The Puzzling Logic of a Tween

I’ve told my 12-year-old that he can call me at work — if it’s important.

Well, apparently I should’ve been more specific, because this is one of the calls I got this week:

“Mom, will you look at this hat online real quick? It’s really cool and it’s on sale!”

(Um, no.)

This along with various other calls inquiring when I’m getting home, if I’ve left yet to come home, and—again—when I’m getting home.

However, the other day I was driving home when I noticed that I had a text. From the same son who’d called me repeatedly about various trivialities. So I casually picked up the phone (when I came to a stop, of course) and read the text. Here’s what I saw:

“Mom, the vacuum cought on fire.”

(Yes, I kept his spelling intact despite my editorial urges to fix it.)

Really? A marked-down skater hat ranks an interrupting phone call, but a fire involving a household appliance only warrants a text?!

As you can imagine, I nearly drove off the road calling him back to see if the house was burning down (considering the text had been sent a half hour before I saw it). Fortunately, it wasn’t a FIRE as much as it was a yucky smell coming from the vacuum, presumably caused by my dear son sucking up a wad of paper towels. (He “didn’t see them.”)

So, this story has somewhat of a happy ending (although I can’t vacuum now until I get to the store to purchase a new belt). But, can someone tell me how this is logical in the mind of a middle-schooler? Ugh.


Image by mrceviz

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I’m a Travel Mama!

When Colleen Lanin, a writer and now friend I met at the Type-A Mom Conference, asked if I’d write a guest post for her fabulous site, I was first flattered. And then flabbergasted.

Because where the heck do I travel to? Baseball games? Check. Doctor appointments? All too much. But someplace that other people would want to visit? Umm… it’s been a while. A long while.

But I really wanted to contribute to Colleen’s site, so I decided to promote the place I know best—my own Des Moines, Iowa. Really, our “vacations” have consisted of day trips to nearby attractions or an overnight at a local hotel for the past several years.

Because, you know, being a teacher and/or part-time editor doesn’t exactly make you rich.

So please hop on over to Travel Mamas and see what I had to say about the lure of  Des Moines, and while you’re there, check out all of Colleen’s other great content. She’s a fantastic source for family travel!

Colleen with her two kiddos on a trip to the Alamo
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Sweet Shot Tuesday—”Under the Hood”

I’m not a photographer, but I play one on TV my blog.

I even have a decent camera, a Sony Super SteadyShot with 5.1 mega pixels and a 12x zoom. Despite the “steady” part of its name, my unblurry-to-blurry ratio is about 1/10. I’ve tried to read the manual, but I still have no idea what most of the settings do. (Did I mention that I’ve had this for about 5 years?) I just pick an icon that looks intriguing, turn the little knob, take a picture—and then see how it turns out. Which is usually either too dark, too blurred from movement, or focused on something other than what I was intending to shoot.

But in spite of my complete lack of talent, I love taking photos. And although I’m a word girl by nature, there are times that I just can’t find the right syllables to put together to express what I feel, or what I see. And sometimes—if the stars are all aligned, the sun is shining at the precisely perfect angle overhead, the blinking from the red-eye feature hasn’t forced my subject into convulsions, and the caffeine has not yet made its way through my veins to give my hands the jitters—I can say it all with one magical click.

So I usually don’t showcase my photos. But when I read about Sweet Shot Tuesday, launched by my friend and fellow DesMoinesian boy-mom Darcy from My Life with 3 Boybarians, I knew this was something in which I could participate. I heard Darcy speak at iBlog last fall, and she totally inspired me because she said that you don’t have to have a fancy camera or a lot of photographic gizmos to take beautiful photos—and she shared some amazing tips. (She and her husband also have a successful photography business, as well as Graphically Designing, an amazing design business.)

So here’s my first entry in Sweet Shot Tuesday. There are no big themes or rules to enter, but Darcy encourages participants to choose a shot that was taken in the past week. Just like writing, the key to getting better at taking photos is to just do it—as often as you can!

Here’s the story behind my photo this week: My father-in-law is amazing. Seriously, I don’t know what we would do without him. He has worked as a mechanic for the National Guard both as a member and a civilian nearly his entire life. The man knows everything there is to know about anything under the hood of any type of vehicle. His current project (off-duty) is our van. He’s like a scientist, gathering evidence, formulating a hypothesis, testing that hypothesis, and finally reaching a reasonable conclusion about source of problem, cause, and suggested course of action. (And he never charges for labor!) My husband, however, did not inherit his father’s mechanical genes. He can’t even change his own oil. (It’s okay, honey, you have many other talents.) So we’re banking on Boy #1 to learn all he can from his grandpa to ensure that someone can take over after Papa’s no longer able to wield a wrench.

See more Sweet Shot Tuesday entries at Life with My 3 Boybarians!

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Let’s Go to the Movies

We rarely go to movies as a family, so you can imagine how unusual it was for us to see not one but TWO movies this past weekend.

First up: Percy Jackson and the Olympians—The Lightning Thief. Boy #1 and I read all of the Percy Jackson books, so we were pumped to see the first of what I’m assuming will be several movies.

We decided to make it a family night out, complete with a sit-down dinner.

Well, if you count Burger King as a sit-down dinner, that is. (We DID sit down to eat. Except Boy #3, I guess, who kicked off his shoes and squatted on the bench.)

Father and son argued bonded over mistaken Steakhouse Burger identity. Husband took two bites of Boy #1’s sandwich before realizing that it wasn’t his. Never missing an opportunity to declare something “unfair,” Boy #1 kept making comments the rest of the meal about those two missing bites that he would never get back.

Boy #2 did his part to cause a scene with his belching trick, where he obviously makes himself burp and then immediately does the “What?! I couldn’t help it!” act, trying, unsuccessfully, to hold in a smirk. Needless to say, Husband and I were not amused.

After leaving Burger King with the only casualties of our invasion being Boy #3’s clothes, which are now splattered from knee to sleeve in ketchup, we made the five-minute trek to the movie theater. Where we proceeded to sit in the parking lot threatening to drive home if the boys didn’t CALM. THEMSELVES. DOWN. (I swear, we didn’t let them drink Mt. Dew at Burger King, but they were WIRED!)

Then after promises of “being good” (yeah, right), we headed into the theater, where we plunked down $39 for tickets and another $22 for concessions. (This being the reason we rarely go to movies. Who can afford it?)

After finding a place to sit down, Boy #2, never able to sit still, was bopping up and down in his fold-up chair when I warned him, “You’re going to spill your popcorn if you don’t sit down.”

I’ll give you one guess what happened.

There sat Boy #2, with 3/4 of his popcorn now on the cement below his chair. Angry at me because I wouldn’t trot right back out and spend another $4.oo on popcorn for him, he decided he’d “show me” by stomping on the popcorn under his feet.

And oh, how that hurt me.

Although it actually did hurt my stomach a little bit when I caught him, 10 minutes later, scooping up and eating that same popcorn he had his dirty shoes all over.

Whatever. “At least we don’t have to hear him whine about it anymore,” Husband reasoned.

It was at this time we also noticed the horde of middle school kids who had invaded the theater, doing typical middle school things—giggling, pretending to be busy texting someone, moving from one seat to another to another. And the irony in this? Boy #1’s response: “They’re so annoying.” Pot, I’d like you to meet Kettle.

And finally the movie started. It was a little scarier in parts than I’d anticipated. (Which, when I later said this to Husband, he came back with, “Yeah, I wouldn’t have thought a movie that had scenes in HELL would be scary either!” Sarcasm noted.) But overall, it was a good movie and kept the interest of three different-aged boys. Of course, not as good as the book, but that’s usually the case. If you haven’t already read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, I highly recommend it. Great suspense and character development, as well as humor and a ton of info about Greek mythology. It’s really piqued Boy #1’s interest in his current Social Studies unit on Ancient Greece!

So after Friday night’s flick, I thought that would be it for us for a while. But then my mother-in-law called on Saturday and asked if we wanted to meet them to see Avatar in 3-D on Sunday afternoon. The boys were excited to not only see the movie, but to see Grandma and Papa as well. (And Grandma offered to pay for our tickets so we only had to buy our treats; you can’t pass that up!)

I wasn’t sure how Boy #3 was going to do sitting for 2 hours and 45 minutes, especially after the movie started and I realized that it was probably a bit over his head. But he stayed awake the whole time (on Papa’s lap for most of it), huge 3-D glasses still on, and didn’t miss a swear word. (Whoops! Guess it WAS PG-13 for a reason.) After the movie ended, however, he turned to Papa and asked, “So when is Avatar going to start?”

Apparently he thought it was going to be like Avatar, the cartoon. He thought he’d been watching a preview that whole time!

Poor Mother-in-Law, though, felt bad about the swear words (really they weren’t that bad) and the violence (Unfortunately, my boys have watched worse). She swore that she would never again suggest a movie now that she’d taken her grandsons to a “violent” movie and taken her 87-year-old mother to watch “The Hangover” with her and my father-in-law! (She didn’t realize it was going to be as nasty as it was in parts.) We didn’t see The Hangover until after Christmas, and I couldn’t watch it without picturing Granny watching it with me. What a hoot!

But back to Avatar…I really enjoyed the movie, and the kids did as well. I thought it had a good message and was amazing from a cinematic standpoint. The performances were incredible too, and I didn’t feel like I had been sitting for three hours when it was over. I could’ve watched more! Boy #3 said he didn’t think it was scary (although he was still confused about what exactly he had been watching).

Now that we’ve seen two movies in one weekend, I’ve got the urge to keep the trend going! And there are some movies coming out soon that are going to be great “boy” flicks.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid — If you haven’t read a of these books, you really should. Especially if you have boys at home. Perfect boy books. Funny, even disgusting in parts. Written from a total middle school boy point of view. Can’t wait to see Fregley and his secret mole (“It’s got a hair on it!”).

How to Train Your Dragon — If this movie is half as good as the trailer, it’s going to be a hit. Vikings, dragons, and a strong girl character. Just the ingredients to appeal to boys and girls alike. Can’t wait to see this in 3-D.

The Last Airbender — Okay, this is the “real Avatar” that Boy #3 was talking about. Apparently wanting to capitalize on the whole “Avatar movie theme,” the producers probably couldn’t have come out with this at a better time. It looks suspenseful with a strong storyline. If you don’t know anything about Avatar (the animated series), check out a few episodes on Nickelodeon. Since it’s not just a silly cartoon and has some real meat to its story, it’s one that adults can really get into as well. Plus, it’s an M. Night Shyamalan movie. What more is there to say?

What good movies have you seen lately?

Popcorn image copyright shannahsin
Avatar image copyright Nickelodeon
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If This Is the “Royal Treatment”…

I get this a lot: “Oh, you have three boys. So you’re the princess of the house!”

(Obviously these are people who do not know me or my offspring.)

I’m sure that some moms of boys are treated like royalty. I’m sure they’re pampered and put on a pedestal. And maybe someday my boys will see me for the queen that I am. But now? Definitely not.

Take this morning, for example. You’d think today of all days—my birthday, for crying out loud, the one day I get to claim for my own—they’d treat me a wee bit differently.

And to give them a little credit (well at least two of the three), they tried. For about one minute.

After coming into my bed this morning and realizing it was my birthday, Boy #3 looked at me and exclaimed, “You’re bigger!”

Hmm…a total compliment if you’re 5, but when you’re 38? Ugh. But he gets a free pass because of his sweet naiveté.

And Boy #2 gave me a very genuine hug and told me happy birthday when he got up. And then proceeded to fight with Boy #3.

What other birthday treats did I get this morning? Let’s see …

  • A very surly attitude from Boy #1, as well as the opportunity to deliver several admonitions for saying “shut up” and “freakin’,” both of which were recently banned by order of the Mother Dictator.
  • A “trick” from the Dog, where he jumps on the table and knocks everything to the floor. And then the boys did their “trick” where they pretend not to see it so that Mom will pick everything up.
  • A rise in blood pressure as I discover a half-eaten syrupy pancake sitting directly on top of Boy #3’s Nintendo DSi.

And on the drive to school? Peaceful? Tranquil? Think again. First, Boy #2 wouldn’t let me borrow his gloves so I could scrape the windows without acquiring frostbite on my fingers. (Never mind that I do live in Iowa and should probably have my own gloves in my pocket.)

Then Boys #2 and #3 pounded on a plastic tub that HAD held coloring books and the sort—until the bottom cracked and pieces broke off. And then they cheered. What IS it with boys and destroying things?

Finally, as I pulled into Boy #2’s school, Boy #3 played a round of our new favorite game, “Tattletale, Tattletale.” What was it this time, you ask? This: “Mom, Boy #2 says he can hear his penis!”

And what do you say to that?

It’s business as usual at the Boogers & Burps house. I’m a year older, apparently noticeably “bigger” than yesterday, and I think my tiara must be lost somewhere at the bottom of a basket of dirty clothes.

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Get Lost in the Interweb

When Husband and I started dating, his family introduced me to one of the most amazing family pastimes—playing “get lost in the country.” Basically, it’s where you start driving out of town and then take turns saying “left,” “right,” or “straight” when you come to an intersection. The goal is to see just how lost you can get—and if you can find your way home! Now, remember, this was BEFORE cars and phones were equipped with GPS navigation systems. We had to rely on our wits and occasionally a map. The craziest time was when we followed a gravel road as it turned into a dirt road, then a dirt path, then grass with barely perceptible tire ruts, and suddenly we were in the middle of corn. I wrote about how to play this with your family on Iowa Moms if you’d like to read in more detail.

Tonight I took a little different approach to “get lost in the country” since a) it’s just me and two boys home tonight; b) it’s snowing AGAIN; and c) I had enough excitement taking Boys #2 and 3 to a very generous but unprepared Dairy Queen tonight, who was offering 50% off EVERYTHING for their anniversary. Instead I decided to play “get lost in the Interweb.” I’d start with a new blog I’d just started following, and I’d choose another blog from that person’s blogroll, and so on.

I started with Gussy’s blog. I had been drooling over Gussy’s bags on etsy for months, so you can imagine how excited I was to run into Gussy, AKA Maggie Whitley, herself, at BlissDom. I daresay she is as cute and sweet as her pouches!

I decided to click on Joy’s Hope next, and I was struck by the sad but beautiful photos of her broken dishes and her struggle to not grieve over her earthly goods. What a great lesson for all of us to remember!

From Joy’s Hope, I clicked on Just Something I Made. Uh, yeah, I could possibly be in full stalking mode by the end of the weekend. She seems to be just like me, or at least just like the “me” I want to be, you know, if I had any artistic aptitude. She collects vintage measuring tapes, for crying out loud! I just bought a vintage measuring tape at the Salvation Army, just because I had to have it! Of course, I had no idea what to  actually do with it, unlike Cathe. She even created a free download that you can print to create your own growth chart. I almost cried when I saw that. Then I saw that she was at BlissDom with me! Dang, she’s one awesome woman I did not get the chance to meet, but don’t think I’m not going to stalk her down look her up next year!

I next traveled to Mitzi’s Collectibles and felt my dormant creativity stirring when I read through her Crafts Projects. Seriously, I can do these! And the fact that they incorporate vintage and upcycled materials makes the projects even more up my alley. I’ve always been drawn to things from the past, especially if they have some family meaning behind them. Even though I really have zero spare time, I may have to carve out some to try one or ten of these. (I mean, really, who needs to work, right? Paychecks are for sissies.)

A site that Mitzi lists in her “Places I Like to Visit” section is A Beautiful Mess. Well, of course I had to see what that was all about because I can identify with it (Well, at least the “Mess” part). After seeing a photo of Elsie Flannigan, however, I will go on the record to say that she definitely can pull off the “beautiful” part as well. Her blog is fun to read through, although her style is a bit more kitschy than my style. If only I were about 10 years younger, I think I could possibly pull it off. She also created, a handmade art store, where I spied an underwear necklace that called my name.

Scrolling down Elsie’s sidebar, I saw a button with the name All-Mighty—and cute little Boston Terriers on it. Of course, I HAD to click on that. If you don’t already know, my first baby was a Boston Terrier named Larry. I had to put him to sleep two years ago, when he was 11, and that was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But I know he’s prancing next to Jesus now and we’ll all be reunited one day. So needless to say, my family loves all-things Boston Terrier, although we prefer to refer to them as “Larry dogs.” When I clicked on the All-Mighty link, I was overcome with the cuteness of what I saw. The shop is actually called “All-Mighty—For the love of Boston Terriers and all things cute!” Seriously, I can barely make myself look because it’s all so stinkin’ adorable that it kind of makes my heart ache. Stuffed Larry dogs. Larry dog tote bags. T-shirts with Batman Larry dog on them. And the most adorable artistic representations of the Larry dogs. Warning: If you haven’t already had a Boston Terrier, you will be compelled to immediately Google “Boston Terrier breeders” after visiting this site. (But that’s a good thing. They really are the sweetest things. The dogs, not the breeders. Although I’m sure some of the breeders are very sweet as well.)

And because my mind is now full of Larry memories, I am going to conclude my travels for tonight and go to sleep counting Bostons jump the fence (which coincidentally, Larry did every chance he got). It’s been fun getting lost in the Interweb. I’ve definitely found some places that I will be frequenting, and I didn’t even end up in the middle of a cornfield.

What about you? Do you ever play Get Lost in the Interweb? What places have you discovered?

Photo copyright connect7
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Finding Time—Without Going Cuckoo

So you’ve probably noticed that it’s now been two days since I posted anything.

Believe me, people, I’m trying. I really am.

After BlissDom, one of my takeaways was that I need to be more consistent and post EVERY DAY.

And with my (sister’s) suitcase not even unpacked yet (Yes, I realize it’s been two weeks), I have already failed. In fact, I think I’m more sporadic now than ever.

Tonight, as I fretted about not knowing what to write about and feeling pressured to produce something somewhat worthy of Google Reader, I began wondering: How in the h-e-double hockey sticks do all these other women post so consistently? And not only post, but post stuff that’s good.

Because here was my day, people. This is what I had to work with.

6:45 – Wake up to Husband’s alarm clock and curse my iPhone alarm clock app which has failed to go off at my requested time of 5:20 AGAIN. Go downstairs to try to finish a freelance proofing project that I had fallen asleep working on the night before.

7:00 – Husband asks, “Are you ready to go?” (Let me back up here. My van has been in the shop for 9 days now. Some sort of electrical short in the heater blower. Long story short, I haven’t heard from the shop since Friday, and I’m pretty sure my van has been kidnapped. But I really don’t want to rush paying the $500+ I’m going to have to shell out, so I don’t call them either. Now it’s become a battle of the wills.) Since we are a one-car family right now, I have to take Husband to work and then come home to take the boys to school. This morning, I chauffer him to work still wearing my pink sock monkey pajamas.

8:30 – Since we have a one-hour late start each Wednesday for teacher in-service, I tell Boy #2 it’s time to go to school. Since arriving home from taking Husband to school, I have managed to finish my proofing job, shower, get dressed, and brush my teeth. Boy #2 starts whining that his throat hurts because of his coughing. I don’t doubt that it does, but he’s a bit of a hypochondriac when it comes to going to school lately. However, after a bout of “the runs” (him, not me) I tell him I will take his brother to school first and make sure his stomach is better before I take him.

9:00 – Boy #1 complains that it’s not fair that Boy #2 doesn’t have to go to school right away. Yelling between brothers ensues. I push everyone into the car and drive toward the middle school.

9:05 – Boy #1 tells me to stop at the gas station to get him gum. I tell him no. Disrespectful comments follow. Then a little yelling by me. I love the middle school years.

9:15 – I call Boy #2’s school to tell them that he will be arriving late and get the answering machine. I leave a message.

9:20 – I get a slightly condescending-tone-“What’s going on?” call from Boy #2’s school secretary, who I do not think believes that Boy #2 has medical issues that cause him to miss school and arrive late at times (which unfortunately he does). I tell her that I just left a message. She says, “That’s funny; we don’t have any messages.” I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m irresponsible AND now a liar.

9:30 – I walk Boy #2 in to school. The secretaries give me the “bad parent” look. I’m used to it. Boy #2 gets his pass, on which he’s marked “tardy,” and I walk him to his locker. He then realizes that his jeans have been completely unbuttoned AND unzipped, and I discreetly help him hitch up his britches before he heads to class. On the way back by, I stop back in the office and inquire as to why Boy #2 was marked “tardy.” Explanations follow. The secretaries now hate me more than ever.

9:40 – I drop Boy #3 off at daycare and don’t make it out the door before he’s picked his nose and wiped a booger on the snack table.

9:45 – I get a call about the ETA of my freelance proofing project. I say I am driving there as we speak. I arrive at 10:00 and drop it off.

10:15 – I walk in to Husband’s school to deliver his wallet, which he had left on the dresser.

10:45 – I finally arrive at my job—you know, where they pay me. To work. I proofread the Teacher’s Edition of a grammar textbook until 2:30 and drink 3 cups of coffee to keep me awake while doing it.

2:30 – I leave work to pick up Boy #2 from school. After shopping at the book fair, we leave to go pick up Boy #3 from daycare. He’s excited because I have bought them both a Kit-Kat, which I hand to him before driving off. He immediately drops the Kit-Kat on the floor and commences to yell. I drive with one hand, the other hand feeling around on the floor behind me for the precious chocolate stick. Feeling it, I hand it back to Boy #3, trying not to think about the grit that is likely stuck to it.

4:00 – I get a text from Boy #1 (from his friend’s phone since my son’s the ONLY middle-schooler without a phone) asking if he can get off the bus at his friend’s house.

4:30 – I have been home 30 minutes when Husband calls and asks me to pick him up from a math competition at a local college. I load Boys #2 and #3 back into the car (since Boy #1 is at his friend’s house), and we make the rush-hour drive to the heart of Des Moines. Oh, and I almost forgot: the dog comes with us too. Because Boy #3 is sure he wants to. I pick up Husband (literally) alongside the road and we head home.

5:15 – I make pasta and salad for supper.

5:30 – Boy #3 asks me if he can clean the bathroom, which would be music to my ears if I didn’t know that it was just an excuse to get things wet. But I agree, and he actually works pretty hard on it. The floor is sopping wet and the mirror is a little difficult to see into now that it is covered in streaks from top to bottom, but he’s so proud of himself that I just heap on the praise.

6:15 – We wolf down the meal in 3 minutes. Well, all of us except Boy #1, who is due home at 6:30.

6:30 – Boy #1 arrives home (on time!), and I announce that I’m going to the coffee shop to try to get some work done. Begging, pleading, and guilt-inducing comments fly. Finally, I give in and say that I will stay home if I am guaranteed some peace and quiet so I can concentrate and try to write.


6:40 – Boy #3 is sitting on top of me in the recliner, asking me to put a Band-Aid on his lip. Boy #1 is arguing with his dad about geometry. Boy #2 is by my side asking if he can show me “just one more” magic trick. Boy #1 then yells at Boy #2 to be quiet. “Mom’s trying to work!!!” (If only tweens understood the extent of their irony.) I ask for headphones. Boy #1 finds me a pair, and I try to drown out the house with some Vivaldi. It doesn’t work. I go upstairs to sit in my room. Husband is there on his computer, talking to his students in an online tutoring session. After approximately 3 minutes of calcuspeak quiet, Boy #3 opens our bedroom door and comes in to “whisper a magic trick” of his own. I try to write and listen to him perform his card trick. Doesn’t work. Multitasking and creativity are not bosom buddies.

And suddenly it’s bedtime. I check homework. I read to Boy #2 while he sprawls halfway on, halfway off my bed, which in my current state of mind, drives me flippin’ crazy. (Especially after I’ve already told him twice to stay on the bed!) Boy #3 falls asleep in his underwear beside me in my bed. Boy #1 takes a shower and then proceeds to yell, “Mom! Towel!” when he’s done. Funny how they never think about the fact that they might want to dry off BEFORE they actually step into the shower. I grab a towel off the bathroom floor, give it the sniff test, and hand it to him. That’s what you get for not planning ahead! Then I wait until I am officially allowed into his room so as to not catch him in his nakedness (because apparently I’ve never seen him in his natural state), and I clear a spot on his chair so I can sit and read. I get one page read when he barks at me to turn off the light because it “makes it hard for him to breathe after he takes a shower.” Whatever in the heck that means. I inform him that it will be impossible for me to read without a light, and he actually tries to argue with me a little about that fact. (Besides being full of irony, tweens are also completely illogical.) Finally, we go into my room, where I can turn the overhead light off and my lamp on. I guess lamplight isn’t as suffocating as overhead light. I read a few pages of our current book, and Boy #1 heads to bed.

And here we are. It’s 9:30, I’m tired, and I feel about as creative as generic toilet paper.

So tell me, how do all these women do it?

And if you’re one of these women, how do you do it?

How do you find the time, the energy, and the creative spirit to produce good content every single day? You know, aside from illegal drugs or potentially prosecutable child neglect?

Image copyright carlsilver
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Happy (Snowy) Valentine’s Day

The snow is falling once again. And despite the fact that we’ve seen in excess of 50 inches of snow since the first of December, it really is beautiful this morning. Big, fluffy flakes dancing in the sky before blending in with the mounds already covering the ground.

Some flakes almost make it to the ground before, perhaps caught in a draft, they shoot back up for one last chance to twirl, spin, and fly.

As I watch the snowflakes pour from the heavens, bobbing and weaving, circling and do-se-do’ing, I am struck with the scientific fact that no two snowflakes are alike. And as much snow as I’ve seen in my nearly 38 years of living in the Midwest, and as much snow as I’ve shoveled this winter alone, and as much snow as I see accumulating on the drifts on my porch this very morning—I cannot fathom that so many different combinations exist of these white flakes whose only ingredient is water.

And it makes me think about how else I can find beauty and awe in the everyday.

Like the clean smell of the boys freshly showered (Did I say “everyday?” Yeah...).

Or the sound of “I love you, Mommy!” as I walk into my room and see the covers stripped off my bed, which has transformed into a wrestling mat.

Or the rare brush of my middle-schooler’s lips on my cheek  before I leave for 5 days.

Or the look on my second-grader’s face as he shows me a card trick and I feign surprise, even though I’ve now seen it 37 times.

Or the flush of my husband’s cheeks after he comes inside after shoveling the end of the driveway so we don’t get stuck trying to pull the car in (AGAIN).

Or the wag of my dog’s tail when he sees me enter the house, his eyes begging the question, “Toy? Toy? Wanna throw my toy?

Or that first sip of coffee in the morning.

Or the crinkle of the pages of my Quest Study Bible as I turn each hallowed page.

Although I may become weary of snow, I am reminded of the wonders of creation if I stop seeing the piles that have been pushed along the curbs by the snow plow and zoom in on the magic and unique composition of each individual flake. And even though lately I seem to tire easily of the challenges of the daily grind, I am refreshed when I can focus on the magic of each moment I’m given with this family of mine.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!

Photo copyright wind27gis.
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