Join me in my daily walk through the joys and struggles of parenthood. Share a word of encouragement or be encouraged. Cry a little, laugh a lot, but know it is all in divine order.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Feel Good Friday – What are you loving lately?

A fellow blogger, Catherine Denton posed the question on her blog, “What are you loving lately? She posts weekly on this topic, but has asked readers, writers, and bloggers – to also post things they are loving.

Below are things that in some way inspire me.


Catching up on reading


 Saying goodbye to summer and my other kids (summer camp) and looking forward to the upcoming season…football

Football weigh-in...almost game time.


 Acting goofy with family (mom and brother)
 Generosity of friends
Join the conversation; leave a comment on what you are loving lately? Check out Catherine Denton’s blog and see what others are saying.



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back to school blues…for parents

Excited about school starting, not excited about spending lots of money. I'm not ready yet!!!

New clothes and a teen with attitude (because his mom made him pose for the photo)

Purchasing back to school supplies.

What are your suggestions for beating the back to school blues for parents?

North Star Publishing shares a few tips to get you started.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A fish tale about a dog - when kids encounter danger

A fish tale.

Call me a mother hen, but I always remind my kids to use caution and to stay together when they are away from the house. On a recent occasion the boys went out on their bikes for a few hours. Their journey home was an adventure.
The tall tale was relayed to me as both boys entered the house panting. Joshua, my 12 year old had, sweat pouring from his face. The only evident sign of exhaustion on Donovan, my 15 year old, was his rapid breathing.

The story began with gasps of air coming from Joshua until I asked, “Are you ok?” I think he did that for effect. He nodded his head yes as I asked further questions.
“Was someone chasing you?”

“Yes…gasp…pant…gasp… a dog was chasing us,” Joshua said.
“We heard him barking and looked over at him, but I thought he was behind an invisible fence,” Donovan chimed in.

“Yeah, then the dog ran into the street toward us, barking louder.”
“I bet he was chasing your tires,” I said.

I could hear the anxiety building as the story came to life in my mind. I finally asked, “What kind of dog was it?” I kind of had an idea of the size of the dog, but I wanted to hear more of the story.
“It wasn’t real big, it was brown and white,” Joshua said.

Since I was sitting at the computer, I said let’s Google different types of dogs. We tried a Bulldog, not it. We tried a Shih Tzu (Shitzu), too small. Then we stumbled upon the Beagle….we had hit pay dirt!
The ferocious Beagle (insert smile) was the dog that had chased my TEEN boys. I can feel the laughter bubbling in my stomach all over again. I happen to like dogs, but my boys are a different breed. Pun intended. Perhaps I should have let them have a pet other than Goldfish.

Me ferocious?

We enjoyed a laugh together. The boys realized they were not in any real danger; it was just an initial shock that a dog was chasing them. Their story reminded me of someone telling a story of how they caught a big fish. By the time the story reaches the end, the big fish becomes a minnow.
What is your favorite tall tale that a child has shared with you?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Who is your hero?- A tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen

Tuskegee Airmen (seated in white shirts) on tour in Detroit.

The older kids at the summer camp where I work had the opportunity to meet several of the Tuskegee Airmen. There was a traveling tour sponsored by Focus Hope in Detroit. The kids learned a bit of history as they watched a film, shook hands and asked questions of the airmen who were present.
Parkridge Community Center camp kids visit with the Tuskegee Airmen.
Here’s some of the information the kids learned:

·         The Tuskegee Airmen were African American pilots who fought in World War II. They were the first African American military aviators in the U.S. armed forces.

·         The airmen were aviators “during the time of Jim Crow laws and a time when the American military was racially segregated (Wikipedia).”
Some of the kids already had background knowledge of the Tuskegee Airmen. They were familiar with the movie Red Tails which was based on the trials and triumphs of Tuskegee Airmen. These airmen were considered heroes for their accomplishments.

Below are a few trivia questions about the Tuskegee Airmen

1.      The Tuskegee Airmen are known by the color of their P-51 tails. What color were they?

2.      The first 36 graduates at Tuskegee formed the 99th Pursuit Squadron. Where were they stationed for their first combat mission?

3.      How many aerial victories are credited to the Tuskegee Airmen?

4.      Who is unofficially credited as the only “Ace” of the Tuskegee Airmen?

5.      Using the record of the Airmen, along with other contributions by African American soldiers during the War, President Harry Truman issued an Executive Order in 1948 that did what?

Answers to trivia

1.      Red

2.      Tunisia – The 99th Squadron was sent to North Africa and flew its first combat mission against the island of Pantelleria on June 2, 1943.

3.      112 – The Airmen flew rescue missions and remained with the bombers until an enemy aircraft actually attacked.

4.      Lee Archer Jr.

5.      Desegregated the military.

To view all of the trivia questions from where these were gathered check out www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/The-Tuskegee-Airmen-303143.html.
There are many heroes in history, some are local, and some are in our families. My hero is my grandfather Robert Pollard who served in the army during World War II. He served his country and his family well.


Who do you consider to be a hero?

Monday, August 20, 2012

If you give a mom a minute, she’ll want more time – why planning ahead is important

CAUTION: This post may contain offensive language...I use the word "pee."

Have you ever had one of those days where you wish you had just a little more time to get things done? In some cases it may be poor planning that caused a lack of time to get things accomplished. It can strike any one of us…the dreaded lack of time. It happened to me.
I thought I awoke early enough one morning to begin my routine, but the time monster had a different plan. Murphy’s Law took over - whatever could go wrong, did go wrong.
The clothes I planned to wear needed to be ironed. The iron never got hot, so I had to search for a different outfit. Once dressed, I headed to the kitchen to make my lunch. This easy task was compounded when I couldn’t find the lid to the plastic storage container I wanted to take (for my salad).
I only had 15 minutes left before I needed to leave for work. If I only had more time.
I began putting together the rest of my lunch, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My first hurdle was to open the squeezable bottle of jelly. Easy enough? Nope, the cap would not flip open. I finally got it open with the assistance of a butter knife.
In my hurriedness I squeezed the jelly quickly. Splat. Too much jelly that I could not squeeze back into the small neck of the bottle. Perhaps a call was needed to the Welch’s company.
If I only had more time.
Of course I had to stop and jot notes for this blog post. I was going to be late for sure and I still had not had breakfast. The cereal I poured was waiting for me, but I had to stop to pee. No time for breakfast, I just poured the cereal back into the box. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich would suffice as breakfast once I got to work.
Just one more stop and I could make it to work only 10 minutes late. There is a grace period right? I had to stop by the post office and mail a bill payment. After all, I got up early and addressed the envelope.
Once I got in the car, I realized I walked out without my cell phone. I took it off because I stopped to pee. My phone is like American Express, I can’t leave home without it.
More time would have helped.
After retrieving the phone, I was on my way. The post office was only five minutes away, then another five minutes to work. I dropped the envelope in the drive up mailbox and headed to work. Mission accomplished.
My bill was on its’ way. Wait did I put a stamp on the envelope?
If only I had planned ahead.

What has been your experience in not planning ahead?

Friday, August 17, 2012

What happens when kids don’t come with an owner’s manual?

Trial of the missing socks.

I think it’s time to gather all of my writer friends and parents who have survived…kids. Is there an owner’s manual for kids that I don’t know about? Sure there are books like What to expect when you’re expecting and What to expect in the toddler years, but I need a different manual.
How about a book or manual called, What to expect when your kids lose their minds? I was at a writer’s networking day, relaxing and enjoying conversations. We were going around the table introducing ourselves when I got the call from my oldest son.

The phone buzzed and Donovan’s picture popped up. I hit ignore with a message. He then texted me. The message read, “Ma, did you say Joshua could have a pair of my new socks?”

I moved my head up and down adjusting the bifocals on my glasses, to make sure I was reading the text correctly. Yep, that’s what the message said, “Ma did you say Joshua could have a pair of my new socks?”

I paused, furrowed my brows and thought, Really? You are texting me about a pair of socks while I’m at my relaxing meeting? I responded with, “No, handle it until I get home.”
In my son’s eyes this situation must have constituted an emergency. I called him an hour later when I was on my way home and the problem had been resolved. I was glad that the boys practiced conflict resolution rather than going after each other (this time…smile).

This sock fiasco has an ironic side; In few weeks the socks will end up in a heap of clean clothes that no one wants to sort or put away.
When kids don’t come with an owner’s manual, you write it as you go and grow. Sprinkle it with your personality, demands (rules) and adopt it as law in your household. It is totally acceptable to make amendments to your manual.

What situations would you include in your owner’s manual on raising kids?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday – Putting things in perspective

Remember when you first started dating someone and they did special things that meant a lot? How would that look today? My idea below....

Sending Flowers – Heartfelt gesture

Dining out – Romantic

Filling my gas tank – Priceless!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Parenting on the gridiron

Joshua in a 3 point stance as a right guard. Ypsi Jr. Braves (purple) scrimmage August 2012.

After the birth my first child, I felt like I was learning a new language. Parents that I talked to were using terms like onesie, layette, bassinette, teething ring and booties. Once my kids started playing sports, I discovered more new words and phrases based on which ever sport they were playing.
It’s football season and my youngest son Joshua is once again signed up for the Ypsilanti Junior Braves team. I have the opportunity to test my understanding of the football language. My boys are always tossing around terms like, off sides, tackled in the backfield, three point stance, special teams, and quarterback keeper.

Being a sports mom, more specifically a football mom, has led me to coin the phrase, parenting on the gridiron. For me this means going to daily practices, scrimmages, and Saturday afternoon football games for three months.

Joshua #88

On the football field the kids learn to work as a team. On the home front teamwork is also required. I continually remind the kids that doing chores is one their ways of contributing to the family. They can also provide input on family outings, selecting items that they like for the grocery list and give suggestions for dinner.

Some occasions require me to call in the special teams, my mother and friends. As the punt return team, they take the ball and run, getting the kids to appointments and practices. When the ball is snapped, they are ready.

At the end of the week, the kids and I get in our pseudo huddle and decide what family activity we want to do. Sometimes it’s playing a few games of Uno or watching a movie. I’ve even been known to give in to the occasional pillow fight.
As in any family, the kids are not always happy with each other. When the sibling rivalry begins I have to run pass interference. Sometimes I feel like I’m the defensive coach calling out plays.

Whether it’s cheering from the bleachers or teaching life lessons through football, parenting on the gridiron is a learning experience for all involved. It’s something the kids can relate to as I learn more about the sport.
What sport would you compare your parenting experience to?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Feel Good Friday – I Won’t Complain

Have you ever had one of those days where it just seemed like everything was going wrong? Maybe it was a long day at work, the kids were acting up, you were late for an appointment, or you had an unplanned repair bill.
Sometimes the smallest things can cause you to lose sight of the big picture (don't sweat the small stuff). After a long day at work I came home to a house that looked like it had been swept up in a tornado. From the time I closed the front door I spewed out a list of commands to the kids (teens). “Move those, shoes, fold that blanket, stack those video tapes and put away the dishes.”

By the time I finished assigning chores that should have been done while I was at work, I was tired and frustrated; Tired of complaining about the same things. Once I took the time to catch my breath, I thought of other wasys to handle the situation.
As I reflected on this situation, I was reminded of the song, I Won’t Complain by Rev. Paul Jones.
Below is the video of my friends and me as we ministered through mime to the song I Won’t Complain. I hope that it will inspire you as it did for us.

When you're feeling like you're at the end of your rope remember this song and keep holding on. If you would like the words to this song click on this link www.lyriczz.com/lyrics/paul-jones/23287-i-won't-complain/

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday – Would you accept a dare?

Since this is word…less Wednesday, I will use fewer words than usual.
While sitting at Joshua’s football practice, I was a little distracted, which is not uncommon for me. So I dared Donovan to roll down the hill wrapped in the blanket he was sitting on. He accepted my dare and I recorded it.

Take a look below.

Have you ever accepted a friendly dare? Live, love, laugh!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Could parenting be considered an Olympic Sport?

Photo courtesy of www.newdressday.com.

I must first send a shout out to Gold Medal winner Gabby Douglas for being a trail blazer in her event. She took home the Gold in gymnastics as the first African American to win the individual all around gold medal. The hard work and dedication she gave to her sport was evident in her delivery.
Let’s take a look at the lighter side of Olympic Sports. Considering all of the things a parent or caregiver does, I think some things should be considered an Olympic Sport.

A staged photo means come as you are...even while eating an apple.

Here is my list of things that would qualify for the Parent Olympics.

Sprinting – cooking dinner, monitoring homework time and getting the kids to after school activities on time.
Hurdles – jumping over piles of clothes, toys, shoes and backpacks in order to get to your bedroom.

Slalom/Driving the carpool – you have to get kids to school on time, pull into the correct drop off lane, pick up on time, dodge squirrels in the road and mediate disputes between the passengers.
Balance Beam – finding time for yourself as well as spending time with family.

Diving – when the new school year starts, you dive into back to school shopping, fundraisers, and serving on committees.
You don’t have to fold under the day to day challenges of parenting, just consider them one more hurdle to conquer. The difference between the real Olympics and my idea of Parenting as an Olympic sport is that we can all be gold medal winners.

What would you add to the list of events for Parenting as an Olympic Sport?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Does the type of candy you eat say something about your personality?

Here is my confession…I like sweets - candy, cake, chocolate muffins (still cake) and other goodies. I keep peppermints in my purse for times that I need something soothing. I wouldn’t call this my favorite candy but, it’s good in a pinch.
A little girl at the summer camp where I work was crying because she had an “accident” on herself. I offered her a peppermint to console her. One of the staff whispered to me, “You have that old people’s candy, the kind they have in church.” I smiled and her and said, “would you like one?” She’s older than I am.

My coworker and I joked about the candy. However, it made me stop and wonder, does the candy you eat say something about your personality? So for fun I asked Google this very question. What I found was a quiz that asked which type of candy would you choose for you trick or treat bag?
Some of the candy listed as options in the quiz were, Nerds, Butterfinger, Snickers, Twizzlers and Jelly Beans. I selected Twizzlers as my favorite candy and below are the results.
“You have a short attention span and are easily distracted. Your eye can't help but drift toward colorful, bold things. You are a total kid at heart, and you're drawn toward anything fun. You're the type most likely to eat candy as much as you can!”
The results from the quiz were pretty much on target for my personality. You can try the quiz yourself at www.blogthings.com/whatdoesyourfavoritecandysayaboutyouquiz/. If you don’t like the results select a different candy and view the results.
I asked my son if there was a certain type of candy he thought would be considered “old people’s” candy. He said, “Payday and Almond Joy.”

I asked my son if he thought peppermints were “old people’s” candy. He said, “no.” Of course he can eat a whole bag of peppermints over the course of a few days.

The last time I checked the back of candy wrappers there was no age requirement or age limit listed. My mom likes peppermints and Sour Patch Kids, is she considered young or old? If this were to be analyzed according to personality, I would give the following assessment.

If you like Sour Patch Kids you’re a kid at heart, you like candy with a lot of sugar, and your’re on the move a lot. This assessment is purely made up from my creative right brain way of thinking.
So what do you think…does the type of candy you eat say something about your personality?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What does your ideal getaway look like?

Anywhere in Hawaii. Photo courtesy of www.imagestour.blogspot.com.

A writer's retreat. This one is an upcoming retreat (March 2013) in Greenwich, Rhode Island at Whispering Pines. Photo courtesy of www.lyndamullalyhunt.com.  

Myrtle Beach Family Kingdom...anywhere in Myrtle Beach works for me. Photo courtesy www.travel.usnews.com/Myrtle_Beach_SC/Pictures/Family_Kingdom_Amusement_Park_2412/.

Georgia Aquarium - photo courtesy www.destination360.com/north-america/us/georgia/atlanta/georgia-aquarium.