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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Words of Wisdom - Inspirational Quotes

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“I cheated on my fears, broke up with my doubts, got engaged to my faith and now…I’m marrying my dreams.”
                     Author unknown

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”    
                    Albert Einstein

“The best revenge is massive success.”
                    Frank Sinatra

“Never let the odds keep you from doing what you now in your hear you were meant to do.”
                   H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Muffins with Mom - 10 things I wish I knew about parenting before I became one

As I pondered what to write for today’s blog post, I came across this one that I posted a few years ago. The information is still relevant and may be new to some readers.
I’m pretty sure I’m missing some pages to the proverbial parenting manual. It must be the pages that answer the “why” questions. As I was giving my teen son his chore list I became tired of responding as he kept asking me why. “Why do I have to clean up? Why does the house always have to be clean?”

I searched my bookshelf for a parenting manual that would tell me why...why my son had to keep asking why. There was no such thing in existence (not in my house anyway). My sons’ questions caused me to ponder the many things I wish I knew before I became a parent. Here is my list.

10  - kids do not listen the first time you tell them to do something.

9 -  Kids favorite words are: I want, I need, can I have. These words especially ring true when you’re shopping with kids.

8 – Kids will embarrass you when you least expect it. A friend once told me that when her daughter was in preschool, the teacher asked the kids about their parent’s careers. Her daughter said, “My dad just sits on the couch and drinks beer.”

7 – If you have boys, “potty training” never ends. If only my bathroom floors could talk.

6 – Kids will test your patience…a lot. Choose your battles wisely.

5- Parenting requires being organized or at least being able to coordinate things. When the kids are little you have to remember the diaper bag, toys, play dates and so on. As they become school age, you have to coordinate their activity schedule with yours.

4 – You can skip buying expensive toys for your toddler; they would rather play with the box the toy came in.

3 – Once kids learn to talk, they never stop. When they’re teens, they try to talk back.

2 – Kids grow up fast. This is not just a saying, it’s true. My youngest son is a high school senior…already. I feel like I only have a few months left to prepare him for the next stage of life. What have I been doing for the past 17 years???

1 – Parenting should be rated PG for prayer guidance suggested. Somewhere along the way you will need prayer, either for yourself or the kids.

So what have I learned about parenting over the past 19 years? You never stop learning. I love my kids and everyday is a new adventure. What would you include in your top 10 list of things you wish you knew about parenting before you became a parent?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Muffins with Mom – Lessons during a Family Meal

The breakfast table was set with a platter of French toast, scrambled eggs, grits and bacon. I yelled through the house for anyone within the sound of my voice to come to breakfast. The dog was the first to arrive. However, the call was meant for my teenage sons.

 After a few minutes one of my sons straggled to the table with the other one dragging not far behind him. It was a rare occasion that all of us sat at the table to eat at the same time. One is usually working, while the other is at football practice. Other times during breakfast hours one drags himself into the kitchen while the other sleeps through mealtime.

As we ate, the boys began reminiscing about meal time long ago when daddy told them they had to stay at the table until they ate their meal.

“Do you remember Donovan, we used to move the food around on our plate so it looked like we ate some?” Said my younger son.

“Yeah, and I ate my peas like taking a pill. I threw them in my mouth then drank milk, juice, anything to get them down.”

Listening to them converse back and forth was like watching a tennis match. One shared his memory, then the other.

“When daddy told me to get two spoonful of beans, I would get a teaspoon. Then he would grab the big serving spoon and dig down to the bottom of the pot and say ’boy, you need to eat more than that.’”, Joshua said.

“Then, mama would eat some of your food to help you out.”
“I wish we had a dog back then. I would not have had to hide food in a napkin then flush it down the toilet.”

They laughed and reflected on their struggle to eat food they claim they didn’t like. Truth be told they didn’t want any vegetables, no beans, only certain fruits. If ketchup qualifies as a vegetable, then they got a little nourishment in their bodies.

My younger son said this whole experience is probably why he doesn’t like to eat leftovers. I say learn to cook and you whenever and whatever you want.

At the breakfast table that day, I learned that the boys and I need to make an effort to enjoy more meals together. It looks like weekend breakfast is the best time for us to gather.

What lessons have you learned from your child lately?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fun Friday – The lighter side of a mammogram visit

Lockers for the convenience of  patients...one size fits most.

The reminder letter arrived in the mail, “…your mammogram is scheduled for …” The letter included the things that needed to be done to prepare for the appointment -
--arrive 10 minutes early
--do not wear deodorant
--blah, blah, blah

On the day of my appointment, I arrived as scheduled, checked in at the desk and only waited a few minutes before my name was called. I followed the worker to the next waiting area. It was the area where the patient undresses from the waist up and places her belongings in a locker. And that is where my trouble began.

The clothing items fit into the locker with ease. However, when I tried to put my purse in the locker, it became wedged half in, half out, of the locker. I gave the purse a shove, but it only moved an inch.
I had to devise a plan quickly. The staff at that doctor’s office are efficient and don’t leave you waiting long. When she returned for me I didn’t want to be standing there with my lovely gown swaying and me wrestling with the purse.

The over sized purse

I removed a few items from my purse – small notebook, hand lotion and fundraiser cards (my son’s project). Then I reorganized other items – work cell, personal cell, Excedrin. Whew. Maybe I needed to clean out the entire purse.

The reorganization worked, I was rewarded with success. I tilted the purse, jabbed it a little and in dropped onto the floor of the locker. I slammed the locker shut, removed the key and put the attached stretchy band around my wrist.  I plopped onto a chair just in time.

The technician entered the doorway, “Angela, are you ready?” She took me to the exam room, conducted the exam, and I was back in the changing room within ten minutes. It took me longer to get my purse into the locker than it did to conduct the exam.

After my appointment, I thought of another point that can be added to the checklist of reminders for a mammogram appointment…do not take a large purse.

Has anything happened to you recently where you had to laugh at yourself? 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Words of Wisdom – The elephant rope

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As a man was passing a heard of elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” the trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life.

Author Unknown

Monday, August 15, 2016

Muffins with Mom - The football scrimmage

Football mom after standing in the rain to watch the game

Commitment, dedication, devotion, these are the things my teen son focuses on during football season. The same is required for parenting through football season. This was evident on the day of our first scrimmage of the season.

As I backed my car out of the garage, rain pelted down on the rear of the car. The sound of the drops increased in volume as the entire car emerged from the shelter of the garage.  I adjusted my windshield wipers from slow to medium speed.

There were a scattering of parents sitting on the metal bleachers when I arrived at the football field. I walked up with my stadium chair strap on my shoulder, an umbrella in one hand and a blanket under my arm. This game was the Blue and White game, where the varsity players scrimmaged each other rather than another team.

I stood along the fence with all of my rain gear debating whether I wanted to remain standing or sit. I stood, rain bouncing from my umbrella and my eyes searching the field for my son. There were no numbers on the boy’s shirts, and I could not see my son’s signature dreadlocks dangling from his helmet.

The rain dripped from my umbrella onto the back of my pants, within minutes, I was soaked and still searching for my son. I kept my eyes on the defensive players, wondering why I was there if I couldn’t even tell which player was my son. Commitment, dedication, devotion.

Finally, I identified my son by his confident stride and blue Nike cleats. Mission accomplished. I saw my son maneuver a couple of plays, then shuffled my way back to my car. By this time, I felt like a toddler in a wet diaper. I just wanted to go home and change clothes.

Once in the car, I sat a few minutes to collect my thoughts because of course this situation deserved to be a blog post. The players began to leave the field, the game was called due to the rain.

My son walked over to the car and said, “I’m mad that they stopped the game. We barely played.” For him, the rain was no obstacle, he just wanted to play.

Into every season a little rain must fall. How do you handle the rain?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Fun Friday– A doctor’s visit gone wild

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It was a routine visit to the doctor’s office for my mom. She was to have her weight checked, cholesterol screened and blood pressure checked. For my mom, this was a big deal, the goal was to have her weight down and blood pressure numbers at a good range.

Mom goes to the gym consistently, sometimes she socializes a great deal while there, but she shows up. She is not afraid to poke fun at herself. On the morning of her doctor’s visit, she weighed herself while at the gym and found her weight to be a little higher than she wanted.

After the gym, she skipped her routine breakfast stop at her favorite Coney Island and returned home to take a nap. Before leaving for the doctor’s office, she shed her heavy jogging jacket and tossed the gym shoes aside for flip flops.

Once at her appointment mom texted me and said, “I arrived here at the office two pounds lighter than at the gym.” According to her account, mom burned a few calories while she slept (wishful thinking).

Before settling into the rest of her visit, mom stopped by the restroom. As she prepared to use the restroom she saw something tiny crawling on the floor. She, “summoned” for help, evacuated the restroom and was directed to another restroom…relief.

Back in the examination room, the nurse placed the cuff on moms arm and checked her blood pressure. “Your blood pressure is rather high,” the nurse said.

Mom did not say anything, but her eyes shot daggers as she thought-small wonder, that darn bug freaked me out and now I have a headache. Her doctor’s visit was far from being routine.

My mother vowed to use the bathroom at home before her next doctor’s appointment…or have an escape plan if she encountered another bug.

Have you ever had a crazy experience during a doctor’s office visit?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Shadow Art

YouTube Video Credit: sujithkappoor

Words of Wisdom - Lessons from an Oyster

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There once was an oyster
Whose story I tell,
Who found that some sand
Had got into his shell.

It was only a grain,
but it gave him great pain.
For oysters have feelings
Although they're so plain.

Now, did he berate
the harsh workings of fate
That had brought him
To such a deplorable state?

Did he curse at the government,
Cry for election,
And claim that the sea should
Have given him protection?

'No,' he said to himself
As he lay on a shell,
Since I cannot remove it,
I shall try to improve it.

Now the years have rolled around,
As the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate
Destiny ­ stew.

And the small grain of sand
That had bothered him so
Was a beautiful pearl
All richly aglow.

Now the tale has a moral,
for isn't it grand
What an oyster can do
With a morsel of sand?

What couldn't we do
If we'd only begin
With some of the things
That get under our skin.

Author Unknown

Monday, August 8, 2016

Muffins with Mom – Chef Home Boy R Dee – When a teen takes over the kitchen

Texas toast dipped in a batter of egg, milk and cinnamon is a favorite in our house. Sprinkle with a pinch of powdered sugar, drizzle with warm syrup, and our mouths begin to water. It can be said that my boys and I are connoisseurs of breakfast foods.

My oldest son is such a fan of breakfast that he will eat breakfast foods for dinner. He was excited one Christmas when he unwrapped a Belgian waffle iron. Needless to say, excitement took over during his recent excursion in the kitchen.

While I was at work my son sent me a text, along with a photo of his meal creation. The caption read, “Chef Home Boy R Dee.” Followed by, “I think I need a cooking show, I’m too good in the kitchen not to be famous.”

I don’t know if my sons’ dish was pleasing to the palate, but the presentation was good. When I arrived at home, the only thing left was an empty bowl with drippings of egg yolk and a skillet with dried egg around the edges. I would have settled for a corner of toast to dip in the glob of syrup left on my son’s plate.

The kitchen was a mess, but Chef Home Boy R Dee was working on his brand. I learned long ago to let the boys be creative while they were interested and not sweat the small stuff. When a teen takes over the kitchen, be prepared for anything.

Has your child ever experimented in the kitchen?

Friday, August 5, 2016

Fun Friday – Be careful what you ask for

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My morning begins with a warm cup of coffee with sweetener and a shot of Hazelnut. As I pulled up to the drive-thru window of my favorite coffee house I noticed a clear container filled with donut holes. Free samples? I didn’t ask.

The next day as my coffee was handed to me, I asked, “are those free samples?”

The cashier looked bewildered, so I pointed to the square container of donut holes. He said, “Oh, those are for dogs.”

I didn’t know what to say next so I smiled and said, “I have a dog at home.”  I’m sure I sounded like a four-year-old. I drove off, hoping the cashier would soon forget that episode. I don’t believe he forgot.

The next day when my coffee was handed to me, I glanced at the container, still filled with donut holes. This time, printed in black marker were the words, “Puppy Treats.”

It was clear to me and anyone else who would ask, the treats at the drive-thru were for dogs.

Be careful what you ask for, it may not be something that is meant for you.

Have you asked for anything lately that resulted in an embarrassing situation?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Muffins with Mom – Relaxing - a mother and son experience

Who amongst us does not appreciate a relaxing moment? Relaxing can look different to each of us. It may be a morning a walk, an evening with feet propped up and reading a good book, or casting a fishing line into a lake of fish.

I discovered recently that my son and I relax in similar ways…sometimes in strange encounters. For me it happened while I received a makeover, sitting on a tall stool, in the middle of a department store.

The make-up artist dabbed, smoothed and swept colors across my face. As she worked with liners and shadows, she asked me to close my eyes. I followed directions. It was then that I drifted into a comforting slumber.

After a few minutes, I felt my head drop and my body begin to lean forward. I had to catch myself from rolling off the stool and onto the floor. The gentle massage of my eyelids had sent me into a relaxing REM (rapid eye movement) state. You know, that time just before you awake, but you’re in the middle of a dream.

It doesn’t take much for me to relax, rub an arm, massage a shoulder (or n eyelid), and I may go limp like a rag doll. Apparently there’s power in a touch. My son shared with me the story of what happened at his recent appointment to have his hair re-twisted (the process to keep his dreadlocks intact).

As the locticion pulled, twisted, and tucked, my son’s eyes closed. After a few moments, his head dropped. No, he was not in prayer. He was asleep. It was a deeper sleep than I experienced. My son jerked his body forward and almost leapt from his chair.  He dreamt he was in a fighting situation.

My son blinked his eyes a few times, then realized he was still sitting in a chair having his dreadlocks touched up. He was relaxed enough slip into a dream state with no worries of what was going on around him. It was the same for me as my eyes were soothed by the make-up artist.

On the same day, in two different locations, my son and I were in a state of relaxation. Call it our quirky genetic trait, but we can fall asleep anywhere. This is just one relaxation style that we share. There are others that are more fun.


What does your relaxing moment look like?