Happy ‘Basic Chicks with Premature Fall Tendencies Week'

Happy Fall Ya’ll.

Okay, maybe it’s not officially fall, but it’s September - so yeah, close enough. 

Fall is my all-time fave season. I mean - football, crockpots, pumpkin spice everything, boots & hoodies, bonfires, Halloween, horror flick marathons, candy apples, candy corn & popcorn balls, Thanksgiving, turkey, family gatherings, extended time between leg shaving - what’s not to love? 

There’s a crispness in the air and warm colors all around us. It’s beautiful, it’s cozy - it’s perfect. 

This fall my son will celebrate his 3rd birthday, I will celebrate my 35th, and my husband and I will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. So there will be cake - lots of cake (add cake to the above list). 

I already have 3-out-of-4 of our Halloween costumes purchased and a bottle of Pumpkin spice creamer in my fridge. Obsessed would be an understatement. It’s a sickness really. 

Ladies - you feel me though, right? People might call us ‘basic’ because we love our PSL’s (pumpkin spice lattes), our leggings & boots and our fall scented candles - but if being basic is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

So happy ‘Basic Chicks with Premature Fall Tendencies Week.’ May we all get each other through this challenging time until it becomes socially acceptable to go full-on, straight jacket, fall crazy. 

Thoughts, comments or ideas? E-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (All submissions are subject to publication)

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The Mommy Memoirs: Merit Badges

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Merit badges. 

Some of you may remember all of the monumental moments celebrated in scouts. In fact, I still have my sash somewhere from my early days as a Brownie. 

There aren’t that many badges on my sash because, well, I was a quitter and decided soccer was more my thing. But the ones that I did get, I totally earned. 

So what if there were merit badges for parenthood? What if each of us earned a shiny pin or badge when we completed certain parental tasks?

Well, if there were, maybe they’d look something like this…

1. The “I Grew A Tiny Human” Pin: Earned by mothers during the third trimester and followed up with the “I Birthed a Tiny Human” Badge following delivery (Yes, we moms earn two for this).

2. The “Blow-Out Boss” Badge: For every parent who survives that one unforgettable, up-the-back, baby diaper blow-out in a public place.

3. The “Nailed It!” Pin: Granted to a parent after overcoming the scariest, most stressful few minutes of their life - clipping a baby’s nails, without drawing blood or loss of a digit. 

4. The “Walking Zombie” Badge”: Presented to every parent who has functioned on three hours of sleep or less for days at a time. They will most likely not even remember receiving this badge.

5. The “I Survived the Terrible Two’s, and All I Got Was This Lousy Pin” Pin: Obtained by every parent who suffers through the embarrassment of a public toddler tantrum and an entire year of the word ‘No!’

6. The “Vomit Veteran” Badge: Provided to every parent just after being puked on, projectile or otherwise, by their child for the first time. Conditions: Said parent must not also vomit or gag. 

7. The “Caillou Is The Devil” Badge: Awarded to parents during the 100th hour of watching the worst childrens show known to mankind (Feel free to replace ‘Caillou’ with any kids cartoon that annoys you to the core of your being). Parents, you’ve really earned this one. 

8. The “Fantastic Fisher” Pin: A right of passage bestowed to a parent the first time they have to fish poop out of the bathtub, a Cheerio out of a nose or their own phone out of the toilet.  

9. The “Supper-Hero” Pin: Adhered to the sash of a parent on the rare occasion that they prepare a meal the entire family actually eats. 

10. The “Kept it Cool” Badge: Given to any parent who maintains their composure when they are already stark, raving mad and their child smirks and follows it up with some backtalk. Obviously, this badge is rarely earned. 

So parents, how many of these pins and badges are you currently rocking? Mine would definitely put that old Brownie sash to shame. 

Whatever the number, wear them proudly - you’ve earned them after all. 

Thoughts, comments or ideas? E-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (All submissions are subject to publication)


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The Mommy Memoirs: Girls Weekend!!!

Fellow moms. Only you guys will understand the extent of my excitement. 

This weekend I am going on an exclusive Girls Weekend with two of my besties! Eeeeeeeek!!!

I guess I’m at the age now that I should call it something a bit more mature like ‘Ladies Retreat,’ but let’s be real - proper etiquette and maturity are the last things on our minds when going anywhere solo with our BFF’s.

Between the three of us going, we have five wild and silly boys all under the age of eight. Our households include husbands or boyfriends, our boys, and yes, even male pets. We live in a world constantly submerged in testosterone, stain remover and butt jokes. 

In that world we answer to ‘Mommy’. We are fort builders, broken toy fixers, boo-boo healers, storybook readers, mess cleaner-uppers, and tear wipers. We are busy. So busy. 

But when it’s just us girls? Well, we get to be someone else for a bit.  

In that world we have first names. We can eat at nice restaurants and wear white without fear. We are relaxed, almost carefree. We discuss The Bachelor, Real Housewives, and whatever other God-awful reality show we are addicted to, without being judged. 

We share kid stories and husband stories. We belly laugh uncontrollably and reminisce.

In this world we are are surrounded by women who knew us - knew our stories - before we become mommies. Women who have been by our sides throughout the many milestones. Women who ‘get’ us. 

And it is good for our souls.

Here’s a breakdown of how the weekend will go - We’ll drive to our hotel with the sunroof open and music blaring, just because we can. We’ll check in and eat dinner without having to look over the children’s menu or cut up someone else’s food. We’ll lay by the pool with a cold beverage without worrying about wrestling floaties onto tiny arms or reapplying sunscreen every hour. We’ll shop without tantrums (finding nothing for ourselves and everything for our kids). We’ll have adult conversations without having to spell out certain words. We’ll sleep in well past the usual 6:30 a.m. toddler wake up call. 

And when it’s all over, we’ll pack up the vehicle, check-out of our room and head back to reality. 

We’ll walk in the doors of our homes and our hearts will explode. We’ll smother our children with hugs, kisses and souvenirs. We’ll be happy to be called mommy again. 

We’ll go right back to being fort builders, broken toy fixers, boo-boo healers, storybook readers, mess cleaner-uppers, and tear wipers - only better ones, with smaller, lighter bags under our eyes.

That’s the wonderful thing about being a mom, no matter how amazing it feels to have some time to ourselves, our true happiness is always the time we spend with our children. That is, until next year - when we’re all counting down the days until our next Girls Weekend. 

 

 


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The Yard Sale

I'm having a yard sale, ya'll. 

A good part of my week was spent cleaning and organizing closets, cabinets and our 100 degree, hotter-than-Hades attic. 

I have priced a zillion items, many of which I had no idea we even owned, made gaudy neon signs and sorted and stacked everything I plan to sell in one big Yard Sale Mountain in our dining room.

But the moment that the last item made its way to the peak of Yard Sale mountain, the moment I thought I would step back and feel a surge of accomplishment, success and excitement, I stepped back and felt a wave of nausea. 

I looked around at the baby swings, the bassinet, stroller, blankies, and teeny, tiny clothes that somehow survived two infant boys, and it really sank in.

In my hurried mission of sorting, organizing and pricing I had not forced myself to truly come to grips with what this really was.

This was not just a yard sale, this was our “We’re not having any more babies, so get this stuff out of our house” yard sale. And even though my husband and I made the decision together, well it still sort of made me sad.

Not sad because I would miss the nausea, heartburn, swelling and indigestion that come along with pregnancy, the c-section surgery recovery following delivery or the pure Mombie exhaustion that plagues us all those first few months.

But sad because there would no more sweet newborn baby smell to inhale, no more quiet nights rocking to lullabies, no more first year milestones to celebrate.

This was it. 

As I scanned the room, every single item on Yard Sale Mountain brought back a million memories of each of our boys during that first year when they were so small and fragile. 

First baths, rolling over, first solids, first smiles, first birthdays - they all played back like snippets from an old family video on VHS. 

Is it enough to make me want to keep all of this stuff? Nope. Nope. Nope. 

But it did my soul good to take a break from the busy routine of every day life and truly appreciate those early memories with my babies.

Maybe the best part of selling it, is knowing that it will all be a part of someone else’s memories too. 

So please, if you’re having a baby, know someone who has a baby, like babies or have ever even seen a baby - follow the gaudy, neon yellow signs and come buy our stuff. 


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Mommy Memoirs: The Good Guys

A few real life observations this week that I feel compelled to share:

Toddlers are weirdos.

This week my two-year-old had a come-apart in the car because … wait for it …  his hair was growing. Tragic. 

The very same evening he got upset with me for taking a bite of the imaginary donut he shoved in my face, because apparently it was actually a human heart. 

Is this real life? lol

The Secret Life of Pets

My son had his very first movie theatre experience last weekend, and for those who haven’t seen it yet, here’s my review: 

4 Stars **** (out of 5) - An animal adventure flick with lots of action and humor (a smidgin of adult humor that was over his head), adorable characters, and good morals in the storyline. Overall, a great family movie. My two year old was entertained from start to finish and belly laughed throughout. Duration time was about 1.5 hours. (Rated PG)

The Good Guys

I picked my toddler up from day care last week and as we passed the Lafayette Police Department on our way home, he noticed something new out of his window.

“What’s that, mama?” he asked while pointing.

It was a funeral spray wreath set up on an easel in front of the building in honor of the five officers recently killed in Dallas.

I looked at his innocent face in the rearview mirror and it was one of those moments.

You know what I’m talking about. 

Those moments we have to come to terms with the evil and sadness in the world and come up with some sort of explanation for it, when there just isn’t one.

I wondered, as a parent, what I could do to honor these fallen officers and their families and it became clear to me that I owed each of them a conversation. 

A conversation with my two-year-old son about police officers or - a term he better understands - ‘the good guys.’

If nothing else, we as parents can honor the memory of each of those officers by raising our children to respect and trust law enforcement. We can honor their families by teaching future generations that police officers are here to help them and keep them safe when they feel scared or are in danger.

We can explain in the simplest of terms that police officers help “catch the bad guys” and “protect people.” 

We can choose to attach bravery, love and support to the uniform instead of fear, hate and distrust.

There isn’t much any of us can do about the current state of the world, but let’s not forget that we tuck the future of it into bed every night. 

In honor of each of the officers killed by a stranger they were sworn to protect - may our children grow to learn that a world without good guys is not a world worth living in at all. 

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The Toddler Quiz

Remember all of those quizzes in women's magazines? The ones that told us if we were eating right, needed to break up with our ‘bad news boyfriends’ or had oily, dry or combination skin?

Maybe they are still around. I mean, I’m a mom so the only thing I read these days are books with Mickey Mouse on the cover. 

Go ahead, quiz me on that guy. Pretty sure I would achieve stalker status. 

I recently ran across this online quiz for toddlers that other moms were posting on their blogs. The series of questions seemed simple enough so I decided to quiz the tiny human that lives at my house too. I even added in a few questions about pirates and giants to keep his interest in between all of the boring stuff. 

Out of the 50 questions I intended on asking, we got through 37 before his attention span ran out - a huge victory if you ask me. 

So here it is, an intriguing look into the mind of my two-year-old…

  1. What do you like to do outside? Play ball!
  2. What makes you happy? Mama! (Swoon)
  3. What makes you laugh? Funny faces! (makes funny face and laughs hysterically)
  4. How old are you? Two!
  5. How old is mommy? Two!
  6. How old is daddy? Five! 
  7. What do you want to be when you grow up? Big!
  8. What are you really good at? Food!
  9. What’s the best thing mommy cooks? Cookies! 
  10. What’s your favorite song? Twinkle, Twinkle!
  11. What do you want for your birthday? Santa! (It’s gonna be hard to top that!)
  12. What does daddy do at work? Builds rocks and stacks blocks! 
  13. What does mommy do at work? Paints! (He has never seen me paint in his life.)
  14. What food is yucky? Beans! (Like all beans. Really, he will not touch one.)
  15. What’s your favorite place to go? Bounce house!
  16. What do you like about birthday parties? Cake! (says cake, means all of the frosting and none of the cake)
  17. What’s something mommy always say to you? Be nice to everybody!
  18. What’s something daddy always says to you? Time to go to bed!
  19. If you could be any animal, what would you be? A tiger! ROOOOAAAARRRR!
  20. What do you love most about your brother (sibling)? When he laughs! 
  21. What’s your favorite thing to do at school? Dancing!
  22. If you were a giant, what would you do all day? Get treasure!! Fee Fi Fo Fum!! (Currently obsessed with Jack & the Beanstalk)
  23. What’s something that’s scary? A witch! A ghost!
  24. If you were a pirate, what would you do all day? Have a pirate eye and a sword! Get the bad guys!
  25. If you could cook dinner for mommy and daddy, what would you make? How about poop?! (laughs hysterically)
  26. What’s something that’s really super gross? Green beans! (Really? He talks about grosser stuff 75% of the day!)
  27. What do nice people do? Play in the bounce house and go to baseball games! (???)
  28. What do mean people do? Get spankins!
  29. Where do babies come from? They hide, and then come out! (Seems legit)
  30. What’s the best thing about Christmas? Candy canes! (Who even really likes candy canes? This kid, that’s who.)
  31. What’s the best thing about mommy? Heart! (Swoon again)
  32. What’s the best thing about daddy? Hugs! (Third swoon)
  33. When someone is sad, what makes them feel better? Band-Aids! (Wouldn’t it be nice if this were true?)
  34. Where do trains go? In the tunnel! Chooooo Choooo!
  35. Where do airplanes go? To mama’s house! (Makes sense. There are times my house is as loud and busy as an airport.)
  36. What makes you a great big brother? Make him laugh!
  37. What’s your favorite cartoon character? Mickey Mouse! (A no brainer, ya’ll.)

Ask your kiddos some of these questions and send your favorite answers to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (all submissions are subject to publication). 

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Mommy Memoirs: Baby Brother Turns One

altMy youngest son turned one last week.

Technically, the world will now refer to him as a toddler (What the what?!). 

Since he is our last baby, it seems like every milestone becomes more bittersweet than the last. 

It’s funny how time works isn’t it?

Before having kids, a year feels like forever. Post-kids however, a year zips by in the blink of an eye. 

I mean, most of the time we parents don’t even know what month it is until it’s almost over. 

And the more kids you have, the faster the clock hands tick.

Time becomes a constant conflict between enjoying the tiny humans they are growing up to be and being heartbroken that, one day soon, they won’t be so tiny anymore. 

I may have said that I wasn’t going to go overboard on his beach ball themed birthday party, but one jump house/water slide combo rental, a piñata and a photographer later, I was clearly in denial.

And I’m totally okay with it. 

I mean, a baby only becomes a toddler once, right? 

His older brother still thinks he hangs the moon and has given him several strange yet endearing nicknames including ‘Baby Butt’ (also refers to himself as ‘Big Butt’) and ‘Baby Bumble’ (from the Baby Bumblebee song he learned at daycare).

I don’t know how much time I have before the tender moments between them begin to dwindle, so I’ll just keep fulfilling my mom duties by dressing them in matching outfits and taking photos captioned #brotherlylove and #besties while they’re still too young to object.

In honor of my youngest’s first birthday, I’m including this awesome meme that totally made me LOL. 

I mean it’s definitely not 100 percent true, but little brothers sure do make some pretty amazing playmates! 

Send your comments, parenting stories, advice and/or kid funnies to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Be aware that submissions may be published. 


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The Mommy Memoirs: In the Headlines

It seems every time I turn on the television or get on social media these days, I’m filled with grief for another parent and heartbroken for another child I have never met.

Lately, sadness is every where we turn. Every morning another tragedy leaves us in disbelief and each night we hug our children a little bit tighter, rock them a little bit longer and pray a little bit harder.

The world that our parents raised us in, no longer exists - today’s parents face bigger fears than their parents dared dream of. 

Today’s parents aren’t allowed to make mistakes. Their children aren’t allowed to have accidents without the blame being placed on them. Holier than thou, “perfect parents” throw verbal daggers at them from behind computer screens while they go through the unfathomable.

When did this become the norm? When did compassion for people enduring tragedy begin to wither away? 

My heart is heavy for so many parents currently living their own worst nightmares, and maybe your heart feels heavy too. 

These parents are all of us. Their stories and their tragedies could be ours on any given day. Their children could be our children. Their grief could be our grief.

Two-Year-Old Lane Graves Killed by Alligator at Disney Resort 

“I can’t even imagine…”

That’s what I keep saying when someone talks about this tragedy.

But really that’s all I’ve been doing - imagining this happening to me. To my 2-year-old. 

I think about spending a magical day at Disney World with my family and heading back to our resort for an outdoor movie night on the resort’s sandy beach, just as the Graves family did.

I picture my 2-year-old walking along the edge of the beach in about a foot of water, and I picture myself - Am I worried? Do I think this is a bad idea? Do I have any fear that an alligator might come up onto the beach and drag my son away? No. Probably not. 

I think about the devastation, the self-blame and the loss that I would surely feel in their situation, and my heart aches for them. 

Not just because they will now have to go home without their son.

Not just because they will have to plan their baby’s funeral.

Not just because they will have to deal with the guilt of not being able to save him.

Not just because they will have to explain all of this to their daughter when she cries for her baby brother.

Not just because they will have to find a way to go on living after this.

Not just because there are thousands of people shaming and blaming them during the worst days of their lives. 

My heart aches for them for all of these reasons, but also because they are parents just like you. Just like me. Parents raising their children with the best intentions and no way of knowing that this day would end so horrifically. 

The Orlando Night Club Shooting

I don’t want to talk about the man who did this, or his motives. We all know who he was.

Instead I want to talk about Christine Leinonen, a mother who didn’t know if her son Christopher was dead or alive for more than a day.

If you watched any of her gut-wrenching pleas for answers on television, and you have any heart at all, you felt this woman’s pain and anguish.

Her son was inside the club at the time of the attack early Sunday morning, but was not listed as one of the 49 victims until Monday.

Christine kept vigil outside of a local emergency room beginning at 4 a.m. Sunday morning in case Christopher was brought there. She appeared on every news channel spreading his name and showing his picture. She was a mother desperate for answers.

Every single one of us watching her, knew that it was likely her son was dead. Maybe deep down she knew it too. 

But this mother would not give up on her son until every shred of hope was gone. 

Even in her weakest moments, she was strong for him. 

I have never met this woman in my life, but as a mother I felt such a connection to her. I wanted to hug her tight and take away her pain. 

Christine Leinonen and I may have nothing else in common except for the fact that we would both travel to the ends of the earth to find our sons if they went missing. But that fact alone is enough to connect us.  

My heart aches for her because she is a parent just like you. Just like me. A parent who raised her son with the best intentions and had no way of knowing that this day would end so horrifically. 

 

 

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The Mommy Memoirs: When Husbands Become Fathers

10/30/13: The day my husband officially became a father.

I fell in love with my husband three times.

The first time I fell in love with who he was as a person - his thoughtfulness, generosity, humor and passion.

The second time I fell in love with who he was as a husband - my confidant, my rock, my safe place.

 The third time I fell in love with who he was as a father - gentle, loving, kind and goofy.

You see, the moment a man becomes a father he is forever changed.

He becomes a little softer, a little more forgiving, a little more patient. 

Somewhere in between watching him rocking our newborn to sleep, changing diapers, praying with our two-year-old, the piggy back rides and the tickle matches, I fell in a whole different kind of love with him - found a whole new admiration for him. 

In him, I know my sons have a best friend for life. I know that he will always be in their corner. I know that he will always be their hero and they will be his.

It’s those things, along with a zillion other every day things, that make dads so special. 

So Happy Father’s Day to all of the amazing dads in our lives…

The new dads wearing baby carriers on their chests and shamelessly carrying floral diaper bags on their shoulders.

The dads of daughters - graciously accepting invitations to tea parties, learning to paint tiny fingernails pink, interrogating high school boyfriends and walking their little girls down the aisle with tears in their eyes.

The fathers of boys - hoisting mini-versions of themselves up on their shoulders, watching their victories and defeats from the bleachers, witnessing them become fathers themselves and giving out solid advice on everything from finances to home improvement projects.

The step-dads, single dads and male mentors.

Today and every day, may all of you know how much you are appreciated, admired and loved.


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The Mommy Memoirs: Gorillagate

Gorillagate.

It’s everywhere right?! 

Unless you live under a rock you’ve probably heard the story - Mother takes children to the Cincinnati Zoo. Three-year-old son gets away from his mother, slips through a fence and falls into the enclosure of an endangered, 450 lb. gorilla named Harambe. Said gorilla drags child through a water-filled moat. After ten minutes, zoo officials shoot and kill the gorilla. National outrage ensues.

The entire story is tragic. An endangered gorilla was killed, a toddler is likely traumatized by this horrific experience, and the mother…. okay, let’s talk about the mother.

Did you know she has received numerous death threats? Did you know that people are calling for this woman’s child to be taken from her and put into foster care? 

In my opinion there is a big difference in a negligent parent - one who consciously and intentionally puts there child in physical and/or emotional danger on a regular basis, and a parent who has a moment of negligence - one who makes a human error that may unintentionally put their child in danger. 

I mean how many of you reading this can say you have never, ever had a moment you became distracted from your child - even if only for a few seconds? 

Every mother I know has had a moment of distraction that she constantly beats herself over - a baby falling off the couch, a toddler getting a hold of something toxic or sharp, a lost child’s name being called over the loud speaker while she frantically fears the absolute worst. 

And now, just imagine that moment being televised for the whole world to see. Imagine the judgement, ridicule, embarrassment and shame. Imagine people telling you they thought you didn’t deserve to be a parent because of this mistake. Imagine strangers threatening to take your life because of it, and the fear you would live in every day.

It’s hard to imagine, but that is this mother’s reality. 

This woman does not appear to be a monster. In fact, she works at a daycare center for toddlers and pre-school children, which means she likely enjoys children and does not have a criminal background. Witnesses have said the boy told his mother he was going to get into the moat, and his mother told him to behave before being distracted by other children with her. One witness stated that “Her attention was drawn away for seconds, maybe a minute, and then he was up and in before you knew it.”

I recently attempted to watch the video of the gorilla violently dragging this little boy’s body around, and I couldn’t make it five seconds in without feeling sick to my stomach. I can’t begin to fathom the utter terror and helplessness this mother felt as she watched this from above.

Her moment of negligence will likely haunt her and her child for the rest of their lives.

I should also add that I have a great deal of compassion for the gorilla involved in this tragic incident. He was not to blame. In fact, he did exactly what most of us would expect a gorilla to do when a small, strange being suddenly appears in its environment. 

But let’s be clear - my moment of negligence or yours, my 3-year-old in that enclosure or yours -  if I had to make the choice between the gorilla’s life or a child’s, I would choose the child’s every time. 

This boy’s mother is not perfect. None of us are. And while it saddens me that the life of an endangered gorilla was lost due to her mistake, I’m relieved that her little boy’s life wasn’t. 


Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts on this incident? Share them with me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (* Note: Responses may be published).

(For those of you wondering, the child survived the incident with only a concussion and bruises,  police are reviewing the incident to determine whether or not any charges will be brought against the boy’s mother, and animal rights groups are calling for an investigation at the zoo because they believe the enclosure violated the ‘Animal Welfare Act.’ )

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The Mommy Memoirs: We Survived...

Well, we survived.

Just barely.

What would cause us to have this near death experience, you ask?

Oh you know, just traveling with two kids. 

Going into the trip we looked like your average, run-of-the-mill, American family. All bright eyed, bushy tailed and annoyingly peppy.  I had Googled some kiddo-friendly travel tips, and was pretty happy with my decision to use backpacks as carry-ons to free-up our arms and hands (#parentingwin). 

Our two-year-old oohed and ahed over all of the airplanes out of the terminal window, and  my husband and I were feeling like we had this whole flying with kids thing figured out. 

We even found a play area at the Nashville Airport that kept the kids entertained before our flight (bonus points!). 

The portable DVD player and iPad were fully charged, and we had enough snacks packed to keep their mouths full for at least two hours. 

This would be a breeze, right? We were untouchable. 

Flash forward five days later as we traveled back to Nashville …

I had a case of laryngitis, an unidentifiable stain on my shirt and baby food on my pants.

My husband had crazy hair and did his best to pretend he wasn't stressed while waiting for a TSA agent to test every single baby food and formula container in our carry-on bag - yes, every.single.one.

It took us 45 minutes at the ticket counter to get our boarding passes due to the airline’s printer breaking down.

We missed our stop on the airport tram and got to ride it for an extra 15 minutes (two-year-old was thrilled about this and had a meltdown when we were finally able to get off). 

Sadly, the DVD player was no longer with us…RIP. The iPad wouldn't connect to the airplane’s wi-fi, and our 11-month-old decided while waiting in line to board the plane, was the perfect time to poop.

So what’s the moral of my story? 

Is it that we shouldn’t travel with kids?

No. All the in-between stuff was pretty amazing. In fact, we’d do it all over again for the unforgettable memories we made. 

The moral of the story is to never get too cocky. Because the minute we high-five one another and think we have it all figured out - the universe will reply with a big, fat, ‘Nope.’ 

Happy summer travels to all of you other parents, bravely flying or driving into the unknown.

Godspeed. May the odds be ever in your favor. 

Do you have some tried and true family travel tips you’d like to share? Got a funny kid story? Want to send me some feedback or share some parenting advice? 

E-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I’d love to hear from you!

_________

* Oh, by the way, this is my new column. I’m writing it partly to keep you entertained and partly to keep myself sane. 

PSA: If you don’t like kids and/or stories about kids, then this column probably isn’t for you. However, if you think kids are awesome and enjoy the occasional laugh (mostly at my expense) - then by all means, read on my friend :)

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Consider This......

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Is a picture worth a thousand words? Well you tell me.

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The Politicians In D.C. Have Filled Their Bellies With The East Wind

Should a wise man utter vain knowledge and fill his belly with the east wind? (Job 15:2).  Here is how the Contemporary English Version renders the preceding passage:  Job, if you had any sense you would stop spreading all of this hot air.  Eliphaz was supposedly a friend of Job.  All of us know from the Old Testament the tremendous suffering of this man.  His fair weather friend is accusing him of blaming God for his troubles and suggesting that all of Jobs speeches were nothing but hot air out of the reservoir of his belly.  Eliphaz is saying, Job instead of filling your belly with knowledge and common sense you have filled it with so much east wind which was a bad wind in that region.  By falsely accusing God Eliphaz was wrong, he misjudged Job.

However, this section of the Bible could very well be directed toward the politicians in D.C. for they have filled their bellies with the hot air of intellectual liberalism and have supported the liberal news media to the extent that coffee shops, barber shops, college classrooms, and countless other places have become the mouth pieces of the intellectual liberals whose bellies are filled with hot airopposition to the Constitution and Christianity.

Fellow citizens, it is later than most think.  And it makes me sad that a once good party of the working man and of freedomthe Democrat Party has been used by the protruding bellies of hot air.  The Republican Party is no better, for they have allowed these enemies of America to ride rough shod over the greatest nation history has ever known.  It is scary to see the President give billions in recent days to Iran, a nation of dangerous Muslims who would like nothing better than to take us over while senior citizens and abused children suffer from a lack of necessities of life.  Pray that the people in power will stop this run a way train or else our children will be subjected to the tyranny of radical Islam in years to come.

God Bless America!

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The GArdens Are Still Producing

As it is mid-November, it’s not surprising that people say to me, “I guess you are done with your gardening.” My answer does surprise them. “No, the gardens are still producing like crazy and we’ll be delivering vegetables for another six weeks.”

In mid-August, after the spring and summer vegetables peter out, we sow all of our fields in fall crops. Buckwheat is used as a nurse crop for all kinds of brassicas, or cabbage family, plants. After a frost lays down the buckwheat, the gardens are full of food.

Arugula is a spicy green that reminds me of creasy salad. It is used like an herb, in small amounts. We try to send three bushels each week to our 180 member CSA.

The mustard patch looks great, with a bright green color and lots of frilly leaves. Mizuna is a lacey-leafed, mild mustard we grow too. 15 bushels go to town every week.

We send a few hundred turnips in each week, along with plenty of greens. Besides the common purple-top, we grow a white one called Haukeri, a red one called Scarlet Queen, and a yellow turnip, Gold Ball. Rutabega has leaves more like kale, but they are a lot like turnips, and our variety is All-American.

Daikon radishes come in several varieties, too. Besides the long white one, we have a red one, China Rose, and a green one that’s red-fleshed called Watermelon radish. Daikons are a good mix for the cover crop because their roots go deep and help loosen heavy soils.

The flat-leafed Kale will go all winter. The other kales we have are Tuscany, Siberian and Red Russian. Georgia Collards are similar, with larger leafs.

Bokchoys are fun to grow. Joi Choi gets huge, up to five pounds. Mei Qing is a more refrigerator friendly kind that gets to be about a pound. Tat Soi has deep green leaves, as does a variety called Vitamin Green. The Chinese Cabbage we grow are also called Napa, and we have two kinds, Minvet and Rubicon.

Lots of lettuces are still making heads, and mixed with Bloomsdale Spinach makes for an awesome salad. The lettuce won’t last, but we should have spinach all winter and into spring.

The Swiss Chard and Parsley, planted in spring, have come back beautifully after a bit of summer dormancy. Our fall broccoli and kohlrabi did not make, I planted them too late.

Reemay, a floating row cover used for tobacco beds, gets stretched over the rows for 6’ to 8’ of frost protection. We try to hold it down with boards, and the wind tries to blow it off. What doesn’t get covered suffers when the temperatures hit the teens.

The cellar still supplies red and white potatoes. A little garlic is still left, and enough onions for one more delivery. A few bushels of spaghetti squash and acorn squash are dwarfed by a ton or so of butternuts. These will keep all winter and help us do a winter CSA.

Best of all are the sweet potatoes. We eat them almost daily and never get tired of them. With a hundred bushels left, the CSA will have plenty.

For a special surprise, the old Arkansaw Black trees in my new front yard have yielded bushels of delicious apples. A persimmon tree on the ridge offers another even sweeter treat. Yes, it is no surprise that the gardens are still going great, and it looks like we’ll have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

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Soil

As important as soils are, most people and many farmers know little about how they work. This was not always so. Publications on farming from 100 to 150 years ago indicate a widespread understanding of the role of humus, soil structure and fertility, and how plants grow. Recent discoveries in soil microbiology verify these wise traditions of diversified crops and rotations, composting for a stable humus, and the integration of animal husbandry and crop production on all farms. Why is this knowledge so obscured?

When President Eisenhower’s farwell address warned us of the military/industrial complex over fifty years ago, little attention was given to agriculture. Once we realize gunpowder and agriculture chemicals are made from the same ingredients by the same companies, a picture develops. A bit of history helps understanding this connection.

Most of the weapons used by both sides during WWI were made by the same companies. They are made from ammonia, phosphorus and potassium nitrate, the same familiar NPK used for artificial fertilizers. Marketing these products to farmers after WWI proved difficult, because traditional farming wisdom kept soils fertile and they didn’t need extra fertilizers.

The military/industrial/agricultural complex, if I may amend Pres. Ike, started funding ag colleges, which then began a misinformation campaign. Students, often sent to college from self sufficient, diversified family farms, were taught that a farm should either raise livestock or crops, but not both. This separation spelled disaster for our nation’s soil, because healthy humus production relies on animal impact. Land grant colleges still enforce this disconnection today.

As the new generation began following these recommendations, the microorganisms in the soil that are responsible for moving nutrients into plants were killed. For example, nitrogen fertilizer destroys nitrogen fixing bacteria, and the same is true for other microbes and elements. When humus levels drop, plants become susceptible to insects and diseases, and more chemicals are deemed necessary. By the end of WWII, many American farmers were using chemicals.

Ultimately, we have GMD crops sprayed with herbicides, which are either fed to confined animals feeding operations, made into unhealthy pre-packaged grocery items, or given as aid to underdeveloped countries, undermining their local food systems. But let’s not forget that 70% of world food production still comes from small landowners on 5 acres or less, according to the U.N. World Food Organization. Also, 70% of environmental pollution comes from agricultural runoff. Agribusiness doesn’t feed people, it feeds the military/industrial complexes at the expense of our health.

The concentration of vast quantities of wealth has given rise to a banking system holding most people in perpetual debt, an educational system obscuring agricultural wisdom, and the necessity of a large military presence worldwide.

What do we do? We grow gardens and feed ourselves and our neighbors, we boycott big ag products, and we support local farmers who understand soils and treat them with wisdom of traditional agriculture. And we get together at the annual Local Food Summit, held this year at Trevecca Nazerene University on Dec. 7th, where we will learn from different perspectives about healthy local food, and enjoy it in meals prepared by Nashville’s premier restaurants.

More info can be found online at TNlocalfoods.com.

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Rabbit Gender and Religion, Plus Politics

            A teacher brought a rabbit to her first grade class.  It was passed around to all the children and all were impressed.  One boy raised his hand and said, “Is it a boy or a girl?” 

            The teacher replied, “I’m not sure.” 

            A little timid girl raised her hand,

“I know.”

            “How?” questioned her classmate friends.

            “Let’s vote on it,” said the little girl.

            The above is suggested in the Cybersalt Digest and appears in a recent issue of House to House and Heart to Heart.

            The above is highly suggestive.  If the boy won, would that make the rabbit a male?  Maybe the rabbit was a female.  It is amazing how many religions vote on matters instead of consulting the Bible.  I even heard of one congregation of the church of Christ that voted on who to employ as their new preacher, allowing both women and children to cast a vote.  Where is the authority for this?  I know of a denominational group which voted on a man as to whether he had been saved and was worthy to become a part of their religious group.  God only knows who is saved or lost, and man has no business playing God.  When man conforms to the Bible, God saves him no matter how the vote may go.  If we would all go by the Bible, then there would be no need of holding an election.

            Look what a mess we have in this nation because men have not followed the Constitution but have injected their own pre-conceived opinions into the operation of this nation.  We have a Bible, so consult it instead of taking a vote in matters of doctrines and morals.  We have a Constitution, so consult it instead of taking a vote against it. 

            God bless our nation, including all of God’s people.  Have a good week.

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Purcell Log Cabin

I have moved. I apologize for the sporadic columns this summer, but I believe I’ll get back into the swing of things soon. There is certainly a lot to write about.

First of all, I haven’t moved very far, just a few miles downstream. We spent the last year fixing up the old Purcell house on Heady Ridge Road. It has an interesting story.

In 1929 the log cabin that the Purcell family lived in burned down. They were camping out and heard a commotion coming up the driveway. It was a wagon full of doors and windows.

Rufus West had a sawmill across the Long Hungry Creek. He was the wealthiest man around, he ate hog meat everyday. Another team of horses pulled up with a wagon load of neighbors. They said “Where do you want it?”

Unasked, they had come to build this house. As we fixed it up, my carpenter friends kept mumbling “This place was built by farmers.” Steve is convinced that one corner fell off the foundation stone, but no one noticed until they’d already hammered it together. The floors and walls have waves and curves adding to the character.

I had n o plans. No budget and no timeline. Eventually I decided where the kitchen and bathroom would be. as we stripped out the walls and ceiling, I decided to keep cleaning to get rid of all the old dust. Behind the drywall we found beautiful popular siding, so we sanded it and sanded it.

Plumbing, wiring, doors, windows and the list went on. Then came the trim work. I found a good deal on some basswood and sassafras, and it looks fantastic. A new front porch and back deck went on a few weeks ago, and I started moving my stuff here.

There is still a lot to do. We’ll have to build a root cellar and outdoor shed. Parking is an issue, I may have to sacrifice some flat spot that I’d rather plant in. grown up brush needs cutting, trees and shrubs planted, and berries, herbs and coldframes will have to go in, too.

The chilly mornings remind me to put the stove in and cut some firewood. Once I get a fire warming the house it will really feel like home. It’s a beautiful place in a potentially beautiful setting, and I look forward to landscaping the yard.

The old log cabin will house my students, but it is no longer my home. There is a bit of sadness. I love that place and the neighborhood. We’ll keep growing chickens and pigs there, and maybe fence it off for cattle.

So come visit me. It’s the right hand driveway down the hill from the county landfill on Heady Ridge Road. This is my first column written from here, and I hope to write many more.

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The Gossipmonger: His Origin and His Work

When the sperm of ignorance connects with the egg of jealousy a monster is born—A Gossipmonger.  Feeding upon himself, he reaches maximum strength immediately.  Periodically, he goes to his physician (the devil) for a shot of suspicion.  When the pond of suspicion dries up then he begins to suspect himself.

            He is easily detected, for his tongue hangs out the corner of his mouth like a mule pulling a heavy load.  His tongue is so long that he can sit in the living room and lick the skillet on the stove in the kitchen.

            The Gossipmonger picks up bits of information and passes it along as if he had ascertained the validity of the story.  Some people are apparently unaware of the hurt that can be afflicted by a loose tongue.  It is apparent that gossip is often spread originating in a heart of jealousy, with the primary purpose of hurting another.

            On the other hand, I suppose one may have a loose tongue from being kicked in the head by a mule, which reminds me of a story told by J. Harold Stephens, a preacher of some sort in Shelbyville, Tennessee.  He tells the story of one of the less brilliant boys of a rural community who was kicked in the head by a mule.  After a while, he seemed to have recovered.  A neighbor asked the boy’s father if his son had gotten all right.

            “No,” said the father, “he didn’t get all right, but he did get back to like he was.”

            It would be nice if we could all get back to the way we were—treating our neighbors the way that we want to be treated.  That would eliminate gossip.

            From my store house of experience:  I’ve learned that it is next to impossible to trace down the source of gossip, and that it is foolish to try to do so, or even fret about it.  Your friends won’t believe it, and your enemies will add to it and pass it along as if it were truth.  When this world is on fire people will still be gossiping but God Almighty (pardon me ACLU) will still be holding them accountable for their words against their fellow man.

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When Love Turns Cold

            A church sign caught my eye recently.  It got my attention because of the following statements:           

                                    “Dear God:

                                    I’ve got a problem, It’s a “ME” problem.”

            Unfortunately, most of our problems, are “ME” problems, self-afflicted problems!  Homemade problems!

            Most of our “ME” problems stem from allowing our love to turn cold.  “And because iniquity (sin) shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12).

            What are the symptoms of a dying love?

            One is when an individual’s prayers become mundane, canned, routine, or artificial.  It doesn’t take long for love to turn cold, when one ceases to pray, or pray with the right spirit.  Prayer keeps the heart warm.  Sin turns it cold, and love freezes the spirit to death.

            Two is when worship has lost its luster.  If a ballgame has more excitement than worship, then your love has turned as “cold as kraut.”  You are frozen stiff, spiritually speaking.

            Three is when the preacher’s sermons are too strong.  But it is my understanding that the preacher is to preach the Word.  When the fire goes out in the pulpit, then the people in the pews freeze to death.

            And four, absenteeism will cause love to grow cold. 

            Also, when love grows cold between a man and a woman, a husband and a wife, then trouble lies ahead.  And what follows is often ugly.

            Don’t let your love grow cold for the church, the family, or that person who means everything to you.

            When love grows cold, then it must be revived.

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Stubborn Leaders

The Psalms speak of some in that period of history whose spirit was “stubborn and rebellious” (Psalm 78:8). After eons of time, stubbornness is still with us. Some actual view it as an attribute. I know of two elected officials who recently boasted of their stubbornness. Perhaps they’ve never analyzed the word ‘stubbornness.’ Webster says a stubborn person is “set on having his way; not willing to give in; obstinate; hard to deal with.” This definition doesn’t sound like a stubborn person has the attributes needed to exert real leadership.

When one makes the claim of stubbornness, he is admitting he is kin to a mule. “Be ye not as the … mule” (Psalm 32:9), wrote David. The writer’s point is that the mule is stubborn, and this is an unworthy characteristic for a human being. So when one boasts of being stubborn, he is embracing the mule or donkey as his brother. David advises us not to be like the mule, stubborn. The mule has a nature, which makes it refuse to move. Our Creator doesn’t want to handle us like dumb beasts. We aren’t supposed to have a willful nature.

Furthermore, for one to claim stubbornness is to admit the inability or unwillingness to sit down with another person or a group and reach a decision, or decisions, that will benefit all, not just some mule-headed, jack-legged leader. So you want to be a leader? Then shed your stubbornness.

I heard of a church once, which was hotly debating whether to buy a chandelier for a foyer. A business meeting was called to discuss the matter. A good, old brother, who came in late, stood and said, “I’m agin’st buying a chandelier for three reasons: (1) We ain’t got the money, (2) Nobody in the church can play one, and (3) What we really need is more light for this lobby.”

What one really needs to be an effective leader is more knowledge (light), and less stubbornness.

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