The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious of Parenting

4 Major Differences Between Driving In The North And The South

My grandmother use to say, “Girl, I would go through hell with kerosine drawers on for you?”  Well, I felt like I did that for K a few weekends ago, when I drove to Quakertown, Pennsylvania to watch her play in a softball tournament.  I had forgotten there are some vital differences between the North and the South!

  1. First, the way the roads are laid out make no sense to me.  I could be traveling along in what I thought was a straight line only to find 6 differnt roads, intersections, highways, routes, etc. looming in front of me sending me into a full blown panic attack mumbling to myself, “There is no place like home.  There is no place like home.”  Another mother told me that in Pennsylvania they built the roads based on where the cows wondered!  I didn’t see any cows up there which would have probably provided me with some comfort if I had of seen them since I am from a more rural area, but obviously following the cows to build roads was not a very sound plan!
  2. Second, the tolls caught me by surprise.  We have tolls in Virginia, but when I pulled up to the first major toll booth with my standard .75 cents Virginia toll, the lady looked at me as if I was crazy!  As I sat smiling sweetly at her, she growled, “$4.00!”  I gasped, “Really! $4.00!”  “Really!  Could you please pay so we can move this along?”  This $4.00 toll was followed by a $6.00 toll, a $3.00 toll, and ended with a $2.45 toll.  Totaling $15.45 which could almost buy me a half a tank of gas which by the way is more expensive up north!
  3. Third, as I traveled through the heart of Washington D.C., which I didn’t want to do, but the GPS decided it was a good route, I had the pleasure of providing Fa with a basic understanding of urban living.  I answered such questions as: “Why are there so many people… buildings… cars… etc?”  “If there are so many cars, why do so many people walk?”   Is there any grass in the city?”   “Why are all of those people just sitting on the sidewalk or by the building?  They must like to shop a lot because they have tons of bags!”  Homelessness was the hardest to explain.  I don’t know if she could wrap her mind around it, but she did say,  “I sure hope they don’t get in the car with us and try to go to our HOME.”
  4. A typical speed limit sign in the United State...

    A typical speed limit sign in the United States showing a 50 mph restriction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Finally, in the south the speed limit signs tend to be enforced making me cautious.  As I entered Pennsylvania, I was going my safe 5 miles over the speed limit — so 55=60, 65=70, etc.  In Pennsylvania, 55=85, 65=95.  NO KIDDING!  So, I moved over to the right lane, also known as the slow lane, since I was going so much slower than everyone else.  Only to see a sign that said, “Slower traffic keep left.”  By now, I was confused, tired, and done, but trying to follow the rules, I moved over to the left lane.  I was then bombarded with blowing horns and people shooting me the finger as they drove by.  Fa held up her middle finger and asked me what it meant.  I told her it must be how they waved Hi in Pennsylvania.  A few minutes later I looked in my rearview mirror to see FA giving everyone the finger!!

To end this story, at dinner I ordered a sweet tea only to be looked at as if I had 3 heads!  A dad of one of the girls on the softball team said, “Honey, sorry to tell you , but you are too far north for sweet tea!!”  I began to mumble, “There is no place like home!  There is no place like home!”

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1 Step To Prevent The Stomach Bug

Cleaning puke has to be the worst task a mother has to do.  Well, maybe there are a few others, but cleaning puke ranks right up there at the top.  However, the other day as I trolled the internet I read that drinking a glass of 100% grape juice a day can prevent the stomach bug!  Key word here — PREVENTIVE.  If you give it to someone who already has the stomach bug, you will be cleaning up purple puke!

So, your 1 step to preventing the stomach bug is GRAPE JUICE!

Now let’s explore this idea a bit more. 

  1. I am not a doctor, and I have not been able to find any science to actually back this up, but I have read several testimonies by “real” moms (opposed to the fake moms) that says it works.  I also read that it is the acidic level that prevents the stomach bug from surviving in the digestive tract. 
  2. The grape juice has to be 100% not a juice cocktail.  There was some mention of cranberry juice working too which is also great for those pesky UTIs.  It is recommend Welch’s 100% grape juice not the essiential or the calcuim fortified or the light or the white —  just straight grape juice!  I guess this could be a marketing ploy by Welch’s, but hey, if it works, I am all for it. 
  3. The recommendation is one glass daily until you start to hear the rumor that the stomach bug is going around and then up it to three glasses a day.  DO NOT GIVE IT TO SOMEONE THAT HAS THE STOMACH BUG ALREADY!
  4. Yes, grape juice has a lot of calories in it.  However, if you drink one glass a day at breakfast, it is a great way to start the day and you can find other places to cut a few calories.  I recommend eating a cup of yogurt each day too since it has probiotics which are also good for the gut and cutting out that cheeseburger for lunch.   Just a suggestion.

Well, I hope this tip works for you and your family and you remain bug free!!


Turning 6 — The Baby’s Birthday — A Mother’s Reflection (Again)

Birthdays are bittersweet for moms.  You want to celebrate the joy of the new life you helped bring into this world on that special day, but at the same time, you mourn that your babies are growing up and your role in life is changing.  Both of my beautiful daughters are born in July; so, while it is a joyous month, it is also a month in which I do a lot of reflection.

July 25, 2006 — I had been in labor for about 24 hours, and my doctor kept telling me I was experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions because my contractions weren’t regular, but Ik new differently.  Finally, after a hot shower, my contractions started at 3 minutes apart regularly.  It happened so fast — Terry and my stepson drove me to the hospital at about 90 mph while I screamed.  They wheeled me into the labor and delivery room; I stood up; my water broke; and 45 minutes later she was here.  It happened so fast, and I experienced every second of her birth because I was too far along in labor to get the epideral and because I had been in labor (pain) for 24 hours I was slightly dehydrated and they couldn’t even get an IV to give me pain meds.  I think that is how Fa wanted it — she wanted me to experience every second.  Her way of saying, “Savour every minute — the good and the bad because life is too short to gloss over anything.”  This is still her approach to life 6 years later.

Fa is my youngest, and I still baby her way too much even though she will be 6, but it is hard to know that the “baby” phase of motherhood is almost over.  I cling to Fa because she represents for me all that is free and beautiful in this world.

After Terry and I had been married for two years, we decided we wanted a baby, and he really wanted a little girl.  I was 33 when the plan formed, and I clearly stated that if I wasn’t pregnant by the time I was 35 I wasn’t going to get pregnant simply because I didn’t want to be “too old.”   We tried for over a year with no luck.  I began seeing a specialist and began taking medication to help us along in the process.  One morning as I was praying, I asked for God’s will to be done.  I told him that I was going to turn this over to him, and if he wanted to bless us with a baby, he would and if he didn’t, then I would accept his decision.  I stopped taking the medicine, and two weeks later I was pregnant.  You may say it was the medicines that was still in my system, but I say it was God’s blessing!  Did I mention it was 4 months before my 35th birthday!?

I named my precious gift Linda Faith.  Linda is my mother’s name. I wanted to honor the woman who had stood by me and supported me and loved me through everything; I also wanted to honor God.  I named her Faith because without faith it is impossible to please God.  In the first verse of Hebrews it says, “Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  And that is what my Faith is to me — the evidence of things not seen — love, hope, trust, etc.

Fa is the glue that holds this family together.  We have the “his,” “mine,” and “ours” syndrome going on.  Terry has Austin from his first marriage, and I have K from my ex.  In the beginning, it was easy to separate into teams — us against them, but after Fa came along, we bonded more as a family.  Austin and K have a sister that they share together, and let me tell you, Fa loves her Bubbie and her Sissy!!  Terry and I have Fa together which made us grow closer.  So, there is no longer the us against them — it is simply US!!

Fa is my spit-fire!  She is free-spirited and funny and creative.  She is everything I am not!  Sometimes I wish I could be more like her because she milks life for everything it is worth.  She reminds me to slow-down a bit, to laugh more, and to not take myself so seriously.  I love her immensely!!

I have a special song that I say is “our” song.  It is “Smile” by Uncle Kracker:


American Girl Birthday Party At The American Girl Store

Birthday parties are a pretty big deal around here.  We spend oodles of time debating girl birthday party ideas. This year Fa will turn 6, and she wanted to get an American Girl doll.  She also wanted to have a party at the bowling alley.  We weighed our options and decided that because of the cost of the doll and accessories we would have to have a small party.  I recorded our party in pictures and have to say it was a blast.  Anyone with a little girl 6 and up that is looking for birthday party ideas, I highly recommend the American Girl Doll Store!

We made it a girls day!  It was myself, Fa, Nana, Auntie B, and cousin Cassidy.  We live about 2 hours from Washington DC which is where the store was located and usually traffic is awful, but we made it ok to the mall; however, finding the store was no minor feat because it is the 11th largest mall in the United States.  Today, the mall has 2.1 million square feet of retail space on three levels, 16 movie screens, and nearly 300 stores.

Talking about exciting once we found those bright red walls!!  Once inside, there was no containing Fa.  It is as if all her little 6 year old dreams had come true!

I wanted her to take her time and explore what they had to offer on those two levels, and I have to admit even I was feeling a bit giddy looking at all the cool stuff!!  Fa was most fascinated with the accessories.  That is the kind of girl she is.  In the picture, she has discovered a miniature version of the game Apples to Apples!  Notice her shoes?  They are actually mine — shows I am not a perfect parent because I didn’t even know she had them on until we were walking into the store!

The bath tub was a huge hit with her.  I loved watching her play with the display items and using her imagination.  It was cool that the store was interactive, and the kids felt comfortable enough to explore.

Trust me as she played her list of items she wanted was growing!!

We had limits so she just created a Christmas list, a 7th birthday list, a New Year Eve’s list, and well, you get the picture!

Since Fa has been dancing for two years now, she was excited to find the ballerina outfit, and it was quickly added to the list!

After an hour or so of shopping and exploring and listing, Fa discovered the arts-n-crafts table.  Next to dancing, arts and crafts are her favorite things.  She made a bracelet and an inspirational mirror.  The store encouraged creativity and a respect for being a young girl.

After we partied in the store, I had reservations for a birthday meal in the American Girl Bistro.

As you can see by the look on Auntie B’s and Cassidy’s face, we were all famished.  Spending money makes you hungry.

Here you see Cassidy with her bitty baby, Mary Elizabeth.  Fa loved sharing this day with her cousin.  Cassidy is very kind to Fa and made it a very special day for her!  GG loves her Cassidy a ton.

Here is Fa with her doll, Brooke.  Notice that the dolls have high chairs to sit at the tables with their moms, and if a girl comes to eat and doesn’t have a doll, they have ones they will loan to you.  How nice is that?

Appetizers for everyone — Fa had fruit kebabs with yogurt dipping sauce.

I had artichoke and spinach dip which everyone at the table seemed to like, and I wanted to lick the bowl!

Nana and Cassidy each got the cheese fondue which I tried and also found delish.

And Auntie B got a salad.  She threatened to cut our fingers off if we tried to eat hers!  Just kidding.

Our entrees were just as good as the appetizers– Fa ordered the itty bitty Picnic meal which came with with a slider hamburger and a mini hotdog and a salad kebab.

Auntie B and I ordered an out-of-this-world chicken sandwich with fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers.  Can you say YUMMMM?  because I sure did!

Even Brooke got an amazing tea cup with berries.  Fa loved that touch.  Notice her hat and sticker?  I am telling you those tiny details did not go unnoticed by my birthday girl.

After such a delicious meal, they brought Fa a beautiful cake.  Of course, pink and white!

And then they sung happy birthday to her.  She tried to act embarrassed, but she was loving every minute of the attention.

The cake was delicious served with ice cream.

Fa and Cassidy were getting their babies ready for the ride home after a fun and exciting day in Washington DC at the American Girl Store.  Notice the bag in the forefront of the picture.  That was a goodie bag given to Fa and her guest which included a doll balloon and shirt as well as a book.

Overall,  I would have to say, the birthday party at the American Girl Store was a success as evident by her deep sleep!

Next year it has already been decided the party will be at the bowling alley!

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Summer Bucket List Update #2

A few weeks back I created a Summer Bucket List.  My hope was to slow down and enjoy this amazing time of year.  I wanted to give you an update —

I have been moving a bit slower on tackling my summer bucket list, but I am still making progress and enjoying it.  This week I focused on #8. Make Sure To Do Something Just For Me — Right now I am leaning towards getting a pedi and also, hanging out by the pool without anyone around to watch!  

I did get that pedi with my oldest daughter, K, who just recently returned from a trip to Italy and Greece.  However, my biggest accomplishment towards tackling #8 is in the picture below:

 Do you see that?  A beautiful slice of Chocolate Silk Cake and my new hardwood floors (Thanks Terry) and my new TV with Netflix waiting for me to select any show I want.  Of course, you see that — it is what you don’t see that matters!!  No kids or husband.  No one yelling for a bite of my delicious cake that I bought all for me.  No one fussing about what to watch on the tv!!  Listen!  Do you hear it?  That is right — NOTHING!!  It was just me, myself, and I — I ate that entire slice of cake and watched some trashy movie that I don’t even remember the name of, and I enjoyed every minute of it!  GOOD FOR ME!!
You should try a little peace and quiet and some self-indulgence.  You might just like it!

Silly Saturday: Seagull Steals From The World’s Laziest Cat

You have to watch this all the way to the end.  That is the funniest.  Remember it is Saturday; so, SMILE!

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Babies Don’t Keep — What an amazing way to put it. Enjoy life right now!

Coffee & Lilacs

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek – peekaboo.

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew,
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo.
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

A friend recently posted this on her facebook page.  It struck such a sweet chord in me as a reminder to slow down and has been in my head ever since. …

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The Chore Tub — End The Trail Of Toys Left Around the House!

If I find one more Barbie, baby doll, game, book, coloring book, etc left laying around the house, it becomes mine until they earn it back.  No more yelling, screaming, kicking the cat, or pulling my hair out.  What a great idea.  Get a tub or basket and let the kiddos (and husband) know that if they leave their toys around the house that you put them in the tub until they complete a chore to earn it back.  If after a month, they haven’t earned their toy back I donate it to a local charity.  Problem solved:  kids (husband) learn a little bit of responsibility; I get some payback, and life is good.  Give it a try!


“AHHH Mom! No TV! What Will I Do Now?” — 10 Things To Do Besides Watch TV

In a past post about  the movie Gifted Hands, I discussed how much Ben Carsons’ mother, Sonya Carson, inspired me.  She set very clear boundaries for her two boys, and she held them to the highest standards.  Of course, the children didn’t like it at the time; however, it paid off because one became the world’s best neurosurgion and the other became an engineer.  Their mother’s determination and focus played a major role in their success.

One of her rules only allowed her boys to watch 2 pre-selected TV shows a week.  Their free time was filled with reading!  I have compiled a list of 10 activities we can have our kids do other than watch tv.

1) READ — You knew this had to be number one on the least for several reasons.  1) I am an English teacher. 2) Sonya Carson made her boys read. 3) Reading is an amazing skill that will impact you in numerous ways.  Want to find ways to encourage your children to read?  Check out this post.

2) GET CREATIVE — Encourage your children’s imagination with some great activities such as puppet shows, scrapbooking, or play dough.  This is a great opportunity to find activities that interest your child and maybe discover a new talent.  And yes, this means you have to get off the TV and computers too!  Remember lead by example!

3) GET ACTIVE — Burn some energy and develop some muscle!  This is another great opportunity to share a sport that you love or develop talents of your child.  You can do something as simple as go for a walk or a bike ride or something more complicated as get a neighborhood kickball game going.  Whatever you do make it fun!

4) VOLUNTEER – I deeply regret that I didn’t get my oldest daughter more involved with volunteer opportunities when she was younger.  Volunteering is not only a terrific way for kids to get out, but it also teaches them about service and helping others as well. There are lots of agencies that would be happy to have children volunteer, provided an adult comes along too. Suggestions include Meals on Wheels, local nursing homes, local library, and I know there are many others.

5) TAKE A FIELD TRIP — I am sure there are some amazing places for you to visit with your children right in your town.  A local park, a museum, or a local garden/farm are great suggestions.  This summer I plan to take Fa to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  The exposure helps young people broaden their horizons and see life from different perspectives.

6) CELEBRATE — I think we should celebrate more!  Celebrate what you say?  Well, how about the “UNbirthday” party?  Or have a party because it is Tuesday?  Or celebrate the fact that it is July?  I don’t know — just party like it is 1999.  Turn on some music dance, play party games, and eat cake (that you baked together of course)!

7) PLAY A GAME — There are a million games to play, and there are so many skills that children learn when playing games, and they don’t even know they are learning something!  Play “I Spy”, hide and go seek, charades, Simon Says, flashlight tag, and don’t forget the countless board games and card games you probably have tucked away in the closest.  My two oldest children still laugh about a game we played one time at the beach, and I acted like a pirate!  Obviously, I was a very funny pirate because they fall on the floor laughing each time someone brings it up!

8) BUILD SOMETHING — Building something is on my Summer Bucket List!  Creating something develops the very important skill of problem-solving!  You can make it as simple as building a fort in the living room or as complicated as building a tree house!  Whatever it is do it together and have fun!

9) LEARN SOMETHING NEW — “You never know until you try it.”  Let your children try new things.  Teach them how to bake, to identify the stars, or to make origami.  Who knows what you may discover.

10) BE STILL — Sound strange in this day and age when everyone is go, go, go!  Some of my favorite times were sitting under the mimosa tree with my grandparents.  We didn’t talk.  We just sat.  We were still!  It quiets the soul and is a skill that most of our children have not mastered.  Help them learn the beauty of being still.

Enjoy life!!!  Live life!!!  Don’t just watch it!!

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One Lovely Blog Award!


I am honored that others read my blog, and I hope that it makes you laugh at times and maybe cry at others because the good Lord knows that parenting is not easy!  Please take a moment to get to know me below with my 7 interesting facts and then check out these other amazing blogs!
Rules of acceptance: Thank the person/people who nominated you and link back to them in your post. Share seven possibly unknown things about yourself. Nominate fifteen or so bloggers you admire. Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know and link back to them.

1.  I am a Pepsi addict. To me, nothing is better than the bite of a ice cold Pepsi in the morning!

2. My feelings get hurt really easy.  I often internalize what people say even in a joking manner!

3. I want a mini cow to go with the pet goat that I want.  I think it will be a great addition to my 2 chickens!

4.  My dream is to set foot on every continent before I die.

5. I love to watch my children sleep.  Even though they are 15 and 5, I still lay my hand on them to feel them breath while they sleep.  How I will miss that when they are grown and gone.

6. I have become more ‘traditional’ with each year I age.

7.  I never really believed that anyone would actually read my blog.

Other blogs that deserve attention:

1. Hurdles to Happiness

2. Nicole White Speaks

3. All That Makes You

4. Colddead’s Heart Blog

5. Health Demystified

6. Soup To Nuts

7. What I Meant To Say

8. Wonderfully Wired

9. Somewhat Muddled Musings

10. International Homemaker

11. Homemaker Chic

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