Category Archives: Parent

Life Is Like A Box Of Brown Stuff

Sorry Forrest, but you are wrong.  Like is NOT like a box of chocolates.

If it was like a box of chocolates, the worst that could happen is…well…getting chocolate.  Even your least favorite piece has some sweetness.

Even if you see what you are sure is a speck of Vanilla Buttercream  peeking through the chocolate coating but, after you pop it into your mouth, realize the white you saw is actually coconut.  Disappointing, yes.  But it is just coconut.  It is still not more than you can chew.  You may not enjoy it, but one big gulp and the worst is over.

Life is much harder than that.  Life is sometimes not sweet at all.  It can be downright sour.

Life has days that are too awful to swallow.  Days when the piece of brown in the box is not chocolate at all.  Days when you have been handed a shit day.

I’ve had a shit day.

All 4 kids are in trouble.  Usually it seems to work out that 1 or 2 kids cause me stress at once, and the others kind of give me a break.  Not this time.  Three are grounded, one perhaps until he’s 18.  And the 4th came home last night with his ears pierced.  Without permission.  Not professionally done, I might add.  He was told he can’t wear them in the house so he sat on the porch in protest.  He wasn’t “in the house.”  Damn technicality.  So 3 can’t leave the house and one can’t enter.  I won’t go into further detail but just suffice it to say the earring isn’t the worst thing that happened.  And Jim’s “help” with the situation is causing more stress than a 5th child.  Shit.  Day.

And Mr. Gump says life is like a box of chocolates because “you never know what you’re gonna’ get.”  But you CAN know what you are going to get!  You can totally cheat.  You can smush your grubby little finger right into the piece of chocolate.  Don’t like what you see?  Put it back!  (For future reference, you can even hide all evidence of the “peek” if you make sure you only smush the bottom and careful push the chocolate back into place. Not that I’ve ever done that…)

In life, smushes don’t help.  No matter what you see, you are stuck with it.  No give backs.  You will just have a shit day, plus shit on your hands.

Now, some boxes of chocolate even come with a “map” on the lid showing you what kind of chocolate is in each location.  Wouldn’t that be great in life?

“I need an easy day today…chocolate buttercream day, third from the left on the bottom row.  Perfect.” 

“I can handle some bumps in the road today…Almond Cluster day, top row in the middle.” 

“I could use a little pampering…where’s that chocolate truffle day?”

You know what sucks about the “map” though?  I usually end up with it upside down in relation to the box and end up getting Orange Cream instead of what I thought I chose.  Yeah, that does pretty much sum up my life sometimes too.  Orange Cream.  Who LIKES Orange Cream anyway???

In life, not only is there no map, you don’t even know what variety your box contains.  With a box of chocolates, you at least know your favorite kind IS in the box somewhere.  Usually at least two of them.  At some point, you WILL get to pick your favorite before your box is empty.  You know you have that to look forward to.  The best is coming.

In life, there may be none of your favorites at all.  You may have a box of nothing but Molasses Chew – tough and not very enjoyable.  Or you may have all Vanilla Buttercream – good, but boring after a while.  I would love to have a box full of Vermont Cream (best piece of Russell Stover ever).  But in reality, I just hope for at least a Caramel and a Maple Nut every once in a while.  And very little shit.  Please.  Not too much shit.

I think I will go buy a box of Russell Stover now.  While I don’t agree that life is like a box of chocolates, I do know that a box of chocolates makes me like life a little more.  Especially on the days when I feel like I really stepped in it.

Or stuck my finger in it.

To Catch A Thief…Again??

Photo credit:

Remember the attempted skateboard theft this summer??  If not, you need to read “To Catch a Thiefhere before you read any further.  It happened again.

Yes, once again I had a run-in with scoundrels.  Two this time.  Two GIRLS.

I saw them in my car and next thing I knew, I watched them BOLT down the street.  They were much shorter than the skateboard thief, and much quicker.  They were almost out of sight before I could even blink.

Adrenaline kicked in and I started booking it down the street.  Again.  Barefoot.  Again.  (Well, I was wearing flip-flops but, of course, those things are impossible to run in so I kicked them off.)  Running like a loon in front of my neighbors.  Again.

This time the hooligans didn’t run into the woods.  They stayed on the sidewalk so I just kept chasing them.  Further than last time.  I was panting like a dog again, but so were they.  They were getting tired.  But I was getting tired faster.

The street is a circle so when we rounded a curve, they were out of sight.  I was afraid I lost them.  But I couldn’t give up.  I HAD to catch them.  I just HAD to.  They may have thought it was going to be an easy get-away.  But they were barking up the wrong tree.

I rounded another curve and saw them again.  I started howling “COME HERE!  COME BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!”  I guess one had an attack of conscience because she turned around and started heading back towards me.  But the other one kept going.  What to do now?  Catch the one who turned herself in, or keep going for the one who probably instigated the shenanigans??

A man and woman had seen what was transpiring and blocked the sidewalk, not letting the other one get by. I guess she wasn’t feeling as brave without her side-kick, so she also turned around.  Both girls came up to me, begging for forgiveness.  Not this time.  No more Mrs. Nice Guy.  I will NOT make this a walk in the park for these two.  I will hound them until I’m sure they have learned their lesson.

  It was a hairy situation, but the man and woman helped me constrain the girls and another neighbor that was driving by asked if I needed her to fetch some help.  (Where was all this help when I was chasing the skateboard thief??)  I was having a rough time getting the girls back to my house to face their punishment, so the man offered to help lead one while I made the other follow on my heels.  I was so thankful for the assistance, I was the man’s best friend at that moment.

As I looked down at the thugs, it almost seemed as though they were playing a game.  Especially the one that seemed to enjoy the chase a little too much.  I think the other realized it wasn’t a game though because I heard her whimper.

I made sure to get a photo again.  But this time it wasn’t as blurry.  I wanted to make sure there was no question about the identity of the culprits.  You can tell by looking at their faces who is feeling remorseful and who is destined to a life of crime.  Scroll down to see the delinquents…

Brace yourself…

It is a shocking image…

The faces of pure evil…

Angela’s Most Wanted

The offenders: our escapee dogs, Cookie and Brownie.  They may have sweet names…and faces…but don’t let them fool you.  They are trouble.  With a capital T.

No more “let’s go for a fun car ride” for these two for a while.  Who knew the goofy one on the left would slip out of her collar while I was getting her out of the car.  And who knew the normally obedient one would follow on the adventure!

Are they thieves though?  Yes, in fact they are.

What did they steal, you may ask?  My dignity.  That’s what.

After running with the big dogs, now I need to hang on the porch.

In a Minute

“In a minute.”  How many times have I said that to my kids when they ask me to do something with them?  Way too many.

Last night, a minute was the difference between a scary situation and a disastrous situation for Jim and Greg.

As they waited at a stop light, they suddenly had front row seats to a high-speed car chase.   A car seemingly came out of nowhere, hightailing it into the intersection.  As the driver attempted to turn at the high rate of speed, the car slid sideways, jumped the curb, started to roll, and ultimately slammed into an embankment.

Almost immediately, a police car followed in hot pursuit.  The officer stopped and jumped out with his gun drawn.  Jim could hear him yell, “Get down on the ground!”  The driver put his hands up and flung himself out of the car, landing face down.  The officer stood as still as a statue – gun still aimed – waiting for backup.  (If you look closely at the photo, you can see both the gun and the guy sprawled on the ground.)

In a minute, the light would have turned green and Jim and Greg could have been in the middle of that intersection.  In a minute, they might have been more than witnesses.  In a minute, things may have turned tragic.

Greg got in trouble this week and I was lecturing him about it again last night.  One of the last things I said before we parted was, “I’m so disappointed in you.”  I meant I’m disappointed in that specific behavior.  But I said “in you.”  I shudder to think how those words would have haunted me if, in a minute, something terrible had happened.  How I would have re-played in my mind every single time I responded “in a minute” to a request.

Mom, will you play Battleship with me?”  “In a minute.”

“Mom, will you make cookies with me?”  “In a minute.”

“Mom, may we go to the mall?”  “In a minute.”

Jim said when it happened, Greg just kept saying over and over “That was unexpecting.  It was really unexpecting.”  Then later he added, “We’ve had some unusual Daddy/Greg time before, but that was the most unusual-est!”  When I asked him if he was scared, he replied “No!  It was awesome!”

I love that he is still unjaded and innocent enough that he doesn’t comprehend what could have happened in that minute.  That he doesn’t realize that life can change in a minute.

To rephrase a common quote, live each second to its fullest; you never know what the next minute may bring.

Greg, you are so right.  Life is unexpecting.  It is really unexpecting.

“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.” ~Ronald Reagan

A Real Pain in the Coccyx

It isn’t often that a broken bone is funny.  Unless, of course, the bone has a funny name.  And the patient is a 13-year-old boy.

Jake literally got knocked on his butt last night during his football game and was still in a lot of pain this morning, so off to the urgent care center we went.  Had to stop myself when asked the reason for the visit.  “Jake is a pain in the…uh…I mean Jake HAS a pain in the butt.”

Jake’s reaction to showing the female nurse “where it hurt” was enough to get me in a giggly mood.  The blushing cheeks and the one word please-let-this-be-over answers showed that the nurse’s questions were much more painful than the injury.

Once she left the room, Jake announced that he needed to fart (boys feel the need to proclaim that hourly).  The conversation went something like… “Don’t you dare!” “But I have to.” No, this is a tiny room and the doctor will be in any second.”  “I can’t hold it.”  “Don’t do it!  The doctor may think it was me!!”

When the doctor came in, the first thing he said was “Yes, you can smell it in the air…”  I glared at Jake as if to say TELL ME YOU DIDN’T DO IT!!!  Fortunately, the doctor continued his statement “Yes, you can smell it in the air.  Football season and the injuries it brings.”  Whew.  I had to cover my face to hide the chuckling over what I thought the statement was referencing.  I’m not sure what the doctor said for the next 5 minutes, because I was using all of my focus trying to maintain my composure.

For some reason, hearing someone say buttocks is hysterical to boys.  Every time it was mentioned, Jake would smirk and glance at me.  “Did you get hit in the buttocks or did you fall on your buttocks?”  Snicker.  Snicker.  “Does your right buttock hurt more than your left buttock?” Snicker.  Snicker.  And so on…  I was trying to do anything to prevent an outburst of laughter.  Bit my lip.  Fake coughed.  Thought of the ending of Toy Story 3.  That worked.  The doctor probably thought I was overreacting a bit to be tearing up about the injury but at least I wasn’t going to be known as the Mom who laughed at her child’s broken bone.

Photo credit

By the time the doctor began talking about the crushed coccyx bone, I could barely contain myself.  “The bones in your spine curve in at your lower back and then once it gets below the sacrum, it curves back out.  The bone that sticks out at the bottom is the coccyx.”  A bone called the coccyx sticking out below the sacrum…well, I’m sure you can picture the expression on Jake’s face.  The word buttocks is funny to a teen boy; the word coccyx is hilarious.  Add in the word sacrum, and it’s too much to handle.  I couldn’t even look Jake in the eye because I knew if I did, I would be rolling on the floor.

If there is going to be a bone referred to as the “funny bone,” I think the coccyx bone would be a better choice than the elbow.  But then again, the skin covering the elbow is sometimes referred to as the wenus so, yeah, I guess that is funnier.  Hey docs, who named these body parts anyway??

Now before I get slammed for being unsympathetic, I do feel very bad for Jake.  I know first-hand that it is very painful because I broke my tailbone falling down some stairs once.  Perhaps a problem of weak cheeks runs in the family?  Our family just tends to find humor in strange places.  Just imagine if he broke his humerus bone…

If laughter is the best medicine, Jake should heal very quickly.  I surely hope this injury doesn’t cause Jake to be the butt of any jokes.

Tales of a Tattle

Greg: “Eric called me a snitch.”
Me (to Greg): “Just tell him that’s not nice.”
Me (to Jim): “He is snitching about being called a snitch.  Do you see the irony here??”
A minute later…
Greg: “Now he called me a tattle-tale for telling that he called me a snitch.”
Jim:   “Greg, what is the definition of a tattle-tale?”
Greg: “Someone who tells on someone else that isn’t doing something very bad.”
Me:    “And what are you doing now?”
Greg: “…oopsie…”
  • Greg: “I’m going to go play Jake’s PS3.”
  • Me:    “Did Jake say it is ok?”
  • Greg: “Yes, he owes me time because he punched me but I didn’t tell.”
  • Me:   “Well…you kinda’ just did.”

Brother, can you spare a dime? Or quarter?

  • Me: “So did you and Greg decide to switch chores?”
  • Eric: “No.”
  • Me: “But I’ve seen Greg feeding the pets a lot recently”
  • Eric: “I know.  I give him a quarter to do it.”
  • Me: “But we pay you more than a quarter.”
  • Eric: “I know.”
  • Me: “So you pay him PART of what we pay you, and he does it??”
  • Eric: “Not exactly.  I usually find a quarter he left lying around and just give him the same one again.”


Welcome, Day of Sweet Repose

Yes, officially it may be Labor Day.  A day intended to celebrate work and also the symbolic end of summer.  However, for me today is a day to recover from the first week of school, and to mourn the end of summer.

The first week of school is really tough.  Adjusting to rising early, making a good impression on the new teachers, getting all the homework done.  No, not the kids.  ME!

The horrid beeping of the dreaded alarm aside, the first week is full of assignments for the parents.  This early in the year, I’m still trying to give the illusion that I have it all together.  By the end of the year, it is unquestionably apparent that I do not, but I start out each year using slight of hand tricks to cover the truth.

Monday started out well.  I got all 4 of the dreaded “first day packets” filled out.  It even seemed less time consuming this year.  Maybe after 12 years, I’m finally getting it.  I even filled out the “describe your child” sheet for Eric, which I find extremely difficult.  “Five adjectives that best describe your child.”  OK Miss Teacher, do you want me to describe my child or really describe my child?

Abrasive, Combative, Volatile, Obnoxious and Selfish.  No, that’s is how his brothers would describe him.

Argumentative, Whiny, Defiant, Forgetful, Lazy.  No, that’s only when asked to do chores.

Brilliant, Enchanting, Enthusiastic, Responsible, Dazzling.  No, too kiss up.

Kind, Bright, Funny, Happy, Stubborn.  Simple, with a negative thrown in for a reality check.  Bingo.

Truthfully, I don’t remember which adjectives I ended up using.  I know stubborn stayed.  The rest were probably barely legible because I changed my mind so much I almost erased right through the paper.  Immediately I put the paperwork in the kids’ backpacks to be returned the next day.  Put one in the win column.

Eric came home Tuesday with all the papers still in his folder, exactly where I had proudly placed them.  Are you kidding me??  “Teacher, teacher, I did my homework.  I did it all.  I did my best.  But…my dog ate it?  Well, my kid ate it.  Or forgot to turn it in.  Something like that.”  Come on Eric.  Let me look good past the SECOND day of school!

One of my other homework tasks for Eric’s class is to sign his agenda every day.         Simple enough.  Illegible initials in the signature box.  Check.  On Thursday I notice – in bid red letters – a note from the teacher.  A note that was written on TUESDAY.  In addition to not turning in my homework, he didn’t turn in his time capsule.  Apparently I’m not JUST supposed to sign the agenda.  I’m supposed to actually READ it first.  Maybe the teacher needs to add flashing lights and sirens next time.

In the backpack the time capsule went, to be turned in first thing Friday.

Sigh.  First homework assignment 3 days late.

Friday afternoon I notice an envelope on the couch.  That looks similar to that troublesome time capsule envelope.  No way.  Are you kidding me??  No, really.  Someone must be messing with me.

Sigh.  First homework assignment 4 days late.

If it actually gets there tomorrow.

Trying to keep the illusion going this year is going to require some smoke and mirrors. And maybe a rabbit. 


Gone are the days of the terms “semi-colon,” “colon,” “left parentheses,” and “right parentheses.”
Greg was playing around in Microsoft Word and referred to them as “wink,” “shift eyes,” “shift frown,” and “shift smile.”
😉    🙁    🙂

(From 1/8/12)

There they go, just a walking down the street. Singing Do Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Do.

This school year, we had a dilemna.  Are Eric and Greg are old enough to walk home from school alone?  After going back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth), we decided yes.  Since we live less than a mile from the school, we do not have bus service.  Up until this point, someone has picked them up every day.  There are walking paths and sidewalks the entire route home and there will be 4-5 kids walking together.  No big deal, right?

Today was the first day of school.  They were very excited about the big walk.  As the day progressed, scenarios went through my head of things going wrong.

  1. What if they forget they are supposed to walk home and stand out in front of the school waiting for me.   The other Moms will think I forgot to pick up my kids on the very first day!  How embarrassing will that be???  Yeah, my first “worry” was what others would think, not safety.  Mom of the year here.
  2. One of the paths goes near a busy road.  What if they are goofing around and go off the path?  What if they get too close to the road with the cars whizzing by??  At least my SECOND worry was safety.  I redeemed myself.  A little.
  3. What if Eric and Greg get in an argument?  They have reached the age that arguments between them usually turn physical.  I pictured them rolling around in the grass, wrestling and punching as their buddies cheered “Fight. Fight. Fight.”
  4. What if they get lost?  They could be wandering through the woods hours later in the dark.  We’ve walked that way many times so that thought was most ridiculous, but it was still a thought.

I finally calmed my fears by deciding to walk half way to meet them.  That was a good compromise for the first day.  I knew they wouldn’t be happy to see me intruding on their “big boy freedom” but that’s ok.

At dismissal time, I strolled out of the house thinking of a good response to the “why are you here, Mom?” question when I met them.  “It’s just such a pretty day, I decided to walk also.”  That wouldn’t really be convincing as I had sweat dripping from the 95 degree heat.  Oh well, stalker Mom it is.

I got half-way to the half-way point when it dawned on me – there are two different ways they could walk home.  We hadn’t discussed which way they were going to walk.  If I picked the wrong path, I would miss them completely and they would go home to an empty house and think Mom didn’t even care enough to be home to see how their first day went.  I turned around and walked back home.  At least they won’t know I was helicopter Mom now.

Twenty minutes after dismissal passes and they still aren’t home. Common sense told me dismissal takes longer than normal on the first day and the kids aren’t going to sprint home, but I still wondered if one of my premonitions had happened.  To the car I go.  I drive to the end of our street and as I turn onto the next street, I see them.  Almost home.  Not on the route I was walking on to meet them, of course.  They were happily walking on the side-walk, grinning from ear to ear.  I thought about slouching down in the seat and backing down the street back to our house so they wouldn’t see me, but it was too late.

They walked over to my car and, as predicted, Eric says “What are you doing?”  I sheepishly respond, “just checking.”  He gave me the one eyebrow raised look that I know too well.  As they are standing in the road by my car talking to me, I realize that THIS moment is probably the LEAST safe moment of their walk.  Way to go Mom.

After the friends go to their houses, Eric and Greg sprint home.  They get to our driveway faster than I can drive there.  They race to see who can get on the video game system the quickest as they yell “we don’t have homework, but YOU do!”

I guess they really are ready to walk home alone.  It’s me that isn’t.