handmedowns



Here is one mom that cheers and hollers everytime I get hand-me-downs!

I am not one to let a bin of old clothes pass by. I just keep on passing them down to friends and family with younger children. Because, really…how long do children actually wear the clothes before they grow out of them? And I can figure out a lot more things to spend my money on. We are blessed. Our closets are abundant.

The notion of hand-me-downs is even more prevalent with the first snow fall. In fact, we have too many options at this point. I get particular pleasure out of nothing matching too. Anyway, it is time for me to pass along some of the wealth that has been handed down. Anyone need a pair of snowpants?

Even though it was short-lived the kids had a great time playing in the snow this weekend. It makes me happy that we live somewhere we can enjoy all four seasons and then excitement each brings.

future superstar



In all her glory…Campbell delivers an animated performance.

mile’stoners’



Milestone | A significant stage or change in development.

I have learned that milestones for a parent are much more valuable, or maybe its more monumental, than the way we speak of milestones in corporate America.  I’ve been on both sides. 

As a parent, we have to somehow hold onto those milestones. Relish in the extraordinary change that they bring on. 

We’ve had a lot of milestones in the last few months that deserve some pause and reflection. And while I don’t intend to boast I do like to document for posterity sake.

The twins now can secure themselves in their seatbelts. May not sound big…but it is amazing how much time is has shaved off of the morning drop-off routine with just this one milestone! And with it not only comes the mechanical ability but the growing confidence of a young child. 

Staying home alone. However brief the times have been for Briggs, he has been empowered to be on his own. Armed with several detailed instructions he now feels like a veteran. He even has been “in charge” of a sibling!  It is what I would call glorious!!!

One milestone that Tim and I have benefited greatly from has been morning sleep. Our kids wake up in this order on weekends…Campbell, Briggs, Gage and Emerson.  Campbell will occupy herself now until Briggs wakes at which point he will take her downstairs for an easy breakfast.  It’s glorious. A few extra winks for us and more growing independence for our early risers. 

We now have a lawn boy. Equipped with safety goggles and close-toed shoes, Briggs has begun earning his keep. It may not be the best job but he gets it done.

And the pool…the pool this summer. Finally, there was no requirement to accompany a single child in the water. I could sit at the edge and observe them brave it on their own. Not yet completely accomplished swimmers, they enhanced their abilities amazingly well. Four glorious little fishes. 

My uncle years ago said just wait until  they can dress themselves! He was right. It is the simplest milestones that have made the greatest difference. Our milestones have not created millions of dollars in revenue but they have carried with them far greater value and cause for some quiet celebration.

P.S. I have written the last two posts on my iPhone from Mexico. I love technology. Pardon any glaring misspellings or grammatical errors.

becoming your parent



There have been a few moments in my adulthood where there were glaring realizations that I have inherited distinct characteristics of my parents. It became all too evident last week when after I tirade of anger over homework Tim said to me, “Hey David, how ya’ doing.”

I lived with my father, David, in high school. There wasn’t a week that went by that I wasn’t in tears at the kitchen table rewriting homework to his satisfaction. Often times we were up past midnight in a battle of the wills.  It was brutal. Topic sentences, clear ideas, enhanced vocabulary, proper grammar, accurate punctuation! 

So, the ‘Braveheart-like’, in-your-face teachings have trickled down a generation.

I had decided afterschool that day we needed to get Briggs’ room organized. When he was done, he was allowed to play with his buddies outside.  

Unfortunately it wasn’t until 8pm that I realized Briggs had forgotten a homework assignment. The directions were to write nine complete sentences about the librarians based on some research he quickly needed to do on the middle school home page. Pretty straight forward. He sat right down and went to work. Once complete, he handed me his paper for review.

The sentences were incomplete and went something like this…”Got bachelors degree from Indiana University.”

I was calm and asked him to reread the directions. He looked at me and said, “They’re good enough.”

I am not sure if it was the attitude that unnerved me so much or the thought of my son doing a half-ass job. But with my husband finally home from a three-week trip to India, I took Briggs by the collar, nearly dragged him down the stairs to the kitchen, and told him to repeat the directions aloud along with his examples. With alligators tears streaming down his face he did so.  I them proceeded to rip up his work and exclaimed start again!

We have a Partner Desk. The kind that you sit across from. I could feel Briggs evil eyes glance at me now and again as he wrote solidly. 

Afterwards, once he had nine well-constructed sentences complete (and this is where the mom characteristics kick in), Briggs asked for not only a hand massage but back massage. 

I figured we both needed it. He needed me to be “loving mom” and I needed the time to apologize for my temper but drive home my objective from earlier.

When we snuggled up in bed (aka Spa Briggs), I said, “I am sorry for losing my temper with you earlier.”

Quick as a fox, he replied, “That’s okay, David.”

We all be become our parents.

halloween jam



Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

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

adhd



For a long time I have thought it quite possible…but there is no doubt debating it at this point.  If there was a time delayed video camera observing me today, it would be clear I am adult with a clear case of ADHD.

See, I suffer from my mother’s insatiable need to move furniture and rearrange my house every few months.  I just cannot live without change.

I started on the living and office space, meandered into the kitchen, all of a sudden found myself in the basement starting to find things I could move into the family room, skipped back to the office, until I was just going around in circles.  I finally got control.  I finished the office and the living room. My upstairs is now in total disarray.

Tim will once again return home from a business trip and find himself in a new home.  He won’t know where to find things.  But it looks cool.  I burned off some calories and I have satisfied my need for heavy lifting.

Thanks MOM for making me a freak!

corn and black bean salsa



It is a favorite in our family…Corn and Black Bean Salsa.  Pretty much a staple item I fix every other week.  I got the kids involved in the preparation this time…girls mixing and boys CHOPPING with REAL KNIVES.  I certainly was well aware of the risk involved getting out the cutlery but both my father and brother will admit we have DULL knives.

Here is the recipe for a great treat your family will enjoy!
Chopped green onion
Chopped cilantro
Chopped bell peppers (any or all colors)
Chopped jalapeno (optional)
Can of black beans
Can of corn
Can of chopped tomatoes (Mexican-style)
Squeeze lime juice
Balsamic vinegar
Serve with tortilla chips, over a chicken breast, in a turkey roll-up, etc.

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.

FAST FORWARD ALMOST TWO YEARS…AND NOW IN MIDDLE SCHOOL.

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?”

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