The Season of the Witch

Happy first day of Fall, friends! The majority of you know that I absolutely LOVE this time of the year, in particular, the month of October. As Anne of Green Gables stated, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” I was thinking about all this, as I slipped into my new, gorgeous, red boots, this morning, and how excited I was that The Season of the Witch has officially begun.

Did you know that years ago, women who wore red shoes were considered witches? After all, why would someone, especially a woman, wear such a bold color.

A long time ago, unless you were somebody important or of great wealth, the ordinary did not wear such a color- most particularly women. A poor woman in red shoes meant trouble.

Have you ever read the original story of The Red Shoes, by Hans Christian Anderson? It’s a story about a poor, destitute girl who was dared to wear beautiful red shoes by a rich old lady. If you haven’t read it, I’m afraid to tell you it doesn’t end well for the girl. However, the interesting takeaway from this story was more than the moral warning of vanity and pride. It sparks the idea of feminine power, sexuality, and confidence- all things women were not supposed to possess.

Even now, when I step into my red patent leather pumps, I tend to garner a certain amount attention- that is the point after all. In fact, my red heels were a favorite among the campus community at the former institution where I worked. Other women LOVED them, and often commented, “I wish I could wear shoes like that!”

My response was always, “Every woman should own a pair of red shoes!”

The color red is the color of the heart. It symbolizes hope, passion, support, and love. When a woman wears red shoes, it represents our wild femininity, our enduring power, our relentless strength, our unconventionality, and freedom.

I didn’t realize how much I needed to be reminded of that until I slipped into my own shoes today, and so I thought I’d share it with all of you.

Welcome to The Season of the Witch, ladies. Now go polish up your red shoes.

I am a Warrior… (written Jan 28, 2019)

Every mother who has given birth has a story, and often we gather and exchange them like great warriors telling tales of the horrific battles we’ve fought. The number of hours you were in labor, all the disgusting things that happened during the labor, who your nurses where, when your water broke, how far along you were, what your c-section was like, what your husband or significant other was or wasn’t doing, suction, forceps, drugs or no drugs, the blood and other fluids oozing from every orifice of your body. It’s never meant as a comparison, but rather tales of solidarity and bravery. They are battle stories. We shake our heads in wonderment as the other shares, and empathize with each others’ plight. And in the midst of these sometimes horror stories, there always seems to be one woman in the group who shrugs and smiles, then says, “I didn’t even know I was in labor with little Billy until my water broke, I barely got to the hospital before I sneezed and out he came. I went home four hours later and ran a marathon.” #youknowwhoyouare🙄 Leaving the rest of us simply in awe of her masterful childbearing capabilities. However, regardless of your accouchement or lack there of, I think mothers are remarkable. And on this day of birth for me, I’d like to acknowledge that. Whether you adopted, sneezed or labored for 8 days- you are a mother and that automatically makes you a warrior. #shoutouttothemoms #weallhaveourstoriesandwedeservetotellthem #Iamawarrior

The Phantom Pooper

The other night, I ventured upstairs to brush my teeth and use the toilet before crawling into bed. I’m sure you’ll relate well to my surprise and disgust when I popped the lid of the toilet and found it full of poo. I’m sorry to say, but this has been an ongoing issue in my house for years. The Phantom Pooper had struck again!

He/She strikes when one least suspects it, late at night, early in the morning, when we’ve had a house full of company. There’s no toilet preference- any of them seem to do. You name it- boom, unflushed toilet full of poop.

We’ve had a suspect in mind for some time, but just haven’t been able to catch them in the act. His/Her inconsistency has made their discovery difficult to obtain. However, almost everyone in my house is now over the age of ten. Therefore, we’re no longer taking this lightly (if ever we did before). We’re not dealing with little kid poop- which is gross in its own right. We’re now talking about adult-like fecal matter floating in the toilet with, and often without, toilet paper!

Now, I’m sure you must be thinking, aghast, “What the heck is going on in that house? Have these parents not shown their children proper bathroom protocol and technique?”

Well, the answer to that is, of course we have!  My husband and I have enforced strong bathroom hygienics and habits since the beginning of potty training. We’ve even gone so far as to hold a special “Toilet Flushing Class” so we could monitor and critique each child’s flushing faux pas and technique. Unfortunately, our efforts have been to no avail. Furthermore, we have been paramount about handwashing, for all genders, whether or not it’s a one or two.

So you can imagine that this latest discovery immediately sent me into a full crazy-mom spiral. I bellowed, like Fred Flintstone, for my children to join me at the crime scene. 

They came flying, skittering and sliding in socked feet on the hardwood floor, sensing the tone. Once they were all assembled, I immediately began an inquisition into who-dunnit.

“Look at this!” I fumed, pointing to the hideous brown pile floating above water level in the porcelain throne. I made each potential suspect observe the offence before launching an Agatha Christie-like investigation, hard-eyeing each possible offender.

They gagged and gasped, covered their noses and eyes, choked and sputtered, full of appropriate revulsion. Not surprisingly, they all portrayed an accurate depiction of horror. This specific incident was particularly gruesome as the substance had sat for an extended period of time, allowing things to, um… shall we say, marry.

However, I was not fooled! I know my children to be great aficionados of theater.

“Yes! It’s disgusting, isn’t it?” I exclaimed.  “Now you know how I feel every time I find a toilet in this state!”

They all stared at me, shuffling their feet and wringing their hands. Each of the three had guilt written on their face.

“Who did this? And WHY? Why does this keep happening?”

My question, simple enough, was followed by a serious of “Ummm.” “Ahhhh” “Hmm” and “Not me!” “I didn’t.” “I don’t even use that bathroom.” “Maybe it was, Braeden?”

NOTE: I could exclude the fourth child, who was fortunate enough to not be present at this particular time, however, he was still considered a possible suspect for previous infractions.

“Really? We’ll it had to have been one of you, because I most certainly didn’t do it and your father didn’t do it (I hoped), so that just leaves the three of you,” I deduced.

They glanced back and forth nervously from one to the other as I turned the magnitude of my glare full force, like an interrogation lamp at full wattage.

Sweat beaded on their brow. I was seconds away from breaking the culprit.

Finally, the guilty party- whom I suspected all along- step forward, head hung in shame, “It was me. I forgot to flush it; I think.”

“You THNIK?” I pointed to the offense and said, “Flush it, now!”

The Phantom Pooper, finally unmasked, grimaced and held the handle for a full ten seconds as the others looked doubtingly at me. We were all praying it would go down and not clog and overflow.

Our breath held and I said a silent prayer to the toilet gods, asking them to take yet another punch on behalf of my family.

Finally, the horribleness was over, the septic system gurgling under the strain. We all took a deep breath as I sprayed some Poo-Pourri. The group slowly dispersed, but not before I gave them another stern lecture on preventing situations like this from ever happening again!

I reminded them of our bathroom protocol and explained that I wasn’t fooled into thinking there was only one Phantom Pooper, I believe that they’ve all played a part in this dastardly deed a time or two before.

As they walked away, head down, shamed and adequately grossed out, I could only hope that the experience itself was enough to prevent another recurrence. Otherwise, the next measure may result in an outhouse operation for those under the age of twenty.

Additionally, I truly have a newfound appreciation for those who deal in this sort of sewage business on a regular basis. They, my friends, are the real unsung heroes.

Little things mean a lot…

When was the last time you actually said to someone you love, “Hey, that was really sweet.” or “Wow, that was so thoughtful.” I bet it’s be a while. Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder, a sweet little nudge. So in the spirit of the upcoming holiday, I thought I’d help remind you.

I am a romantic, true to heart, with a flare for drama and a firm belief that love does conquer all. And as much as I love grand declarations of love and adore, I really have always appreciated the small day to day signs of affection from my husband.

Romance often comes in ways not all of us can see or understand. In fact, many of us don’t ever really notice the love and romance that surrounds us every day- we forget about it too easily. Day to day life allows the little things to slip away overtime and we begin to no longer see them as romantic gestures, but in truth, they are some of the most romantic. They are the ones that really count!

For those who aren’t into it or really just don’t know how to be romantic, I’m here to tell you that it’s easier than you think. It’s not hard to be romantic, to do romantic things and to see the romance in small things, once you stop looking for the grand gestures. In fact, it is my belief that consistent little things add to up to being far more romantic than one over-the-top moment. Oh, of course those big moments are wonderfully meaningful, but the little things, every day, well, that’s where love truly shines.

Lately, I’ve missed those little things my husband used to do but can’t anymore. He always made my coffee in the morning… going back to years and years ago when I would visit him on Cape Cod. I loved weekend mornings, when I would wake to the smell of coffee and know that he was downstairs, home from work and waiting for me to join him. I miss him starting my car every morning in the winter, warming it up and scrapping the snow off so it was all ready for me to drive away. I miss him running to the store and grabbing the bag of shredded cheese I forgot, or dropping the kids off to dance because he knows I’ve had a long day. I miss him being able to hug me and squeeze me tightly, just because.

So many of those things have changed for us, those little things. The things that people don’t really think about until they aren’t there anymore or someone can no longer do them. Silly little things that seem like nothing at all. It’s strange, though, how those little things end up being more meaningful than a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day.

I hope you cherish those little things, every day and realize how much they add up. Life moves us in all direction, moment to moment. It’s so important to hold on to as many as we can.

So clean the car out, grab the groceries, do the laundry, put the dishes away, clean the toilet, grab their favorite candy bar, fill up their gas tank, there are a thousand examples. I recognize that mine are more utilitarian, but ultimately, the point is to just do something without being asked to do it, more often than once a month or year… you might be surprised at how happy you’ll make someone! Truly. In addition, it’s important for you, the recipient, to recognize and appreciate it. Be gracious and grateful for the small moments. Penn Holderness does a great job explaining this in his latest love song parody! Check it out below.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Fighting the Fear…

When I became a mother sixteen years ago and held my son for the first time, I was filled with a love and happiness I cannot put into words.  Never in my life did I know I could love someone so very much.  However, along with that love and happiness came a fear unlike any I’ve ever known. It overwhelmed me.  I remember being terrified, and for no real reason, as irrational thoughts of “what if something happened to him” filled my head.  Overtime, with more children and more experience, those fears seemed to subside and were replaced with normal worries about their health, safety and well-being.

Nevertheless, every once in a while, a little irrational thought pops into my head and keeps me awake at night.  I find consolation in my worries by telling myself that any parent would tell you their greatest fear is something terrible happening to their child- “terrible” being any range of emotional upset, to actual physical harm. And even though some would say I’m prone to a more dramatic or imaginative mindset, it seems this week- at least- my fears have been a little extra overwhelming.

I’m blaming the weather for the odd mood that has settled around my small community.  March has given in to a rather lugubrious start to spring, and people seem to have had enough. This week has been a reminder to me that the world in which I am raising my children, is not exclusive to the outside of my small-town front door.  I tried to remain calm this morning when I dropped my children off at school and left them in the hands of others to protect, trying desperately to quell those irrational thoughts popping up. “What if” and “What happens when…”

I drove away thinking about how we start out holding these beautiful little humans in our arms, thinking about all the wonderful things we want for them in this world, determined to protect them from as much as we possibly can… and all the things we can’t. Throughout the bumps and bruises of their childhood, we kiss scrapes, teach them to wear helmets, play nicely with others, be respectful, look both ways before crossing the road, don’t talk to strangers, don’t take big bites and chew, chew, chew.  Don’t run with sticks, don’t play with fire, be aware of your surroundings.  I mean, let’s face it, in the beginning we’re just trying to keep them fed and in a clean diaper.

Then at some point, the worries and fears get worse.  I’m not really sure when it all changes, but it does.  All of a sudden, things get really serious and you’re talking about driving, sex, drugs and drinking. Talks about keeping themselves safe against a school shooter, social media and how pictures and words sent out to the world never truly go away, how lives can be ruined with a simple click. You talk about making good choices and thinking about their future- hoping they understand how stupid decisions can affect their entire life.

You talk and lecture and preach and holler, because you’re terrified of what could happen to them when they walk away from you.  Their safety and well-being, regardless of whether they’re innocently sitting in school or walking out the door with their friends, is always in the back of your mind.    None of us set out to be the parent of the child whose life lessons are learned the hard way- it is everything we’ve tried to prevent from the moment our children are born.

We fight the fear of “what if” and “what happens when” every day as a parent. Because as much as we try to keep them from making mistakes, we can’t keep them from life- and sometimes, for me, that’s terrifying.

This morning, all those fears sort of clogged in my throat as I drove to work.  I can’t be with my children every second and I know my sixteen-year-old doesn’t ever want me around. This realization had tears streaming down my cheeks- now maybe I’m tired, not feeling well… who knows.  Maybe it’s just because I’m a mom.  One thing I do know is, there are points in raising children where there is nothing more you can do, but hope all you’ve done, has been enough.

I wanted to share this with all my parents and send you a hug, because I feel like it’s been a really long week and you might just need it.  Know that you aren’t alone and you’re doing a great job.  Keep loving them, keep lecturing them, keep praying and hoping.  Keep fighting the fear.

Confessions of a bad mom… the lice scare

liceConfession of a bad mom:  There is one word that puts true fear and anxiety into the hearts of parents (mothers) everywhere. That word is LICE.  The noun immediately makes one itch their head and contemplate burning down their house- just in case. The very thought of bugs crawling on my scalp and laying eggs is enough to make me want to shave myself bald and treat my scalp with something flammable- like kerosene (which was actually used years ago to treat head lice).  I never worried too much about it with the boys, but now that I have a little girl with glorious locks, I’m freaked out all the time… because it’s inevitable!  At the mere mention of an itchy head, I’m all like, “What?????  Let me see your head!!! Does anyone else have an itchy head in school?” And not just because it’s gross, but also because treating lice not only involves washing your child’s head 15 million times and combing and combing and combing nits out, but also treating your ENTIRE house! ENTIRE house!!!!!! EVERYTHING has to be washed, stuffed animals and toys have to be bagged, carpets have to be cleaned! And as a mother of four children who works full-time with a husband who works a crazy schedule and mountains of laundry already- that is more than enough to send one into full freak-out mode.

So I’m sure you’ll empathize with me as I share what went down this morning.  While heading out the door to school, I paused to fix Ailey’s bow in her clean (washed the night before) hair and notice little white flecks everywhere.  I immediately began an inspection- right there on the sidewalk. “Does your head itch????!!!!”

“No, why?”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.  Why?”

After combing through her hair, my heart hammering in my chest, I deduced that it was not lice, but the hair detangler spray she used to prevent her “staticky” hair from “looking like chicken head.”  But just to be on the safe side (and because I was mildly freaked out), I swung by my best friends house for further confirmation- as the mother of two little girls, she’s become quite experienced with such matters… unfortunately.  After a great deal of inspection (and mumbled expletives from me) we were confident that it was just the spray that had dried. As I rounded the corner to drop her at school, I placed a call to her teacher explaining the situation, who also performed an inspection upon her arrival to class and confirmed all was well. In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, I took some calming deep breaths, offered up prayers to sweet baby Jesus and I tired to ignore my own itchy head.

I’m thinking about getting some lice medication to have on hand- just in case… and maybe a prescription for some Quaaludes.

#itsalwaysgoodtobeprepared #wineaintgonnacutit

#licelikecleanhair #itcanhappentoanyone #myheadisstillitching

Confession of a bad mom…

Confession of a bad mom: Ailey’s drama was at defcon 1 tonight. After NUMEROUS meltdowns, I’d had enough and it escalated to Defcon -10, a.k.a ass-cracking, lock it down time… causing my boys to pucker every orifice and scatter. After I was done restoring the peace, I realized that Kian was playing Xbox online with a friend and Braeden was face-timing  a friend doing homework. I walked in and asked Braeden, “Were you live when all that drama just went down?” He said, “Yep. Pretty sure you’re gonna end up on the front page of the paper.” #great #itsallfunandgamesuntilsomeonegetstheirasscracked #eveningtribhereIcome 

Confession of a bad mom…

Mom will you get me

Confession of a bad mom: My children do this ALL the time. They’ll be in the same room as my husband, completely disregard him and will search me out for whatever they need.

“Can I have something to drink?” “Will you tie my shoe?” “Will you fix me something to eat?” “Will you open my go-gurt?”

#heyhaveyoumetthisguyhesyourfather  #dadscandothingstoo #theyvedonetheshowerthingtoo

Confession of a bad mom…

Confession of a bad mom:  I received the following message today from my little Ailey’s teacher, “So your doll had a meltdown today at the end of gym.  Came out sobbing.  Someone had told her she was bossy. We get back to the room and she’s still teary. I told her, ‘You know what, Punk? You are bossy, but guess what? So am I, and so is your mom… so own it! It’s okay to be bossy. It’ll take you 25 years or so to learn when you need to dial it down a bit and when you can let it rip.  I picked her up and she laid her head on my shoulder and was just about asleep in less then 2 minutes.  She was fine the rest of the afternoon.”

I was a little teary-eyed reading this, thinking of my little miss being so upset.  But I was so happy that she had a wonderful, strong woman to comfort and encourage her. Ailey doesn’t come by being bossy all on her own- in the event that you don’t know me. 😉  It’s been both inherited and learned.  She has grown up surrounded by fearless, strong, independent women who take absolutely no crap, from anyone.  From her mother and  grandmothers, to her aunts, cousins, teachers and family friends, she’s been surrounded since birth by some of the most amazing women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I will never squelch this feistiness inside of her.  I will teach her how to harness it, to always be polite and kind, but to kick ass when she needs to!  I’ll use today as a learning opportunity for my little girl and I will be grateful for amazing women and amazing teachers!

#theworldneedsmorebossywomen #bitchesgetitdone

#thankgodforgreatteachers #ImnotbossyImaleader

I'm not bossy

Confession of a bad mom…

Confession of a bad mom:  I think I’m a cool mom, but I’m pretty sure my teenager doesn’t think so.  He referred to cupcakes I’d made as “dank” last night. I looked at him confused, thinking he was insulting my baking skills. He said, “Don’t you know what ‘dank’ means?” I replied, “Yeah… dark, dreary, musty… the dank basement.” But it turns out (thanks to my husband’s investigation), “dank” in today’s teenage language means, excellent; high quality- often used by heavy pot smokers to describe good weed… which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

#coolmomsknowwhatdankmeans #maybeIshouldbeworriedwiththecupcakesandpotslang
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