Friday, August 29, 2008


This past week, I heard the sighs and sobs of mothers all across the country as their children, once again, started a new school year. The first day of school is tough for some; torture for others....and then there's me. I held Landrie's hand as we walked into the school building, then flung her into her classroom, kissed her quickly on the forehead, and went running through the halls yelling, "Freeeeeeeeedom!"

We're all different, right? In addition to the emotional turmoil associated with the first day of school, I received an email from one of my closest, dearest friends who had just sent her oldest son off to Baylor University last week. Most of you know that I am NOT a cry-er. I hate to cry so badly that I will do inappropriate things to keep from doing crack a joke at the wrong time or make weird facial contortions. But after reading that particular email, I bawled. And I realized that it was just the right dose of perspective that I needed because as much as I enjoy the quiet peacefulness when I'm home alone, one day it will be a permanent sound.

So, I wanted to share Kim Stevens' email with you (with her permission of course), and together we have decided that she may become a regular Guest Blogger for me. (She is too lazy to start her own blog, and I am too lazy to post regularly. We're a good fit.)

For those of you who don't know Kim (all three of you), she is a mother of four. She has a strong relationship with the Lord. She is fair and honest. She is quite the fashionista. She is also a cry-er and will cry at the drop of a hat which drives me crazy on Sunday mornings because even though I hate to cry, it is a first response for me. And I tear up every time I see Kim cry....which is, like, no less than 40 times on Sunday mornings. But most importantly, she is someone from whom I regularly seek advice, and I believe that God has entrusted her with vast amounts of wisdom. I love this chic, and I hope her email gives each one of you that daily dose of perspective that we so desperately need to get through the hardest job on the planet known as Motherhood.


I’ve decided blogging is the new scrapbooking: a venue to share thoughts, feelings and photos abut your life with family, friends and complete strangers. While I am not ready to hop on the blogging train, there are times when I think, “If I only had a blog, I’d say (fill in the blank here).” Most of the time it’s things like: Britt’s Burger Barn has the BEST hamburgers & onion rings in Waco. Or – this woman-who-hates-to-shave has found a terrific razor, the Venus 5-blade, that actually makes shaving bearable. Or – Johnny Carinos has a great deal on Monday nights for families. (We can feed our entire family for $10-15!) You get the idea.

This morning, if I had a blog, I’d write about our first days of school - the time of year that every mother looks forward to with anticipation and dread. We took our 2nd child on Monday, our youngest two this morning, and will take our oldest tomorrow. We have some monumental first days of school this year. Our 2nd born, Nicholas started high school. Having been through that once before, I thought it might be a little less difficult. But - having been through that once before, I know a little more about what challenges he will face in these next four years…how his character and faith will be tested and proven, how his body will change to become another man in the house, and how his future will be impacted by the choices he makes.

Our younger two, Matthew and Elizabeth, are still at the same school. Their uniforms and shoes are a little bigger, the supply lists a little longer, and the quietness in our house a little more deafening. Yesterday, I was so tired. So ready for a break. This morning, I miss them.

It was fun seeing old friends this morning at drop-off. The kids are excited about new lockers, new teachers, and the new year. All the moms had fake smiles on their faces as they hugged and greeted each other. We’re all “doing great” – yeah, right. We’re all lying…our hearts are all breaking at the thought of another year that will fly by in our children’s lives. We all know they are growing up way too fast.

Which brings me to tomorrow…

Another monumental first day of school.

We will be up bright and early to drive our oldest child, Benjamin, to college. I will spend the day today helping him pack up his life here into a bunch of suitcases and boxes, and that will be that. Those of you who have been down this road know – you know the heart-ache, the pain, the loss. I never knew how your physical heart could literally hurt until this last fall when we began that final year of having him home.

Oh I know, it’s not like it’s forever. It’s not like we’ll never see him (he’s only 15 minutes away for Pete’s sake!) But I’m all too aware that this is the end of a chapter in my life as his mom. It’s a hump we have to get over - on to bigger and better things. Kenny & I are both close to our parents so I know there’s a friendship that will replace the “because I said so” kind of relationship we have had for 18 years. In the meantime though…I’m really, really sad. Those of you that know me well know I’m sitting at my computer with tears running down my face. My nose is stopped up. I’m generally pitiful all the way around. I’m glad to have this day alone with Benjamin. I’ll have a good cry and pull myself together before his eyes ever open. We’ll run around town and pick up more stuff for his room. Maybe shop for a car (his died a painful death). Have lunch. We’ll laugh. I’ll cry. (He’s so excited he can’t stand it!) We’ll all eat out together tonight and spend some family time praying for him. (Actually I’ll spend a lot of time praying – my every waking thought is, “Lord, hold on tight to him. Don’t let him go!”) We’ll load up everything into the suburban and all try to get a good night’s sleep. Yeah, right…

Pray for our family if you think of us tomorrow. It’s a big adjustment for all of us. One less schedule to manage, one less plate at the table, one less laundry basket (not crying so much about that J). The kids have plenty of “he/she’s driving me crazy!” moments but they really do love each other and will miss Benjamin. Even though he might not admit it, I think he will miss them a little bit, too. Kenny & I will be going into a different parenting mode with Benjamin…trying to figure that out. Things are just going to be different…from now on.

Thanks for letting me pour out my heart this morning. I am grateful for each of you. I hope your first days of school go well. If you need a shoulder to cry on, I’ve got one open.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

It Ain't Easy Being This Darn Smart

We pay good money to educate our girls in a private, Christian school. For the most part, we are extremely pleased with the education, environment, safety scissors, and Godly principles present in our school. When Kellie-Laine came home from her first day of Kindergarten, she proudly told us that she knew God was "omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient," and she gave us the definition for each of those attributes. Our socks were knocked off.

Having our socks knocked off is a daily occurrence since we live with three loquacious girls who constantly demand our attention. I've heard my middle girl engage in full-blown conversations with an imaginary friend who apparently likes to interrupt and disagree with her. I've witnessed my youngest eat dog food like candy more times than I can count. I've seen my oldest break school records at track meets, but today...... not only were my socks knocked off, but my hair also fell out.

And in an instant we realized that you can pay all the money in the world for private, Christian schooling.....and still end up with a child who has no common sense.

In a failed attempt to occupy my girls while I made dinner, I asked Kellie-Laine to work with Landrie in her new Kindergarten-level math book. She begrudgingly agreed, and it was peaceful harmony for the first 2.4 minutes.

"Do the connect the dots activity," I suggested. And they went to work.

"Here's how you do it, Landrie. Just connect the dots one through ten and you'll have a picture," Kellie-Laine said, "I'll show you how to do the first one."

I was absentmindedly doing dishes when I heard Kellie-Laine talking to herself out loud, "Wait....this isn't working right, Landrie, just hold on......Mom! This isn't turning out right......"

Then she explains, "Mom, the directions say connect the dots one to fourteen to find the fish, but it didn't work."

I walked over to the table thinking they might need to count by twos or something. And when I looked at the page......I lost my socks and my hair.

Kellie-Laine had drawn a line, quite neatly I must add, connecting dot number one......and number fourteen.

The fish that should have appeared once the dots were connected was no where in sight.

But there was one, neatly drawn line in the corner of the paper.

"Oh, precious girl," I said "we're gonna get you some special tutoring for this okay?" And maybe even a special bus, I thought to myself.


It ain't easy being smart. Not easy at all......

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I am not dead.

But I'm close.

My girls start school this week, and I've decided that I have adult ADD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, a slight case of dementia, chronic fatigue syndrome, amnesia, and chronic PMS.

But I did see a rainbow yesterday. And a hummingbird at my kitchen window.

Things are starting to look up.

And I will post something of significance once I raise from the dead.....this weekend.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rite of Passage

Since I started this venture into motherhood at a relatively young age, I have had the honor and sometimes the angst of being "THE MOTHER WHO HAS GONE BEFORE" for many of my friends. I guess having an older child translates into having some kind of supernatural parental wisdom (ha ha!) and I'm often asked questions that sound something like this:

"You have an older child, so what did you do about.........?" or

"Since your daughter has already been through this, how did you handle.........?" and sometimes

"At what age does it get easier?" to which I reply, "Never," and then my friends run out of the room shrieking and pulling their hair.

For the most part, I love to give advice about the perils of parenting an almost-teenager, but I'm painfully aware that 90% of the time I'm not sure what the heck I'm doing.

Just yesterday, I had the honor of entering into yet another realm of the"mothering an older child" category when I took Kellie-Laine to her first orthodontist consultation. In my mind, the consultation was something that would give me a plan of action for Kellie-Laine's upcoming dental appliances--upcoming being the operative word here. However, at the end of the appointment and $2500 eldest gal was given the "go ahead" to get braces on September 9th. (And don't even fool yourself into thinking $2500 is all it costs these days for straight pearly whites.....our insurance kicked in half. Plus we got a 5% discount for paying in full!) Nevertheless, getting braces is a symbolic rite of passage of becoming a teenager....and here we go.
I'm having serious issues with the fact that my little not so little anymore. She's getting braces, wearing a bra (she is definitely going to kill me for mentioning that fact), wearing two-piece bathing suits, shaving, and just recently had her first babysitting job.
Gulp. I swear I do not feel old enough for this.
In my mind, I am still a high school cheerleader driving my Mitsubishi Eclipse through the Wal-Mart parking lot on Friday night...I am at A&M Fish Camp majorly crushing on my 5th-year-Senior counselor....I am two-steppin' with my soon-to-be fiance....I am holding that baby girl in my arms knowing that my life has just changed forever....I am at my wits end trying to figure out how to put a screaming two-year-old to bed....I am holding her hand on the first day of kindergarten....
And today? I am imagining a daughter with a mouthful of metal who keeps me young and makes me feel old......all in the same moment.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

End of Summer Vacay

Everyone take a deep breath with me....ready? Breathe in-------------------and now exhale. Doesn't that feel refreshing? I am happy to report that we have just returned from our 2ND annual End of Summer Vacation to The Avonne on Lake LBJ. Upon my return, I took a deep breath and realized that I had just had the most relaxing four-day vacation ever.

My gracious sister, Flo, blessed us by keeping Emerie...which was a huge part of the reason I was so relaxed and stress-free on the trip. I was a little sad that Emerie wasn't there to enjoy the fun, but there was too much water around for me to feel comfortable taking her. There are three families that travel with us, and we have 12 kids between us. Factor in three boats, one jet ski, an outdoor pool/hot tub, a house directly on the lake, and a toddler who cannot swim but is hell-bent on forcing you to learn CPR....and you've got one stressed out momma.

I'm pretty sure there is a permanent indentation on my backside from all the sitting I did, but it was so very, very worth it. I took my usual position as a boat accessory and soaked up the sun while the kids tubed and skied and took turns pottying in the water just for the novelty of it. The men were up a the crack of dawn each day for some "alone time" on the water as they wake-surfed and simulated spelling their names with a stream of urine off the boat deck. It's true.....I am married to a 34-year-old high school boy (and just so you know, there was no actual urine involved....just a water hose, a video camera and a very funny visual effect.)

The highlight of our trip had to be the "DJ Angela 80's Rock Ballad Night." We ventured back in time and pulled out some oldies but goodies like Cinderella's "Don't Know What You've Got ('til It's Gone)", Tesla's "Love Song", Poison's "Every Rose Has It's Thorn", Prince's "Purple Rain", Bon Jovi's "Never Say Goodbye", etc. The kids thought we were weird, but those songs took me back to my 8th grade trip to see Poison and Tesla in concert with my friend, Juli, in my dad's neon green Volkswagen bus (complete with kitchen sink). Those were the days.....

The trip ended way before I was ready, but it's good to be home. So today I sit and blog here in the real world. Counting down the days until school begins.....making decisions about where I'll serve and volunteer this out closets to make room for school uniforms.....wondering how in the world summer passed right before my eyes.....and laughing at men who think true talent lies in the ability to spell one's name with bodily fluids. Ahhhh, summer.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mama Bird

This morning, little Emerie slept in and gave this mother of three a wonderful start to her day. As I pitter-patted around the house making beds, eating breakfast, and doing some blog reading....I, of course, had one ear ready to detect the sounds of a crying baby.

Around 9:45, I heard the cries from the crib and started making Emerie's bottle.

Then I realized something......the screaming and squealing I heard wasn't Emerie at all.

It was the black crow on my porch squawking at all his bird friends to come and feast on Sully's dog food (as they do day after day after day......while Sully snoozes two feet away from them. And to think we thought he was bird dog!!!)

I don't know what was more disturbing, the fact that 27 crows were marching around our porch with large pieces of dog food in their mouths......or the fact that my little cherub sounds exactly like a calling crow.

But it's true. I am the mother of a bird, which makes me a Mama Bird.