17 August 2014


Take heart!  Be strong! Stand firm!  Little T, that mighty girl, that force of nature, that pint sized hurricane…even she can listen to her mama.

Parents, everywhere, if this kid can listen, absorb, and change behavior accordingly, then guess what: this parenting thing isn't impossible after all.  We can make a difference and -- dare to hope -- raise contributing members of society!

Little T came to me the other day and said:

"Mama, I'm having a lot of maturement lately!  

I just put my shoes away the first time you asked!  And I was going to yell at you from the couch to bring me more food, but I got up and made it myself instead!  I even warmed it up in the microwave and put the parmesan cheese on and everything!  And I was really mad at Sam, but I didn't even yell!  I just took a breath and it all went away!

I'm so maturement!"

(While not a fan of the exclamation point, I find it necessary here.  While she may be getting "more maturement" she is also only getting louder with age.)

This is so exciting, people.  This is proof that my words do not fall on deaf ears and that I can, in fact, bend these children to my will.  Every mother deserves some sign of encouragement like this at least once a decade (which is about how often we get them).  With these words in my ears, I just might make it to her 16th birthday!  

* * *

All that maturity aside, she still hijacks my phone with some regularity.  More baby steps.

12 August 2014

She's On To You, New Teacher

I took my 5th grader to a Meet and Greet with her new teacher this evening.  She seems very nice.  I liked her bearing.  Lady E was charming and sweet.  Then, when I mentioned to the teacher that the 5th graders are a great group of kids, Lady E said: "Well…we're a little goofy. Or a lot goofy."

Ms. New Teacher said: "Goofy is good!  I like goofy."

Later, at home, I asked Lady E if she liked Ms. New Teacher.  She said sure.  I remarked that I liked what her teacher said about being goofy.

Lady E cut to the chase: "They all say that at the beginning of the year.  At first, it's all 'Oh! Goofy is great!' and then by half way through it's all: 'STOP BEING GOOFY!' She's just trying to sweet talk us and pull the wool over our eyes."

Teachers beware: Mixed metaphors aside, this is one nine year old you will not be able to fool or trick or otherwise befuddle.  She's a sharp little thing who won't let you get away with much.

In other words, Ms. New Teacher, she's exactly the kind of student you want in your classroom: lucky you!

* * *

09 July 2014

Don't Say Hurry

Note: first published December 2007.  Reprising today because I need the reminder.  

I went to the grocery store tonight, because dinner was, well...waffles...and we were out of powdered sugar. (What? You've never had pizza for breakfast?) We've been out of powdered sugar for a long time, and more than a few folks in our house prefer this confection to syrup on their griddle cakes. Powdered sugar is the one thing I keep forgetting to put on my grocery list, and we've been suffering without it. So when Rick said he would make waffles for dinner, he had a condition: Get Thee To The Store and Come Back With Powdered Sugar. And fruit shake makings. OK, I decided that was a fair deal. I took Elizabeth with me. The waffle iron was already hot, and the batter was ready, so this had to be a fast trip.

Not TOO fast, of course; after all, one moving violation a day is enough, and I've already had a chance to chat with Johnny Law today after "not coming to a complete stop" or some such nonsense. With all five kiddos in the car. Being stopped by the police was fascinating to them, a real adventure. The boys had a bit of fun tormenting Elizabeth by telling her the policeman was going to take her away if she took her arms out of her car seat straps. The policeman really got them going when he leaned slightly into the window, peered in the backseat, and asked if everyone was buckled up. That was cool. He still gave me a ticket for rolling through the stop sign but he mercifully did NOT give me the big fat $500 ticket for not having my proof of insurance with me. (I know, I know...)

But I digress. The grocery store run had to be fast: hungry waffle eaters were waiting. So I zipped over to the store, and in one motion jumped out of the car, opened the sliding door on the driver's side of the car, and hopped in to unbuckle Elizabeth. She, in her inimitable way, put both of her hands up, cocked her head to one side, and said: "Don't say hurry, mama, don't say hurry!"

This reminded me of my friend Nicole's musings on rushing our children through the day. Elizabeth provided me with today's reminder to stop and be in Advent. This should be a time of waiting, not rushing. A time of being present to each other, being presents for each other. So I slowly lifted her out of the car and hugged her tight. I stopped in the cold, dark parking lot, listened to the traffic whizzing by on the busy street, looked into the green eyes of my daughter and just waited. Not sure what I was waiting for, just for something to tell me that it was time to go into the store. That moment came, and off we went, Elizabeth bouncing on my hip, laughing and being silly. Don't say hurry, mama . . . Listen to me laugh, hold me tight, give me a minute of your day; don't say hurry.

24 June 2014

You know you have a big family when...

…your teenager sees baby doll feet poking out from underneath a pillow and momentarily panics that there has been a serious mishap with a baby.  Some baby.  Not sure whose baby, but somebody's baby.  Because there have in the past always been lots of babies around here.

* * *

Poor kid.  He came upstairs half laughing, half crying in relief that he did not, in fact, stumble upon the scene of a homicide.

Makes me wonder what his reaction was when his last sister was born.  I imagine something like: "Oh look, another baby.  Pass the pizza, please."

* * *

19 June 2014

A Chore Deferred


What happens to a chore deferred?

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore--
And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it make a mama's head explode?

* * *


  1. It does not dry up.  It will not go away.  Ever.  You will always, always have your chore to do, and there is no avoiding it or hoping that it will just go away.  That will not ever happen.  
  2. It will fester.  And then it will ooze all manner of grossness -- rotten, rank, family grossness -- all over your iPad, your plans with friends, your Instagram profile, and your brand new, shockingly ugly, overpriced soccer cleats.  The ones I will buy you when hell freezes over. 
  3. It could turn crusty.  But then, you'll inadvertently pick it like a scab and the whole nasty festering process will start over.  It could turn sweet.  If by sweet, you mean every possible county fair deep fried chocolate butter HFCS mess, consumed in large enough quantities to make a person vomit.  That's the kind of sweet it would be. 
  4. It does indeed sag.  Like a dirty diaper, and just as stinky.  And as heavy as a full Diaper Genie bag in the Duggar household.  And it will drag you down and down and down until you do something radical, as in, until you do what you are supposed to do anyway.
  5. And yes.  Your mama's head will explode.  Making an ever bigger mess for you to clean up.  You and your siblings will have to decide who's on brain detail.

* * *

Child of mine, I beg of you: do not defer your dreams.  But do your chores first.

* * *

My (for lack of a better word) inspiration

15 June 2014

12 June 2014

The World Cup is Here!

When Sam was seven years old, he colored thirty-two flags for every nation in the 2006 world cup, and thus was born a tradition.

The Wall of Nations!
Flags will come down as countries are eliminated.

For the record, we are supporting -- of course -- the United States, as well as Croatia (my heritage) and Spain (because we love them).  

For the record, we are NOT supporting Ghana or Portugal.

For the record, we are psyched, ready, giddy, and not a little bit bummed that this thing called work will get in the way of lots and lots of soccer viewing.


To players and fans everywhere -- enjoy the next four weeks!  I know we will!

* * *