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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Threat to Santa

I thought, after all the intended hints I made during the weeks leading up to Christmas, that our son had accepted that Santa was us!

Last year he left a note for Santa and I did not try to use a different handwriting- I used my own to respond. But it was obvious by Christmas Eve night that he hadn't accepted it.

He needed proof.

His little fingers were moving late December 24th. He wrote a firm note to Santa and requested Santa's check to his elaborate "Yes" "No" boxes. He told Santa NOT to think about eating any cookies before reading and replying to his note. The little rascal and his sister neglected to bake the cookies after harassing me to buy them.

He also wrote for parents nor grandparents to sign or check the boxes. As if!

The letter was a hoot! I had to take pictures!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Memories

It's Christmas Eve! It is killing our son to have to wait until morning to open his gifts. He just grabbed a candy cane from the tree and Daddy yelled, "No way!" I glared at him. "It's sugar and I do not want him wired tonight and up," he responded. I convinced him to let him have it. I mean it's Christmas time. "Okay. Maybe we can give him some hot chocolate spiked with some Ibuprofen," he mumbled.

He won't have to worry about the youngest one staying up late. He is never able to hang. He is all bite.

As I watch our son running around in his little elf hat, I started thinking about myself at that age on Christmas Eve. It was horrible what my uncles did! They convinced me that if I didn't shut my eyes really tight, not only would Santa not come down our chimney but he would shake salt and pepper in my eyes. I was young but I knew that if Santa was gonna bring me gifts he would have to come through the front door of our Section-8 apartment. But I really believed Santa would shake the salt and pepper in my eyes if they weren't tightly closed. So I laid still and closed my eyes tight... sweating... panting... hoping he would bring me that Easy Bake oven and that I would not get salt and pepper in my eyes nor would the ashes from my uncle's Newport cigarette get in my eyes.

And I caught one of my uncles and my mom eating the Chips Ahoy cookies I left on the coffee table! I remember getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. I saw a cookie raised to my uncle's mouth as he walked through the long, red, noisy beads hanging in the doorway that connected our kitchen and living room. But obviously Santa was nice and forgiving because he still left the Easy Bake despite not getting the snack I left on the coffee table.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Four Days Before Christmas!

It's four days before Christmas! Our stockings have been hung by the... gas fireplace with care and we know Saint Knick will soon be here... sitting on the couch watching a movie and yelling, "Stop coming down here! Get in that bed!" while eating the fondled cookies the kids cooked for Santa. I will routinely get my pen out and edit the youngest's note left for Santa.

The youngest (eight) made myriad Christmas lists. I think he started in October. We received the final copy about two weeks ago. He took the time to put them in envelopes for Daddy, grandparents and me. He addressed each of us by our first names! Later I realized the nice envelopes went with some of my Christmas cards so four people will be getting a holiday card stuffed in a plain white business envelope.

He went so far as to list the item and the price! And on a few he cut out a picture of it and glued it beside the name. How considerate of him.

And finally, under our Christmas tree are only real gifts... that we (parents) have wrapped. Five years ago the kids had such big hearts. They used newspaper, masking tape and a little white athletic tape from Daddy's first aid kit, to wrap gifts for us! They used a Gordon's fish stick box to put SOME of our son's legos in. That gift went to Daddy. The other gifts basically consisted of broken toys or toys they no longer wanted.

I have hidden the masking, duct and scotch tape. I've also put away the wrapping paper, band-aids and boxes!

Black Friday

I haven't written in a few months but that certainly doesn't mean that nothing has happened. We put away the vertically-challenged Mario and fitted Luigi costumes. I'm hoping to sneak them out of the bin when the kids aren't looking, and donate them to Goodwill. I can hear the kids inquiring about them next year, "Did you sell our costumes?" I've had maybe three yard sales and consigned toys and clothes a few times and they treat me like a crackhead!

November came and ushered in the biggest shopping day of the year- Black Friday! We've never talked to the kids about this day. I thought it was pretty simple- people break their necks to take advantage of supposed huge mark downs. I mean it's shopping!

Well our youngest obviously didn't understand all of this. He came up with his own meaning. One of his classmates told their teacher while waiting to go home for Thanksgiving break, "I can't wait for Black Friday!" "Really? Why is that?" she replied. He couldn't believe she didn't know about Black Friday. "Well he (pointing at our son) told us in class that Black Friday is when all the Black people get to go buy things really really cheap!"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mario, Luigi and Skippity as the Ghost

They are at it again! I surrender- throw my hands up! I realize we are not parenting experts but our two kids are intelligent and I thought we were doing a fairly good job. What they recently did has me a little skeptical about their futures and whether or not they will be ready to be on their own in about ten years.
Halloween is around the corner. I took them to Party City to get their costumes. I really thought our oldest is too old and too tall to still be dressing up. She's tall for a fifth grader but still a kid. So it was fairly easy to get costumes. They wanted Mario and Luigi costumes!
"Let me get an eight for him (pointing to our eight-year-old son) and (sizing our daughter up) what's the largest size you have for kids?" I asked the store associate.
"A fourteen!" he answered. "But she's kinda tall and we do have these costumes in the bigger (adult) sizes," he informed me.
I scanned the bigger size wall. Then went back to the kids' wall.
The fourteen was $19.99 and the bigger ones were $29.99.
Yes I know it was just a ten dollar difference but hey I could use that difference to get me two white chocolate mochas from Starbucks later in the week!
They tried them on and yes her one-piece was a little short and the crotch looked to be pulling but hey she could put on some blue socks to match it and call it a day. She wasn't complaining. Too busy practicing her Italian accent in the mirror with the mustache upside down.
The associate's eyes went directly to the bottom of the pants. "We could-"
"We'll take that one," I interrupted.
Unless he was going to add cloth to it or offer buy one get one free... his opinion was not gonna be needed anymore.
So they were elated! So elated that they tore into the costumes in the car on the way home. The giggling in the back seat with the attempted Italian accents made me turn the volume up on the radio.
"Hey! If you play with those mustaches and they don't stick on Halloween, I guess you will be using scotch tape, glue sticks or a black marker!" I warned them.
Well they weren't content with the two of them having costumes... they decided to make a ghost costume for Skippity.
I didn't know about it until I heard our son yell.
"She bit me!"
"Who bit you?" I asked as I ran to investigate.
His sister made the ghost costume and convinced her brother to put it on Skippity. And they thought it was okay.
Skippity is one of our two, red-eared slider turtles. And Skippity is feisty!
I could just see the little bubble above Skippity's head:
"Don't you realize I am a dag-blamed turtle?"

Monday, August 01, 2011

Are You Serious?

So our son comes in this morning and asked, "Can I have some of these?" He dangled the bag of sour gummy worms, coated with sugar in 3-D close to my face.
Pulling back I yelled,"No! You haven't had anything to eat for breakfast yet!"
A few minutes later he came in skipping and snatched up the gummy worms.
"Woah!" I yelled, as I snatched the bag from him. "I told you that you have to eat something first."
"I did!" he said.
"What did you eat that quick?"
He turned toward me with a black and white substance in the corners of his mouth.
"I ate some cookies!" he celebrated.
Was he serious? Yep...that's what is so funny
Guess I need to pull out the Food Guide Pyramid.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


The things our two little ones do are just... well I just can't think of a good adjective right now.
Daddy just told them that they were gonna start getting in the bed a little earlier. It's the summer so we have let them just stay up, but our oldest stays in the bed the next day as if she has a third shift job! It would be nice if she did because she eats as much I do.

Anywho...I have also told the two of them stories about things I did "back in the day" to get over on their grandma and grandpa. Had some successes and some failures. But I had game! They don't. And I am almost offended.

So we thought they were in bed. They were quiet and we hadn't heard from them for some time.
Well... the youngest comes in our room smiling and laughing.
"Guess what we're watching?"
I didn't answer. I just dropped my head and continued to read.
"What?" Daddy asked.
Still laughing and now joined by his sister, he answered, "The show with Keenan and Kel on Nickelodeon."
So of course they get fussed out and sent to bed. "Lights out, TV off!" Daddy yelled.
I had already given them ideas when I told them things I did. Put a towel under the door so the light can't be seen.
So they walk off blaming one another.
Shaking my head at them made me think about other hillarious things I did growing up. I remember my mom said she was going to spank me for something one day- no telling what it was. There was a long list of things to choose from back then.
So the day was coming to an end and it dawned on me- she hadn't given me the spanking. Oh I had to wake her up and get it over with. I shook her.
"Mama? Mama? Wake up," I whispered.
I had to wake her up. Had I let her sleep, she would have waken the next day refreshed and full of energy. Naw!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mommy's Gettin' Fat!

So I was sitting at the mirror experimenting with my hair when I overhear the two little ones in the next room.
They weren't trying to be discreet and they weren't fighting. It didn't feel right.
"She's getting fatter!" our son said.
"I know. Did you see her stomach?" his sister co-signed.
"It's probably her bad eating habits and sittin' around when it's evening time."
I stood up slowly and checked my mid-section in the mirror.
Sucked it in a bit.
It was sad that two minors were criticizing me. Yet they weren't laughing so it sound like they were just concerned.
"Well she has had babies to come outta there," our sweet little sympathetic son stated.
He was right about that. And they were big babies: she was 8 pounds and eleven ounces and her brother was nine pounds, eleven ounces. AND MY EPIDURAL DID NOT WORK!!!!!!! "Here baby you want some ice?" Daddy asked. "NO! I want you to have this baby!" Sorry I had a flashback.
"Hey! Maybe she is pregnant again!" our daughter said.
I turned to the side to see if I did look remotely pregnant.
There I was in the mirror panicking from the remarks of two elementary kids.
Then our son asked, "But which one do you think is the daddy?"
That was it!
I hurried in there.
There they were in front of the window, looking out at the stray cats they named earlier this year.
"Mommy...come look at Candice. She's getting fat- I mean overweight," our son said, covering his mouth.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Apples Do Fall Far From the Trees

Our son is such a picky eater and Daddy can be so old school at times. I've learned that if we want to get our son to eat... just tell him it's chicken. Fish is chicken, steak is chicken and I am trying to figure out a way to make lasagna look like chicken.
No longer can we give the speech about how hungry kids in Africa and other countries would love to have the food. Last time we did that we found a note on the table, next to the food: "Ples give this to the hungre keds from me." I think our son was five then.

So Daddy will sometimes resort to standing around pulling his pants up, saying things like, "You will eat it before it eats you!" or he will go into how he had to eat whatever his parents put on the table. "And I couldn't get up until I finished it all!"

I try to remind him that those were different times. Time of survival for some. We are in a different time- different income so we don't have to fix unflavored oatmeal every morning and put heaps of it in that same brown bowl with no butter nor sugar and sit a drink in the middle of the table, not to be touched until all of the clumpy oatmeal is gone. I'm sorry I had a flash back. Back the story.

Well recently our son was the last one at the table sitting there moving the few vegetables around with is fork. His legs dangling from the chair. Then it hit me!
I had failed him and his sister. Well she eats just about everything. Even octopus. But during those times of talking about things I used to do as a kid... I failed to give them tips about things like...getting rid of food parents tell you to eat.

It was simple. I would let the adult walk by then put a spoonful of oatmeal or whatever the substance was, in a paper towel. Wait a bit. Then add another spoonful and remember to make a face and pretend to chew the next time s/he walks by. Do it a few times and space it out and Presto! It's all in the paper towel. No one gets hurt and no one gets sick. Then hide the paper towel under the sink while you wash dishes and remember to get it out in the middle of the night or next morning and strategically place it in the bottom of the trash can.

But I don't remember anyone teaching me this skill. Can this skill or should this skill be taught? As I glanced over at him- still playing with the few vegetables on his plate- I shook my head and thought, "Why is it not kicking in?"
I guess the apple does sometimes fall far from the tree after all.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Family Night's Scrabble Lesson

I love family night! We try to make sure that we drop everything and read at least one night a week, and we make time to do something fun together- no television, not computers, nada! Just the four of us talking, laughing and having fun. One thing we enjoy is playing games. So this past Family Night we played Scrabble.
Daddy and I are serious Scrabble players! We buy the new editions when they come out.
Guess we hadn't played with the kids in a long time or our recently turned ten-year-old daughter just temporarily lost her mind. We each pulled our initial tile to see who went first, second, third and fourth. When it was time to pull our seven tiles to begin, she began pulling out a tile at a time- looking at each and deciding she which ones she liked and putting the ones she didn't like back in the bag in exchange for ones she did.
I noticed this while sipping my green tea. Of course I began chocking on it in disbelief.
Daddy, shocked too, yelled, "Naw! You can't do that!"
It startled her.
Realizing how he reacted, he quickly turned his volume down, touched her shoulder and apologized.
"I'm sorry baby girl. Daddy over-reacted. I shouldn't have yelled like that."
As we proceeded to play he told her that no man should ever yell at her and definitely should never hit her.
"I told your mom that if I ever verbally abused her or physically abused her, to immediately leave and take (looking over at her brother too) the two of you."
We all stopped playing and listened.
"Your daddy will always be there for you. I don't care if you are in...Japan, and your husband hits you, you call me and I will be there on the first plane!"
He added that she should not fall for any apologies nor "It will never happen agains."
"No one deserves that and especially not my baby girl. If someone loves you he would not hurt you!" he told her, as he stretched out his arms for a hug.
"Do you understand that?" he asked.
She smiled and nodded.
We went back to playing Scrabble.
About thirty seconds went by when our newly turned eight-year-old son seriously asked, "Well what if my wife is beatin' me up?"
While his sister laughed, Daddy and I began throwing our tiles in and blessing him out at the same time.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


After getting dressed yesterday, our new eight-year-old tells me I look HOT! It was hard to hold back the smile. But I did stop for a minute to think, "What does he know about that?" But I didn't spend too much time thinking about that. The boy is growing up and he is definitely entitled to his opinion.

So I turned around to slip on my shoes and still smiling, when he said, "Daddy said it's gonna be in the high 90s so you are gonna be sweatin' in those clothes."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Gotta Get It Together

About three years ago I had minor surgery on my left knee. Prior to the surgery the physician said, "From the looks of your knees, you must have done quite a bit of running in your day."
I rolled my eyes and replied, "Yep! Ran from dogs quite a bit."
He laughed.
And when dog owners would smile, while struggling to hold Fido on the leash, and say,"He won't bite," I would get on my mark. Guess Fido was trying to show me how nice and clean his teeth were.
And I never discriminated. I was an equal opportunity run from dogs runner- I ran from ALL dogs that showed the potential to harm.
When our two kids were two and maybe six months I would go for walks in the neighborhood with my neighbor. I figured I wouldn't have to worry about dogs in the wee hours of the morning because most of our neighbors were working during the day and kept their dogs in the house. One day while walking and pushing our strollers I hear barking. Wasn't sure how close the dog was or how big- just knew it had teeth. So I was off! About half-way through the dash I realized I left my stroller...with my neighbor. I looked back and she was standing there, in the street, bent over laughing. Then I look across the street and there was the big old mean...dachshund! I could barely see it running around its yard- chained.

Well I had made improvements over the years. Then the other day.
I was rushing to get somewhere. I got dressed and put on my new dangling, silver earrings. Then stuck my feet and my shoes and I was out the door.
As I made my way down the three steps from the back door, I heard what sound like a chain and a definite bark. Didn't wait to see where it was. I quickly turned around, hitting the door with my face, to go back in. I began acting like the victims on those scary movies we yell at- "Stop shakin' and turn the key!" I dropped my keys twice before finally getting in the house. As I ran to punch in the code for the alarm, I realized it was my new dangling earrings that sound like a chain. Then walked back to the door, stepped outside and realized it was our neighbor's old dog- inside his fence just barking because.
I gotta get it together!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

No Worries

Last Sunday we were rushing to get to church. I was in the mirror, as usual, trying to get every strand of hair in perfect position. Trying to see if it looked better up or down. Our daughter was humming and twirling, as usual. Daddy was patiently waiting and our son was drawing comics.
So I checked the time.
"Okay! We have 15 minutes! I'm ready!" I yelled, as I hopped on one foot- trying to buckle the strap on the other.
"Grab a jacket," I told our daughter.
As we reached the kitchen, ready to set the alarm, I noticed the jacket she grabbed.
"I don't know if I like that one. Let me look at it," I stood back to soak it in.
Daddy started punching the code on the keypad.
She twirled, smiled and said, "I LOVE IT!"
With time passing, I decided it was no BIG and we all quickly headed to the car.
I looked back at her and the chosen jacket and wished she'd chosen a different one but reminded myself that as long as she has the confidence to rock it then just go with it.
So we get to church and begin to walk the kids into their sanctuary when our daughter looks at me and says, "Mama... you took your hair down?"
I ran my fingers through it and replied with a smile, "Yep!"
She continued to walk in and said, "Oh. It looked better up."
I scooted back to the side mirror of the car to look it over, then walked across the lot to the adult sanctuary laughing.
I'm glad she doesn't worry as much as I do and I hope it continues.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Must Get Sharpened Pencils!

We really need to pay more attention more when it comes to our kids. Our son, with his seven years of infinite wisdom, really knows what he is talking about; we just have to listen.
While he is a great artist, we are now cognizant of the characteristics he has to be a great attorney. With his new found interest in The Titanic, he has developed great research skills. He has found and read so many articles on this great historical ship and then questions us. He seems to think we are slack because we don't know as much as he does about the Titanic.
And he is a great debater. When he flares those little nostrils- WATCH OUT! Here comes an argument. And he knows he is right without a doubt. He can almost make you believe it too.
Recently, he dropped a bit in writing in school. While disappointed, we just know we will be on top of it more and pull back on some of his extra-curricular activities so he can get back on track with it. Well he schooled us on why it happened. It was really quite simple.
Nostrils flared... he said, "The only reason I didn't do better was because I never had sharpened pencils!"
We need to pay more attention to his needs. Maybe we will get him some sharpened Titanic pencils.

Friday, April 08, 2011

That Was Me on the Highway Swerving

This will not be a long post. Doesn't need to be. I've gotta learn to be specific when I talk to our kids, and remember that things that are important to them just may not be able to wait.
Our son was really excited to show me something he received at school today and it was Friday so I should have been cognizant of that and how that could add to excitement and IMpatience.
As soon as he slides the door to get into the van, he begins talking.
"Guess what I got today?"
"Uh... and hey how are you?" I responded.
"Oh, hey!" he rushed. "But you gotta see it," he continued.
By this time his sister was sliding the door open to get in.
And they were off!
"You saw me coming but you slid the door shut!" she said.
"And how are you baby girl?" I routinely asked.
"Fine Mama and I was on green today," she rushed so she could get back to her brother.
I waved bye to the crossing guard, pushed the button to let the windows up so I could add my five cents to this little dispute trying to brew and drove out of the school parking lot.
After my speech I turned onto the highway to get home.
"I gotta show you what I got today!" our son shouted from the middle row.
"You're not thinking son. I am driving so I can't turn back to see it."
His little seven-year-young, thinking skills kicked in. In one quick move he unhooked his seat belt and put his huge comic book maker in my face. About one inch away.
"See Mama!"
So if you saw a white mini-van on I-40, near Kernersville, around 2:40 pm swerving... it was me.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Nerve!

It's unfortunate but we are going to have to make some adjustments to prayer requests and praying with our seven and nine-year-old.
Last night's prayer request was quite...merry!
Earlier, after school, the kids were discussing their plans to buy books from the school book fair.
"I'm gonna buy Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Last Straw and Rodrick Rules!" our son declared.
"Well, I'm gonna get three books!" our daughter added.
So I am at the red light listening to their plans then realized...
"Um... how are you planning to pay for these books?"
"Dove... with money Mama," our son scoffed.
His sister co-signed.
"But actually, the Book Fair people will probably use that machine for credit cards," our precocious daughter added.
"Oh! Since when did they give credit cards to little people? Who don't have jobs?"
I looked in the mirror to see their reactions.
They were making plans to spend their parents' money. Sigh
After explaining that Daddy and I work and that buying books from their school book fair every year isn't a necessity... I told them that they could earn some money.
They offered to wash my mini-van! Awesome because I hate washing cars.
"How much can we get for it?" our son asked.
I had to consider that spots would be missed, that they will play more than they will work, etc. but ultimately it would be for a good cause: reading and adding books to our collection.
"$20!" I answered.
They thought it was for each of them.
"Oh no. You have to divide that."
So you will have to find other ways to earn more money if you need it.
Which brings me back to prayer requests.
So last night, as we usually do before we pray, we asked if anyone had requests.
"For me to be able to get more money for the book fair," our son said but it sound more like a question.
"For God to help you (looking at me and Daddy) get more money so we can get books from the book fair," our daughter requested.
Daddy and I needed God to come down to save them.
"Well remember the other night we told y'all that we shouldn't always be seeking God's hand?" I told them sternly.
"But we're not. We want HIM to help you and Daddy give it to us," our son said.
"Let us pray," Daddy snapped.
Our daughter volunteered. So we should have known something was up.
Here's a snippet:
Dear God. Thank you for our parents and grandparents.
Thank you for waking us up.
Please help my little brother not have a sassy mouth.
Please help us get money so we can buy books so we can
keep being good readers and get AR points. And help Mommy
and Daddy not be so mad about books. Amen.

And as they kissed us goodnight and marched off to their room, they actually had the nerve to look back at us as if we had done wrong.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph! The nerve.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Gotta Know My Facts

Unfortunately, we had to drive down to the Eastern part of NC for a funeral/Celebration of Life for our former pastor and friend. It was great to see our friends- we just didn't want to see them for that reason.
The night before (Friday) Daddy surprised our little curious seven-year-old son with a book from the hotel lobby, about the Titanic. He has been so fascinated with the story since seeing just a snippet of it a month ago. We've made myriad trips to the library to get books about it.
So on Saturday, the day of the funeral, we are in the youth sanctuary talking with our friends- just catching up- since we last saw them in September. Friends were asking how the kids have adjusting to the move, etc. when our son comes walking through with the Titanic book. About an hour before he walked up while I was talking to someone and immediately started asking,
"Mama...did you know that 2,223 people were on board the Titanic when it sank and do you know how many people died?" Before I could say anything he answered. Not that I knew.
"And do you know what time the Titanic sank?"
My friend was snickering.
Again he answered. "It was 2:20 in the morning Mama!"
I stooped to get closer to him, in an attempt to get him to stop so we could finish our conversation... but-
"And what year did it sink, Mama?"
I tried to just throw out a year to get him to stop.
"1900," I blurted out.
He looked around, then looked at me, disappointingly, and said, "Mama! You gotta know your facts!" Then finally walked away.
So I see him again with the book and held by breath.
This time it was worse.
I began talking about the book before he could.
"He has this growing interest in the Titanic so Daddy got him that book he has been walking around with."
"And you know what... Daddy stole this book from the hotel!"
Everyone laughed except Daddy and I.
"I told you we should have been on the road," Daddy replied.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


I have been a little under the weather the past few days. Our seven-year-old began complaining about a headache and feeling hot last night, so I assumed that I passed something on to him.
He and his sister love school, so when it was time to wake him and he just moaned... I told Daddy to just leave him home with me.
I realized it was a mistake around 8:30 AM. His feet hit the ground and I heard Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii and a series of slurps on a blueberry freeze pop. For the next hour or so I was tapped and asked a thousand questions.
This kid was just fine. He just needed some sleep. He was rejuvenated and I wasn't.
I knew I needed to get some rest so I could go back to work on Wednesday AND so I would not end up on the news!
"Okay. Mommy still doesn't feel well so I need for you to help me out buddy."
He nodded but didn't make eye contact.
"Can you please get me a bottle of water from the kitchen?" I asked gingerly.
"For one dollar," he smiled.
I just covered my head with the blanket.
I did manage to get some rest before I remembered our daughter needed a red shirt for a Dr. Seuss activity at school tomorrow. So I slowly got myself together and yelled for our son to get dressed.
He put on his favorite shirt, which Daddy hates, jeans and red and silver Nike's I'd forgotten about. I was just impressed that the shirt and shoes matched.
"I didn't know you could still wear those," I told him.
I didn't feel well and had been squinting from sinus pressure, so I wasn't sure if his shoes actually were without the shoe strings.
"Where's the strings?" I asked, while getting a little closer.
"Remember when I tried to make the puppets with those socks and ..."
I cut him off before he reminded me about something I probably got mad about at an earlier time.
"Well since they (shoes) still look pretty good, I will just get some gray strings for them."
We found the strings but I couldn't tell, from the small package, if they were too long. I managed to find an associate. She didn't help much. She told me that all the strings- adult and children's were together.
I was in a hurry, didn't want to come back for $2 strings and was tired of him walking beside me, sliding his feet so they would not come off. Yes, I should have made him wear other shoes until we got the strings but... didn't I say I didn't feel well!!
So I opened the top of the box- I didn't rip or break it- and took a string out to see if it would work.
"Mama... can you do that?" he asked.
"It is okay. I am just tryin' to make sure these aren't too long. They look too long," I assured him and snatched one of his shoes.
It worked so I fixed the other shoe.
He looked around as if we were stealing.
I placed the small box in his face.
"SEE! There is another set in here and we are going to take IT to the register and PAY for it!"
He slowly walked behind me.
EVERYTHING was rung up and we proceeded to leave the store.
I looked around me and didn't see our son.
He was actually standing back in the store with his ears covered.
Initially I didn't realize what he was doing.
"Come on here!" I yelled.
The greeter looked at him. Then at me.
I walked over and grabbed his hand.
As we walked pass the greeter and through the "security or scanner area" he said, "I thought the alarm was gonna go off."
I didn't look back at the greeter.
I'll never do that again. Coulda gotten me locked up for nothing, or searched!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Valentine's Lesson

Last night it was revealed to us, just minutes before prayer, that our nine-year-old daughter was short a FEW Valentine cards/lollipops for her classmates. Here's the problem: she had a box of 30 Sponge Bob cards and 30 heart-shaped lollipops. There are 23 students in her class and one teacher. I wasn't the top student in Math throughout my education but... she had enough to go around and she should have have six left.
Well she showed us the box- did I mention she brought this to our attention just before going to bed the night before Valentine's Day? There were 25 cards and six lollipops. Daddy looked like he wanted to touch the cards and candy, produce a miracle and multiply them. Our last name does begin with a J but... the only thing we could do was make a trip to a store.
We weren't about to do that. She had to learn.
I could just picture her with her feet up, laughing at us- I mean a cartoon- suckiing on lollipops... with her brother beside her, biting his.
I snapped out of it when Daddy said, "You know what! You just go in there and fill out your cards and you will have to explain to your friends why you gave them a Sponge Bob card with two holes in it but no lollipop!"
I hadn't thought of that.
So she went in her room and filled them out.
Five minutes later...
"Mommy, Daddy! I need two more cards."
We looked at each other. Then at her.
"Why?" we asked in unison.
"Well I messed up on two of them," she softly replied.
Daddy looked through the cards. Pulled one out of the deck as if he were David Blaine.
"Why would you write your name on a card and from yourself?"
I was done.
So we told her she would have to explain to the two friends who were left, why they didn't get a card with two holes in it nor any candy.

When I picked them up from school this afternoon she skipped to the van with a wide smile on her face.
She slid the door closed, buckled her belt and began cheerfully revealing how much fun she and her classmates had.
"Mommy, guess what?"
I didn't answer. It didn't matter.
"My friends loved my Valentine cards! They liked them because they were Sponge Bob!" Then she went on and on talking with her brother the entire way home, about their day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Parenting can be so difficult at times. We want to teach them to do the right things in myriad situations especially when we are not around. We are supposed to prepare them to live and be productive citizens in this crazy world one day. Sometimes the lessons I try to teach just miss or get interpreted incorrectly.
Our little seven-year-old has gone through some funny stages: at three we caught him debating with his young daycare teacher... regularly. Just picture a vertically-challenged, curly-haired, almond-shaped, tight-eyed boy sitting at a table- feet dangling- eating mac-n-cheese and in between bites telling his 21-year-old teacher, "Call my Mama! Just see what's gone happen!" (chewing) "Don't call my Daddy 'cause he at work." I think he was just being a little James Dean because he was used to being at home with Mommy. Him- I mean he wasn't ready for Mommy to go back to work. Then when he reached kindergarten, he was definitely a lot more reserved and definitely eliminated the defiance at daycare.
In first grade teachers- everyone- thought he walked on water. Now that we have moved and he is in second grade he has so timid and easily scared by many things, not just Chick-fil-A, Disney characters and Chuck-E-Cheese.
So Daddy and I are always talking to him about standing up for himself. Teaching kids to stand up for themselves can be tricky because while we are cognizant of bullying we don't want to teach fighting. Unfortunately a child could be targeted, even in the best elementary schools, if he or she doesn't stand up to others. Just the other day he was asking us if we thought he was tough.
It took us some time to teach him to ride a bike because he was so scared to fall. Understandable I guess. So we gingerly helped him to ride by basically WALKING beside him as he rode around our grassy yard with his helmet on. Sharp contrast to how I learned. My mom removed the training wheels, put me on my bike at the top of a small hill in our neighborhood and said, "You better ride this bike or you gone bust your head in front of all yo' friends out here!" Just before pushing me off. No holding the bike up while I rode around. Didn't have a helmet either. But I learned how to ride my bike with Aces and Spades clothes-pinned to the spokes of my tires, flapping in the breeze.
Tuesday when I picked the kids up from school, our son immediately got my blood pressure up. "Mama... I got into a fight today on the playground!" he told me with slight excitement.
"WHAT?" I panicked.
"Well we were playing Vampires and Werewolves and this girl named ******* kept putting her hands on me so I pushed her."
I felt like I had vertigo... "You got into a fight with a girl?"
I'm driving out of the school parking lot- looking at the road and at him sitting in the seat behind the front passenger seat- feet still dangling.
"Well she wouldn't stop touching me."
Shaking my head. Trying to make sense of it.
"Then me and ****** picked up a rock and acted like were gonna hit her."
I swerved.
"What!!!!" Couldn't believe it. "What did I tell you about being a follower?" I yelled.
"No Mama... I picked up a rock first!"
I was livid.
I cannot believe your teacher didn't call me.
"We had a substitution. I think she was 92-years-old and she don't like tattle-tales," he somberly said.
Then he leaned over toward his sister and disappointingly said, "I thought Mama and Daddy would be proud that I got into a fight."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's the Thought That Counts... I Think

Well... what did Daddy get for his birthday from the kids? Drum roll please...
I have to set this up for you now, you know that.
So, I picked the kids up from school today and we are five minutes from the house when our son says, "Mama! Did Daddy remember to tell you to bring my money and Walmart card?" He won the Walmart card by selling popcorn for his Cub Scout pack. That $20 card has been burning his hand.
"Um, no he did not and I am almost home now."
"Now I can't get Daddy a birthday present," he sighed.
I asked how much he planned to spend on a gift.
"Well, you know I can't spend a lot because I gotta get me something," he confessed.
So I continued home.
We were getting out of the van when they stumbled upon something they could give Daddy. It had been in the back pocket of the driver's seat for about a week. It WASN'T used! That was a good start.
It was a Shrek watch our daughter got from her Happy Meal box.
They were so excited!
They rushed in the house to wrap it. There wasn't any masking tape in the house... Thank God! So they put it in a regular envelope and over-licked it before sealing.
"How much time do we have before Daddy gets home from work?" our daughter panicked.
I checked the huge clock on the wall just behind her. "Probably about ten minutes," I told her.
She snatched a piece of paper from the printer, a black, leaky pen and made him a Birthday card before he came home.
Her brother wouldn't be outdone when he saw Daddy hugging her once he opened the envelope and read his card.
"Here you go Daddy," he said in a slow voice with his head down.
"What's this?" Daddy smiled as our son handed him a twenty dollar bill.
The flood gates were about to open.
I couldn't help it... I cracked up. He didn't want to give him the money- we all knew that.
"Oh that's okay. Thanks for thinking about me but you can keep it," Daddy smiled.
Our son snatched that money back so quick and flopped on the couch. I didn't see him do it, but I know he wanted to wipe that small brow.
They presented it to him as soon as he came through the door.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Tomorrow is Daddy's 40th birthday! I guess our kids are really growing up and using those critical thinking skills parents and educators often push, because they actually asked Daddy what he likes! Does this mean that we no longer have to don our Oscar hats when we open their gifts?
Two years ago they used a whole role of masking tape to wrap gifts for us and the grandparents. I received an old, half-naked, Barbie knock-off. "Oh wow! Thanks babies!" I smiled, sucking my finger- wounded from breaking through the layers of tape. Dude, I mean Daddy, was blessed with one of the dinosaurs our son received the prior year. We knew what it was before he tore the paper. I'm assuming wrapping the tail was a little difficult for them. It was probably because the one box they had was used to envelope Grandma's gift. The adults tried out best to refrain from laughing when she tore off her paper. She received three red, plastic apples missing from our kitchen, and they were strategically placed in a General Tso's chicken box, we purchased from Walmart at some point, for dinner.
So I was moved when they asked what kinds of things Daddy likes... a day before his birthday. And they have money- that's the kicker!
"Daddy I know you like The First 48 show so I think I'm gonna get you the DVDs!"
I had to inform him that he would have to order the DVDs and there was no way he could get them by tomorrow.
"Yes we can when we go to WalmarK after school tomorrow," he informed me.
"I didn't know we were going to Walmart tomorrow after school," I replied.
A few days ago he was asking to go so he could get some cartoon on DVD.
"Then I can get Daddy's gift when I get that DVD I told you about."
He had it all worked out.
"How much money do you have?"
He ran to get his money from one of his myriad Captain Underpants' book.
"I've got thirty dollars Mama."
So I told him to think of something else to get him since we didn't have much time and he actually came up with another good suggestion.
"Well I could get him a Yankees hat."
We all like the Yankees and Miami Hurricanes so that was a good idea.
"That is a good idea and there is a store in the mall that has a really nice one," I told him.
"How much does it cost Mama?"
Uh oh.
"It's only $19.99!" I smiled.
Long pause. Then the nostrils flared as he sipped his Capri Sun.
"Well I can't get him that. I won't have enough to get MY DVD and I can't do that. That's not right."
So Daddy may need to rehearse tonight because there is not telling what he may find wrapped up tomorrow and what it may be in. I haven't seen our son's Star Wars life saber in a few months.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I CAN WIN ONE... By Any Means Necessary!

Two years ago when our son was entering kindergarten, we were told that he has a condition called "amblyopia". It is an eye problem that causes loss of or poor vision in one or both eyes. It can affect both eyes but usually one. It is the common cause of vision problems in children. All babies are born with poor vision but it gets better as they develop. What happened with our son is that his brain never corrected the problem in his left eye so his right eye just became stronger and ultimately how he was viewing the world. I'm not an opthamologist... but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn once. We never noticed any indicators that he had a visual problem prior to kindergarten. He never sat close to the television, never squinted nor did his eye cross. We had no idea until he had a Health Assessment completed for kindergarten. We were referred to a local specialist, then had to drive to a specialist at Duke to discuss treatments.
The staff had a difficult time trying to get drops in his eyes to check him. That was a task to say the least. Didn't know he could be so strong. Mention eye drops, clowns and Chick-fil-a cow and he could go Incredible Hulk on ya- busting out of a Gymboree shirt- minus the green stuff.
Treatment for him has been to patch his stronger eye in order to make the brain tell his weaker eye to work. And, thankfully, his vision has improved. The first time I patched, I put the patch over the lens of his glasses. I snapped a picture of my cute little, curly-haired, son with his Toy Story eye patch... over the glasses. I immediately sent the picture to Daddy! His reply: "Maybe it me but thnk it may b betr if u put ptch ovr i!"
Not sure what I was thinking.
He doesn't love wearing the patch and glasses because he has to sit up close to see things better. It's like switching from bottles to breast feeding- you have to work harder to get results once you are used to the easy way.
Well I just reminded Daddy that we had gotten a little lazy about making him patch and you know he is not going to remind us.
Yesterday we were all playing the WI games. Daddy and the kids play it a lot more than I do. They each like to play against me because... as I said I don't play often so I'm not good.
Daddy and his sister were whipping up on him so he said, "I wanna play Mama!"
They all snickered.
I put the strap on my wrist and stood up ready to play.
He showed no mercy on the first two games. His confidence was up! He began bragging a bit.
He was smiling- showing all the tiny teeth on the sides (no teeth in front right now)
I quickly interrupted- "Go get a patch and your glasses! You haven't been patching for a while!"
"Oh that's foul!" Daddy said. "Mama playin' dirty!" he added as he sat back in his chair.
Can't win them all but I can win one. ;o)