Friday, February 28, 2014


Disclaimer: This is another one of those posts. If you know me in real life, you are not allowed to bring this up, to my face. Ever.

For the last few years, our church has had a Valentine's dinner. A night out, to a nicer than normal restaurant, married couples only, no children, dinner.  And, after the dinner, the pastor gives us a Marriage Challenge.

If you are like me, your first thought is "Marriage is enough of a challenge, I don't need an official gameboard."

But, hear me out. It's a month of different activities, designed to bring you closer together as a couple. Some of the activities are really lame. Like "repeat your wedding vows" (that one was removed this year,everyone agreed it was lame) or "10 min foot rubs" (both my husband and I don't like to have our feet touched so we substituted something else).

Some are really simple. Bring home flowers. Make his favorite dessert. 30 min of doing whatever he wants.

We've never been able to finish out the whole month. Something always comes up and derails us. But, it's fun trying and the sentiment behind it is important.

Now, on to the embarrassing part. (you didn't even read the first part, did you? Just skipped down to here, huh?)

Some of the activities are to happen in the bedroom. Or, other places. "Remote night" is not referring to the t.v. remote.  "Naughty Poem" night. Self explanatory. No. I will not publish my poem.

The other night was "Surprise Him" night.

Now, we have 4 children. Three of them go to bed pretty early in the evening. The 15 year old stays up late. So, if we want know...we lock the door. Duh. And hope his headphones he's wearing playing Xbox work.

The other night, "Surprise" night, we had had some depressing news. We both were just down and tired and feeling very defeated.

As we got in to bed, Judd asked what the day's challenge was. I told him "I'm suppose to surprise you in bed. But, really, I'm not into it tonight. How about the fact that I'm willing is a surprise???"
He was game. Duh.

We were enjoying our quality time when we heard quite a ruckus outside our bedroom window. Some sort of vehicle noise. We didn't really think too much of it. Until, Jayce knocked on our bedroom door.

We both stop..moving. Listen. Did we just hear a knock?? Maybe if we don't move again, at all, he will go away? 

Jayce :  "Dad? Mom?' 

Judd: looks at me, clears his throat, tries to sound as normal as possible,  "Yes?"

Jayce:  "Somebody just drove up into our yard, up in the grass and over the reflectors at the driveway! And, he drove off and is dragging his bumper down the road! Sparks are flying every where! And, the cops are right behind him!!"

Me (whispering to my husband) "SURPRISE!!!"

Who says you can't still be surprised, even after 20 years together? ( :

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


My kids are all very different, but, one thing they all have is a sense of humor. I don't just mean they can tell a knock-knock joke, but they can think of smart comments on the spot. And, like most kids, if they get people to laugh once, they will rinse and repeat many times, hoping for the same response. But, generally, that first zinger is worth it. 

One thing Jarrett (just turned 9) possesses more strongly than my other three kids is the NEED to be right. All. The. Time.  No matter what. No matter that it is obvious to anyone  within a 5 mile radius that he is wrong, he will fight to the death that he is right. Or, a close cousin to always being right, it's somebody else's fault. It makes disciplining this young man very, very.....interesting. More often than not, any correction on our end causes tears on his end as he is so adamant he is in the right.

On a recent afternoon, shortly after the boys had gotten off the school bus, Jarrett said to me: "Mom, didn't you say Mr. Haas (a teacher at school) was my uncle?" 

Me:  "No!! Why on earth would I say that??"
Jarrett immediately breaks into tears.
Me: "Jarrett?? Did you tell people at school he was your uncle?"
Jarrett: "Yes!! You SAID he was!!"
Me: "No. I did not. I would never say anything like that, not even as a joke."
Jarrett:  "Yes!! You DID!!" 

Hot, angry tears are pouring down his face.

Me: "Jarrett. I did not say that. If anything, the closest thing I said was your Uncle Steve knows Mr. Haas, which is true. But, that's not the same as saying he was your uncle!!" 
Jarrett: "You SAID!!"
Me: sigh...."No, I didn't but I'm done talking about this. I'm sure your friends won't even remember you saying that."

Later, after dinner, as we sat and watched "The Andy Griffith Show" (don't you just love that show?), I happened to remember our previous conversation. 

As I started to re-tell the story to Judd, Jarrett again started to cry and grumpily returned to "Mom!! You SAID he was my uncle."

Now, as I'm sure is the way with many fathers, Judd gets extremely irritated with Jarrett when he cries for no "good" reason. If he is physically injured or seriously emotionally hurt, of course Judd is compassionate. But, when he cries just because he's avoiding facing the fact that he is wrong about something, there's no compassion. 

Judd: "Are you crying?? That's silly. You just heard mom wrong, it's no big deal. Stop crying."

Jeven (Jarrett's younger brother), sees a chance to go in for the kill and says: What's the matter?  You upset?  Why don't you go cry to your new uncle!!?"

Was that mean? Yes.
Was it perfectly timed and appropriately used? Yes.
Did Judd and I hide our faces and pretend we weren't laughing? Nope!!
Did Jarrett actually crack a smile and can now, to this day, laugh at himself about the time he thought Mr. Haas was his teacher? Yup!
Does Jeven try the same line any time and place he thinks it might get a laugh? What do you think?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Where the Insane People Live

 I sit here tonight, crouched at the kitchen table, trying to look invisible as it seems I can do nothing without being interrupted or asked "what are you doing?".  Not that this is anything unusual, I've been a mom for 15 years, I know the drill. But, I realized this evening, it has been since before I quit my job, in October, that I've had any significant time to myself. I especially like when I'm home by myself. But, I haven't been home alone for ages. I am in need, that's for sure!!

My grandma ended up being admitted to the hospital and was there for about a week. She then went to a rehab facility. And, here is where I am thankful for my year working at the assisted living facility and my years of volunteering at other facilities. We, as her family, were given the choice of which facility to place my grandma in.  I immediately ruled out several and encouraged my mother to pick the one that Judd's grandma had wonderful experiences with and several of "my" residents went to and returned good as new.
Of course, you take a 83 year old woman who has lived on her own for 30 years, and put her in a place where she can't do her own medications or even use the toilet without assistance and you get a rough trip.
But, she slowly regained some of her strength and eventually was discharged.  She then flew with my aunt and uncle to Alaska and she will stay up there for a bit, while her house is updated to be a safer environment for her.  I'm sad to have her so far away but M&D have no easy task ahead of them.

My aunt and uncle (who I mentioned in the previous post, not in the paragraph above)  needed some help as well, this last month. My uncle required surgery and my aunt does not drive. So, I drove them back and forth to the hospital for several days (him just once, her back and forth to visit and eventually him when he was released) and while the 120 miles a day (yup) were alot, I spent some time with my aunt that I've been related to for almost 40 years (GAWD!!) but only just got to know a few weeks ago, thru the conversations in the waiting rooms, in the car and sitting quietly by my uncle's bed.  Seems she remembers many funny things about my childhood, and has very strong opinions about many things. It was interesting talks, for sure. 

Jarrett is half way thru his basketball season. And, we have decided this will be the last sport we participate in.  We just are not sports people. We could care less, we have many other things going on, we don't have the time to shuffle back and forth to a million practices a week, taking up entire weekends with games. And, the older the kids get,the more competitive the sports become. And, honestly, our kids don't show signs of hiding exceptional athletic ability.  And, being honest again, team sports are rarely about playing as a team. If you're lucky, you will get a coach that attempts to make it appear he's trying to teach them to play as a team. But, more often than not, it's about one or two exceptional kids who hog the ball, out score everyone, all while their parents cheer them on, not caring about anything else but winning. (No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask??)  My kids just want to have fun and wear cool shoes. And, get snacks. So, while they may protest, at first, when we tell them no more sports, I think they will in the long run, be okay.

We sold my husband's Samurai and we are hoping that will take the edge off of our financial stress. We are really trying to avoid me having to go back to work.  But, if I do, I imagine getting my old job back won't be a problem. My "wonderful" boss, that appreciated his employees like one appreciates a zit on their backside, "moved on to other things" most suddenly. I hear that the whole dining room full of senior citizens stood up and cheered the day he left.  

I tell ya, being a grown up is sometimes not everything I dreamed it would be. Sometimes, it's much much worse. But, sometimes, you get your almost 8 year old asking you: "Mom? I have a "Yes" or "No" question. Actually, it's just a "Yes" question. Can I have some soda?"  And, if I don't make a point to concentrate on him, on all of the people I love, big or little, grandmother, aunt, neighbor, check out clerk at the grocery store, I miss the funny things, I miss the intelligence that I thought was missing, the random kind things people do for other people, the random things I can do for strangers, if I don't stop to appreciate the little things that make me smile (like the obvious answer to Jeven's question), I would surely go insane.  And, I've seen where they put insane people, I don't want to go there!