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paradise city

With a kid in our family with the name of AXEL ROWE there is no doubt we will have Guns N Roses playing for years to come.  Here is Campbell’s rendition of Paradise City

Paradise City

hat day

For many that know me…you know I come from a long line of women that adore hats.  In fact, I don’t recall seeing my Grandma Frances leave the house without one.  So…I had a great time capturing the many faces of Emerson as she tried several on.  Could she be my ticket to the Oscars Red Carpet someday?

does it have its own little brain?

It is up for wide debate when to tell kids the straight up facts about sex.  I listened to two things…1) my pediatrician and 2) my gut.

I was shocked when at eight Briggs’ pediatrician told me, “If you don’t tell him now someone else will!”  But I had to sit on it awhile.  I wanted to carefully consider how to address these early discoveries.  I figured I would know when he was hearing ‘stuff’ anyway.  I certainly wanted to error or the side of too early vs. too late.

It wasn’t long after that I decided I was going to be utterly and completely frank.  When the time was right, I would tell him everything.  See it isn’t about the ‘birds and the bees’ to me.  What the heck is that anyway?  Who came up with that meaningless, confusing phrase?   It isn’t romantic.  It is scientific.

Along with the help of a very interesting book from the library that depicted every shape of body (and size of body part) possible in a cartoon format, I laid it all out there.  Briggs was embarrassed at first. But I realized that if I showed no shyness or hesitation on the subject then the fluidity of the conversation would be more effective.  By the end, he asked me everything and more.  I didn’t even need to lead the conversation.  He, along with the book, guided the direction of the conversation.  It was clear by the end that he had a lot of questions waiting to be answered.  The flood gates just needed to be opened.


As Briggs was getting out of the shower, he said, “Mom…you said you would completely honest.  I heard the penis gets hard when IT thinks about sex.”

I replied with a little hesitation,  “Well…um…that is certainly one of the times it could be hard.  But, as you know, it also happens when you wake up in the morning or it can even happen if you are excited about a football game or going to a birthday party or seeing the ice cream truck come down the street.  It can get hard from just getting excited about anything.”

But likely the best explanation of a penis came from his response, “So…does it have its own little brain?”

long time

It has been awhile.  It is both deliberate and a sign of just how busy things have gotten.

However, I honestly have hesitated to write for several weeks.  I have always promised myself that I wouldn’t write unless it was purely honest.  Afterall, one of the main purposes of  my blogging is therapy through creative writing. 

So when I received the following comment on the blog about my parenting skills, or lack thereof, I immediately took offense to it.  Gloria wrote, “If you crazy and kooky women didn’t spend so much time on the Internet bragging about your tiny little nest (big whoop, no one really cares that much about you), you would have MORE TIME to be decent mothers and raise your children properly, so they didn’t get into so much mischief. It’s called MORE time on, and LESS time off.”

To give Gloria some credit, there is some validity to her comment if she just read a few posts.  However, there are also a few things she doesn’t quite grasp.

1) With my advancing age and constant multi-tasking, my brain doesn’t work like a computer where I can pull up a file to recall every event.  I realize that my children are growing quickly. I want to remember all of the funny, quirky, and loving comments and events with my children.  And, unless I write about them, they will all fade with time.  In fact, I didn’t even recall the event I had written over a year ago until Gloria commented on it.  That goes to show you…even when I write about it, I forget.

2) This is a personal blog on a public domain.  But I have never forced anyone to read it.  The purpose of it is to record our lives.  It is entirely self-indulgent.  While I certainly could gloss-over my daily life, I rarely make it a point to brag. I In fact, if anything I share the not-so-pleasant experiences that we have weaved into a comical situation to reflect upon. I am all about the good-the bad-and-the ugly. 

3)  My kids are mischievous. I live with the results of it everyday. But  they are also bold, confident, and creative.  I would rather have them exploring and discovering (and that is describing it nicely) than sitting in a quiet corner.  I just ain’t the kind of mom that is going to produce wall flowers.

What I didn’t realize initially about Gloria’s comment, or perhaps is just hard to admit, is this…

As a working mom, I juggle it with my kids a lot.  I have the benefit of working from home.  However, my work is always looming in the front office, hovering over me like a dark cloud.   So I find myself working a great deal even when my children are present.  I am honestly not always engaged with them.  I suggest they play together a lot.  I setup ‘school’ for them in my office to work along side me.  I even put them in front of the TV out of desperation on occasion. 

But I am home.  And for that I am grateful.  They may not have my undivided attention every moment but…I drop them off at school.  I pick them up at school or am waiting at home when the bus rounds the corner.  They leave with a hug and return with a hug. 

So Gloria (aka darkangel), you were honest enough to share your opinion with me.  Thank you.  You gave me something to consider.  However, I suggest you discontinue being a voyeur on my blog because I may just brag now and again.  I think I have FOUR extremely good reason to do so on occasion.  You may have silenced me temporarily but I’m back.



So…with kindergarten we have begun the process of working on sight words.  Today, among others, I was reviewing ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ with Gage.  When we came to the word girl, I attempted to give him a hint.

I said, “Campbell is a ….. ”

Gage immediately replied, “Desperate!”

I think he is missing the point of starting with the basics but it gave me the only belly laugh I have had for the day.


Apparently, the notion of puberty is hot on Briggs’ mind after being in middle school for two weeks. He yelled down the hall while I was doing laundry, “Mom!  I think I am getting a mustache.”

I asked him to come into the stronger light of the laundry room to investigate his upper lip.

I sneered, “You mean the blond fuzz on top of your lip?”

Almost at the same time Briggs exclaimed, “Come to think about it…Mom…you have a mustache too!”

the future

We have gotten away from purchasing Happy Meals. They are expensive, provide little food for the growing needs of our children, and make us only accumulate more junk I have to secretly dispose of. Somehow though I got suckered into purchasing them this week on the run inbetween school and sports practices.

I felt swindled.  I yelled to the back of the van, “In the future, we are never buying Happy Meals again!”

Gage replied, “Mom, you can’t predict the future!”

There it is…my kindergartener.

a girl and an imaginary girl

My favorite exchange between the Briggs and Gage came after the Middle School Open House. 

Briggs has had a crush on one girl, in particular, for a few years. **For the sake of anonymity, her name has been changed below.** As we passed Arielle in the hall, I gave her a happy hello.  Briggs was unable to utter a word. 

He proceeded to tell me how embarassing I was at which point I explained he likely had the coolest mom in the entire fifth grade!  That was when I tripped…not only embarassing him more but realizing I may just think I am cool.

**Skip forward several hours.**

Briggs tends to divulge a lot of his feelings, and ask important questions at bedtime.  Like a computer, he is in his ‘shutdown’ process. 

Here was the exchange.

So, Mom…how do I tell Arielle I like her?

Well, until you learn how to say ‘Hi’ to her, I wouldn’t worry about telling her you like her.  How about just starting off with something simple, such as “How was your summer?” or “Who is your homeroom teacher?”  or “Are you playing soccer this Fall?”

I am not sure what I would say.

You are in fifth grade.  Why not just stick to being friends?

Gage <interjects with teasing>:
Briggs can’t tell Arielle he likes her!

Briggs <in the funniest comeback tone I have witnessed>:
Seriously, Gage.  You have an imaginary girlfriend named TreeTop.  I don’t think you should be teasing me.

And so it begins.  Middle School.  Girls.  Attitude.

chicken fight

The kids learned what CHICKEN FIGHTS were this week. In fact, the chant for ‘CHICKEN FIGHTS, CHICKEN FIGHTS…’ is just as fun as watching them attempt to play.  When they ran out of ‘big kids’ to play with they decided to try it on their own. I think they are not only figuring out they can play together well…but they can form teams.

By the way, our bath routine for the summers has been pool time.  Chlorine is as effective as soap, right?

who’s the boss?

So Tim takes the early-bird, Campbell, to the dry cleaner this morning.

Now, if you have never heard the pure pleasure of Campbell’s volume, it is kind of like a bull horn. She has no concept of volume control. Because she is the tiniest in the family, we give her the excuse of trying to make up for her stature. Bottom line…she has been a loud ass from the moment she was born. Even the nurses couldn’t believe the set of lungs she had for being so little. Gosh, we are blessed!

Anyway, back to the story.

As Tim gets off a phone call, Campbell yells from the back, “Who was that?”

Tim replies, “My boss!”

Campbell, the-ever-so-smart, four going on fourteen girl, says, “You mean…MOMMY?”

While she may drive me nuts on a hourly, daily, weekly basis…I got to love every inch of her. She is not only super sharp, she’s got my back!

summer camp

Briggs did everything I would have hoped when we dropped him off for his first week of summer camp.  Yet, I let a few tears drop as he walked away.

He was oozing with excitement and confidence upon arrival…especially as he met up with his buddy, Carson.

He didn’t ask us a single question.  He introduced himself to the counselors.  He didn’t look back.  Heck, he hardly even cared to say goodbye to any of us.

He and Carson have been waiting for this camp experience with great anticipation.

I could not be more excited for him.  Even as I sit here to write this I imagine him grinning at the stories being swapped around the campfire. I imagine him swinging like Tarzan from the rope swing.  I can visualize him stealing a few glances across the lake at a cute girl.

This camp exceeded my expectations 100 percent.  He will likely have the best week he can recall ever having in his first decade.

But I cannot believe my son is old enough to spend a week on his own in the woods.  There have been many signs of his growing age and maturity this summer, this being the pinnacle.

As a parent, I want independence and freedom for him.  And, I want him to feel confident enough to leave us without hesitation.  But as a mommy, I still want to hold him in my lap and need me.

I am perplexed.

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