Thursday, September 27, 2012

A little rant

As parents it is our job to teach our children to follow directions, to wait their turn and to be patient. We are supposed to teach our children to have respect; respect for themselves, respect for their fellow person, respect for authority and respect for the rules that govern us.

I was picking Charli up from school this afternoon when lo and behold the same parent cut in car line. We are given a card with our child's name on them, to display on the dash of our vehicle at the beginning of every school year. If you turn the card over it features a handy map with the directions for the car line clearly stated. It never fails that some parent/grandparent thinks they have found the magic key (borrowing words from a very good friend of mine) that gives them the right to cut before those of us who have waited our turn in line. I wish to address those constant line cutters. Your child is no more important to you than my child is important to me. My time is just as precious as your time. Just because you drive a BMW, or a Mercedes while I drive a SUV, doesn't give you priority status. It seems to me that no matter what we are or who we are at other moments in our lives...when we are in car line we are the same. My life is just as busy as yours, maybe even more so. If you are pregnant and your water has broken, you may cut in line. If you have someone in the car with you and their water has broken, you may cut in line. If somebody is in the hospital dying and you have the cure for their illness in a vial in your pocket, you most definitely may cut in line. If none of the above apply to you, please carefully step off your very high horse and get in line behind the rest of us. Why? Because we also teach our children about integrity and character. Your character is how you behave when nobody is looking or in this case when your children aren't looking.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This post is brought to you by the letter M...

Do you ever have those moments when you aren't very proud of your behavior as a parent?! Well tonight I actually told my kid to shut up!!! This is huge as it is not something I ever say to her. We don't say it to her and Mark and I don't say it to each other. She was over tired and missing her daddy...I am over tired and missing my husband. Charli got mad because I told her she couldn't have her chocolate muffin before dinner and to go do her math homework (ixl which is a computer program.) She got mad and in a fit of temper while I was outside walking the dogs (Did I mention I really miss my husband?!) she decided to evict my letter "m" from it's happy place on my keyboard. She comes running outside a little teary eyed and very apologetic but I kind of lost it. She stood before me, lip quivering, and confessed her sin. I asked her how it happened and she said "I guess I was mad." Well then I got mad, yelled at her, yelled at the dogs to stop sniffing every single blade of grass on our blasted half acre and for the love of pete to hurry up and just PEE. I sent Charli in the house, got the dogs in, fixed my letter "m" all the while suspecting she did something to my letter "d" because it looks wrong like it is leaning to the left. I had to pull the tape off the "m" because she tried to "fix" it. We sat together and while she did her ixl, and when she tried to argue about a problem and refused to listen, well that is when I said it...Charli SHUT UP!!! I suddenly felt a little like Ralphie from "A Christmas Story", maybe I needed to go sit in the bathroom and bite on a bar of soap. I could probably get the whole soap poisoning act down. It took me all of two seconds to realize what I said to Charli and I apologized. I, of course justified it...if she would just be quiet and let me explain then I wouldn't have had to yell that not nice phrase.

I told her earlier tonight she was going to bed at 8:00. I guess I got through to her because at 7:55 she brushed her teeth, talked to her daddy, and after they hung up she asked me to tuck her in for the night. I apologized again...and justified again (hey I am not proud of it). We said our prayers and I kissed her good night. The house is quiet for now but I need to go start the wash and walk the dogs, again!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

They really DO hear us!

When I pick Charli up from school in the afternoons, as soon as she gets her seat belt buckled, I get a recap of her entire day. I love that my child is an open book with me and the 15 minute drive back to work is filled with tales of the latest antics from the fourth grade. Do you ever have those moments where you are incredibly proud of your child? I don't mean for their academics, or for scoring the winning goal. I mean just proud of the person they are at their core? I had picked Charli up one day last week and she shared a story with me that blessed my soul, made me a little sad, but incredibly proud of my girl at the same time.

It seems that fourth grade girls like to laugh at other fourth grade girls for no reason other than if you are a girl in the fourth grade, sometimes this is what you do. Well one of the girls had done something or other that the other girls apparently thought was "weird." I have recently learned there is nothing worse when you are in the fourth grade, than having other fourth graders think you are weird. The other girls were laughing at another girl and this is what Charli had to say about it..."Mom, I don't think so and so, and such and such are my friends." I asked her why she thought that. She said "Well they were laughing at Eloise (just for the record there is no fourth grader named Eloise) but I didn't laugh with them because she is my friend. I didn't want to laugh at her and it's not nice to laugh at other people. Even though I want to be friends with these other girls, I wasn't going to laugh at my friend and leave her behind just to be friends with the other girls. It's rude and it's mean." I told Charli that I was incredibly proud of her and I asked her how she ever get to be such a kind and genuine person. She replied... "Well, I guess I must have gotten it from you."

Okay...let me start by saying I didn't offer her money and I was pretty shocked. She didn't ask for anything so I am assuming she wasn't trying to suck up. I often am a ball of chaos in a mad dash to get things done. I am certain there are several days a week I look like the Tasmanian devil on speed. I move at a constant pace and I am always saying rather loudly in an authoritative tone things like: Hurry Up! Get in the car! Did you brush your teeth? Let me have your planner, I need to sign it. Where is my phone? Why are you STILL not in the car?! I am absolutely the Momzilla to her Tweenzilla most days. I often wonder if all those little chats we have mean anything to her. Does a word I say ever sink in? When we talk about what it means to be a friend, drinking, smoking, making good choices, discussing what bad choices are, sticking up for yourself, believing in yourself, why you shouldn't be a snob, how to be true to who you are...does she ever hear me? Well I guess she does. Last week was such a rough week and when Charli said "Well I must get it from you.", it blessed my soul in such a way that is hard to explain. I needed to hear that, I needed to feel like in all the craziness that is often life these days, I am actually doing something right. When she tells me I am the meanest mom ever, I know she thinks I am pretty wonderful. She thinks I am a good mom and at the end of the day, regardless of what anyone else thinks apparently I am doing something right.

I am always telling Charli how important it is to do things for others. It isn't about getting anything in return. It's about being kind to another human being and letting them see the Jesus that lives in you. Today Charli and I were getting ready to go into Sams and this gentleman, who according to the hat that covered his graying hair was a Vietnam Vet, was unloading his cart. He pushed the buggy up to the median but had to walk back and fourth to get to the rear of his car. Charli and I were parked next to him and I looked at Charli and I said "Come on, let's help him." Charli walked over to his cart and got the box of trash bags and carried it to the man. He smiled and said thank you. I handed Charli the oil,and the printer paper. She passed them to the man then I handed him his strawberries and mayonnaise. He thanked us several times and the smile on his face and Charli's was priceless. She never asked me why we helped him because she already knew.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Story of Grandma's "flab"

Today is or maybe I am supposed to say was my grandfather's birthday. My grandpa was the kind of man whose presence could be felt in a room before you ever saw him standing there. He loved my grandmother with every fiber of his being, to the depths of his soul. If I had to pick one word to describe my grandpa, it would be jolly. He was always whistling, or doing the cha-cha-cha, he would dance this little jig and he would say cha-cha-cha. Grandpa was an incredible storyteller and he made the best garlic dressing in the world. I remember he always smelled like garlic and Ben-Gay and every time I smell either it makes me smile from the inside out. He liked to get on to us grand kids every now and then and put us to work. We lived either next door to my grandparents, or with my grandparents for most of my life, when I was growing up. I remember grandpa would walk over to our house on Saturday morning and our wake up call was grandpa saying rather loudly "Larrie Ellen ain't ya got something these girls can do?" My mother's name is Laurie but her family is from West Virginia so "her people" pronounce it Lar-rie.

We really scored in the grandparent department. My cousins and I were blessed to have the type of grandparents most kids dream of. Nearly every single happy memory from my childhood is related in one way or another to my grandparents. We have had some real amazing belly laughs. In honor of my grandpa, I wanted to share a story. There are so many good ones, and I am truly giggling at all the things going around in my head. I think I will tell a story about grandma, but it really is more about my older sister.

When were were little my sister Tracy did something we have never let her live down. Tracy, my cousin Katie and I were goofing around. We used to giggle about Grandma's arm flab. We were just kids, I was probably 8 or 9. Back then we thought Grandma was so old, and she had little old lady arm "wings." Tracy takes some kool-aid powder and she puts about a tablespoon or so in a baggie. She twists it so that it is super tight and she says "Look this is my arm flab." and then she takes the baggie and makes it really loose so the powder gets caught in the wrinkles of the baggie and then she says "Look, this is Grandma's arm flab." We laughed so hard we weren't sure if we were going to cry or pee.

Now the best part of this story is that when I retell it, in front of my grandma, to this very day she will say "Tracy Lynn" and if my sister is within arms reach grandma pops her that my friends is good stuff. I have gotten so many miles out of this story. When we gather at the holidays if Tracy is being rotten as only sisters can be all I have to do is say...Hey Grandma. Tracy's response is always "KIM! You better not."

I am glad grandma has no idea how to access the Internet because after I shared this story with the free world...Tracy might not be the only one getting popped.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Donuts, Ribs and Merry-go-rounds

I am listening to Taylor Swift against my will as my office is right next to Charli's bedroom. I secretly wish we had invested in one of those high tech baby monitors, so I could see if she is singing into her hair brush in front of the mirror. There are pictures all over my office of Charli in various stages of cuteness, pre-tweenzilla. She would almost always smile willingly for pictures back she smirks in utter exasperation.

There is a family picture of us when she was three, that hangs on the wall above my filing cabinet. Mark looks amazing. Charli and I are wearing these really pretty turquoise outfits. We almost look like those mothers and daughters from the catalog advertisements of the super happy families, with their creepy matchy-matchy clothes. I have no idea what I was thinking! If you look really close you can see my eyes are red and puffy. This was the first family picture we had taken after my Dad passed. It was the most horrible day. We had buried him on October 4, 2006 and that picture was taken at the end of October that same year. The picture was taken for the church bulletin and we had a few group photos with my mom, sister, and my grandma. I refused to buy one of those pictures. The day we went to view them I actually had to excuse myself from the table because I had a major meltdown. My body racked with sobs and I couldn't catch my breath. The sales lady was going on and on about how nice the pictures were and blah, blah, blah. I wanted to smack her upside the head. I know it wasn't very "christian like" to feel that way but I know my Ten Commandments and thou shalt not lie is one of them. It isn't really that I dislike the picture. In fact I find it pretty funny, because Mark and I are looking directly at the camera and Charli is looking off to the side laughing at my sister who was trying to get her to laugh but Tracy wasn't standing behind the camera, so Charli is looking off to the side. The picture hangs in my office but out of my line of sight. I have been thinking a lot about my dad and my mind has been a merry-go-round.

My friend Patty is pregnant and she is craving donuts tonight of all things. You see, poor Patty has been ill with morning, noon and night sickness. I can so relate. I remember all to well what that was like. Patty and her donuts got me thinking about my dad and his ribs.

I was very sick when I was carrying Charli and I would throw up on average 20 times a day. I am serious ( I counted every day for about a week because I was curious) and I promise I am not lying for dramatic effect. I was incredibly ill. When I was about 5 1/2 months pregnant or so, we went out to my parents on a Friday night for dinner. My Dad told my mom to find out what I wanted for dinner before we came out. He wouldn't say much to me about it but he was starting to get worried because aside from the baby bump I was losing weight and I couldn't keep anything down. I told Mom to tell Dad I wanted ribs. My Dad could grill with the best of 'em. His ribs were out of this world. I ate, and I ate and I ATE some more. My parents were sure I was going to be sicker than I had ever been. You want to know something? I never threw up once after dinner that night or the next day. The morning, noon, night, and every second in between sickness started to subside. There is one thing I find very uncanny. When I was pregnant, orange juice made me sick as a dog. Charli doesn't drink orange juice except maybe a sip or 2 a few times a year, because as she says "I'm not a fan", which she says about a lot of things these days. The child however loves bar-b-que ribs. She can put them away like a grown man. It is quite impressive, though everything in moderation, so she doesn't get to indulge often.

My advice to Patty was to eat the donuts. Hopefully, she can keep them down and if her precious blessing grows up to own a Krisy Kreme franchise or become CEO of Dunkin' Donuts...well at least there will be free donuts for Sunday service. :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012


I am sitting here in my office with a glass of red wine, a well deserved glass of red wine I might add, and I am finally feeling my nerves start to calm. I had great plans this labor day weekend and even though many of my friends took off to the beach or enjoyed some R&R, I was planning on laboring around the house this weekend. What I had in mind and what I ended up doing are two very different things.

I have been wanting to paint Charli's room for years but haven't made time to do it. The truth is Mark hates to paint almost as much as he hates to do yard work, which he does do but he is never excited about it. Anyway Charli's room is still the beautiful shade of Bo Peep yellow that I had chosen for her nursery. It is the most perfect shade of yellow and I adore it...Charli however does not. When I woke up Saturday morning I was ready to take Charli to shop for a completely new comforter set and then take her to the local hardware store and buy paint samples and paint boards so we could try the color out on her wall, at various times during the day to see which looked best. The birds were singing, it was going to be a great day. I opened the door to Charli's bedroom and my heart sank. I was furious. Her bedroom was a disaster. I have spent the better part of the past two days of my life in my daughter's room. There was yelling, screaming, and I am pretty sure I threw a few things. I get that it wasn't very adult behavior but I was mad, and whether I counted to ten or ten thousand it wasn't going to make a difference. I had bought Charli a few new dresses, one that she really wanted but I wasn't that crazy about it. The dress that she just had to have was laying on her floor. Her entire floor was covered with clothes and her dresser drawers were completly empty.

I am going to be brutally honest here. My room was seldom clean when I was a kid. At one point three of us shared a room. I have shared a room most of my life. Charli has never had to share a room with anyone. I am not a neat freak by any means. In fact my office right now looks like a war zone with spools of ribbon as the weapon of choice. It isn't messy's creative genius at work and you can see 85...well ok maybe 75% of the floor because the rest is covered in various bins, and boxes of ribbon. It is organized chaos. Charli's room was just gross and nearly 2 weeks away from possibly being Hoarders worthy. Okay that might have been a slight exaggeration but still...

I have been asking myself how in the world did this happen? When did my sweet, precious toddler with her chubby cheeks and toothy grin, who replied yes Mommy to my every request to pick up her toys, turn into this...unappreciative, selective hearing, bordering on defiant, messy to the extreme tweenzilla?! Charli is a great kid. She is funny, sweet, compassionate, and very fashionable. She is her own person and has never been afraid to own it. Charli doesn't lie...she confesses her sins like a catholic school girl. Things I don't even know she has done she will just spew it all out like someone slipped truth serum into her water. I just don't understand it. I felt so disrespected this weekend. I know we are just going though a phase, and perhaps her messy room might be the least of it as we approach her teen years. Who knows maybe this is our fault...mine and Mark's. Charli has never been required to make her bed or to do any chores really. She has to walk her dog and give him water but that is it. She has to keep her stuff together for school, and gather her uniforms but she really has no real responsibilities, other than putting away her clothes, which obviously she does not. I get that she is only 9 but I had more responsibility than she does when I was her age. Raising a kid today is very different. They grow up so much faster and I realize that perhaps we need to start making some changes. I love her with every fiber of my being and I am so blessed to be her mother. We have always said that she is our gift from God and how we raise her is our gift back to Him. We are her parents and not her friends, not at this point in her life. Maybe I should try that speech my mom used to give us... "As long as you live under my roof, and put your feet under my table and I put clothes on your back, you will do what I tell you to do!" It sounds powerful huh LOL... I think I will mull it over while I sip my red wine.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


There are some days I feel as though my life is a circus, and instead of being the ring master, I am the tight rope walker. Being a mom requires the ability to balance several things at once but being a working mom makes it that much harder. Mark and I are very settled into our roles as husband and wife and Mom and Dad. There are things that are Mark's job and things that are my job. Mark takes out the trash (eww), walks the dogs (they walk me), fixes the cars (Once I turned off the car engine to check the oil but pulled the transmission dipstick instead), mows the grass (It's not my thing), does dinner dishes (because I cook dinner), and cleans up after anything that spews; be it a 2 legged or 4 legged being. I do the grocery shopping, clothes shopping, (Mark hasn't bought his own underoos in over 14 years), plan all family getaways(to ensure we don't stay in a pay by the hour joint), menu plan and cook dinner (it's safer that way) and I handle anything and everything that has to do with Charli; from doctor visits, dental and orthodontist appointments,parent-teacher conferences, and all paperwork that has anything to do with Charli. It was impossible for me to be in two places at once this morning, so Mark took Charli to her 8AM orthodontist appointment. Before he left this morning I gave him a piece of paper to send in with Charli to the guidance office so she would be excused for her early check out from when she went to the orthodontist last week. Mark takes Charli to Dr. P and gives the sweet gal at the front desk the slip of paper to excuse Charli's absence. I don't think the lady at the check in desk carries that kind of power with the school district. I am not sure how he got "Please give the slip of paper excusing Charli's early checkout from the orthodontist, to the random lady sitting at the orthodontist check in desk upon your arrival." when I actually said "Send it into school with Charli so she can take it to the guidance office." I asked Mark if he got the "ticket stub" print out with her appointment time next week, and he said yes. I asked if he detached the half to send into the school so Charli would have an excused tardy and he said yes. I asked if he gave Charli the other slip to excuse her from last week and he says "The girl from the orthodontist office never gave it back to me." ??? Seriously??? He forgot that but went on and on about how cool Dr. P's office was, and the big screen and the movie theater seating. I think sometimes Mark must have that...I know I need to pay attention to what my wife says, squirrel thing going on. In the grand scheme of things it is not a big deal. I just thought it was rather funny. There is one thing for sure...on the days I feel like I am the tight rope walker I am certainly blessed to have my amazing husband as my safety net to catch me if I should lose my balance. He even went ahead and made Charli's orthodontist appointment for next week at 8AM. (She has to go once a week for the next four weeks to have her RPE (aka rapid pallet expander or mid evil torture device)progress checked. He assumed that since her appointment this week was at 8AM it would be fine for next week. I didn't bother to explain 8AM was the time they had open for this week but normally I would want it for after school so we don't use a semesters worth of tardies in the first month of school. I just called Dr. P's office and changed her appointment. I love being a wife and a mom...there is never a dull moment :D

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Never doubt a Girl Scout!

It's an exciting right of passage, the very first...first day of school.  This year for us it was all the excitement times two.  My niece and nephew started kindergarten this past Wednesday.  My phone was close by because I had given my sister strict instructions to text me pictures of the kiddos, or else she was going to be in big trouble!  We couldn't wait to hear all their tales from their first adventure in school.  Charli and I made the drive out to my mom's Friday after school to see the family and visit my sister and the kids.

Charli, Alyssa and Nicky are tight as ticks.  There is nearly 5 years between Tracy's twins and my daughter.  The little ones really look up to Charli.  While we were visiting, Charli decided she and the twins were going to go on an adventure in the great outdoors.  We adults just played along and laid down a few ground rules.  Charli packed their backpack and off they went to slay dragons, or rescue animals caught in imaginary traps. A little while later, with red faces, the three amigos came trudging back inside because they were hot.  Charli began to empty the backpack.  On to my mother's living room floor she dumped 2 applesauce cups, spoons for the applesauce, 3 granola bars, a roll of toilet paper, a box of band-aids and a bottle of water.  We all giggled and Charli went on to explain why each was needed. The toilet paper was needed to wipe the blood off in case they got cut on a stick and band-aids to keep the cut from getting infected. She only packed two applesauce cups because she "isn't a fan of applesauce", and she was rationing the water.  I was so proud of my little girl scout. 

Girls Scouts has been wonderful for Charli.  We have an amazing group of girls and most of them have known each other since preschool.  I am so proud to be a part of such a wonderful troop, and that Charli is learning the skills to help her prepare for all lifes adventures...the real ones and the imaginary ones too.

Monday, August 20, 2012

And so it begins...

School is back in session, and in a few weeks the dog days of summer will be but a distant memory.  We will all be running carpools, sitting in car lines, heading off to various sport practices and after school activities.  We will be up to our eyeballs dealing with our children as they deal with their homework.  I will probably spend more time in my car than a New York City cab driver. Chaos will rein once again.  I kind of like the chaos, because one day it will be calm and quiet.  There won't be school supplies to buy, lunches to pack, or homework to over see.  One day this chapter of parenting will be over and a new one will begin.  Let us relish in the chaos, because it won't last forever. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Memory Making Birthday...

I sit here typing this blog post on the eve of my 35th birthday.  I was thinking back over my most memorable birthdays and one comes to mind more than any the time it seemed disastrous but it has brought me much laughter since then.

The year was 2002...I was 5 & 1/2 months pregnant with Charli.  Mark wanted to surprise me with a weekend getaway for my 25th birthday.  Mark spent hours on line looking up hotels and had used a booking site that I had used several times before.  The pictures boasted great rooms and ocean views.  It all seemed so perfectly Kimmi approved, according to Mark.  We packed our bags, loaded up the car and headed for a weekend getaway, possibly our last one before we became parents.  We kept our eyes peeled for "The New Frontier Lodge."

We didn't have a GPS back then but Mark has an uncanny sense of direction.  He never gets lost...he takes detours and finds new routes.  We arrived at our destination and it was certainly unlike any other "frontier" I had ever saw before.  The outside seemed almost harmless enough.  We checked in and we were given a key.  It was a real key not a plastic card but an actual key.  There was a sign attached to the counter that read "No refund after check in."  I was feeling very apprehensive but it was too late now, we had just checked in.  We walked in the direction of our room when we saw another room with it's door open.  There room didn't have a floor just dirt and a huge hole plenty big enough for Alice and all her Wonderland friends to fall into.  I put on my brave face because Mark had worked so hard and it was the first time he had gone to so much trouble, to pull off something of such magnitude.

We unlocked the door to our room and this is what we found:
  • A television with knobs from circa 1979.  There wasn't a remote.
  • The tile was sandy.
  • The mattress dipped so that if you laid on the bed you rolled to the center.
  • The tiny bathroom lacked light and had a broken towel rack.
Mark had packed a blanket for the beach (which we had used earlier that day) so we shook it out and laid it on the bed.  There was no way any part of my body was going to come into contact with that mattress.  Poor Mark felt horrible and I didn't want to make him feel worse.  The next morning Mark had planned a fun filled day at Daytona USA, complete with speedway tour via open tram. I was certain Mark would find it all very interesting.

The sky looked a little dark as we took our seats on the crowded tram but we were living in the moment.  The thunder clapped, the lighting lit up the sky and over half way though the tour the sky busted open and birthed a torrential downpour.  We were soaked to the bone and I was freezing.  Mark and I called it a day.  We went back to the our room to change clothes.  I went in the bathroom, dumped the puddles of water out of my bra and put on dry clothes.  Mark and I looked at each other, decided we had had enough, and it was time to get out of Dodge.  I am pretty certain the "New Frontier" was either someones final frontier complete with chalk outline or it was a pay by the hour joint.  It was memorable, I will give you that, and now you all know why I have planned every vacation and weekend getaway for the last 10 years. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Love and Marriage...

The first time I saw him it was behind the wheel of a 1966 blue Ford Fairlane.  My heart skipped a beat.  I was in that awful county uniform the first time he saw me.  I am sure I made an impression, thanks to the uniform... if there are fifty shades of poop, then I was wearing two of them.  My hair was in my standard ponytail, if I had only known I was about to meet my future husband I would have spruced up a bit .  All these years later... I can look at him across the room and my breath catches. He probably looks at me and is thankful my wardrobe has improved.

The love we have for each other is real and it's not something that can be scripted in a movie. Real love is work and it's a choice.  People always say there is a light at the end of the tunnel and some days you have to wonder just how long the tunnel is. When times have been tough we have made a choice to stay together because no matter how hard something might be, it would be that much harder facing it alone. 

Mark and I still go out on dates. There are times I will go sit on his lap and curl up against him.  I remember my grandma used to curl up in my grandfather's lap when I was young.  You could feel the love radiate from the two of them, seeing them like that made such an impression on me.  They had more than their share of hard times.  When my grandparents were raising their children, there were times they didn't know how they were going to feed and clothe them.  Grandma and Grandpa always knew God would make a way.  Their faith was the foundation that they stood on and it made them strong.  They stuck together for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.  They raised their kids, helped raise their grandchildren and looked after their great grandchildren.  Grandpa died almost 17 years ago...3 weeks before they would have celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary.  The love between those two was an amazing and beautiful thing.  They fought for one another because they knew what they had was worth fighting for.

Mark and I are here together in the trenches of parenthood. Sometimes...okay a lot of times we are good cop/bad cop and I will give you one guess who gets to be the good cop. It is so easy to get caught up in the every day happenings of life. We are Mommy and Daddy, though some days I feel more like a warden. It's easy to forget that before we were Mommy and Daddy...we were Kimmi and Mark.  We are still Mark and Kimmi, best friends, soul mates, prayer partners and lovers.  We stand on the firm foundation of our faith.  We know that God brought us together.

When I have no make up on and I am wearing one of Mark's t-shirts, he tells me I am beautiful.  When I feel like everything is going wrong, he tells me that we will get through it.  I couldn't imagine my life without my husband even on the days he makes me want to rip my hair out.  I have so many hopes and dreams for Charli when she grows up.  I pray that she will marry a man who loves her like her Daddy loves me, and I pray she will love him back with every fiber of her being.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Day The Music Died....?

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”  Victor Hugo

I would be willing to bet that if I started rattling off song titles a flood of memories would pour over your soul.  Music is a vital part of who we are and the memories we carry.  I remember making up  dance routines to Madonna songs with my sister and cousins.  When I was a teenager I  listened to a certain song over and over again, crying my eyes out, in a miserable attempt to nurse a broken heart.  I used to sing into my hair brush in front of my bedroom mirror, though I haven't done that for years... the thought makes me laugh.  I have been known to crank up the CD player in the car and sing Bon Jovi's "You give Love A Bad Name" at the top of my lungs, while my daughter just shakes her head and slides further down into her seat trying to pretend she has no idea who the crazy lady is behind the wheel.

Charli loves is in her soul.  I know we are living in tough times but the idea of cutting music as well as art from our schools makes me heartsick.  I don't want to get on my soap box but I really hope that "people" will use wisdom when they are making decisions that will effect my child's future. 

Okay, enough of the heavy stuff...I will share some songs and you all just let the memories flow and I will share a few of my own.

Moves Like Jagger...reminds me of my friend Lisa...and Jagger would be jealous of her moves!

Hot, Hot Hot...Polyester Prom and The Boogie Ball with a group of the most fun women I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun...being young and watching the movie with my sister.

Swing Low Sweet Chariot... reminds me of my Daddy.  He would also go around singing Frenchmen Never Eat Ice Cream or something like that.  I used to crack up and roll my eyes back then, and now I am thankful for such a great, silly memory.

The Time of My Life, Glory Of Love, Love In An Elevator, Pour Some Sugar On Me, The Heart of Rock and Roll, Mony Mony (I still remember part of the dance we made up), The Greatest Love of All, I'd Do Anything For Love (but I won't do that), Dude Looks Like a Lady.

I could do this all night long but I am certain everyone reading this understands where I am coming from.  Music is vital to all of us and in this day and age our children need this creative outlet. So let's go grab a hair brush and sing it like we mean it :) 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Donkey Rescue

This morning I woke up hearing part of a conversation I wasn't supposed to hear and it went something like this...

Daddy! Come here I have to show you something.
Charli?  What is that?!  Tell me you didn't!  Mommy is going to flip!!!
Dad, it will be okay...I didn't want to throw him away.

Mark comes into the our room and after much insisting he fills me in on the whole thing.

Charli got up at 6:50 this morning, went outside, climbed into the back of her Daddy's pick up truck and rescued the donkey.  She stuck her hand into the hole that was in the trash bag and pulled him out.  She was smart enough to put the dogs on their leashes and walk them so they wouldn't bark when she went outside.

I made Charli go into her room and get me ten things to get rid of in place of the one donkey.  I had her write me a list of five reasons why it was a horrible idea to sneak out of the house while Mommy and Daddy were sleeping, even if it was daylight.  The former worked in my favor, the latter made me mad all over again.  She knew it was wrong and she did it anyway.  In addition to her punishment she will be my personal beck and call clean up crew for the next week.

This weekend I have learned my daughter is more courageous and resourceful than I ever gave her credit for. If this is a preview of what her teen years will be like... I am thinking I need to get my game face on.  In the end it is pretty funny, though I am not going to tell her that just yet.  I had no idea Charli could be so creative and brave. Point Charli...touche'.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pack Rat attempts to save donkey...

It all started with the Brownie vest we had to find for a girl scout event tomorrow. Charli couldn't find the brownie vest underneath the massive pile of clothing, stuffed animals, clean folded laundry, and toys strewn about her room.  I knew opening the door to her bedroom was not going to be good but I am a brave soul.  I was determined not to determination lasted a grand total of 20 minutes.

Charli is a pack rat...she gets this from her father.  He saves check stubs from twenty years ago and it makes me insane.  The things I toss when those two aren't looking would amaze you.  I wasn't very clever in my movement to de-clutter this evening.  I had Charli choose between a stuffed penguin and a stuffed donkey.  I knew where the penguin came from, but the donkey...well I am certain it was from one of those slot machines or from Walmart.  I do not remember this donkey, though I was probably the idiot who bought it.  Charli was a sobbing mess pleading for the life of this cheap, stuffed, not even close to cute donkey.  I should also mention she forgot she even owned said donkey until I dug him out from his grave. I was livid.  She wouldn't decide so I made the decision for her.  The donkey is in the trash.  Charli my poor silly girl decided to make a swipe for the donkey, nearly toppling me over.  Her little antics went over like a ton of lead bricks.  I must say I did underestimate her bravery. 

In a last ditch effort to spare her precious possession she tried to barter for it.  I have had all the drama I could handle and sent her to bed.  She comes into my office and I told her she needed to close her mouth and go to bed.  She then says to me (I think she was channeling one of her little cousins) "I will cry until I get my donkey back!"  I said "Go ahead!  You can cry all night for all I care!  You are taking your life in your own hands and so help me if you do not go to bed right this instant, when you get home tomorrow afternoon all you will have in your room is your bed, your dresser and the carpet on your GO and goodnight, I love you!"  Charli has been asleep for about 20 minutes :)  Point Mommy - Charli Zero

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Life lessons from my daughter...

Writing is my outlet and it has been since I was about eleven years old.  When I found out I was pregnant with Charli I started writing her letters.  I have written her a letter every year on her birthday.  I have written her letters on ordinary days as well.  I wrote something several years back when Charli was just around a year old.  Here is my list of....

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I learned From My Daughter...

Cuteness is a redeeming quality at 3 AM.

You can be proud and heartbroken in the same moment.

It is completely possible to survive on two hours of sleep but if done for more than two consecutive nights , you won't be very functional on the third day.

Do whatever works; Dr. Spock doesn't know it all.

If it will make a baby laugh it doesn't really matter how ridiculous you look.

The waitress will forgive you for putting mash potatoes in her pocket if you have a big toothy grin and are less than 3 feet tall.

Time goes by twice as fast once you become a parent.

Watching a baby sleep and listening to them breathe is a great way to reduce stress.

There are things in life we will never be able to the feeling you have when you hold your child.

Sometimes prayers get answered and sometimes they don't.  We should be thankful in both instances, even if the latter is only in hindsight.

Magic is in the little moments.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Back to the basics

It has been a long time since we have had a vacation...just our little family of three.  We go on vacation every year at some point but usually go with our extended family.  I love my extended family but it was nice to get away with my husband and daughter. 

We rented a surrey bike and I am certain that was quite a site to behold for on lookers.  Mark and I did all the work while her royal highness sat in bench seat enjoying the wind in her hair.  There were only 2 sets of pedals otherwise Charli will have been pedaling, like the rest of us peasants.  When we would come to the top of the hill Charli would yell "Keep pedaling Daddy!" , while I would yell "No brake!!!  We are going to tip!!"  Mark kept pedaling, Charli squealed with laughter and though, we didn't tip over I am certain I have new gray hair growth.

I booked a wonderful resort and we spent much of our time hanging out by the pool.  I read a great book, while my adrenaline junkies hit the water slides.  We ate ice cream at a hole in the wall joint where everything is homemade.  We sat outside to enjoy our ice cream and watched the lighting dance in the dark sky, seeking shelter in the car just moments before the rain began to pour. 

We enjoyed a trip to the museum, and a fantastic Mummy exhibit.  I must confess that was super creepy, and very Raiders of the Lost Ark (I am so aging myself)!  It was a very interesting exhibit and Mark and Charli enjoyed the fact that I was a little creeped out.  I was certain I would have nightmares, but Mark is the one who had a dream about me being chased by mummies.  I am not sure if he was trying to save me or if he was sitting on the sidelines eating popcorn and cheering them on.  He never did get around to sharing that part of the dream. 

Our vacation wouldn't be complete without a trip to the beach, so we loaded up the car and headed to Honeymoon Island State Park.  We played in the sand, and frolicked in the sea.  We collected shells, and Mark and Charli enjoyed a hearty laugh as I chased my sun hat down the beach.  We had a wonderful time creating memories.  Our little adventure has come to an end but the memories that we created will live in my heart and in scrapbooks for many years to come.

I am hopeful you have had the chance to enjoy creating memories with your family as well.  Life is short...we have to make it count. :D

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Our common ground...

The butter sizzled in the skillet, the bread waited patiently in the sea of soggy yellow goo, eager to be transformed into something delicious.  I watched as my mother carefully lifted the bread in it's sodden state and gingerly placed it in the skillet.  The angry bubbles popped around the edges and after a few moments my mother flipped the bread over, revealing a beautiful golden brown among the pale yellow hue.

French was the first thing I ever learned to make standing side by side with my mom when I was eight years old.  French toast also happens to be the first dish I taught my daughter to make, though she was six. 

When Charli was a baby I cooked with her in one arm and a wooden spoon in the other.  She spoke her first sentence at nine months old, propped on my hip, while she stared into a pot of chili. As Charli got older I would sit her in the high chair, sometimes, with a pudding cup and I would give her a piece of paper so she could "paint".  I would talk to her about what I was cooking for dinner.  I was thrilled when Charli was finally old enough to stand up on a chair, that I had turned backward and pushed against the counter. We would stand there side by side, and I would give her simple little tasks so she could "cook" with me. 

We made aprons when she was two years old.  My apron read "Cookie Baker" while Charli's said "Mess Maker".  I painted her little hands and placed them neatly on my apron, then she clapped her hands together and created a beautiful abstract on her own aptly titled apron.  Once our masterpieces dried, we made chocolate chip cookies.  When she was three I bought her a kid safe knife and gave her a cutting board.  As the years have passed, we have traded up to matching, grown up aprons.  Charli now uses a real knife and is sure to curl her fingers under so she doesn't cut them off.  I am proud of her culinary abilities.  Tonight I taught her how to zest a lime being careful not to grate into the pith.  She also learned how to make a homemade salad dressing and how to emulsify it.

I am so thankful that Charli loves being in the kitchen as much as I do.  We are making wonderful memories together but for us it is more than the sum of our best dishes.  The kitchen is our common ground, where we are able to connect regardless of what happened through the day.  I am prayerful that it will always be this way.  Charli's teenage years are around the corner. I am hopeful that no matter what girl drama she faces, that she will be able to stand with me side by side in the kitchen, and we will still share that common ground.  We have shared so much as mother and daughter over cookies and cutting boards...if she becomes a famous chef someday and wins the James Beard award...well that will just be a bonus.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lulu Bug and Possum

I am sitting in my office looking at a dress I bought for my youngest niece, for her birthday. While I listen to the rain outside, I let my eyes drift over hundreds of spools of ribbon and I am reminded my office is organized chaos. I am contemplating what kind of hair bow I shall create for my sassy little Lulu Bug. I am still stumped as to what to get my youngest nephew for his birthday...I am certain the Possum would not appreciate a hair bow.

Alyssa Marie is older than her brother Nicholas William by a whole 7 minutes. I remember the day they were born. Alyssa was so tiny and Nicky reminded me of a lil' old man. They were so incredibly precious. It has been a hoot to watch the twins grow up. Their little antics have been a great source of laughter for me, though I am certain not so much at times for their parents. It doesn't seem possible Alyssa and Nicky will officially turn 5 years old in less than 12 hours. The older I get the faster time seems to fly.

Happy Birthday Lulu Bug!
Happy Birthday Possum!
Aunt Kimmi loves you both very much and I am thankful that God blessed our family with your presence. You are both very loved and wonderfully rotten. xoxo

Sunday, July 1, 2012

HA Wipe Out!!

It is said girlfriends are cheaper than therapy and I have certainly found this to be true. Girlfriends laugh with us and help us laugh at ourselves. I have done more than my part to aid in the comic relief of my friends. I was at a friends house many years ago and we were getting ready to go to youth group. We were in such a hurry that when it was my turn to take a shower I jumped in and after I am standing under the water do I notice that I forgot to take off my bra. I started hollering, and could not believe what I had just done. I told Michelle through the door what I did and I don't think I have ever heard her laugh as hard as she did at that moment. It would have been a non issue if Michelle and I wore the same size bra, and if I had noticed I didn't throw a bra into in my bag before I left my house. I ended up having to dry my hair and my bra with the blow dryer.

I have spit pop out of my nose, and lost my ice cream right off the cone at McDonalds (don't hold it against me...I haven't done that in years).  I have fallen on my butt at the bowling alley, and at the skating rink. Truth be told I am not the most graceful thing on two legs. Just last night a few of my girlfriends and I went to dinner to celebrate our friend Julie's birthday and then we went to see a movie. We are in a packed theater with at least 125 other people, probably more. I decided I had to go to the restroom before the movie started. I go running across the the floor right in front of the big screen where everyone is looking waiting for the opening previews... and I wiped out. Yep, Kimmi was down and I knew I had two choices, I could either army crawl across the nasty floor and make my escape or I could go with my second choice. I stood up in front of all those people and I took a bow. As I was picking up my butt and what was left of my dignity off the floor I catch one of my girlfriends get up and start to take a few steps to come to my aid. Once Julie (not the birthday girl- we are so awesome we have two Julies) saw me stand up and take a bow she sat back down and joined our fellow movie goers in a round of applause. I headed to the restroom limping on what I am now certain is a broke toe or at least a badly bruised one. It is a most lovely shade of blue-ish purple. This coming weekend I am headed for an encore presentation of the same movie with a group of equally amazing friends who couldn't make it last night...and I am really hoping I don't end up on my butt again in front of all those people.

Girlfriends are priceless. Michelle and I don't see each other often but when we do it's as though we haven't really missed a beat. I am part of an amazing group of women. There are several of us and I love when we all go out together.  We always have a good time and usually go home with sore facial muscles from grinning so much.  We laugh together, cry together, hug each others children, discuss every topic imaginable, lend a hand, give encouragement, text each other on a whim, pray for each other, we celebrate moments big and small together. We have shared in each others trials and triumphs. We reach out to each other and respect when to hold on and when to give a little space. We get our feelings hurt sometimes and we move on. I lovingly refer to these ladies as "my girls" and I count them all among my greatest treasures. I am also incredibly thankful for a husband who understands the need for my occasional girl's night out!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Writing my book....

I have tossed around the idea of writing a book for a long time.  I have always known the story that I wanted to tell but I put it on the back burner to try my hand at another story, one that needs to be told as well.  The former is a true story, the latter fictional but loosely based on true life events.  I am going back to my first work in progress.  It's the story that has been in my heart for several years.

Most people in our circle know a few details of the struggle Mark and I faced on our fertility journey.  In fact that is how the name of this blog came day Laughter For The Journey might be found at a bookstore near you.  It is my dream to one day be a published author but more than that is my passion for this story, my story.  When it is published the book is meant to be a lighthearted look at our journey to become parents.  I have been writing a lot this evening and I have to confess I needed the break.  There were some dark moments way back before those two lines finally appeared on a urine soaked stick.  It's hard to let those memories wash over me.  I try not to let myself go back to that place in our lives because it was dark, and sad.  My heart hurts thinking about it, but it was real, and sometimes the pain, well it was brutal. 

As I sit here pecking away on my laptop, my sweet (yet oh so sassy) miracle is sleeping soundly tucked into her warm bed.  I sure am glad she can navigate around her latest, discarded wardrobe and the mountain of stuffed animals strewn about her floor, to get to her bed.  I have called Charli my "Sunshine Girl" since the day she was born.  I call her that because there was time when things were very dark but when she was born is was as though someone had turned the lights on in a dark room.
 I felt warmth, hope, joy, and life.  There was  life before Charli and life since Charli.  Please don't misunderstand, I adore my husband.  We loved each other a great deal then as we do now (though his ability to make me a crazy is uncanny) but we knew early on having a child could prove to be a struggle.  We never knew how long the road was going to be but I certainly won't ever forget where we came from.  It wasn't always easy but believe me looking back there was plenty to laugh at in spite of it all.  I am thankful for every single moment of motherhood even when I am the "meanest mom ever!"  I try to remind myself not to take the blessing of being a mother for granted, though I am certain there are days it seems that way.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post.  When the book is finished I promise there will be plenty of laughs.

Kimmi Junior

Just after midnight on December 13, 2002 a nurse named Barbara looked at my husband and told him that our baby must have been an immaculate conception. Barbara had a thick Jamaican accent and she says to Mark " Boy, dis baby look like just like her momma!" I can't even begin to count the number of times people have told me how much Charli and I look alike since the day she was born. It is true a lot of kids look like their parents, but with Charli and I...well it borders on creepy. I often tell my husband that God has a special place in heaven for him because, Charli acts like me too.

If I had to use one word to describe my daughter it would be animated. Charli has always been a fan of singing, dancing and making funny faces. She often times it a one girl comedy show, and goodness knows she has never met a mirror she didn't like. Charli loves to talk and never meets a stranger. When Charli was little and would do the silliest things my mother would often say "She is just like you." When Charli was rotten my mother would say "It's like you being little all over again!" Charli never went through the terrible two's but when she turned three I thought she had been invaded by a pod person. She had a temper, though thankfully throwing tantrums in public was never her thing. A number of phone calls to my mother began with..."Guess what Charli did?" and my mother would always say "Kimberly Ann, she is just like her mother!" Finally one day I had a come back and I said to my mother "Well then, how blessed were you?!"

I look at Charli now and at 9 and a half (that half is very important you know) I can see her father in her. I have seen it all along. She has Mark's eyes, and she gets her height from him. Charli is an adrenaline junkie just like her daddy as well. My father in law calls Charli, Kimmi Junior. I won't deny that we are alike in so many ways. Her stubborn streak and her temper ...well she gets that from her father :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Our First that's good stuff!

I met Mark in the summer of 1997. I used to work in the Parks and Recreation department and so did Mark’s father. His dad introduced us and the following night we went on our first date. I have said a million times that I had the funniest first date in the history of firsts dates. I should totally win an award or something for most hysterical, worst date ever.

Mark and I decided that I would meet him at his house. We went out to eat at a casual dining restaurant chain, then we went to see a movie. Now my first clue should have been the movie…we watched Austin Powers. Mark was so good looking. I remember thinking even if his ability to pick an appropriate date movie was lacking, he did have the most amazing eyes. When the credits rolled we walked out the Mark’s car. We were chatting and I was leaning against the car. We agreed to see each other again, then Mark leans in and kisses me. How sweet! It sounds like a fairytale right? After Mark kisses me he says “Excuse me” and he walks to the front of his car and throws up! Yes, you read that right he tossed his cookies. I was mortified but I had an image to uphold so I said to him “ Wow! I have had a guy or two fall at my feet in adoration after I kissed them, but you are the first one to lose his dinner.” We drove back to his house and didn’t talk much. When we got there, we said goodnight and eww no there wasn’t another kiss.

When I got home my Dad asked me how my date went. I told my Daddy I didn’t want to talk about it and went straight to my room. I kept thinking if I didn’t give Mark another chance I would be the most shallow person on the face of the Earth. Well, I refused to be shallow and when Mark called I agreed to go out with him again. We started dating and I brought him home to meet my family. Mark was the first guy I ever brought home that my Daddy liked. My Dad always said you can tell a mans worth by looking at his hands. My dad said to Mark, “Boy, let me see your hands". When Mark left that night, my Dad and I had a chat. He told me that Mark was a man I could depend on and that if things got serious, Mark was the kind of man who would take care of me. My Dad was old school. He thought that a man was a man when he earned his living by the sweat of his brow because it was reflected in the calluses on his hands. Mark proposed four months later at a park he used to play in as a little boy, growing up in Kentucky.  I said yes and my Daddy was right about him.

Cookies and... spinach?!

I am a planner by nature.  I have a back up plan for plan B and I have no idea how I got this way. (I certainly didn't get it from anyone in my family...whom I adore especially if they are reading this blog).  I have come up with the most grand plans often forgetting to inform people around me...people like my husband.  It was on such an occassion that led to one of the most ridiculous arguments (though hysterical in hindsight) that we have ever had.

I was co-planning an annual cookie exchange last holiday season.  Last year we decided to have the cookie exchange on a Sunday afternoon.  I was so looking forward to an afternoon of sweets, savory treats and most of all spending time with an amazing group of girlfriends.

 Mark, Charli and I got up and got ready for church.  We were going to the early service otherwise we weren't going to make it to church at all.  I knew after church I was going to have just enough time to make my spinach and articoke dip and head off across town to my friend Lisa's.  I laid the spinach out on the counter to thaw, put my make-up on and we were off to church...our happy little family of three.  When we returned home, I rushed to change my clothes and headed to the kitchen.  I start looking high and low for my spinach...then it hit me!  The whole time I am thinking "No, he wouldn't"!  He couldn't have...ah, but yes...yes he did.  My well meaning husband put my spinach back in the freezer before we left for church.  I am boiling mad while trying to thaw the spinach under water.  I asked my amazing husband why he would do such a thing.  I am a smart woman and did he honestly think that if I set spinach out that I wouldn't have had a reason for it?!  Oh yes there was a lot of yelling that afternoon.  I am not proud of that but I am being honest.  On the bright side I made the dip and was fashionably late to the cookie exchange.  I didn't find humor in this story at all until a few weeks later.  We went to a Christmas party with these same group of friends and one of them bought Mark a box of frozen spinach.  We all laughed so hard.  The things my husband does often gives me laughter for the journey...even if it is a delayed reaction.