Monday, August 22, 2011

In which I feel like crap. But hopeful.

So. I got the advanced copy of "The Entitlement Trap." You know, that new book that I told you about?

I was eager to read it. I love the authors. I love the buzz about this book. I love to improve myself as a mother. I dove right in.

I read the first couple chapters. Then I put it down. Then I cried.

It was so agonizingly obvious that my children are there. They are TRAPPED. They are ENTITLED. And I basically feel like the worst mother in the world.

It really isn't a very pleasant feeling.

I spent the next few days analyzing everything my children did. And coming away fantastically depressed. Everything they said and did seemed to point out how completely irresponsible they are - and how I am to blame. I'm a slave, and it's my fault.

While lamenting my fate and that of my posterity, I began talking to myself.

Hey, self. I said. It's been a while. But hey, perhaps you should keep reading that book and stuff. Maybe - just maybe - they'll tell you how to fix it!

Self? - Dude, I thank you.

I haven't finished it yet, but I already feel better. I am being handed tools that will put me on the road to fixing the problem. And I'm not depressed anymore. I'm excited. Hopeful. Sorta-almost-pretty-confident.

I can do this. They're teaching me how.

Please - please - if you haven't already, order this book here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In which I share my best Public Humiliation Story

Did that catch your attention?

So in high school, I was really into theater. I was in seven out of eight productions over the years, and my senior year I was even secretary of the organization. (Don't be impressed. I was the only one who applied. I don't remember doing squat. But I did get my name on a piece of paper.)

Here's the thing. I can't really sing. Or dance. Or even act. But I take up excellent background space.

My best friends always got the leads, and I was uber proud of them. No, really - I was never jealous. Although I did sometimes wish just a leetle bit that I at least had a name in a show - instead of the generic (and dreaded) CHORUS.

So imagine my over-the-top-giddiness when I was cast as a witch in the play Macbeth. Okay, so I didn't have a name, but I had LINES. And a lot of them! I practiced my double, double toil and trouble unto perfection.

We were awesome. And totally freaky.

Note: I do not have permission from these ladies to post this picture. Harmony, the one on the left, is still my bestest of besties. Am I forgiven, babe?

So opening night arrived, despite my nerves. And we totally stole the show. We were a hit!

.... and then, the school performance.

It was tradition to put on bits and pieces of the play during the school day, so as to entice the students to buy tickets and see the whole thing that night. It was kind of a big deal, and our reputations stood on the line. We were, after all, being scrutinized by the worst kind of critics. Teenagers.

We started off with our big cauldron scene. Dark. Lots of fake smoke. Flashy red strobe lights. Creepy voices. Circling the cauldron on an elevated platform, spotlights on us.

And Kat (the redhead in the middle) fell off the platform with an umpfff!

At first we didn't know what happened. She was utterly silent about the whole thing. I looked over and suddenly my co-witch had disappeared. With hundreds of my peers watching our every move, I looked down.

There she was, a look of utter panic on her face, as the stage hand under the platform pushed her back up. Shoved is a better word.

And I. Totally. Cracked. Up.

I laughed, giggled, spewed and snorted for the next five minutes straight. It felt like thirty. The other two witches had to say my lines as I succumbed to a complete and total laughing attack. The audience was laughing too - at me.

Did I mention this was supposed to be a tense, scary scene?

Yeah. I didn't get a part ever again.

Monday, August 15, 2011

In which I delve. And blush.

So a bloggy friend recently posted a bunch of archives from waaay back - like from high school. It was hilarious - and enlightening. She always talks about her high school years like she was the biggest nerd. Ugly and unpopular. Yet I saw with my own eyes that she was beautiful - and seemingly confident,  surrounded by friends.

It made me think, yo.

When I look back on high school, I cringe. I never felt pretty or socially "in." I was never teased or bullied - just largely ignored. I was the type to bring a book to a social event or party - if I got invited at all. I never knew what to say, and I wasn't so much a wallflower as a hide-in-the-bathroom weed. I would actually write down lists of things to say before I called someone. I felt like everyone was more popular than me, everyone was cooler than me, everyone was secure and self-assured and confident.

And I ... wasn't. I was a tongue-tied little mouse who hid behind big, baggy T-shirts and overalls every day. The essence of insecure.

But now - I wonder.

Did everyone feel that way?

It's interesting to me that those who knew me in high school do not remember me this way. I didn't get invited to many parties, but I had plenty of my own. I was never voted into a captaincy or leadership position, but I was a member of a lot of clubs. I never had a lead in a play, but I was a great chorus member.

I laughed a lot. And I made others laugh. Maybe the popular kids didn't know who I was, but my fellow underlings did. 'Cept I didn't call them underlings. I called them friends.

My husband and I joke that the first twenty years of marriage is just to figure out what happened the first twenty years of our lives.

As I hit the big thirty, I find myself wanting to revisit those critical high school years.

This week you're invited to explore ME - fifteen years ago.

Let the psychoanalysis and insecurities begin!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Faith is ...

Sending your children to school.

And yes, I got home and bawled.

Friday, August 5, 2011

In which I bask - and beg

I have a hero.

Did you know that?

Her name is Linda Eyre. You may have noticed her on my sidebar. She has nine children, and has written countless books on parenting. My favorite, "A Joyful Mother of Children," has been read so many times that the spine is falling apart. I've underlined and dog-eared it to death. She shares so many REAL stories that keep me laughing and feeling normal, and yet gives me so much hope at the same time. She makes my dreams of raising (spiritual, strong, intelligent, kind, compassionate, responsible, forgiving, open, industrious, patriotic, creative) LEADERS seem achievable. She taught me the value of structure and organization and planning - and the treasure that is flexibility and quality time and just enjoying the moment. She taught me that motherhood is hard work - and more joyful than any other work out there. She taught me concrete skills to help me teach values that we all want for our children.

She and her husband Richard have a new book coming out that our country NEEDS right now - "The Entitlement Trap." It's hitting the stores in September, but the more people pre-order it, the higher it will climb up the best-seller list, and the more people it will reach. This is one of those books that can change the world, one family at a time. We really need to get Congress to get a copy.

If you pre-order now, you'll get a 33% discount ($12 instead of $18) AND get it sooner than the bookstores do. Just go to and click on the pre-order tab at the top.

Please do yourself a favor and order this book! 

(And no, I've not been given any incentives to peddle this book. And I've already pre-ordered mine!)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In which lightening strikes a little too late

So I'm on my way to the doctor with a crabby NBC in the back. Mommy Diagnosis: ear infection.

(me, unabashedly showing off how adorable he is, even though these pictures have nothing to do with this story. 
he certainly didn't look like this on the way to the doctor.)

They couldn't squeeze me in at my normal office, and their other location was in relatively unfamiliar territory. I was driving a bit slow, knowing I had to turn right into the parking lot soon and afraid I would miss it.

Enter Big Bad Black Truck, merging in directly behind me. Can't see his headlights. He's mad I'm going slow. I'm ignoring him.

I'm watching signs closely, hands at 10 and 2. I see it. I turn. I squealed the tires only a leetle bit.

Big Bad Black Truck SLAMS on his brakes, spewing black smoke everywhere. In my rearview mirror, I see him flip a Uey (how do spell that?!) IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD and follow me into the parking lot.

Um, really?

Big Bad Black Truck, riding my tail. I glance at the NBC. He's sucking his thumb, thoroughly unconcerned.

I pull into a space and cautiously open my door.


I didn't know the F word could be used in so many different verb tenses. It was actually rather impressive in an obtuse way.

Among other things, he said
  • that I was an awful driver
  • that I was lucky he didn't run me over right now
  • that he had four kids in the car and they all could have died, how dare I, etc., etc.
  • that I was ... a lot of foul things
Insert the F word about twenty times and you'll have a rough idea of what he sounded like. Really, it didn't even make sense.

Confound it, I started to giggle. It was just all so ridiculous.

He concluded by calling me the wildly creative name of a female dog, and screeched off into the sun.

My hands were shaking for a good ten minutes.

After the doctor's appointment, on the way home, I pondered on what I could have said had I been in possession of my vocal faculties.

"You're an incredible role model for your four children. They must adore you."
"You must be having a really bad day if a slightly late turn can make you that ornery. Do you want a hug?"
"You shouldn't even have four kids in the back of a pick-up, you know."

But my mom said it best -

"Jesus loves you, but everyone else thinks you're a jerk."

Monday, August 1, 2011

So, I should probably post something

Seeing as I announced I'M BACK, and all.



{Did I just hear crickets?}

Oooo! I know what to talk about!

I turned THIRTY.

see that there? that's my st. patty's day shirt. 'cept it says "lucky lass," so I can wear it every day of the year

Confession. I've been wanting to be 30 for a long, long time. I've been telling people I'm "turning thirty" for at least five years.

I think it's cuz people ALWAYS think I'm younger than I am. And it bugs.

As a newlywed, working in a dental office, a patient once asked me why I wasn't in school. As in, HIGH school.

I (not very sweetly) informed her I was a college graduate.

Another time, I was on a plane where all the people younger than 15 were given free headphones. I got one. I was 22.

I've been mistaken for my younger brother's girlfriend more times than either one of us care to recall. He is ten years younger than me.

I once took a group of teenagers to the pool, only to be told we needed an adult with us to swim. I had to produce my drivers license to prove it to the guy that I was, indeed an adult.

Thankfully, now that I'm a little older, and a little fatter, and actually do my hair now, it doesn't happen quite as much. But the past still rankles.

So now - finally! - I can enter the ranks of REAL. ADULTS. (Twenty somethings are only faking it, you know.)

In celebration, my husband and mom threw me a surprise birthday bash. It was awesome. And I don't have a single picture to prove it. Sorry.

Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In which I am flabbergasted.

 I don't think I've ever actually used that word. It's kind of fun!

So! You all know the deliciousness that is Stepper, right? If not, dig in. Well, she had a giveaway a while back, and I



And I didn't even have to cheat! Go me!

I was so supercalafragilisticexpialadocious excited to open it. There may have been excessive giggling.

(Yes, I have used THAT word before ... but I'm not about to type it again.)

And then my jaw proceeded to drop as the package just kept GOING .....

First up we have a CD of Stepper's favorite tunes. Before we proceed, check out that cover. You may have to enlarge it to fully appreciate the awesomeness.  I don't know if it was talented Stepper or talented Stepper's Husband who drew it, but there is talent going on here.

Per her suggestion, I listened to it laying down on my back, in the dark, at full volume. That didn't last long, however, as my children heard the music. (Plus also, I was laying down. Why is laying-down-mommy the most intriguing toy?)

Um, WOW. I hadn't heard of a single song on there, but I can tell already I'm about to be obsessed. It's been a while since I've listened to songs purely for my own enjoyment (Safety Kids, Peter and the Wolf, and Les Mes are kind of all we listen to lately, although they are all amazing in their own right), and I'd forgotten that I used to. Listen to music, I mean.

Laying down with my eyes closed, my children twirling all around me, I remembered myself. I remembered that I used to listen to music 24/7. I remembered that I'm a person, not just a mommy. I remembered a whole part of me that has been sleeping for some time.

Thank you, Stepper, for waking her up.

Next up we have The Cutest Notebooks and Post-it Notes. How did you know, Stepper? How did you know that I carry paper with me everywhere I go? And that my thoughts are so much more inspired when the paper is pretty? 

A mustache. How freakin' cool is that.

Mr. Squishy got it to stick all by itself, since he has a cold.

The coolest retro pins and magnets EVER.  They make me feel, like, HIP. My fridge doesn't know what to do with itself.

The most  beautiful rose earrings and matching ring. They trick people into thinking I'm refined and fashionable. I love them.

And perhaps my favorite - MONSTERS!

Yes, she hand made all of those! Ever since I first saw her monsters on her blog, I wanted one. Or two. Or four.

And she read my mind!

They are quite at home on our stairway mantel. Although they may meander to the computer desk. Or the basement toy shelf. Or the couch. Or the kids' beds. Or my bed.

I'm in love.


There was more - much more! Retro paper glasses, thank you cards, a whole truffle bar ... I'm tellin' ya, my jaw may never fully recover from the droppage that happened here last night.

Thank you, Stepper, for brightening every corner of my day!

Um. Wow. I'm actually posting.

Confession. For the first month of my Summer Sabbatical, it was nice. Soooo nice. When I had free time, I wasn't scanning photos for blog ideas, wishing I had paid more attention in my photography class, staring at a blank page, feeling guilty for not commenting more, stressed and pressure-ized to blog every day. It wasn't on my chore-list, and it was wonderful.

Instead, I read. And hung out with the fam. And read some more. Oh, and I read, too.

And then, after a few weeks ... I started to get these ideas. Funny phrases would fly through my head and I'd think, "hey, I should use that on a blog ..." only to realize I wasn't blogging.

(Before you get all excited for comic awesomeness, I have now forgotten all those funny phrases. Forgiveness, please.)

Another thing happened. I stopped taking pictures. It was like, without that little orange funky-looking "B" haunting me, I had no reason to document my life. Who knew.

Even sadder, we stopped dating. I know. I KNOW! Very weird, considering we didn't start our "52 Dates" thing just to blog about it - but without accountability, it didn't happen. We've been boring all summer.

I'm so disappointed in us.

So even though summer's not quite over, and there's still two weeks left before school starts, and it's not like I really have anything to say -


Because more than anything  -

I missed you!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I've decided to take -


I will probably continue to post about our Date Nights, but for the most part I'll be doing the following:


AM - groceries, library
PM - science project


AM - pool
PM - neighbor's day camp


AM - themed outing
PM - Little Prince art class, "home date" with Sunshine, possibly a movie afterward


AM - playdates
PM - home craft projects


AM - summer movies at the theater (ten movies for six bucks!)
PM - get a babysitter for the two little ones while they're taking their naps, and have a date with the two older ones

We also have daily time blocked out for reading, math and boredom. I'm a big believer in unstructured time. How will they learn to creatively fill their time if they don't have any time to fill?

And following last year's "Surviving Summer," we have weekly themes. Every theme will include a craft, an activity, a recipe, an outing, and a service project. The kids helped me select themes for this year. We've got:

South America
United States

I'm still available through email (and I'd be happy to email you my list of the fun things we're doing), and I'm sure I'll float around the blogosphere occasionally. But in the meantime, just know I haven't died or anything. I'm just hangin' with these guys.

Have a great summer, and see you in August!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Today, on this most sacred of Memorial Days,

we will be cleaning the garage.

I'm so pumped.

What are you doing?