Monday, March 11, 2013

Moving Day

Friends, strangers, and anonymous, hateful trolls:

My time here at Blogger has come to an end. I tried very unsuccessfully to give this blog a facelift. After hours of copying and pasting a lot of crappy HTML, pulling my hair out, and lamenting over and over, "WHAT HAVE I DONE?" I decided it was time for a clean break.

I will no longer be writing on this website.

You can now find me at my very brand new, sparkly, custom domain named website:

Be sure to add it into your Google Reader. I won't be double posting here for you lazy peeps. Blogger is dead to me. Buried in a shallow grave in the woods, covered with piles of HTML and my tears.

Squarespace is where it's at. It's worth the money you pay for your pretty new site.  And you can customize the crap out of it yourself.

It's kind of like the difference between having free plastic surgery in the alley behind Walmart done by that homeless guy with no teeth versus board-certified, sterile, safe plastic surgery in a shiny, new hospital.

Why would I trust my blog face to anything less?

Come stop by and have a peek. The old girl is looking mucho improved, if I do say so myself.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

For my number one fan

They say the surest way to a mama's heart is through her kids.

Never has this been more true in my life. I am painfully aware of the wondrously lush group of friends that we have been blessed to know here in St. Louis. It didn't take our impending move for us to appreciate them either. I could write posts for days about the fabulous people I'm blessed to have in my life.  Friends that really are family.  Kids that are like cousins.  Girlfriends that are the sisters I never had.  We got lucky when we moved here. Lucky because a fabulous group of women opened their hearts to me, and naturally, my kids.

One friend in particular I'd like to talk about today. And it's not because he has dubbed himself my "number one blog fan."

Though, I have to say, I am flattered to have such a distinction.  Honestly, I'm just thrilled to even HAVE a fan. (And possibly wondering who paid him off.)

But, no, the reason I want to talk about this kid is because he's amazing and deserves a blog post all his own.

Meet Nick.

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Nick is a boy whom we met our first week here in 2007. Their family had just moved from Connecticut about seven months prior to our move to St. Louis.  They matched up perfectly to our family in every way.  I could write post after post about the things his mom has done for me.  Oh wait, I did.  And here, too.  Aaannnd here.

See?  Told you they were amazing.

Anyway.  Back to Nick.

Nick is the same age as Chase.  While they differ considerably in height, they are a perfect match in every other way.

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Nick, much like Chase, roots for the underdog and has no tolerance for hate.  He is one of the kindest souls I've ever met.  He is funny without being obnoxious. (Yes, Mindy.  It's true.  We all find Nick hilarious.  Make peace with that.)

He cheers my boy on at every race, while brushing off any praise for his own (far superior) time.  When Nick took first place in the district junior high track meet?  He was more happy for Chase, who took third.  Because he knew just how far Chase had come.  His smile matched my boy's that day, and my heart melted at the love shown by Nick.

And last year, when he was the last in his class to graduate from primary, his attitude was as cheerful as the eager, new Sunbeams.  He didn't sulk or pout his lot in life, as many before him have done.  He raised his hand with questions, listened when I was teaching, and taught me more than he'll ever know.

Nick is not jealous or petty.  He is not concerned with appearances or the pervasive middle school curse of trying to look "cool."  He is confident, yet humble.  He is eager to have fun and wants to make sure no one gets left out.

He is my son's best friend.

Lord help him, but he loves my goofy boy, even when Chase does his Gollum impression.  He helps my boy to push himself harder with the running, and is always there to cheer him on.  He listens for hours to talk of airsoft guns and World War II.  He gives of himself freely, and asks nothing in return.

His mom quite often jokes and apologizes for his goofiness.  What she does not know is this:  There is a special place in this mama's heart for goofy boys.

After all, I'm raising two and married to one.

Goofy boys are pretty much the bomb.

So thanks, Nick, for making Chase's time here the best of his young life.  Thanks for being a true friend, and for loving us in spite of ourselves.  We fully expect to see your family often.  Texas is not that far away.

Friends like you are worth their weight in gold.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's all about priorities

Let me paint a picture of loveliness for you.

Imagine, if you can, a tall woman with long, brownish-blondish hair.  Her weight is undetermined at this time, due to her inability to actually face the number on the scale.  She lives a good life, and does not want for food.  While she currently reminds one of a slightly chubbier version of her best self, she manages to still be attractive to her husband.  (Or so he says).

She resembles a fairly functional member of society during the hours of 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.  She showers, suffers under the blow dryer for 20 minutes, wears lipstick, and tries her best to put outfits together that do not include the words "yoga" or "stretchy pants."

But the first time each day that she ventures out of the house is a completely different story.

She. is. one. hot. mess.

Here is an artist's rendering of this anonymous woman:

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She leaves the house each day at 5:40 in the a.m. to drive her son to his early morning religion class.  She literally rolls out of bed at 5:39, slips on her Uggs, grabs a coat and her glasses, and heads out the door.

In her mind, she sort of likes to imagine that she looks a little like these ladies:

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image via

Tragically, in her heart of hearts, she knows that she does not.  She owns this look and is not swayed when her children mock or laugh.  This is a perfectly acceptable look for the unholy crack of dawn, peek-a-boo pudge, notwithstanding.

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She is at peace with her fine self.

The sight that greets this hottie outside of her bedroom door has recently morphed from a tired, grumbly teenager, to this:

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A happy little ball of sunshine and energy that is shaking keys in her face and begging to drive her vehicle.

THAT experience is a whole blog post unto itself.  But let's just say that two words sum up the palpable emotions in the car:  JOY and TERROR.

You can guess who experiences which.

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On a particularly average morning, like today, for instance, this woman finds herself in a wee bit of a predicament. For, when her son exits the vehicle on the driver's side, she is faced with two choices: Get out in the freezing cold air and walk around to the driver's side, or climb over the console in the middle and stay warm.

She opted on this fine morning to choose the latter.  And as she was maneuvering her chubby not-so-slim-self over the console, her boot got caught on something and she tumbled rather quickly, ending with a very ungraceful face plant against the glass of the window.

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Gathering herself together as best she could, the thought crossed her mind that, "Phew.  Thank goodness nobody saw THAT."


Clearly, the universe does have the best sense of humor.  This poor tangle of a mess looked out her window to see the eager, and frighteningly made-up faces of Malibu Barbie and her sister, Skipper, as they were out for their morning run.

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image via

Embarrassed, she waved off their lipsticked offers of help, and pulled herself together as best she could.  And instead of feeling bad about herself for not looking that good, let alone being out jogging at five-freaking-thirty in the morning with full make-up on, she took her bruised face dignifiedly home, and crawled back into bed.

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Like any normal human being should.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Lucky One

A few days ago, Hannah stumbled upon a photo of the Husband and I from our wee early days as a married couple. Incredulous, she blurted out, "Wow. You MARRIED that guy?"

I laughed, maybe a little too hard, and then pointed out the error of her ways.

You see, it's not supremely surprising that I married the skinny, quiet, smart gymnast that was the Husband so long ago. After all, he was handsome, thoughtful, and hopelessly in love with me.

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What's more amazing is that HE married this:

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God bless the poor ignorant fool.  He had no idea what he was getting himself into.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Dear McKay,

Fifteen years ago today, you took two young, dumb, baby-faced kids in love:

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And you made them parents.

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We had no idea what we were doing, and we have undoubtedly made many mistakes.  Still are making them, I'm sure.

But oh, it's been a fun ride.

You made being a parent far easier than it actually was (as we learned when your colicky brother joined the family).  You were the easiest newborn I've ever known, and the happiest toddler.  You have always had a smile on your face and joy in your heart.  You sought to obey and still continue to do so.  Life has definitely been more sweet with you around.

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Today was a pretty big day for you.  I have been a ball of nerves all day long, and worried and fretted for you and your big appointment at the DMV.  I think my blood pressure definitely hit unsafe levels during the 10-minute written test, as I sat on a cold, metal folding chair in the next room and wrung my hands sore.  I knew how badly you wanted to pass, and for that reason I wanted you to.


And while I am absolutely terrified of handing you the keys to my car, I have no doubt that you'll probably do better than I did.

I don't see any joyrides at midnight in cars driven by unlicensed friends in your future.

Right?  RIGHT?

You are so unlike what I was at this age.  It astonishes me and fills me with awe to see your happy confidence.  You are ever the social butterfly, but never too busy to hang with your brother.  Your sister doesn't quite speak the same love language, and your early morning happiness is definitely wasted on the likes of her.  But your persistence pays off, and even she can't resist your happy banter.

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Mack, you make me so proud.

I am proud of the young man you are becoming.  I am proud of the example you are to your younger siblings, and even to your friends.  Your heart is a good one.   Your standards are high, and you expect a lot from those in your life.  I so admire that about you.

I have been so impressed with your smooth transition to high school this year.  I won't lie, getting up to drive you to early morning seminary is kind of killing little bits of my soul.  But it is all worth it when I see what it means to you.  Your dedication inspires me to be better.  To try harder.  To do what I know I should.

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Thank you for being such an important part of our family.  Your sense of humor, your quick wit, and your keen observations make you so unique and such a big part of our lives.

Thank you for your patience, as I've tried and made lots of mistakes on you.  You, my first baby.  The one who has to endure the twists and turns of the learning curve with me.  You, who've had to suffer most through my inadequacies.  You've made it easy on me, kid.

And you've made it exceptionally fun.

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Happy fifteenth, Mack.

I love you.  I couldn't be more proud of you.



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Glass half-full (even if it's dirty, chipped, and cutting my lips)

In an effort to not become totally suicidal slightly forlorn, I have decided to focus on the good things about living in an apartment.

All three of them.  Because there are many.  Many, many good things.

For instance, I have firmly cemented the positive habit of making my bed every day.  Mostly because, if I don't, you physically cannot walk through my bedroom with one or two pillows on the floor.  There's just not room for the bed, the pillows, and me in this tiny space.  Gone are the luxuriously lazy days of not making the bed at all until the Husband came home at night.

(You know we only make it half the time because they're going to see it and think we're lazy bums if we don't, right?)

Another positive lifestyle change is the increase in efficiency in the kitchen.  I can literally stand in one spot, not have to lift my feet at all, and I can load the dishwasher, put away all the clean dishes, make dinner, and clean the kitchen.  Think about this.  From one spot, I can reach everything in my cupboards, drawers, and stove.  With all the free time this has afforded me (no more walking, hooray!), it is a wonder that I have not found the time to cure cancer.

Cancer cure:  Coming soon.

(Note to self:  Learn how to cure cancer.)

A special treat that we've also recently discovered is the burst of freezing-cold water in the shower that comes if anyone so much as thinks about touching a faucet anywhere else in the apartment.  It's like a wake-up call.  Hey, you!  You in the shower, enjoying yourself and relaxing.  Wake up!  You've got things to do!  No time for conditioning rinses!  Hurry up!

Loving that part.

Also of note are the new cultures my kids are being exposed to on a daily basis.  Like the next door neighbors, who seem to be home all day, every day, out on their back porch smoking weed hopefully just cigarettes.  Teaching us, once again, that age-old lesson:  Love thy neighbor anyway.  (Or at least ignore them and keep your windows and doors shut tight.)

My favorite thing (legitimately) is that we can clean the place, top-to-bottom in about 13 minutes.  That includes toilets, vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, and pick-up.  Sure, it still looks pretty crappy, what with all the piles of stuff we have no place for, but it's clean.  And I like that.

Also amazing is calling someone to come fix things and not having to pay a dime.  The drawer in the bathroom broke because I filled it too full of hair and make-up products?  Not my problem!  Come fix it for me now!  I love it.  (Though I do wish the maintenance man had teeth.)

But the one thing that gets me through it all is the multi-thousand dollar difference every month between what our mortgage was and our rent is now.  Seriously.  We are saving $2,000 every month by living here.  Multiply that by twelve months, and five-and-a-half years of living here.   (Insert me pulling out a calculator...)  By my calculations, we could have had $132,000 more in our pocket had we rented instead of bought a home.

I can promise you, we did not get that handed to us when we sold our house.

Maybe renting isn't so bad...

No, it is.  It really is.  And thank heavens it will end in four more months.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


When I last left you, I was:

-Selling a house
-Moving out of a house
-Moving into an apartment
-Buying a house
-Having Christmas
-Taking a vacation

All in the same seven-day period.

I would not recommend it.

At one point a few weeks ago, I sat down to have lunch with some friends.  One of them very sweetly looked me in the eye and said, "So, how are you?"

I immediately burst into tears and realized that I was NOT doing as well as I thought I was.  It was an epiphany for me because I am great at pretending life is perfect when it's not.

Later, on the phone with the ever-traveling Husband, I shared this epiphany with him and he hit the nail right on the tip of its pointy, stupid head.

What he said in much-nicer words than this was essentially that I am like a three-year-old thrown out of my routine.  And I really, really like my routine.  I need my routine.

I've felt a bit lost.  Like the ground underneath me is unsteady, with sharp, craggy rocks under my bare feet.  I've had to readjust everything.  How I lived.  How I cooked.  How I grocery shopped.  I was not sure what my new day-to-day schedule would be.  How I would manage a household with two-thirds less of a house to live in.  How I would get my kids to and from school, especially given the fact that two of the three had massive anxiety about riding a new bus.  Where would I, quite honestly, put all of the stuff I deemed necessity, even though it doesn't fit anywhere here in the apartment?  I tossed and turned with worry at night, and blinked back tears during the day.  

And slowly, oh, so very slowly, the hours have ticked by and I've found my tentative footing.  I've made trip after trip to the Container Store, finding ways to organize our life here that is manageable for me.  I've rearranged kitchen cupboards and made peace with the appliances that will sit on the counter for a few months.  I've worked out the school logistics, and helped my kids manage their stress.  I've even been able to fall asleep at night.

I feel safely sure that when someone asks me now how I am doing, the answer will not end in tears.

And that, my friends, is a pretty great place to be in.

Friday, December 21, 2012

12.21.12. Otherwise known as: The end of our world as we know it


My heart is full, my limbs exhausted, and my gratitude overflows into salty tears.

This morning, we said goodbye, officially, and on paper, to our home for the last five-and-a-half years.

The Husband's company had approached him in early November and asked if he wanted to open another office for them.  While this would be a HUGE opportunity for him professionally, they were unsure at the time of asking as to where they wanted this office opened.  We knew it would be either Dallas or Nashville, and we said yes to either one.

We spoke with a realtor, who advised us to hurry and get the house ready to sell, as there were buyers out there and not a whole lot to choose from.  Thinking our house would not sell before Christmas anyway, and that we'd have another chance to put it on the market in the spring, we gave it a try.

Three days later, we had an offer in hand, and still no word on where we would be moving.

THAT was an anxious few weeks.  One filled with diet cokes and self-medication (read:  lots and lots of chocolate).

Finally, the word came down from the higher ups that Dallas was to be our destiny, and we began to get excited.

What was not exciting, however, was going to be closing, moving, and having Christmas all in the same week.

Also not exciting was saying goodbye the brand-new, beautifully remodeled basement we finished this summer.

[Why?  Why do things like this happen JUST when you get your house how you want it?  Is it because God has a great sense or humor?   Or because the universe hates me?

Probably both.]

In any event, I bring you a plethora of photos from the basement now being enjoyed by someone else.










Beautiful, no?  Did you notice the wonderfully organized nooks and crannies in my office shelves?  How perfectly everything lines up and fits in its spot?  I have LOVED that office.  LOVED.

Like almost more than anyone else in the family, LOVED.

(Calm down, Hannah.  I still love you more.)

I think I'd probably die of misery were it not for the excitement of the new home we have decided to build in Dallas.  We JUST got word from the builder that they have accepted our offer and we are slated to have it completed in April.  We will finish school here, and move down there at the end of May.

So, today, on this apocalyptic end-of-the-world Mayan calendar day of doom, life has worked out pretty even-steven for us.  Sell a house, buy a house.  All on the same day.

Which should tell you all that, indeed, the world WILL be ending tonight.

Eh.  At least we'll go out with a smile on our face.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wigwam Brownies: A lesson in historical accuracy

Brace yourself.

I have come up with a new Thanksgiving invention that is sure to turn the world on its politically incorrect head.

You see, when I, ever so insensitively, posted my Tee Pee Cupcakes four years ago, I did not take into account the inaccuracy of my racially-controversial table decoration.

I imagined that homemakers all over America would delight in creating something for their Thanksgiving holiday that would, not only please the eye, but taste good, too.

Oh, how foolish and wrong I was.

I was not creating a simple holiday treat.  I was promoting racism.

Did you know that the Indians First Americans who helped our clueless Pilgrim friends did not live in tee pees?  Did you?

I didn't.  And my prolonged promotion of incorrect stereotypes has probably set back the Indian First American movement at least another 600 years.

Those poor First Americans.  Stereotyped into tee pees at Thanksgiving all these years.

The horror.

Thanks to the dozens of people who have found the time in their no doubt uber-busy lives to send me lengthy emails correcting my mistake from four years ago, I have decided to correct all of you, as well.  Because it's the right thing to do.

Listen up, racists:  The First Americans that helped the Pilgrims lived in Wigwams.  Like these:


NOT tee pees, like these:


So, with my historically accurate Wigwam photo and a plan, I set out this morning to create a culturally sensitive Thanksgiving decoration for you.

I mixed up a pan of brownies according to the package directions and let them cool. Once they were cool enough to handle, I scooped a large blob of brownies out of the pan and shaped them into a dome shape like this with my hands:


It took about half the pan of brownies, as the brownies got very compressed when I squished and molded them. This means that you only get two Wigwams per box of brownies. And if you're eating at a Thanksgiving table of 28 like I am, this means you need roughly 14 boxes of brownies, three dozen eggs, and a pint of oil.

Totally worth it. We MUST get this right, people.

Once shaped and molded into the proper, accurate Wigwam shape, melt a cup of chocolate chips and pour over the Wigwam.


Crush up several oreos and sprinkle them over the melted chocolate. While the chocolate is cooling, start in on making some decorative accessories to go along with your Wigwams.

I created an entire forest of Eastern Woodland pine trees, on the assumption that these trees actually existed at the time of the First Americans. Though I did not research this facet of my Thanksgiving table thoroughly, I am sure my dear, educated readers will write and correct me if I'm wrong.


I also took some tootsie rolls and starbursts to create a fake fire. It would have been more historically accurate to have a REAL fire, but I was worried about small things like, you know, the house burning down. Or my children suffering third degree burns.

Trying to be true to history can be quite dangerous. But it is SO. WORTH. IT.  I definitely recommend real fires on your table if you can manage.


When your Wigwam chocolate has cooled, pipe some realistic looking sticks and a door onto the Wigwam. This is harder than it sounds, as the dome shape is a tricky angle to work with, and the oreos make the chocolate crumble right off.


Once everything is assembled, it is ready to be the centerpiece of your politically correct, racially-sensitive, historically-accurate, non-offensive Thanksgiving table.


And, you know what? It looks SO MUCH BETTER than my silly, inaccurate, dumb, little tee pees.


Yeah, you're welcome.

P.S.  Check out this month's Parenting magazine, page 65.  But be warned, they have inadvertently featured my inaccurate, controversial tee pee cupcakes instead of my newly accurate Wigwam brownies.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A winner...

Um, yeah.  Sorry about that.

Didn't mean to completely ignore my own contest or anything.

Been a little bit busy around here feeling overwhelmed, stressed, excited, and manic.

Life has thrown a curve ball our way and it's completely tossed everything we know upside down.

I'm not ready to talk about it yet, as things are still unsettled, but I can promise you this:

We are not getting divorced.
No one is sick.
I am definitely not pregnant.  (But I'm pretty excited about someone I know who is.)

Once things are figured out around here, a post will be forthcoming, I promise.

In the meantime, the winner of my new favorite book is:

Blogger Sara said...
My favorite is Unbreakable...excellent read.
You had me at It's a Wonderful Life! That's my favorite movie.
October 22, 2012 4:43:00 PM CDT

Shoot me your address and the book will be on its way to your hot little hands.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A post! And a giveaway! This is your lucky day...

A few months ago, on one of his many, many business trips, the Husband was seated in (of course) first class next to Mitch Albom.

He recognized the award-winning writer immediately and they started up a conversation.  The Husband mentioned to Mitch (can we call him that now?  He met the Husband.  They're bound to be best friends, right?)  that he is a huge fan of his sports writing.

He then added that his wife (me) is a huge fan of Mitch's novels.

Mitch laughed, and said, "I get that a lot."

About a month ago, I was looking for something new to read.  I opted for The Time Keeper by (our new best friend) Mitch Albom.

I started it at about eight o'clock in the evening, just as the kids were settling down for the night.

I finished it by about eleven.

With tears streaming down my cheeks, I vowed to share this book with everyone I know.

And, late yesterday afternoon, I finished reading it aloud to my entire family.

It. Is. Phenomenal.

Part-fable, part-It's-a-Wonderful-Life, it is engaging and real.  It takes you on a journey that makes you evaluate how you spend your time, and how you value time.   It will make you want to make the most of every precious minute you have in this brief life.  It reminds you that there is always hope, no matter how bleak things seem.

I loved it.  My family loved it.

And in honor of that, I am going to give away one copy to a lucky reader.  Leave me a comment telling me your favorite book.  All comments will be thrown into and a winner drawn on Wednesday, October 24th at 8 p.m. local time.

If you don't win, buy the book anyway.  It's worth every penny.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hand me my slippers and housecoat. I'm going for a walk.

Most days, in my happy, independent adult world, I feel pretty smart.  Pretty on top of my game.

I can multi-task with the best of them.  I can run a household and a successful photography business.  I pay bills, handle finances, and perform minor home repairs.  I also hold down a leadership position in my church, and do a pretty dang good job of it all, thankyouverymuch.

All while catching movies, lunching with friends, keeping my house clean, and reading a good book.

Sure, sometimes we eat at the McDonalds.  And maybe the laundry sits unfolded for a day here and there.

Nobody's perfect.

But I like to think that I do a pretty good job of it all.

Until that horrible moment comes along which knocks me off my high horse with brutal humility.

Last night was one of those moments.

I was helping a child with homework, and quite honestly had no clue what to do.

I would like to say that this child was my freshman son, who is incredibly smart.

Or even my seventh grader, who is taking all challenge classes and doing so well.

But no.

It was the homework of the girl child in the fifth grade.

The four-lettered M-A-T-H homework.

I was completely dumbstruck (literally) and could not figure out how to help her.  Feeling helpless, I grabbed the laptop, ran to the bathroom, pretended to be otherwise engaged, and searched frantically for a Khan Academy video that would restore my credibility and put order once again in the universe.

Tragically, the little girl stood impatiently outside of the bathroom door and figured out pretty quickly that her mama ain't so good with the smarts.

(Lucky for me, Chase took charge of the situation and taught us both what to do.  Though, I won't lie.  I've already forgotten it and will probably be unable to help her tonight.)

It's unnerving.  For both them and for me.  The look of disillusionment in a child's eye is one that goes straight through the heart like a knife.  When they realize they're smarter than you, it's all over.  You might as well hand them the proverbial keys to your life, because they will forever more question your good judgement.  They will second guess you on the way to the grocery store with, "Are you sure this is the right way, Mom?"

You know, the store you've been driving to all your life.  Or at least the last six years.

Or they get frustrated and say, "Hand me the directions.  I'll do it." as they hastily (and correctly) begin assembling their own bike.  You suddenly become a slow-witted, delicate, old lady in their eyes who is ready for the Home.   They cannot imagine you as a functioning member of society and fully expect to find you wandering the neighborhood in your slippers and housecoat.  

And you're not even forty yet!

Am I the only one here?  Tell me you are all a bunch of dummies, too.

Or just lie.

Either way.  Pleez mayk mee feel beter about mye dum selph?!".

Friday, September 28, 2012


His broad shoulders are carrying a heavy load - both in the substantial backpack he wears, and in the burden he carries each day.  I can't help but watch him and wonder -- does he see the change that is happening almost overnight?  Does he feel the growth that I see each and every morning?

I like mornings now.

Well, maybe not mornings, but I really like the time I get to spend with him.  Just he and I.  We have already created several inside jokes, and we laugh about them while the rest of the world is still dreaming.  The house is quiet.  The others, asleep.

As we drive through dark streets to his six a.m. religion class, I try not to notice the puffiness around his eyes, or the weariness on his face.  The mama in me worries, wondering how in the world he'll ever sustain this pace of 13-hour days.  But then he smiles, lights up, and tells me all about his upcoming day.  He has taken the pressure, exhaustion, and work load and chosen instead to see them as a routine that he enjoys.  A challenge.  He drives himself to do better, to run faster, to study more.

I tear up, wondering just when exactly my little boy decided it was okay to cease being just that.  I turn from him and wipe the tears, not wanting him to see me mourn for what once was.  Truthfully?  I'm prouder than I could have ever imagined I'd feel at this moment.  And I wouldn't have him any other way.

But there is a part of me that will always miss his chubby hands and toothless grin.  His Lego days, superman capes, and endless rounds of Goodnight Moon.  Skinned boy knees, all curled up in my lap.  Soft arms around my neck, and whispered I love yous every night at his bedside.

He's grown up seemingly almost overnight.  Right before my eyes, and quite without my permission.  Nobody warned me that this would happen in high school.  Nobody said that he would rise to the task, take on responsibility and seriousness with the ease of slipping into a new shirt.  I expected it to be harder, more fraught with emotion, and requiring the inevitable pain that growth produces.

Instead, he's taken life by the horns, and done so with more grace and charm than his mother has known in a lifetime.

I'm so proud of you, Mack.

I can almost forgive you for destroying the drapes in that one old house.

Almost.  But not quite.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

And this concludes the longest vacation recap in history...











Well, over a month after it began, the recap is finally complete.

We rounded out our journey in Merry Old England (or Dingland, if you're in our family). When we were planning this trip last December, we had hopes to spend a few days in London. We searched high and low for a hotel room and couldn't find one to save our lives. Scratching our heads as to why all of London was booked solid, the Husband hit the nail on the head.

The Olympics.

Yep, we were hitting England smack dab in the middle of the Olympic Games. It made our decision easy. We would avoid London like the plague, and instead spend our time north in York.

Which was a treat because when the Husband was 14 years old, he moved there with his whole family while Opa got a master's degree at York University.

We were able to see the school he went to, walk to his favorite place for Fish & Chips, as well as see the house they all lived in. The current owners happened to be home, and were thrilled to give us a top-to-bottom tour. The house had been remodeled extensively, so it looked a lot better than when the family lived there 25 years ago.

Other highlights included:

* Touring the York Minster with Opa, who helped work to restore it after a fire in the 80s.

* Watching the Husband get roped into helping a street performer.  He threw real knives to this nut who was up on a unicycle, juggling blindfolded.  Luckily, no one lost any limbs, and none of my children have as yet started juggling knives blindfolded on a unicycle.  Bonus.

* Walking the ancient wall around the city of York.  Originally built in 71 AD.  You can imagine Chase's commentary.

*Shopping in the Shambles and wishing desperately I could move here.

* High tea at Betty's.  Why can't we get clotted cream here in the states?  Delish.

* Going to church in the old ward and being treated like rock stars because everyone still remembered the Husband, his family, and the impact they made while there.

* Rounding out a four-country whirlwind tour with the best tour guides anyone has ever known.

It was a fantastic trip with fantastic people, and I'm so grateful we had the opportunity to go.

And, if you're still reading after all these posts, and you're not one of the people who were on this trip, you deserve a medal.  Phew.

The End.