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.