Sunday, July 31, 2011

Who Am I?

I am not a supermodel. I am not a millionaire. I am not a philanthropist, a world-traveler or a jet-setter. I am not a rock star; I don’t have a reality show. By the world’s standards, I am not very important. I drive a minivan, not a limo.

So who am I?

I am the wake-upper, bed-maker, teeth-brusher.

I am the breakfast-cooker, juice-pourer, apple-cutter.

I am the dish-washer, table-wiper, floor-sweeper, vitamin-giver.

I am the laundry-doer, clothes-folder, basket-carrier, dress-hanger, sock-finder.

I am the wish-hearer, doll-fixer, story-teller.

I am the book-reader, swing-pusher, puzzle-solver.

I am the game-player, Play-doh squisher, bubble-blower.

I am the cheese-slicer, sandwich-maker, juice-box-opener.

I am the hug-giver, boo-boo-kisser, Band-aid-sticker.

I am the hand-holder, car-seat-buckler, stroller-pusher.

I am the scrapbooker, picture-taker, history-keeper, photo-framer.

I am the TV-policer, grocery-shopper, mess-cleaner.

I am the bath-giver, hair-brusher, diaper-changer, baby-snuggler.

I am the prayer-listener, lullaby-singer, tucker-inner, lock-checker.

I am the shadow-chaser, bee-smacker, spider-stomper.

I am the tear-drier, nose-wiper, potty-taker, hand-washer.

I am the up-all-nighter, hold-on-tighter, monster-fighter.

Who am I, you ask?

I am Mom.

-from my 7/31/11 article from

Sunday, July 24, 2011

This is The Pits

Last week I ate a peach for the first time in thirty-one years.

I’m from the South, so it’s kind of a sacrilege that I have chosen not to partake in this fuzzy nectar of the gods for the past three decades.

No, I’m not allergic. I have a much deeper and more disturbing reason.

I had a nightmare when I was three or four years old. Amazingly, even after all this time, it is still vivid in my mind. There was a balding actor in The Electric Company, a kids’ show that used to come on PBS after Sesame Street.

I normally had no problem with this guy, but in my nightmare, he chased down my mother and pulled out her eyeballs. Then he replaced them with peach pits! She came staggering toward me with her arms stretched out like a peach-pit-eyed zombie. I woke up completely traumatized.

From that night on, I could not eat a peach.

When I was about 15, I had nearly overcome my phobia… or so I thought. My mom, however, with her twisted sense of humor, caused a relapse.

One day, she called, “Hey, Devone, come in here and look at this!"

Naively, I assumed she just had something interesting to show me, but when I came into the kitchen she turned around from the sink holding two revolting brown peach pits up to her eyes!

Of course, she nearly laughed her head off when I screamed my head off.

I’m not quite as warped (almost, but not quite) as my mom. Since my kids love fruit – apples, berries, oranges, bananas, grapes, you name it – I realized that I have been selfishly depriving them the opportunity to make their own decisions regarding The Dreaded Peach.

Because I never allow them in my house, let alone search them out in the produce aisle, the girls are very limited when it comes to peach exposure.

Against my better judgment, I decided to bite the bullet/peach last week. On a whim, while I was at Sam’s Club, I bought a box of white peaches. (They seemed less threatening than the peach-colored ones, for some reason). I brought them home and watched as my kids slurpily devoured them, skins and all.

The next day, I found myself home alone. Cleaning out the dishwasher and minding my own business, my gaze came to rest upon the one solitary peach remaining on the premises.

It seemed to taunt me, staring up from its unassuming cardboard box. It was me against the peach. Woman versus fruit. I decided that I must prove my dominance over this tree-scourge.

I took it in my hand, drew in a deep breath, raised it to my lips, and took a bite.

Well, it didn’t kill me.

It was actually a bit anticlimactic.

I think my girls realize that I tend to be somewhat melodramatic; they seem relatively worry-free about my fruit fears. As a matter of fact, they are awaiting my next trip to Sam’s, since the peaches have long since run out. Maybe I’ll go this weekend.

In case you were wondering, though – the peach that I ate did not live up to the hype. But I'm open to the idea that it may have been psychological.

from my 7/24/11 article for

Monday, July 18, 2011

Joy Boy

Jedidiah is the most joyful baby boy in the whole world! Seriously, his little chubby, joyful, one-toothed smile is just BRILLIANT. He lights up the room. The way he peeks out of his little carrier, the way he smiles a shy smile, then cracks his whole face open in a giant smile and reaches his chubby hands out to grab your face or your hands...he is just a JOY. I can't describe him any other way. People actually stop what they are doing, wherever we are, to come over and talk to him and exclaim over his friendliness, beauty, and general unbelievable cuteness! I am so blessed to be his mommy.

Can I Be Your...

This week we have Bible Day Camp at church. It's a fun week for the kids, but it is steaming HOT at church, since there's no AC. Nothing like 60 kids plus 20 teens and adults packed together in a tight, breezeless space to make you melt into oblivion.

Anyway, enough about that. This year, Adelaide got to go to class ALL BY HERSELF. She was a little clingy at first, but once class started she was fine. Sadie and Josie are in different classes this year (which is probably a good thing). When I left them after singing "I want to walk, walk like Jesus," they were all set for an exciting day until I returned to pick them back up 3 hours later. Jedidiah and I went to the grocery store, he had a nap, and I did some reading. Then right as we were pulling back into the parking lot, my phone rang. It was one of the camp coordinators. She said that they had a situation, and I immediately said, "Oh no, did Adelaide have an accident?" She said, "Actually, it's your oldest... she's in the bathroom crying..." I parked and gave Jed to Miss Sue, then ran in to check on poor Sadie, who had had a bit of an accident. With tears in her little eyes and a pink, streaky face, she sat sniffling on the bench in the women's bathroom. I gave her a hug and in typical Sadie fashion she said, "Mommy, what began as a perfectly wonderful day at Bible Day Camp has turned into a nightmare!"

Once she calmed down we returned for the remainder of the first day. We took Bodhi and Gwendolyn home with us, and on the way, silly Adelaide kept saying, "OH BO-DHI! Can I be your GIRL-friend?" He kept laughing and said, "You are only 2 or 3 years old!" She said, indignantly, "I am THREE, so can I be your GIRL-friend? I can be your GIRL-friend, or can I be your TIN-MAN?"

Sunday, July 17, 2011

And Now it's time for The Show!

It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights … it’s time to get things started at the Lansing house tonight!

If you have kids, you have undoubtedly been to “A Show.” I don’t mean a movie or a play. No, I’m talking about “A Show” – one that involves your child performing something and you being the unwitting (and sometimes unwilling) member of the audience.

As I prepare to make dinner, I hear the familiar announcement: “Come on, Mommy! It’s time for The Show! Here’s your ticket. Have a seat. The show is about to begin!”

Indeed. The Show is definitely getting started. In makeshift dressing rooms set up in three corners of the living room, the stars of The Show adorn themselves.

Performer Number One wears a neon green swimsuit and black patent leather tap shoes. Performer Number Two wears a baby blue leotard with white and pink-striped socks (to expedite sliding on the hardwood floor). Performer Number Three, the shortest of the bunch, sports a hot pink tutu, a Tinkerbell T-shirt and bare feet.

The Show begins with Performer Number One’s dance solo. The audience (that is, me) is forced to hum the theme from Star Wars while watching her jump and turn half-cartwheels. She isn’t bad, but it’s hard to take her seriously when she trips on the edge of the recliner and says, “That’s part of it. That was part of it!”

Next, Performer Number Two does her routine. She sings Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star while she does the hula. She inadvertently cracks herself up when in the middle of her song, she interjects an extra (original) line containing the word "poop."

The third act begins with Performer Number Three standing on her tiptoes. She spins around, rolls her eyes back in her head belts out: “Somewhere over de wainbow, way up high, somewhere over the wainbow, birds and bluebirds high! Thank you! Thank you vewy much!”

I clap. I hoot and say “Encore! Encore!” though I don’t really mean it. I need to make dinner.

But we aren’t done yet, are we? When there’s a captive audience, A Show must go on.

As a finale, all three performers take the stage at the same time. Observing the size of our living room, I have to question the wisdom of this decision. I’m informed that “it’s OK because we already rehearsed.”

I cannot really describe the spectacle that ensues, but I will give you the highlights: Performer Number Two is inadvertently kicked in the arm by the flying left foot of Performer Number One. Performer Number Three twirls one too many times and dizzily smashes into the coffee table, nearly toppling the TV in the process. Performer Number One gracefully bows with a flourish and announces, “And now, we will conclude with me doing The Splits!”

She attempts The Splits, while Numbers Two and Three pose on either side of her, balancing precariously on one foot and waving their hands madly in the air.

I have to hand it to them. I was entertained.

I guess tonight it was dinner and a show.

From my July 17th article for

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Talking bout My Girl

Adelaide, talking about anything small and/or new: Hey, dat's my newborn dress. Dat's your newborn brush. Is that your newborn doll?

Mommy: Adelaide, you are my girl!
Adelaide: Oh no I not! I am my OWN SELF's girl!

Adelaide, throwing her arms around my neck and giving me a hug: I love you, Mom! Now go and make me some breakfast!

Fun on the Fourth

I’ve always loved the Fourth of July.

There’s just something about the smell of summer in the air – steaks on the grill, hot pavement and freshly mowed grass. As a child, I loved to watch the heat lightning flash across the dark as I rode to town in the back of my daddy’s burgundy pickup truck to watch the fireworks with my cousins and friends.

I loved the sizzling sound they made as they rocketed upward and blossomed in the night sky.

On morning of the Fourth, my family looked forward to a long day of "doing nothing" followed by a night of fun, friends and fireworks.

We ate waffles, made Oreo cookie cake to share at the evening’s cookout and splashed in the kiddie pool. (Even the dog was not exempt.)

We watched my husband and his cousin put up a swing in our (very tall) tree, played with neighborhood kids and rode bikes, tricycles, scooters and power wheels (powered mainly by feet.)

Just before noon, sweet lilting notes came floating through the air across the neighborhood streets. Wonder of wonders! It was the ICE CREAM TRUCK!

After seeing the mixed look of joy, panic, hopefulness and frenzy on the kids’ faces, I broke the cardinal “no ice cream before lunch rule” and told Sadie to grab $4 from the jar on my dresser.

She came back like a flash, slamming the door and waving a fistful of dollars in the air, yelling, “I didn’t have time to count so I just grabbed it all!”

As if they were following the Pied Piper, the kids headed to the curb to pick out an ice cream (I made them choose from the $1 menu.)

We ended up with a watermelon popsicle, a bubblegum pop, a cotton candy freeze and one Bomb Pop. The girls were thrilled with their unexpected frozen treats, and I was thrilled because you just can’t get much more American than the ice cream truck on the Fourth of July.

We took turns flying through the air on the new swing. Between squeals and shrieks of delight, we could hear the pop-pop-pops in the distance of someone down the street getting a head start with their firecrackers.

We ate hotdogs and marshmallows roasted over our new and improved fire pit. We spent the evening with friends, new and old. We caught lightning bugs, squirted the water hose and went barefoot. We whirled with sparklers and caught the little parachute guys that fell from the exploding fireworks above us.

We flew our flags and wore red, white and blue.

When my girls said their prayers that night, they gave thanks that we live in America. Without any prompting from me, they bowed their little heads and gave thanks that we are free.

The law may not allow my kids to ride in the back of a pickup truck the way I used to, but I think they will still grow up to love the Fourth of July.

-From my article on July 10, 2011 for

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Say Cheese

Last night we went to Lowe's and while we were in the garden center, we looked around at all the fountains. The girls love fountains! When we got back to the car, Adelaide said, "Oh no, I forgot my purse! And it had my moneys in it to throw, to throw, to throw into de fountain! And I wanted to make a wish wif it!" I asked her what she would wish for, and she said, "Gold! I would wish for TWO golds!" Sadie, from the back seat, piped up, in true Sadie fashion, "I would wish for peace and love." Josie, however, said, "I would wish for CHEESE!"

Separation Anxiety

Last week Sadie and Josie went to a weeklong day camp offered by the City of Mentor. Unless you count The Eagle’s Nest at the supermarket, it was the first time they had ever been left alone by me with people that I don't really know. They were just a little bit apprehensive, since I had explained that I’d be dropping them off each day instead of staying there with them.

I have to admit that even though I did my homework on the camp itself, the leader of said camp and the history of the programs the city offers, I was still somewhat of a nervous wreck the first day.

We got up early, had a protein-laden breakfast and got everyone loaded into the car. As I buckled their little sister and baby brother into their respective car seats, I went over the checklist with Sadie and Josie.

“Shorts and T-shirt?” “Check.”

“Sunscreen and bug spray?” “Check.”

“Water bottle with your name on it?” “Check.”

“Snacks and ponytail holders?” “Check.”

On the way there, I must have told them 20 times not to leave their class for ANY reason. To stay WITH their class at ALL times. To ONLY talk to their teacher and counselors and fellow campers. To ONLY go potty during designated potty breaks.

Once we arrived and I checked them in, they deposited their water bottles and approached the group forming in the grassy field. Tentatively, they checked out all of the potential new friends. Some kids were crying for their moms; one little girl was actually holding on to her mother’s leg like you see in cartoons.

My girls seemed to have no problem with leaving me once they saw the soccer balls and water balloons. They each gave me a kiss and a hug and bounded away through the dewy grass to await instructions from someone in charge.

I’m glad that they don’t suffer from separation anxiety, but as I left them with the whistle-wielding instructor, the giggling bunch of kids and the harried counselors, it was difficult. Not for them, though. For me.

I turned back to look at them, standing there on the sidelines of the soccer field and bouncing from one foot to the other. Josie reached over and took Sadie’s hand. Seeing them there, I watched from a distance as these two little people – people that I grew in my own body, under my own heart – existed and did just fine and dandy without me. I felt an actual ache inside. The ache was somewhere in the vicinity of my heart. It’s silly, I know.

Each day was a little better than the one before, and by the end of the week, we had successfully developed a routine. The girls had a blast and I (though still kind of nervous each day as I drove away) was able to leave not only the parking lot but actually drive down the street!

Now, camp is over. They learned, they made friends, they had fun. We made it through.

And I think I’m more proud of myself than I am of them.

From my July 3, 2011 article for

Friday, July 01, 2011

Josie and Adelaide... whaddya say?

Josie: This is the best day ever. Wait, EVERY day is the best day ever!

Adelaide: I don't like zucchini. I don't like squash. I don't like carrots. I don't like lettuce. Mommy: What vegetable DO you like? Adelaide: I like waffles.

Josie, disgusted with life because she didn't get to wear makeup and some crazy outfit she picked out, said, "Life isn't supposed to be miserable!"

Grammie Gail brought Adelaide a new (to her anyway) purple car that you pedal with your feet. It was a big hit. Even Sadie tried to squash her long lanky legs into it. Yesterday, Josie, desperate to give it a try, was trying to bribe Adealaide to get out of it. She said, "PLEASE, Adelaide! I will give you some candy!" Adelaide, ever the suspicious one, narrowed her eyes and said, "What kind of candy do you have?" Josie thought for a second. "Blueberry! Blueberry is delicious! I'll give it to you if I ever have some!"

Today, Josie had dibbs on the little splash pool. She was having a good old time "waveboarding" with the plastic lid of the Little Tikes toybox. Adelaide decided SHE needed a turn. Josie said (I think in retribution for yesterday's purple car scenario), "Addie, would YOU like a turn? Would you?" Adelaide said, "YES!! I want a TURN! and you can ride in my car ALL DAY!"