Crafting a little peace

It's not as if there aren't a million other things that I should be doing. I mean, we're getting ready to rip out our entire kitchen in 3 days and what am I doing? I'm crafting.

A while back, I saw this cool piece of artwork on Etsy. (If you haven't checked out Etsy, you must! It's "your place to buy and sell all things handmade.") So I saw this cool piece of artwork, a collage peace sign, and I thought "hey I could make that" so I stashed the idea away for a day when I had nothing better to do.


I had been saving old birthday cards for the project. Usually I'm like "save a tree--don't send me a card" but for this project I was glad that nobody had ever listened. The first thing I did was use my little paper cutter to cut all of the cards into long strips.

I had a white canvas in the garage that had never been used that was perfect for this. I used the blue painter's tape along the edge. I wanted a plain white edge to give it the look of being matted for framing. Then I painted 4 coats of this bright citron green color.

So once it was dry, I started to use my card strips to create an "o" shape. I cut the strips as needed to fit.

And once it was all said and done (a couple of hours from start to finish) this is what I ended up with. I wish I could give credit to the original artist who came up with this idea, but I can no longer find it. So whoever you are thanks! And no worries--I won't be selling these any time soon.

Peace out...

Salsa and Pickles.

There are times when I really get into cooking. I think all of the commercials for the new Julia Child movie coming out have inspired me to head into the kitchen. Cooking is a tasty form of creativity and when I feel the need, cooking is a great way to feed my crafty bug. Literally.

After our trip to the farm last week, I had lots of great produce that I needed to do something with. It is easy to get carried away at the farm. Everything looks so fresh and beautiful, you just want to take home everything you see. Suddenly you find yourself wanting to pick eggplant, even though you've never eaten eggplant before in your life. It just looks so pretty...and purple!

That's what lead to the canning that I decided to do last Saturday. We had 5 pounds worth of berries that we were thoroughly enjoying, but one of us was going to turn into a berry (like that poor girl Veruca Salt) if we kept eating them at the rate that we were going. Hence the jam. It was fun to make, pretty easy, just a little sticky. I've never made jam before, but I must have done something right--the jars made that little clicking sound so you know that they had sealed correctly and the Cheese said that it was the best thing he's ever tasted.

How about that Julia?

I also decided to make some pickles. I made garlic dill slices. They're pretty tart (lots of vinegar) but they just need more time to marinate. Nothing wrong with a pickle with a little kick. And they look so pretty in the jar too.

Then yesterday, I decided to make some fresh salsa. We are salsa people. We eat it by the pound. All of us. Boys included. Using the four fresh tomatoes that we had picked to make salsa seemed like the logical choice.

I didn't have a recipe. I knew some basic ingredients that I needed from the help of my Whole Foods Market Cookbook. But I made up the amounts myself: 4 tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 pepper (I went with a nice and hot jalapeno), 1/2 red onion, the juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper.

I chopped everything up, making sure to remove the mushy parts of the tomatoes. I also added some of the seeds from the pepper for more of a kick. I didn't worry about getting everything too finely chopped.

And here's why. I was going to put it all into my mini processor. I didn't want chunky salsa, but I also didn't want to puree it too much and turn it into total liquid.

And this is what I ended up with. Looks pretty good, huh? And it tastes good too! At first I mostly tasted just the tomato, but after letting it sit for awhile, letting the pepper, garlic, and onion take effect, it tasted just like Ted's, a Mexican food restaurant in Oklahoma (yeah, all you people back home just suddenly perked up didn't you?)

I would say that it made about 2-3 cups worth of salsa. Just enough to last a couple of days at our house.

(And see that granite counter top? This time next week, it won't be here any more! You want it?)

Weekly Column: Just Lie to Me

©Stephenie Freeman

For the first time in my life, I finally used up a whole roll of dental floss. That has never happened before. Ever.

I always feel guilty when the dental hygienist gives me that little baggie full of stuff at the end of my visit, the one with a toothbrush, a tiny tube of toothpaste, and floss. I never have the heart to tell them that there are about twenty-eight rolls of dental floss in my bathroom drawer that I’ve been collecting since 1978.

I hate going to the dentist. Not because I am afraid that it is going to hurt or because I know that they will find at least one cavity that needs to be filled. I hate going to the dentist because sitting in that chair turns me into a big, fat liar.

“Are you flossing, Mrs. Freeman?” the hygienist asks while scraping my teeth with an iron hook.

“Uh, huh. Of course.” I lie in a mumble through the fingers in my mouth.

But the plaque and food particles are giving me away. The hygienist lets me get away with it; lets my little white lie be the big white elephant in the room.

I’ve been lying to the dentist for as long as I can remember, but I am ashamed to admit that my lying has now carried over into my children’s dentist visits as well.

“They always brush twice a day.” (That is, when we remember.)

“They just love brushing their own teeth.” (Actually, they hate it so much that it requires me putting them into a head lock.)

“They’re great about flossing.” (Not really, but it sounds good doesn’t it?)

My problem is in the timing. At the beginning of the day I usually don’t remember to brush their teeth until we are in the car and half way to school, and at the end of the day, especially the ones that have been particularly long and stressful, flossing is simply one more thing standing in between me and the ultimate goal—my bed.

It’s awful that I lie about my flossing habits, but it is downright horrifying that I have started lying about my own children’s. I am well aware of the terrible example that I am setting, especially since we’ve been working on the whole “no lying” thing with the Cheese who as recently discovered the fine art of fibbing.

“Did you wash with shampoo?” I recently asked him from outside the shower door.

“Uh…yeah…uh-huh…sure.” Lucky for me, my new little liar still isn’t very good at it. I opened the door and smelled his head. He simply smiled as I gave him “the look”, handed him the shampoo bottle and shut the door.

I continued to talk to the shower door. “Cheese, you know that what you just did? It’s is called lying and you shouldn’t do it.”

“But Mom,” he yelled back at me, “you do it. I heard you lie to that lady at the dentist the other day. You did. I heard you.”

I realized that this was a make-it-or-break-it parenting moment. I could either choose the high road, telling him that he’s right and that it is wrong and I shouldn’t do it, or I can choose the easy way out and lie.

But on this particular night, I was not in the mood to excel in parenting or lying, so I chose instead to lead by example. “Time to get out and brush your teeth,” I tell him. “We need to remember to floss too. You and me both.”

With a towel wrapped around him and his glasses starting to fog up, he smiled as he says, “Sure, Mom. Whatever.”

“I’m not kidding, Cheese. We are going to start flossing every night. All of us.”

“Oh, sorry Mom,” he said with a smile. “I thought you were lying.”

a rare saturday post: a week in review

Monkey leaves his mark as we say goodbye to friends who are moving away...

attended a peaceful but sad goodbye/birthday party...

had white trash backyard fun with friends...

played an inaugural game of Scrabble...

headed to the farm with friends for fresh food...

{may every week be filled with this much fun,
minus the sad part of the friends moving away of course.}

Go Green Lunchboxes

I'm not usually this on the ball (okay, that's not exactly true--I'm actually quiet annal about these sorts of things), but I've already ordered the Cheese's new school lunchbox. Normally I would make a big deal about going to the store and letting him pick out a shiny new one. If you've read my book {wink, wink} then you know what a big deal that was for me growing up. Buying school supplies was always so exciting, and the lunchbox was always the highlight of the shopping trip.

But my son could honestly take it or leave it. So when I saw these lunchboxes advertised in a local magazine, I went ahead and took matters into my own hands.

After getting permission from the Cheese and allowing him to choose the style that he liked best, I order one of these from Go Green Lunchboxes.

I'm so excited about this cool lunchbox! It's like a little bento box on the inside, which means NO MORE PLASTIC BAGGIES. And it even comes with a water bottle, which means NO MORE JUICE BOXES. So when I'm making the Cheese's lunch every day I'll be saving money and saving the planet. LOVE IT!!


There are 6 different styles to choose from. I loved this polka dotted one, but the Cheese wouldn't go for it.

And my favorite thing about these lunchboxes has to do with the fact that they were created by a mama who saw a need and filled it. {Read her story here.} The lunchbox is a little more expensive, but the money you'll save in baggies, not to mention what you're doing for the planet and the lesson that you are teaching your child, makes it totally worth it. You might see similar lunchboxes, say in the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue, but I think that these are way cuter and I'd much rather be supporting a hard working mama than a huge corporation.

Good luck with your back-to-school shopping and don't forget to GO GREEN!

Have you called your Father lately?

I'll admit, I've been terrible this summer. Too busy on Sundays playing and soaking up the sun to head to church to soak up the Son. So it was no big surprise when I pushed the "play" button on the answering machine the other day and heard this:

"Uh...hello...uh...Stephenie? It's me, God. You know, your Heavenly Father. It's been a while since I've heard from you so I thought I'd just give you a quick call to check in. I know that you've been really busy lately. Those two boys that I loaned you sure are a handful aren't they?

I've received your many thank you notes about the blessings that I've given you. Again, you're so very welcome. And I'll tell you, I am ready to send more blessings your way. I don't want to give anything away, but let's just say that I know the desires of your heart and I'm ready to do more than you could imagine, guess, or request, even in your wildest dreams. I just wish you had a little more time for your Dear Ol' Dad up here.

I tried to get your attention the other day, but you didn't notice me. You were looking down, worried about get somewhere in a hurry, and didn't notice the beautiful blue sky that I had sent your way. That's been happening more and more lately; people too busy to notice the little things I do for them.

Well anyway, I really wasn't calling to complain, I only called to say that I love you and to tell you that I've been thinking about you. Call me can when you get a quiet moment. I know that quite time with me hasn't always been your thing, but I think you'd be surprised what good friends we could be if you just invested the time.

I know. Asking a busy mama to give more of something. Guess that's just the Father in me. Always wanting more time from the people I love the most. I sure do hope to hear from you soon. Love you...oh, and all of your family up here wanted me to tell you they miss you and love you too. Gotta run. Miles to go before I sleep.



"Such a little cutie!"

Have I ever told you about Woof Woof? This is him.

He is the Monkey's one true love. Oh sure, he loves the Golfer and I completely, but he loves Woof Woof to pieces. Literally.

I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. I had a Woof Woof when I was little. His name was Fluffy. Fluffy was my first love who eventually went to college with me and now resides on the Monkey's bed.

The Cheese wanted nothing to do with stuffed animals when he was a baby. Still really doesn't have much of an interest in them. After a couple of years I gave up trying when he made an attachment to a pink plastic door from his Elmo's World play set. He called it Door (very original) and carried it everywhere. I was just happy that he had made an attachment to something.

Then the Monkey came around and I tried again. Some family friends had given us this cute puppy that I put in his crib while I was still pregnant and crossed my fingers.

I'm not sure when it happened, but Woof Woof eventually became the Monkey's best friend. Most of the day he runs around, clueless to Woof Woof's whereabouts when suddenly he'll stubble upon him. He'll scoop Woof Woof in his arms and cover his face with kisses, telling him "You are such a cutie." and it melts my heart.

Woof Woof is starting to look bad. His fur isn't as soft and fluffy as it once was, his stuffing is all misshapen, and there's a little hole starting to form on the top of one of his ears.

But it doesn't matter. The Monkey loves him to pieces. And honestly, so do I.

Weekly Column: Therapy

©Stephenie Freeman

My computer keeps telling me that I have “unresolved security issues.” How my computer knows me so well is beyond me.

Even though it might not look like it, my computer has me pegged. From the outside you simply see a 36-year-old woman with children, but on the inside I carry around the insecurities of a 13-year-old teenager with braces.

On the inside, deep in the crevices that I don’t like to clean, you’ll find a nervous mother who is worried that I am somehow screwing up my children without my knowledge. If you get really close you’ll see the grey hairs that even the most expensive trips to the salon don’t seem to cure and notice the weird line that has suddenly shown up around my neck. In truth I am what some refer to as a “hot mess.”

Along with my motherly anxiety and worry, I am carrying around a teenage-sized dose of insecurity and doubt. Will I be good enough? Will I succeed? Will he still love me? Will she want to be my friend? It’s the sort of drama that Judy Blume young adult novels are made of.

Are you there God? It’s me, Stephenie.

It baffles me that I have these insecurities about making new friends. I have lots of friends so it has been proven that people enjoy my company, and I certainly have bigger worries to focus on that have more lasting meaning in my life, but it’s the silly things that tend to dominate my worry-wart tendencies.

Take the PTA for example. Last year I attended what meetings I could, but kept a safe distance from the gaggle of moms that were running the school. Like most cliques—and let’s face it, cliques are just a part of life I don’t care how old you are or what setting you are in—these moms seemed to be part of the “In Crowd.”

I just wasn’t sure if I was cool enough to be one of them. I was in junior high all over again.

But I was a mom with young children and time on my hands, and before the year was over I was elected to the PTA executive board, handed a notebook, and given a title. Without even realizing what was happening, I was suddenly part of the “In Crowd.”

Like soccer practice and Gymboree class and ballet lessons, the PTA is a great place for mamas to make new friends. But developing new friendships requires time and effort, two things that most mamas don’t have a lot of. Making friends just doesn’t come as easily as it used to.

I often marvel on how easily my boys make new friends. We’ll be at the park and within ten minutes they have made emotional attachments to half of the kids there. If my boys have insecurities about making new friends, they are nowhere to be seen.

So I’ve decided to follow my kids’ lead when it comes to making friends with these PTA super moms in the “In Crowd.” Just like my boys, I am going to run up and smile and offer to share my snack. I’m going to be eager to make playdates and jump up and down when I run into them at the mall. I most of all I am going to put in the time and the effort that’s required when developing long-lasting friendships.

Because like our newly-elected U.S. Senator Al Franken has taught us all to say: I am good enough, I am smart enough and doggone it, people like me.

Dream a little dream for me

You know when you wake up and you think, "Man! That dream was sooooo real!"

I just had one of those. And This one was worth remembering.

Okay, so, John Mayer and I were on the Ellen Degeneres Show. I don't know why we were on there, but Oprah was there too. John and I were doing one of Ellen's crazy games--something to do with donuts and pretzels sticks (it's not what you're thinking, get you mind out of the gutter)--and we made Ellen laugh and she loved us. So did Oprah.

So after the show was over John and I headed out, together as a couple, to watch the surfing competition at the beach. I had my new camera, trying to take pictures, but John just wouldn't leave me alone. He kept wanting to hug me and a put his arms around me which was really getting in the way of my picture taking.

Then we were in an Italian restaurant and I was walking around in a bikini trying all sorts of pasta from the salad bars and feeling slender looking at all of the old, fat, Italian women standing around. John told me that he liked me exactly like I am.

And then suddenly there was a 4-year-old on the edge of my bed asking if he could play the Wii and even though it was 7 am, I told him that it was fine because I desperately wanted to get back to John. But he's was already gone. Gone, gone, gone.

In case you're wondering, the Golfer's been out of town for the last 4 days. I think it's time for him to come home.

{my heart's not broken, but I thought the whole "dream" thing went well with my story. enjoy. I sure did.}

Back to the regularly scheduled remodel

Looks like the kitchen remodel is back on, which means my anxiety is back up. I have total confidence in my abilities, but it's been a while since I've done any remodeling. We totally remodeled the kitchen of our very first house, back in 1999--a whopping ten years ago! The only thing that I wanted was to have a big island (got it) and glass-front cabinets (got those too.) I pretty much left the rest of the kitchen planning up to the Golfer.

I know. Crazy!

This time, however, I care a lot more about how my kitchen is set up. After spending the last ten years in the kitchen (that's what getting married and having kids will get ya) I have a pretty good idea what works for me and my stuff and what doesn't.

But designing is all about having an "eye" and you've either got it or you don't. I would say that I've sort of got it. I mean, I know what I like, I don't necessarily think that I'd know what someone else would like. I can look at lots of pictures and say, "Ooohhh, I like that!" but actually doing it? Putting it all together so that it'll fit in the space provided? Well, that's different.

So here are some of the pictures that I've found:



Notice the similarities between the two? White, L shaped, center island, etc. We have dark wood floors (like the top picture) and I love the open shelves (like the second picture.) I want a stainless hood, maybe one that's a little more sleek and modern. I need the island to seat at least two, unfortunately our kitchen's not big enough to hold more than that.

It's easy for me to find pictures of kitchens that I like. It's the whole "making the dream a reality" thing that has me worried.

Guess that's why designers get degrees to do this sort of thing.

Weekly Column: There are heroes living amongst us

©Stephenie Freeman

I believe that everyone’s life is a story to be told. If you’re lucky, your story will be worth sharing with others. If you are blessed, your story will be one that others will love to share.

Take John W. Finn’s story for example. He has one of the greatest stories that I have heard in a long time and is a story that, over the holiday weekend, I got to witness a small part of.

Over the Fourth of July weekend my family had the opportunity to take a trip to Coronado Island, California. Not a big island, only 32 square miles, you can’t wave an American flag in Coronado without hitting a proud member of our country’s military. Coronado is home to a naval air station, a naval amphibious base, the US Navy SEALs, and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot is just across the San Diego Bay.

To say that Coronado is a patriotic place to celebrate the Fourth of July would be an understatement.

Like all good Fourth of July parades, Coronado’s included all of the parade must-haves. There were high school bands and cheerleaders and Girl Scouts. There were ladies from the Garden Club, the Democratic Club, and the Shriners in their tiny cars. There was even a group called the Geriatric Surf Club. They marched down the street to “Catch a Wave” by the Beach Boys, dropping old surf boards to the pavement to hang ten.

Only in California.

But the best part of the whole parade, and my personal favorite, were the Pearl Harbor Survivors. These aging heroes sat perched in the backs of classic convertibles, waving to the cheering crowd and saluting their fellow members of the military.

John W. Finn was one of those survivors.

When he was only 17 years old, Finn decided to enlist in the Navy and after receiving permission from his mother and his basic naval training, was sent to Oahu in 1940.

When attacked started on the morning of December 7, 1941, Lieutenant Finn took his place behind a 50-caliber machine gun where, even though completely exposed, returned the enemy’s fire reportedly shooting down a Japanese aircraft single handily.

Although having multiple wounds and bleeding from head to toe (Finn counted 28 holes from shrapnel, had a broken foot and a left arm that didn’t seem to be working) Lieutenant Finn refused to leave his post. It wasn’t until he received specific orders did he finally seek first-aid, where shortly thereafter he returned to the squadron area to supervise the rearming of returning planes.

Lieutenant John W. Finn was the first to be awarded the Medal of Honor for World War II. Out of the fifteen Medals of Honor that were awarded for action on December 7th, Lieutenant Finn’s was the only one awarded for returning enemy fire.

As a part of the parade this year, Lieutenant Finn was participating in a reenlistment ceremony for a young, female naval officer from the USS Nimitz, extremely fitting seeing that Admiral Nimitz was the one who presented Finn with his Medal of Honor in 1942.

I watched as Finn was helped out of the back of his convertible which had stopped in front of the Admirals’ bleachers. Now 99 years old (he will turn 100 on July 23), he stood with the aid of a cane, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, a baseball cap, and of course, his Medal of Honor.

Finn smiled at the officers assembled before him and simply asked, “Where’s the victim?”

Even though he had trouble remembering the entire oath and his voice wasn’t much louder than a whisper, everyone watching knew that we were witnessing, as trite as it may sound, something special. And after one last salute and best wishes given to the reenlisted sailor, the hero returned to his car and continued his journey.

There are heroes living amongst us and they all have amazing stories that must be told. They wear Hawaiian shirts and baseball caps and maybe the next time you sit on a curb to watch a parade you’ll be lucky enough to see one.

Real men Slip & Slide.

{when it's 100 degrees and you've been doing yard work,
you'll do just about anything to cool off.}

Practicing with the new camera.

...messing with the shutter speed... "P" mode...

... practicing indoors...

...getting a little artistic...

... catching a total crack-up...

what do you think?

Because sometimes delayed gratification can be much more satisfying.

The Cheese Eater has been asking for a Nintendo DS forever, but the last thing we needed in our house was another video game. Besides, he already had a Leapster, an educational handheld, and there was no need for another.

(I'll agree with my son's argument that he had outgrown the Leapster, but that wasn't enough to make me agree with the purchase of a new $129 system, not including all of the games and extras.)

But I felt for him. Telling him to put it on his Christmas list seemed a little silly, seeing that Christmas is months and months away. So I did what any parent in my situation would do: I told him that if he saved the money himself, he could buy his very own DS.

Being fully aware that it would take a 7-year-old forever to save that kind of money, I made a deal with him. Whatever he saved, I would match the amount. We sat down and figured out what it would all cost (the system plus a game or two.) I ended up telling him that--even though it was way under the total amount--if he saved $50, Mommy and Daddy would pay for the rest.

Because here's the deal. It wasn't about the amount of money he was saving. The lesson I was trying to teach my son was about instant gratification. We can't always have what we want the exact moment that we want it. Sometimes we have to wait and save, even if it takes a very long time.

We upped his allowance by a $1, bringing it to $4 a week. I've struggled a little with the whole allowance issue. Do you give your kids an allowance simply because they are a part of the family or do they have to earn it through chores and whatnot? We aren't big sticklers on chores, the boys still being so young, but I told the Cheese that if he didn't keep up with his responsibilities there would be no allowance.

Long story short, over the past several months, he saved $40 and I knew that the DS wasn't far away. Then I got a savings account statement in the mail that comes once a quarter.

{Sidenote: In kindergarten, there was a program through the school for the kids to have a savings account through a local bank. We would give him a few bucks each week that he would put into the account. It was supposed to be a great teachable moment about saving money, and I'm sure for older students that can learn how to keep a ledger it is a good one, but for our son it didn't amount to much.}

So he's had $60 just sitting in this account. It wasn't earning any interest so we had stopped putting money into it. Looking at the statement, I realized that he had saved enough money for his beloved DS without really knowing it.

I showed it to him. I reminded him that that was money that he had saved. I then had him add 60 and 40. You've never seen a smile so big as when he realized that he had saved $100.

"Does this I get to...?" He could hardly get the words out he was so excited.

After a quick trip to the bank to withdraw his money, we headed out to buy his DS. His body vibrated as he picked out the color that he wanted and the games he wanted to buy.

The morning after he bought it, he was hovering over my bed at 6:54 asking if he could play with it. I quickly realized that we would have to make some rules about the DS. So now, for every 30 minutes that he reads he gets 30 minutes on the DS. For every 30 minutes he's outside playing, he gets 30 minutes on the DS. It's not a perfect system, but it seems to be working.

But the financial lesson didn't end there. Now he's back to saving. Who knew those damn DS games were so expensive!

Weekly Column: At the end of my rope, all out of ideas, etc., etc.

©Stephenie Freeman

I'm afraid that I've been losing my cool a lot lately. Hot summer days will do that to you. So will living with small children.

The Cheese Eater, when hungry or tired or frustrated or sad or feeling any other emotion other than happy, whines. And when he whines, I can feel all the patience draining out of me like a
pool with a slow leak.

I know it’s going to be a bad day when I hear whining before I hear my alarm.

"Mommmeee, I wanna waffle for breakfast.”

I roll over asking the God of Patience to grant me a few extra doses.

(Louder) "Mommmeee, I said I’m hungry!"

My day hasn’t even started yet and I ready for it to be over.

Anytime that the Cheese Eater does not get his way the whining begins. When I use my authoritative mama voice to correct his behavior ("My ears can't hear you when you whine at me"), he starts to cry. And not fake crying either. Full out, crocodile tears, followed by the now famous line, "Why are you mad at me?"

"Buddy, I'm not mad at you. I'm frustrated with your behavior."

To a young child this sort of logical reasoning means nothing. I thought by this age I would be able to start having Oprah Moments with my son, those Ah-Ha moments that she’s always talking about, and sometimes on a good day it happens. But when this whining is accompanied by a flood of emotions, Oprah herself couldn’t talk my son down.

The Cheese Eater has a sensitive soul and I love that about him. It’s a strong part of my genetic code that, unfortunately for him, he’s stuck with.

But as a mama who prides herself on always finding a solution, I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this one. I don't want to crush his spirit, but I also don't want to raise a hyper-sensitive, sissy boy that one day a therapist is going to tell him is all because of me.

So, as Dr. Phil would say, I need to figure out his currency. I need to find what I can either say or do that will stop this behavior. All I’ve been doing is gritting my teeth and counting to 10.
For now, that's all I've got in my bag of tricks.

I’m beginning to realize that I'm gonna need a bigger bag.

The Cheese Eater has some new words to his vocabulary. New words like "forever," "never,” and "always" have become regulars. These words are so severe and absolute, filled with so much drama and anguish. If I didn’t know any better, I would think my son was getting his period.

I don't know if he really grasps the severity of what he's saying. For example, today when he was whining I told him that he needed to take a long nap.

"Forever?" he whined back at me.

"No, buddy. Taking a nap forever would be a bad thing. Do you even know what 'forever' means?" I asked him.


"What does it mean?" I asked again.

He couldn’t give me an answer, only proving that he has no idea what he’s really saying. Such strong statements like, "You never play with me" or "You're always mad at me" are hard for any mama to hear. Not to mention how bad it makes me look when screamed in the middle of the grocery store.

First the whining, then crying, and now it’s quite obvious that he needs an "Extreme Vocabulary Makeover,” but simply throwing my hands up in defeat is no longer an option.

Usually I am the Mama who wants more, but right now all I want is less. Like a virus on a computer, I want to uninstall these horrible habits that my son has picked up somewhere. I’m just not sure where my son is hiding his “restart” button.

I just looked in my bag of tricks. There's a hole in the bottom.

Just a taste of the blog posts to come

don't you wish that snowcones still made you this happy?

taken with the new camera on
4th of July at Loews on Coronado Island

{mama's caption: frozen bliss}

hot summer days indoors

when it's over 100 degrees outside, this bad mama allows her children to do just about whatever they want for as long as they want. For example,

allowing your children to rot their brains by spending endless hours on video games (which I know totally classifies me as bad, bad mama)

when the guilt becomes too much to bear, you start trying to act all educational.
"Count the sides for me. What shape is that?"

the guilt makes you agree to play board games that are good for them, but you happen to loath.

so you get tired of being so good and decide to go back to being bad by letting them watch entirely too much television.

but you don't feel too bad because at least one of your children has been busy
getting crafty with the legos.

she looks like she's trying to tell us something. perhaps something along the lines of "I don't want my picture taken."

and when nothing is left to do--when they are tired of video games and television (which is a pretty hard thing to do)--boys spend lots of time shooting at things, especially each other.

But at the very least, even though you've been a total slacker mama all day long, at least you get to practice some of your indoor photography skills.

{and please note, none of this was shot in auto mode. thank you very much.}