Category Archives: family

Summer Week One (Or, That Time I Was Photographed Naked)

Well, it’s here! Summer. I love summer! I’ve always loved summer. My daughter’s middle name is Summer. I couldn’t think of a more beautiful word to describe her lovely little face! Summer makes the worst parts of teaching bearable…well, that and helping shape young minds and all…However, this week has been…ummmmm….long.

It started with fighting. The boys have a newfound love of wrestling, and this has truly brought a fun level of creativity to the fights. They’ve yet to discover the dramatization that occurs when a ‘professional’ wrestler choke holds his opponent. The same reaction doesn’t occur when a six year old non actor places the choke hold on his four year old brother. 

I thought the kids needed bonding time after their blood inducing wrestling match, so we pulled out the Headbands game. This is always risky. Baby boy cheated nonstop. Bubba lost his temper and yelled inappropriate things. Sissy…well, she can’t handle losing. Everyone was ‘disciplined’ at one point, and old school tactics, like using soap to clean mouths, may have been employed. 

After wrestling, board games, and tons of swimming I decided to torture myself by entering Target with three kids. The Target dressing room we found ourselves in was clearly created with a teeny tiny sixteen year old in mind, not three kids and a sweaty Mama with a handful of spandex. I handed the kids my phone with a kid game pulled up. I thought this would distract them long enough for me to try on fifty swimsuits. As I tried in vain to pull up a neon orange swimsuit with the word FIRECRACKER printed across the front, I heard muffled giggles. For one solitary moment I felt joy because my sweet babies were finally having fun together. One. Solitary. Moment. 

I glanced to my left and froze in horror. The phone’s camera was pointed straight up at me. Yep. The camera. I screamed and grabbed my phone, quickly deleting without even peeking at the atrocity that had been recorded. We had a discussion, discipline was carefully doled out. This photo was accidentally taken in the aftermath.  We left Target without a swimsuit. 

I’m not sure I will survive this summer. If I don’t, all three of my readers can explain to the world that my kids killed me with their shenanigans. 


Oh crap, sister can spell.

I’m annoyed at my child’s education. Not the lack of education, but the speed at which she is becoming educated. It is really messing up my life. For example, I used to tell my kids to go to bed, and it was inevitable that one of them would say, “But it’s not bedtime.” To which I would respond, “Yes it is.”

That was it. They believed me. Mama said it’s bedtime, therefore it is bedtime.

Not anymore. I say, “Go to bed.”

Someone says, “But it’s not bedtime.”

I say, “Yes it is.”

“No mam, it is not. It is 7:28 and we read at 7:30. Then, we read for 30 minutes. THEN, we go to bed at 8:00!”

Well….thank you Sister Mathematician.

Like most mamas, I need my kids to go to bed early. This is my survival, my sanity. My time to eat all of their Valentine’s Day candy.

It took me forever to get my husband to realize that if he wanted to talk about doing anything even remotely fun without our kids he would have to spell the fun. He used to just say, “Hey you want to eat some candy or ice cream when they go to bed?” Of course, they would start crying, “I want ice cream! I want candy!”

This started many fights. I would storm off, angry because my candy eating was ruined & the kids would never go to sleep with thoughts of mama & daddy eating candy racing through their minds. So, like most men, he finally learned! He started spelling, “Hey, you want C-A-N-D-Y and P-O-P-C-O-R-N?”

This worked for a while. Until recently. Now we spell and suddenly sissy becomes an annoying episode of Seasme Street…

“What did y’all spell? I know. ‘c’ ‘a’ ‘n’ ‘d’ ‘y’…..’can’ ‘dy’…CANDY! Bubba, daddy is talking about candy! We get candy! Yay! Candy!!”

(I guess we will have to resort to Pig Latin, surely that will not be covered by Kindergarten Common Core Standards?)

I love teaching at Sissy’s school. I get to walk down the hallway and see her cute little artwork. All the other mama-teachers get to see the cute little artwork as well. Parents who walk their kids into school get to see the cute little artwork.  Actually, pretty much everyone I know sees the cute little artwork.

I recently walked down the kindergarten section of the hallway and saw that Sissy’s teacher had changed out the display. Their new assignment was to write about Valentine’s Day. Everyone wrote words like, “Love” and “Friend” all phonetically spelled and hilarious of course.

Sister Speller had to take it to the next level. Apparently she thought the assignment was to make your parents look like weirdos.


I had to fight the urge to scribble at the bottom, “We really only barely kiss in front of the kids, I promise…We aren’t crazy making out….Really! Seriously!”

In all honesty, I am thrilled watching her spongy little brain soak up all of this knowledge! Her teacher is awesome, and Sissy is learning so much! She leaves little scraps of paper and notebooks all around the house with her sweet writing scrawled across them. I found this one yesterday:image

I’m assuming I left my Bible and a container of yogurt on the table. That or she was really confused during chapel this week.


Forgotten Prayers

This has been such a sad week for me.  It was as though someone pried my eyelids opened, without my consent, and forced me to look on the horrors of the world. Like a Law and Order SVU episode swirling around me. So weird, I know.
I started the week with a heaviness, a burden in my heart, but still hope in my soul. I received a call that I had gotten my 1st CASA case and I needed to pick up the file.
I put on a Katina saves the world smile and lightly stepped into my CASA supervisor’s office. She told me things and handed me the file. As I left the office, my steps felt heavier. My eyes sadder.
I got home and put my own children to bed thanking God for their safety, their clean clothes, their happiness.
I sat down at the kitchen table and opened the CASA file. I read it. I shut it. I cried. I thought, What am I doing? I can’t do this.
I stood up and felt like I couldn’t even take the steps needed to flop myself into my bed.
The next day brought more disturbing news that hit a little closer to home. And a cloud of sorrow began to follow me around.
I floated through the week, my cloud over me, crying in every stolen private moment.
My Granny’s birthday came, and although she lives in heaven, I couldn’t help but spend the day split. One piece of me going about my day while the other piece lived in the past, in the country, hanging onto my Granny’s every word.

I thought of the prayers she prayed. I was flooded with memories of her kneeling at her own altar, bed, couch, kitchen table…whatever was near when she decided it was necessary to pray. And PRAY she did! Shamelessly. Crying, hands raised, wailing… she meant business.
One person in particular was often the subject of my Granny’s prayers. She had a difficult life and Granny knew that. When this person would come home, Granny would welcome her with open arms. She would love her, talk to her, feed her, but as soon as her wandering feet hit the front porch, Granny’s knees hit the carpet. And she would PRAY! She begged God to save this person, to heal her, to touch her life.
I sat at my kitchen table, on Granny’s birthday, thinking about this person. Thinking about the things she is going through even today. Things aren’t great for her, but let me tell you… she is very much healed in so many ways! She is alive, which in itself is a miracle.  And, those prayers my Granny prayed are still working.

This brings me some peace. It lifts my ‘sad cloud’ a little. The prayers that have been prayed for you don’t die even when the person who prayed them does.

His Favorite Hooker

My son loves hookers. There, I said it.

It started couple of years ago, when he asked Santa for a hooker. (I guess I should clarify, in case you weren’t one of the 10 people who read that post, hooker=clothes’ hanger)

He pulls all the hookers from his closet and plays with them. With his hookers, he can be Captain Hook, an armed ninja, or a giant crane! He can pick things up, hook his siblings, and drag trucks. The hooker possibilities are endless!

I feel you judging! Stop!

We think that four years old is a little too young for a ‘sit down’ about the true dangers of hookers, so we just enjoy the laughs. The two other kids also call these lovely plastic devices by Bubba’s inappropriate name.

I recently walked in on a truly memorable conversation. Sissy was teaching Baby Boy how to clean up. This is the hilariousness I was so blessed to overhear:

Sissy (speaking baby talk): Ok baby, I am going to cover the floor with hookers and teach you how to clean them all up!

Baby Boy: Hookers!

Sissy (full of pride for having taught him a new word): Yes! Yay! Hookers! Now, we are going to pick them up and take them to Bubba’s room because Bubba LOVES hookers!

Baby Boy: Hookers!

Sissy (throws hangers all over her floor): There. The hookers are everywhere! What do we do, baby?

Baby Boy: Hookers!

Sissy: Yes, we pick them up! Sissy doesn’t like hookers all over her room! So, pick up the black hooker.

Baby Boy: Black Hooker

Sissy: Yes! You are learning your colors! That’s the black hooker! Pick it up!

Baby Boy: Pick up hooker…

Sissy: Very good! Now take the hooker to Bubba’s room.

A few minutes later the hookers were all returned to their rightful owner. (My thoughts, “Oh my gosh! Am I raising a pimp?”)

Sissy found me in the kitchen and smiled brightly as she asked for a piece of tape. When I asked why, she told me she was making a surprise for Bubba.

I finished loading the dishwasher then walked to Bubba’s room to see the surprise…


Bubba walked in behind me and said, “Thank you, Sissy! How did you know that is my favorite hooker?”

Sissy beamed, “I just knew!”

Is it weird that this totally touched my heart? Gah, I love these unique little humans!😃


Treasure These Things

Little boys can be frustrating! They do really weird things like… take their clothes off when they walk in the house, pour their milk in the car cup holder without telling anybody, stick foreign objects up their little noses. (I’ve only heard of these things. My boys are angels.) But, oh my goodness, can’t they just melt your heart? Even when they are acting like wild animals, there is something sweet in their mischief.
The other day, the boys were in the bath tub, & I accidentally splashed Bubba with water. He cocked his head, smiled a crooked smile, & said, “Hey, watch it you crazy girl!” Now, a part of me stopped & thought… child, you have lost your mind; but an even bigger part of me thought it was just too adorably irresistible. I couldn’t get mad. It seemed so sweet & funny him calling me girl.

I wonder if Mary experienced those same moments with Jesus? I wonder if she placed her hand on his chest at night to make sure he was breathing? Did she worry about him making friends in carpentry school? Did she get frustrated when he spilled his grape juice and ruined his lovely white tunic? Did she lose her patience when Jesus and James used sticks as swords?

We know she and Joseph worried about Jesus. When Jesus stayed behind at the temple, Mary and Joseph “anxiously searched” for Jesus & finally found him, 3 days later! Yes, THREE days! Can you imagine? If you have ever lost a child, even for one minute, you know that terror. And then, when you find them doing something like playing in the clothes racks… Well, relief, love, and anger make for a fantastic scene in Target. (Again, just a story I’ve heard…not a personal experience.)

Surely, when Mary walked into the temple and saw Jesus teaching away with an audience, she felt all of those same feelings. She actually said, “Son, why have you treated us like this?” Jesus kind of did what Ryder did to me…”Hey crazy girl, I’m about my father’s business!(Not exactly in those words.)
The bible says they didn’t understand, but Mary “treasured these things in her heart.” I love that. Mary didn’t fully realize what was happening, but she knew something was up. Losing Jesus couldn’t have been pleasant. She was horrified! She didn’t mean treasure like a gold coin, but she treasured them… treasure as a verb. She locked it up in her heart to think and pray about.
We can do this. We can be like Mary. All the things we have to watch our children, our friends, & our family go through, all the changes we see in them, the good times and the bad, maybe…we should treasure these things in our hearts.

If they are little happy moments we can savor them and thank God for his blessings. If they are not so happy, and you are in a time of trouble, or you are just confused about life, treasure these things. Stop, capture the moment, hold it in your heart. Change is coming, and when it does, like Mary, you can pull out this moment, look at it closely, and see your savior was in the middle all along.


We Gonna Party Like It’s Your Birthday

Happy Birthday! I’m throwing you a huge party! Everyone will give each other lots & lots of gifts. You’ll love it!

The only bad thing… is that a bunch of your friends will not be happy. They won’t be satisfied. Their expectations won’t be met. They will feel let down. That’s just some people though…like 1.5 million or so…the rest will be fine.

Well…except for the other  people who will try so hard to please everyone else at the party that they totally forget it’s your party. Oh, and some friends will feel pressured to keep up, and will find themselves in a ‘tiny bit of trouble’ after your party.

Also, people will crash your party. Sorry. Dang Santa…& stupid Elves… Mamas will be tired. Daddys will be grumpy.

One more thing, answer if you get a call; and you WILL get calls. Lots & lots of calls. Your friends will need your help to get through your party. They will need money, sanity, patience… Not the whole time. Just like 22 hours. They will sleep the other two. You can rest then.

Aside from those things, and a million others, you are really gonna love this party, truly. Get ready for fun. It’s your big day…kinda.

I apologize in advance, I’m the worst of all! I love you so much though. Happy early birthday from my crazy family & me. We will really celebrate you this year & try super hard not to get too ridiculously consumed…Well, next year for sure!! Next year, we won’t lose our minds. Or least when the kids get bigger…Yes, when they grow up a little, we will tone it down! Only three presents each when they turn ten. We will really have it all together then…

Blog = Diarrhea

  • Blog: a Web site on which someone writes about personal opinions, experiences, and activities (AKA: online diary)

Sissy: What do I do on the blank pages of my new book?

Me: Well, it’s a diary. Do you know what that is?

Sissy: Yes mam, it’s when you poop a lot? But that’s weird?

Me: What? Ohhhhhh! Hahaha, you are thinking of diarrhea!

So, sissy has uncovered the true definition of a blog. It’s not pretty, but it’s often the truth:

  • blog: where you poop a lot


You Go, Beaux!

I recently googled, “Can I make my elf go away if my kids are bad?” I didn’t find the answers I sought. What I hoped to see,  was an article explaining the value of lessons learned when kids’ mythical creatures discipline them. I found no such information.

Oh well! I don’t need Internet psychologists to tell me how to raise my kids! Bribery, threats, & the occasional shout aren’t beyond the scope of my parenting style. I’m sorry Yahoo Parenting, it doesn’t matter what your ‘experts’ say, when my child goes crazy in Walmart, I can’t calmly watch because it’s ‘normal.’ It’s not normal to lick the buggy or to throw punches while I’m browsing the shower gel aisle. I’m done!

So, after my useless online research, I marched straight into sissy’s room where Beaux the Elf sat. I yelled to him about all the ridiculous behaviors I had observed, while my children looked at me as if I were crazy. Sissy laughed and started telling Beaux to come back anyway. Bubba & Baby Boy didn’t seem to care.

Now, I’m sitting here on the couch fuming! I am truly tired of the wildness! Tomorrow, Beaux will be gone along with the presents! Here is Beaux’s obligatory explanation. (It rhymes of course.)

Your whining, crying, & meaness too, make me oh so mad at you.


You took off your diaper and pooped on the floor, is that chocolate or dirt? I don’t know anymore.


You’ve literally started climbing the walls. You don’t need three beds, you need three stalls.


“Give me, give me, give me… presents,” you say. So I can look at them for a second, then throw them away.


You’re driving me crazy so I must declare, LOOK under your tree…POOF,  it’s bare.

So, that’s the plan. Elf goes away & takes the presents with him. I’m just losing my mind! Are everyone else’s kids crazy? Are y’all thinking of running away? Do you buckle them in the car, shut the door, then stand outside taking deep breaths?

I fully intended to be prepared this year. I planned to keep the Christmas consumerism craziness away from my home. I was going to teach them the true meaning of Christmas. I’ve failed, I have failed miserably. Here are some pictures to prove it.

Climbing the walls
This child! The jumping, climbing, running…
I don’t even know? (Oh, I’m hoping, with a onesie snapped over his pants, he can’t take his diaper off!)
Unidentified substance
vaseline bandit
Crying because she wanted the Pink Playdoh from the goodie bags we made for her FRIENDS!! 😡😡

They are pretty cute though! And, SO much fun! 😊



The Middle

DSC_0039 Ok, ok, I know! We accidentally forgot to buckle you in the car today. I am just now getting your birthday together, and your party is Saturday. There are lots of times when your hair looks crazy. And, I think your teeth get brushed half as often as sissy’s. You’re not the oldest. You’re not the youngest. You are the middle.

The day you were born was literally magical to me. I remember the nurse putting your face up to mine. You opened your little mouth, and I smelled your sweet baby breath. My immediate thought was, ‘I could die right now and be happy.’ I044 couldn’t stop crying. When Sissy saw you and gave you kisses, oh my goodness! I just kept saying “I have babies,” over and over.

I would like to say it was all rainbows and butterflies after that, but it wasn’t! You were born with a busyness, and you hated sleep! I rarely put you down. There was a strange fear inside me, the fear of losing you.

Things got a little weird when I forced your daddy to move the baby swing to the garage. When he asked why, I told him it looked like a coffin. I couldn’t breathe. I would study your face until it seemed pale or blue; then I would snatch you up thinking something awful had happened.

I went to the doctor for my checkup, and she seemed to think I needed to see a counselor, so did my husband, and my mama. (Apparently I was being quite irrational!) I’m not really big on sharing feelings. (Well, except to complete strangers, aka blog readers. Oh, and facebook. And, various social media outlets. And…ok, I guess I am ok with sharing.) I just tend to say what people want to hear. So, when the counselor asked, “Did you have a difficult pregnancy or birthing experience?” I smiled and told her no. She asked me to describe it. I told her all about my pregnancy issues, hospital stays, fears, etc. She nodded and said, “It’s all going to be ok. Your baby is going to live.”

And live you have! With all your silliness! You are brilliant and hilarious. You make jokes and charm everyone. You are kind when others are mean. Sometimes you are so wild I want to scream, then you turn around and generously give away your last piece of candy.

You truly are our middle. Not just in the silly, typical, middle child way, but…. A true middle. The peacemaker. The unwavering one.

If you are ever feeling pitiful or left out just remember, the middle is necessary! The middle is awesome! Sometimes, the middle can be the best part! Without the middle, a seesaw is just a dumb board, an Oreo is just two plain old chocolate cookies, and a peanut butter & jelly sandwich is just bread…just bread! You keep us from being plain. Because of you, we are not just bread.middle2

I love you my sweet bubba bears…my amazing middle baby!



Nice Guys Finish First

I was desperate to get out of the house. It was raining, and I didn’t want cereal. I threw the kids’ clothes on, put them in the car, and drove to… dare I say it….McDonalds. That’s right! McDonalds! And not only did we eat greasy hash browns and sausage biscuits, but the kids played in that giant, virus infested playhouse! (Yes, Yes… I know they are gross.)
As I lazily sat there drinking coffee and looking at my phone my lovely children, I noticed a few bigger kids walking in. They bounced their too tall tails right into the playhouse and climbed up. I watched as they approached Bubba and yelled, “Move, kid!” Bubba stood there for a second, stared cooly, put his arms up as if to say ‘whatever’, then moved! He moved for those little bullies! Oh my!

My first instinct was to claw my way up and…well, I’m not going to finish that sentence. My second instinct was to get Bubba down and firmly tell him to take up for himself, to use force if necessary! You know, “Be a Man, son,” that sort of thing.

I didn’t do either. I watched Bubba as he carelessly went on about his business, playing and even making friends with the mean boys. He was being the bigger person. I was about to teach my baby to disobey the Bible, to fight, to push back when pushed. What was wrong with me? (Maybe too much coffee.)

It’s Father’s Day week, which makes me think about my daddy, my husband, my father in law. Why are these men in my life? I mean, lots of men don’t stick around…right? There are so many fatherless children. How did I get so lucky? Then I realize…These are nice men. They are kind hearted, not quick to anger. They are not the bullies of the world. They don’t go around pushing people who make them mad. They are not pulled out of bars, arrested for fighting, running around taking what they want.

I have repeatedly watched as my husband chose the high road. I am sure my son has watched as well, and I know my husband watched his own father do the same.
When you teach your boys to be kind and respectful of not only other adults, but each other, they can grow into men who are respected. They don’t need to push their way around the world. They are good men and great dads. Instead of shoving back they can cooly raise their arms, say, “whatever,” and go on about their business.

kids and josh mowing 2