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, July 31, 2015

Fun Friday – Mission Impossible-What happens when teens fail to report for duty?

"Are you kidding me?" The look of finding your house in disarray.
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Most days when I awake, I greet my day as a mom on a mission, ready to conquer the world. Then there are days where I feel as though I am on an impossible mission. My most recent mission was to ease into my morning sipping a cup of Hazelnut coffee, listening to smooth jazz and working on my latest writing project.

It was an early Saturday morning, darkness still enveloped the sky as I slid from bed and put on my fleece housecoat. Not wanting to wake my sleeping cherubs (teen boys), I tiptoed from my bedroom into my writing space. After organizing my space, I decided to look in on the boys before making my coffee.

I checked bedroom number one…no boys. I checked bedroom number two…only crumpled covers. My next thought was that the boys must have decided to sleep in the living room again, after playing their game station. But they weren’t there either.

Upon further investigation, I found a hand scribbled note that read, “Ma, we went to early morning workouts.” I dropped the note back onto the table and headed to the kitchen to make coffee.  As I made the first step into the kitchen, I thought I was in the middle of a war zone. The boys had left the kitchen in a disaster from the night before.

My options were to leave the mess until my sons returned or clean it and fuss at when they returned. I tried to wait for their return, but after a couple of hours, I couldn’t take the site anymore. So I cleaned.

Not only did I clean the kitchen, but my rampage drifted into the living room where I picked up blankets, game controllers and empty microwave popcorn bags. Once I was done cleaning the boys dragged in as though they had worked a full day. I began talking right away, “You should have checked with me before you left the house. There were things for you to do.”

The family spokesman, my fifteen-year-old, said, “You were asleep, we didn’t want to wake you.”
Before I could respond, my older son looked around the house and said, “You did a good job Mama. The house looks good.” That was his attempt to distract me from the fact that neither of them helped me clean.

My impossible mission was twofold – to relax and write; to have a clean house (at least on the surface). The mission was accomplished, but not without compromise. The next time I have a mission that involves my teens, I’ll be sure to spell out the ground rules.

How do you turn a Mission Impossible into a mission accomplished?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Muffins with Mom – The Spiritual Backpack

The spiritual backpack

As I strolled through our local Target store the other day, I noticed that school supplies had already hit the shelves. It reminded me that summer’s end is near. I began to create a list supplies for my sons backpack and thought of other things he would need for school. A spiritual backpack, filled with tools to get him through tough situations could come in handy.

When my teen boys were in elementary school we received a list of supplies needed...binders, mechanical pencils, spiral notebooks and so forth. One thing the list didn’t divulge was how conflicts are resolved. Nor did it indicate what to do if someone called you a name. A spiritual backpack stuffed with character development, conflict resolution and a study guide on how to stay mentally grounded are tools of choice.

Situations that sound simple to resolve to parents are big issues to our kids. Providing kids with a spiritual foundation can also help to keep them balanced academically.

One book that our family has found useful is Sticky Situations by Betsy Schmitt. It is compiled of short stories/situations youth encounter. The scenarios cover things such as: kids giving fake names when they have a substitute teacher and trying to get their friends to play along or a child finding a pack of gel pens on the playground and decides to keep them since no one is looking. At the end of each story three possible solutions are given as to how to resolve the problem.

Situations such as those listed in Sticky Situations teach kids about problem solving, conflict resolution and they learn something about their unique personalities. This can also help stimulate a conversation with your child about something that may be bothering him.

This school year I’ve decided that a set of matching backpacks might be ideal for my son and me. In my backpack I’ll pack things such as patience, understanding and more patience.  And if these things get lost at the bottom of the backpack, I will work really hard at pulling them out. A spiritual backpack can consist of whatever belief system you choose live by.

What would you pack in a spiritual backpack?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fun Friday – National Ice Cream Month - 7 Fun facts about ice cream and one messy story

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Just in case you need an excuse to eat ice cream…July is National Ice Cream Month. Did you know that until 1800, ice cream was “a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed mostly by the elite?” I wonder if the elite got messy when they ate ice cream. It didn’t take much for me to make a mess the other day with my cone.
My mess happened on a warm Friday evening after work. It was the perfect day for an ice cream cone. “One scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip on a sugar cone,” that was my request to the worker serving the hand packed ice cream.
I sat at the covered picnic table and licked my ice cream like a little child, round and round, up and over, until…it plopped off the cone and into my hand. Whew. It didn’t hit the ground. I plopped the glob right back onto my cone. I wiped my hand with a napkin, but it was still sticky and ice cream began to run down the fingers of my other hand.
After the last bite of my crunchy cone, I crumpled up the paper napkin stained with globs of green. I headed to my car in search of something that would relieve my hands of stickiness. The hand sanitizer I found smelled good, but didn’t change the condition of my hands.
Satisfied with my refreshing treat, I drove home to wash my hands with soap and water and do nothing for the rest of the evening. And that was how my celebration of National Ice Cream Month began.
Below are 7 fun facts about ice cream that I collected from my local library.
·         Before milk based ice creams were introduced in 10th century, this summer treat was indeed made from ice.

·         Ice cream cones were invented during 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, when large demand forced ice cream vendor to find help from nearby waffle vendor. Together they made history.

·         Most profitable day for ice cream sellers is almost always Sunday.

·         One cone of ice cream can be finished in 50 licks.

·         It takes 12 gallons of milk to create one gallon of ice cream.

·         Ice cream “Brain Freeze” effect is triggered when cold ice touches the roof of your mouth, which causes blood vessels in the head to dilate.

·         The end of World War II was celebrated by eating ice cream.

How will you celebrate National Ice Cream Month? Do you have an ice cream story to share?


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Words of Wisdom – 10 Parenthood Quotes

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1.      Shouting to make your children obey is like using the horn to steer your car, and you get about the same results.

2.      The right temperature in a home is maintained by warm hearts, not by hot heads.

3.      Life’s golden age is when the kids are too old to need baby-sitters and too young to borrow the family car.

4.      A child outgrows your lap, but never outgrows your heart.

5.      God gave you two ears and one mouth…so you should listen twice as much as you talk.

6.      There are three ways to get something done: Do it yourself, hire someone to do it, or forbid your children to do it.

7.      Cleaning your house while your kids are at home is like trying to shovel the driveway during a snowstorm.

8.      Adolescence is the age at which children stop asking questions because they know all the answers.

9.      An alarm clock s a device for awakening people who don’t have small children.

10.  Kids really brighten a household; they never turn off any lights.

Do you have any parenting words of wisdom to share?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Muffins with Mom – When teens bring company home

Do you have rules at your house about your kids bringing company home? Most of the time I’m pretty relaxed about my teen boys having company (as long as I know the person, their parents, where they live and so on).  After a recent episode at our house, I made it a point to stress another rule –THE HOUSE MUST BE CLEAN BEFORE COMPANY COMES.

After hanging out one evening, my boys came home…with a friend. I was upstairs sitting at the desk top computer when I heard my oldest son yell up the dark stairway, “Ma, Jessie is coming in for a few minutes.”

I responded with, “okay.” As soon as the word was out of my mouth, panic set in. I remembered that the boys had not cleaned the house yet. I yelled back to my son, “Don’t let him past the living room. You have not cleaned up yet.”

The sound of footsteps were getting closer to me as I heard my son say, “We can just keep the lights off.”

“Well, maybe you should also blindfold him. You have clutter everywhere,” I said.
In addition to the house revealing clutter, I was donned in my informal leisure wear – flannel pajamas and my hair tied up with a scarf like Aunt Jemima. I greeted Jessie with a muffled hello from behind a closed door.

When company comes home with my boys, I have told them that I must be given a warning. We have house rules about having company over, but I think we are going to need to revise them.

What has been your experience with company coming to visit?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fun Friday – The fitness challenge

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Have you ever started a fitness routine only to realize after a while that you have hit a plateau? It may feel like you aren’t reaching your fitness goals. I was faced with this realization after a recent conversation with m teen son.

My fifteen-year-old has consistently worked out and conditioned for football since school ended for the summer. As we drove home from his strength training one day, he updated me on his workout. I could hear the excitement in his voice when he said, “My weight has increased. I weigh 160 pounds.”

My response was, “So do I.” I was less enthusiastic than my son. We both weigh the same. He was excited, I was not. My son tried to make me feel better by telling me about his workout regimen of five days a week. I told him that I too have a five day workout routine, but my results are a little different than his.

I am learning, slowly, that a workout regimen and eating habits must somehow balance with each other. There is also that thing called goal setting and assessing your progress along the way. Easy enough right? Not always. The key is to never quit trying.

I’m glad I work out at a facility that has the tagline judgment free zone. Everyone works at their own pace, friendships develop, and people encourage each other.

Have you experienced any fitness challenges?

Here are a few fun quotes related to fitness…
·         “When people ask me if I exercise, I tell them I do crunches everyday- especially Captain Crunch and Nestle Crunch.”    Author Unknown
·         “I really think tossing and turning at night should be considered exercise.”  Author Unknown

·         “I tried exercise, but found I was allergic to it – my skin flushed, my heart raced, I got sweaty, short of breath….very dangerous.”   Author Unknown

Monday, July 13, 2015

Muffins with Mom – The Curfew

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Rules exist for a reason, they help establish expectations. Some rules are in place to help keep us safe. In our house, a curfew is in place for my teen boys. In a recent situation the tables were turned on our curfew expectation.

It was a warm Friday evening as I sat at a picnic table in the park waiting for the concert to begin. The summer breeze was refreshing and even though I was working, this was one of the fun aspects of my job.  

This was a Friday night that my teen boys each had their own plans. One was at work, while the other was on a date. Toward the end of the concert, my fifteen-year-old texted me from the movie theater and said, “Text me when you get home.”

Of course I asked, “Why?”

“So that I know you are safe,” he replied.

I felt warm fuzzies, awww, he’s concerned about his Mama. Then came the next text, “And don’t have friends over. Just so you know, your curfew is 9:00pm.”

My son must have thought our situation was like the Disney movie Freaky Friday where the parent and child switched places. I humored him and sent a text about 9:30pm letting him know I was home.
The ironic thing is that my son has trouble making it home by curfew, but he wants to demand that I follow the rules. I should have asked what my punishment would be. Maybe he would have sent me to my room and taken away my phone.

Confined to my room, I would have been bored with nothing to do (NOT). I would have been left to read a good book or actually work on a writing project. Next time I’ll have to break curfew on purpose…just to have a few minutes to myself.

Rules exist for a reason. What has been your experience with a curfew?

Friday, July 10, 2015

Feel Good Friday – 6 Little Stories to inspire

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{1} Once all villagers decided to pray for rain, on the day of prayer all the people gathered, but only one boy came with an umbrella.  That's FAITH
{2} When you throw a baby in the air, she laughs because she knows you will catch her.  That's TRUST
{3} Every night we go to bed, without any assurance of being alive the next morning but still we set the alarms to wake up.  That's HOPE
4} We plan big things for tomorrow in spite of zero knowledge of the future.   That's CONFIDENCE
{5} We see the world suffering, but still we get married and have children.   That's LOVE
{6} On an old man's shirt was written a sentence 'I am not 80 years old....I am sweet 16 with 64 years experience'  That's ATTITUDE
Author Unknown

 Wishing you an inspiration filled weekend.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Muffins with Mom - Life as a soap opera: Teen drama

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Have you ever thought about your life as being a soap opera? If I had to describe my life as a soap opera it would be a combination of All My Children, As the World Turns, and Days of Our Lives. Everyday could really involve a different drama.
Growing up, All My Children was my favorite soap opera. Now that I have children, I experience enough drama to have my own TV series. It’s not all bad, it’s just the things that happen As the World Turns.
The other day my fifteen-year-old son told me that he wanted to earn some money to buy a couple of things he wanted and to go to the movies. I thought that was quite noble of him so I wrote out a list of tasks for him to accomplish. The list was short enough that the items could have been completed within a couple of hours, or so I thought.
The next day when I returned home from work, only one of the tasks was completed. I dreaded asking my son the question, but I had to… “Why? Why didn’t you complete everything on the list?”
“I had football workouts and when I got home I was tired.” His answer was so genuine that one would almost be sympathetic toward him. Unless you knew the whole story. He had the entire day before workouts, get things done, but he chose to relax.
And that was just one day in our life as a soap opera.
On another occasion I had an opportunity to see my son in a different light. It was early evening and I was driving my son to an after school program. We saw two guys pushing an SUV, but not getting very far.
We drove past the guys at first because we only had a few minutes to get my son to his program on time. I glanced at my son and said, “Do you want to go back and help them?”
“We’ll be late if we go back. You know you like to be on time,” He said.
I turned the car around, pulled over to a safe spot in the parking lot area and we got out and helped push the vehicle. It was a short distance to the nearby gas station, but we reached a small incline. That day I had just picked my son up from football workouts, but he still had energy to push the vehicle.
As we rocked the truck a little another car approached the scene and used his car to push the truck the remaining distance into the gas station. The guys thanked us and we left feeling glad that we were able to help.
I was proud of my son for his role in helping someone in distress. It was a day in my life, as the world turned, that one of my children carried out a good deed.
Has your life ever felt like a soap opera?



Friday, July 3, 2015

Fun Friday – A Teens Declaration of Independence and 5 signs he may not be independent

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Happy Independence Day! Does your family have plans for celebrating the July 4th Holiday? This year we didn’t plan anything spectacular. However, we do plan to get together and just do “nothing”. There will be food and fireworks for the kids, but no exhausting work.

It’s a good thing that we are not planning any laborious tasks for Independence Day because I believe my kids are allergic to work (sarcasm). Although teens want to be independent, they may not realize everything that goes along with independence.
If my teens had to write a preamble it would probably read something like this- “We the children of Angela Verges, in order to form a more perfect union, create today, a set of rules related to the completion of chores.
Below are 5 signs a teen may not yet be independent –
1.      Every time your teens leave home he asks you for gas money.

2.      He sleeps late, but when he awakes wants to know what you’re cooking for breakfast.

3.      When it’s time to mow the lawn, two teens dispute with each other, one saying, “it’s not my turn. I did it last time.”

4.      Your teen has mastered washing his own clothes, but he seems to struggle with folding and putting them away. The clothes lay dormant for days, only to become wrinkled and in need of ironing.

5.      It’s rare that your teen takes the trash to the cub the night before pick-up. Instead, he rushes from the house the next morning when he hears the sanitation truck coming down the street.
Has your child ever declared that she wanted to be independent (maybe not in those exact words)?
Wishing you a terrific July 4th Holiday!