Category Archives: parenting

In Which Letters From Camp Reflect My Own Prayers….


He had everything he needed. (Including underwear and socks for each day- which by the way-he never changed. Not once. Gross. I know. He showered each day, but slipped back into his undies faster than a formula 1 pit stop.(kids + public showers and change areas= torture. Just sayin.) under those panicky conditions I can almost understand. (I remember desperate locker-room prayers…”Dear Lord, please don’t let anyone see my junk.” The official locker-room prayer of every tween.) If he’s ever in the Guinness book of World records it will be for: least often changed underwear with the cleanest backside and most nagging survived.

But, he had them. Along with a smuggled against the rules flashlight. Cause I knew he’d have trouble getting to sleep.

And a dated note from me to encourage him each night. And bug spray. And sunblock. And 3 new books….and countless t shirts. And jeans. And slippers. He had it all.

He even knew that God goes before and with him everywhere…..we talk about that all the time…

And yet, that note says it all: “I can’t take it anymore, I’m homesick.”

A heartbreaking scrap of paper, shoved into an envelope in hopes that someone would hear his desperation. And rescue him.

It’s the only direct contact i received from camp. There were no cell calls. No texts. Not even an email. (With the exception of a daily summary email from the teachers. Which helped ME survive.) It was an adventure in preparing him….and then letting him go.

The letter arrived, after he did. It’s the only letter because it was written on the first night of camp. After that- he was too busy having fun to write. I’m convinced it was grace that it arrived after he did.

I’m sad he had a rough first night…. But, I’m glad the letter didn’t arrive in time for me to immediately climb into my car and go: RESCUE my BABY.

Because he would have missed out. He would have missed out on fun…..and on overcoming his fear.

The truth is: He could take it. He did. He even: had fun. So did I. Coincidentally, my husband was also out of town. It was a time for me to sleep in, watch movies on the big tv and maintain control of the remote. (I’m the only woman in the house- that’s a pretty rare event.)

And a chance for me to let go of (my false sense of ) control and trust God with my kid. Or try to. Let’s just say lots of prayer was involved, too.

There are moments in my life when my prayers sound a lot like Noah’s note from camp. “I can’t take it anymore. I’m homesick.” I can’t take chronic pain. I can’t take the seemingly never ending stress of my husbands ongoing cancer battle. I can’t take one more piece of home- machinery breaking down. One more car problem. One more decision about health care. One more thing.

The truth is: I feel homesick, too. For a time when there won’t be anymore crying…pain, sickness, stress, sin, parental struggle, marital struggle…..loss to grieve. Fear to confront or hope- disappointed.

I long for heaven. For a time when God will wipe away my tears and my body will be whole. (And I’m pretty sure a size 8.)

I wonder if my prayers of desperation are met by God with the same response I had to Noah…..”you did it! I knew you could! I’m sorry it was so hard that you though you couldn’t…..but I’m proud of you for continuing on, anyway.”

Fortunately, my prayers are faster than the USPS. My prayers of desperation are heard. God encourages through his people, his word and his creation….I listen. And then…. I do the next thing to get through..,.

Someday camp will end, and I’ll reminisce about all I learned and experienced.

I can do this. So can you.

“Dear lord, that note from Noah broke my heart. I’m so glad you got him through, and that he grew and had fun. I’m also glad that you are compassionate when I send up my own desperately scribbled scrap prayers ….thank you for being even here…. When I’m not sure i can take it anymore. Thank you for getting me through. I love you Lord and ask you to wrap your heart around all who read that feel the same… Jesus’ name, amen.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord goes with you; he will never leave or forsake you.”

I’ve gotta be honest- the first part of the verse makes me feel bad…. Cause I’m not strong. I don’t feel courageous. I am sometimes afraid. But the second part? That makes it possible to get through thee first part;)

Hi Ho! Cherry-O…. When winning is losing.

I am not much of a “player.” It’s not because I don’t like playing. It’s because I don’t like to lose. Friends often hear me say: “I only play games, I can win.” (Which does not include: win lose or draw, or a thousand other games…)
When Noah suggested “Hi Ho! Cherry -O? ”  I felt like I had a shot.
In my brain, I know that when it comes to playing games with kids- winning (or losing) isn’t the point. It’s not even really “how you play the game” it’s playing, together, that counts. Thursday night was a good reminder of that for me.
We were  on the third straight round when I started to tense up. Because I kept losing.  I snapped at Noah- to “just set up the game, and hush” when he talked trash about beating me: again. “I am the cherry-o master!” and “In your face! Take that!” , “Bring it on, Momma!”,“Uh huh… I’m the man” He was taunting me. Worse yet- he was beating me. Mostly- without cheating.
I started thinking strategy and how I could “crush” him. Yes-  a five year old. My five year old. I wanted to kick his little cutey-booty.
Forget about connecting and enjoying time together…I wanted to win.  I started talkin’ trash. “Bring it! Little guy!” “I’m the momma!”

Which was funny until I beat him, gloated and he cried.  #parentingfail. Continue reading

Furious over Aquadots.

Alright.  I mostly do not post rants.  But today- I’m furious. I went to a local store, WalMart. To pick up a few things.  Since it’s Christmas time -(sheesh- can you believe that?)  I checked the toy aisle to see if I could pick up a few things.  On the shelves I found AquaDots.  They’ve been on the news ALL DAY.  RECALLED.

These have been recalled for being extremely dangerous.  I spoke with a store employee who said “Oh yeah- we know we’re in the process of pulling them.”   There had been no one in the aisle pulling them.  Afterwards- I (stealthy sleuth Mom that I am) circled back.  No One. Still on the shelves. I asked to speak with a store manager before leaving.  Manager was busy but employee took note of the issue.  They are probably still on the shelves. Hence- the fury of a mother scorned.

I could have pulled the items off the shelves and into a basket in about 30 seconds.  (Now that I think of it- I should have)

How long do stores have to remove dangerous products?  When confronted with a dangerous item- WHY on earth would an employee answer “oh yeah we know”- and not DO something about it?

Is it the big-box store mentality?  Too much red-tape to pull an item?  What if kids (teens) go in purposefully hunting for this item?  I’m furious.  Will put a follow up call in to the store.  Already called a local news team. 

I am sure this bothered me so much because it is an item the little guy has been wanting, desperately.  Last week we spotted them at another store- and had them in the cart.  But they were missing the “pen” part.  So we decided not to purchase.  Good thing we didn’t- as the little guys has a history of putting things in his mouth.  But, we could have.

So- Moms who stop buy here- PLEASE don’t purchase or allow your child to use Aquadots.  If YOU see them on the shelves- say something.  I’m sure all the recalls lately are making it difficult to keep up.  But- unless they want lawsuits- they better.

PS- it will be a while before I step back in a Walmart.  Service- prices blah blah blah— but flagrant risking of the safety of kids?  THAT WILL KEEP ME OUT.

Hope you don’t find any….  But if you do- speak up.

sheesh I think I’ll be knitting toys this year!  Maybe with cat hair- we have plenty of that around here- and I know it’s not contaminated with anything- but cat spit.

Edited to add:

At 6:30 My Hubby went back to the Walmart- to see if the Aquadots were still on the shelves.  The ones on the pegged rack were gone- but 4 pkgs were left on the shelf below.  He took them to the manager.  Ridiculous.  Still furious- but at least they are off the shelves.  (we hope)

A Bad Beagle, a bad weekend- a better week….(We hope) Mitered Square blanket update.

bad dog SamiMy SP 11 has requested to have visual confirmation of the bad beagle who resides within our hallowed walls.

 Bad Beagle?  Only kind of I suppose. Let’s just say Beagle have “issues”.

1) Beagles chew.  (apparently only expensive DPNS, and Cracker Barrel Rockers…and shoes, and toys…) Though- honestly- she’s not a pup anymore- so there are fewer and  less frequent chew-tastrophes… just the occasional head or appendage chewed off of an action figure..

2) Beagles Bark.  At the dark.  At the deer target in the backyard.  At critters- real and imagined.  At people they know- at people they don’t know.  They also bay/bugle but not too often;) (on a side note- I can mimic a psycho beagle bark quite well. )

3) Beagles run.  Away- after things.  To things… to no where.  And- if when you run off to get her- and your children accidently leave the patio door open… then upon returning- they let her run into the house— she will promptly run back out the backdoor- laughing all the way.

4) Beagle chase.  Rabbits.  Cats. Kids.  Bugs.  If it moves- it’s  game.

5) Beagles sniff/snort and beg for- food. Enough said- SOMEONE around here shares his food with her quite willingly.  When confronted about germs— his reply is “She doesn’t mind”. 

Beagles are also- sweet, loving, tender with a little guy and GREAT foot warmers….not to mention cutests dogs evah.   A little beagle tip:  If you fatten them up quite a bit… they can’t run as fast;)

beagle kisses

Beagles also make wonderful buddies for little guys, though sometimes they believe little guys to be edible.

As for our weekend…. well- Friday night was date night… which ended in my husband’s cell phone disappearing… which led to a furious hunt which resulted in nada- which led to an insurance claim and much aggravation. 

Saturday- was a well planned day.  In theory.  The older guys all went hunting.  The little guy and mommy had a  jammie/ movie night.  Everything was wonderful (including 2 sundaes for the little guy) until his head mysteriously met with the edge of the coffee table.  (dancing and or karate were involved…) black-eyed boy

This led to frantic dressing, (can’t go to the ER in my jammes)  icing and finally yet another set of “head injury” cautions posted on the fridge.  (there were no stitches… just a rather large “goose-egg” right between the eyes and a small cut.  Looks like the world’s cutest boxer.  Also- as the swelling is right between the eyes- so he has a bit of a black eye thing going on and looks a little cross-eyed. Poor kid.  However- it didn’t actually make him blurry- that was my camera;)

Told ya.  It was quite a weekend.

On the upside- a detective called- they had a lead on my Hubby’s missing tom-tom.… some pawn-shop…. they’ll call back if they found it.   (fingers crossed and prayers offered)  New phone should arrive today.  We won’t be responsible for calls made while it was missing. (and he couldn’t be interrupted on the phone all weekend… it wasn’t entirely bad ;)

As for knitting…….well- still working on the mitered squares blanket.  I made a quick chart on graph paper and figured out a pattern for the squares and a count for how many squares I’ll need.  I’m pretty visual- so I used colored pencils- and a pattern typically used in quilting.  

I’m getting 3 squares per skein of Debbie Mumm Traditions Yarn. So I’ll use 16  (17 of one) squares of each of three colors. Red, Green and Brown.  I’m also using the Brown for the mitered garter stitch border.   mitered square update

And that. is the weekend in review.  Looking forward to a better week;)


in the fullness of time.  but not now

I’ve always lived in a nest. Like a robin- I’ve had a number of them. My nest has had so many shapes. A tiny third floor apartment. That I bought croscill curtains for – so at least SOMETHING would be pretty against the walls with corners softened by so many layers of cheap paint.

A duplex with a basement. And a yard- where we planted a garden of dirt. (Nothing grew, but it was fun)

Another duplex with a deck- on a dirt road that had a few houses and a few industrial complexes. We eventually bought half of it (yes- half) on a land contract… it became the first place we actually “owned”….

A small house on a typical street with sidewalks and a basement. Sidewalks that made me cry. I desperately wanted someplace safe for my kids to be able to play and ride “bigwheels.”

Finally- a nice place in a tiny cul-de-sac with trees, and sidewalks and plenty of space. A home that has experienced growth- both inside and out. And- as I’ve recently come to understand- a home that is quickly becoming a launching pad.

Every place we’ve lived has been special. But honestly, some have been places that were rough. They weren’t all really places I wanted to raise kids… but they were places we were blessed to have… they were each. Home. Our nest. Regardless of what surrounded- or how loud, scary or rough the neighbors were….or how many huge trucks rambled through each day…(at a few places the police were often spotted) we nested. We made them ours. Outside there may have been rough twigs and branches- but inside? A soft down filled nest.

A nest that will, much too soon, become emptier.

The mail every day reminds me of this. Letters and packages from colleges arrive nearly daily. (they also make me wonder how we’re gonna pay for 2 kids in college…) My oldest will be 18 in December. And- he wants to go away to school.

He wants to leave the nest.

He wants to fly. My words have returned to haunt me……as he prepares to fly… I’m smacked with the act that this is what we’ve always been preparing for…. but now have to experience. Not in theory. But, in life.

I remember one of my very first (of way too many) arguments with my mother in law. It was over a parents role in the live of her children. (Oh I was soooo wise at 19 without kids) Her perspective was that you BE THERE or your kids forever- that they always need you. Which, in a way is true—- but even then- I knew she somehow had skewed. (Can you say rescuing?)

My perspective was- (and still is) that you spend your time preparing your kids to be independant. To care for themselves- be responsible. Sometimes this is done by being there- and sometimes by letting them learn the hard way. We fought.

I may even have yelled. (ummmm yeah, I’m pretty sure I did- I usually do when I’m passionate… which is well… mostly always!)

What I didn’t know then…but am learning now… was how hard it would actually be!

I prayed that I’d be someday launching (sounds better than pushing from the nest) my kids. As men. And now it’s nearly here. The oldest will go away to school, in just over a year. This all the youngest will be in school. the middle one will continue in high school- then… go to college as well.

My time with a nest full is ending.

I wonder what it will be like? I wonder if there are enough good memories of home… I wonder if I’ve said what needs to be said…. given enough love, enough discipline, been tough enough- soft enough….

In a way it feels like an hourglass has been flipped. The sand is running out. I feel like I’m losing something. But I also feel like the sand is running into the bottom of the glass- preparing to be turned on end, and start a whole new life…. for my guys my husband and me.

So. I’ve been nesting. Getting my house in order. Making sure the nest they leave is as safe- and wonderful as possible. Every time I clean their toilet… I feel different. I feel like there are only so many more times that I will have this opportunity.

It’s like the nesting I experienced before each of them were born. Maybe, it’s crazy. Maybe it’s midlife. (ummm well- if it is, it could be much worse!) We’ve replaced creaky toilet seats… leaky faucets, fixed broken things, filled holes in walls…..replaced the dishwasher….I’ve been waxing the hardwood weekly.

Weird. My response to college prep and kindergarten prep— is nesting.

Maybe, it’s reverse nesting. Preparing the nest for flight. The argument with my MIL comes full circle- now it’s my turn… they won’t need me the same as they do now- and did in years past. It feels good- in a way… and yet, is sad. Frightening- and exciting. But still- like the sand is running out. It makes me pray for them more than ever. It makes me savor this time more than ever. It makes me trust God more than ever…. because-

I don’t know the future. For me- or for them… but, I trust the one who does.

“Dear Jesus- as my guys continue to grow- to stretch their wings and prepare to fly- I pray that you will be the constant. I pray that you’ll give them a flight path…that honors you- and more than anything- lies them closer to you… I love you lord- amen.”

Also- today is Tuesday- my post is up at Laced with Grace! Stop by and find out about public nudity….. yeah- well kind of!