Posted by: Lisa | April 20, 2012

Drag Me to the Dragway

I am now accepting nominations for Mom of the Year. After tomorrow I think I will deserve it. I am taking my son to the Food Lion AutoFair at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Yup. An auto fair. With, like, thousands of autos. Cars. Vehicles. Motorcars. Wheels. Oh, the wheels. Lots & lots & lots of wheels. (And people. I really hate crowds.)

The website calls it the “world’s largest automotive extravaganza.” The map online has an area called the zMax Dragway (those of you who know me – do those SEEM like words that would ever come out of my mouth?!). I don’t even know what a dragway is.

So, parents, what great sacrifices have you made just for your children’s pleasure?

Posted by: Lisa | January 21, 2012

Seize WHAT?

If you haven’t yet seen this blog post that’s been circulating all over facebook, it’s worth your time to read it. I love the sarcasm the writer uses (I can just hear her saying in a snarky voice, “Oh carpe diem yourself!”) but she makes some excellent points. My favorite line is, “I can’t even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.” 

My ex (an author) once told me that he hated writing but loved being a writer. It didn’t really make a lot of sense to me at the time, but I get it now. It’s not just applicable to writers, but to most any job – particularly parenthood. Most of the time I truly do love parenting. I enjoy the little things my son does and says & at times I feel like my heart’s going to burst out of my chest it’s so full & happy with love & pride for him. But there are certainly moments where the only thing I’m seizing is an aspirin & the nearest bottle of wine!

For those moments we all have as parents, here is “Don’t Carpe Diem” by Glennon Melton, creator of Momestary.

Posted by: Lisa | January 16, 2012

It’s Black & White

I, too, have a dream that we’ll no longer see the color of one’s skin when we define who he or she is. I believe the fulfillment of that dream begins with us — parents.

Yesterday I told Jacob we’d go to the library this morning. When I woke up this morning it dawned on me that the library won’t be open today, on MLK, Jr. Day. I began to explain to Jacob why, in fact, we can’t go to the library today. The library isn’t open today, sweetie, because today is a very special day. It’s a day we all remember a very nice man. His name is Martin, and today is Martin’s birthday. He was a good man, Jacob. You see, Martin helped people learn to be nicer to one another.

Jacob seemed very interested in what I was telling him, and later on, after breakfast, he reminded me, “It’s Martin’s berf-day, Mama.” I figured I might as well capitalize on his curiosity, so I pulled a video of Dr. King up on YouTube (I bet the good ole’ Reverend would’ve loved to have seen that form of media!). Jacob smiled, exclaimed, “It’s Martin!,” & watched intently as we both listened to the booming voice of a man who’s lived on long after his assassination.

Given the Scandinavian heritage of our family members, Jacob honestly hasn’t really been around many African Americans in his life thus far. I somewhat wondered if he’d say something about how Dr. King looked different than we do. After a few moments he began  what I believed would be such a comment. Then, to my amazement and humility, Jacob exclaimed excitedly, “That man…that man, he…he wearing a black jacket just like mine!”

I, too, have a dream that we’ll no longer see the color of one’s skin when we define who he or she is.

Posted by: Lisa | December 9, 2011

Best & Worst Cereals for Kids

I’ve written before about a report on safe sunscreens that was issued by The Environmental Working Group (EWG). Recently the EWG  released a list of the best and worst cereals for children, and their findings may surprise some people. They looked at more than 80 kinds of cereal and considered several factors, although they focused primarily on the amount of sugar in each one.

The results? Many parents would be better off serving Hostess Twinkies and Chips Ahoy cookies for breakfast. Are you one of them?

http://breakingnews.ewg.org/report/sugar_in_childrens_cereals/best_and_worst_cereals/

I wrote this last year but wanted to post it again. Hopefully it will bring a knowing nod & a few chuckles to you!  ~Lisa~

It’s that time of year again…a time when we practice the centuries-old tradition of sending our best holiday wishes to our dear friends.  This is when we buy the sappiest cards Hallmark makes, force our families to wear festive holiday sweaters & pretend to be merry as they pose for the perfect Christmas card photo, & then stand around the coffee pot at work a week later, passing around the cheesiest cards we received while laughing so hard tears roll down our faces.  To help you win your office competition for worst card of the year, I’ve listed the 6 most common card types, so you’ll know what to look for.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, & Joyous Occasions to you all!!

THE RESUME
This is the stereotypical classic Christmas letter.  It is a phenomenal list of all the incredible things the perfect family has done this year.  It could almost pass as an attempt to compete for a spot on The Apprentice. “Well, Bill got a job promotion, which doubled his salary & halved his workload.  I spend my time volunteering at The Country Club & getting manicures poolside.  We had to build a new house because our old one wasn’t big enough for all the trophies & blue ribbons our talented children won.  Little Johnny is training for the Olympics in four different sports (he’s the youngest person to ever qualify!) & simultaneously working on his campaign speech for when he runs for Senator.  Little Susie just can’t decide between going to Harvard or Yale.  She got full scholarships to both.  Hopefully after she finishes the 2nd grade we’ll be able to make a decision.  Oh, and our dog cooks dinner for us each night so we come home from work to a hot meal.” These letters can make Satan’s stepmother seem angelic & make you feel that your own family is utterly dysfunctional…that is, if you can even read to the end without sticking your finger down your throat.

THE DRAMA QUEEN
This is the opposite of The Resume.  This family has been through the most tragic situations of anyone – even more tragic than orphaned war refugees in Africa.  In the past year the husband has lost his job, the wife was diagnosed with cancer, they have divorced, their parents have all died horrible deaths, their house burned to the ground, their teenage daughter got pregnant & ran away, their 8-year-old son has a learning disability & has been expelled for fighting, & their pet pit bull attacked some kid & got captured by animal control.  Reading this letter can turn Pollyanna suicidal.  It ends, “We hope your Christmas is more merry than ours is.

THE MILK CARTON MUGSHOT
Each year you get a photo of the year’s finalist for World’s Ugliest Baby.  It’s an 8×10 sized print.  You open the envelope & get a flashback to Halloween. <shudders>  The good news is that with a few therapy sessions you should be able to sleep again.

THE USPS SUPPORT
(Note: If your baby was a finalist in the contest mentioned above, you may want to consider sending this type of card.)
The only reason these people send cards at all must be to support the United States Postal Service with their postage stamp purchase.  Sometimes these cards are actually Valentine’s Day or Father’s Day cards.  It appears that the person took 0.406 seconds to scribble their first initial at the bottom before sealing the envelope.  After the initial excitement of receiving a card in the mail, this Christmas greeting (or lack thereof) just leaves you wondering why they even bothered & if it was worth the time it took to open the envelope.  This card bypasses the cute little Christmas card basket on your hearth & goes straight into the trash can faster than you can say “Noel.”

THE MARKETING PLOY…WITH A SIDE OF CHEESE
These are The Yellow Pages disguised as a cheesy holiday greeting.  ”Before you go over the river & through the woods, be sure to stop by So-and-So’s Autobody Shop for an oil change & tire rotation.” or maybe you receive: “At this special time of year the staff at Such-and-Such Dentistry wishes you a season of healthy white smiles.  Please call our office soon to schedule your next cleaning.  Tell them you’ve had too many candy canes & receive a 10% discount.”

THE “GREEN” CARD
This is either a non-existent card or it comes in the form of an e-card, which wouldn’t be complete without a video of a dancing elf with their dog’s face.  Reasons for these types of cards range from a desire to save greenbacks to a commitment to simply being green.  So the question here is, should the sender be commended for being smart or spited for being cheap or lazy?

 

Please support humor in America – send your own Christmas cards so we can all get a good laugh at your expense.  Thank you and Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Lisa | December 7, 2011

I’m on my Car Seat Safety Soapbox Again…

Thanks to my friend, Jami, for passing this article along to me.

http://thestir.cafemom.com/baby/126761/youre_probably_using_your_childs

I know some of you probably think I overdo the car seat info on here, but I care way too much about children – especially my friends’ children – to not share what I know about car seat safety. It’s not just some opinion of mine that you’re raising your kid to be a spoiled brat or that you’re not reading quality bedtime stories. We’re talking about something that can mean LIFE OR DEATH here. Take the time to make sure you truly, truly know what you’re doing with your child’s car seat and please, go get the thing checked by a technician! Isn’t your child’s life worth that small amount of effort?!

My own son is 31 months old & off the charts (on the high end) for height/weight. He is still rear-facing. I’m not at all trying to act like I think I’m some kind of perfect parent – I just want to prove to you that it CAN and DOES work with older toddlers! I anticipate, based on his growth, that I can keep him that way until around his 3rd birthday. He doesn’t know any different, so he’s fine like that. Yeah, I’d enjoy getting to see the little guy’s face when we stop at traffic lights (I have never used a baby mirror in the backseat either, ever since a cop told me that he’s seen mirrors & shades come unattached in a wreck & become missiles that have left children’s faces crushed.), but I’d rather see his precious face every morning when he wakes than to know he was killed simply because I wanted to turn his seat around.

Sorry for my rant. I’m a bit passionate about this, if you can’t tell. ;-)

Posted by: Lisa | November 22, 2011

November Pie

I just came across this & love the idea! Come refer back to this post on Friday or Saturday when your fridge is overflowing with Thanksgiving leftovers but you’re desperate for something other than the exact same meal reheated for the 3rd time.

Recipes listed include November Pie, Mashed Potato Pancakes (yum!), & Turkey Stock.

http://eats.macaronikid.com/article/207054/thanksgiving-leftover-ideas

Posted by: Lisa | October 12, 2011

Halloween Happenings in Downtown Monroe

Last year Jacob & I spent one Saturday morning in October at Rivergate Shopping Center in Charlotte.  They had a big Halloween festival with games, a hayride, a costume contest, food, & prizes.  It was really fun but quite a drive from Union County.

This year I’ve learned about what I hope will be similar to the Rivergate one right here in historic downtown Monroe.  Halloween Happenings will take place on Saturday, October 15th (3 days from now!) from 10 am – 2 pm on Main Street.  The festival entrance is free & there will be a petting zoo, arts & crafts, games, inflatables, & free candy for all, in addition to a costume contest for children.  The contest is at 11:00, with registration beginning at 10:00.

The weather’s supposed to be nice so if your family is looking for something free & fun this weekend, it should be a good time.

http://historicdowntownmonroe.org/calendar_detail.php?id=31

Posted by: Lisa | September 24, 2011

Holding Tight & Letting Go

Twice in the past week I’ve seen Facebook in the news…and not because of its annoying changes, either (that’s a whole other story!).

Apparently a 12-year-old girl posted racy photos of herself along with personal contact information.  Her father found out and immediately deleted her account, but she immediately started a new account, so her father’s next course of action was the sue Facebook for making it so easy for underage users to get accounts (the minimum age is 13).  I saw opinions on this matter ranging from, “the dad needs to be a parent and learn how to control his child; it’s not Facebook’s fault” to “parents can’t keep tabs on their adolescent children 24/7 and that kids are going to do what they’re going to do.”

Then this week a Statesville, NC, man was arrested after a mother saw inappropriate, sexual conversations on Facebook between her daughter and a neighbor.  During an interview with authorities, the girl claimed that she’d been assaulted twice in the past few months.

These stories are just two of many like them, and they lead me to wonder, “What are we as parents and as members of society to do about this kind of thing?”  Are these simply cases of bad (or even just busy) parents who allow (or don’t try to stop) their children from these types of encounters?  Should Facebook and/or the government be held responsible?

In Facebook’s defense, I will say that if it isn’t through that medium it will be through another, so I don’t think banning or shutting down a particular social networking site is the solution.  I think our nation is way too suit-happy, so suing probably won’t really solve the problem except for giving the dad of the 12-year-old some extra cash.  (And while he’s preparing his legal case & going to court, one has to wonder where his daughter is & what she is doing.)

On the flip side, “it takes a village to raise a child.”  I can’t do it alone.  Doesn’t society have a responsibility to protect its children – to keep them safe and help them succeed?  As a mom of a 2-year-old, I feel like I still have nearly complete control over that to which my son is exposed.  But when he’s 12?  As much as I’d like to be in the loop on my child’s constant whereabouts, encounters, and experiences, I know that is unrealistic and even unhealthy.  I already see the tight grip I have had on him beginning to loosen, sometimes by my choice and sometimes against my wishes.  I’m a single mom, so I can’t control what happens when he’s with his dad.  I want Jacob to be exposed to different adults and peers, so he attends preschool once a week.  He spends time in childcare when I participate in church-related activities.  He’s already coming home using words I didn’t know he knew (not always bad – just words I didn’t realize he had heard!) and telling me about things I didn’t know he’d ever seen.  What’s next?  A Facebook profile?  I certainly hope not, but at some point Jacob’s going to be making many of his own decisions, some with which I might not agree.

I like the little bubble in which my 2-year-old and I live, where I am his entire source of comfort and protection.  I’m his favorite person, and that feels pretty darn good!  It’s a scary world out there… and perhaps the scariest part of all is that I know I love him so much that I’m going to gradually let go, trusting that I’ve done everything I could have done to raise him right.  But for now I’m going to keep holding his hand when we cross the street…and keep him off Facebook.

Parents often talk about the younger generation as if they didn’t have anything to do with it.  ~Haim Ginott

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children.  One is roots.  The other is wings.  ~Hodding Carter, Jr.

Posted by: Lisa | September 10, 2011

New Career in Manure Manufacturing?

I have both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.  I’ve enjoyed a lot of hobbies, enrichment classes, & travel.  I have some strong opinions on national policies.  Despite all of that, however, I am seriously contemplating a career in poop.  Yup, just poop.  Perhaps I could go into manure fertilizer manufacturing?  Sewage treatment work?  Plumbing?  Septic tank repairs?

I LOVE being a stay-at-home mom of a toddler and 3 pets, but there are days I feel like I’m up to my elbows in dung.  If it’s not one of the creatures, it’s another.  Just as I thought I was ready to embrace potty-training with the little stinker, the dog started leaving messes for me every time I returned home.  When I finally had the dog under control again, one of the cats decided the playroom would make a better cat pan than the actual cat pan.  And today, after I was feeling pretty pleased with the decrease in excretes from those who have tails, the little critter in the Lightning McQueen underwear made sure I alone kept the Spot Shot company in business.

I’m sorry for the complaints today.  I guess I’m just being a party pooper.

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