Monday, May 31, 2010

Guest Post - Super Parent Powers.

Preparing For My Super Parent Powers, by Holly Renee at
Holly is a wonderful blogger and artist with the heart of a writer. I recently discovered Holly and fell in love with her vividly worded posts and accompanying artwork that she does herself! I urge you to go check our her site, she won't disappoint!

My husband and I have talked about trying to conceive in a year. Does this excite me? You know it. Does the thought of parenting completely overwhelm me? YES! Only it’s more like a feeling of absolute terror. Not only am I scared of actual childbirth (don’t even get me started), but I feel like I will never be fully prepared to parent a human baby.

Just that word baby kind of freaks me out. They are so little, and precious, and helpless. I don’t know how to help myself sometimes, how am I going to help a tiny baby? Cleaning up dog poop makes me gag. Throw up is beyond what I can handle. Isn’t that mostly what a baby does, poop and throw up?

After they are babies they become children. Children that need things like clothes, food, and attention. What if they hate the clothes and food I pick out for them? (And I think we all know they will hate whatever I pick out for them).

Then they become teenagers who need space and independence. What?!? Now I’m supposed to let go of the thing I hold dearest to my heart? This person I cultivated for years. That’s just cruel.

I honestly have no idea how parents do it. My oldest sister has three boys, and I love them all very much, but spending three hours with them is exhausting. I think some kind of super human power is given to people once they become parents. I often hear new parents say, “I never thought I could survive off this little sleep.” Duh, you are a parent now, you have super human powers!

I am in awe of every single parent I meet. Sometimes I’ll read a blog about some challenge a parent is having with their child, and it hits me that I had no idea that issue could even be a problem for a child. I know there are parenting books, and supportive resources, but they can only do so much.

I mean, I still feel like a kid half the time. I wander around my house singing made-up songs and seeking out chocolate for part of my evening. Campaigns that focus on preventing teenage pregnancy sometimes use the line, “Children having children.” Well, I feel like I should call one of these campaigns and see if they can do anything to help me.

Of course, I am half kidding. I am a somewhat responsible adult. I am physically and emotionally healthy, financially secure, and in a supportive marriage. Plus, I still have a little bit of time to get ready for this whole parenting thing.

I wonder though, is anyone ever really ready for such an intense responsibility? Is there any possible way to NOT emotionally scar your children for life? I’m hoping some part of parenting comes down to feeling and following my heart. It’s never (okay, rarely) steered me wrong before, so I’m thinking it’s a reliable resource.

For all you parents out there: How did you know you were ready to have children? What helps you navigate the parental waters? And, are you, in fact, super human now that you have kids?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Guest Post - Suburban Stereotype

Today's Guest Blogger is Mandy P at Suburban Stereotype. I was SOOPER excited when she agreed to post for me today. She is one of my favorite bloggers of all time!

Mandy has this to say about herself

I am a SAHM and love it! But don't think that means
every day is easy... This blog is my journey through this crazy thing I call my life. I want to talk about the things that happen while wearing all my "hats" (wife, mom, child of God, daughter, sister, friend, employee, etc) all the things that make up each day-the good, the bad, and the sometimes mundane. =)

I am a Christian, but please don't label me as "one of those" before you get to know me. I am no better than anyone else. I don't "hate" other people regardless of their lifestyle, beliefs or any other reason. I am saved by Christ and have nothing to boast in except that alone.

I am your run-of-the mill neurotic girl who worries incessantly about her kids and tries her darndest to be all things to all people. I am most comfortable in my sweats (or as my family calls them, our "cozies.") I used to get my hair and nails done, wear clothes with buttons, and talk about things OTHER THAN diapers, potties, and poop. My date night used to consist of more than a quick appetizer and a sprint to the penny saver theater and then home in time to untie relieve my in-laws.

Now we're livin' the life; suburban domestic bliss. I say that both tongue-in-cheek and in seriousness. My husband (Joe) and I love our kiddos and do our best every day to love each other, love our babies and hold it all together. Feel free to comment (or not). But most importantly, feel free to laugh. Laugh at us. Laugh at yourself. Join us in this carnival we call our life!

What in the world has this planet come to when an elderly man yells obscenities at me from the middle of the road? Wait. Let me back up and paint the picture.

The hubs and I were cruising along in our sweet periwinkle minivan, headed home after a crushing victory at R's soccer game when an elderly man started crossing the street in front of us. He may have even made it across in time except he slowed down and then stopped altogether in the middle of the road long enough to yell at us to slow down. Against my better judgment and my pleas to "hit the gas!" Joe went ahead and stopped before we plowed right into him.

From that last statement you may have gathered that I'm a hateful person. I assure you, I'm not. But, here we were, minding our own business, driving the speed limit (25 mph-or maybe just a skosh above) and this old guy just waltzes out in front of us. I believe back in the day they used to ticket for jay walking.

Still stinging from Joe's reluctance to mow him down like a pancake, I rolled down my window as we passed and said--very politely-- "this isn't a cross walk, sir." To which he replied--equally as polite--"Butt out, b*****."

Oh. yes. he. did.

After picking my jaw up off the floor, I yelled something else charming out the window. I can't be sure now what it was, but I may recall addressing him by a variation of Richard. Not proud of that.

Now, answer me this...what is it about a confrontation with a rude stranger that brings out the lion in me? I could have torn that guy's eyes out, and might have if Joe hadn't refused to stop. (Can you imagine that scene? Me, all pregnant, rolling around on the road, scrapping with Grandpa Jones while my minivan overflowing with children looks on?) Ordinarily, I love me some elderly, but that day, my head very nearly popped off my head.

What happened to chivalry? I thought old men were supposed to be cuddly and cute and carry quarters and Werther's Originals in the pockets of their gold cardigans? What the...?

Tomorrow is another game day. With these pregnancy hormones raging through my body, anyone's fair game. *cracking knuckles*

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Guest Post - Women Should Count It All....What?

Today's guest blogger is my mom*.

click the picture to be taken directly to her blog

Women Should Count it all...WHAT?

    Recently I was memorizing James 1:1-5 (This has been edited from yesterdays post to contain the correct scripture. My mom gave me the wrong one and she's real sorry to confuse you. She'll even make you some fudge to make it up.) and began to see these verses in a different way. Read verses 1-4 and think about what is says. Does that really mean we are to find joy in difficulties? That’s just not easy to do. Then I discovered in verse 5 something I’d not seen before. But before we get to that, let me share something else.

When I discovered this truth, I offered to lead our women’s team devotion time one week and was prepared to share this new insight. That was pre-flood in Nashville. Then on the weekend of May 1 an unheard of disaster hit our city and many others in Tennessee. We canceled the meeting that week as a result of folks not being able to get to the office and rescheduled about two weeks later.

As we began our meeting and I shared, it took on a whole different meaning as many faced such difficulties due to the flood. In fact, Tanya, one of our team members lost her home and car. How did God know we would need this lesson that week? He not only knew, He postponed it for this week. But the thing is, Tanya was already counting it joy as she’d shared both her pain and her strength in Christ with our team. She’s hurting and sad, but she and her husband have already been able to see what God has done to draw them into a deeper walk with Him because of this loss. That is something they wouldn’t trade for all the possessions they lost. That’s counting it all JOY!

Our first thought in trouble is usually how can I get out of or through the issue and get on with “normal” life. Charles Spurgeon said, “In shunning a trial, we are seeking to avoid a blessing.” God truly has incredible blessings as we seek Him in trials. I’ve learned so much through infertility, loved ones with cancer, difficulties with children, and a mom with dementia that I’d never know about God if I hadn’t been so desperate for Him.

Job 23:10 tell us, “Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold.” That is why we can find joy even in hard times. We are being purified through it all.

But my new revelation came with verse 5. It tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God to give us His wisdom and it says he will do that, generously and without criticism. I’d never really considered the order of these verses, but it dawned on me, when we are facing trials, our first thought should be to ask God for wisdom in that situation, and as we do, we will be able to find strength and even joy.

I began to think about wisdom and Solomon came to mind immediately. When God asked him what he wanted more than anything, and he could have had anything he wanted…riches, lands, fame…he asked God for wisdom. He led well while he focused on godly wisdom, but when he lost his focus, he began to fail. (1 Kings 3). Later in life, Solomon became unfaithful to God (1 Kings 11) and no longer led as the king he once was.

In my mind¸ I know that wisdom helps us count it joy in trials, but had never really seen the strong connection till now. Our FIRST reaction to trials should be to plead for God’s wisdom to navigate the situation according to His wisdom.

In the book Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray, he says this, “and live, above all, day by day in the blessed truth that, as He Himself, the living Christ Jesus, is your wisdom, your first and last care must ever be this along: to abide in Him. Abiding in Him, His wisdom will come to you as the spontaneous out-flowing of a life rooted in Him. I abide in Christ, who was made unto us wisdom from God; wisdom will be given me.”

How are you, as a mom, daily abiding in Him, seeking His wisdom, and counting it joy when you face trials? How are you teaching your children to face difficulties?

As moms, we will face various trials throughout our motherhood, many we aren’t expecting nor desiring. But as we allow God to work through each one, showing us His provision and faithfulness, we will experience a deeper walk with Him than we ever imagined.

*Chris Adams is the Senior Lead Women's Ministry Specialist in Training and Events, LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention where she recently received the Career of Excellence Award.

Prior to her employment at LifeWay in December 1994, she was special ministries coordinator at Green Acres Baptist Church of Tyler, Texas coordinating women's ministry and missions education.

She is an ongoing guest teacher at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary's Women's Certificate Program where she received her BA in Christian Ministry.

Chris has been a consultant, speaker and conference leader in a variety of church and denominational roles.

She is consultant, contributor and guest editor of Journey, a women's devotional magazine with monthly circulation of over 214,000 that deals with real issues women face daily.

She has compiled two books, Women Reaching Women: Beginning and Building a Growing Women's Ministry and Transformed Lives: Taking Women's Ministry to the Next Level, contributed to the books Leading Women to the Heart of God and HeartCall: The Call to Prayer, and has written for various publications including Home Life and Journey magazines.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Guest Post - Bossy Betty

For the next week and a half I will be hosting a whole slew of guest bloggers (or is that a gaggle of guest bloggers? A herd of bloggers? Whatever!) I will be immersing myself in the final days of packing, moving, unpacking and breathing deeply that the move is over. We received news that we will possibly (98%) be closing on the dream home, but until I get the keys in my hand and see something in writing...I am a little doubtful. I will still be posting on Twitter and will be doing a Saturday blog post on what the outcome of our housing situation turned out to be.

I want to thank everyone who responded to my "Call To Arms" with guest blogging. I had a fabulous turn out and can't wait to introduce these wonderful blog ladies to you!

Today's Guest Blogger is Bossy Betty. This is what Betty has to say about herself:

In my old age, I plan to become the crazy cat lady in the neighborhood--the woman both pitied and viewed with a strange sense of fascination by all. That life of fame will have to wait though. These days I am a hard-workin' teacher and mama to two boys. I've been married to a man--a real, live man-- for 27 years. He's real nice and he's clean too! In the mornings I go Nordic walking around my neighborhood and at night I sleep the sleep of the happy.
Gifted and Talented!

Hyperactive parents that we were, we were more than ready for Evan to take to the wilds of academics and be the little Super Star in school we knew he could be. After all, hadn't we filled his crib with educational toys? Didn't we have hundreds of books scattered around the house like wild flower seeds? The boy couldn't even go to the bathroom without encountering some author or another staring at him from the rack of books beside the toilet. Meal times were not just times to eat. They were times to learn! learn! learn! with place mats featuring State Flags and a Map of the World Flags. The lettering at the top of these place mats commanded our children to "Eat and Learn!"

Sonny Boy, who had always had a healthy fear of authority figures, jumped into school, did the work, no questions asked. Evan, however, viewed his teachers as impediments to recess. When his soft-spoken second grade teacher said softly and mournfully, "Evan, it makes me sad when you don't do your work," he viewed her as having some sort of mental problem that made her even more unsuitable for the classroom. "Why should that make her sad, Mom? Don't you think that's really weird?"

So in third grade we were more than ready for the ignition switch to be flipped on. Regular readers of Bossy Betty will recall that at a parent-teacher conference a year earlier, the teacher had been excited to tell us of Evan's progress in the class in the form of this high praise: "He doesn't fall out of his chair as much any more."

So third grade started off with more frenzied excitement (by HOB and I) at any progress being made. He was doing fine in his class, but I hung out with high-performance mothers whose high-performance children were building models of the Eiffel Tower out of toothpicks in their spare time and preparing to be "Gated." GATE (Gifted and Talented) was the program in our school to which selected children were admitted and so all of these mothers liked to use "Gated" as a verb in their conversations as much as possible. "When Eric gets Gated this year...." "You know, we've promised her a new computer when she gets Gated. Of course, she'll probably build her own before she gets Gated." (Readers: Stop here to make retching sound of vomiting.) Obnoxious? Oh yes. Bossy Betty jealous? Oh no. Not at all.

One fine afternoon it happened: Evan came home and immediately opened his backpack. He withdrew a brightly colored xeroxed paper and began working intensively. Now, I had read the "Parenting a Brilliant Child" books and one thing the books recommended was to not to interfere in moments like this. When the child takes ownership of the work, the child is encouraged to do more of the same, leading to a Nobel Prize in Science in the future.

I watched from afar as he worked with different colored markers. His concentration level on this project was intense. He worked on this opus, this masterpiece for ten or so minutes. I stood back, knowing this was the pivotal shift we had been waiting for but still curious. Was it math that had sparked this new found fervor? Was it a love of science? Was it (ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleasepleaseplease) a love of reading?

Finally, he stood back, finished, drained, but very, very pleased. I stepped forward as he unveiled his work to me.

He had annotated, decorated, and edited the lunch schedule for the next month.

There were clouds over Fish Sticks day. Sloppy Joe day had been crossed out and the words "Boo! Boo!" written above it. Pizza Day glowed with yellow sunshine and happy faces.

I looked at this boy of mine at the table--a happy, proud and exuberant little soul--and knew I would not change one single thing about him. He was (and remains) a singularly unique and wonderful person. Gifted and Talented? You bet. In so many ways.

"Well, I said, hugging him, "I am so proud of you! Let's just put this right on the refrigerator where we can look at it every day."

And we did.

*Thank you so much Bossy Betty for contributing this wonderful piece of the pride we have in our children!! I was honored to post this!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If You Teach A Mom A Lesson - Launch!

*This page has been updated thanks to reader input!
Today is the launch of "If You Teach A Mom A Lesson" which is a new blog hop carnival for you to share your "Lessons". This is a spin-off of "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" in which each action spins into a lesson that you have learned. If you are familiar with my blog, you remember that I often do "Lessons Learned" and share the humorous lessons that I have learned about a particular subject.
Here are some examples:

Lessons for riding in a car:
  • That decision to sit in between the children on a long car ride? STUPID.
  • Children think that if you are sitting close then you are available for picking on.
  • Somehow they forget you are the mother
  • Ford Minivans' back bench seat will hold 2 car seats and a mother with a width of 18 inches.
  • I am not 18 inches wide
  • Carseats can dig into thighs and leave bruises after an extended amount of time
  • Children who love seeing cows, love to imitate the sound of cows.
  • Listening to cows for 45 minutes at top volume can drive anyone insane.
This is your chance to share your "If You Teach A Mom A Lesson" with everyone else.

**The Linky is not working "quite" right. It will show up when you enter your link, it just takes a little bit but your link has been saved.

Today's Lesson Topic:
Cooking with small children

*Next week's Lesson Topic:
Traveling with children

Enter your link below! I can't wait to see the lessons you have today!

This is a Blog Hop! 5 entries so far... you're next!

  1. How are the Harmons?
  2. Is that like riding in cars with boys?
  3. Mamas Tips!
  4. Peanuts are Evil

  1. Bellis Place

  2. You are next...
    Click here to enter

    What is a blog hop?
    Get the code here...

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Bloggy Design Buddy

Do you remember my old design on my blog? I sure DON'T because I have this new snazzy design that I am so in love with!!!

I wanted ya'll to know that my blog designer is having a special right now.

5 blog designs for $50 each.

Girls (and 4 men) this is a steal for the design, customer service and happiness that you will get when you use her!

The link is HERE...Go check her out and let her know I sent you!

Lost - No More

After many years of the television show "Lost"; it finally came to an end last night in a big season finale.

Not that I would know, because I got home too late, don't know how to program my VCR and don't have a DVR (not that I would know how to work that any better) I have to admit, I was crushed like a child getting her lollipop stolen at not being able to watch it. I have seen every episode and I felt invested in the show. Honestly, I don't know why. It really wasn't that good of a show; more of a lame mind trip with a lot of hype.

I tried to stay off Twitter so that I wouldn't see spoilers.

Who am I kidding...I stalked my friends who were watching it and cringed every time they slipped out a "Noooo..." My mind racing with what the possibilities were.

I steered clear of forums that I knew would be chatting it up live.

You caught me...I peeked a couple of times.

I kept refreshing sites like with the hopes that someone would put it up.

Finally around 1am, I gave up and went to bed.

OK...OK...I did get up a couple of times to see if it was posted yet.

Somewhere around a 4am check-in, I got mad...then I was appalled at myself.

Did I really just place that much importance on a television show? Have I really sat down faithfully every Tuesday night no matter what other things I needed to be doing? When we place that much dedication to something and importance, shouldn't we bring something useful from it? What was I gaining from my viewing loyalty? How was I enriching my life?


Tonight is the season finale of 24. After all my soul searching; do you know what I will be doing while it airs?

Popping some popcorn, my friends.

Sometimes we do something that has no life enriching benefit and no personal growth gain, but it makes us happy....and that is OK.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Your Lessons - Pt 2

Here are some more of the entries to my question about what lessons you have learned in parenting! These are all just hilarious and I want to thank each of you for submitting them! Due to an overwhelming response, I believe I will be making this type of format a weekly blog hop. Each week we will have a different type of "lesson" to share with each other.

I have been trying to come up with a clever name for it, but can't seem to find anything that "snaps" like I want it to. I would like to do these on Tuesdays.

Can any of you think of a catchy name that connects "lessons" and "Tuesdays"?

Do you have some lessons in basic parenting that you would like to contribute to this list? I will update it through today.

Alrighty...class is in order. Here are your lessons for today...

Monkey Mae's Lesson:

  • I am a new mommy...Monkey Mae is only eight months old. But I have learned that no matter how fabulous a pair of chandelier earrings is, they are not worth the resulting flesh wound.

Kisma's Lessons:

  • Having kids has taught me how to be patient.... and reminded me that I was a kid once too.
  • when it comes to the phone, sex and have STRONG RADARS!Interruptions will happen;-)

Lovingmylife's Lessons:

  • That puke can fly up to 15mph and travel up to 10 feet before landing on your last remaining pair of clean jeans.
  • That wearing boogers on your shirt is actually an accessory to most outfits.
  • Children have sonar ears and will hear you opening the last candy even when they are supposed to be taking a nap!

Bree's Lessons:

  • -make a birthday list for relatives or you are sure to get gifts that come with a zillion pieces and are not age appropriate.
  • -try really hard to get those kids to go potty before leaving the house...juggling 1 child in my arm & trying to get potty child to not touch the seat is darn near amazing (and so hard on my body)
  • -minimize purse contents because they are doomed to be emptied at the most awkward time.
  • -don't even bother wearing white anymore- - -
  • thanks for this. I love seeing the humor in child raising. having children made me discover my heart, I wouldn't change a thin- except maybe a little more sleep :)
Trooppetrie's Lessons:

  • to carry baby wipes even if your kids have been potty trained for years.
  • not to talk about anyone in front of your kids unless you are willing for them to repeat it to them
Learning And Living By Faith's Lessons:

  • I have learned to not say "I will kids." Cause then 3, 4, or more years later I will.
  • I have learned, just because I think I will remember which baby was which in 10's much safer to label the picture anyway.
  • I have learned that small toys, ie. legos, small hot wheel cars, lincoln logs can cause injuries to the feet that last for weeks.
  • I have learned that when my 12 year old wants to sit on my lap, to let him. When he is 14 he won't want to so much.
  • I have learned that letting her wear her Sunday school dresses to play princess in is worth the extra laundry, in smiles.
A Lil Story's Lessons:

  • The minute you get on the phone, your house will become a war zone: couch cushions flying, dishes breaking, juice spilled on the floor, bleeding wounds, and all of them screaming louder than should be humanly possible.
  • Just wait until they're in bed to make your phone calls. =)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Featuring Your Lessons

Thursday I asked for all of you to share some of the mind shattering wisdom that you have learned since you have had kids. The purpose of this was to be able to educate other mothers on the more delicate matters of parenting. There were so many entries, I am splitting it into many posts. If you have any lessons you want to add...leave them in the comments and I will include yours and link you up!

Here are some of the lessons that you have learned:

Erin's Lessons:

  • No matter how new your portable DVD player, it will break within the first thirty minutes of a twelve hour car drive.
  • You may think that you have your children engaged in a movie long enough for your husband and you to sneak in a quickie but they have a radar for things like that and within thirty seconds will be screaming outside your bedroom door wanting to know what you are doing.
  • When it's quiet in the house you are in big trouble. There is something naughty happening behind one of those closed doors.
Become What You Are's Lessons:

  • I have learned (after a grand total of 12 years of breastfeeding) that you do not need to worry when answering the door for the UPS guy in the middle of a feed that he'll see anything. You may, in fact, be exposed, but those guys just don't think to look for breasts down that low!
  • I have learned that two "tweenage" boys are too big to do the Super Mario wall jump on a glass paneled door.
  • I have learned that dryer lint and dryer sheets go up in flames VERY quickly.
  • I have learned that unfrozen popsicle pouches are the preferred food of adventurers "stuck" on Mt Everest and it can sustain them for hours.
  • I have learned that if you "rescue" a sick pigeon by bringing it into your room, it WILL freak out and it WILL poop all over your brother's bed.
  • I have learned that the second drawer in your dresser is a good alternative to the laundry bin for a wet/poopy diaper when you don't want to go from the third floor to the basement.
  • I have learned that a bag of dog poop in a paper bag will burn like the dickens when lit on your neighbor's porch.
  • And I have learned that I would take those days back in half a heartbeat and do it all over again!
Bethany's Lessons:

  • As a mom I've learned that a computer screen image can be turned sideways and the only one who knows how to fix it is the two-year-old who put it that way to begin with.
  • I've learned that daily showers are a luxury.
  • I've learned that your own kids' poop doesn't smell as bad as other kids' poop.
  • I've learned that just because it doesn't smell as bad doesn't mean it smells good.
  • I've learned that blood can come from all kinds of weird places - like tear ducts.
  • And I've learned that if your 8 y.o. eats nothing but Fruity Pebbles for breakfast, lunch and dinner, he will have rainbow colored surprises in the toilet the next day.
  • And that he will think it's blood. And that he is going to die.
Brandie's Lessons:

  • With the 1st child, you freak if the paci hits the ground and you MUST wash it (even if the baby is screaming his head off). With the 2nd, you realize the 5 second rule SO applies and a visual once-over and blowing off obvious dirt is totally acceptable. By the 3rd, you come to your senses and... what's that saying??? God made dirt... and you just stick it right back in their mouth. ;)
Lolidots's Lessons:

  • Let's not forget that when hubby tags along for the trip, we are adding another child. One that will sword fight with the pool noodles, push all the buttons on the talking toys, try on all the goofy hats, let the kids do whatever they want and make the trip twice as long and twice as expensive. ;-)
Cascia's Lessons:

  • As a mother of four children I have learned so much so it is hard to share just one tip..hmm let me think, the best one that I can think of is this, You can not put your penny back in your piggy bank once swallowed. Oh and here are a couple more things I have learned.
  • Babies laugh if they are pulled across the carpet.
  • Toothpaste can be used as finger paint and the bathroom mirror makes a wonderful canvas!
Do you have any "lessons learned" you want to share?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday 5 and Friends

I got an email from "Thanks, Mail Carrier" inviting me to participate in "Friendly Friday". To be honest, I passed it off and continued about my day. I have heard so many negative things about "follower groupies" and the whole "follow me & I'll follow you" about being nothing more than building numbers, that I wanted to steer clear of it. Most of the readers that I do have are loyal readers and that is way more important than sheer numbers.

Then I thought again...most of the readers that I do have now are a direct result from relationships that I gained through Friday Follow groups. So I here I am writing another post for the Friday crew.

I am "The Crayon Wrangler". You can read more about me in the "About Me" section and I encourage you to read some of the posts titled "Lessons Learned" (we have great reader participation in those) Real Moms Of Genius (parody of Real Men of Genius by Budweiser) and tons of other rambling posts and vlogs about the more humorous side of parenting, marriage and everything that makes us women (and my 4 male readers!)

I also want to invite you to play along with Mama M's Five Question Friday!

Rules for Five Question Friday: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog, answer them, then c'mon back to link up (on Friday, of course!). If you'd like, the blog hop code is available for you to grab! I would be a very grateful mama, if you'd link back to Mama M.!

If you don't have a blog, but want to play along...feel free to answer the questions in the comments of this post, or any blog along the blog hop way!

Questions for Friday, May 21st: (Special thanks to Pam, Jill, Liz, Erin, and Lula Lola for their question suggestions! Wanna be linked in a future 5QF? Head over to Mama M's community and offer up your best question suggestions! We need some freshening up over I'd LOVE to see some new questions!!)

1. Do you have an iPhone and, if so, how do you get apps and what are your favorites?

I do not have an iPhone but I was almost talked into buying an iString with two tin can handsets...Alright, truth. I "get" the concept of the iPhone and would love to have one, but I am just now starting to master setting the time on my microwave and programming our old VHS player. I'm not sure I have the "app"titude to try anything else right now.

2. What is your fondest memory of K-3rd grade?

The thing that came first to mind was my first kiss in kindergarten (actually just found that poor guy on FB too!) but my fondest memory was making something for our mom with clay. I don't remember what it was supposed to be, but it ended up looking like a coiled snake combined with a bowl. I remember the excitement of finishing it, putting it in the kiln (Well, I didn't put it in a firey hot oven due to liability and age) and then painting it. That was when I first learned the joy of creating something from nothing...I have been a writer ever since. The clay thing...I left that in the garbage along with my embroidery and latch hook creativity spells.

3. What makes you cringe at the thought of touching?

I am a mom, so there is not that much that I haven't touched and overcome the cringe reaction.

4. If you could have any celebrity show up on your doorstep who would it be and why?

I just had a parade of no less than 50 people fly through my mind to mention here, but the truth is I would be honored and humbled that any celebrity would take the time to show up on my doorstep.
But if someone happens to be reading...I would love for Dean Koontz and his lovely wife (and new pupdog) to show up for some koolaid and cookies, so we can have a chat about when the next "Odd Thomas" book is coming out.

5. What would you say is your best physical feature?

I loathe these kind of questions...seriously. Must I really brag on my blog about something with my looks. Not only that, but it's not really a physical feature but a combo of different things. I like my high cheekbones, but only because they balance out my almond shaped know what...let's just go with my knees. I am OK with my knees. Other than that, everything else is here today and gone tomorrow.

Interview with Lucille O'Neal (Shaquille O'Neal's Mom)

Yesterday I had the privilege of interviewing Lucille O'Neal about her new book "Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go"

"Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go" is Lucille O'Neal's personal journey to the woman she has become. From a difficult childhood, being an unwed teenage mother, raising 4 children, helping guide Shaq to his professional basketball career, alcoholism, cancer and divorce; Lucille takes her readers on a journey of "Faith In Action"

During that phone call, I was able to talk more in depth to Lucille (Yes...I have permission to just call her Lucille) about several parts of her book that impressed me.

Click on the phone to hear the interview (30 minutes long)

I would like to thank Lucille for taking the time for me and I would like to thank Bill Seaver of MicroExplosion Media for setting up the interview and providing me with the audio file.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Your Lessons

Yesterday's post about "Lessons learned with kids and grocery shopping" was pretty funny, but YOUR comments took it to a whole new level of funny! First, thanks to all of you who participated and shared your own lessons. Secondly, I am opening up today's post to your "Lessons" that you have learned since you have had kids.

If you are unsure what I am talking about, check out these posts:

Alrighty, here's the deal. Leave me a comment with "Lessons You Have Learned Since You Have Had Kids". Saturday I will make a post compiling all of the comments with a link back to you. I have no doubt that it will be a heck of a post...I have got some readers with a serious funny bone!!

Finally...I am doing a phone interview with Lucille O'Neal (Shaq's Mom) a little later today. I will have a audio copy of that interview that I will post on my blog as soon as it is available. We will be discussing her new book "Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go" I have 5 copies of her book that I want to give to YOU. Shoot me an email and I will send out a copy to the first 5 people.

So...What are some lessons that you have learned since you have had kids....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lessons Learned - The Grocery Store With Kids

  1. When you have small children, you will put off going to the store as long as possible.
  2. After trying to make a dinner out of a can of peaches, ranch dressing and 3 olives, it's time to go to the store.
  3. Gummy fruit snacks and coffee are the most important items on the 4 foot long list.
  4. You will go to the store that has the cool race car shopping carts, not the one with the best prices.
  5. You take extra diapers and clothes along with your coupons.
  6. Since you know your kids, you already have a pre-written apology letter to the manager of the store.
  7. The first meltdown occurs right inside the door when the children discover that all the cool race car shopping carts are being used.
  8. A trip to the free cookie counter will appease them for 20 minutes.
  9. You spend more time trying to put back the things the kids throw in the cart, than actually shopping.
  10. You will lose a child on Aisle 4, 7, 9 & 14
  11. Someone will break something on Aisle 3
  12. Meltdowns occur on the cookie, cereal and bakery aisle.
  13. You wonder why your child feels the need to poke the fresh meat packages.
  14. At the checkout line you are so busy explaining that the kids can't just eat the candy off the displays, that you forget your coupons.
  15. Once home you realize that you forgot the fruit gummy snacks and coffee.
  16. Somehow 3 boxes of cookies, a pack of frozen bagels, bottle of Fish Oil supplement and a bottle of Cinderella hand soap made it into your groceries.
  17. You are so mentally wiped from shopping, you order a pizza.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fighting Fair In Marriage & Adult Relationships

We have all been there, an argument with our spouse or someone we care about. If you haven't ever had an argument with someone (or think you haven't) you may have other issues...Fighting is never fun, but it is sometimes a necessary part of any relationship and can be useful to resolve a conflict and deepen the relationship. The key to fighting is to do it with fairness. Here are some tips to help you resolve the conflict. (These are not to be used with the sinister person in the that case; grab your mace and run like the wind!)

  1. Wait until they are asleep and pluck out all their eyebrows or write the word "Jerk" in Sharpie on their forehead...ok not really, but sometimes the thought of that makes us feel better, right?
  2. Go To Time Out - When tempers are high, this is the time that saying things that we don't mean just spill right out. While in anger mode; it may seem like a good idea to bring up that present you never liked or someone's love handles but it is just a defense mechanism in response to feeling "attacked" Take yourself to time-out until the anger reaction subsides. On the same note, don't wait too long to address the issues. "Time heals all wounds" is not the operative phrase here. Often time causes the anger to just continue to burn and flare up.
  3. Say Exactly What Is Making You Angry - If The Man doesn't take out the trash when you ask or Mom never tells you she appreciates the casserole that you bring to every dinner when you have worked your heart out. Tell them that. They may have no idea that those actions upset you. In fact, it could be just a misunderstanding and easily resolved without going to the "Fight" level.
  4. Stick To The Subject - If the whole fight is about your best friend saying something that hurt your feelings at the weekly playgroup, there is no reason to bring up the fact that she ruined your birthday 6 years ago with the karaoke routine on the table top. Especially if you had already resolved that karaoke issue. Bringing up past hurts only add fuel to the fire and is not going to solve anything. By bringing it up, you often are putting the other person immediately in the defensive mode and feeling like you never really forgave them. Stay on the topic that started the fight and resolve one issue at a time.
  5. Listen & Acknowledge - Just because you don't think that you putting on the toilet paper upside down is a big deal, it may bother your spouse. When confronted with the tissue issue, don't say things like: "What's the big deal" or "Get over it". Listen to what the other person says and acknowledge it by asking "Why does this bother you?" or "How would you like me to do it" Chances are there is an easy solution here and a fight can be avoided all together.
  6. Lose The Mind Reader Routine - Even if you have known your friend for 25 years and know what music they love, their favorite color and food they hate, don't assume you can read their mind or know their feelings. Feelings and thoughts change as often as the latest woman's fashion.
  7. Walk In Their Shoes - By trying to see things the way that your spouse sees them, you are validating and acknowledging their viewpoint. Different past experiences and life choices cause each person to feel differently and react differently to a situation. You don't have to agree with them, but do acknowledge they have the right to feel differently than you do.
  8. Solve & Forgive As A Team - Discuss together ways to solve this problem and ways to prevent it in the future. If that little cutting comment that your friend made in playgroup hurt your feelings. Agree together that you will not hurt each other in front of other people, if there is a problem you will solve it together when nobody else is around. Last step, forgive. Whether forgiveness is asked for or not, forgive the person that you love and know that it is an important step in healing. If someone asks you for forgiveness, don't try to judge their sincerity or motives, give forgiveness unconditionally.
  9. If all else fails...get out the tweezers and the Sharpie. (I kid...I kid!)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Monday "Monkey" Minute with Ian

I am joining with Ian (and a whole slew of others) this week for a Monday Meme. It's pretty much like the Five Question Friday with Mama M that I do, except it's not Friday, It's not Mama M but it is five questions. I fell in bloggy love with Ian a while back when he became my first male reader and the first man blog I have ever read. (Disclaimer: Ian can be a little rough around the edges and I don't always agree with his language choices, but he is an awesome writer, produces thoughtful blog content and is an amazing advocate for others)

Ian has been working diligently to bring the story of "Monkey" to every corner of the blogosphere and I applaud what he is doing for this family, for Monkey. Monkey is a a beautiful little girl who at 16 months old was diagnosed with cancer. Head over to Ian's blog to see the fundraiser and other posts that he has to help out Monkey and her family.



* Have you ever peed in the shower/bath/pool?

When I was younger and went to a pool party there was a sign hanging that I will always remember. "We don't swim in your toilet, please don't pee in our pool." If that alone wasn't a deterrent, the rumor that there was a special chemical added to the pool that would react to urine by producing neon colors was enough to convince me to never pee in the pool.
Peeing in the bath? Um...that would be like bathing in Pee Soup. The Soup Nazi would have a stroke.
Peeing in the's happened. I am not proud and I can't believe I am even answering this question, but when it comes to plumbing...pipes is pipes.

* What is your biggest pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve would be timing considerations. I am obsessed with being on time, I think everyone else should be obsessed with being on time. If I tell you that I will be somewhere by 7pm, I will be there 5 minutes early, but never after. If I am going to be late, I will call and let you know that. I am so obsessed with timing that I have successfully predicted each child's birth within a 20 minute window many hours ahead of time. That's just how I roll. I have very little tolerance for lateness especially coupled with no phone call.

* What's the story behind your blog title?

The story behind my title came around about 2 years ago, although it took me a little while to change from my original title that I had for almost 3 years. I was coloring with my oldest daughter and she kept getting it outside the lines and refusing to use the appropriate colors for each outlined object. Thinking I was teaching her best, I continued correcting her and it eventually led to a huge meltdown. It wasn't that she couldn't color inside the lines or know that a tree is green and an apple is red; she wanted to define it herself and with her own interpretation of what it should look like. Huge lesson for mom. I added the "and sometimes on the walls" because anyone who has kids has experienced the wall art that only a toddler can do.

* What is your definition of success?

My definition of success is having all that you need and not being able to think of anything that you want.

* If you were famous, what would you want to be famous for?

There are a couple of things that come to mind...
Being the oldest person in the world with the most grandchildren
Being the oldest living married couple
Having the lowest amount of body fat for a mature woman
Writing something that actually changed someone's mood when they didn't want it changed
Having the most sought after "secret family recipe"
Disproving Al Gore on all accounts

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Get By...

...with a little help from my friends.

Alrighty, I would love for some of you to shoot my an email and offer to do some guest blogging. No particular topic (unless you would love to make up a song, Real Moms Of Genius or some lessons learned) In the next 3ish weeks, my blogging is going to be pretty scarce. We are down to the wire with the moving, my laptop is dying (never is being shipped as we speak) and my brain has seriously HAD enough. So if you want to guest blog, hit the "Contact Me" button and let me know!

It has been so stressful these past few months...come to think of it; it's been stressful since September when we officially put the house on the market. In addition to trying to sell our house, The Grays moved in with us, Bitsy was born, we found the dream home...the list seems to go on and on.

To top it off, these jerks (Yes, they are jerks and you will see why) who put a contract on our house have been unbearably dumb. Our closing date was set for May 25th with our move-out date set for June 4th. They agreed to this...THEY SIGNED IT! Wednesday I get a call from our realtor telling us that they purchased some kind of "early closing packet" and want to close the next day.

Ummm....did you forget what you signed?

Well, we ended up agreeing to the early closing and then they decided to turn into toddlers. You know....crying, being irrational, stomping their feet and not caring about anyone else.

They decided that they weren't going to sign the closing papers at all unless we agreed to let them move in on June 1st.

Once again, did you forget what you signed?

It seems that their landlord wanted them out on the 1st and they didn't have anywhere to live. So to them, it made complete sense to kick out a family with 3 small children so that they weren't inconvenienced.

Here's the deal. The "Dream Home" is a short sale. It does not follow the usual rules of real estate and we don't have a closing date set in stone. All we know is that it should be before the 28th. However...we don't KNOW that. It could very easily take a few more days depending on when everyone gets their John Hancock's on the bottom line.

How could I possibly agree to allow them to move in early if I don't know when I will have somewhere to move to? Follow my thinking here?

Our agent called and said the girl (Yes, a girl...not a woman. A woman has more class than that) was boo-hooing at the closing table because she didn't plan ahead on the original move in date of the 4th. It made perfect sense to her that we should be forced to move out early, regardless of if we had somewhere to move to.

They basically held us hostage over this closing contract. We had to sell this house, because we have a contract on another one. They have finally caved and signed, but if history is any judge with these people, this will not be the last we hear of it. They have been a thorn in our side since the very beginning. Sending inspectors and appraisers without consulting with us on our schedule. Coming to see the house, but showing up late and having a temper tantrum because we were in the house. Then there have been at least 20 calls (this is not an embellishment) trying to convince us to move out early. They even sent a termite inspector who claimed there were termites, but if we would just let them go ahead and move in; they would take care of it. We got two other termite companies to come look at the house and there was no evidence of termites. Just a little game they were trying to play.

Now do you see why I call them "Jerks"?

So anyways...I need some guest bloggers to fill in while I am up to my armpits in wrapping paper, boxes, packing tape and finalizing when we move to the Dream Home.

Help me get by with a little help from my friends.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Five Question Friday

Whew....just slid into another Friday by the hair of my chiny chin chin. OK, well I don't have hair on my chin...gah, you know what I mean.
Anyways we have had a super hard week but the great thing is that in a few more days, we get to start all over again in the anticipation of having a really good week.
The highlight of this week is getting to play 5QF!!!!

Rules for Five Question Friday: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then come on back to link up! Mama M will be your best friend if you do.

Questions for Friday, May 14th: (Special thanks to: Pam, Renee, Sandy, Jill for their question suggestions and a random question drawn from Mama M's brand spankin' new deck of question cards! Wanna be linked in a future 5QF? Just c'mon over to Mama M's community and offer up your best question suggestion!)

1. Take your night, girls night out, or night out alone?

I will take "Girls Night" for $200. But not the Girls Night that involves shaving your legs, hair spray and pantyhose. I want a night out with MY girls. In all this moving business, we haven't had a whole lot of our usual things that we do and we really need to reconnect with "normal".

2. Can you touch your nose with your tongue?

I can, but why would this be a skill that I need to have? Just recently I have sent my girls on the task of kissing their elbows. That is fun to watch...the determination, the disappointment and the dissolving into massive giggles. (Admit just tried to do it yourself)

3. What is your favorite flower and why?

I can't say that I have one particular favorite flower. All flowers are beautiful and I will not discriminate against one. I will say that ease of picking plays a big part. Thorns from a rose; no thanks. Bristles from a thistle; no good.

4. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

That one day I will be able to time travel (obviously if I am giving my former self advice) so go ahead and have all the reckless, irresponsible fun that I can muster. I can always go back and change it.

5. If you won the lottery, what is the very first thing you would do?

I think the answer I am supposed to give here that would make you think I am an awesome, wonderful person would be give half to charity and provide for everyone on the family tree.

Let's go with some honesty though. I would give a portion to charity and help out some family members but that would probably fall after I have treated myself to a spa day in some exotic country having stuff smeared on my face that is totally organic and unpronounceable, drinking some kind of drink that promises energy, health and clarity of mind in a $300 4 ounce crystal glass and finishing with buying a strappy little pair of sandles to go wander down miles of blinding white sand bordered by a sparkling blue sea.

Yes...I have put some thought into that.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Whiny Post

Why wait for Calgon to take me away, when Southwest Airlines could do a much better job...

It's been the most frustrating 24 hours. Considering all the really bad stuff that can happen, it's more of just a slight paper cut, rather than an amputation of a day.

But, dang it all...sometimes it just feels like its the worst day you ever had. The kind of day that you want to grab some chocolate, your blankie and hide in the darkest recess of your closet until the "storm" ends.

I won't get into the juiciest details for fear you would just roll your eyes and tell me to put on my big girl panties, but I will tell you that out of the blue, random things are going to cost us about 4K to repair.

I have heard before that when you are buying a new house, Murphy (of Murphy's Law) will move into your spare bedroom.

Well, like I twittered today...Dear Murphy, you can leave the same way you came and don't let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you. can't have my spare bedroom. That is going to be a playroom and you are not invited over to play Barbies with us. So take that *pbbbbbttt*

On top of that (like it really needing topping) The Head Crayon and I are bickering like two old farm women at the jelly contest at the State Fair over who has the best recipe.

Only we are meaner. A lot meaner.

We have 13 years of dirt on each other and when the stress builds is when the dishes....I mean the dirt really flies. I have read so many helpful marriage books that talk about "Always Fighting Fair" That theory is blown when you are so stressed out that the other person's chewing or blinking aggravates you. Next you start picking on their insecurities...then comes the really fun part of getting to drag their family into it. "I guess you got THAT from your mother" type of statements.

We have found a solution that works sometimes on diffusing the nasty fights.

I have to morally recommend that only married people do this.

Never do this with a random fight with a stranger unless you have someone who can pay your bail.

Next time your spouse is chewing you up one side and down the other...strip down to nothing.


You literally can not fight when you are naked. Your husband won't want to fight if you are naked.

Anyways, that my marriage tip for today. I am going to bed tomorrow on the promise that tomorrow is a new day.

I swear that is my one obligatory whiny post for the month.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Frustrating Things

It's been a while since I did a sing along, so today's post will be a sing along of "These are a few of my frustrating things" done to the tune of "My Favorite Things"

Raining like crazy,
A forgotten umbrella.
The bread has gone stale,
An empty jar of Nutella.
The fighting and crying, sobbing and shrieking,
These are a few of my frustrating things.

The fridge door left open,
The bathroom floor soakin.
Sharpie marks on the wall,
Toys littering the hall
The toilet's stopped up by one pair of angel wings.
These are a few of my frustrating things.

When the kids won't come
Even though dinners done.
When I am screaming mad.
I simply remember my frustrating things
And then I threaten them with Dad.

The baby has gas;
Someone tracked in cut grass.
The floor now needs mopping,
There is no time for shopping.
The fresh cut on my foot from the Legos still stings.
These are a few of my frustrating things.

I've said "No" so many times,
I think I have lost count.
There's not enough zeros.
In the savings account.
The minivan's covered by grocery cart dings
These are a few of my frustrating things.

When the kids won't come
Even though dinners done.
When I am screaming mad.
I simply remember my frustrating things
And then I threaten them with Dad.

You have anything you want to add today?

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Mother's Day Present To Talk About

The Scribblers and I

I received a Mother's Day present to talk about. I suppose I could tell you about the huge bouquet of flowers I received (another handful of weeds) or the gorgeous necklace the girls got me (nothing more precious than yarn and raw macaroni to match the little black dress) or the cutest card ever (a picture of a child coloring on the walls with the caption "One day we will laugh about this" - by the way Honey, perfect card!!) but the best gift I received was by Buzz, my late talker. Out of her still very limited vocabulary she managed to tell me all day long "Happy Mudder Day" In fact, other than asking for "chicken & fries"....I think it is all she said all day long. I am totally OK with that!

I don't think all the roses, diamonds or cards could outshine hearing those words come from her lips. OK...I would be willing to weigh the diamonds...Nah, just kidding! Having a late talker may not seem like a big deal or disability to many, but it is a frustrating and very real disability for a family that has a late talking child in it. To not be able to communicate effectively is heartbreaking and that is NOT putting it mildly. Not being able to understand basic needs or wants from your child such as a glass of juice, needing to use the restroom or just needing a hug.

We are entering Buzz's 4 1/2 year of life and she is really beginning to make tremendous strides with her speech. She is learning finally after years of silence and gibberish to make her feelings known through her words and getting to hear her wish me a clear and understandable "Happy Mudder's Day" makes my heart soar for her, for us. It is truly a present to "talk about"!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Simple Bouquets

Today is Day 4 of Mama M's Mother's Day Mania. Click the button below to link up, share your story and read all of the other entries.


Today's them is: What do you like best about being a mom or what was your most embarrassing moment.

Since I already confessed that I like to drop kids on their heads or nail them in the forehead with my purse...I'll go with what I like best.

I love that my girls think so much of me that they spend time to pick out every flowering weed in the yard...

Running happily to present me with their bouquet, full of excitement at their treasure

Beaming with pride when I accept their flowers and proclaim them the most beautiful bouquet of flowers that I have ever seen...

The truth is that they are the most beautiful flowers that I have ever seen. They were picked with love, carefully arranged and handed to me as if they were priceless, by my little girls. I love the way that they try so hard to make me happy and to show their love, no matter if the day has been bad and I feel as if I haven't been the best mother I could be.

I love the simple bouquet that says "I love you Mom"

Friday, May 7, 2010

5 Question Friday

It's FRIDAY!!! I know I normally vlog these 5QFs but I am in the whirlwind packing stage and the webcam is going to pick up some background things that I don't want you to see. Mess, boxes and random misplaced items everywhere. So I am going to hide this Friday.

If you want to play along with Mama M in 5QF and see what the big hulabaloo is...Click the button below... button-ator abilities are weak today. Hit this LINK instead.

Questions for Friday, May 7th: (Thanks to
Renee, Sandy, Erika, Pam, and Robin for their question suggestions! Wanna be linked in a future 5QF? Just come on over to Mama M's community and offer up your best question suggestions!)

1. What is your worst memory of your siblings?

We went through this stage for several months that she was always invading my space. She would kick, punch and push me around. No matter how much I tried to get away from her, I just couldn't.
I solved the problem by letting her be born first. For 13 blissful minutes I had the whole joint to myself.

2. What was YOUR naughtiest childhood memory? (Must be something YOU did, no pawning it off on someone else!)

I plead the 5th here. I admit nothing, YOU didn't see it and you can't prove anything. Seriously, I was a naughty, mischievous child. SO bad, in fact, that Santa took me off the Naughty List and put me on the hit list. If I had asked him for a pony, he would've given me a mule to kick some sense into me.

3. Where do you like to go to relax?

Where every other mother goes to relax. The master bedroom closet. It's the only room in the house where children have to go through 3 doors to get to me. I can barely hear the yelling and it's where I keep my best chocolates too.

4. What was the last thing you won?

I won a family birthstone necklace from Chocolate Silver Designs. I totally heart this thing! You can see it HERE

5. If you could be on a game show, which would you choose?

Do you remember the show Whammy - Press Your Luck I adored that show with those little sound effects and whammies with all their little schemes. It's the only show that made it super funny to lose! "Big Bucks..Big Bucks...STOP!"


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