Tag Archives: kids

Cleanliness is Next to Godli….er, Impossible

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We’ve all heard it, right? Cleanliness is next to godliness. Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Following these adages I should be riding the highway to hell with nary a possession to call my own. Needless to say, keeping a clean house is an issue I struggle with.

Now don’t get me wrong. I WANT a clean house, I covet a clutter free living room, I’ve even been known to wake from sleep having dreamt of a spotless, shiny kitchen and sparkly windows and floors. I have a few barriers that keep this from becoming a reality.

First, I have pets. Loads of them. 2 dogs and 2 cats call me mom. Shedding comes in phases – the constant but manageable phase and the season changing unbearable phase. Multiply that by 4, do this to the nth power because 1 is a German Shepherd and you get…..well….I’ve never been good at math but the amount of hair equals a lot. Every single day there is a fine coating of assorted hairs on the coffee table and furry tumbleweeds skittering across the tiled floor. Every. Single. Day. During those aforementioned unbearable phases the tan carpet becomes a lovely shade of black (the Shepherd is black), that even daily vacuuming – yes I said DAILY –  doesn’t keep under control. I think that maybe once upon a time I was allergic to pet dander but I have since then ingested such high quantities as to inoculate myself.

I’ve considered the possibilities of how to handle this furry issue. But, I love the animals. I’m not willing to get rid of them or to confine them to a box for the rest of their natural lives. So….we have a pet hair problem.

Secondly, I have children. They no longer play with “toys” but rather have sports paraphernalia, dance gear, and an ENORMOUS amount of papers that lie in their wake. School papers, extracurricular activity papers, letters from colleges, notes from friends, art projects from 3rd grade that no one wants to part with… The paper trail is endless. And it adds up. Literally. It becomes stacks on whatever free surface can be found. Then of course there are the mountains of laundry. They do some of their own laundry but it multiplies so quickly they need backup assistance. And let’s be honest, kids in general aren’t typically stellar at always “putting everything in its place.” Now, add that thin layer of animal hair onto all of this – classy, yep.

Seriously, I’m not blaming a dirty house on having kids. It’s only one element of the issue. Because really, there’s more.

The third and biggest factor – me. I suck at constant cleaning. I am fully aware of this shortcoming. While I recognize it and I attempt to change it, I am also painfully aware that I will most likely never be a superstar cleaner. Here’s the thing: when I hardcore deep clean, it is spotless. I mean spit shined (although not literally because that’s just disgusting and not at all clean). The trouble is that I just don’t want to do that every single day. I ABHOR dusting. It’s my least favorite chore of all time. Seriously. I’ll do windows, I’ll scrub bathrooms….just please for the love of all that’s good, someone else dust. But apparently everyone in my home has the same mentality so the dusting chore….shall we say….suffers. Likewise, I don’t want to vacuum everyday. I’ll do it several times a week. But everyday? It just seems like pointless overkill to me.

And, I clearly need an organization system that is seriously effective but as of yet I do not have said system. So….papers pile up, stacks teeter to the tipping point, then they get moved to an area akin to massive stacks of newspapers from back in the day. Remember when your grandpa hoarded stacks of newspapers….if you went to the very bottom of the very first stack the papers would probably be from aught 3…..yeah it’s just like that. My oldest child is knocking on the door of 20 and I’m pretty sure there are some scribblings from when he was 2 in there. But where am I going to put them? I’m not emotionally ready (and honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be), to get rid of them….he certainly doesn’t want them….so they stay in the stacks. I’ve gotten slightly more organized by putting the stacks in plastic containers, but now the containers are stacking up too.

Here’s the kicker: I have OCD. I’m not just throwing that acronym around willy-nilly…..I’m actually diagnosed….it says so on my medical chart. There aren’t enough hours in a day nor energy reserves in my body to keep things around here as clean as I want them to be. When things don’t get cleaned my OCD tends to push me toward an anxiety/panic attack. Then when that gets sorted I have an emotional breakdown because everything isn’t “in its place.” It’s really a vicious circle – round and round we go.

I try to find comfort in wise words of other folks who suffer in this manner and remember that really my house isn’t nearly as bad as it seems in my own mind. And, that it doesn’t matter if things are spotless when the kids are happy and memories are being made. I really do try to remember all of that. Somewhere deep down I believe it – but oh my goodness there’s so much clutter!

But, it’s Spring. Time for renewal. Time for planting flowers and vegetables, time for singing birds and baby lambs. And…time for cleaning. Cleaning out the fur and the dust and the cobwebs…not just on your floors and windows and tables but the ones in your head and heart as well. While you’re mopping the floor, let go of a past hurt that’s been gnawing at you. When you clean out the overstuffed closet, forgive yourself for that thing that keeps you from moving forward. While you clean your windows, formulate a plan to achieve that next thing you want to accomplish in life. Cleaning isn’t just about physical dust and dirt – we all have emotional cobwebs to knock down too. It’s Spring – time to take care of you. When you do, taking care of everyone you love is even better, and they will notice the change in you. Love yourself so you can love others.  Try being a little OCD about it….even if you aren’t diagnosed.

Happy Spring!

Leslie

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DetroitTemperandYarn?ref=hdr_shop_menu

 

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Christmas Already?

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I am not yet in the holiday spirit. I will get there hopefully, but as of right now – nope. There are several reasons.

1. The overzealous folks that go a little crazy when anyone says Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas. Here’s just a really brief history lesson if you happen to be one of those folks – and I get where you’re coming from, I understand, but really….please take a second and read this: This is erroneously regarded as taking the religion out of Christmas or “secularizing” the holiday. However, the word holiday is a compound of two words; Holy and Day – thus people are literally wishing that you have a Happy Holy Day or a “happy religious festival” of WHATEVER KIND YOU CELEBRATE!!! So stop being such jerks about it, sometimes when we say things like that, we’re really trying to be nice and include everyone, not offend. Geez.

2. I don’t have the kind of money I want to buy the gifts I want to give, therefore I am not in the spirit of giving because I’m concerned about my budget. Now, with that said I have been tooling away crocheting things since the beginning of last month but….it’s still not what I would give if I was able to purchase exactly what I wanted to….well, you know what I mean. Anyway, it’s a different kind of Christmas this year basically. Not bad, just different. I love giving gifts, it’s my favorite part of the holidays. I don’t care about getting a single thing. I would be happy as a peach if I didn’t open a one – but I sure do love giving them. I just want them to be special and perfect and I worry that they won’t be – and I stress a bit.

3. I’m not looking forward to another holiday of just me, the hubs, and the pups. That sounds like I don’t enjoy spending quiet time with my fella, and that’s not what it is at all, I do like that time very much, but when you think holidays you think family and noise and lots of food a wee bit of chaos. The kids visit with their dad and his family, my mama is pretty far away and the hubs’ family is even farther away. We kinda live in another world it feels like. We don’t really, but we are really out-of-the-way, and not in anyone’s line of travel. So…holidays are quiet. Even the 4th of July. Although, don’t get me started on that one….I’m not patriotic at all, I actually…well, that’s for another post. I’m Irish ya know.  Anyway, we do have a few new special traditions. We have a dinner spot on Christmas Eve now that’s really nice and is a special treat for us, kind of our gift because we don’t really give gifts to each other. But otherwise, it will be ten days or so of quietness. I guess I should be looking forward to it really, but it IS the holidays after all….

4. So December 1st rolled around and I realized it was in fact time to put up the tree, Christmas spirit or not. The window is small for when that baby’s gonna be up around here anyway so better get it up on time. I spent the afternoon getting it out, yes artificial is the way we go. We went real tree one year about 3 years back. We have 2 dogs and 2 cats. It didn’t end well. I’ll just leave it at that.

Anyway, I had it ready to go and when kids 2 and 3 got home (1 lives with his fiancée three states away), up it went and decorating was off to the races. It didn’t take all that long, the tree isn’t very big. We got it finished, lights on the patio – all before dinner. I’m still not feeling like Kris Kringle, but I must admit that I enjoy the lights. Even when you don’t feel very Christmasy they are pretty and are a nice little break from the norm. So, off to bed…

I swear, not 10 minutes after we crawl under the covers until I hear a crash and I know….no doubt what it was. I sit up like a rod’s been shoved up my yahoo, hubs jumps up, throws open the door…alas no kerchief nor cap…but I knew….those damn cats. Mhmm – the tree was now lying on its side, flattened, balls scattered across the floor. And then I remembered another reason why I was yet to be in the spirit of the season. I had forgotten that I needed to deadbolt the tree to the walls as if we had tiny dwarven metalworking lumberjacks that would chop it down nightly if we didn’t do this. I had forgotten. Silly me. Damn cats.

5. Really I think what it is more than anything is that I miss the sense of tradition that change brings. Don’t get me wrong, some change is good. New jobs, births, marriages, loads of other things that my brain can’t come up with right now  – but sometimes changes just kinda hurt. The kids are growing up and that’s fantastic – they’re pretty cool people (most of the time), we’re getting older, and that’s good too because the alternative isn’t so good, but it’s kinda not good too. It’s all good and bad wrapped up in one big package. I feel like I smile for one thing and then in the next breath cry for something else. The kids open their gifts 3 days before Christmas, cookies for Santa get eaten out of the oven by Santa and Mrs. Claus, Rudolph gets screwed….no glitter oats for him at all anymore.

I suppose I’m just feeling a bit nostalgic. And I suppose that’s okay, it is Christmastime after all. So, hug your family tight, hang on to those traditions. Those babies grow up so fast and before you know it they’re going to be off making traditions of their own. Enjoy every single moment that you have with them, even those 4am wake ups on Christmas morning, because one day, not all that long from now, Christmas morning just may be a little too quiet for your liking – trust me. Maybe I’m getting in the Christmas spirit after all.

Happy Holidays everyone.

An Empty Basket

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Easter was different this year.

This was the first Easter in 17 years that I didn’t color Easter eggs, make baskets for my kids and set them out the night before, have an egg hunt……. I had an empty nest….er, basket this year. The kids are visiting their dad and that’s a good thing – but it sure did make me think about what it will be like when they’re grown and all doing their own things.

My oldest is a high school Senior and will be graduating in 2 months. He’s promptly hitting the road, ready to be on his own doing his own thing…..worrying his mother. The other two have a few years still, but I can see it coming now. I’ve been doing a fine job of pretending that my babies are going to live with me forever and that they will always be doing things like egg hunts with me. I’m just not ready to move on to the next phase quite yet.

More or less this is just a gentle reminder to all of you parents out there – and certainly to myself……cherish those little moments, every single one of them. Cherish the Valentine boxes you make for school, the leprechaun footprints you leave out for St. Patrick’s Day, the egg coloring and baskets and bunnies and egg hunts, the red white and blue banners you make for 4th of July parades, the back to school shopping, the Halloween costumes, those fantastic glitter Popsicle stick ornaments for the Christmas tree……cherish every one. I can’t believe how quickly time goes by, much too quickly for my liking. Just don’t take those moments for granted. Our world is so fast paced and frantic anymore, we all rush around from one thing to the next. It’s not that we don’t want to notice the little things, it just seems like we don’t have time. And so often, the things that seem like minor annoyances now, the holiday things that take extra time and extra money……well those things are the things I missed this year. No baskets, no bunnies, no egg hunts…..

Enjoy all of those little moments with your kids folks, time passes quickly and those moments are precious. Trust me.

Back to School Education

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This time of year is always exciting. New shoes, new haircuts, new backpacks…..anticipation about seeing friends, who will be sitting next to you in class, if the teacher really has a 3rd eye and horns like you were told….. But this is for the kiddos. Parents see back to school time slightly different. Now that the first week of school is under our belt, I’m taking a moment to reflect upon what I’ve learned this week.

1. Getting up at 5:45am sucks. Totally. I am not a morning person – never have been. I have really enjoyed my summer of being able to sleep in, even on a weekday. I like not getting up until 8 or 9am. I don’t need to sleep until noon…..but I am not a fan of rising with the chickens. If it’s still dark outside – and I mean pitch black dark with no hint of a sunrise anywhere to be seen – then it’s too early to be waking up.

2. One should not wait until the day before the first day of school to purchase notebooks, binders, pencils, etc. The pickins are slim and then a rather cantankerous, moody, diva-ish 5th grader becomes quite foul and dramatic – letting one know how everyone else will have everything they need and she will be the only one who doesn’t have every item on the list of 25 things now needed to successfully complete 5th grade. What I believed to be a financially savvy move, waiting until the last minute thereby snagging some really great deals was in fact the catalyst for foot-stomping, hands on hips, tilted head with eyes rolling so far back I think they may have done a full loop and voiced exasperation of my lack of concern to her embarrassment and imminent failure of 5th grade. Procrastination does not pay.

3. Freshmen boys primp a lot. Stereotypical beliefs lead us to think that it’s the teenage girls that take forever in the bathroom and are the ones who obsess over hair and clothes. But I tell you that this is not so. This is not a female issue alone. 14 year old boys take a very long time to create the exact look of aloofness coupled with proper hygiene that is apparently necessary. I don’t know why I’m so surprised by this – I mean really, everyone knows you don’t wear stripes 2 days in a row.

4. Seniors now have to do a lot more than I did as a Senior. I just had to pick a few colleges that interested me, fill out applications and scholarship forms, mail them out and hope for the best. Now we have to register on 327 different websites, have not only Plan A but contingency plans through T, and know who your date is going to be to the spring formal before Halloween.

5. Filling out the same forms 3 different times is terribly frustrating. We have the technology that allows us to visit Mars, transplant hearts, create fertilized eggs in petrie dishes, build cars using robots…….but somehow we have yet to master a way to connect the emergency contact information that is the same for all kids in a family.

6. Happy homework time is really a pipe dream.

7. When given cash to purchase lunch, kids will oftentimes choose the least nutricious options available.

8. Bedtime can’t come early enough.

9. Wine is good.

I’m sure I’ll learn more things as the school year progresses but I’m feeling pretty good about the knowledge I’ve acquired this week. I hope all of you out there are enjoying and learning new things. Share some of them with me…..

 

Little Pearls

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Today is my first born child’s birthday. His 17th. Days like this I find myself thinking about the character of my children. Of course I reminisce about holidays and vacations and those special milestones in kids’ lives that all of us moms remember even when everyone else has long forgotten. But as I get older – well, not much really – I’m still very young! – I think about who my kids really are. And, who I want them to be. So today, in honor of my 17 year-old son I’m sharing some of the little pearls of wisdom I hope he has learned and will always remember. Some of these may be good advice for you too!

1. Share. Share your time, your resources, your knowledge, your love…. Share. Being selfish is easy but it’s ugly. Everything isn’t always about you. Everyone else is important too. Sharing is easy, it makes you feel good about yourself and it just may be the most important thing to happen in the other person’s life.

2. Wash your hands before you eat. Seriously. Your mitts have been everywhere, touching things that are filthy and germ infested. Please for the love of all that’s good, don’t put dirty hands on your food and then put said food in your mouth. It’s gross. It will make you sick. And well…..it’s just gross.

3. Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone. Every single time. Even if the hurt was unintentional – sometimes those are the most painful ones. If you hurt them physically this is a much easier conclusion to come to. But after causing emotional pain is when we sometimes forget to apologize. Emotional pain lasts a very long time – sometimes forever. It’s much easier to try to forget about hurting someone, or to pretend it didn’t happen. Don’t ignore it. Look people in the eye and say you’re sorry – and mean it.

4. Look both ways, hold hands and stick together. Think about your decisions, make informed ones. Stay close with the people who love you. You were given a support system at birth – utilize it. You don’t have to go through things alone. Share your worries and fears – talking about them usually gives you a whole new perspective – and it lightens the weight on your shoulders a bit.

5. Don’t yell at your mother. It’s rude. And I guarantee it almost never ends well.

6. Put things back where you found them. Of course you can use the multi-tool screwdriver thingy out of the glove box of the car. But please please please put it back when you’re done. It’s really not cool to be sitting on the side of the road and need that screwdriver thingy to change a tire when someone didn’t return it to it’s home. It makes for a tired, rain-soaked, extremely unhappy parent.

7. Tell the truth. All the time. I’ve learned the hard way. When you don’t, you end up in places that you never ever wanted to be. It’s not easy – you may be embarrassed, you may get in trouble, you may lose something that you wanted to keep, you may even hurt someone. But lies are never good. And, if you do hurt someone in the process – see #3.

8. Flush. Always. No exceptions. No one wants to open the lid and find a surprise. Ever.

9. Use your inside voice. Don’t yell at others. Cheering and hearty greetings are exceptions to this rule. Otherwise – don’t yell.

10. Be patient. Not everything happens on the timetable we would like. When the driver in front of you is going 5 miles over the speed limit already, don’t grumble and mumble and drive like an idiot in an effort to get around them so you can get to where you’re going 10 seconds faster. It’s not worth the risk.

11. Remember birthdays. Write them on a calendar if your memory isn’t the greatest. Being remembered by the people we love is important. You wouldn’t want your birthday to come and go and no one acknowledge it. Acknowledge others.

12. Be kind and respectful to the garbage men. They are doing the most important job in our society – one that no one really wants to do. They are taking away our trash so we don’t have to. They deserve respect.

13. Be a friend. On the surface this one is simple – but in order to make and keep real friends – you must be one. Be loyal, be honest with them, support them, help them when they’re in trouble, keep their secrets….share their joys and their sadness. Show them they can always count on you.

14. Notice the little things. Sunsets, wildflowers, kittens’ whiskers, the changing leaves in autumn, the sound of water flowing over rocks in a stream…. Pay attention.

15. Laugh. Enjoy life. Bad things happen to all of us. We all have problems and worries. Deal with them the best you can and then laugh. Smiles are beautiful and laughter makes you feel better.

16. Don’t forget to say “I love you.” We all need to know that we’re loved. And the reality is, we never know what the next minute holds – don’t miss a chance to say how you feel. You don’t want to regret keeping your emotions to yourself.

17. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Electricity is expensive.

18. Conserve gas. We’re killing the Earth and the prices are ridiculous.

19. Go outside. Take a walk, ride a bike, go for a swim. Breathe fresh air.

20. Vote. You have no right to complain about the state of things if you don’t vote.

21. Do everything in moderation. Food, drinks, play…. don’t become all-consumed with something and let it take over your life. Stay balanced.

I think all of us could use a reminder to do things like these from time to time. Our world has become so busy that most of us don’t feel like we have a spare minute in our day. We need to slow down. Say “no” sometimes. You don’t have to be on every committee and attend every function. Take a nap. Watch a movie. Go for a walk. Look at the stars. Relax. Life is short and time goes by so quickly. Do things you love with people you love. Enjoy it.

Oh, and the last pearl….(this one is just for my son, but believe there is someone that feels the same way about you)

22. Never ever forget how very much I love you.

Like is Like So Irritating

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Is there a word or a phrase that drives you bonkers? One that when you hear it sounds eerily similar to fingernails on a chalkboard? One that makes you have to literally bite your tongue in an effort to not chastise the speaker? No? Me neither…..

Actually yes, yes there is one such word/phrase for me. “LIKE”

The word “like” should be used in a grammatically correct fashion. “Like” is a flexible word and can be used correctly in several different ways.

For example:

Used as a preposition in comparisons: (a) Introducing a simile – She plays like Mozart. (b) Non-simile comparison – Biff has a truck like Bob’s.

Used as a verb: I like cake batter ice cream.  Or Leslie likes Jacob.

Or another correct way is as a subordinating conjunction: They look like they have been having fun.

The way that drives me CRAZY goes something LIKE this…….

Like, did you see that outfit? It was like the ugliest color I’ve ever seen. And her shoes were like ridiculous. Her hair was like all frizzy in the back. And like her makeup made her look like so slutty. Does she not like have any friends to tell her she looks like so stupid?

This irritates and confuses me. Well, it doesn’t really confuse me but I feign confusion if one my kids speaks this way. I’ll respond with, “Was it LIKE the ugliest color or WAS it the ugliest color?” Then of course I am treated to dramatic eye rolling and sighing as if I am undoubtedly the dumbest person on the planet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that this is how people speak these days. I almost wrote that this is how teenagers speak but that would not be accurate. I have overheard many adults speaking in the same fashion. Has this become the updated version of “UM?” Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I believe I prefer UM to LIKE being used 5 times in every sentence.

So tell me – what is the word or phrase that does your head in? Is it “like” or maybe the excessive use of “dude?” Or maybe it’s the use of “peace” when the speaker is not really promoting peace, or the use of “righteous” when not speaking about anything actually righteous. Or maybe “awesome” when the subject is not one the actually inspires awe but instead is just sort of okay. I think there quite a few worthy possibilities here.

And don’t even get me started on the use of “LOL” in spoken communication……….

 

Freaky Fried Finds

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What’s your favorite fried food indulgence? I began to ponder this question about 2 weeks into my diet. This may have been an effort to conjure up the aroma of foods that I so love in order to pretend that I am tasting them. May have been. Anyway, after careful consideration I have decided upon my favorite. Crunchy, delicious, Southern Fried Chicken. There is something almost therapeutic about biting into a crunchy piece of chicken and getting to the juicy delicious chicken meat. It’s such a simple food, but oh so tasty – and pairs just fantastically with mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, macaroni & cheese, potato salad……well…..you get my point. Oh, and sweet tea – you must have sweet tea.

This decision really took some soul-searching. There are so many things that are fried these days, and so many of those same foods that I truly love but I reached an important conclusion: many fried foods are fads. Everything from Kool-Aid to pizza is being deep-fried but once the novelty of a weird concoction wears off most people aren’t frying up Kool-Aid on their weekly home menus. But, just because I thought some of these strange ideas were so interesting I’ve decided to share some with you. I’m hoping that some of you readers will have tried some of the more odd ones since I’m really curious as to how they REALLY taste. I’m not certain I would be brave enough to taste them all but I’m nosy, and I want the scoop. So…..without further ado…..some deep-fried menu ideas…….

1. Deep-Fried Soda

Seriously….how is this even possible?

2. Deep-Fried Cheesecake

The cheesecake lover in me died just a little at this photo. It kinda seems like a perfectly delicious slice of cheesecake was ruined – but maybe I’m wrong.

3. Deep-Fried Tofu

Um….Doesn’t this diminish the health value somewhat? I’m no vegetarian, but this just doesn’t make much sense.

4. Deep-Fried Krispy Kreme Cheeseburgers

I’m not certain how to even respond to this one. It’s oddly repulsing yet makes me drool just slightly. So strange.

There are some deep-fried foods that I have tried, the ones of the novelty variety, that I will admit were pretty darned tasty. I don’t foresee me having them anytime in the near future, but as warm weather and county fairs are upon us if you are presented with the opportunity to try any of these next few items, go on and have a bite – you won’t be sorry.

                

Fried pickles………………………………….Fried Oreos………………………Fried Twinkies

Let me know if you’ve tried any outlandish fried foods and which ones are your favorites. And of course, which ones I should never ever try. Go ahead and enjoy – but remember: if you do, please please get that body moving. These foods are not in any way healthy. Trust me, they are not on ANY diet plan out there! Moderation and movement 🙂