible, just horrible.  My wonderful mother-in-law is telling me that all kids do this at some point and that we are doing all the right things and that I am a good mother, but somehow, I feel I am lacking in some way.  I don't expect perfect kids, but I just want the normal screw up stuff, is this normal?  Maybe I do expect perfect kids, which is not fair to them or me.  I am off to pray some more over this.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Okay, so yesterday's post brought to mind my cartoon history.  It has been a long journey.  When I was a kid, there was no Cartoon Network.  No Nickelodeon.  No Boomerang.  It was just Saturday mornings.  Saturday mornings were the bomb.  You get up as early as you can so you don't miss anything.  My dad would make us bacon and white bread sandwiches and we would eat in front of the TV.  There is nothing like a white bread and bacon sandwich, all squished together, in front of the TV on a Saturday morning.  You knew no one was out playing until the cartoons were over.  That was just the way it was.  

Scooby Doo, where are you???  And the Laugh-Olympics.  And of  course, Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner.  I always loved the ones where Wiley coyote would talk in that British accent.  Like he was so smart.  He never did get the Road Runner.  Tom and Jerry were some of my favorites too.  The Jetsons.   My favorite Jetsons episode is when George doesn't want his daughter to win this song writing contest to meet her favorite rock star, "He's so dreamy", so George puts in Elroy's secret code instead of Judy's song, and she still wins.  Eeep, Op, Ork, means I love you.  You cannot forget the Flintstones, Grape Ape, and the Justice League.  Wonder twin powers, activate.

I actually feel sorry for my kids because they have cartoons all the time.  It's not special like when we were kids.  Cartoons and Saturday mornings.  And squished bacon sandwiches.  Saturday afternoons were spent re-enacting the Justice League episode, not playing the Justice League video game.  I loved it.  It was the only time my brother and I would get along.  Because if we fought, we would have to turn off the television.  In Phoenix, after cartoons, we would have this Sci-Fi movie show.  Hilarious.  All those Jason and the Argonaut movies, with the Cyclops and stuff.  They also showed Godzilla movies, the real ones from Japan.  Hysterical.  All before computers and green screens.  There was the Godzilla puppet stomping on a miniature Tokyo, cut to screaming hoards of people, cut back to puppets fighting.  You have to love that stuff.

My biggest fear is that my grandchildren will have no such memories.  No special days, because everything is right there right now, whenever you need it.  No waiting in anticipation.  No continuing story next week.  No bad graphics and puppets and miniatures.  We looked at the world in anticipation of something wonderful happening week after week.  My kids can access anything on the web anytime.  It makes me sad.  

Although, Cooper does mark his calender for the new Chowder episode.  And Sponge Bob is going to surf and Johnny Depp is guest starring on that episode.  I do love me some Sponge Bob.  Maybe it wont' be so bad when they get bigger.  

What was your favorite cartoon or Saturday morning ritual?  Let me know.

God bless you and yours.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fluffy Fluffy bunnies.......

Okay, we have a new cartoon in the house.  It is called The Secret Show.  I think it is from Great Britain but it is on Nicktoons Network.  Every morning they watch it.  That is not my issue, it is cute.  It's  a show about a secret agent agency UZZ (no I do not know what it stands for) and they solve some problem that saves the world.  There are funny characters, including the lead, who for security purposes has his name changed daily, and today's name is always something like, Kimberly Bimberly or Funny Fuzzy bottom or something.  Then all the rest of the cast calls him that during that episode, hilarious.  Still not my issue.  At the beginning of every show, a little granny is in a rocking chair with bunnies all around.  She asks if she should sing the theme song, "well, okay, here we go......Fluffy, fluffy bunnies, running to and fro, fluffy fluffy bunnies, then her show is interrupted and moved in some way (yesterday she and all the bunnies were sucked up into a vacuum)  they say, "sorry sweet little granny, we need this time slot" and they NOW PRESENT THE SECRET SHOW!  

My issue is I cannot get the fluffy bunny song out of my head.  Little granny never gets more than two verses in before she is interrupted for the secret show, and I can't get it her out of my head.  This brings to mind when the kids were little.  The Barney "I love you" song going through your head.  If you are a stay at home mom, Bob Seger slowly becomes replaced by Blues Clues.  You are humming in your head and it is not anything on the Top 40.  It is Dora the Explorer or something equally embarrassing.  You find yourself with a spare moment, and instead of solving the world's hunger problem, you are singing the theme song to some show your kid watches that has nothing to do with world hunger. 

See?  We as women know, we are smart enough to solve wars and world hunger and all that jazz, but our children suck out our brain cells.  Watching these shows is wonderful for them, they can learn their ABC's and 123's and all that.  They all have messages about sharing and caring and being responsible and not being jealous and all that stuff.  When my kids got older, the cartoons are just what they were when we were kids, funny and stupid and designed to make us laugh.  Personally, I have been caught watching some with them, hilarious and funny and stupid.  I mean, world hunger was never solved by Bugs bunny or the Road Runner.  

So, while we need the shows to occupy their time so we can clean a bathroom when they are little, we need to not listen to the theme songs.  Don't you get it?  We can save the world, but Barney is blocking it.  It is obviously some kind of plot.  Cartoon creators don't want world peace, it is diabolical.  They want us distracted by their theme songs and doubting our sanity.  We are also doubting the fact that we were ever cool.  I know I was cool, there are pictures of when I was cool.  I had cool friends, we did cool things, now we all sing children's songs instead of U2......tragic.

So what is going through your brain at the moment?  Are you hanging by a thread to coolness and singing Born in the USA by The Boss?  Or, truth be told, you are singing something from some children's show?  Face your demons, tell the truth and sing the farewell song.  By the way, the lead character's name today, for security purposes, is Nincy Nancy LaLa.

God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Looking for a House

So, most of you know, but for those who don't, we are looking for a house.  What a difference a bad economy makes.  When we bought out last house, almost ten years ago, we bought from a builder, picked everything out and waited for the house we lived in to sell and for our new house to be done.  Easy peasy.  Okay, getting a house ready to show with a five year old, a two year old and two one years olds was not good.  I hated it.  I remember hearing people walking up the sidewalk and I found Grant making spit-wads (for lack of a better word) out of toilet paper and the water in the toilet and throwing them into the shower to watch them stick.  Seriously, these are the things that throw momma over the edge.  Perfect house, just going to scoop up the kids to leave and spit-wads of epic proportions all over the hall shower.  I just closed the shower curtain and left.  Whatever, they didn't buy the house anyways and I am sure it was not due to spit-wads.  

So now, we are not even looking at houses that people live in.  At the present time, even the builder homes are bank owned.  Some of those are not even finished.  The reason for this is, we are going to make an offer so low,  I would be too embarrassed to actually put one in on a house that is currently owned.  We are looking at short-sales and foreclosed homes.  These are not hard to find here in the Detroit area.  We are in a very nice suburb north of Detroit, and we have looked at five houses or more every weekend for the last three weekends and have seen the same house twice.  There is so much out there.  Some have been destroyed.  We looked at one with no floor coverings, kitchen cabinets ripped out, not a light switch left, no doors on the inside of the house.  We looked at one where the furnace was missing.  Most are in pretty good shape, just cosmetic stuff that needs to be done.  

So off we go into the home buying mode.  It is funny what you will say when you are in the middle of an empty home, freezing to death.  I am doing so much research.  You can go on the city's website and see what the bank bought it back for and when.  I look up the taxes and so forth.  I get as much information as I can and then we go look.  I take a notebook....what did we like, what's wrong with it, what work needs to be done.  All that jazz.  Do we want to move the kids out of their current schools?  What to do, what to do, what to do.  Onward into the abyss.

Is anyone else out there moving?  Trying to sell their home?  Looking at houses?  Let me know, share your knowledge.  It is a chaotic time, but through it all, we are praying that God leads us to the house He wants us in and the neighborhood He needs us to be in.  If God is in it, who can be against it?

God bless you and yours.