Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Parenting Fail?

Today, I got the phone call that every parent dreads. The call from the teacher.
What had my little angel done? Was this a praise?

Um, no.

My middle son, B-rex, had gotten into a fight at school. As he put it, "a silly situation got away from (me)." He was trying to grab a necklace that a friend had on. And he ended up shoving, getting shoved, and "doing a belly-flop on" the other boy. Till he finally bit the other boy.


Biting? What is he? Three?

Nope. He's nine.

Where did I go wrong? Did I not spank him enough as a toddler? Have I not set the right limits? He doesn't watch fighting. He doesn't have video games. He and his older brother fight, but that's normal for boys. Right?

And what now? We (my hubby and I) have decided that he's going to miss his Boy Scout camp out this weekend. Because he loves Boy Scouts and this will hurt.

Except now he's running around the house, playing with his 2-year-old brother.

Now what??? How do we correct this? How do you teach your son that it is NOT okay to invade someone's personal space?

I'm lost.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Mother's Heart

Today, my heart is hurting. I have been praying for the town of Newtown, CT, since I first heard the terrible news this morning. A gunman. In an elementary school. Children dead.

I cannot even begin to fathom the pain of those parents, grandparents, and friends. I only know that as a mom, this is a nightmare. This is the dream that you have over and over, that you've lost your little one.

When I saw the news today (thanks, Twitter), my heartbeat doubled up. I live in South Carolina. Connecticut is far away. I'm not even sure how many states lie between CT and SC. Really. Geography is not my thing.

I knew, intellectually, that my children were safe at their school. My heart, though, was fearful. Because if it could happen there, what is keeping it from happening here? What makes their school so different from Sandy Hook?

The answer? Nothing.

And that's what made me hug my boys as I picked them up from school today, when they first climbed in. My 10-year-old cringed and pulled away. My 8-year-old hugged back, because he's not to the embarrassed stage yet. In my heart, and even in my head, I knew that it could so easily be them.

My boys are what I like to call high spirited. They play hard, they fight hard. And they have been fighting hard since they got home. I don't want to yell at them. Not today, when so many other mother's would give ANYTHING to be able to yell, just one more time, at their own little ones.

Since then, I have been crying, imagining what those mom's in Newtown must be feeling. The giant hole in their hearts that can never be filled. The missing sound of their little one's laughter. The empty bed, the empty booster seat in the car, the empty spot at the table. Nothing, for them, will ever be the same.

From one mom, to the moms of Newtown, CT, I pray for you. My heart goes out to you. You will never know me. But I grieve with you and for you. May God be with you.

May God be with all of us. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Doin' It All

Scene: Playing with the baby in his room. He was trying to climb onto his scooter toy, while holding a book and reaching for a ball.
B-rex: Why can't he get up there?
Me (shaking head):  D-man hasn't learned that you can't do it all.

Wow. Profound.

At thirty-seven, I'm not sure I've learned that you can't do it all. I think back to this spring:

  • Lil' C was playing travel soccer. Practiced every Tues/Thurs evening and had games out of town on most weekends. 
  • B-rex was playing rec soccer. Practiced every Mon evening and had games in town on Saturday mornings. 
  • I had an infant. Who couldn't walk for most of this time span and was still eating baby food that I made.

That would seem to any sane person to be enough going on.

Not me. I decided that coaching the middle school girls soccer team would make my life perfect. That meant practice every day after school until 4:00. Games on Mon/Wed after school. When the parents were on time to pick up their daughters after practice (HA!), I had an hour and 30 minutes to pick up all three kids, get them home, fed, changed, and back out the door to practice.

My life was insane. Completely, bat guano, insane. And I did this for just over 3 months.

I was ragged. Tired all the time. Eating fast food because there was no time to cook. Irritable as all hell. Occasionally, I would ask my mom to pick up and take to practice. And Weston would meet me at one of the boys practices (usually Lil C's) and take over so that I could go home to deal with the baby.

When will I learn that you can't do it all? Seems like never.

Have you learned that you can't do it all? What's your secret?

Sunday, July 08, 2012


I am not a runner. I hate running. It is tedious, boring, sweaty, and just all around no fun. I have never been a runner. I was a cheerleader in high school, back in the days when it was just pom poms. We just had to be skinny and cute.

I was those things: skinny and cute. I had the ability to eat whatever (Snickers or pizza and a Dr. Pepper every day for lunch!) and stay that way. I did not diet in high school. At least not that I remember.

In college, I wasn't terribly active. I cheered one basketball season, but wasn't able to overcome my fear of my life literally being held in someone's hands. I played soccer for my sorority's intramural team. For one season. But I stayed more or less the same size. I was doing okay.

Then, senior year happened. I moved in with some "sisters" upstairs from some frat boys. And I drank. A lot. Nearly every weekend that fall. There were some issues out there, involving a young man (or two), that I didn't know how to maturely handle. So I partied instead. During the day, I was unhappy. And when I wasn't in class, I drove my little Tercel with the sunroof open. I drove up toward the mountains with the music blaring. Trying to get myself out of my head.

Needless to say, it didn't work.

I went on foreign study and met a great guy. He didn't drink. Instead, he treated his body as a temple, the way God intended it. He ate right and worked out. I started jogging and using the Nordic ski thingy at the PAC. Then we broke up, and it was back to business as usual. I still tried to run some, but my heart wasn't in it.

After graduation, I started dating the guy (man) whom I would eventually marry. He was in ROTC and was very fit. Still is. He loves to run. Runs every other day. Would probably do it every day if I'd let him. Anyhoo, I still had issues with weight. I put it on, and couldn't seem to keep it off. I used the gym membership that came with my first apartment.

Then we got married. I gained 10 pounds. My new husband could COOK! We bought a house, I gained more. We had a baby, then another two years later. The weight wouldn't leave. I tried joining a gym. I tried different kinds of diets. Nothing worked. Until something did.

A couple of years ago, I found a very low-carb diet. Coupled with the Zumba classes I loved, it did the trick. I lost 35 pounds! Then, we had another baby. Now, I'm losing and gaining the same 5 to 10 pounds over and over again. I'm trying to eat the right things. And I've started running again. Ick. I wish I could fit the Zumba back into life, but I don't have time to stand in lines. And my sweet hubby is rarely home in time for me to make it to a 6:00 class. (Excuses. Hear 'em?)

I also have issues with food. I eat, a lot. Sometimes, I don't know why I eat. It's not like I'm hungry all the time. I just get bored, or sad, or happy, or whatever. And I want to eat. Summer is the worst time for this. Especially when I'm home all day, in a house with three kids.

I'm working on it. Working it out, I guess. Running and fighting myself every day.

Friday, July 06, 2012

best kept secret - book review

I love to read. I believe that I have mentioned this before. I have been having a field day this summer, reading nearly every day. It's amazing what you can do when a baby is napping for 2 or 3 hours. Wow. If only I could keep the big two quiet as well! Clearly, that is wishful thinking.

I've been reading a book every couple of days, sometimes in a day. It just depends on how long D-man naps, or how long the book is, or how good the book is.

Yesterday, I read a book. The whole book. Granted, I did send the kids over to a friend's house to play and swim (even baby). So I had a little bit more quiet time than usual. But even after the kids got home, and I cooked dinner, and the kids were finally in bed, I read. I don't always do this. I like to watch a little TV, snuggle with my husband. Have some quiet and peace. Last night, I wanted to finish that book.

It's called best kept secret, written by Amy Hatvany. And it is spectacular! I have read a lot of books, not just this summer, but throughout my life. I have meet a few books that I am willing to part money for. Maybe more than a few, looking at the bookshelves in our house. But there are VERY few that I am willing to spend hardback money on. If I had not checked this book out from the library, I would have spent hardback money to get it. It is that good. I may still go and buy it, so that I can have my own copy to read whenever I want.

It is the story of Cadence, a freelance writer who was staying at home to raise her son. She is a heavy drinker, some would say (correctly) that she's an alcoholic. Her now ex-husband takes her son one day, and she is too drunk to do anything. She thought she'd been hiding it, that no one had noticed. Cadee is through rehab, is meeting with a counselor, in a group, and attending AA meetings. She is also fighting to get her son back. She is forced into self-examination and finding new friendships.

I am not like Cadee. At least, not on the surface. I am not divorced, a single mom, a writer (ha!), or an alcoholic. But I felt myself in her on nearly every page. I knew her struggles to keep her temper with her son (my sons). I know how hard it is to cope with the boundless energy of children while holding down a job and managing a house. I know how hard it is to feel people looking at you, judging you, while you stand there not being able to do anything. I know what it is to feel powerless to stop something over which you wish you had more control. I know how hard it is to open up and let other people into your life.

Cadence is every mom. I know moms who would deny it, and say that it's not that hard. I know there are moms who make it look easy on the outside. But we all have things we can't control. We all have addictions. We all have issues, we just don't show them all the time.

If you are a mom, or even if you're not, I would recommend reading this book.

By the way, another book I was willing to pay hardback for? Summer Sisters, by Judy Blume. It's not a kiddie book. But that's a whole other post. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Free Writing

I went to a conference this week. I wasn't sure what to expect from the Education and Business Summit, since I'm not a business teacher. My step-mom was skeptical too, but I did manage to come away with some good ideas for things to do in my classroom.

One of my favorite sessions was "Which Disney Character Are You?". I am a Disney girl. I have been a fan since I was little. However, I'm not a big Princess person. Maybe I've always been a tomboy at heart. My favorite Disney character was, is, and shall always be Winnie the Pooh, or Pooh for short. He is a bear of "very little brain", but he has a heart that is larger than anyone else's. The presenter, Ms. Flowers, asked us to think about Disney characters and their leadership. She used examples (movie clips!!) from Toy Story (Woody), Up (Ellie), and Mulan (Mulan). We discussed their different leadership styles. I was really hoping for some kind of multiple-choice quiz, but was disappointed. Ah, well. We did get to watch movie clips, so that's a win in my book.

Another session that I really enjoyed was titled "Personal Narrative: Writing to Find a Career You Love". The presenter was again Ms. Flowers. And yes, I got her contact info, because she was GOOD! In this session, she gave us some information, and then gave us some instructions on how to do a free-write. It involved writing, without stopping, whatever came into our heads, whether it had to do with the topic or not. Not worrying about grammar, or punctuation, or spelling. What a great thing to tell students. We just want to get them writing.

At that point, she gave us a prompt and told us to write for ten minutes. My first thought was '10 minutes!? Is she crazy?' I couldn't imagine writing for that long, nonstop. The topic was "When I was six years old, I wanted to be..." I managed to write for the allotted ten minutes, without stopping. I wrote a whole page of notebook paper. I wished there had been more time, because the end kind of snuck up on me. Wow! Of course, my hand was terribly sore. It took several minutes for it to feel normal again. Then it was time for prompt #2: "Before I die, I really want to ..." If you'd like to see it, here you go:

Before I die, I really want to have one of those big anniversaries. I've been married for 12 years so far, which is not a terribly long time. I don't even mean 25 years, though that seems like a worthy goal. And that one isn't too far off, so it's too easy. I want to make it to 50, ideally to 75. I know that a lot of it has to do with how long I live, which I don't really know how long it will be. But my paternal grandparents celebrated their 50th Anniversary - silver - back in 1998. I remember  the big service in the church. My cousin Kelly gave a beautiful speech about how inspiration their marriage was to all 16 of us grand kids. There was a reception to celebrate afterwards. All of the family was there. Us from here in SC; my aunt and uncle from CO. It was a beautiful celebration. You could really tell that grandma & grandpa still loved each other. Not too long after that, Grandpa passed away. I will never forget the morning I got that call. Even though Grandma lived for several more years after that, it seemed like she was just doing time until she could join him.
My maternal grandparents celebrated their 50th too. What is it about that generation? Were they a special kind of people, or are we today missing something fundamental?

Anyway, I just wanted to share. I particularly liked this one, and again felt let down that the time had ended. I plan to keep editing that one, to make it something special. Wonder if I can come up with a topic to free write on with my students. For them six wasn't really that long ago, and they are too young to think about what to do before they die. Any suggestions? 

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Bestie Rocks!

My best friend since forever (high school) recently was kind enough to mention my blog on her blog. She got this neat-o award: the Kreativ Blogger Award. [Which kind of bothers me, because can you at least spell "creative" right?]

She is totally deserving of this award. Michelle, over at Dry Spell, is an AMAZING writer. She always has been. When we were in school, we would write these stories about our alternative selves, doing things we would never have the courage to do in real life. We all three wrote them, Mich, Suzy, and I. The Awesome Threesome. Smiling now at the memory.

Anyway, I thought I'd give her a shout back out, since she is so phenomenally wonderful. At being a friend. At being a mom. At being a daring cook. At being a photographer - seriously! And especially at being a writer. Because she is. A WRITER. She has been retelling our story from the Lake Austin Spa Resort trip, the one I tried to describe and couldn't. I just can't find the words. Michelle, on the other hand, is telling the story in the most beautiful prose imaginable. This was her first post about it: Tuna Cavatappi Be Damned. Start there, and tell me if you can't wait to read more. I was there, and I still can't wait to read. 

So, even though she didn't really nominate me, I wanted to say THANK YOU, Michelle. It is an honor to be mentioned in your top 10 blogs, even though I am a sporadic writer at best.

I'm not going to do all that other stuff, like telling you about myself or nominating other blogs. Mostly because I wouldn't know what to say about me or other blogs to send you to. I don't have time to be online reading anything, other than Michelle's blog. I do keep up with some of my favorite writers on their blogs, but not often enough. Darn kids. 

By the way, the silence this afternoon? Feels good! 

Ahhhhh! Bliss!