Instagram – The Gateway Drug

Instagram - the gateway drug...
Instagram – the gateway drug…

I haven’t written a lot lately. Our oldest recently turned thirteen and I swear it’s like gremlins snuck into his body the same night and just completely overtook our boy. I know that this blog is only worth reading if it’s authentic. I am finding it’s a struggle trying to achieve authenticity while respecting my son’s privacy as he goes through this period in his life. So this is my first stab at it…

It’s only been about six weeks since the gremlins arrived, and the amount of time this precious child of ours has spent hating us in those six weeks is probably quadruple the whole amount of the thirteen years prior.

This new phase of parenthood and childhood is presenting the steepest learning curve we’ve experienced since those first early days as parents of a newborn. And I find that so much of the struggle is compounded by social media.

So let’s start at the beginning. Instagram. To me, it’s the gateway drug. We let boy number one get an Instagram account in fifth grade. And I’m glad we did.

Say what? Didn’t I just call it a gateway drug? Well, here’s the thing…

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The Craft Challenged Mom… And the #?!$x&*! School Project

Mint Tin Book Report - original idea from www.gottoteach.com
Mint Tin Book Report – original idea from www.gottoteach.com

Man, I suck at crafts. In my head I don’t. But there is plenty of evidence to prove otherwise. Over Easter break, I saw friends posting pictures of crafts they VOLUNTARILY did with their kids. Nail art with wood and tools and string and paint was my fave. Shoot, I didn’t even manage to die Easter eggs with my kids.

However…. being a mother pretty much requires at least a little craftiness.

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Goodbye, Old Friend

Goodbye Chico
You were the best dog this family could ever ask for.

Some days are harder than others. This day just about broke me. We said goodbye to our dog Chico today.

I think the anticipation was the worst. Knowing what was ahead, we tried to cherish the last hours. We let him sleep in our bed last night. I made bacon and gave him some this morning. He lounged in his favorite sunny spot by the back door. It was a pretty idyllic way to spend your last dog day on earth.

My husband, Mark, was supposed to meet me at home so we could go together. But a work meeting ran late, so he had to go directly to the vet. Picking Chico up and carrying him out of the house was awful. Knowing it was the last time. Knowing where we were going.

When we got to the vet’s office, I just held him close, trying to provide some sense of security for him. I was keeping it together pretty well until Mark walked in – gym towel in hand (guys never have kleenex when they need it), already crying the ugly cry. The ride over from the office, with nothing but his thoughts, was the part that got Mark.

After the vet explained the process to us and started to prepare the injections, Mark looked at me, tears streaming down his face, and said “I don’t want to do this.” I almost broke then. But instead I said, “We will never want to do this. This will never be easy. Not today or any day.”

I have to say, the final minutes were quite peaceful. Chico wasn’t shaking or scared. He was just snug in my arms, with soft whispers and gentle petting as he took his last breaths. I am so so very glad we searched for another vet. Our neighbors referred us to Dr. Barry at Skillman Animal Clinic and she could not have been more compassionate or loving.

After we pulled ourselves together, Mark said “I am amazed at how peaceful I am about this. I wasn’t – going into it. But now that it’s done, I know we did the right thing for him.” Cataracts, hips slipping, loss of hearing, skin lesions, and Cushings disease were all having their way with our companion of sixteen years. It was time to let him go.

But telling the children? Well that was a whole ‘nother thing.

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Valentine’s Day is a Mom Job

Mom DayLong ago and far away, back in 1997, when my husband and I first met….

I was 24 years old, making a 24 year old salary, leading a new restaurant opening in Michigan. This one was over Valentine’s Day, so I went out and “splurged” on the little cardboard Valentines and hand wrote a little note to each trainer on that opening. My would be (though we weren’t even dating then) husband caught me doing it and said, “You’re gonna be such a great mom someday.”

And isn’t that the truth? Somehow, the job of getting Valentine’s Day whatevers together for children and their classmates is decidedly a MOM JOB. I mean, I don’t know any Dads who take that on. It’s not even on their radar. A seasoned MOM knows you better have a plan. And by God, you better have it executed before February 12th.

Which brings me to last night. Husband is scrolling through Facebook and starts laughing. Like out loud. LOL for real. When I ask “What?”, his one word answer was “Schuck”. Well, now I must come look. Because our friend Kristin is FUNNY. Like tears in your beer, can’t catch your breath, the mishaps she gets into and the way she sees the world will keep your smile muscles in excellent shape.

So this is what had Mark laughing so hard….

Target already said adios to VDay and helloooo to Easter.
Target already said adios to VDay and helloooo to Easter.

Well wouldn’t you know it… Kristin’s post reminded me of the Valentine’s purchase I had made a few weeks ago, which had been sitting in the Target bag since. Yikes! Class parties are today. Someone had to get those suckers ready.

While divvying them up and writing names, I started thinking about how Valentine’s Day is a mom job. All the moms I know. Working moms, stay at home moms – all the moms.

And that’s when I really went down the rabbit hole and started thinking about the kids who don’t have moms right now. Most especially, kids who are missing their mom for the first time this year. Because you know, even if that Daddy is doing all the things that their Mom used to do, it is highly highly unlikely that he managed to do THIS too.

This morning, I dropped off kidlet number three and saw his eyes wander to the mommies walking their kids in today – arms laden down with boxes filled with neat rows of pinterest worthy crafts for all 26 classmates. I admit, that stung for a second. But not for long. We all do our best. We bring different strengths to this motherhood gig. Some of us are Pinterest queens. Some of us are not. But at the next stop, I did walk in with kidlet number two. Because today is Donuts with Mom at his school. And while I am sure there were some gorgeous crafts in the building, the real star was the morning breakfast with moms and kids. It set me back on the right track and made me appreciate all the love in my life.

Donuts with Mom
Me and my sweet Bobby (who probably ate five donuts this morning!)

This Valentine’s Day, I am sending some extra love to the kids who are missing their moms. And to the Dads who are trying to be all things, even in the midst of their own grief. And to my fellow mamas – who cares if you did something amazing or something fast for the class Valentines today. You did it. You love your kids and they love you. That’s enough. Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

PS – Yes, I did write names on Valentines for my kidlets. There was still homework to be done. Priorities, people. OH… and I propose 2017 is the year of Dad driven class Valentines.  Who’s with me????

Why My Pre-Teen Won’t Be Seeing Deadpool

Thanks to a little help from Julie Says So, Mama says so too!
Thanks to a little help from JulieSaysSo.com, Mama says so too!

The other night my “days away from thirteen” first born was talking about how he wants to see the new Deadpool movie. My husband, who is normally MUCH more lenient than I am when it comes to movies, instantly said, “NO! You are definitely not seeing that movie.”

When I asked why not, he said, “Have you seen Julie’s review? THAT’S why.”

Our friend Julie is a talented blogger and well known movie reviewer. I love to read her reviews. But I also know that one parent’s “no way” is another parent’s “why not”. So despite what my husband said, I thought I would see it for myself and then make my own decision on whether or not our son could see it.

And then… I actually read Julie’s review.

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