We really do love our pets. "Doc" struggles a little with some of them, but I think it is mostly because he grew up without pets, and possibly because when the dogs make a mess, he usually steps in it barefooted. We have now dubbed him as the Poop Patrol. Belle is usually the offender of placing "gifts" in strategic places, so you know where that places her on the favorite list! All the guys make fun of Belle. She has huge eyes that I think are soulful and they think are goofy. She also has a bit of an addiction to food. We have to monitor her food intake carefully. She will get into the garbage at any opportunity and will drag containers into her cage and hide them. We have caught her standing on the kitchen table when after someone has left food out. She can open boxes and get to candy on the table too. Her newest skill is the ability to open the bread drawer and help herself to a loaf or too. She actually ate a container of salt one time. We still have the salt shaker, a glass one with a metal lid. She unscrewed the lid and ate the salt. "Mini Me" and her boyfriend at the time, thought it made her thirsty and gave her water. The poor girl blew up like a balloon and lay on the floor moaning. She is well aware of her offenses and panics when she gets caught. "Calvin" has caught her mid-leap jumping off the table. She really is a gentle dog.
Pistol is better liked by the guys. I guess he is more of a playful dog and according to the guys he is cool. I just think that guys bond better with guys. I think he commits a significant number of offenses as Belle. He is just a little more clever at hiding his indiscretions. I have actually caught him squatting to make a puddle and I know that Belle would have been blamed! After all, if he sprays something, we all know who did it! He is the only inside male dog. The only other males that I could blame would be my sonds or "Doc", and if my guys are peeing on the walls we have bigger issues! Pistol has done his share of late night garbage raids too. Somehow the guys think his are funny, especially when they catch him mid-act and he runs away dragging the garbage bag with him because it got caught on his collar.
Prudence is just a little princess, her messes are small and she gets away with it all. She is the most ferocious when visitors come. You are positive that she will attack your ankles any second, but all you have to do is take a step toward her and she scampers away!
She bounces around on all four feet like a cartoon character when you ask her if she wants to go out or if she wants to eat.
I really didn't want any more pets when the kids first brought Pistol home. I have to admit, that they bring an awful lot of unconditional love to the household. You can always count on them being excited to see you, even when no one else is. They also seem to know when you don't feel good or are sad and they know just what to do about it. If it is at all possible, let your kids have a pet. They will learn the best lessons about unconditional love, and they will develop some responsibility. They will learn life lessons that only a pet can teach! If you have never had a pet, try it. You might learn too.
Just when I think I have seen it all, I get another surprise. This story comes at the request of the kids in the family and maybe for the "Admiral" it is a bit of a lesson on why he should go to church on Sundays instead of staying home alone. This one took place during the year that "Mini Me", "Max" and the "Admiral" were living with us. The whole family (minus the "Admiral") headed for church as we do every Sunday.
Of course, we cannot physically go anywhere together by virtue of our numbers. It takes several vehicles to get us there. We caravanned home and I was the last one in. I was extremely aggravated as soon as I got out of the car. Sitting outside the door was a large bag of garbage. Really!? We can't even be bothered to take the garbage out properly?! The best we can do is set it outside the door?!
I walked into the kitchen, out for blood and ready to strike. The rest of the family was in the kitchen waiting. I should have smelled a rat. It sort of reminded me of coming home to my patio table being shot! The "Admiral" had his head in his hands. I couldn't even get a word out. As I entered the kitchen, my eyes went in the direction of the stoves. Did I mention that the front was completely off one of the ovens? Oh, the door was there but it had no glass or handle!
Now comes the story. The "Admiral" was hungry. He decided to make Jalapeno poppers for breakfast. Don't even think about asking why. He put them in the oven and tried to turn it on. Notice that I said "tried". He did turn the oven on but he also somehow managed to apply the lock that is used for the self-cleaning cycle on the oven. He tried to open the door when he thought they were done and couldn't get it to open. He immediately started texting us at church. I do remember giving the boys "The Look" for texting in church. I vaguely remember being asked about the lock. In his panic to open the door, the "Admiral" pulled with every ounce of strength and fear that he had and jerked the handle right off the tempered glass door, shattering the glass.
Now that isn't even the kicker to this story. The reason that it was so important to get that oven open, is because he didn't want us making fun of him for cooking Jalapeno poppers on the lid to a pot. He couldn't find the baking sheets that were right in front of him and used a pot lid. By the way, the lid had a rubberized handle on it.
Just another day at our house!
I have said it before. My kids keep me young. Today however, I appear to be regressing. Perhaps you have heard about this ice bucket challenge to raise money for ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease? Well, the challenge goes something like this, you get called out by someone and then you have a choice of pouring a bucket of ice water over your head or donating $100 to the cause. I guess many people are actually doing both. And yes, before we go further, I have been called out by none other than "The Ninja." Whining did not work. She simply reminded me that I swam through an industrial sized dumpster full of ice water when I did the Tough Mudder last year.
Of course, she and I cannot just accept a challenge at the basic level. We have both watched multiple videos of people doing this. Oh yes, you are required to video tape yourself doing this. One of her friends, suggested that since we are farm people we should dump water out of a front loader on a tractor on ourselves. Now, for a few odd minutes that made perfect sense and goes with our general motto of go big or go home. And of course, I forget to filter my thoughts and immediately said "Let's show everyone else how it is really done!"
I was not a daredevil as a child. I was a bit of a wallflower who never tried new and exciting things. I lived in my books! What in God's name is happening to me!? Is this part of the aging process. I knew eventually I would start slipping mentally, but I never expected this!!!!! This woman is also trying to convince me to do at least a half ironman. Wasn't three marathons and a Tough Mudder enough!? I did those because I was tired of my kids getting all the acclaim for their athletic endeavors. Want to know how many newspaper articles I have been in for all my efforts? Well, let's get real. No one wants to see an old person doing ridiculous things!
But, here I go. Headed to the Ninja's to be recorded having a front loader full of ice water dumped on our heads. I will still make a donation to ALS, and I will hope that it goes to the cause itself and not to line the pocket of a CEO with more money than he or she can possibly use in a lifetime. The disease has been around for a while, and there has been absolutely no progress in finding a cure for it. If you want a better idea of what happens to someone with ALS, read Mitch Albom's book "Tuesdays With Morrie". To everyone who has already accepted the challenge - Here's to the Cure! To my children, plan on being called out one by one until you have all been named. Have some fun with it, get a group together and help get rid of this horrible condition. To everyone my age, if you get called out - do it! A little brain freeze just might be the thing you need to stay young and full of life and laughter!
It is that time of year again. August. The kids go back to school! Wait, what ever happened to summer? You know, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day that we relaxed, slept in, etc. It has slowly been hacked away. School starts earlier and earlier, sports go all summer long, there is required summer reading. No more down time for kids! What are we doing? Doesn't anyone understand we are robbing our children of an important part of childhood?
Believe me, having been on the School Board I have heard the educational arguments for starting school in August. It is particularly important when the classes are AP, and must coincide with college testing. I get all of that. I get that there is extra pressure on the students and teachers. I have been to college though and know just how much time is open in the classes. I have seen how much extra time there is in the high school and still think that the job is getting done. Honestly, you only take the college class two or three times a week and you have the high school equivalent five days a week.
I don't know, I just think that the time spent in the summer is so valuable to kids and families. Kids need that down time to just play. Playing is the work of children!. We spend so much time organizing formal sports for them at younger and younger ages, we send them for reading time in the library, and we pre-school them to death. Whatever happened to just being a kid?!!!!
I remember playing all summer. Pickup games of baseball and basketball at the school, swimming, lazy reading, and just playing tag or hopscotch or riding your bike. Spending time learning social skills just by playing with your friends and hanging out is so important. Now our kids are scheduled with activities and can go an entire summer without human contact because they have phones and computers.
What about family vacations! Remember the time you spent annoying your parents and cramming yourselves and luggage into a car for a trip to somewhere? A break in the routine that left you actually talking to each other, even if it was in the form of squabbling! Our family skipped vacations for years. Over the past six years or so we have made it a point to travel together somewhere and it has brought us some of our best memories.
I for one wish to hang on for dear life to summer - that period of time from Memorial Day to Labor Day - and all of the old memories and the creation of new ones!
We had a wonderful dinner last night. A bunch of the gang was home which brought up childhood meals. Somehow the kids never remember to talk about the fantastic meals that you serve, but they can never forget or stop talking about the "bad" ones. There were three menu items up for criticism last night.
The first one is toaster waffles. Apparently at some point in their young lives I had the audacity to purchase and force them to eat fraudulent toaster waffles. I don't remember this, but believe me they do. The first clue to their lack of authenticity was their shape. Real toaster waffles are round and I am told that these were square and had the flavor of cardboard. Also, according to my children I made every attempt at lying to them about the brand name.
Truthfully, the lying to them seems to be a theme with all of the food items they objected to. The second food item is Eggplant Parmesan. I guess there are some tricks to preparing this properly. I have had it in restaurants and love it. My kids won't even give it a fair try at this point. According to them, I made multiple claims that it would taste like pizza. Apparently my taste buds are defective and this meal was totally unedible. Since then I have learned that you cannot just put it on a baking sheet and cover it with sauce and cheese. I still think they missed out on a good meal.
The final food, and I take significant criticism for this one, is Orange Roughy. I would buy restaurant portions of this delicious fish and bake it in the oven with seasoning and butter. Some of my kids love seafood, others will starve to death before eating it. This fish is off the list for them. They have complained for years that everything that was cooked on those baking sheets after an Orange Roughy dinner tasted like bad fish. Well, I just don't know about that.
I do know that I also remember foods that my mother made for me as a child. There were several that I would avoid at all costs. Some were ethnic and others were.....well others were fish. I would give you the names of the foods, but unless you are of Serbian descent, you will not know what they are. Funny how we all remember "those foods". Honestly, my kids brag about my spaghetti sauce and the pork roast and the standing rib roast. I would feel better if they did a little more of that and a little less complaining. But then they wouldn't be kids, would they?
I have been absent for a few days. Not because it has not been exciting here. There is always something happening here, but sometimes I just need to reflect on where I have been and where I am going. Sometimes it just is what it is. Each day plugs along. The changes happen and you just have to roll with them. Kids disappoint you, kids bring you joy. Kids leave for school, kids cant wait to leave for school. Kids get married, kids go to work, kids have huge lives that do not include you. And at the end of the day, you are the one that is there. As the "Monkees" said it's just another Pleasant Valley Sunday. And there you are, the stable factor. You are the anchor and the glue that holds it all together and makes it all sensible.
That is one of the hardest parts of being a parent. You get left behind. You revel in the accomplishments of your children. You are thrilled when they win a race, make a diving tackle, get the interception or make the winning catch. You are excited for their "moment". Sometimes you get a "Hi mom" into the camera, maybe when they are interviewed they tell the reporter what a great support you have been and blah, blah, blah.
None of it matters. You have worked, sacrificed, cried, clapped, chastised, praised and mostly loved them for years. It is their time to shine. A good parent lets them do that. a good parent steps back and lets them have their time, their moment. A good parent will feel the love and pride at the same time that they feel the emptiness and loneliness. And that comes whether the moving on happens in a positive or a negative way.
Being a parent is so rewarding. The love you give comes back to you and overwhelms you. It also leaves you standing alone and wondering where the time has gone. But that is okay, that is the way it is designed to happen. As your kids move on, you continue to support them and love them. Often as adults, they seek your advice and support more than when they were a "know it all" teenager or young adult. Sometimes you just have to let them go, knowing that they will crash and burn. But you have to let them go.
It is the time in your life and theirs that brings so many emotions into play. You think about them, you think about your life. You wonder what your accomplishments have been and whether you should have done more. You wonder if you have taught them enough and how to give them more or even if you should. Sometimes there are clear answers and definite rights and wrongs. Sometimes you just do the best that you can at any given moment and pray for God's guidance and mercy. You work like crazy to look confident and sure of what and who you are, and pray that your kids believe that. In the end, they grow up and move on with their lives. The best that can happen is that the values you have given them, stay with them for many years to come. You pray that your relationship grows and ALWAYS YOU LOVE THEM. May God Bless all of you every day and the time, short or long that you have with your child. Make the most of every moment of your relationships in your family. They are precious and should never be taken for granted.
Well they write sequels to books and movies, why not trips to the Dentist. We all keep going back right? Even when we have had bad experiences, we still go back twice a year. One of the granddaughters had some cavities taken care of yesterday. Apparently drinking juice is not a victimless crime. Who would have thought that giving your child juice was as bad as pop. She did well. No offense, but while adult dentists are considered evil by some, pediatric dentists are a day at the circus by comparison. Happy gas and no pain with injection of the Novocaine or fixing of the teeth. Anyway, her teeth are repaired and her mother did not have to take her. Daddy did. That's a good thing too. It would have been rather embarrassing for the dentist to have to sedate "Mommy" before my granddaughter. I think "Mommy" cries when she makes an appointment.
"Pook" escaped multiple visits this time. Of course the three visits to the oral surgeon to get his wisdom teeth removed was more than anyone should have to tolerate and by anyone I mean me! Leave it to him to be the only person known to that practice to have his teeth removed and then have to go back for two more "surgical procedures". I still say that God was getting even with him for me because he was so mean. He argued the whole way there that he didn't want to have his wisdom teeth out and was quite the wise guy preoperatively. Did I mention that he was no cupcake after they woke him up? It might be the first time I considered withholding pain medication, but then I realized he would sleep and be quiet if I gave it to him.
"The Surprise" has several cavities this time. The Dentist is in for a real treat. Not only did she get to work on "The Surprise" this morning, but "Max" also had her very first appointment. The good news for "Max" was that she had no cavities. That however, has made "Mommy" feel like the worst mother ever!!!
The appointment took a lot of extra time as we waited for the novocaine to take effect on "The Surprise" so they could work on his teeth. He giggled when the drill started because all he could think of was Joe Pesci in one of the Lethal Weapon movies when he went to the dentist. The novocaine is great when your teeth are being worked on because you feel no pain. I personally am in love with whoever thought of that! The aftereffects are not so pretty. The numbness, slurred speech and the drooling can be a bit much. I especially remember several years ago when "the Surprise" actually had the dentist pull some teeth instead of doing it himself for the tooth fairy cash, and they numbed his mouth pretty good. Being the loving and sympathetic mother that I am, I kept asking him to say "Saskatchewan" and then laughed when he burbled over the word and drooled while one side of his face hung down to his chest. Got to find humor in everything or it will get you down!
Am I the only one who gets tired of everyone being a victim? Don't get me wrong, there are victims. Women who get raped, people who get robbed, children who get abused. These are victims. Those of you who know me, know that I believe that bullying is a problem, but that the solution is not to turn the person being bullied into a victim. The solution is to teach them how to appropriately advocate for themselves and to socially educate the bullies.
It is frustrating to see so many people looking for a ways to not be accountable for themselves. There are people who are obese because of medical conditions but by and large obesity is caused by a poor diet and lack of exercise. This leads to a poor self esteem and poor health. Instead of improving their diet and getting some exercise, many obese people are complaining because their rights are violated when someone makes fun of them or they are required to purchase an extra seat on a plane, etc. Never mind that the person sitting next to you on the plane is uncomfortable and crowded, their rights don't matter to you. I am not just picking on obesity, this behavior is becoming more commonplace for a variety of reasons.
The latest thing has been the lady who has gone viral because she wore a bikini for the first time in 15 and after having five children. Well, I have had six. I do not wear a bikini and I am in pretty good shape. I also no longer weigh 120 pounds. As I was reading the article, it went to the fact that the world in intolerant and the models that are in front of us create unacceptable standards. Try this - the fact that you have gone through pregnancy and delivered children is a beautiful thing. Your body is a beautiful thing. If you respect your body, dress it appropriately and in a way that flatters the beautiful person that you are. Don't try to be 15 again. If your husband loves your body that is beautiful and by the way PRIVATE! I cannot be the only person in the world who has seen someone out in public and wondered whether or not they had a mirror in their home.
On the flip side of that, what is wrong with people thinking that they can say and do anything they want, with no thought to the fact that they may be hurting someone. I am more concerned with the cruelty that has become acceptable. What are we teaching our kids when they think it is acceptable to publicly humiliate someone?! Oh wait, isn't that the point of internet sites like people of Walmart?
Instead of complaining, try accepting the fact that everyone is entitled to their opinion. You don't get to control that. If you are comfortable with yourself and your choices that should not be a problem. Better yet, if you are uncomfortable with yourself, do something about it. Take control of your life! And go one step further, teach others around you every day to be kind and considerate of others.
If you are a parent of a child heading to college, you have experienced this. It doesn't matter how close you have been to your child, it happens! I have developed this theory over the course of raising mine. Senioritis, the final year of high school is interesting. Some kids make the most of it, they see the finish line and enjoy the heck out of their senior year. Others, become more sullen and distant. They become more argumentative and hide out in their rooms. My theory is that sometimes the kids who are unhappy at home are excited at the prospect of leaving, and enjoy the last year of high school because of it. Sometimes the kids who are close to their families can't handle the thought of missing them when they leave. Those kids do their best to hate home before they go to make them miss it less. The really smart kids, enjoy every minute that they have at home and don't waste any of it, because that is worse than being homesick.
It is a little different for the kids who are heading back for another year. They have been gone for eight or nine months and suddenly come back into your home to visit/live for the summer. They are used to coming and going as they please without having to give the simple courtesy of letting you know where they are. They have spent a significant amount of time, taking care of only themselves and enjoying the selfishness of that.
Becoming part of a family again for the summer is a challenge. If you are smart as a parent, you understand that they have grown and become more independent and you respect that. You allow them their freedom and simply ask them to give you a point in time when you should start checking ditches or calling the police because they aren't home yet. We won't get into helping them acclimate to home today. Maybe we can review that at semester break or next spring. Right now, it doesn't matter because they are heading out soon.
Every parent of a returning college student is now hearing: "It's time to get out of here and go back to school." or simply "I can't wait to go back to school!"
NEWS FLASH! - It hasn't been a piece of cake for us either! You have waltzed into our home like Mark Antony returning to Rome with Cleopatra, gracing us with your presence. You have left dishes in the sink, which is a huge step up from the family room and your bedroom! The bathrooms are a mess! The house is a mess! My bills for food, electricity and internet have grown exponentially! When you are asked to do a simple chore or errand, you act like I have requested your right arm and possibly a leg! Over the course of the past year, we have become an embarrassment and it is shocking that we have been able to survive without you!
Over the course of all these children, I have learned to let you puff up your chests and brag about leaving. One day, some of you will get it, some of you may not. That is part of life, and I have no control over that. Parents, know that it will sting for a while. Kids, know that know matter how much it stings your parents, they still love you and will welcome you back next spring.
Being a parent never gets easier, it just gets different.
I really don't remember a lot of teams in this event that had young children with them. It presented quite a challenge in teaching them the rules of the road. It was also a great way to teach them about the problems of one particular disease and that they could help by getting donations and challenging themselves. It is one of my favorite memories as a family.
Day two and the ride home was always rough. It was nice to start the morning with a pancake breakfast provided by the MS Society after you camped at the high school the night of the first day. But then you had to face the reality that you had to get back on that saddle. Any benefits that "Doc" may have had from baby powder had disappeared. It got bad enough that we poured ice water on our seats periodically to cool things off and hopefully ease the pain.
The ride home was always a little quieter. We would amuse ourselves by spotting new spandex violations and enjoying the more athletic competitors and the view that both groups offered. The ride home was also more challenging mentally. Although the mileage each day was approximately the same, it always seemed so much longer the second day. The first year that we did the MS 150, "Mommy" got within about 20 miles of the end and couldn't go any further. "Calvin" was struggling too, but he refused to give up. We lied to that boy for 20 miles and kept telling him that we only had 5 miles to go. For every two we actually rode, we cut the number by one so that mentally he thought he was close to home! "Mommy" was waiting with friends at the finish line. We all backed up and let him be the first across the line. Of course he didn't hesitate to put his hands in the air to claim victory over us all. The vision of her younger brother crossing that finish line really impacted "Mommy". She was so angry with herself for getting so close and quitting. A good lesson for her. I don't think she ever did that again with any challenge that she has faced. It was worth every painful mile to see "Calvin's" face when he crossed the finish line. The joy and pride was beyond anything that I can describe!
Everyone earned their "high fives" on these trips! We got off our bikes and loaded them in the truck. None of us walked well. It was sort of a waddle in a wide stance. I don't know why we never thought to have pillows in the car to sit on for the ride home. I do remember how great it felt to take a warm shower, sit on the couch and finally put my head on my pillow that night. I was so proud of these young children who persevered and did a great deed by donating to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
To "The Ninja" and "the Blonde" - be safe and be smart and try to take a few pictures of the best and worst to share with the rest of us! Proud of both of you for taking on yet another challenge for a worthy cause!
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!