Humor, Random Thoughts

The (Almond) Joys of Parenting

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Ahh, the simple pleasures of being a parent on Halloween– at the end of the evening, we get all the candy rejects our kids don’t want. This year, out of Emmie’s massive collection of 130 pieces of candy, I was given 1 mini Almond Joy, 4 mini boxes of Milk Duds, 2 pieces of banana Laffy Taffy (NOT the strawberry, of course, which I really would have enjoyed), 4 packs of Whoppers malted milk balls, 1 butterscotch candy, 1 peppermint, 1 Rolo, and a mini Heath bar. Not a whole lot to get excited about, but it made me laugh on the inside—this “reject pile” not only looks the same every year for both of my children, it contains the same stuff I rejected when I was a kid. The same stuff about which I always think, “The adult who bought this doesn’t have a clue what most kids like.” For example, most kids don’t like coconut– so Mounds is a perennial reject as well. Ditto for “Dots”, Good ‘N Plenty, “Chick O Stix”, any Tootsie Rolls other than the original flavor, red hot Jawbreakers, and black licorice. While I’ve grown to like most of it, I still scratch my head about some of it, like the Milk Duds.

My Published Articles, Random Thoughts

Time to Celebrate

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Isn’t “Fall Back Day” the greatest? You know, the day we “fall back” to Standard Time. The day that Daylight Saving Time ends. I like it so much, it just might be my favorite holiday. Oh, I know, it’s not really an “official” holiday. But it should be. In fact, they ought to just call it Mother’s Day and forget about that inferior shorter day in May.
After all, if you’re a mother with kids still at home, isn’t time the one thing you wish you had more of? Time for yourself or your family or your laundry. Time to make it to places on time. Time to do things you never do, like catch up in the family scrapbook/photo album, have lunch with a friend, fix your broken earrings, read a book, get 8 hours of sleep. If you’re not a mother, you probably wish you had more time, too. And the only day that actually gives you extra time is Fall Back Day, coming to a clock near you this Sunday.

Movies

Witches, Sharks, and The Generation Gap of Fear

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Just in time for Halloween: A study by Finnish researchers says kids get more scared when watching scary movies with their parents than when they’re by
themselves. According to a new study published in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development
children were four times more afraid of the events on the screen when their parents were watching, too. The researchers suggest that in spite of the soothing that
parents may offer, …

Charities

Search for a Cure

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I get sidetracked a lot when I’m cleaning the house, but sometimes that’s a good thing. Like the other day, when something caught my eye as I was throwing away the “dog newspapers”– the ones we put on the kitchen floor for Luke when we’re going to be gone awhile. Luckily, this particular issue of the Dallas Morning News was “unused” and I sat transfixed, reading a story about a suburban Dallas family with 3 children, beaming at me from the crumpled paper in matching black sweaters.
Just a few years ago, Michelle, the mom, had been a typical “normal” mom, encouraging the kids to do their homework, volunteering in the classroom, cooking with her daughter, cheering her son at his hockey games…and then her behavior started to change.

Being a Better Parent, Raising Teenagers

Whose Room Is It, Anyway?

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Amid all the news hysteria yesterday about the runaway balloon over Denver and the possible 6-year-old pilot on board, another news story about another Colorado family quietly got my attention: the mother of one of the Columbine High School shooters has broken her 10-year silence. In an essay for O magazine (naturally), Susan Klebold reveals the constant guilt she’s felt over the years, the many letters she’s written to victims’ families, the shock over finding out her son had been suicidal and wasn’t necessarily looking forward to prom like she’d thought. “We didn’t know that he and Eric had assembled an arsenal of explosives and guns,” Susan Klebold wrote. My heart goes out to her and any parent who has lost a child. Her experience and those of others whose children have led a secret life are a wakeup call to parents on many issues, one being “privacy and kids”. The idea that a kid’s room is his “private sanctity” is heinous.

Appreciating Mommy, Raising Teenagers

Two Simple Words That Mean So Much

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Isn’t it great when kids show appreciation? Like the girl in my Scout troop who always gives me cocoa at Christmas and writes a thank you note.  Or the boy in Emmie’s class who gave me a hug when I showed up to volunteer one day.  Or Emmie, yesterday afternoon  — I had promised to take her to get a new gymnastics leotard, and even though she had to clean her room and pay for half, she said, “Thanks, Mom!” as we walked to the car, new leotard in hand. 
“Thank you for being appreciative,” I said. 

When teens show appreciation, …

Domestic Engineering, Random Thoughts

Just Tell Me What To Do

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Some days, don’t you want to be on auto-pilot? Like, not having to make a lot of decisions or worry about much other than following instructions and just “being”?

You know you’re a person with a lot on your plate when you’re grateful for the computerized directions at the gas pump.  Seriously– sometimes when I put gas in my car, I feel fleeting relief at having someone (or some”thing”) tell me what to do. “SWIPE CARD”– you got it, chief.  “SELECT GRADE”– no problem!  “LIFT LEVER”– anything you say, bucko!  I set the nozzle on the “hands-free” latch and lean against the car, taking …

Being a Better Parent, Raising Teenagers

Life-Changing Moments

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Did anyone see the million dollar hole-in-one golf video going around on the Internet last week? Jason Hargett, a restaurant manager from Provo, Utah, decided to enter a charity golf tournament in spite of a hurt wrist, using his brother’s clubs. As in many charity tournaments, each hole is sponsored by a business or organization and often there are prizes for that rare possibility of a hole-in-one. This video shows the shot and his reaction after he makes it.  It’s fun to watch because you can just feel the joy leaping out of your computer screen. …