Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Stress almost did me in last school year. I had completely overextended myself, and then, in typical "Southern girl" mentality, felt too guilty to back out. All of that resulted in resentment and anger sucking the joy out of everything; and in stress-related illnesses.
I've made a few--okay, a lot--of people angry by saying no. Those who know me well and understand, are okay with it. Most people are just shocked. The ones who are angry can get over it. Or not. (Do you know how hard that is to say for a people pleaser?!)
I'm no longer leading or assisting with after school activities; not allowing my children to join every club that comes along; no volunteering my time, nor being drafted. No is such a fabulous word! I only wish I'd used it more often in the past.
Of course, we're still involved in Scouts, choir, orchestra and church groups. But I'm mom this year; not den leader, teacher, organizer. It feels great! My boys are my focus in the activities they're pursuing; and they love it.
I'm a mother, a wife, a writer; and the only way I can do those jobs is to take care of myself. A friend recently made a statement that stuck with me.
"These young families are so busy running from one activity to another. Slow down and breathe. Enjoy being together, not rushing from one activity to another."
Just breathe. I can do that.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Our destination should have taken about two hours to reach, give or take a half hour. We went the weekend of July 4th. I know, not the brightest decision. We sat in traffic at every highway junction we crossed. Bumper to freaking bumper, with idiots who drove over medians, cut into traffic and generally made things more chaotic. All three boys were restless, but my little homebody was beyond over it. "Daddy, what's wrong? Mommy, are we almost there? Daddy, if that man can drive in the grass, why can't we?" Oh, and did I mention that our minivan was packed to the top with various and sundry crap that we had to take? Argh!
We made it to our destination and stopped at a pizza place who's known for a giant rodent mascot and games. It was the first time we'd ever been there. I took extra headache medicine, because even though I have a large group of small children living with me, I'm not overly fond of places frequented by large groups of children hyped up on soda and parents who decide to let them run wild. And yes, I know such places are made for children to run wild, but...
Anyway, I ended up having a blast at the restaurant and enjoyed playing games almost as much as my husband and kids did. After a couple or three hours, we left and went to our hotel to check in. Thank God, some brilliant soul decided to put us on the first floor. We'd gotten two rooms because our boys are big enough that we need the extra space. After we checked in and got everyone settled down, it was time for showers and bed.
We went sightseeing for a couple of days, and to a science center. The boys liked it, but they were holding out for the big one. We took them to Six Flags; two days at Six Flags. Taking my boys to any sort of amusement park is an adventure. Two of my three children under eleven enjoy riding roller coasters and that kind of thing. My oldest child of forty-something is a thrill ride nut; the higher, the faster, the better. My other child under eleven gets bored quickly. He can entertain himself for hours at home, but go anywhere and expect him to do the same and NOPE!
Day one at Six Flags was for the water park. We played in the wave pool, went on a lazy ride on inner tubes, watched the boys play in one of the areas designed for children only. My husband and one of the twins disappeared to ride a couple of rides.
All-in-all, a good day. Minus the time my husband disappeared with one of the twins for about an hour and I had to send my other two to the bathroom by themselves because they wouldn't let me take them in the women's restroom. (How's THAT for a run-on sentence?!) I stood right outside the restroom yelling, "Don't talk to anybody, if anyone looks at you yell, don't leave each other alone, and get right back out here as soon as you can!" And for those who dare call me overprotective, I wasn't the only mom of boys doing that.
Day two at Six Flags was for the rest of the amusement park and the rides. One of my sons and I were waiting for the others--my husband and other two sons--to get done riding roller coasters and other such fun (read HELL no, we hate them!) rides. We were playing some of the skills games. The first was a water pistol one. You shoot at the target and win a cape. EVERYBODY wins! (My kind of game!). I said I wanted a Batman cape.
By the end of the day, we were dead tired. We ate dinner and got everyone ready for bed. Nobody protested. The next two days we spent sightseeing and lazing by the pool. The boys were ready for some down time and didn't complain much.
We decided to head back a day early so that we could rest before my husband went back to work on Monday. We were even more jammed in the van on the way home, but thankfully the drive was much less chaotic and stressful. We asked the boys what their favorite parts of the vacation were. The answer? ALL OF IT! That makes it all worthwhile.
Thanks for reading!
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
"Mom, I'm weird." I cringed when I heard my son say these words.
"Don't say that!"
"Oh no, Mom, I'm okay with being weird. It means I'm not just like everyone else."
Wow. What insight for a ten year old! And the more I think about it, the more I agree. Who wants to be a carbon copy of everyone else? Okay, a lot of people do. It's what we spend hours doing every day, isn't it? Trying to conform, to be like our friends when we're young. Sometimes even when we're not-so-young.
What a bold statement, a brave one. I'm pretty sure he won't always feel that way. But I hope it doesn't take him as long as it has me to truly embrace being "different", "odd", "peculiar", "not like us"; all words I've heard used to describe me.
In the words of Dr Seuss:
"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." (From "Happy Birthday to YOU")
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Monday, May 5, 2014
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Friday, May 2, 2014
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Friday, April 18, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Most of our time was spent at home, Mamaw's house, or at a friend's house. We loved summer rains. At Mamaw's house, we'd play on her screened-in porch until the rain ended, then we'd head outside to catch frogs, jump in puddles or make boats out of twigs and leaves.
The principal had called me in because of the inappropriate classroom behavior of one of my boys. As we were discussing the incident, she remarked that she'd never heard a child use words like he was using. As a parent of three very mischievous little boys who's father was a sailor, I was a little frightened to hear what she had to say next.
She said he knew his behavior was "inappropriate" and that he should have "made better choices" because his "response was not the best one for the situation". I laughed and told her what my occupation was before I had children.
Nice to know they're listening!
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
"Mo-om, I want (fill in the blank with the latest cool toy/gizmo/gadget on the market)."
I'd sincerely had enough. We went to a local dollar store and bought brown paper bags, small packets of crackers, tuna, cookies, dried fruit and nuts. We came home and I asked the boys to draw pictures on the bags. They did. Then we proceeded to put a bottle of water, a couple of food items, and a piece of hard candy in each bag. After we were done, we drove around town and handed them out to the homeless. I talked with the boys while we were doing this about the homeless, the less fortunate people we see every day. They were very quiet. I wasn't sure if it was sinking in.
We came back home after an afternoon of handing out the bags and the boys went into their rooms. I let them go play, with little thought of what they were doing. A little later, all three came out with small toys--probably collected from various kid's meals--and asked if we could take those somewhere for children who didn't have toys. I noticed more than a few Hotwheels and cherished treasures among the toys. I have to tell you, my eyes filled with tears as I looked at those little faces.
We loaded up those toys and took them down to a local shelter. I was, and still am, so very proud of them. That's the kind of men I want to send out into this world.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
"Wee the people believe in the write to bare arms. Wee believe their are know boundaries too what wee can do with this quality education. Wee believe anywon whose fortunate enough two git a grate education in hour school system is indeed very lucky. Where else do ewe find out that wondering the class is a problem!?! Eye wander watt the answer is? Quality education is the key! Eye no its very hard two get thru school, sew we're lucky that sum teachers don't git held to a higher standard! And hoo cares if the Bill of Writes was wrote inn 1776 or 1976, ore whatever. It really ain't that important. Eye get flusterated with remembering awl those dates anyhow. Sew ewe sea, we're doing find with awl these things we're learning. Ewe got know worries over these miner glitches."
This is a slight exaggeration of the nonsense I've seen recently. I'm not perfect. And I'm sure grammar gurus could look over my work and have a field day. But people, I am not a teacher. I'm aware of my deficits. But when you don't know the difference in homonyms (to, two, too; their, there and they're; etc.), and you're teaching children, THERE IS A BIG PROBLEM!! When you teach children incorrect methods of solving math problems, THERE IS A BIG PROBLEM!! When you teach incorrect dates in history, THERE IS A BIG PROBLEM!! And no amount of excuses make up for it. NO EXCUSES!!
For you teachers who do your job and do it well, thank you. For those who don't, I have no patience.
Monday, April 7, 2014
I've been trying to come up with a post I like about an F-word. Friends, family, fear, faith and a dozen other F-words have been going through my mind. But the one that keeps jumping out is fear. Fear can be the greatest barrier or the greatest motivator. If I'm honest, fear has paralyzed me and pushed me my whole life. If you're honest, it probably influenced you also.
I fear I'm not good enough at being a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer. I fear I'll fail or that I'll succeed. I fear I'll fall or that I'll have to keep climbing. When I do well, I fear my achievements won't be recognized...or that they will. Pretty screwed up, huh?
I think the craziest thing about it all is that I keep putting myself out there--writing, making jewelry, creating (I hope) beautiful things. Things that make you laugh, cry, think. The fear is always there, but I'm learning to use it. And I find I'm not alone.
Embrace the fear and grow from it. I am.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Robin, the main character, learns to accept herself for who she is and is fortunate enough to find someone who cherishes her. The journey there was quite entertaining. I don't want to give away any details, but I was pleasantly surprised to read about a woman who decides she IS enough, just as she is--curves and all. It may have taken her a little while to come to that realization, but she did!
Great job, Ms. Rose! Can't wait to read the next one.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
One of my friends was from Tupelo and thought it would be a treat for us to see his childhood home and other various homages to all things Elvis. There was lots of wine, so I was happy enough. We stopped at his childhood home, toured some other Elvis-related places, then headed to the casinos in Tunica, Mississippi. We walked in the first casino and saw Elvis posters and statues. Elvis was blaring over the stereo system. Heaven help me! But there was wine.
After a day and evening of casinos, Elvis and wine, we slept a few hours and headed to Memphis, Tennessee. I was dying to hit Beale Street. Bars, wine, music...I forgot about one thing-- Graceland. The friend who'd arranged this trip had paid for admission for all three of us to Graceland. But still, there was wine. Lots of wine. Have I mentioned I had a fondness for wine?
We headed into Graceland for the tour. Deep breath. We walked through a sea of Elvi. There were short ones, skinny ones, tall ones, chubby ones, blond ones, just about any ones. I needed to drink more wine. Actually, that isn't true, I'd had more than enough wine.
When I drink alcohol, I get chatty. And loud. And I find myself to be very amusing. I can't help it if others don't appreciate my humor. As we walked through the grounds, touring his plane, his home, his memorial site, I began to comment on various things.
"Attack of the ELVI!!" I screamed, as we traveled through the throng of Elvis impersonators.
"Shhh!" said my friend. "You're going to get us hurt!"
I kept up commentaries throughout the tour. And when a guide yelled at me for using a flash camera, I held up my hands and said, "Nope! Empty hands here! I'm not a fan!" Shortly after that, we left. I think it had something to do with threatening looks, words, or something from the fans.
It was a fun trip with good friends, good wine and good memories. Okay, the crowd of Elvi chasing us away was a little freaky, but...
Friday, April 4, 2014
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Now, I don't know about you, but I don't care for flies. And why in the name of goodness would I want to catch them?! I know what it means: you can get farther/obtain more by being nice than not. I'm not saying Momma is wrong, but I'm not so sure she's right either.
I've been nice--that bend-over-backwards, sweet-Southern-belle, sugary-sweet, gagging nice. (Don't laugh! I really have!) And frankly, all it got me was being a doormat. I've gone the other direction--in-your-face, shut-the-hell-up, kiss-my-grits bitch. (You can disagree here...I'm waiting...still waiting...oh, never mind!) All that got me was trouble.
Here's where we hit the happy medium, walking that line somewhere between sweet little angel and total bitch. I like to think I do okay at it, but it's a struggle. It goes against my nature to be argumentative and blunt. STOP LAUGHING! I really am uncomfortable in that role. I SAID STOP! But there have been times, many times that I've been forced to be that woman. And then, I feel that Southern belle guilt. It's like no other. I promise you, if you've never experienced it, it's worse than the guilt that makes you want to buy your kid a pony because you made him cry.
I'm not sure if we are born with that guilt or if it just seeps into our pores after a while. Nature or nurture? Anyway, I digress. I just know it's there. Some keep it buried WAY down deep. Some let it out more than we like. And then there are the ones like me, who become sarcastic. REALLY sarcastic. (I know, I've shocked you again!...Have you recovered?...Are you okay?) In fact, you could say the struggle between "catching flies" and full-on bitch mode, leads to sarcasm. (Don't you like how I justified that?)
The moral of the story? Don't try to catch flies with honey unless you want to join the Sarcastic Society. Just kidding, I don't believe there's a society named that yet... But when there is, I'll be president!
Happy reading! Keep smiling!
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
"If you want to do it, you can and you will," I reply.
I have no doubt he will do anything he sets out to do. My youngest child is very creative and artsy. He loves to build, design and draw. He's a big dreamer. That's a connection I have with him. He is always thinking of what he can do next. And truth is, this child can follow instructions like nothing I've ever seen before. I gave him a rubber band bracelet kit--he asked for it--and said, "I have no clue what to do with these things." Within minutes, he was turning out one bracelet after another. (Tha t ability to follow directions, he didn't get from me.)
My oldest son can't follow instructions because he's always in overdrive. He's very scattered and disorganized. But he has debating skills like you wouldn't believe. He's only 9 and he can debate any topic he reads about and make you believe he's right. He catches me off-guard quite often with his debating skills. There is no limit to what he can do.
My middle son is more musically inclined than the other two and loves to sing, dance and wants to play the guitar. I had to do some digging to get this out of him. He's relatively shy about performing in front of large groups, but loves being videoed singing and dancing. Maybe you'll see him on one of those talent shows on television one day.
For Christmas last year, Santa--who must have been drunk--brought a guitar, a drum set, a CD player, and about a bazillion Legos and Kinex blocks. Whatever we can do to encourage those big dreams, we'll do. And heaven help anyone who tries to discourage them!
Dream big! Thanks for reading!
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Can a person with ADHD use that to his/her advantage? Of course! I have friends who are diagnosed with ADHD and are some of the most productive people I know. Is it difficult for them? It can be. Relationships can be a little challenging, because people with ADHD are usually involved in a number of things simultaneously. And those who manage it, manage it well. But it can drive the rest of us a little crazy.
Is every person with ADHD just alike? Nope, no way, not at all. I have two children with ADHD and they are totally different. One is unorganized and unfocused, the other is organized but has difficulty regulating his emotions. No one treatment works for every person. And it's more difficult to diagnose than people think.
The excessive energy means they can get more done. The wild tales are active imaginations. The constant chatter means they have a lot of information to learn and to share. They are not brats, undisciplined or disrespectful. They are unique. They are a gift.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
She'll trip on her way to get the bandage and knock over the permanent bond glue.
When she knocks over the glue, she'll bend down to pick it up and hit her head.
When she hits her head, she'll fall.
When she falls, she'll land in the glue.
When she lands in the glue, she'll stick to the floor.
When she sticks to the floor, she'll get angry and slam her hand down on her leg.
When she hits her leg, she'll forget she's holding the bead reamer until she sees the blood.
When she sees the blood, she'll remember she needs a bandage.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
I'm amazed at the number of people who think that just because they role play fighting, that boys are "naturally violent". Or preoccupied with guns and violence. I haven't found that to be the case. My boys also love to play boardgames, play cards, to crochet, to build, to read, to cook and a plethora of other things. And two of my three LOVE babies. And they're gentle and kind, caring and loving. In fact, this year two of mine won awards at school for "Kindness and Compassion".
Do they fight? Of course, and I hate to burst your bubble, but my sister and I fought, too. And we played with cap guns and cracked each other over the head with batons. Do my boys fight other children? Yes, to defend themselves. We don't encourage physical violence, but we do encourage standing up for yourself. Is that wrong? I don't think so.
My boys don't like to hear or see things that portray real violence. The violence and death they see and hear about on television, radio or in the newspapers scares them. They feel compassion towards people who are hurt or have lost a family member. They don't understand why anyone would hurt another person for little or no reason.
And yes, there is a time and place for that kind of play. And several places are off-limits for that--school and church, to name a couple. Otherwise, I smile and wish for earplugs when I hear the "pew, pew, pew" of imaginary laser fights. Hey, I never said it doesn't get on my nerves, but so does the high-pitched squeal of a little girl playing with friends.
Friday, January 10, 2014
The tween years, like everything else, seem to be surfacing earlier and earlier. My boys have had "girlfriends" since preschool. My oldest had the "birds and bees" talk at 5. One of our twins got in trouble for explaining to a little girl at school that "girls have boobs and boys don't". (And before you yell at me for teaching him a slang word, he knows the correct word. Hell, I'm just glad the word 'penis' didn't end up in the conversation. I celebrate the little victories.) Suffice it to say, this can be a little overwhelming to us parental types. I think my husband and I have managed okay so far. He says, "Ask your mom." And I give them answers. (Sorry, dear.)
I'm reading a couple of books right now. One is "How to Hug a Porcupine". It's aimed at those parents of tweens/preteens. And I'm finding much of it applies.
He wants that independence, but still hangs on to the childish toys and rituals of his life. He wants to be left alone one minute and to sit in my lap the next. As confusing as it is for me, it's much more confusing for him. I'm not so old that I can't remember those days! (Now, what was I talking about?...)
He's got hormones surfacing, fears and questions about everything, and wants us near enough to help out, but not so near that we smother him. What a fine line we walk! One minute I'm the best, coolest Mom ever. The next, an embarrassment to the human race. (Note to self: call and apologize to Mom.)
My husband and I joke that, if people knew what they were getting into when they have children, and I mean what they're REALLY getting into, the human race would have ceased to exist long ago. (Haters, don't send me nasty-grams, I love my children. But let's be honest, they're NOT little bundles of sweetness and light ALL the time.)
I suppose we'll make it through this stage in one piece with a portion of sanity left. But I'm pretty sure it's gonna be one heck of a ride!
Thanks for reading!