Category Archives: Uncategorized

An Open Letter To All Teachers Out There But Especially My Son’s

Attention All  Fourth Grade Teachers! (Although, with a few adjustments this could apply to all teachers.)

We, the parents of the children you teach, would like to be parents. And real estate agents. And contractors. And doctors and lawyers. Or advertising reps. Or designers. Or ditch diggers.

We did not sign up to be teachers.

Oh sure. We signed up to teach our children manners and respect. We teach them our religious beliefs and all about the birds and the bees. We teach them how to make their bed and throw a baseball.

All of the above and more fall into our job description as a parent.

It is not, however, listed anywhere in our job description that we must spend our family time with our child continuing the job you started at school.

We did not sign up for the two hour “homework” sessions after school, with detailed instructions for the parent on how to teach the reading comprehension assignment (which we have to sign, proving we completed it with our child). We did not ask for the solar system project where we had to teach our children the order and size of all the planets so that he, and by “he” I mean “I”, could show him how to build it according to scale ($60 later in supplies.)

And for the kicker that prompted my letter to you today, we did not and I repeat, we did not sign up to type any more papers. We have been there, done that. But when my dear son, my sweet, responsible, hard working, non-procrastinating son is practically in tears at the keyboard because it has taken him forever (and by “forever” in a 9-year-old’s perspective I mean “an hour”) to type a tiny portion of his story and I am tempted to jump in there and do it for him? I paused.

I shouldn’t have to type his papers for him. And he shouldn’t, at 9 years old, be expected to type his own papers if he hasn’t yet received the proper keyboarding instruction to do so, with plenty of practice so that he can proficiently type his own papers at a reasonable speed.

He is nine. He is a responsible, conscientious student. He starts assignments when  you assign them and works diligently until he gets it done. He is bright and doesn’t need busy work.

What my child needs, what any child needs, is time to play outside. Time to make brownies with their mom, learning (by accident) about fractions and degrees Fahrenheit. They need to be encouraged to read on their own but they should be allowed the free time to be read aloud to by their parent. When we’re working 2 hours after dinner on homework, there is little time left for Harry Potter before bed.

Don’t get me wrong. I applaud your efforts in the classroom. I demand that my children respect you and your rules. They are expected to give 110% to their schoolwork. And I don’t mind running a few multiplication drills before dinner or quizzing him on his spelling words.

What I don’t understand is the assignment after assignment after assignment my 9-year-old child is expected to complete that he has neither the ability nor the life experiences to complete on his own.

Homework should be an extension of classroom material. Yes. But it should be, always and forever, commensurate with the maturity and the abilities of the child to which it is assigned.

If the parents are doing the homework, the child is getting the impression that he or she is inadequate. My son lamented, “Why can’t I type fast like you?” Uh. Because I had a typing class, for a full semester and I’ve been typing for years and years and have had plenty of practice.

Assign my child age and skill level appropriate homework. Work that my child is capable of completing on his own, with little parental intervention. Homework that reinforces what you’re teaching in the classroom, giving him additional practice. Work that allows him to explore and create. Bolstering his confidence when he finishes it all by himself. Allowing him to experience pride in his work, not someone else’s.


It’s all I ask.


Filed under Uncategorized

Shame On You, First Baptist Church In Crystal Springs, MS!

Shame, shame on you, congregation of First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Mississippi!

Members of the church, who just happen to have black skin, wanted to be married. In their own church. And a few bad apples, who just happen to have white skin, pitched a fit – threatened to fire the pastor if he married them-because there had never been a “black” wedding in their 129 year old church.

News flash, First Baptist Church. It’s 2012. Prohibiting marriage because of skin color is old, old, even ancient, news. We’ve moved on to the gay marriage debate. Get with the program!

To my great relief, “the vast majority of Crystal Springs residents, blacks and whites alike, were “blown away” by the church’s decision.” (There is a God.)

But to my great embarassment, we made international news. (A God with a wry sense of humor and an obvious lesson in humility.)

The venue chosen. Invitations printed. RSVPs received. And then, the day before the big event?

Outrage from a few bad apples.

For shame!

To avoid marring their special day (and save his job), the pastor found another church so that the wedding may proceed.

Considering the outrage from local citizens and other church members, how about rallying around this couple and their guests, overshadow the few bad apples and allow the wedding to take place?

Just a thought.


It’s sad. It’s pathetic. And I apologize to my husband for not believing him when he told me about this story. (Yes, I admit it. I really was Googling it because I didn’t believe you. It wasn’t research for a blog post like I said.)

On this beautiful Sunday morn, whatever your beliefs, please say a prayer and/or send loving thoughts to the Crystal Springs couple, their family, their congregation and those few bad apples.

Not because it’s the Christian thing to do.

Because it’s the RIGHT thing to do.


Filed under In the News, Soapbox, Uncategorized

Inquiring Minds Want To Know Or Mystery Of The Chipped Tooth Revealed

It’s not an exciting story. It’s not even a very interesting story.

But it is a story that should be told. If only, so that you, my dear readers, may benefit.

Suffice it to say, these:

and these:

….do not mix. Ever.

And the really scary thing is? Just before I tried to remove that pesky staple from my daughter’s homework because I couldn’t find one of these:

I said, shaking one finger at her with a stern expression on my face:

“Now. Don’t EVER do this!”

The next thing we heard was a little crack and part of my tooth broke right off.

So, I looked like this:

Only worse. But without the beard because, well, I haven’t sported a beard in years.

It looked more like this:

(Sorry. I only used the bearded picture because I thought it was funny. Yep. I’m easily amused.) 

And then, I’ve looked like this:

…three times. Once to get it fixed when it initially happened ten years ago. And then twice since then because of where the chip is located/my bite/the fact that I won’t wear a night guard – the dental work has come out.

Reminding me all over again of my stupidity years ago.

I share this embarrassing story with you so that you may learn.

Murphy’s Law does indeed exist.

If it can happen, it will.

Your teeth are not tools.

They should only be used to eat this:

Now, I highly recommend you go here – The Kitchen Witch – and here – Tomatoes on the Vine so you can put your pearly whites to good use. They are my two favorite blogs that inspire me in the kitchen.

Because, I’d rather be in the kitchen than in the dentist’s chair any day of the week!


Filed under Lessons Learned, Uncategorized

Yell At Me, OK?

I love words. I love the sound of certain words. I love the way words string together and mean so many different things. My husband calls me The Queen of Syntax. He complains that I get lost in semantics.

So, sue me. It’s my character flaw.

And I own it.

The other day my husband took a quick break from doing yard work and said to me, “I have Tai Chi class at 7pm. I’m not finished in the yard.  Could you yell at me at 6?”

Ummmmm. Sure.

At the appointed hour I stood on our back porch.

“Hey!” I yelled, “I’ve asked you a hundred times to put the suitcases in the basement! And your tools have been sitting on top of the dryer for a month! Put them away NOW, you slob!”

He doubled over in laughter.

Oh no. What will the neighbors think?

(Sorry for the re-run. My sister is still visiting and she doesn’t even know I blog. And I’m not telling her now. So, I’m going to be a bit scarce. I’ll try to sneak online but in the meantime, here are a few of my favorite posts. Enjoy your week!)


Filed under funny, Uncategorized, Words

Curses You, George Vernon Hudson!

A reprint from my archives. Because it bears repeating.

Curses you, George Vernon Hudson!

George is the reason I’m so exhausted this morning.

George is the reason that there is a 68% increase in lost days of work around this time of year due to injury on the job.

George is the reason that there will be a spike in heart attacks this week.

Because of George, children across the country may be waiting for their school bus in the dark.

And if my kids get sick in the next few days, I’m blaming George!

George is responsible for my certain crabbiness for the next few days because, frankly, it’s all his fault.

Curses you, Daylight Saving Time!

(The inspiration for this post came from my curiosity of whose stupid idea this was, anyway. Because it certainly wasn’t a mother who thought, “Let’s deprive everyone of an hour of sleep during flu and cold season. What a great idea!”)


Filed under Uncategorized

Adding To My Netflix Queue While Watching The Oscars. Hey. That’s How Mothers Roll.

I have (at this moment, a little over an one hour into the Academy Awards) exactly 140 movies in my Netflix queue. One hundred and forty. If each movie is approximately 2 hours long, that’s 280 hours of popcorn munching and Coca-Cola sipping. If I take breaks to sleep, shower, potty, and prepare a quick meal, it would take me about a month to watch every single movie on my list.

I do love movies. I used to watch the Academy Awards and it was rare if I hadn’t seen all the movies nominated for Best Picture. Now, post kids, it’s rare if I’ve seen any of the pictures nominated. I have to TiVo them or put them on my Netflix list. Hence, the length of my list – which is now at 142, almost two hours into the Oscars. Yes. I am watching the Oscars, with my laptop on my lap and three tabs open: Netlix queue, WordPress and Pinterest. I’m the queen of multi-tasking.

I look forward to this night. A chance to see the stars in a different light. A chance to find out what I’ve missed in the entertainment world over the past year. Be it a song to add to my ipod or a movie to add to my Netflix queue.

But taking a look at my list, I’m having a hard time paring it down. So many items are documentaries or foreign films that will never make it to television. Waiting For Superman. Blame It On Fidel. Paperclips. Sarah’s Key. Or television that I have missed. Dexter, my favorite serial killer. Or the Mad Men series that I’d love to catch up on from the beginning.

I have a love/hate relationship with these award shows. Love the glamour, the pomp and circumstance. The gowns. (Didn’t you just love Penelope Cruz’s dress?) The heartfelt thanks and genuine surprise and awe. Hate the political (though rare) rants thinly disguised as acceptance speeches. You are actors. Who act. Your opinion on world affairs has nothing to do with  your craft or my enjoyment of your talents. So, please. Zip it.

And now, my queue has grown by two more. I’m at 144. Netflix is getting a workout tonight as they mention movies I was never able to see in the theaters. Either because my role as mother is more important than my role as armchair critic. Or because some of the most critically acclaimed movies don’t make it to my backward neck of the woods.  I depend on the Academy Awards to make my Netflix suggestions.

But I’m having a hard time keeping my eyes open. Per usual. I am a mother now. Gone are the days of Oscar parties and ballots, Twizzlers and popcorn. I have lunches to prepare, another load of laundry to push into the dryer, book bags and shoes and jackets to place by the door.


I. Can’t. Make. It.

Must. Go. To. Sleep.

Let me know who wins Best Picture. That is, if you are able to stay up.


Filed under Completely Random, Uncategorized

I’m Not An Extreme Couponer. Just A Wannabee.

A desperate wannabee.

That’s me.

It all started last fall when we participated in 3 canned food drives. Ok. Wait. That’s a lie. It started back in my college days when I was too proud to ask my parents for money to eat (because there’d be strings attached). I was working two jobs and trying to live on my own because I couldn’t handle the craziness that was home. I’d hunt the paper for coupons and stock up on soups and the prepared food stuff that I wrinkle my nose at now. Or coupons for fast food places. Wendy’s was my best friend back in college. I remember days when I’d clip a coupon for the all-you-can-eat salad bar and then bring my backpack filled with text books. I’d camp out and eat a late lunch at about 2pm, study while I ate and then eat an early dinner at 4pm. I can’t believe no one ever kicked me out. Not a proud time for me, for sure.

But I digress.

I’ve couponed on and off in my life but I got bitten by the bug again last fall. As I mentioned, we participated in 3 canned food drives, all within weeks of each other. By the second one, my pantry was bare. I don’t purchase many canned goods. I’m a buy-fresh-and-local (when I can) kind of cook. I prefer not to cook from a can if I can help it. Oh sure, I cheat with canned tomatoes or cream of mushroom soup or canned beans from time to time. But again, I’m digressing. (Stick to the story, Jane. Too much caffeine this morning? Jeez.)

I clipped some coupons from the paper and purchased a boatload of canned goods for the 2nd drive. Wow. It wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be.

The next drive? I was prepared. I clipped coupons AND checked out the three major grocery chains near me for sales. I had to go to two stores to make it happen but since they were both on my way home from the boy’s school it wasn’t hard to navigate. I easily saved about 50% on my grocery bill. I was intrigued.

Since then, I’ve watched Extreme Couponers a handful of times. Many of the women are like me – got into couponing out of necessity. This recession (that’s over but isn’t) has hit many of us so hard. And while we’re doing OK, there are some things I just don’t want to give up. Like baseball and swim team for the kids or my favorite shampoo. We’ve trimmed our budget in every way we can think of. Watching the extreme couponers has shown me we could trim a little bit more.

But I still can’t seem to get the results they seem to achieve.

There are three things stopping me.

1. Time. I don’t spend 35+ hours a week clipping coupons, studying sale circulars and taking that 7 hour trip to one store.

2. I’m not going to purchase the 50 newspapers a week I’d need to collect a substantial amount of coupons and I refuse to dumpster dive like one featured woman does. (And she brings her kids with her when she does it!)

3. I don’t use many of the products that coupons advertise. I’m happy with my favorite dishwashing detergent or glass cleaner. I allow a little wiggle room but quite honestly, I’m a little set in my ways.

Taking advantage of Publix Buy-One-Get-One specials has helped quite a bit. I have about $80 worth of extra virgin olive oil that I paid about $30 for (with the help of coupons, of course.) My stock pile is building. Everything you see in the picture below was at least 50% off or free. Most of it, free. My daughter claims I’m preparing for the apocalypse. I don’t mind. Call me crazy, if you dare, but I’m saving us quite a bit at the grocery store. I’ve been able to purchase new baseball cleats, a new team swim suit and a fancy graduation dress with the savings.

But I want one of those big payouts. You know the ones. Where the bill is $1029 and they end up paying $6.82 for it. Or, even better, the bill comes to $534 and the grocery store pays you $1.13 to take it off their hands.

So far….

1. I have my baseball card notebook with coupons filed in categories according to the layout of my favorite grocery store.

2. I buy two, maybe three, Sunday papers a week and spend about 2-3 hours clipping, filing, scanning and planning a shopping trip or two.

3. Employing these methods, I save, on average, around 40%.

And that’s enough for now.

Baby steps.

I just have to keep reminding myself.

Baby steps.


Filed under How We Roll, Uncategorized

Hey, Feel My Forehead. My Kid Is Sick.

Yep. This is me.

And I’m not even the one who is sick. I have one sick little boy from last week. Not this weekend. Not today. From last week! His stinkin’ fever won’t stay away and I’m spent.

I know, I know. It’s all about me, right? Well, it is. I suck at being a nurse. Truly. You don’t want to get sick with me around.

I’m squeamish. (I’ll take my temperature as soon as I take yours.)

I’m paranoid. (I Clorox and Lysol everything in sight. Three times a day. Really. My house is never cleaner than when someone is ill.)

And I’m impatient. (For you to get well, that is.)

But I have been keeping up with you all. Reading you on my phone – in the carpool line (Because kids don’t get sick at the same time in this house – oh, no. They spread it out over weeks and weeks.) – while cuddling (at a distance – and trust me, this is possible) on the couch watching SpongeBob and Phineas and Ferb – while cooking dinner or hiding in my closet. (Yes. I hide from my kids sometimes. Sue me.)

I’m a bit technologically challenged. So I can’t comment. Just know I’m reading you. And missing being here. And popping herbs like there’s no tomorrow so I don’t catch this crud.

Pray for me. I mean, my son.



Filed under children, How We Roll, Moms, Motherhood, Uncategorized

I Love To Drive, Little Brother!

I think we’re paraphrasing here – from the Coen brothers’ Raising Arizona. (One of the best movies. Ever.) My husband and I rattle off quotes from that movie all the time. And when we hop in the car for a drive and my husband gets behind the wheel he says, “I LOVE to drive, little brother!”

And pre-kids? We did. Love to drive, that is. (Post kids? Not so much.) On the weekends we’d hop in the car, with no particular destination in mind, and drive. We’d check out little Mom and Pop restaurants and stores, stop at a roadside vendor and buy homegrown tomatoes, or pull over to the side of the road and hop on the Appalachian Trail to hike for a spell.

Yesterday, as I maneuvered down the two lane country roads to my sons’ school, Airstream Driver by Gomez popped on my iPod. The rat-a-tat of the drum solo arrived just as I pulled up to a 4-way stop. There were no cars around so I stayed long enough to play my “drums” on the steering wheel. Then when the music picked up again I put my foot to the accelerator.

I’m itching for a drive. A long drive. Into the mountains. Down to the beach. Anywhere, really. As long as we can take a few back roads and see what most people don’t take time to see.

We dream, every once in a while, of renting an RV. Hitting the road. See America. No Interstate allowed. Only country roads. A former student of mine traveled the famous Route 66 from start to finish. He chronicled his journey in emails. I was so jealous. In a playful way, but jealous all the same.

There’s a scene in Disney’s Cars that talks about how now, with the Interstate, people don’t slow down to take in the sites, smell the roses. My great-aunt used to tell us stories of traveling from Florida to Michigan before I-75 was built. The little restaurants that had the best fried chicken. Moon Pies at the “fill-up station.” Favorite little shops to browse in and stretch your legs.

But now, we’re in such a hurry to get to our destination. We forget to live in the moment of getting there and what that entails.

 The interesting places we see.

 The interesting people we meet along the way.

All things that make the journey memorable.  


Filed under Music, Uncategorized

My BFF Story – But Not The BFF You’re Thinking Of. The Other BFF.

(To all three of my male readers, the following post is probably TMI. You have been warned.)

Breast Feeding Forever. My BFF Story. I nursed my sons. And with my youngest son, it was for a very long time by Western standards. And, yes. It felt like forever. But now? So short. So long ago.

I’ve read a few of your blogs out there and have seen a few posts or comments remarking about your nursing experience. I just wanted to give you a shout-out, a kudos, an atta-girl! Go YOU!

My sister was very encouraging about me nursing my children. She suggested that I go to a few La Leche League (LLL) meetings but warned me about the “Nursing Nazis” (her words, not mine, but you know who we’re talking about). Yes, I met a few. And yes, I’m afraid to admit – they pulled me over to their side. And because I’m a bit uncomfortable with that label, let’s just say I am VERY pro nursing.

Our #1son arrived home from Korea when he 6 months old and I was about 6 months pregnant. Some of my crunchy-granola friends asked me, “Are you going to nurse #1son?” Nurse my adopted son? I never considered that. Ummmm, yeah, I guess. Will he know how?

A few months after he arrived, he tried. Sporadically. Maybe my body wasn’t ready. Maybe he was just too unfamiliar. But it didn’t work.

Then, #2son arrived. His interest was rejuvenated.

#2son was born 9 lbs. 12 oz. When the pediatrician came in to check on us he said, “Congratulations! You’ve just given birth to a happy, healthy two month old!” And he was right. This boy was big. Eyes bright and wide open. Rarely slept. And wanted to nurse like a hungry lion cub. I had inverted nipples (I warned you guys out there. This might be TMI. Now go back to your basketball game.) and we had a difficult start. Ok, a very difficult start. But I was determined. And stubborn. So was he. I had done the research. This was important and there’s nothing I can’t do once I set my mind to it.

We struggled and struggled. A friend warned me that it might be hard to get into a rhythm but she said, “If you need me, call me. Day or night. Even if it’s 2 in the morning and you’re about to pull your hair out. You call me. It will all be ok.” My sister said, “Once you get past the first couple weeks it’ll be a breeze. Trust me.” I am so glad I had two amazing woman say those simple words to me. Because they were right. There were times when I wondered how in the world the human species survived. And then, as if magically, it was the most natural, easiest thing I’d ever done as a parent.

At his 10 month check-up, my pediatrician asked if had I thought about weaning. I told her, yes. When he was a year old.

She said, “Well, you know, they now recommend until age 2 or longer, whichever is best for mother and child.”

Until he was two? Isn’t that a little un-natural? So I did my research. She was right. The World Health Organization and The American Association of Pediatrics both recommend: After 6 months of age, “ infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.” I had to readjust my expectations.

My son was a nursing fiend. Convincing him to continue wasn’t difficult at all. And by this time, my son through adoption was enjoying a little cuddle/nurse time with mommy, too. But never for very long. Wait. Scratch that. Never for very long – when no one else was asking or watching.

I remember at a play date, with other LLL mothers, someone asked, “Are you nursing #1son, too?”

“Oh, very infrequently, ” I replied, “He doesn’t seem to be that interested.”

And then, as if on cue, #1son started pawing at my shirt. So, I cradled him and let him latch on, just to show the other moms what I meant. He nursed for 10 minutes straight. A record for him. He showed me!

Both sons nursed as long as they wanted to. #1son quit long before #2son. His choice. #2son nursed long into toddlerhood. When your child is nursing as a toddler, it is not all day long. Typically he’d nurse when he was tired or upset. Always at bedtime. Rarely during the day. At risk of being adversely judged here, I’m not going to share the age he quit. Suffice it to say, it was for a long time by Western standards. Long enough, that when a friend realized we were still nursing she remarked, “Well, that’s just gross!”

But that’s ok. I’m fine with being gross. For us, allowing my son to determine when he no longer needed to nurse was the most natural process. Once I tossed aside my preconceived notions of what was right or necessary we could just be in the moment. There was never any struggle to stop. I never felt physically uncomfortable. His need to nurse just naturally faded away. As will the need for every other emotional and physical stepping stone. My 17 yr. old daughter no longer sleeps with her “Bun-bun.” As adults, we no longer crave as many dairy products or carbohydrates. 

Effortless. Calm. Natural. 

Natural weaning was best for us, for our family. I honestly can’t remember the last time we nursed. And that makes me a little sad. And it makes me happy. It means we did the right thing for our son. We allowed him to be who he was. We allowed him to grow and mature on HIS timetable. As a result, we have a very happy, healthy (never had an ear infection in his life!) easy-going, good-natured child.

I’m not saying natural weaning is responsible for all of his wonderful traits. But it sure didn’t harm him, either.

(Before the criticisms start to fly please know this: I did my research about – tandem nursing, nursing while pregnant, and natural weaning. Lots and lots of research. We made our decisions fully armed with loads of information from both sides. And yes, I call it “natural weaning.” I know this implies that anything other than that is unnatural. Not wrong. Un-natural. As in, not allowing for the natural progression of things. If you or someone you love weaned in any other way — good for you (or them!) You did what was right for YOUR family. I completely, utterly, totally respect that course of action. All I ask is that you please respect the way we chose to wean.)


Filed under Uncategorized