Tag Archives: kids

Being A Mom

This article may be controversial to some, but I find that I don’t care. Fair warning.

I don’t generally get “offended” by things. I think people who spend their lives being “offended” are self-aggrandizing babies who have nothing better to do than whine; but I just read an article on line that was so mean to a large percentage of the population without whom none of us would exist that I feel the need to address it.

I also generally do not publicize people I think are wrong, or cruel, or misguided because I don’t wish to spread their spew, but here is the link to the article I read that pissed me off. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/18/sorry-but-being-a-mother-is-not-the-most-important-job-in-the-world#start-of-comments
Read it or don’t, but nutshell, mothers are not that important and people who work in brick ovens in India have it worse and women would be happier with actual jobs and what about fathers, and gay men. Here is my response.

Lady, I don’t know the first thing about you. What I DO know about you is that you were grown inside a woman’s uterus. She carried your heavy little butt and all the accompanying fluids, and physical pain around inside her body for nine months. That is a long time to carry around something that is draining you of every resource you have. She then pushed your grapefruit sized head and linebacker shoulders through a space that is usually about the size of a walnut. She then, at what is no doubt the physically weakest point of a woman’s life, took care of you. She had to feed you, maybe directly from her body, maybe not. She cleaned you, held you, worried over you, watched you sleep and listened to you breathe. She made sure the house was locked up tight at night so some sicko wouldn’t come in and steal you or hurt you. She got up every two hours all night long for months or years in some cases to care for you. She loved you. She made you her priority. She defended you. She shut down bullies and mean teachers. She researched your illnesses just in case there was something everyone missed. She sacrificed her own interests for yours. She wore old clothes, made coffee at home and drove her car until it would no longer run so YOU could have the things you needed and some of the things you wanted. She loved you.

Being a mother, or to be inclusive, a parent, IS the most important job in the world. It IS the hardest job in the world. It is the only job in the world that actively goes 24 hours a day for years, and then continues in a less physically demanding fashion for the rest of your life. When I was working full time all those years ago, I didn’t really care about what I was doing. I’d leave at 5 and go about my business. My REAL business. My LIFE. I don’t leave my job now. My children are getting older, and I still love them. I still guide them. I still protect them. I think about them all the time, even if it’s in the back of my mind instead of the immediate thinking involving every aspect of their physical care. I love them. I never loved a job. I liked a job. A job was a way to make a living, but I never loved a job. I love my kids, more than myself, more than the “prestige” that would come with an “important career”, more than the opportunity to run a country, or a company, or a classroom. I love my kids with a ferocity that startles me at times. I would throw myself in front of a bullet, a car, a speeding train, a fully armed military to protect my children or at least give them a chance to run. I love them.

Working is important. We all need money to buy food, medicine, a place to live, but if the shit hits the fan tomorrow and your job is no longer so “important” it will still be important to be a mother, to hold those lives that we mothers and fathers have created, in our hands and try our best to keep them alive and thriving and help them carry on so all is not lost. We love them.

Without parents, there would be no “important” jobs because there would be no people to fill them. Without parents, people wouldn’t be able to write articles that insult the very person who brought them here and cared for them and guided them in being a successful human so they could write those insulting articles. NONE of the things this woman thinks are important, people running countries, doctors saving lives, women working out in the world would be possible without parents, mothers. She has a problem with high paid men not having to participate in the drudgery of parenthood, but she obviously doesn’t understand fathers either. They come home from work and care for their children, and coach sports teams and get up in the middle of the night, and sit vigil at hospital beds praying that their little ones recover. My GOD woman, did you not have parents? Were they bad parents? Did your mother spend all her time doing her own thing and ignore you? Is that why you have such disdain for them? If those things are true, I am sorry for you. Genuinely sorry.

The next time you go on a ripper about the economics of working vs non-working mothers, keep a couple things in mind. The reason the government wants women to work is to add to the taxpayer rolls. The reason industry wants women to work is so they can charge more for everything because both adult members of a household are working and therefore they have more money available to spend.

There are women who MUST work outside the home. There are single mothers who MUST work to care for themselves and their children and there are women who LIKE working outside the home and I say good for them, whatever you have or want to do is fine by me. But don’t denigrate me if my choices are different. Don’t denigrate mothers because you think what they do has little or no value because it doesn’t create revenue. I creates human beings. It creates love. It creates security and a soft place to land in a harsh world, and if you didn’t get those things, I’m sorry, but don’t put down the people who are lucky enough to have it. Parenting IS the most important, hardest, heartbreaking, bittersweet, sweet, rewarding job in the world. We love.

Have a nice day.

Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Teacher Too? Probably Not…

I’m going to do a soapbox here and I generally don’t do that kind of post, so forgive me in advance.

I am a substitute teacher.  I have been teaching kids in some capacity pretty much constantly since I was about 20 years old.  I have taught everybody from preschoolers to college freshmen, and I feel the need to address a few “issues” regarding teachers.

Issue #1

Teachers don’t work during the summer.

Teachers DO work during the summer.  Planning for next year.  It takes the entire summer just about, to re-do lessons based on curriculum changes and beaurocrats in the education system.  Nobody can leave well enough alone.  Ever.  So everything changes a lot from year to year.  The only time teachers can do this work is during the summer.  During our “break.”

Issue #2

All they do is teach kids, how hard can that be?

Yes, we teach your little darlings five days per week for about nine months of the year.  Roughly 30 of them at a time in elementary school, well over 100 different kids per day if you teach middle or high school where the kids change classes.  Please remember the feelings of relief all you non-teachers get when school starts again in the fall, or when you put little Jenny or Joey on the bus in the morning.  WE take your kids all day every day and teach them academics, social skills and control.  We hug them and tie their shoes and band-aid their owies.  We give them part of our lunch when you forget to feed them in the morning or forget to send lunch or money, or if the school lunch is gross and lets face it, school lunches definitely tend to have a gross factor.  We spend our own money to stock our rooms with things that will help your kid learn.  We often spend our own money when we have a student who needs a notebook or pencils and you can’t or don’t provide it for them.  We dry tears, cheer for them and cry our own tears for them at night when we think about the ones with hard home lives or if one of them is sick, or hurt, or bullied.

Teaching is incredibly hard, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  If I took home all the wounded ones I’ve seen over the years, they’d be stacked up like cord wood in my house and I’d have to change my last name to Duggar and/or get a couple of sister wives.

Issue #3

Teachers don’t care, they are only teachers so they get the summers off.

See issues 1 and 2 above for your answer.

These are only a few of the issues I’ve heard people talking about lately.  There are a million more.  I get irritated when I hear people talk about how teachers make too much money.  Again, the kids that so many of the parents out there can’t wait to send back to school, come to us in droves day after day.  We are expected to make sure they do well on standardized tests, make good grades and have friends and don’t pick on others.  We are expected to be sweet and kind and gentle.  We are expected to maintain a constant level of understanding and patience, for thirty kids at once, when SOME, not all but SOME of the parents we see regularly, can’t maintain those qualities at home with only a couple of kids who are related to them by blood.

We live in a culture where no one thinks a thing of someone like George Clooney making millions of dollars for pretending to be other people in largely crappy movies.  We live in a society where sports athletes who play GAMES for a living are paid millions of dollars, and on their off time, get into bar fights, DUI accidents and drug deals gone wrong, get their hands slapped and keep getting their big bucks.  We live in a culture where teachers and nurses make fifty thousand dollars a year and when all is said and done, pay about half of their salaries to taxes and union dues and fees, only to find out that the people who WORK FOR THEM (ostensibly), i.e. elected officials etc. earn four times more than their bosses (us) and then have the balls to tell us we need to do more because they have screwed up.  We live in a culture where vice and bad behavior makes you popular and well paid.  We live in a culture where a teacher can lose their career for something they do outside of work that has nothing to do with school, but a politician can embezzle money and hide it in their freezer for years and then get re-elected.  The world is upside down.

The next time you trash teachers as a whole, stop and think for a second that maybe the problem is the system, or parents who don’t take care of their kids.  Yes, there are some bad teachers, just like there are some bad people, but overall, we are not bad.  We try so hard to take care of your kids and teach them what they need to know.  We get attached to your kids, I dare say, we come to love them and it breaks our hearts when a child begs us not to tell you when they are in trouble because they are afraid of what you will do to them when they get home.  It breaks our hearts when first and second graders come to school and tell us all about the violent, sex-filled horror movie they watched last night with their parents.  We really do care, we really do work very hard and what we do really DOES matter.  I’m not complaining about the low pay, or the long hours or the heartache.  Every single one of us knew what we were getting into and all of us did it gladly.  We don’t ask for much in return, maybe just a little respect would be nice.

So, be kind to one another, including the teachers in your life.  You don’t need to give us a gift, we’d be happy with a smile, we love it when a parent says thank-you, you’ve made a difference to my child.  Have a great night and the countdown to summer continues, eight more days. 🙂

Cat Races

So apparently, my ten-year old son turned into a bookie this morning.  He decided to launch the first annual Mother’s Day Cat Races at our house.  We have three cats, he assigned himself, my daughter and my husband a cat to “train,” collected bets, which he wrote down on some kind of weird paper, and gave me the job of standing in the kitchen and shaking the cat food to get them to run.  For some strange reason, we all cooperated, and it was hilarious.


Bella, is a small, delicate little tortoise-shell kitty.  She is kind of hyper and loves my husband with a strange, obsessive intensity.  So Hubs was her trainer.


Blue is a huge, fat Garfield of a cat.  He is a gray and white tuxedo mutt who flops down at random intervals when hauling all that chub around gets to be too much.  The Girl was assigned this bundle of endless energy.

Tigger, the sink dweller

 Tigger is the latest rescuee who we found in a glass case at Petsmart.  He is orange and supposedly a Maine Coon, which based on his size (big, but not fat like SOME people) and luxurious hair seems to be accurate.  He is a momma’s boy, and is marginally afraid of my son who made himself Tigger’s trainer.

Since Tigger will run down the main hall of our house, but then makes a sharp right and hides behind the couch when he hits the family room, the edge of the family room was the finish line.  Monkey Boy downloaded a megaphone app on his iPad and made a big long announcement on it and a ready, set, go 3-2-1 thing and they were off.  As soon as I heard him say go, I started pouring food into their bowls.  Tigger, who wanted nothing more than to get away from my son, took off at warp speed, Blue who is always interested in food was hot on his heels and Bella, who is in love with Hubs, ran because she was initially startled and then turned back to look for her Daddy.  In the end, it was Tigger by a length and a duck behind the couch due to the horror of being held for a while by Monkey Boy and Blue of course, was the first one to the kitchen and the promise of delicious kitty kibble.

I came to several conclusions during this fantastic, new, annual Mother’s Day event.  First, my son is even more clever than I thought he was.  First, he chose the cat that is afraid of him and will do whatever is necessary to get away, figuring out that said cat would also be the fastest due to fear.  Second, my son also has a brilliant future as a business man or maybe a politician or organized crime boss due to his ability to scheme, take bets and generally get people to participate in things they don’t really feel like doing, but in the end they enjoy on some level.  Third, fear, or food, gets things done faster than love because the one in love with her trainer had no desire to leave him, only turn and gaze at him with adoration.

Now that the first annual races are done, I think we should expand and invite in other cats and trainers next year.  We could charge an entry fee and take a percentage of the bets for the house.  Awwww SNAP!!  Maybe Monkey Boy doesn’t have to be a crime boss all by himself!!  Is there such thing as The Godmother?  I can put my fingertips together and mutter “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” just as well as Don Vito Corleone did.  Yessss, I can see it now, a Cat Race empire…

Happy Mother’s Day friends, be kind to one another 🙂

My Love Letter To Fly Over Country

On my way home from taking my daughter to school this morning, I heard a Jason Aldean song on the radio about two guys from New York flying across country to L.A.  They were talking about why anyone would want to live “down there” in the middle of nowhere.  I live down here in the middle of nowhere and I would like to answer that question.

The middle of the country is beautiful.  I’ve been all over it and it boasts mountains, lakes, plains, forests and rivers.  Farmland spreads in some parts as far as the eye can see.  You get fed from that middle of nowhere.  I live in Ohio, so I feel that I can only speak with authority about Ohio, even though I have spent considerable amounts of time in other places.

Early spring from my grotto. And oh yeah, that big black dog is called Emma.

It is green here.  Right now in the spring, it rains at least some, almost everyday and a LOT on other days.  The grass is green, the leaves are green, the flowers are blooming and most places you go, the air has a slightly flowery smell to it.  The clouds and misty mornings make me feel cozy.  Sunny mornings put a kick in my step.  We have to mow our grass around here, cause it grows really fast.  As the season rolls on, the leaves on the trees will get bigger, the shade will get deeper, the sun will get hotter and it will be humid.

Full summer in Missouri, also in fly-over country. Also, this looks a lot like Ohio.

Summer is pretty much what you picture summer being.  Hot, humid, languid.  We celebrate flag day out here usually with patriotic concerts.  Parks have free concerts all summer long, usually once a week.  Farmer’s markets open and are something to do on a Saturday morning.  You can get the freshest, locally grown food available.  The Fourth of July is fun.  We have picnics and play outdoor games and go to fireworks displays or those patriotic concerts again.  It is old-fashioned.  It is American.

Little Red and her Wolf, getting ready to Trick or Treat.

Fall is my favorite.  The humidity goes away and the air is clear once again.  The sky is a kind of blue that humans try to duplicate but can’t.  Fluffy white clouds scud across that blue sky and once in a while, the air has a bite to it that reminds you that winter is on the way.  The warm afternoons and cool nights turn the trees to their fall colors, gold, red, yellow, orange.  We still rake leaves out here and even though we aren’t supposed to, we put them in piles and burn them just to smell our childhoods again.  We celebrate Halloween and we call it Halloween, not Harvest, that’s Thanksgiving.  We take our kids to pumpkin farms and buy the biggest ones we can.  We also buy gourds and corn shocks to decorate our porches.  We hang fake spider webs and prop up fake witches with silly brooms.  We make or buy costumes for our kids and take them Trick or Treating.  We take them to neighbors we know, and neighbors we don’t know.  We are not afraid of each other out here.

A couple of years ago, we had a little snow, then we had freezing fog. The result? Narnia, or as it’s more commonly known, my backyard.

Thanksgiving is technically in the fall, but around here, sometimes, its in the winter.  Some years we are buried in snow, some years, like last year, we never have to wear our super heavy winter coats.  We get ice and snow and blustery wind.  Christmas is especially wonderful if there is snow.  The outside lights get buried sometimes and the soft snow glow they give off is truly a thing of beauty.  Sometimes in the winter, if you go outside at night in the crisp cold air, and look up at a star filled sky bright with stars, you can almost hear them sing.

Then, you have the people who live here.  The folks.  Of course you have stupid people and mean people and people who just take pleasure in making things hard for others, but overall, the people out here are nice.  They are helpful to one another.  When we have natural disasters or tragedies, we don’t sit on our butts wailing and whining and waiting for someone else to come save our butts.  We dry our tears, we stand up and dust ourselves off and get to work fixing things.  We help our neighbors.  We have bake sales and benefit dances and festivals and give the proceeds to our friends in need.  If someone is desperately ill, we do the same thing.  We count on no one but ourselves.  We’ve learned a long time ago that ourselves are the most dependable people there are.  If someone is having a rough time, we do things for them without saying anything.  We invite them to dinner, or we buy something they need and tell them that we had this lying around and we don’t use it anymore, would they like it.  We don’t want to make anyone feel bad and we don’t feel the need to toot our own horns.  To do something nice for someone and then make a big deal about it is not the way we roll.  We are quiet, we are thoughtful, we are good people.

Yes, we live in the middle, but we are educated, we like the arts, the majority of us believe in God.  Lots of us have guns and go hunting.  We support the military because we understand that freedom isn’t free and those brave souls make it so we can sleep safely and in freedom.  What we are NOT is close minded and intolerant and selfish and racist, and with all due respect, we don’t like it much when people tell us we are because it’s just not true.

So the next time you are flying over from somewhere to somewhere and you wonder why anyone would live down there in the middle of nowhere, now maybe you have a hint of an idea why.  It’s beautiful here, the people are good and there is room to breathe.  Why do you live at the edges?

Have a wonderful day and be kind to one another. 🙂

I Need An Ark, Or At Least Glass Block Windows

The falls.

I read an article a couple of weeks ago that said there are only two states in the US that are not under some level of drought conditions.  Alaska, and my lovely home, Ohio.  I have just two words to say.  No shit.

It rains here.  And rains and rains and rains.  A couple of years ago when WE were in a drought and everyone was acting like the world was coming to an end and we were all gonna starve to death because of the little dried up plants, I remember saying in my oh so knowing way, and I quote, “Don’t worry about it.  We’ll have a couple of dry years and then nature will make up for it.  If we’d just stop monkeying around with everything and let nature take its course, we’d see that the system has balance.  We’re short now, but over time, it will be made up.”  Let me go on record right here, that I am officially, mostly right.  We are getting back in buckets the rain we missed out on a few years ago.  We don’t get nice, steady English countryside rain around here anymore.  We get American style flash flood, Noah’s Ark downpours on at LEAST a weekly basis.

I like cloudy, cool, misty weather.  I even like rain and thunderstorms.  Makes me feel like I’m in a wonderfully creepy horror story somewhere and that at any moment, something exciting, like a cape wearing vampire or a mysterious old witch woman will show up at my door and spice things up a bit.  Turns out I’m kinda wrong about that.  No body cool or mysterious or exciting ever shows up at my door.  Unless you think the Duke Energy guys who are tearing up everyone’s yards right now are exciting.  No, the only excitement all this creepy weather gets me is a flooded basement.

Stupid, fruitless, pointless activity.

Our house was built in the 1970’s.  The people who lived here before us apparently really LIKED 70’s decor and did NOTHING to this house. We stripped wallpaper and ripped up dirty shag carpet and threw away deteriorating pleated drapery with abandon when we moved in.  They also apparently didn’t mind the crappy little slider windows in the basement.  They lock nicely etc, but when it gully washes, they can’t stand up to the pressure.  Last Tuesday night we had three storms in a row.  Bad ones.  It thundered, the lightening was bright and frequent and it rained.  It rained so hard in fact that the drains in my window wells, especially the one in back, could not keep up with the water.  So the window well filled up to within two inches of the top of the window, then just as you thought  it was going to overflow into the yard, the crappy old slider window blew out.  Or in, however you want to look at it.  It popped out of the frame and Niagara Falls entered my basement.   Then it stopped raining, we got the water swept into the drain, it started to dry out a little and about an hour later it did it again.  Then in the middle of the night, it did it again.

Doesn’t “working” look like fun???

It’s not as much of a tragedy as it could have been.  The previous lackadaisical owners obviously didn’t finish the basement, and we put most everything in plastic tubs, so that’s cool. But there is something about seeing water flowing into your house that makes you want to catch it in buckets and empty said buckets down the utility sink.  I don’t know WHY you want to do this fruitless thing, but you do.  So, we caught a lot of it in buckets the second time it stormed, and it didn’t get as deep as the first time.  I thought the strenuous nature of the activity was going to give me a heart attack, but alas it did not.  My young son has since been praying for more rain, because he likes to “work.”  That’ll wear off pretty soon I’m thinking.  Personally?  I do NOT like to “work” so when it dries out, I’m calling the glass block window guys.  I want those suckers cemented into the walls of my basement toute de suite.  Let no one say that my husband and I will live here for thirty years and do nothing to this house.  Just because it’s taken us ten years to put the stupid things in means nothing…

Have a great day and be kind 🙂

The Obession With Food Continues… My Yummy Yummy Chili Recipe

Alrighty then, last time, I was kinda complaining (well ok, not kinda, I just was) about the never-ending food demands of my family.  I briefly mentioned that I liked easy recipes like chili, so that got me thinking that I should MAKE some of my chili, which I did and while making it, I decided to take some pictures of it and share the recipe.  I’m no Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray, but my food is pretty good and made with easily available stuff and my kids eat it.  So, please try my chili and I hope you enjoy my accompanying comments and extra directions.

1 Can Dark Red Kidney Beans – The brand is unimportant

2 14/15 oz cans tomato sauce or tomatoes

1 1/2 pound ground beef

1 small onion finely chopped

1/2 green pepper finely chopped

2 cloves crushed garlic

1-3 Tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt to taste

First of all, if you like turkey chili, you can make this recipe with turkey, I’ve done it, it’s pretty good.  I’ve also made it with a combination of turkey and beef and that was better.  All beef is best.  Don’t buy cheap beef (anything labeled ground meat should be suspect, if you go with chuck, drain it after you brown it).  You can also make it with soy if you are a veg.  The flavor is just fine, but as has been previously established, we have texture issues in this house, so the rubbery balls of soy didn’t go over too well, but if you like it go for it, again, the flavor is fine.

Finely chop the onion and green pepper.  Don’t whine and tell me you don’t like green pepper.  If you chop them fine, you won’t even know they are in there.  The undertone of their flavor is crucial to the success of the dish, so man up and put them in there.  My kids hate GP and they have no idea that this chili has any in it.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet with the green peppers and onions.  If you or the kids are super hungry, you can put a little of this well cooked mixture on a piece of folded bread and have a little snack while you wait for dinner.  It’s super good and my mom used to do it for me.  While the meat and veg are browning, drain your beans.  The toots are in the liquid.  It is gross and stinky and will make you stinky if you don’t drain them.

If the grease in your meat doesn’t cook away, drain the mixture and put it in a big pot.  Add everything else.  One comment on the tomatoes.  Again, due to dislike of slimy things, we don’t care for canned tomatoes.  They result in yucky lumps of stringy tomato gooze in the final product and we don’t like that, so I use tomato sauce.  Either one will work.  Also, if you don’t have actual cloves of garlic, use garlic powder or something like Tastefully Simple’s Garlic Garlic.  I usually put in about a tablespoon and then if I want more in it, I can add it.  Just remember, once it’s in there, you can’t get it out,  but you can always add more.  With regard to chili powder.  You need at least one tablespoon to make it taste like chili.  I usually use two and it isn’t too spicy at that level.  Three, and the kids don’t like it.

Stir it all together, bring it to a bubble, turn the temp to low, put a lid on it and let it meld together for 45 minutes or so.  You need to check it every so often and stir it so it doesn’t stick or anything.  If you think it’s too thick, add some water.  I usually fill up one of the tomato sauce cans and dump it in before I put the lid on because it WILL thicken again as it cooks.

If you have picky children, who would eat chili, but not vegetables, one of my favorite additions to this pot is to finely grate a large carrot and put it in with all the other ingredients.  If you grate it on the little holes on the grater, they cook down so much, they are not noticeable and they do not change the flavor.

When it’s done, serve it with shredded, sharp cheddar cheese and crackers.  It is delicious, easy and comforting.  This recipe doubles or triples well if you are feeding a crowd.Enjoy and be kind to one another 🙂

What Do You MEAN You’re Hungry Again?

As has been previously established, I have two children and a husband.  We go through a lot of food.  The husband doesn’t eat as much as the kids, so we’ll focus on the knee-biters.

They aren’t really knee-biters anymore I guess, they are 15 and 10.  A girl and a boy and they are always hungry.  They are not uncared for, so I really don’t get where the endlessly empty bellies come from.  They get a decent if quick breakfast, they are either given money for lunch or a lunch is packed for them.  They have an after school snack and dinner and sometimes an evening snack.   Yet in spite of this well-fedness, the most common phrase in my house is “do you know what we are having for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack?”  It is also one of the most dreaded phrases in my house because although I am a good cook, and every so often I actually feel like doing it, I generally DON’T feel like it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love food.  All kinds of food.  Healthy, unhealthy, I can find a place for all of it; but I’m tired a lot.  It doesn’t seem to matter how much sleep I get, I’m tired.  I used to think it was because I had some creepy undiagnosed disease, but then one day I sat down and THOUGHT about said day and I realized that I am tired because I am busy.  I only work outside the home on a part-time basis because I am a substitute teacher, so if nobody is sick or in need of a mental health day, or if my husband is out-of-town, I don’t work.   You’d think that would make me less tired, but it doesn’t, because on those days “off,” I do about four thousand pounds of laundry, vacuum, run kids everywhere, do bills, you get the picture, and make food.

The minute they walk in the door after school, they look at me and ask what we are having for dinner.  For some reason, I get a flash of irritation that is immediate, I make a big heavy sigh/grunt and snap, “OMG, (insert kid’s name here)  I don’t know, it’s only three o’clock!!  You just walked in the door, I just walked in the door!!  GIVE ME A FEW MINUTES!!”  At this point, I actually either stomp off to some other part of the house, or I continue to mumble and grumble under my breath as I slam cabinet doors trying to find food.  It’s not that we don’t HAVE food, we have plenty, we just don’t have anything that can magically prepare itself.  You can only subject your family to so many “eat whatever you want nights” before somebody comes down with rickets or scurvy from eating crappily unbalanced meals.  Now if we were pirates, that might be just fine, but the school authorities would probably frown and call child services if my previously healthy children got rickety or jaundiced.  So I have to find them some vittles.

One problem that we have is that none of us like leftovers.  There are a few things we’ll eat leftover, like my cheesy tuna noodle casserole, but most leftovers acquire interesting textures and smells all most right away and we just end up throwing them away, so I try to make just enough food so there ARE no leftovers.  We are not slimy texture fans around here, so I can’t have leftover night, which would probably be a nice thing to do.

Another problem that we have is that we are not rich enough to eat out every night.  Now THAT would be nice.  But alas, we usually only go out one night a week, Wednesday, to kid’s night at Skyline Chili, even though neither of my kids can eat free anymore, it’s a thing we started years ago and we keep doing it.  So that night is my favorite as I have to do NOTHING.

My favorite kind of dinners are homemade chili and tacos and breakfast because they are either easy, and/or you put them on early and let them simmer and then when it’s time to eat, you grate a little cheese, and fill up a bowl.  You can also put all kinds of things in chili like finely grated carrots so it really IS a complete meal in a bowl.  If you are a weirdo, you can make it out of soy chunks.  Tried that once.  Did I mention we have texture issues??  Yuck.

In conclusion, I have to say, that once my kids are grown and living in their own homes, I will live on things like peanut butter spread on apples, scrambled eggs and toast, mac and cheese and various varieties of veggie/dip trays from Kroger.  When I need meat, I’ll go to Longhorn and Wednesday night will forever be Skyline night.  For all you health food folk out there, I’ll be taking vitamins and eating lots of raw veg, so I won’t die.  All that money NOT spent on food can then be re-directed to books and art supplies where it belongs.

Be kind to one another 🙂

I Know Why Women Talk More Than Men

A few years ago, I read an article  by some crusty old college professor type dudes, that said women talk something like three or four times as much as men.  That’s just bullcrap, I remember thinking to myself.  I am a substitute teacher and a wife and mother of a boy and let me tell you something, the boys talk and gossip more than the girls.  When I am teaching it is usually the boys who get in trouble for talking.  Just recently, I had a third grade boy come up to me when I was subbing and tell me all about his love life and how one girl keeps trying to get him to “go out” with her when she KNOWS he already has a girlfriend.  Needless to say, I gave him the mom/teacher combo speech about how he is too young for all that junk and he needed to just go back and sit down and stop thinking about girls so much.  It went on and on, but you get the gist.

So anyway, back to women talking more than men.  It started to hit home with me a while ago, but over the last weekend, it hit home with a ton of lead, exactly WHY women talk so much.  It’s because we have to repeat EVERYTHING we say, especially to the men in our lives.  Both the big men and the little ones.  I was sitting in my living room trying to avoid the 52 inches of Sponge Bob that was blaring in the family room, when my son walked through and I asked him if he had finished his homework.  “What?”  I repeated myself.  “WHAT?”  I repeated myself again.  “Oh, yeah, I got it done a long time ago.”  Then, when I was in the kitchen, which is PART OF MY FAMILY ROOM AREA, I said to the same small boy, “Go wash your hands, dinner is almost ready.”  “What?”  I repeated myself.  “WHAT?”  “GO WASH YOUR HANDS IF YOU WANT FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  “gee mom, you don’t have to yell…”  It’s a good thing he’s cute and does funny things.

This went on ALL WEEKEND.  For everything.  It could be an order I’ve given, a request I’ve made, a compliment I’ve doled out, permission to go play outside, an announcement that I have won the Powerball and everyone is now going to go to school online and we are going to buy an RV and travel the world with it like The Wild Thornberries, and I will have to repeat myself.  Usually more than once.  By the time I went to bed on Sunday night, I was exhausted.  I didn’t do more physically than I usually do, I hadn’t solved any quantum physics problems that would’ve worn me out mentally, all I did was repeat myself.  Over and over and over.  I don’t have to repeat myself as much with my daughter, and as time goes by, less and less often with my husband, but the little boy is going to kill me.  Or drive me crazy.  Or cause me to take a vow of silence.  HA, let them function for more than a few hours if I do THAT!

SO, the next time some MAN (and lets face it, it’s usually a man) says that women talk too much, look at him and say “What?”  Make him repeat it a few times, then just shrug and grunt and walk away.  It will totally freak him out and it will be funny.  Try it.

Be kind to each other peeps 🙂

Is “Pretty” The Newest Bad Word???

I’m pretty sure I’ve established that I am politically incorrect.  If you’ve read earlier posts, you’ll know that I let my kids ride bikes helmet-less, they play with knives and soap bars and I let them play in the mud.  The newest offense that I engage in is telling them they are good-looking.

I really need to stop reading news and scientific studies.  The latest thing I read is how it is probably not good to tell your small daughters  that they are pretty  BLAH, BLAH, BLAHHHHHH…..

I tell my daughter that she is pretty.  She is.  I tell my son that he is handsome.  He is.  I also tell them that they are smart, that they have amazing reasoning skills and that they are kind.  I tell them when I’m proud and I tell them that they are capable of doing or being anything they WANT to do or be.  If I don’t tell them those things who will??  The kid in the next desk at school?  I don’t think so.  That kid is more likely to look at them and say, take your pick, “you’re weird, you’re stupid, you’re to0 fat/skinny/tall/short, you’re annoying, you’re boring, your butt is flat/fat/wide/narrow, you can’t play sports.  To that kid, I say, look in the mirror kid, what bounces off me sticks to you, or whatever that phrase is.

I was watching that twenty-five year-long afternoon pass-time, Oprah, a couple of years ago and saw Maria Shriver talking about her parents.  She said that when she was growing up, her parents lavished her with praise.  They told her she was beautiful and smart and they told her when they were proud and basically, they instilled self-confidence in her.  They didn’t rely on school, or other kids, or other people to make their daughter feel good about herself.  THEY gave her the confidence that she needed to succeed in the world, and from what I can tell, they did a good job.  She is successful, she seems to be a good mother and she has the strength to dump her cheating, baby daddy asshole of a husband.

I’m not saying that I don’t discipline my kids or that everything they do or say is cute or good.  They can be real stinkers at times and I let them know about it, but I also tell them how wonderful they are, because 99% of the time, they ARE wonderful.  If their father and I don’t tell them how awesome they are who will?  If they don’t think that their parents think they can be great, how will they know to try?

So, when my daughter makes videos to post on You Tube, or my son makes his 4,359th soap dragon with that sharp, sharp knife, you can bet your boots I’ll tell them how talented they are and that they should keep going.  And oh yeah, they look pretty doing it too 🙂

Letting Kids Be Kids

I just read an article on some parenting blog about letting kids be kids.  For some reason I find it sad that modern parents need to be instructed in that.  It gave helpful tips like, let your kid play in the summer.  Send them outside.  Let them catch lightning bugs.  Limit extracurricular activities to no more than one or two per season.  Really?  People don’t already know that?

When I was a kid, my job was school.  I took dancing lessons, but my job was school.  My mom gave me plenty of time to just be.  I read a lot, and did art projects a lot.  My older brother dragged countless large refrigerator boxes home for me behind his bike, that he would promptly carve windows and doors into for me and presto-chango, I had my own house.  My grandma played cards with me and it’s a good thing that the money she provided for betting was pennies, otherwise she would’ve gone broke, because I was pretty good.

Summers were even better.  I ate breakfast, got on my bike and left.  Granted it was the 1970’s and the chances of someone stealing me from my small town were less than the chances of your kid being stolen by a pervert today, but when I say I left, I mean I left.  My mom told me to be back when the church bells rang 5:00 and that is when I went home.  I would eat dinner and go back out til about 11.  At night.  In the dark.  With friends.  It was AWESOME!!  I was skinny and tan and healthy.  My hair would be so blonde at the end of summer that I was accused of dyeing it from about the age of nine or ten.  We rode bikes, went to the pool, hung out in the cemetery (hey, it was pretty and shady and quiet, don’t judge me).  We played in the woods, looked for glass bottles to turn in at Green Valley to finance our snack jones and generally had a blast.

By the time school started I was excited to go back because I was bored.  I had participated in zero extracurricular activities, and had not seen a great number of my friends.  The friends that I did see lived in town, not in the country.  Going back to school was being reintroduced to everyone and everything.  I remember how excited I always was to bring my stack of books home to cover and show my mom.  We also didn’t start school til after Labor Day, so hot school days in the fall were limited, because well, it was almost fall, not the middle of summer.

The world today is full of wonderful opportunities.  We are all much more connected to each other and to the rest of humanity than we ever have been before.  There are more ways to make a living, more tv channels, more electronic gadgets and more ways to learn to dance or play soccer or volleyball or football.  On the flip side, kids are fatter, bullying is now impossible to escape because it is on the internet, we have no privacy because everyone carries a camera with them in their phones everywhere they go, we can’t get away from the world because we are always connected via those phones and we are constantly bombarded by news.  The twenty-four hour news cycle has driven everyone crazy.

Here’s my idea.  In the summer, no extracurriculars.  No special lessons for elementary kids, and limited stuff for older kids.  Face it mom and dad, your kid, in all likelihood is not Micheal Jordan, or insert famous person name here.  Let them enjoy being kids.  Let them get bored.  Give them time to read for pleasure (and it’s ok if it’s a comic book).  Let them play cowboys and indians, or war, or house, or pioneers or Harry Potter.  Read them old stories and take them places that will stimulate their imaginations.  Give them a big plastic box full of paint, markers, paper, glue and stuff to create with and let them go to town.  Give them cap guns and Barbies.  Cap guns won’t make them murderers and Barbie won’t give them bulemia.  Give them their dad’s old army backpack, a jar of water and a sleeve of saltines (with salt on them) and let them go crawl through the mud on their bellies to win WW II or kill terrorists.  Let them play.  Let them imagine the world and the future.  Play is how kids learn to be.  It’s how they gain independence.  Structured, adult led lessons, do not give kids the chance to expand their minds and learn how to think.  It makes them think and be what the adults want them to be and think.  Adult life is hard, let them be carefree for as long as they can.  School is hard.  Let them decompress over the summer.  They are not going to end up in the projects if you don’t make them do homework all summer.   If you burn them out when they’re little, when it really counts, they won’t be able to function.

I have to stop writing now, because I have to put together a bug out kit for my son.  There are rumors that there are coyotes roaming the ten feet of woods in my back yard and he needs to go vanquish the varmints.  One last thing.  Get your kid a big dog or two and let them bond.  Dogs seem to enjoy playing interesting games too.  It’s summer, relax and catch the lightning bugs and remember the first bit of water out of the hose is not fit for drinking because it is hot.  Let it run for a minute or so, the environment will survive and so will you AND your kids.