The Worst Easter Ever

Most people associate Easter with springtime, bunnies (live or chocolate; I prefer the latter), baby chicks, egg hunts, new life … you get the picture.

When the boys were younger, we would let them eat candy from their Easter baskets for breakfast, dress them in cute (sometimes matching) outfits, take the obligatory family photo on the front porch and head off to church. A very traditional and idyllic family Easter Sunday – except maybe the part about letting the kids eat candy for breakfast. But then, I’ve done worse as a parent.

That’s how the boys would say they remember most Easters – until that one time.

Our church was planning a big to-do on Easter Sunday, complete with a buffet-style continental breakfast. I volunteered to play breakfast hostess and keep the bagel and donut trays restocked. I also took it upon myself to decorate the tables.

The day before I had gathered up some Easter and spring-looking decorations from around my house. I even took a few flower pots and items from my garden area (I am a Martha Stewart wanna-be, without the prison time). The tables looked great and the morning was enjoyed by all.

Later that afternoon, I unloaded the decorations from my car and placed everything on the kitchen table. I set about putting the items back into their proper places. That’s when I noticed something strange looking on the table. HOLY COW – it was a baby bird! A live, newborn baby bird! Confused, I looked around trying to figure out where it had come from. That’s when I realized the birdhouse I had taken from my garden, to use as a breakfast table decoration, must have had eggs in it. And between the warm temperatures of the church’s fellowship hall and my kitchen, the eggs had hatched.

My squeal of shock caught my youngest son’s attention and I looked up to see his face frozen in horror. Newborn baby birds are not the cutest things. In fact, they are pretty ugly. But my heart was aching knowing a mother bird was probably frantically looking for her nest of eggs. I took a step back trying to figure out what to do next and I felt a “crunch” under my shoe. I immediately said a silent prayer and begged for it to be a leaf or anything else except what I thought it was.

My worst fear was confirmed when I looked down and saw that I had stepped on a sibling to the bird that was now struggling for life on my kitchen table. My son saw the look on my face and said, “What’s wrong , Mom? What’s wrong?!” I knew there was no delicate way to get out of this situation.

The birds didn’t make it, and I was forced to have a brief and tearful conversation about the “Circle of Life”  with my son. It was definitely not the way I had imagined the day ending up when I started that morning.

Unfortunately, when your mom kills two baby birds on Easter Sunday, there’s just no way to erase that kind of memory. There’s no card to make it better. I know – I’ve looked for one. And in an effort to help others who may have gone through this kind of tragedy, I even reached out to Hallmark. Surprisingly, they have not returned my calls.

Happy Easter, everyone – I hope your day is only filled with birds that are alive!

 

 

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What Dinner Looks Like On a Friday Night

Friday night is date night at our house.

But that doesn’t mean an expensive dinner out or an evening at the movies. We’re really homebodies when it comes right down to it. So, Friday nights mean dinner in and a movie on the couch – or a Netflix marathon if we’re feeling particularly cheeky.

Friday night dinner has slowly evolved over the years. I used to try to cook a special meal and have it ready for the Hubby when he got home from a long week of work. However, since I work full-time myself, a gourmet meal isn’t always a favorite item on my Friday evening to-do-list. That’s why we started getting all “fancy” and enjoying what we call “eating like Europeans.”

Now, I don’t know if this is how Europeans really eat dinner. But we like to imagine that we are in some little French or Italian café  (we are not picky about our imaginary European locations) where we enjoy freshly baked bread, gourmet cheeses, cured meats, dried fruits, olives and a morsel or two of dark chocolate – all washed down with a fine red wine suggested by our knowledgeable sommelier.

Since imagination can only carry us so far, the reality is, I visit our local grocery store and pick up a variety of meats, cheeses and crackers, along with the occasional fancy fig spread, some fruit and definitely some good dark chocolate. As for the wine, I’m no connoisseur, so I usually buy a bottle of “what’s on sale” that has a good rating posted on the sign over the shelf.  I told you – we are FANCY!

And yes, I do put thought and consideration into my wine and cheese pairings – I use the following formula. Wine I like + Cheese I like = The Perfect Pairing.

perfect pairing

While we call Friday nights date night, we also love to share the time with friends. So, if you find yourself free on a Friday night and you’d like to join us in our imaginary European café, you know where to find us. Bon appétit!

Friday Dinner

What dinner looks like on a Friday night.

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Help Save the World – Don’t Wear White After Labor Day

I was recently having the age old fashion conversation about whether it is okay to wear white after Labor Day.  The short answer is no.  And the long answer is…no.white-after-labor-day-420x315

You can choose to disagree with me and I won’t judge – but you would be wrong.

There is plenty of speculation about how and where this unwritten rule originated.  I, however, am convinced it was created with the intention of giving us boundaries as a society and to help us from falling victim to the same fate as many civilizations before us.

The very survival of our culture depends on people putting away their white clothing and shoes after the first weekend in September.  If you want to question my logic then just look at some of the cultures that have come, and gone, before us.  The Roman Empire fell once everyone started wearing white togas after Labor Day.  And what about the collapse of the Ming Dynasty?  Contrary to the popular myth that it was inter-tribal feuding, it was actually their refusal to put away their white sandals and move to transitional fall colors in their footwear.  (You history majors can back me up on this, right?)

It’s so simple and easy – just don’t wear white after Labor Day.  Many people use the excuse that summer temperatures still exist after Labor Day so they feel comfortable still wearing summer clothing. I’m not saying you have to break out the winter wardrobe.  Certainly common sense must prevail, but for the love of all that is holy, don’t try to dress like it is still the middle of July.  Just ask the Mayans. Oh, wait you can’t. Their civilization collapsed when it became common practice to wear white after the “official end of summer.”

Contrary to what Vogue or Cosmopolitan magazines may say, you are not a fashion forward trend setter for wearing white in the “no white after Labor Day zone.”  You are, instead, guilty of hurling our culture toward certain disaster and ultimately destruction.

Don’t let anyone tell you that this rule is old fashioned or out of date.  Don’t fall into the trap of believing that one little lapse of wearing white capris won’t matter.  It will; because it’s just a short and slippery ride down the slope to linen and sear sucker, my friend.  And then we are doomed for sure.

(In case you’re confused, my tongue was firmly planted in my cheek while writing this. However, I was NOT wearing white!)

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Southern Snow Days

I’ve lived in Georgia since I was five years old. My daddy moved us here to make a better life for his family. I would have to say that he more than accomplished that goal.

Since living here, I have watched the area around the city of Atlanta grow and expand. The city’s perimeter, 2-85, used to be a four-lane road with a grassy median. Now it’s a multiple lane highway that still can’t accommodate the rush hour traffic that moves along it every day.

New buildings have gone up while old ones have been torn down. I remember watching the demolition of the old Omni Coliseum on television and reminiscing about seeing my first concert (Electric Light Orchestra) there in 1977.

One of my favorite memories of growing up in the south is the occasional snow day we would have from school. It was a rare, but precious thing to wake up to a winter wonderland and the news that school had been cancelled. It was the kind of excitement that could only be matched by the anticipation of Christmas or a birthday.

Our boys have been out of school for four days now due to a large winter storm that dumped an unusually large amount of snow and ice over the Metro-Atlanta area. Each day they have waited impatiently to see if school would be closed. Again.  And it has. We could, conceivably, miss an entire week of school. A kid’s dream, right?

One would think so, but I have seen a lot of complaints posted on Facebook by all the kids and parents snowed in for the past few days.

I get it. Sort of.

I just remember, as a kid, hoping and praying for that elusive southern snow day off from school during the winter. So another part of me doesn’t get it at all.

“I’m bored.” “I have cabin fever.” “There’s nothing to do.”

These are just a few of the postings I’ve seen on facebook and twitter. I know that all these people have access to cable, DVDs, video games, computers, etc. I also know I sound old when I say that “back in my day we only had three TV channels, books, Monopoly and Pong, and we were happy to have them.”

I love technology and all the entertainment if affords us, but I guess I’m also a little old fashioned. I like the idea of having a snow day, or five, where school is cancelled and I’m stuck with a good book, long conversations and an afternoon nap.

I think sometimes we have to learn to enjoy the moment more and stop wishing away our time for circumstances other than what we have. I think there’s a better way, a better life and I want that for my family.

Just like my daddy did.

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Has It Been Enough?

I passed another milestone this week and, in retrospect, I think I might have rather passed a kidney stone.

I took my oldest son to register for his college classes.

Want to know the painful part? We bought the text books!

Seriously, I’ve been kidding myself all summer that I was ready for this and that I was going to be okay when the time came. Well, the lump in my throat tells me I’m not. And honestly, it doesn’t really matter if I am ready or not. The real question is – is he ready?

More importantly, did I do enough as a mother to prepare him for this moment?

In exactly one month, his father and I will help him move into his dorm and eventually we will drive away, leaving him there with more freedom than an 18-year-old should probably have.

In the end, I have to trust that he really did listen to all the speeches, lectures, instructions and pearls of wisdom I shared with him over the last 18 years. I have to trust that he will do the right thing when faced with issues of integrity, honesty and sincerity. I have to trust that he will study, make good grades, eat his vegetables and be in by curfew.

In the end, I have to trust that it has been enough.

In the end, I just have to trust.

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Filed under All About Me, College Life, Random Ramblings, The Boys Are Back, You Gotta Have Faith

It’s Just A Piece of Paper

I wrote this last fall when I initially started back to school. I had forgotten about it until I was cleaning out some files and came across it. I thought I would bore you with since I haven’t posted anything on the blog in a while.

When I hear someone say, “It’s just a piece of paper,” I think of all the valuable documents in our lives that are on paper: birth certificate, marriage license, last will and testament, money, a finger painting created by a four-year-old.

 Another is a college diploma.

I have every one of those things except for the last one. Oh, I had good intentions. I headed off to the big state university with wide freshman eyes and high expectations of a future that included me being a college graduate.

Somewhere along the way, however, those plans got side tracked. My parents’ financial burdens and my own guilt of adding to them by being away at school led me back home. I got a job and easily convinced myself that I would return at some point in the future and finish my degree at another time. At that moment it seemed that I preferred the thought of being financially independent over the thought of spending another moment in a stuffy classroom.

 As I moved from the world of retail and selling shoes to a corporate environment and magazine publishing, I decided to see how far up the corporate ladder I could climb without having to list a degree on my resume. And, in fact, I was able to climb fairly high and attain some lofty goals.

 I made good money. The kind of money that convinced me I was okay without a degree. Not to mention that my hard work and personal work ethic had earned me several awards from my peers and employers throughout the years.

One marriage and three children later and there was no time or money for me to even think about completing my degree. I would once again put my goal of a college degree on the back burner.

 I now have a senior in high school and we have started helping him look at colleges and weigh his options for the future. As a parent you always want your children to have more and better opportunities than you did. I want desperately for him to go to college and finish. I want him to know that it’s more than a “piece of paper” and that there is more at stake than how much money you can earn or what kind of awards you can win.

 I want him to feel the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes as a result of hard work, along with hours of dedication and sacrifice. I want him to be a college graduate.

 So, that is why I am going back. That is why I am going back to school, and why I am going to finish what I started 28 years ago.

 I know it sounds crazy. Why would I start this now when we are getting ready to put our oldest through college next year?  Well, that’s exactly why, because we are getting ready to put our oldest through college next year, and I want to show him through my own experiences why it’s so important to have that “piece of paper.” I want him to finish what he starts. I want him to have high expectations for a future that will include personal, as well as, financial success. I want him to have a college diploma.

 I’m not going to kid myself into thinking this will be easy. I will still have responsibilities as a wife and mother and a fulltime job that will require my dedication, but I know deep in my heart that this is the right time and the right thing to do.

 And I can’t wait to get my hands on that “piece of paper.”

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How to Tell If You Live In a House Full of Boys

  • Your toilet seats are always up.

 I have been baptized, by immersion, in my own toilets in the middle of the night more times than I care to recall.

  •  You have a full arsenal of weapons.

Should our house ever come under attack, we are fully prepared with an armory of air soft and nerf guns, as well as a complete supply of plastic swords and knives of all shapes and sizes. Should the battle take an inter-galactical turn, we are prepared with numerous light sabers.

  •  Your washing machine has a special setting for “camo.”

 I wash a lot of camouflage clothing, and we don’t hunt. In fact we have enough to outfit a small army. See the item above to understand the need for so much camo.

  •  You purchase milk and cereal in bulk quantities.

 We go through more gallons of milk and boxes of cereal in a week than I can count. I have watched an entire box of cereal disappear within 45 minutes of entering our home. Our boys firmly believe that “cereal isn’t just for breakfast anymore” because they eat it night and day.

These are just a few of the things that I have found that indicate a household full of boys. I’m sure all you moms of boys have others. What are your tell-tell signs that a boy lives in your home?

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