Family · Words to Live By



I remember the stumbling blocks, obstacles, and ups and downs I encountered over the years-

  • The overwhelming feeling of terror when faced with the enormity of being responsible for the existence of that tiny human
  • Figuring out when to feed him, how much to feed him, his cries- as few as they were……
  • Getting him to sleep through the night- easier than one would think
  • Potty training- not as hard as it needs to be when you can bribe him with a mini-marshmallow each time he peed
  • Teaching him his colors- impossible until you find out he’s colorblind
  • Becoming the parent of two children and all the challenges that come with that additional tiny human
  • Lather. Rinse. Repeat….or not
  • Finding out that the second tiny human is nothing like the first was so all bets are off
  • The moment you realize that the three’s are much more terrible than the two’s could ever be!
  • Teaching him to tie his shoelaces- frustration at its best
  • Determining if he is left or right handed and then having to convince his teacher that you are correct
  • Carrying around a toddler who can’t refuses to walk at 15 months.
  • More potty training but this one can’t be bribed
  • Homework and having him read books to you (AHHHHH!)
  • Scarlet fever. Chicken Pox. Strep throat. And my all time favorite- the puking, diarrhea virus that landed us with a dehydrated sick baby in the ER and 2 puking kids at home with their grandma.
  • The third time human who completes your family but also throws all the rules and all the parenting experience you have amassed out the window causing you to have to rely completely and totally on instinct.
  • Ear infections and potty training and clingy, clingy, clingy.
  • Boy puberty. Girl puberty. Puberty. Puberty. Puberty.
  • So many years of school, activities, sports, music. Running. Running. Running.
  • And in the midst (2003-2015 to be exact) TEEN TOWN (Need I say anymore?)
  • You find out that your daughter is really your son but then no, no exactly your son but a very unique blend of both.
  • Your baby goes off to college.
  • Your oldest gets married and starts his family—–beginning the cycle all over again.

And here I sit on the other side, thinking about all of it and how consuming it was. At times it was exhausting and too many times I was so caught up in all of it that I forgot to sit back and savor those moments. I knew they were fleeting at the time but it was all moving so fast. With three children, there was always someone in crisis or needing attention.

The thing I find most interesting is that other people whose kids are the same age as my children have stood up, dusted off their hands and moved on. Their kids seem to be off living these independent lives, even the ones in college.

I have two in college and one married with kids and it seems to me that they need me even more now. Everyone was home for Thanksgiving and we got to spend some rare time together- all of us. While I was happy to have all my kids back home safe and sound for a short time, it wasn’t the relaxed time I had hoped it would be.

When my kids were growing up, I would get this feeling that something wasn’t right. Sometimes I knew which kid it was and sometimes I could even figure out what was wrong but there were other times when I couldn’t pin it on a specific child or if I knew which one it was, I was unable to locate the problem.

See, I have two kids in crisis right now. Parenting adult children is completely different than parenting kid kids. So much of it consists of propping them back up on their feet when they fall down, reassuring them that they can do this…..and then stepping away but not too far- just in case they fall again. That’s where I’m at with one of my children. We’ve been in this holding pattern for a few years now and I keep hoping that one of these days when I push him back up onto his feet he stays standing. Until then, I’m always nearby- keeping an eye on him. And I make sure that he knows that even if he doesn’t hear from me or see me, that I’m always there.

The other one is in a major crisis and although I know that there are people who would say (and have said) that I need to back off and let him figure this out, my gut instincts are screaming at me so freaking loud there are nights that I can’t sleep.

I wish that I could say that my track record sucks and that I’m wrong more times than I am right but when it comes to my kids… well, I know my kids. And so with this one, I’m staying closer, making sure he not only knows that I’m here but he sees it and feels it.

One of my closest friends lost his mother this weekend. I know that this is a difficult time for him and I wish I could be there for him but he’s out of town dealing with his loss. It reminds me that no matter how old you are, there are times when you still need your parents. You still need or want your parents to be parents because I think that the small child in you cries out for them.  I know so many people who would give one more day to see their parents one more time. I know what it feels like to want your parents and have them not be there. And mine are not gone. They are a few miles away, trying to not rock their boat while balancing on a fence. It’s not a good feeling.

So as long as I’m alive I will love my children and be there for them and I’ll even tell them to stop being asses when they are acting like jerks but no matter what they will know that I’m here.

Family · Gender

Define Normal

Nor´mal   Pronunciation: nôr´mal

1. According to an established norm, rule, or principle; conformed to a type, standard, or regular form; performing the proper functions; not abnormal; regular; natural; analogical.

Deviations from the normal type.

We are a normal family. Well, okay. As normal as any other family is, I guess. If you were to look at us passing us on the street, after cussing us out for causing chaos as we try to navigate with 6 adults and 2 children. You would see your average stressed out mom and overworked dad with their three sons- one married with two kids and the other two college age. Nothing out of the ordinary.

And then yesterday I found myself talking to the mother of a gay child. I feel the need to explain why I had to qualify that with “gay child” so you’ll understand. The common denominator of our meeting was our inclusion in the LGBT community.

She made a point of singling me out and told me that she has been watching the television show- “I Am Jazz”. She was wondering if I was watching it. (I am.) She went on to say how it was much better than she thought it would be and she was surprised.

I asked her why.

She said, “Because they seemed just like a normal family.”

Uhm. Okay.

I could feel the intake of breath from the person next to me because he instantly got it.

She did not.

I hesitated and said, “I think shows like Jazz’s are good because they show that families with transgender loved ones are just like any other normal family.”

My very first (and overriding) reaction was to laugh. We are just like a normal family. Or at least as normal as we ever were. Our normal is just a slightly different kind of normal but normal all the same.


Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge: Day 3

Here we are at the top of the hill, hump day, Day 3 of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge. I would like to thank Meredith for nominating me. This is turning into a real challenge for me. 🙂 It’s exactly what I needed to help get me out of a slump. Be sure to check out Meredith’s blog, Meredith’s Musings when you get the chance.

disney 2012

In 2012, we decided to go to Disney World. We had thought the last time in 2006 would be our last until grandchildren came. The kids were 15, 13 and 10. We had been surprised that they wanted to go back at those ages. It came as quite a surprise when in 2012, at the ages of 22, 19 and 16 they were still game! To be honest, most people thought we were crazy.

There are certain attractions we must experience every time we visit Disney World, especially Magic Kingdom. This is non-negotiable. And as you can see from today’s picture, It’s a Small World, is one of those. Others include Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan. YES, all of my children even went on those rides last year at their advanced adult (23,21,18) ages. How did I get them to go on these rides? Here’s the funny part. The first time we were in Disney World, back in 2002, it was raining, pouring, and the nearest ride was Winnie the Pooh. I never told them they HAD to go on the ride. They just did. And on each subsequent trip- 2006, 2012, 2014- they just fell into line and went for the ride. I like to think that they secretly enjoy the rides and don’t want to admit it! Or maybe they are just really sweet kids and they do it for me. Either way, these rides are staples in our Disney experience and in 4 or 5 years when we go back again, they will remain on our short list.

Here are posts from- Day 1 and Day 2.

The Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge rules require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph – it’s entirely up to you.

Then each day, nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge.

Accepting the challenge is entirely optional. This challenge is all in fun. 

I would like to nominate Joyroses from Nuggets of Gold to take part in the challenge and keep it going.


8 Ways I Found 90’s Babies to be Easier

My baby will turn 20 in 4 months. And that tells you how long it has been since I cared for a baby and dealt with all of the accessories and equipment that goes along with the job. With the arrival of our grandbaby last November, I have been learning all about how much things have changed. Being me, and a bit stubborn about these new fangled ideas, I have resisted most of them. It’s okay to pause for a moment and feel sympathy for what my son and daughter-in-law are dealing with. 🙂

7 months into this ‘baby of the 2000’s’ experience and I have encountered some interesting things that I thought I would share with you-

1. Nose sucker thing- Okay, this just takes the cake for me! Remember the blue bulb that you got at the hospital? It was pretty simple- squeeze, insert, release. While wandering Target’s baby department, I was appalled and (more than slightly grossed out by this!!!) Now, I always thought people who siphoned gas were crazy but siphoning snot? Ewwwwwwwww Give me that blue bulb any day! IMG_69212. Food pouches- Baby food is now available for purchase in pouches. You unscrew the lid and it oozes out like toothpaste. This one will end up on my pet peeve list. Really! When I first saw these, I didn’t see the purpose. In order to feed the baby, you either had to squeeze it onto the spoon- spoonful by spoonful- or squeeze the entire tube into a bowl. It certainly made it a bit difficult to feed the baby half of it. Then it happened. The thing that made my head explode and spin into circles while smoke burst out of my ears.

We had a fussy baby at Target and Mommy explained that he was probably hungry. She twisted off the cap of one of these pouches and held it out to baby, who reached for it eagerly- obviously knowing what to do- and he just sucked the food out of the pouch. (So much for learning how to eat with utensils or any personal interaction. And as far as easy goes- boy, it’s so easy….. ) Can you guess how I feel about these handy little pouches? How do you heat it up? (You don’t. They just suck on it at room temp which isn’t really room temp because it’s a liquidy substance so it’s cool- just like you like to eat your mashed up veggies, right?)

Jars (which are slowly being replaced by pouches and plastic little containers) were so easy- you could open it and easily see how much as left and heating it was up was so easy!)

3. Exersaucers/ stationary walkers- When my kids were first getting around there was nothing they liked better than exploring their world in their walker. Sure, there were a few toys in the tray on the front but they loved the freedom to move around and see things from a different perspective.  Nowadays, babies have everything they need right within their reach. No need to look any farther. But if they want to spin around in circles until they puke, they don’t have to worry about their toys every falling off. So, maybe I had to keep an eye on my kids while they were zooming around in their walker but they seemed to stay entertained for longer periods of time with a lot less fanfare.

4. And speaking of their toys not falling off- everything has an attachment! It doesn’t matter what it is- pacifier, toys, bottles, cups….. they are all attached by some means. I have mixed feelings about this one. Sure, when you’re taking a walk there’s nothing worse than finding out that he dropped his favorite toy somewhere back along the mile you just walked. BUT dropping things and learning that they don’t always just magically appear is something he has to learn, too. There’s probably a healthy balance in there somewhere but I’m afraid that these days that gets lost in the convenience of having it all attached.

5. Pacifier wipes. Hmmm, my kids didn’t have pacifiers; they had thumbs. I didn’t use special wipes on their thumbs and I have yet to use one on Beej’s pacifier. It’s easier to swap it out with a clean one or do a quick swipe if the pacifier didn’t actually touch anything. (But that’s just me!)

6. Diapers- They are SO absorbent it’s almost ridiculous. There is one brand that comes with a line down the front that changes color when the baby is wet. The interesting part is that it starts at the bottom and slowly morphs from one color into the other as the baby gets wetter so you can determine how long your baby gets to lay around in his wet diaper. And the scary thing is that these diapers are so absorbent that sometimes you cannot tell they are wet until they are very wet. It took me awhile to figure out which color line I was looking for because I forgot to pay attention when I first put the diaper on the baby.

I prefer the good old days when a simple poke in the front to determine squishiness did the trick. Or a quick sniff, pulling out the back and peeking in….. or gulp, yes, sticking your finger inside the leg hole…

7. Swings have come a long way since 1995. Not only are they battery operated but they come with almost as many options as a new car. They can swing at a vast variety of speeds- from barely moving to whiplash. They can go in different directions. In addition to the boring forward and back traditional swing mode, they can also go side to side and I believe some go in circles. I get queasy just thinking about it. Then there is the music which can get old really quick!! If you’re not into music for soothing your baby, you can switch to nature mode- complete with crickets and frogs…. Then there’s the light show. Yes, there’s a light show. Heaven forbid baby gets bored with looking out at the world around him! He can look up and see something that I’m sure rivals Pink Floyd’s laser light show.

I can’t help but miss the good old days of cranking the baby swing and then when the fussy baby had just fallen asleep, the darn swing would wind down, causing me to have to very carefully- click by click- wind up again praying the entire time that baby wouldn’t wake up. (My husband preferred the ‘rip the band aid’ technique where he just cranked it as fast as he could and left the poor stunned baby whipping back and forth at 80 miles per hour yanked out of a deep sleep unable to catch his breath.)

8. Bumper pads and other dangers. I did not know that cribs were such dangerous places when I had babies. Mine had bumper pads, blankets, and a few stuffed animals. (And just to add to the danger factor, my kids slept in the same crib their father used as a baby in 1965!)


Back in the 90’s when I was having my kids, I didn’t realize how easy I had it. I didn’t have endless gizmos and gadgets designed to make my life easier. I didn’t know that I was doing everything the hard way. And above all, my kids made it adulthood- unstuffed noses, using utensils, curious, rash free, healthy, and alive- all without these things. And if I can tell you a little secret (but you have to promise not to tell Beej’s parents), I ignore most of this new stuff when dealing with him and he seems to do just fine when he’s with me. (In fact, I swear he might be relieved when he sees me!)

What has your experience been? Is there any new baby contraption that you wish was around a few years ago?


Kat Got Your Tongue- All I Want For Christmas is…

All I Want For Christmas

What was the most memorable item your child wanted for Christmas? Is there something you really wanted and never got….and never forgot that you wanted it? What do you want this year? Do you like to get a Christmas Wish List from your family or do you prefer hunting for that perfect gift on your own?

What are your thoughts on holiday gift shopping? I would like to hear from you! As for me- well it’s a tie between Mel Box and a Toilet Duck. If you’re wondering who asked for these unique items and if Santa granted their wish, you can read it below-

I invite you to join in-



Dear Santa,

I’ve been lucky. Over the years, my children never really asked for any impossible gifts. Most of their “must have” items were not big ticket toys or impossible to find, waiting in line, outbidding others on e-bay types of toys. But there are two years that stand out as the most interesting. 

When my youngest, Andy, was 4 years old, we were out shopping while Michael and Kris were in school. While wandering up and down the aisles of Christmas merchandise, we saw it. Mel Box, the singing talking animated Christmas mailbox. For Andrew, it was love at first sight. He was totally infatuated with this plastic talking mailbox. I didn’t really pay him much mind because it was an obnoxious talking Christmas decoration and we already had his gifts purchased and his gift from Santa chosen. Andy, on the other hand, had other plans. He talked about the mailbox all the time. He told everyone about it- his siblings, his dad, his grandparents, his friends, his classmates…. All he wanted was for Santa to bring him Mel Box. When we were shopping in the same store a week later, he chattered on and on about how he hoped the mailbox was still there and that Santa knew about it so he could bring it.IMG_1669

I just knew. I had to get that mailbox for Andrew. There was no other option. That year we added a talking motion activated mailbox to our household. Andrew was so happy! I think it might have been his most memorable Christmas gift of his childhood.

15 years later, Mel Box is still unpacked every year and he’s always placed near the tree so he can alert us when someone is getting too close to the presents underneath. Upon hearing that we were threatening to remove Mel’s batteries because Ari had declared him dangerous and worthy of being barked at constantly, while CJ had continued his obsession with the mailbox that had began the year before, Andrew warned me that he would be taking Mel back to college with him if he felt that his mailbox was in jeopardy.

Luck was on Andrew’s side that year. A few years earlier, Michael had not been as lucky. The object of his obsession was the Toilet Duck. If you aren’t familiar with it, Toilet Duck was a toilet cleaning product sold in the US in the 90’s. It wasn’t the product itself that was what attracted Michael’s attention. It was the commercial. Even after I showed Michael the product in the store, he still wanted it. He couldn’t grasp that it was this bottle of toilet bowl cleaner. All he could picture was what he saw on tv.

After viewing the commercial, you might understand why Michael wanted it. Sadly, Michael was not going to get it for Christmas. Happily, he forgot about it. It’s a good thing, too, because he was so insistent at times that I was afraid his dad was actually going to buy it for him. The product. Not the duck in the helmet, like he thought the Toilet Duck was. What about you? Do you have any Mel Box or Toilet Duck stories of your own?

I would like to thank everyone who read the responses to the challenges! I appreciate you checking in and reading and I hope that you will join in soon.

Special shout out to last week’s participants! Thank you so much!

Please head on over to their blogs to read their thoughts on “Writing Space” and take a look at their other cool posts!

Silver Threading- My Creative Room

Notes Tied on the Sagebrush- My Writing Space

Thanks for stopping by and here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas!