Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Raising Gentlemen

We got the invitation in the mail...it's cotillion time here in Richmond.

This is a rite of passage for 6th grade boys and girl here.
In our case, this rite of passage is being met with drudgery.  Lots of sighing.  And, ultimately, resignation.

"I have to dance?"
"Wait, I have to dance with GIRLS?"
"What do you mean I have to learn stuff like opening doors for girls?  Can't they do it themselves?"
"I have to wear a TIE?"
"No one else I know is doing this."

Wrong.  I know their parents.  They only THINK they're not doing it.  

As the boys get older, we've been finding opportunities to teach them chivalry.  Which is always met with lots of questions and sighing (see above).  It's not something they understand at the ages of 7 and 11.  It's not something they'll necessary understand in a couple years.  But it's something that you do...and with maturity you come to understand.

It's easier for me to teach  my daughter the rules she'll need to be a lady.
So, I'm glad I stumbled across this.
Because being a gentleman is about so much more than good manners and understanding etiquette. 

It's about being, ultimately, a good man. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Out of Tune Karaoke and Grow Your Own Poop

(aka Scenes from Our Weekend).

Let me preface this.....


Will gave Tate fake poop for his birthday, along with 4 Fun Dips, some deodorant and Chinese handcuffs.  

This is what happens when you let an 11-year-old boy shop for his brother.

Truth is, I think Tate liked Will's present best of all.  He's been dying for some deodorant and who doesn't love fake poop?

Turns out, it's poop that grows.  Really, what is there to say about this??

What starts out as a black, dense, styrofoam blob grows when you put it in water.

"And it's turning brown!!!" Excitement.  Picture two boys' heads hanging over the side of the sink, inspecting their spoils.  Lots of giggles.  "Ew, it's slimy."

Me:  "go hand it to Daddy!"  Not sure what happened next.  I like to instigate these things and then step away.  If the outcome is positive, I want them to get the credit.  If it's negative, they'll have no problem throwing me under the bus, and I don't mind a bit.  

I am determined to school my children in the fine art of practical jokes.  

In other news, the karaoke machine has smoke coming out of it.  Meems and her friend have treated us to lots of Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA," some Katy Perry (always appropriate for 8- and 9-year-old girls), and a little Ke$ha and Adele thrown in for good measure.  

I have a splitting headache that won't go away.  

It is joyful noise.  And yes, I could put the emphasis on "noise" but in this case, I think the "joyful" is much, much more relevant.  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Best Day Ever


Thursday was, in Tate's words, the best day ever.
He told me.
He told his dad.
More than once.
He told his grandparents.

As my mother pointed out, my kids are full of best days ever.

I love that about them.

And, honestly, what's wrong with that?

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Tate is 7 today.

A planned-for total surprise.

He is a darling. (I might be a little biased).

He is funny, irreverent, creative, imaginative, smart and affectionate.

Inquisitive.  Introspective.  Lover of animals.  Lover of adventure.

Self motivated, most of his biggest accomplishments (tying his shoes, telling time, utilizing money, riding a bike) have happened almost entirely on his own.

He is quick tempered.  But so are his parents.  We all are working on that.

He's entirely his own person.  And always has been.

Full of life and sugar.

Are you sensing a theme here?

I love how you can see his little chub rolls underneath the costume.


 Happy birthday to my amazing, sweet, blessed little T-Bone.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pocket Watch

Little T is about to turn 7 and he wants a Meep and a Nintendo DSi for his birthday.  Oh, and a pocket watch – all things he didn’t get for Christmas.

Yes a pocket watch.

He drew a series of them in church one day utilizing every page of the bulletin.  And then confided he’s always wanted one.  Who knew?

Now, what kind of kid wants a pocket watch?

My kid.

This is the same child who recently made a remote control that can destroy the world out of a Trident gum box, two metallic gum wrappers and half a roll of scotch tape.

For three days, he pretended he was Toby the dog.  Until his dad told him he couldn't be Toby anymore.

On any given day, you might see him running around the yard with a cape, rain boots, a snorkel mask and a cowboy hat.  Shirtless.

He’s the child who didn't like the way his shoes fit so he fixed them with tape.

He chose to communicate entirely in gibberish one night at dinner; and closes his blessing with a “peace out” to God.

He can quote any show, any movie, any time.  When I told him something recently that he didn’t think was cool, he said “that’s so not ditch the wives.”  I don’t know what that means.

I had to have a conversation with him about how it’s not appropriate to call me “babe.”

He’s the child who is actually frustrated because he doesn’t have more time at school to turn in his best work, instead of “medium” work (his words).  Keep in mind he always gets glowing comments from his teacher.

He got an eye patch for Christmas.  And a camera on which he recorded an “extreme rocket launching video” to put on YouTube.  Or to send to The Discovery Channel.

His newly found favorite show is Swamp People.

He loves mustaches.  And Afros.

He's always been his own person, completely unafraid to let his freak flag fly.  I love that about him.

A pocket watch?  Not really so surprising.

Guess what I'm doing today?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Let it Snow!

It is raining cats and dogs.

It has been raining cats and dogs for days.  DAYS, I tell you.

Just look at my yard.

I fear the dog will get sucked into the muck when she goes outside to relieve herself.  I think she must fear it too, as we’ve had an inordinate number of accidents in the last few days.

I feel like I am on the THRESHOLD OF HELL.

No playing outside.  No recess.  No shooting hoops.  No riding bikes.  No 500.  No walking the dog.  No running.  No fresh air.  No nothing.

And now they’re calling for an indecent amount of snow.  I say “indecent” because, while wonderful and exciting for kids, we live in Richmond.  Which means that this 6” or so (which is significant around here) they are calling for will equal at least a week of total shut down.

Thank goodness we have all the snow gear.  I buy snow boots at least 2 sizes too big, so that I am not running out in a panic at this kind of time trying in vain to locate them.  I've been informed that may be slightly ridiculous, but there's nothing worse than buying the kids snow boots every winter to have them and then not use them.

Thank goodness we have groceries.  Have you ever tried grocery shopping in Richmond after a forecast of snow?  Thank goodness we have wine.  And bourbon.  Judge me if you will, but that’s how we Richmonders do snow.  Spirits are a must, or spirits are a bust.  I just made that up!

I’m excited about the snow, actually.  Normally, I have mixed emotions.  This time, it means fresh air, physical activity and lots and lots of hot chocolate.  The kids are SUPERDUPEREXCITEDOHMYGOSH!  I overheard the boys discussing building snowmen.  And then blowing them up.  And videotaping it with Tate’s new camera.

That’s how we roll.

As a mother, I should probably discourage this endeavor.  However, I’m kind of dying to try it.  Gosh, I love having boys.


So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.  Bring it on, storm whatever-your-name is!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Consider Yourself Warned (i.e. TMI)

I’m having a terrible day.

I have an enormous pimple.  It’s the angry, bulbous kind that lurks just beneath the surface, taunting you, yet just out of reach.

It’s killing me.

I’m 42.  So, in my opinion, this should not be happening.  Wrinkles, yes.  This, no.

I can FEEL it.  It weighs a ton.  It stings and throbs and when I smile my face feels like it will crack open on one side.  I accidentally swiped my cheek with my hand last night and woke myself up in tears.

It’s THAT bad.

Meems was a little too fascinated by it this morning.  I tried to disguise it first; but it’s quite like disguising a bull in a china shop.  It can’t be done.  Unless you’re Peeta Mellark.

I am not.

“Mommy, you have a…OMG what IS that?” Getting all up close in my face with her face scrunched up in horror/disgust/concern/terror.

“DON’T TOUCH IT!” Panicked scream.

Widened eyes and a gasp, followed by “I won’t tell the boys.”  She understands the humiliation.

She’s 9.

I reiterate, it’s that bad.

At the bus stop, she nervously/worriedly glances my way several times.  Strangely, there is not much conversation there today...

Kids, you will get these.  Yours will be about  hormones and, Will, because you forget about soap when you shower.  I suspect mine is about the fact that someone’s sweaty little forehead was glued to my cheek for hours the other night (#kidsaregermfactoriesbutliketosnugglewhentheyhavebaddreamsandwhocanresistthat? OK so I don’t really know how #### work.).

Another of the joys of motherhood?  Off to call the dermatologist…

Friday, January 4, 2013


It has begun.

You know that phase of not talking to your parents?  Where you just kinda wanted to do your own little thing and have them leave you alone?

Yup.  We are there.

Will has always been a quiet kid.  As in, doesn’t talk much, NOT as in doesn’t make noise.  He makes plenty of noise.  In fact, he is the top producer of noise in our home.  And that’s quite an accomplishment because he’s got some pretty stiff competition.  Hence, my extremely developed talent of tuning out.

Normally, I don’t mind the quiet.  My sister and I call that magic time once the kids are in bed and the house is quiet “peace on earth.”  I’m not the type of person that must maintain a running conversation with another person because silence makes me nervous.  It doesn’t.  So why is this bothering me so much?

I worry.  I feel he is on the cusp.  Of what, I'm not entirely sure.  On the cusp of puberty, on the cusp of extreme self-awareness, on the cusp of receiving an education not gained at home or in school.  Topics include drugs, sex, puberty (and all that lies therein), Santa Claus et al, bullying, bedtimes, allowances, and exposure to new and different and (sometimes) scary things.  I know he knows things, I just don’t know what he knows or how much he knows.  Or how he knows it.

This is very disconcerting to me.

Car rides are agony.  Maybe it’s because he sits up front with me now and I notice the silence more when it’s next to me instead of behind me.  Maybe it’s because he’s busy with the radio and the sun visor and the window and getting his seat just right and the coolness of sitting up front.  Maybe he’s just enjoying the scenery he missed in the back seat.

Or maybe he doesn’t have the words.  Maybe there’s something on his mind that is so embarrassing it is simply unspeakable.  Maybe he doesn’t know where to start.  Maybe he doesn’t know what to talk about.  Maybe he’s more of an introvert than I thought.

Maybe I am overthinking this.  Maybe he’s not on the brink of emotional breakdown from holding everything in the way I always worry he is.  Maybe he’s just at peace and enjoying the calm that being in the car sans siblings affords him.  Maybe he doesn’t feel the need to talk constantly.  Maybe he just wants to be alone with his thoughts as he discovers the world.  Maybe he’s a processor.  In other words, maybe he’s more like me that I thought.

And maybe, just maybe, he is just a normal 11-year-old.  Maybe I should make peace with the fact that he is healthy, that he seems happy and that he is here with me, however silent.  Maybe I need to enjoy the sheer presence of this amazing child and the occasional word or two he throws my way, instead of worrying about what he’s not saying.  As he grows up and away, maybe I should just enjoy the fact that at least I can still be close to him, in proximity if nothing else.  Maybe I should focus on what I do have with him instead of what I don’t.

I’ll take it.  Because it’s pretty amazing and wonderful.  And maybe he’s really OK and happy after all.

And because maybe, probably definitely maybe, it won’t last.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

I rang in the New Year last night with my favorite people.  First at a party with favorite friends, then at home with my favorite five.

We enjoyed "champagne" in fancy crystal flutes, and a lively discourse on the proper way to hold them. 

We snuggled.  

We kissed and hugged and clinked and screamed Happy New Year!
Then we watched Justin Bieber and went to bed.

We made resolutions.
Will's is to have better table manners.
Little Meems made a vow to not be sassy.
Tate promised to not complain about bedtime.
I threw out a few:  more patience, more health, more "me" time.
To my daughter, who's been going gluten-free, I promised solidarity.  We're doing this thing together.  It's been agony watching her go through this alone.  Stephen called me a good mom for making this pledge. 

 If I were a better mom, I would have done this from the beginning.

Which brings me to another resolution:
If you have regrets, fix them.  At least try.

After tucking everyone in, I lay in bed thinking about what I want to accomplish this year.

Accept challenges with grace and determination.
Step outside my comfort zone more often.
Take better care of me - my body, my soul, my spirit.
Lose the guilt.  Either let it go or find a way to rectify the situation.
Be patient.
Be understanding.
Be fierce.
Be fearless.

Happy New Year!