Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cinnamon and Santa

I took my kids shopping, and as soon as we entered the aroma of cinnamon filled the air. I paused, inhaled and was immediately content. Any stress or frustration was forgotten. Cinnamon pinecones are the first signal of the holiday season. They bring to mind hot cocoa, fires, scarves, Douglass Firs, and friends and family near and far. Every year I buy them, every year my children point them out, smell them, and smile knowing these are some of Mommy’s favorite things. It will stay with them years from now, when they are grown up with children of their own, they will walk into a room and the smell of cinnamon will give them pause. They will stop in their tracks, smile fondly at this memory of their mother, the holidays of their youth, and cinnamon. 

I know this all too well because growing up every year my mother unwrapped the Christmas decorations, when she got to the figurine of Santa kneeling over baby Jesus in the Manger she would say it was her favorite; it was the representation of Christmas. The joy of presents and innocence of youth all bowing before the true reason for the season - the birth of baby Jesus. My mother died when I was a teenager, but when I walk into a room with a similar figurine I stop, my heart skips a beat, and I feel wrapped in her arms once again, even though I have spent half of my life without her.

This is one of the things I love about the holidays, they bring back our childhood, they evoke memories of loved ones, and help us connect with and form lasting bonds with our children. These are bonds that will last their whole life, so even when we aren’t there we are. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Turkeys and Tattoos

My son was asked to share what he did over Thanksgiving and he said, "We drove 6 hours, I smashed my head against a wall, and my parents got tattoos." Gotta say that sounds like an interesting holiday, especially from a teacher's perspective with no other information.

We drove to Kentucky in a van with shaky brakes, a sliding door that broke yet again and refuses to open, which means all the kids have to pile in and out of one side of the van, and an AV output that is busted. Still, we arrived in one piece and got to enjoy turkey and all the sides. My son, the one who shared his Thanksgiving experience, was acting all a fool and after spinning around he fell into the corner of the wall. A nice huge goose egg appeared. Here just look that this. Crazy, right?

The day after Thanksgiving Pete and I did get matching tattoos because I figure 35 is a good age for a mid-life crisis and is just the right age for I don't give damn. Mostly, we got them because we don't wear wedding rings because he lost his and I am allergic to the nickel in both my engagement and wedding band. After about 5 years of not wearing anything we both wanted to have something to show the world we were husband and wife, I mean besides the 5 kids that are always hanging on us.

I guess my son summed up Thanksgiving pretty well. I wonder what Christmas will be like?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Love at 7 Eleven

Hi everyone. I haven't been great about blogging on this site, and I will try so hard to do a better job!!, but I did have another essay posted at and here is the link!

Love at 7 Eleven

I am so excited to see where and hear about where you have rediscovered love- sometimes it happens in the most unexpected places and moments!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Mom Jeans- the struggle is real

I sometimes submit essays to and this week I have one up that is funny and light-hearted. It is a fun quick read that I hope will make you smile or shake your head because you feel sorry for the 'traditional' mom I have become.  Here is the link!

( Hmm.. am I wearing mom jeans right now?  Yes, yes I am)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mothers of Boys Need to be Concerned About These Sexist Comments

Men at times may talk like that, but that doesn’t make it ok. It doesn’t mean I will in any way accept that as an excuse, I will not try to rationalize these type of comments, nor will I accept any rationalization of his comments, and I certainly will not vote or endorse a man who feels this type of talk is acceptable. The mere fact he spoke these words means he finds them to be suitable for conversation.

I am a woman, yes, and I am also a mother. I do have a daughter, and I want her to feel like she is more than just a beautiful face or a nice piece of ass. I want her kindness, creativity, intelligence, and fierce determination to be noticed, credited, and listed first. I don’t want her to feel second-class, voiceless, weak, or intimidated by any man. While I want my daughter to stand tall, I happen to be a mother to sons as well.

It is our job, my and my husband’s, to teach these boys how to be men. But it is my job to help shape and mold their opinion of women. They are the future, they are the ones who will help determine how the gender conversation is played out, if they see women only as breakable porcelain dolls, the future of women’s roles is society will be marginalized. I have to teach them women are more than objects to be used how you want, they are not just large breasts, beautiful legs, and a pretty face. They are humans, individuals, and Godly made. Women are more than their sexuality, and my sons need to see their strength, confidence, intelligence, and humor. I need to instill in them a respect for a woman’s opinions. I need to expose them to women in all fields and in all levels of leadership.They need to know at a basic human level if you disagree with someone the go to response should not be derogatory, this goes for males and females, there should be no distinction. It should not be said or felt that because a woman proves to be correct or in opposition to you that she is a screechy bitch. She is a person with a different view, that is it, proceed from there.

I fear a man running for our highest office who thinks of women as little more than table dressing or arm candy, not only for my daughter but for my sons as well. I fear they will be begin to emulate the behavior they see played out on a national stage. How much harder it will be to teach them to be decent humans. It is already hard, there are constant ads, songs, and shows exposing them to the idea that women are there to be objectified, and not only that, but women want to be objectified. If they do not hear from a role model, like a mother, that this is not true, but they do hear from political figures, athletes, or actors on a daily repeat saying  this is just how it is and women are fine with it, they are used to it, then our society remains stagnant. To move forward in these times I need to force my sons to question the norm, I need to speak up and say this is not ok, I need to make sure I do not sit quiet and idly by as they make rude jokes or rate girls in their class. I need to share my own experiences of fear and inappropriateness, and I need them to be willing to stand up not just for mom or sister, but any female. I need them to become good dads so they can teach their own children. Females can change the world, and I for one, plan on starting by raising my sons to treat females as human beings.

Friday, August 26, 2016

When Back to School Hurts

I want to help you, make it easier, lift you up, heal the hurt, calm the anxieties, and see the positive. I know I can’t, and I am helpless. That feeling causes me great unease, I try to fix it or view it through my lens, but this isn’t about me, I can’t make it mine. Even as I write these words I imagine the impact they would have on you if you read them. Would you feel like you were causing more stress to our family, would you feel some of the burden, would it be one more thing that chips away at your self-worth, confidence, and esteem? 

I ask to take first day of school pictures, I make you smile, and later look at the picture. You are so handsome, you are growing so big, fourth grade now-wow, but I made you smile and it feels wrong, off-kilter. You were overwhelmed just by the mere thought of going, there was dread in your heart, and probably a battle of emotions going on inside that I don’t know. I tried to give you a pep talk, tried to help you make a list of positives, and you just shut down. I just got frustrated because I was never the ‘bad’ kid, I was never the kid with ‘too much energy’, I was never the kid who on one level knew you weren’t supposed to walk around, talk, say crazy things randomly, but sometimes just couldn’t help it. Instead, I fear my talk left you feeling more isolated, more alone, and like I could never understand your world. The thing is I try, and sometimes I think I understand better, but I am not sure I will ever understand completely. It breaks my heart when you hear back to school the things that immediately go through your head are: I am going to be the worst kid in my class again, I am going to get in trouble everyday, even when I try to behave I get in trouble so I should just stop trying, what’s the point, no one notices when I am even a little bit better, some kids don’t want anything to do with me because I am too crazy, I talk too much, I am too different, they separate me from my friends because we are too loud when we are together, and they want me to have friends, so why do they put my friends in another class?

I know all too well this is true. I know soon I will start getting phone calls, emails, meetings will start, plans will be put into place, tricks, tactics, rewards, and the whole gamut will be deployed to help you make it through the year. In the end you will hate school a little more, you will feel a little more like people are just putting up with you, trying to handle you until they don’t have to, and even when they see the positive, the great, the wonderful kindness you possess, and they do tell you- you won’t hear it. You will be too used to hearing all the negative that it won’t balance out. It isn’t just at school because I am guilty of it here. I hope you see through it, I hope you can see past it, I hope in time you can learn to value the perks of your over-active brain. You are so brilliant, your reading level and mastery of language is above and beyond, you are so imaginative, you are not afraid to ask questions, you do not back down, you are excellent with your younger siblings, you are generous, you are funny, you are quick-witted, and you are brave because everyday you walk into school knowing that it will be hard, it will be like putting a square in a circle, and you do it, and that my dear is called courage.

Since it is the beginning of a new school year I want to share my failings because I am not perfect, I mess up, I get frustrated, overwhelmed, lost, confused, stressed, angry, and feel incapable of being your mother, but none of this is because you are a ‘bad’ kid. You are not a’bad’ kid. You are the most amazing kid. I won’t lie, it is hard, it can be tough, but nothing in life is always easy, sometimes you have to fight for the best things in life, and I promise to be there with you, I promise to be on your side.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Memorable Moments

I feel like a big part of my life is helping other people not feel like total failures as a parent. I mean with 5 kids I am bound to screw up occasionally and well, so are my kids, here is a long list of ways I am making you feel like an awesome parent.

Let's start with last week. We had a baseball game and a soccer game to attend and being a one- car family that means a lot of planning and toting everyone along. We lucked out that the games were being played at the same park, but there is a bit of distance between them, which comes into play here real soon. Luke's game was first so all 7 of were in attendance, and Jack was talking about this and that when he suddenly remembered he was banned from electronics for 1 month, it had already been 2 weeks, so the fact that it just randomly dawned on him is not even something I can understand. In his anger he stormed off without a word. We watched him walk past the baseball field, past the playground, and near the pond. We let him go, if he wanted to be angry and let off some steam so be it. Then about 15 minutes later it was time for part of the crew to head on over to Jack's soccer game. Pete went down by the playground and pond to get Jack, but he wasn't there. Pete asked a guy who was fishing with his kids if he had seen a little boy, and the response was no. There is a big hill and some little trail type areas nearby so Thomas and I went and searched that area, screaming his name, but nothing. Around this time I had to grab Luke from his game, and Pete was going to drive around to the other side of the park to see if Jack just decided to walk to his soccer game without telling us. As Luke and I made our way we met Pete who had decided to walk to the soccer fields since, if something had happened to Jack he would be retracing Jack's path, turns out Jack was at his soccer game. Later when we told him we needed to discuss what happened he said, " What happened? What did I do?"

Jack stories are the best so here is another. We went to Henderson last week, and the first night there Jack was being a bit much. He has this tendency, so one way to help him and everyone around him, is to send him someplace alone to read. He didn't like that he was being pulled away, but I put him in a bedroom gave him a book and told him he needed to take a break for a little while. About 10 or 20 minutes later my sister went in to say goodbye to him and discovered the window open and the screen on the bed. My son had escaped. Mary and Daniel looked outside to discover that he didn't go far, just next to our van, we brought him inside and once he was walking away from me I noticed that his back had blood all over it. I called for him and it turns out that in his escape he managed to fall on this piece of plastic, breaking the plastic, and scratching up his back pretty badly. I will say I did not scream. I even repeatedly kept telling him that I wasn't screaming, probably in an effort to not scream. I guess I can say hopefully he learned climbing out windows is not ok, and if you do you might get hurt. Better to learn this lesson at 9 versus 16- I hope.

Once back home Meg had this dress up outfit that needed some sequins or something glued back on. I could only find super glue and she wanted it done right away and without thinking I started to do it while she was wearing the dress. Nope. Bad, horrible idea. She began screaming. I immediately yanked that dress away from her chest but it was done, it had burned her. Now she has a small burn on her chest. Oh she sobbed and sobbed for an hour. She fell asleep in my arms sobbing and kept waking up crying. It was the most horrible thing. It looks so much better now, and doesn't bother her at all, but I feel immense guilt every time I see it.

Meg decided she needed a haircut. She took the scissors and just started cutting. Nice. We haven't fixed it yet, so she has been wearing a ponytail. It isn't horrible and it can be fixed without looking ridiculous, so that is good news.

In Henderson we went to the Handy Fest and there were bounce houses and slides that I let the kids go on. Thomas slid down a slide with his arm under him and he got a little burn. I didn't think much of it because it looked like a rug burn and not a big deal. I gave him a band-aid, mostly just to appease him, and sent him on his way. This weekend I noticed that he had this huge scab that covered most of his elbow. What?! We went to the zoo and the very last thing we did was ride the carousel. When they got off I noticed a large-ish amount of blood coming from Thomas' elbow. I had tissues so we put those on it, and then a nice mom who was standing nearby gave us a band-aid. So we fixed it pretty quickly. It turns out that Thomas' arm snagged on this phone holster Pete decided to wear today (since it was Father's Day Pete decided to dress like a dorky dad-haha ), and it ripped that scab right off. Tonight we changed the bandage and it looks a lot worse than it did before. It is gross. Thomas did get a small ice cream out of it though.

Then there is Robert who is just a handful all of the time. He took off his diaper to poop on the floor, he found my make-up and put it everywhere, he takes all the pots and pans out of the drawers at least 10 times a day, he eats off the dirty spoons in the dishwasher, he throws all his food on the floor, he draws on the wall, he chases the cat, he moves the step stool to the sink in order to grab toothbrushes and put them in the toilet, and really just about anything he shouldn't do he does. He is the 5th kid he should be easy-just saying.

That's been my summer so far-- hope yours is memorable too.

because this is what happens when you try to get them all to be in one picture