Friday, July 29, 2011

You HaveThe Right To Remain Silent.

Here I go again...beyond irritated and completely baffled by something I read today in the New York Times. Some of you may remember the story of the piece of iron debris, shaped like a cross, that laborer Frank Silecchia, 47 discovered during the massive clean up effort in the aftermath of the attacks at the WTC site on 9/11. It is said that he cried for 20 minutes after it was uncovered and it became a symbol of hope and encouragement for the firefighters, police and construction workers who were charged with the dismal task of sifting through the unending piles of rubble. I always thought that it was nice that those guys were able to find something, anything, that could give them comfort and a feeling of solidarity during such a difficult and heartbreaking task.

But wait. Before you get all warm and fuzzy and start feeling like there might actually be something unifying and redeeming and special that can bring us human beings a reminder of how we all pulled together despite our differences at a difficult time in our country's history...enter some atheists. Here's the deal. Up until recently, the cross has been residing at a Catholic church near the WTC site. It has now been displayed in a place of honor as an artifact of special importance at the National September 11 Museum and Memorial. And, yep, you guessed it, a lawsuit has been filed because among other absurd and ridiculous claims; (no, I'm not making this up, you can read it for yourself...)

"there are four individual atheists named in the lawsuit, who are described as having suffered “dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack."
Really? Were they wearing magnetic sneakers the day they visited the museum that forcefully dragged them to the display and held them captive to look upon it while their retinas were being burned by the mere sight of it and were rendered helpless like Superman is to kryptonite and couldn't just choose to move along to another exhibit at the museum? Good grief. How can anyone 'make you feel officially excluded' at a museum that is open to everyone? If you decide to 'feel' excluded, that's on YOU.

The sense of self-centeredness and entitlement in this country has become ridiculous in my opinion. I'm just has. It seems like practically everyone is personally offended or insulted about something or the other and wants to have everything their own way. 'I must have a voice,' they say. Well guess what? There are plenty of things that a normal, ordinary person like myself could get worked up about pretty frequently. Obviously, I'm offended right now. Most of the time, however, I just make the decision to not take things personally, mind my own business and not make a big deal about what I perceive to be other peoples' craziness and/or nonsense. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don't have a bone to pick with atheists. I have no problem living and working side by side with anyone who treats me with respect and whose company I enjoy. Where I get revved up is when a group who by their very definition have no religious beliefs whatsoever are constantly interfering with and getting all up in the business of people who do choose to believe in God. I wonder why they get so upset and offended about something they claim doesn't even exist. I don't believe in fairies but I don't feel compelled to organize protests whenever a new Tinkerbell movie opens at my local theater. I know, I know...its not the same thing. But if they put up a statue of a fairy at the state capitol and people dressed up in costumes and danced around it and payed homage to it, it wouldn't bother me either. I would just think they were weird. To me, it would just be art. To others, it might be really meaningful but shouldn't I just concern myself with what things mean to me personally and let it represent whatever it does to someone else without allowing it to offend me? Let me put it this way: If' it is not important or meaningful to you, it is not FOR you. It is for someone else. That's okay. Just respectfully let them do their thing. I'm sorry if I seem to be beating a dead horse, here...I've just never understood the whole atheist activism thing. Guess I never will.

Yes, in America we have rights. Freedoms that citizens in other countries couldn't even begin to fathom. Should we exercise those rights? Absolutely. But before you start getting all patriotic and dusting off the leftover fireworks from 4th of July, consider this: Are your rights more important than mine? Or anyone else's? Shouldn't we consider whether our 'rights' are right for the individual situation at hand? Can you be more tolerant of others even if you don't agree with them? Just let them be who they are? Is it all about you? I know it isn't all about me even though sometimes I wish it was. I have a right to free speech. That's why I'm writing this blog post. You know another right we all have? The right to remain silent. We can (and should) exercise it more often than we probably do. There are a few folks up in New York who I am 'officially including in the ranks of citizens' who have the right to remain silent. I hope and pray that they'll use it.



Here's the link to the NY Times article if you would like to read it in its entirety.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Exclusive Video: Mattie Moves Her Mountain!

On Saturday morning, David called me outside and said to bring the camera. I didn't want to. First of all I was still in my PJ's and was in the middle of cooking breakfast. Secondly, usually 'bring the camera' means that one (or more) of my children has gotten themselves into a pickle that will require me to go looking for a pair of scissors, a broom and a dustpan or massive quantities of paper towels.  In some cases, it might be all of the above. Grudgingly, I shuffled out to the garage in time to record my 7 year old daughter, Mattie, being encouraged by her father to push our giant SUV out of the porte cochere from a dead stop with only her bare hands. Talk about GIRL POWER!

The thing is...I'm a mom and so naturally I was not crazy about the idea. I immediately had several scenarios come to mind simultaneously. They included (but were not limited to): hernia, smashed toes, Mattie being squashed between the garage door and the car, her being bummed if she couldn't do it, my car being damaged, me having to damage my husband if any of the aforementioned see where I'm going with this. Anyway, I reluctantly went along with it and got some really cool footage of my little girl whom we lovingly refer to as 'The Tank'. I think after watching this video, you'll see why.

I like the part where she decides to stop the car. I like that she was willing to give it a try. I like that she believed that she could do it. I like that her dad believed in her and encouraged her to try. (He's nuts). I especially like the part where she says "to begin with, pushing it was pretty hard but then it just gets easier." I just like the whole thing.

I think we could all learn a life lesson by watching this video. With the right attitude and unwavering faith we really can move our mountains. When I think of how big this car must look from her little perspective it reminds me of some of the obstacles in my life that I perceive to be insurmountable but when I really take a minute to think about it, probably fall more into the 'pretty hard at first but then gets easier' category. After the first big push of faith, we gain momentum through God's power and then by His grace our burdens become easier and more effortless as time passes. I needed to be reminded of that. Mattie believed and she moved her mountain. We can, too.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ingeniousness...Who Woulda Thunk It?!

Disclaimer: The following post includes unorthodox ways to use ordinary things. Please use the common sense God gave you (or borrow someone else's if yours isn't working properly) while experimenting with these ideas. Have fun but be careful and don't blame me if you do something boneheaded. Remember, I'm only the messenger.

Okay, so last week I read the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett. (Soon to be released as a movie, and I hope they don't mess it up). It was recommended by my neighbor and it was so awesome, I couldn't put it down. You must read this book. Anyway, there was a character in the story who was writing a household hints column for the newspaper. There were some cool (but strange) ideas in the book and it got me thinking...

My great grandmother used all kinds of ordinary things for purposes they weren't originally intended for. So did my mom. Come to think of it, so do I. I started wondering what kind of amazing unconventional wisdom might be floating around out there so I did some extensive research (okay, I played around on the internet while everyone else was asleep) and I was blown away. There are so many sites out there, some which I will share with you later, that have some great (and some ridiculous) household tips and ideas. Here are some from my own little bag of tricks:
  • Using white vinegar to immediately relieve the pain of minor burns or wasp stings. 
  • Use toothpaste and an old toothbrush to clean fine jewelry. It's abrasive and rinses clear. Works!
  • Meat tenderizer to take the sting out of bug bites. (Got that one from Grandma).
  • Weiman stainless steel cleaner to polish granite counter tops and to clean the stove top surface.
  • A potato cut in half to get a broken light bulb out of the socket. (Also in the book The Help).
  • Duct tape to remove lint. (Everybody knows that one.)
  • An (unused) fingernail brush instead of expensive microdermabrasion kits. Use with your everyday cleanser as a cheap and excellent exfoliator! 
  • Baby oil as makeup remover and to lubricate squeaky hinges. (WD-40 stinks and I can never find it.)
Here are some tips shared by loyal LLK readers:
  • Hope uses Hydrogen Peroxide to treat blemishes. I've heard that works on cold sores, too.
  • Celia uses toothpaste on blemishes, too.
  • Keith uses a step stool as a laptop desk (cool!) Other hints from Keith: Coathanger and foil in lieu of a TV antenna, olive oil for hair conditioning, and a sliced potato as a deodorant. (huh?)
  • Speaking of the ever-versatile potato, Meg suggests using sliced potato to reduce bruising and swelling on boo boos and white vinegar to replace most common househould cleaners. (Smelly but effective).
  • Karen uses butter to remove tree sap or gum.
  • Barbara uses newspaper to clean glass or mirrors without streaking
  • Jill uses olive oil to reduce pain from ear infections (she says her pediatrician recommends this) and alcohol in the crook of the arms to reduce fever.
The list goes on and on. There's even a guy on one website I saw who turned tennis balls into ear protectors. Look:

So...he gets big points for ingenuity but we must unfortunately subtract a few style points, wouldn't you say?

Yes, we as a species can be pretty inventive and innovative. Sometimes with great results but sometimes it's just plain funny and in some unfortunate cases, disastrous. I'm sharing some of my 'resources' with you because I learned some pretty cool stuff while writing this post. You may have noticed that I left out the things that my husband might have contributed because although he has most definitely 'engineered' some pretty unconventional but useful things...frankly, I'm still not sure I'm completely on board with some of his 'unique' practices and ideas. Nothing personal and not to take away from his awesomeness or anything, you understand. Oh, wait...there is one awesome idea he came up with that we use all the time and it works great. He hooks up the air compressor to a big tote full of river water while we are fishing. Kind of an outdoor aquarium. The kids keep the fish we've caught in there so we can keep count of them (and so Mattie can torture them by 'petting' them). They are released unharmed and fully oxygenated at the end of the day. Good one, Dave. Who Woulda Thunkit?

Enjoy these links, I sure did. (this one makes me laugh until my stomach hurts).



Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Procrastinate, Therefore I Am. (going to get it done eventually).

I want to be real with you. That means I have to shine a light in some of my dark places to give you the real story of me. Even if it makes me squirm a little. So here goes. I am a procrastinator. Big time. My motto: Why do today what you can put off 'til tomorrow?' They say that confession is good for the soul so I'm ready to get this off my chest. But first....a little 'housekeeping issue.' (See, I'm putting it off already!)

I have a LOT on my mind most of the time. If I could get my thoughts organized and implemented, I'm pretty sure I could single handedly change the world as we know it. But that won't happen because I'm not likely to get my thoughts organized or implemented any time soon. Because there's a lot on my mind and I have found a platform and and audience to share it with, I have been writing a lot lately. Maybe a little too much. As Pastor Joel likes to say; 'Blessed are the short-winded for they will be invited back.' I say all of this to say that I am going to make an effort to reign myself in and create shorter posts that don't take so long to read. I'll try. No promises.

Okay, back to my original topic. They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step to making a change. I say that's a load of poo. I have been glaringly aware and have admitted openly that I procrastinate for practically my whole life. Trust me, its not getting any better. It's also pretty obvious to anyone who knows me that I've turned procrastination into an art form. I'm quite good at it. Looking at me you might never even guess I have an issue with this. Fact is, I was going to get a jump on writing this post last night but I started messing around with Wordpress and eating Trisquits and chatting with friends on Facebook and talked myself into waiting until this morning. That's what I DO.

I'm not lazy. I am a 'do-er' and I will get things done. You can count on that. I just get them done at the last minute. I'll give you an example: We are going to Maine in a few weeks. Because I was a big dummy and assumed that school started the last week of August, I planned our flight so that my kids will be missing the first day of school. Perfect attendance shot down on the first day. Oh, well. Manure occurs. So, we will have to hit the ground running when we get back. School supply shopping, back to school clothes, packing, etc. all has to be done before we leave for vacation. Do I have any plan in place to get this done, pronto? You would think so. But, alas, no. Today I told the kids we would go fishing so shopping will have to wait. Tomorrow I've invited a friend over to hang out so my day will be tied up with relaxing and chatting and chasing kids. I'll get to it. Really. I will. I always do.

I'd describe myself as a clutch player. I can do amazing things in a short amount of time while under pressure. It's just the way I'm wired. I don't like to rush into things. (I don't have a problem, however, rushing other people into things). Heehee. When the chips are down, I dive in and systematically kick proverbial butt to get things accomplished. 

So here's the question. Is it okay to be a self proclaimed functional procrastinator? I mean...if it works for me and I've learned to live a pretty productive happy life despite this particular inadequacy? Should I beat myself up about it and try to overhaul myself and (for lack of a better analogy) teach an old dog new tricks? I just don't know.... 

There's a lot to do today. Laundry is piled up and I need to put a dent in it before everybody runs out of underwear. Right now I'm going to go upstairs and watch a 'show' that the kids have been rehearsing and begging me to watch all morning. There's a front row seat reserved just for me.

The world as we know it can wait. I'll figure it all out later.



Monday, July 18, 2011

This Just In...Supermom Defeats LEGOS in Stunning Upset...

I gotta tell ya...I'm in a love/hate relationship with Legos. The boys love 'em and I hate 'em. I put up with them mostly because of the fact that I have Superior Super Mom powers. My definition of being a Superior Super Mom is that my kids manage to survive without any serious or lasting damage at the end of each day while I continue to bravely hold on to the ragged, worn edges of my sanity by giving in to them at times when I should really be putting my foot down. Webster's Dictionary defines Supermom this way: (No, I'm not making this up, I couldn't believe this was actually in there, either) supermom: an exemplary mother, also, a woman who performs the traditional roles of housekeeping and child rearing while also maintaining a full time job.
Well, I will have to go with definition #1 on this one (loosely) while maintaining that being a stay home mom and wife is definitely a full time job for me. My hat's off to the moms who have to work outside the home. Don't know how you guys do that.

Anyway, it all started innocently enough when a good friend of mine gave me a bag full of MegaBloks (like Legos, but bigger) when Patrick was a toddler. I thought she was donating these as gesture of goodwill but I see now that she had ulterior motives I was not to fully comprehend until years later. As soon as he started playing with them I noticed that they seemed to be multiplying. Not only that, but they would appear directly in the path of my bare feet out of nowhere even after I was certain they had all been put away. Though somewhat suspicious, I explained it away as mommy fatigue and still didn't realize the full impact of where this was headed until it was...much too late.

Fast forward to a few years ago when both both boys became old enough to play with the real Legos. You know, the little bitty evil ones that when stepped on will cause uncharacteristic bad language to pour out of one's mouth uncontrollably. David's dad had a collection of NASA themed Legos that he'd been holding on to and sent them as a gift one year. The boys became consumed with them...they would play by themselves for hours at a time. 'This is great,' I would say to myself. 'They are playing so quietly and aren't requiring my constant attention. This is wonderful, I should take them to Toys 'R Expensive and let them pick out some MORE.' Big mistake. Compounding the problem, we had a friend who became a Lego representative and she started gifting us with the elaborate displays that they used in the toy stores after they were discontinued. Things were spiraling out of control. Then they came out with Star Wars Legos and all was lost.  I've become completely outnumbered, outgunned and outsmarted and the only option at this point has been to attempt to fight back.

I have been in an ongoing battle with Legos for some time. Some days I gain ground, other days, not so much. The people who make Legos are evil geniuses who have figured out a way to make usually completely rational adults pay exorbitant amounts of money for elaborate sets with thousands of pieces just so the kid can get the little mini-figure that comes along with it. Of course you can't just buy the little mini-figures by themselves...that would be too cheap and easy! Santa and I have both seemed powerless to resist their little puppy dog faces as each new set comes out. However...Santa and I need to suck it up and put on our game faces because the Lego situation in this house is out of control.

Funny I should use the words 'suck it up,' as the vacuum cleaner has been my first weapon of choice when they leave them lying around after being told to put them away. I'll admit to a little devious thrill when I hear the rattling sound of them being sucked into the great beyond never to be heard from again. Muahahaha! I've started making them use their own money to buy Legos. That has put a huge dent in the amount of Legos we have coming into the house. Yesiree, I am making great strides but the battle is far from over. The point is I'm finally putting my foot down. I can only hope that it won't result in me needing to have a Lego surgically removed from my it. Ha!

Don't get me wrong. I am very proud of their creativity and they have both built some very impressive buildings and elaborate set-ups, some of which I've even helped to assemble. Legos are actually pretty cool. It's just gotten a bit out of hand. I invite you to enjoy this video of Patrick, his friends Blake and Riley and, of course, Michael who adds a spark of excitement to the production by passing gas during what was intended to be an otherwise quite serious presentation. (Feel free to fast forward as needed). Life with my boys is a fun filled, though occasionally somewhat smelly adventure that I wouldn't trade for anything.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's My Country and I'll Pray if I Want To...(Uh-oh...I smell a rant.)

Okay, I'm officially annoyed. Since this is a free country (last time I checked) I'm going to go ahead and vent a little. Maybe even a lot. Since this is my blog I can gripe all I want, right? I will try to be as nice about this as I can because, well, I'm a nice person but right now I'm frustrated with some folks. The following is my opinion and I'm entitled to it even if you don't like it. So, here goes:

Our Texas Governor, Rick Perry, has been promoting a state-wide prayer event at Reliant Stadium here in Houston on August 6th to join together as a body of believers to pray for the issues of the State of Texas and for the United States as a whole. Here is the video promo that's being circulated:

Seems like a cool idea to me. As far as I can see The Governor has not mandated or ordered anyone to believe in God or to attend this event. It is an invitation. Nothing more. No one will be punished or judged if it's not their cup of tea and they choose to opt out. And yet...

Of course, wouldn't you know, a Federal lawsuit attempting to block Perry from participating has been filed. Of course there are people who are highly offended that people might want to pray for the nation. They are deeply distressed and very vocal in their opposition and, well, here is the argument in the words of the group FFRF which stands for the 'Freedom From Religion Foundation.'

 “We always say ‘Beware prayer by pious politicians.’ Nothing fails like prayer. It’s the ultimate political cop-out,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, who co-directs FFRF with husband Dan Barker, a former evangelical minister who is now an atheist. “The answers for America’s problems won’t be found on our knees or in heaven, but by using our brains, our reason and in compassionate action. Gov. Perry’s distasteful use of his civil office to plan and dictate a religious course of action to ‘all citizens’ is deeply offensive to many citizens, as well as to our secular form of government.”

These people have gone so far as to say that they will attempt to obtain a restraining order to prevent Governor Perry from attending the event. (And by the way I didn't hear him specifically refer to 'all citizens' as Ms Gaylor asserts but maybe I'm wrong.)

So here's what I have to say about this and I'm warning you now I'm not holding back:
If you are an agnostic or an atheist or secularist or whatever, I have no ax to grind with you AT ALL. I will admit that as a Christian believer, my desire is that all people will someday receive the free gift of Christ's salvation and will enjoy the ultimate freedom in His love and forgiveness. But, and it's a big BUT....if you choose not to believe as I do then I respect your right to (not) believe whatever you want to. If you're nice to me, I'll still like you. I won't get 'deeply offended' by you or try to sue you if you refuse to go to church or pray with me. I won't make fun of you or try to minimize you or block you from attending meetings or seminars or social gatherings that you and your fellow non-believers may decide to organize. Why? Because what you believe or don't believe has NOTHING TO DO WITH ME SO IT DOESN'T AFFECT ME PERSONALLY ON ANY LEVEL. In other words, I'LL MIND MY OWN BUSINESS EVEN IF I DO NOT ENDORSE OR LIKE WHAT YOU DO, WHAT YOU BELIEVE, OR WHERE YOU DECIDE TO GO TO EXERCISE YOUR BELIEFS. Period.
I respectfully ask you to just be quiet, mind your own business and do the same for me, even though I know deep down that you probably won't.

Obviously, Governor Perry is a Christian. So are a lot of other elected officials. There are also several other religious beliefs represented by our government officials. My point? Governor Rick Perry has the right to show up anywhere he wants to and pray for his state and nation if he flippin' feels like it. What's next, Annie Laurie Gaylor? Should we get an injunction to prevent our government officials from attending the church/synagogue/mosque services (whatever their affiliation) of their choosing just because you want so-called Freedom From Religion? Are you going to file a Federal lawsuit and waste a lot of peoples' time and money to block President Obama from saying 'God Bless the United States of America' after all of his public speeches? Give me an ever-lovin' break.

I'm no political expert. In fact, I don't claim to be an expert on anything. What I do have is common sense. Common sense dictates that a country known for being a melting pot with a diverse population and multiple cultures and which supposedly takes pride in said diversity, will be simmering continually with differing opinions and beliefs. That's what makes America so special. The problem arises when everyone decides to try to be right at the same time. Just. Not. Possible.

It really makes me wonder; What are they so afraid of? So what if (what they assume are) a bunch of wack-a-doo Christians get together with the Governor of Texas to sing and pray and cry out to the God they believe in and hold hands in fellowship? How is that damaging the fabric of America? How is it harming anyone personally? Even if you don't believe in God or Jesus or anything else I'd say at the very least it falls into the 'can't hurt, might help' category. Your right as an American? Just don't go. Simple as that. Oh,and by the way, here is the Preamble to the Texas Constitution that Governor Perry swore an oath to uphold:

'Humbly invoking the blessing of Almighty God, the people of the State of Texas do ordain and establish this Constitution.'

I have an idea...why don't I start my own movement. We'll be called the Women Against Competitive Kinetic Organized Sports (WACKOS).  We'll file federal lawsuits claiming that sports are perpetuating violence in our culture and are breaking down the family unit by causing millions of men to stare in a catatonic state at their televisions every weekend for hours at a time. Heck, if we get enough people to sign useless petitions and march around with misspelled signs, we may even be able to make all of the major sports unconstitutional because sports are offensive and disturbing to us and we want them to just go away merely because we don't like them. Whadda ya say ladies? Are you in?

I say all this to say that life in our melting pot would be so much more palatable if we would just back off and respect each other's differences. And yes, that means everyone. Christians, too. We all need to take a deep breath, here. Ask yourself this question...Do you want peace and unity and real resolutions to the issues facing our country? Or do you just want to be right? Think about it.

And while you're thinking about it...I'll be on my knees petitioning the God of heaven on your behalf. After all, It's my country and I'll pray if I want to.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Deliberate Density

I almost titled this post Selective Stupidity but when I remembered I would be discussing the behavior and habits of my own children I realized that probably wouldn't be appropriate. In my defense, I was tired, aggravated and annoyed at the time and wasn't thinking clearly. Another potential title might have been Opportunistically Obtuse but that's just too much of a mouthful.

FIRST, A DISCLAIMER: My children are highly intelligent, well mannered, articulate, easily manageable, kind, loving, and sensitive little people. Really, I'm not just saying that. I know lots of people who will back me up on that. I completely love and adore them all. But there are times....

I have to wonder how the same children, who can remember with uncanny precision every single solitary goofy word to practically every movie, video or annoying song they've ever heard without missing a beat, cannot seem to remember to pick up the clothes they leave on the floor after being reminded SEVERAL TIMES EVERY DAY FOR PRACTICALLY THEIR ENTIRE LIVES??!! This is continually baffling to me. This also applies to closing the door when they enter or leave the house. This is not a difficult skill to master. You just grab the little round knob and pull, for heaven's sake! And yet...I'll bet I say "Close the door, you're letting in bugs and letting out cold air!" about twenty times a day. (Per kid!) I also hear myself say "I know you know better than this" and "Why do I have to tell you over and over, you should have done it the first time I asked you!" The worst part? They're making me sound like my mother and, well, naturally, I can't stand that.

And another is it that they remember every thing I say that benefits them or serves their little kid agendas but they can't seem to remember many of the things I've asked them to do? Prime Example: "Mom, you said we would go to Toys 'R Expensive (my name for it), so when are we going? Today? Can we go today? You said, Mom, You said." Of course they conveniently forget the part about having to clean their rooms and do extra things around the house in order to go. That part somehow doesn't get deposited into their usually acute memory banks.

This same breach of brainpower comes into play when it comes to the issue of their personal safety. I wish I had a dime for every time I've walked into the room unannounced and have uttered in astonishment: "Oh, Lord, what are ya'll thinking? Somebody's gonna get hurt!" Once I even walked into the (2nd story) playroom and found they had opened the shutters and the window, removed the screen and were leaning out the window looking down!! I've caught them doing any number of completely boneheaded things and I think to myself; I know these are reasonably smart children...where have I gone wrong? Knock on wood, we have not experienced any broken bones or visits to the hospital (with the exception of Mattie who had to be hospitalized for four days after her toe got infected with Staph).

These are (who I consider to be) exceptionally bright children, so it begs the question: Are they doing it on purpose? Are they plotting and planning to systematically wear me down until I give up and just stop asking them to do their chores? Are they hoping I'll be so mentally exhausted by the time they are teenagers that they'll be able to ask me anything and I'll blankly answer "yes, of course, dear and by the way, here's a $20" to all of their requests? If so, they'll be mightily disappointed. Oh, yeah, that's right...Mama is on to them now. Ha!

I hope you took the time to watch the video as it illustrates just what I'm up against here. As my great grandfather, Papa would say: "It's not that they're not smart, it's just sometimes they ain't got no sense." That explains it perfectly.

Summer's halfway over. Say a prayer for me. I'm gonna need it!



Friday, July 8, 2011

Stay Home Moms vs Working Moms

Okay, I know this is a sensitive subject but one worth exploring. I saw a thread on a friend's FB wall (she's a teacher) where she was joking around about how fed up she was with her kids complaining about being bored and how ready she was to go back to work where she could get some peace. What followed was a little surprising to me as some of the women who commented got all competitive and snarky and judgmental and stuff.

Why is it that we, as women, feel the need to compare ourselves to one another and then waste so much time trying to justify our lives and our choices? I'll be honest...I do it too. I try not to but it just happens sometimes (usually when I see a super fit mom with abs you could bounce a quarter off of who has 4 kids. I hate that.) On the subject of motherhood, though it seems like the lines are drawn when it comes to public opinion. I am a stay at home mom. My choice (and David's of course). One I'm grateful to be able to make. Does that mean I don't work because I'm not a 'working mom'? Of course not. I seem to be able to keep myself quite busy. Does it mean that I'm a superior mother because I stay home and focus my energy on running my home? Nope, sure doesn't. Sometimes I really wish I had the extra income that working outside the home would provide. Someday I may choose that option.

There are all kinds of moms out there. Some good (Me), some bad (Casey Anthony) but the question is: Why the comparisons, why the judgment and why the opinionated commentary on other peoples' life choices? I've seen women looking down their noses at moms who don't feed their kids all organic foods. I've heard women criticizing others for not having their kids in organized sports. This actually happened to me. A woman at the store asked me what my kids were involved in and when I said they all did karate she said "but your boys should be in baseball by's really important for you to get them involved in sports at a young age." Really....what's it to her or anyone else what activities my kids are involved in. Or what they eat. Or if they are vaccinated. Or if they pick their noses or suck their thumbs. Or if they know their multiplication tables by the age of 3. Or if I work outside the home or whatever. I just don't get it. I'll do me. You do you.

My suggestion? Don't use the word 'just' when you ask a woman if she stays home with her kids. And don't say 'oh, do you have to work' as if it's a bad thing to women who work outside the home. Fact is, it's really none of our business what other people choose to do. Women should be building each other up as mothers instead of putting them down. I'm not pro 'stay home mom' or pro 'working mom' I'm pro MOM. Period.

That's just my opinion. Feel free to weigh in with yours.



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Quit Doggin' Me!

I gotta tell ya, I am not now nor have I ever been a 'dog person.' The random hairs stuck all over black clothes, the occasional whoopsies on the carpet, barking, bad breath and other unmentionable odor issues, random surprise bug and rodent remains proudly displayed on the front door mat. Nope, having a dog was never on my short list of must-haves.
And yet...we have Sparky. Sparky is a Chihuahua, Rat Terrier mix dog who we adopted a couple of years ago. The kids wanted a dog and I had held them off for some time by insisting that we would not be getting a dog until they were ready to clean up dog poop. This worked very well until one year, right before Christmas, Mattie came into the room and boldly announced that she was ready to clean up the poop so could we please go out right then and pick out a new weenie dog for her.

Having parented myself into a corner, I was left with no choice but to begin searching for a dog that would be suitable for the whole family. On February 14th, we found a Dachshund online that the kids fell in love with on sight and so we called ahead to tell them we wanted the dog and headed out to Kingwood to pick her up. We arrived at the adoption location only to find that the dog that the kids had picked out had already been adopted. Very disappointed, we began looking at other dogs to see if there might be another option.

Sitting off in a corner away from the other dogs, a rather sad looking elderly couple were holding a scrawny (but very cute) little dog on their laps. We approached them and discovered that they weren't part of the adoption group, they had come out on their own to see if someone would be able to adopt this little dog who had been dumped in their neighborhood. They were reluctant to let him go because they had become attached to the poor little guy but just couldn't keep him. We all fell in love with him and decided that he was 'the one.' As we drove away the couple informed us that the dog's name was Pee Wee. Needless to say we were not crazy about naming a dog after pee or wee since we didn't want to give the little guy any ideas and it frankly sounded downright undignified. Soon after we brought him home, Pee Wee became Sparky and fortunately suffered no apparent long term identity crisis.

Sparky is a shameless attention junkie. The more he gets, the more he wants. He follows me around all day as if I were the center of his little canine universe. Until...David gets home.
At that point, I cease to exist in Sparky's world and he follows David around in ridiculous doggie devotion. He is fickle and stubborn and he drives me crazy.

In just one morning a few months ago, Sparky reduced me to a humiliated mess of frustration. We had just bought my first ever brand new car and I finally fell for his little pitiful puppy face and agreed to let him ride to school when I dropped off the kids. This particular morning I was rushed and was wearing my PJ's and a bathrobe. (I know, not cool, but wadda ya gonna do?) So anyway, Sparky starts heaving like he's going to be sick. So there I am, dropping off Patrick, holding the dog out the door, and trying not to wreck the car into the lady in front of me. As I drove out of the parking lot I had to put Sparky back into the car after which he proceeded to throw up in my new car.

After we arrived home, as I was cleaning up the mess he made on the floor board, he jumped out of the car having fully recovered from his stomach issues and ran out in the road to face down the garbage truck. He took his stance defiantly in front of the truck and WOULD NOT BUDGE. I called, whistled, clapped and threatened until I finally had to go out in the middle of the road (in my pajamas, mind you)and physically remove Sparky out of the driver's way. Quite embarrassing, to say the least.

Sparky's little walnut sized brain has convinced him that his barking and tough guy posture single-handedly chases away intruders of all kinds. Especially the yard guys or the UPS truck. He barks incessantly until whoever is invading his doggie territory leaves. Then, having tuckered himself out with all the exertion from barking and growling, he curls up behind the couch cushions and conks out for the day.

I flatly refused to let him on the couch. BUT. He is currently curled up by my head on the back of the couch. I pronounced that I would never allow a dog in my bed. BUT. In a few minutes, he'll go in my room and curl up in bed between David and I. I said I wouldn't clean up after him. BUT. I'm the one who feeds him and cleans up his occasional unexpected carpet surprises. No, I'm not a dog person and though he is a really good dog most of the time, there are times when he really makes me nuts. My house has literally gone to the dog(s). That said, although Sparky has a walnut sized brain, he also has a king-sized heart. I love this little dog and he loves me totally and completely. Right up until the time David gets home, that is. *sigh*