Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Help

It's not often you get parenting tips from the movies. In fact, tinseltown produces copious examples of what NOT to do. But when I saw The Help this year, I got a great idea. (2 second review: loved the book, loved the movie)

I'd read the book the year before and vaguely remembered how maid Aibileen had loved and encouraged little Mae Mobley, whom her mother mostly ignored. But it wasn't until I saw the movie that the idea made an impression. In difficult times, Aibileen pulled her neglected charge close and whispered, "You is smart, you is kind, you is important," and the little girl repeated the words back to her. Brilliant! I thought. This would be huge with my kids. I trotted right home and tried it.

Before I got two words out, my oldest rolled his eyes, and made a b-line for the door. My middle child crossed her eyes, then made choking noises. But I struck gold with my youngest. When I pulled him in and told him I had a secret, his eyes got wide and he offered an ear. As I whispered, "You are kind, you are smart, you are important" his smile got wider and he said, "Wait mommy! Say it again." I repeated it and after each word he affirmed, "I am!" So now this is "our thing." Every night after song and prayer, I lean in and whisper the words in his ear. The best part is his confident, "I am!"
Thanks Aibileen...

Now that's comforting...

Comfort Foods for no-good, terrible, rotten, bad hair, is that a zit on my chin? my-kids-hate-me days...
1) A whole order of Training Table cheese fries with dipping sauce
2) Noble Romans bread sticks with spicy cheese
3) A carton of Ding Dongs
4) A half gallon of burnt almond fudge ice cream
5) An entire box of See's dark chocolate...nuts and chews

What do you eat when life comes raining down?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

help from on high...

This past weekend I burned a wire between here and heaven. I spent a lot of time on my knees because I am not a calm mom. Nope. Not my thang. This doesn't exactly help with peace and harmony around the house. I've been doing much better, but in moments of stress I still yell more than I'd like. I figured a heavenly assist would be useful. Well...evidently, the praying helped! At 9:00 p.m. Sunday evening, my pajama clad daughter came out of her room crying. She held up a blue piece of paper for my perusal. Fantasy book report due the next morning. She hadn't read the book.

At this moment the heaven's parted. My head didn't spin around on my neck. Steam didn't shoot out of my ears or other orifices. And I didn't yell! I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Guess you'll turn it in late." Of course my daughter, being related, got stubborn and decided to do the book report anyway. She stayed up late and read the book. She drew scenes from her book and covered a box with her drawings. The next morning she filled out the summary sheet and actually made it to school on time. She did her presentation and got a 98%. The biggest miracle? She did it all without a single meltdown.

...praying works!

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's so great when people get me!
(thanks Mimi!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Weekend

I went "away" this weekend with two friends, who used to be my sisters-in-law. I haven't quite figured out what to call them yet. Hmmm...

Anyway...the weekend was sort of a prelude to my birthday which is coming at me at warp speed. Friday night at the restaurant, Meems drew this picture of me on the table. When she was finished I said, "Look! You can tell it's me 'cause there are no boobs!" She added boobs...

We had a great time mostly because no one had an agenda and we just let our day happen. Of course there were the requisite moments where I laughed so hard I cried (peed), when I ticked LJ off by being honest (insensitive) and I ate way too much (chocolate).

I'm so thankful for people who I can be absolutely myself with and they still love me in the morning!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I'm thankful for the kids...

the candy...not so much

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I'm behind. I'm always behind. My intentions are good, but you know what they say about good intentions. So, no new posts from me for awhile. In September we all got the stomach flu (one at a time) and then half of us came down with colds. The computer followed suit and caught a virus. It didn't fare as well as the rest of us. The big purchase in October was a new computer!

So now I'm back...

I've decided my posts this month are going to focus on what I am grateful for. Fitting for November, hmm?

I'm starting with something that happened in July. My sweet girl was baptized. In our religion, children are not baptized at birth because they are sinless. We wait until they are eight years old and have a better idea about the concepts of sin and forgiveness. My girl waited patiently (sort of) until she got her chance. The day was worth the wait. She was baptized by her handsome cousin which, for me, was significant. I've known this guy since he was two. He's grown into a charming, funny young man and it meant a lot to have him officiate. It was a great day full of love, family and friends. A perfect combination.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

Crazy Eights

Some people say bad things happen in three's. I'm making a strong case here that bad things happen in eights! Welcome to my week...

1)My four-year-old went to the dentist for the first time and ended up with 5 cavities! (I swear we brush around here). Under sedation, the dentist found (and filled) two more!

2) My eight-year-old threw a volcanic fit when I informed her that the giant teddy bear she has been saving for is no longer available at Costco

3) Four-year-old again…closed the garage door when the back of the mini van was still open

4) Had to settle for "decent" at the body shop to fix the damage done to van…because “decent” was free and “perfect” would have cost $200

5) Eight-year-old started puking and cried because she would miss school…had hopes of perfect attendance this year

6) I started crying because eight-year-old was home another day. Too sick to be at school…too well to be at home, spent the day harassing the four-year-old. Grrrr...

7) Aunt Flo showed up today…four days early (@#$%)

8) Four-year-old just threw up all over the stairs. The. Most. Inconvenient. Place. He. Could. Find.

I’m shaking the eight ball to see if I should even bother to wake up tomorrow…

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Don't tell anyone, but I've started worshiping golden idols...

15 days, 11 hours and forty-five minutes
(but who's counting???)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer Fun

Last summer for my sister-in-law's birthday, she chose to have a girls day at a local ski resort. There was a zip-line, an alpine get the idea. We were standing in line and I was grumbling about how I really couldn't afford this when my other sister-in-law turned to me and said, somewhat fiercely, "You do realize that we never do anything fun, right??? We are doing this!" She then grabbed my hand and hauled me back into line. She did me a favor because I proceeded to go down the zip-line, the alpine slide and even rode a mechanical bull. By the end of the day I had managed to have fun.

This brings me to today. I promised my daughter that we would go swimming, just the two of us...a little girl bonding. The only problem is, I spent my morning hyperventilating about these plans. Don't get me wrong, I love swimming. Some of my favorite memories growing up were the summers when we had a family pass to the pool. I'd swim as far as I could underwater, holding my breath until I reached my dad, who'd back up whenever I got close, pushing me to new records. I remember the sting of the chlorine in my nose, the smell of the Coppertone sunscreen we'd baste ourselves in, the exhilaration of jumping off the high dive. So what's the big deal with a couple of hours at the pool with K? I'll tell you what it is. I have an issue with letting go. My head is always full of the things I'm supposed to do. I should be doing laundry, making dentist appointments, returning late library books. So today I tried to stop thinking. I tried to stop making mental lists of things I should be doing instead of relaxing and making sure my daughter has some of the same memories that I do. I don't think my dad was standing on the other end of the pool all those years ago, mentally reprimanding himself for having a good time with his daughter instead of being home mowing the lawn. In fact, it was his remembered smile (the one that let me know he was proud of me) that stopped me in my tracks today and helped me forget the lists and actually HAVE FUN.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Holy Haircut Batman!

I'm posting this picture for ALL the family members who
have harassed me about my son's hair for the past 3 years!

Friday, May 20, 2011

As part of my mother’s day gift this year, my mom gave me an all expense paid weekend to…3 hours south a’ here. With all my children. Yee-freakin’-haw.

We went down south to see my cousin get married. But as I drove with Mega Mind booming behind me and my mother snoring softly beside me, I realized the ONLY way I will ever experience an actual vacation…is if I bring along a nanny or ingest a bucket of Valium.

So I spent most of the drive with any number of self help clich├ęs circling in my head, “You can do whatever you put your mind to!” “Attitude determines altitude!” “Don’t sweat the small stuff!” By the time we arrived I’d convinced myself this trip would live in our memories forever. I bounded out of the van…and fell flat on my face. My oldest wanted to push the luggage cart, my middle child wanted to ride on the luggage cart, the youngest ended up UNDER the luggage cart. Screams, cries, protests. Where’s the Valium?

But, surprise! surprise! (no really, I was surprised!) we ended up having a good time. I had to loosen my expectations and go where the moment took me (only once did the “moment” take me to imagining myself at the state pen where I’d be on permanent vacation for harming my children). We hung out with family, laughed, hugged and mugged it up in a photo booth at the reception. I got to enjoy my children as my oldest deftly explained sedimentary rock formations at the petroglyphs, my sweet girl entertained an indulgent staff at a steak house with a series of Christmas carols on the piano and my youngest approached everything with too much energy and an infectious grin. Regardless…I AM GLAD TO BE HOME!

Mom…next year, may I suggest Paris ?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hope at the bottom of a Cherry Coke...

I went to the movies with a couple of friends last night. For the record, it was the latest incarnation of Jane Eyre (loved it). As I sat with my friends I felt myself relax for the first time that day. With popcorn on my lap and a cherry coke in my hand, I was happy to unwind and watch one of my favorite literary hotties (Mr. Rochester).

The movie notwithstanding, the ride back was the best part of the evening. It was like therapy on wheels. As we neared home and my coke was almost gone, I was struck by the resilient power of women. We are such emotional creatures, we put our whole heart in just about everything we do. Unfortunately that makes the stakes that much higher for us. Currently, a lot of significant women in my life are experiencing some harrowing trials. Financial challenges, health issues, marital pains, consequences of others decisions, sorrow over children's choices, stress at work...the list seems endless. But when I think of these amazing women individually or collectively I marvel at their ability to keep moving forward while helping others around them.

At the end of the evening, none of us had resolved a thing. In fact one friend faced a corporate firing squad this morning. But I felt good, hopeful and I went to bed thankful for the friends, aunts, sisters, daughters, nieces and of course mothers (mine especially), who encourage me even as they face challenges of their own.