Sunday, November 14, 2010


It is late.  Almost another day, late.

Tween Boy tired himself and Spotted Dog out today by multiple trips outside in the snow.  Playing snowball catch (Spotted Dog did the catching), making forts, playing Mountain Rescue again (this time with Spotted Dog playing the part of a St. Bernard...the missing truck remains missing), then coming in for steaming mugs of hot chocolate and warm Cardamom-Orange Oatmeal cookies.  He managed to get the last of his homework done, and a lot of flute practice in.

Teen Boy slept, ate, and listened to music.  He had a full day too.

It is times like this, when the lights are low, and the house is filled with the sounds of my sleeping family that I sometimes appreciate most.  One could say I suppose that it is because it is finally quiet, however, I like to think of it as how lucky I am to have noise.  I am not alone, I have a snug, warm house to call home filled with two boys and a husband who love me and whom I fiercely love.

I also have food in my tummy (a really great homemade split pea soup with homemade rosemary bread and homemade apple pie), and my family can sleep safely thanks to our military men and women, and our local police force.

I may not have a magazine cover home (as I look around, there are stacks of clean undies that someone forgot to put in their dresser before bed, backpacks standing sentinel at the top of the stairs, and some stray glasses that were forgotten somewhere along the way today...contents not always finished), but my home is full of love.

When I got married, I thought I could never love another person any more than I did my husband.  Then, Teen Boy came and my heart grew.  A few years later, I was thrilled to discover that we were expecting Tween Boy...but also filled with trepidation.  How could I love another child as much as I loved Teen Boy?  Would I be depriving this new child?  Would Teen Boy feel neglected?  Then Tween Boy arrived, and my heart grew again.

It is in the quiet of late evening where I learn to appreciate my family even more, and look forward to what tomorrow may bring.

Good Night.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Today we had our first appreciable snowfall.  Tween Boy was in his glory.  Teen Boy was busy lamenting that this meant he wouldn't be driving this weekend (having only one session of circles, reverse circles and parking in the Middle School parking lot and a short drive home he's hardly qualified for a drive in the snow), but Tween Boy couldn't wait to don his snow gear and "get out there!" 

He spent the better part of the day driving his trucks through the thick, white snow, making roads, cities, villages, and them plundering them like a giant with his boots.  He then decided to play "Mountain Rescue" by burying his trucks deep in the snow and uncovering them with his gloved hands.  I love that he is in 6th grade and still loves to play with his trucks in the snow.  I know these days are all too fleeting.

It was during Mountain Rescue that he thought it would be a good idea to bury his trucks in the snow until the next time he wanted to play.  That way, "no one can find them and take them, Mom."  We live in a very small town with almost no crime (thank goodness); kind of like Mayberry.  I told him that he'd better go back out and get them because we were due for several more inches and he would never find them.  Grudgingly, he tromped outside to find them, "I know right where they are, Mom.  I buried them!"

Needless to say, one of the three trucks is still buried in the avalanche and likely will not be Mountain Rescued until April or May.

Over a steaming cup of hot chocolate, cheeks and nose kissed with cold, and eyes shining brightly, he said he had added several trucks onto his Christmas List this year.  Bless his heart.

Later, he and Teen Boy worked on clearing all that snow.  Teen Boy used the snowblower, and Tween Boy went behind him shoveling that thin layer that would have turned to ice had it been left.  As Teen Boy salted, Tween Boy rushed in, cheeks pink with the chill and said "I LOVE SNOW!" then raced outside to throw snowballs at his brother.

A lot of people complain about snow.  It's cold, wet, needs to be cleared repeatedly, and causes otherwise intelligent people to drive like morons.

Snow brings out the best in all of us here.  We love to go sledding, skating, snowshoeing, skiing, camping (yes, camping in snow huts!  Granted, the boys do...I will go in a tent), and snowmobiling among other fun winter activities.  It makes Dad and me turn into kids, and our kids love every minute of it.


I can't wait until tomorrow.  I hear there is going to be a snowball catching contest between Tween Boy, Red Dog and Spotted Dog.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Terrify.  That word (or the correct grammatical version of it) seems to be very common in these first few blogs.

Webster’s defines the word as:   “terrify vb:  fill with terror”.  They define terror as:  “terror n:  intense fear and panic or a cause of it”.

No wonder why I keep using versions of terrify in my blogs.  I love being a mother to my sons, but at some level, I am always terrified.

It started the moment I found out I was pregnant.  Every twinge was cause for panic, being afraid to sleep on my stomach, worried about whether or not I was eating the right things.

Teen Boy was premature by about 5 weeks.  He was a breech birth, but I did not need a caesarean.  I was 22 and knew nothing.  I was terrified.

I was on bedrest for 10 weeks with Tween Boy.  I was induced at 38 weeks because I was becoming preeclamptic.  Terrified.

Both boys had newborn jaundice and required light therapy, and Teen Boy got RSV at 4 months old and then for the next two years spent September-April in the ER once a month at a minimum without exception with bronchitis or pneumonia; several of these visits ended with admission for several days.  Then, there's all the ER visits for sutures that come with boys.  Tonsillectomy for Tween Boy when he was in Kindergarten.  I've lucked out (knocking on lots of wood right now) that we haven't had broken bones.  All of them, terrifying.

You are given this brand new life, a gift, and the hospital lets you take it home!  Without an instruction manual, without an expert.  Talk about terrifying.  Yes, I had babysat, and my husband was the eldest of six kids and also babysat.  We had a lot of experience with babies from days old; but the parents of those babies came home at some point.  You know, the experts.  This time, we were the parents!  No one was coming home to take over.  Terrified.

All those firsts.  First time on a bicycle, first time getting on the school bus, first time playing football, first time going away to Church or Scout Camp without us.  First time being away from them on vacation.  First girlfriend, first time behind the wheel of the car.  I know that when they go to college, I’ll be terrified too.

I’m really not a “scaredy-cat”.  I’m pretty brave most of the time. 

I guess the reason I get terrified so easily with my sons is that I want to make sure I am doing the best for them that I can.  I want to make sure that the gifts I was given are kept safe and secure. 

On the other hand, I also promised to help these gifts learn to love and enjoy and live the life they were given.  So, I must learn to calm my fears, and continue to push them toward the edge of that nest and prepare them to fly…so that they can soar.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Thoughts

Today is Veteran's Day 2010.  I have friends, family of friends, and former High School classmates that have fought, are fighting, and have died for our country.  I am so grateful to them for their courage and sacrifice.  They are what make our country truly great.

On Veteran's Day, my thoughts inevitably turn to these brave men and women's families...especially their mothers.  A huge part of a mother's job is to keep their children safe from harm.  How many of us have described ourselves as "Mother Bears" when it comes to how fiercely we protect our children?  I cannot even imagine the torrent of emotions mothers of soldiers must go through when their children first tell them that they want to serve in the Military, or when they are deployed.

I would like to think that if either of my boys came to us and said they'd like to serve, I could be calm and rational.  However, at my age, I know myself pretty well.  I know my first reaction would be "No!  You're not allowed!"  It's not that serving in the Military isn't honorable, courageous, needed, and patriotic, it's dangerous.  My job is to protect them, right?  How do you get past the danger to support the good?  I don't know.  I would have to tamp down the "No!" before opening my mouth (and those of you that know me know that isn't easily done), and help my son make an informed decision, and support him in it.  I would be proud, just...terrifed.

Every single mother of boys that are physically able to serve the Military in this country face this hurdle when their son turns 18.  It is the law in our country that boys register with the Selective Service within 30 days of turning 18.  I won't even get into the discussion of why girls aren't required to register.  That's a whole other blog.  Yet, it is something that I, as the mother of two sons, cannot avoid.  I am not "lucky" that I have girls that don't have to register as a mother of all girls once told me she is.  I will have to face my fears when my boys turn 18.

So, on this  Veteran's Day, I want all Veterans, past, present and future to know that I appreciate them.  I applaud their bravery, support them in all they do, and pray for their safety.  I am forever grateful that because of their bravery and sacrifice that my sons don't have to serve, unless they want to.  I want those Veteran's mothers to know that I pray along side them, not only for the safety of their child, but for strength for them, their mothers.  For the mothers of our Veterans that are angels above, I pray for peace and comfort for you and your families.

Most of all on this Veteran's Day, I am thankful.  God Bless all of you.


Teen Boy just got his Learner’s Permit.  How did this happen?  Just yesterday he was zooming around in his Little Tyke’s car, and today he wants to drive MY car.

Needless to say, I am once again, terrified.  He has taken Hunter’s Safety, Snowmobile Safety, and is about to become an Eagle Scout.  He is a safe hunter, drives a snowmobile safely, and is prepared.  I, however, am not prepared.  I feel like I’ve let him loose on a shooting range, armed with a water pistol and everyone else is packing.  It is probably my naïveté, and my friends with driving teens reassure me that it is, but I trust him to be safe.  I am not worried about his driving skills.  I believe he’ll take this seriously, and be safe.  We’ve told him his whole life that driving is not a right, it’s a privilege.  He knows that driving a car is holding a loaded, cocked deadly weapon in his hands and the safety is off.  All of this makes me think that he is ready, and will be a cautious, conscientious driver. 

It is all of the other morons on the road that think they can drive, but can’t that scare me.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  The tailgaters, those that don’t signal and cut you off, or don’t signal and turn right in front of you when you’re going straight.  The ones that can’t figure out a four-way stop to save their lives unless there are stoplights involved.  The speeders, the 100 year old grandmas that can’t see over their steering wheel and even if they could their cataracts make their windshield a veritable pot of pea soup hence causing them to weave in and out of traffic at unpredictable speeds.

I have been in a couple of minor fender benders, none my fault (really), and one major accident that was caused by a foot-plus of new snow that hadn’t been plowed off of the ice it was on top of when I found it.  I was also in the car one winter on the way to visit my parents for Christmas with our two very small children when a slew of cars ahead of us started to spin out of control.  My husband, a country boy God bless his heart, quickly assessed the situation, and “whooped it in the ditch” as he would say, and brought us safely up on the shoulder of the other side of the highway all while keeping us out of the fracas.  One SUV flipped and landed on it’s wheels, and several cars were piled up.  I’m supposed to let my precious newborn son into all of this?  Are you insane??  But, I must.  He will need to be an independent adult some day, able to drive himself to work, and his children to come and see Grandma.  The only way to be able to do that is to get out there and learn now.  Nuts.

My husband will be taking him to the school parking lot this weekend in his car (I love my van too much to subject it to a teenage driver’s first time).  I can’t ride with him.  Not yet.  I will panic at every little thing that, when I’m driving, doesn’t phase me one bit.  That in turn, will panic him, and make him unsafe.  I  know this.  I have told him all of this.  It isn’t him, I’m worried about, it’s all the other morons, and Mom is a panicker sometimes, so you really don’t want me in the car at first, Teen Boy.  You want Dad.  Good old, strong as a pillar, calm as a cool pond on a June day, not crazy like your Mom.

I love you, trust you, and have faith in you.  It’s everyone else I worry about.  Enjoy this new stage of your life.

Just watch out for the morons.


Teen Boy has a girlfriend.  I told him that he should just “date around” the first two years of High School.  That way, he would know what kind of girl he would like to date more seriously, and what kind he wouldn’t.  He would know how he should be treated by said girl.  He could drive himself on his own dates.  It would give me time to get used to the idea.  He didn’t listen.

It was the second month of school, and he told us that a girl, Teen Girl, had asked him to Homecoming and could he go?  My heart immediately started pounding, my knees turned to jell-o, and I thought I might throw up.  I thought I was ready for this. 

“Dating for boys is WAY different than for girls”, I thought foolishly years earlier.  “Thank goodness I have boys,” I’ve opined, “I don’t have to worry about a girl on a date.  My boys know how to treat a girl nicely and respectfully.  Any girl would be lucky to have my boys date them.  Their parents will have nothing to worry about.”  I was so naive.  Do you know what teenage girls think about teenage boys??  I do.  I was one.  And now, one wants to take my baby to Homecoming.  I am in trouble.

So, Teen Boy and Teen Girl went to Homecoming and became “a couple”.  He updated his newly acquired social networking relationship status to “in a relationship”.  I cried.  My baby was growing up.

We raised Teen Boy well, Teen Girl is very nice.  She is sweet, cute, funny, smart, and a tomboy.  She is, well, a lot like I was in High School.  Funny how that works.  So, my baby boy is dating.  Another chapter has begun.

Boys and Boy Scouts

I was dragged into Boy Scouts kicking and screaming.  “Boy Scouts is something a boy does with his father”, I said.  “Boy Scouts is about bonding between a boy and his father”, I explained.  “I’m a girl for goodness sake!  I was a Girl Scout, but I know nothing about Boy Scouts except that they always teased us about smelling like Brownies” I argued.  But, my husband, who not only signed Teen Boy up for Cub Scouts (with my support) when he was in First Grade, but signed himself up as a Den Leader (without my knowledge), worked 70 miles from home and needed a Thanksgiving craft for the meeting that night.   Couldn’t I please come up with something “just this once”, bring it to the meeting and get them started?  He would go right there from the road, and, “the Assistant Den Leader will be there.”  Hold on.  Stop the train.  There’s an “Assistant Den Leader”??  Why isn’t HE doing this then?  “Well, I couldn’t get a hold of him.”  Great.  Fine, I can’t let all those little faces down.  $30 and a couple of hours later, I had all the makings for those Thanksgiving Turkeys you can make out of cookies, candies and frosting.  I had paper plates for them to work on, plastic knives for the spreading of frosting, and wipes.  LOTS of wipes.  Not my first time at the rodeo, no siree.  Boys and frosting, candy and cookies equals mess.  I was not about to send these boys home with sticky frosting everywhere and have their mothers call me the next day to scold me.

I fed the boys dinner, packed activities for the toddler, packed the craft items, and got the everything and everyone loaded up in the car.  There was no turning back now.  I’d made a promise to my husband, and I was going to keep it.  Moreover, I promised my son, my beaming, cherubic Tiger Cub, that we would have lots of fun at Scouts tonight.  He was thrilled.
We got to school early, and I got everything set up.  I got the tables covered with brown paper, had everything lined up.  I had managed to get a hold of  the Assistant Den Leader’s wife (who, upon hearing the situation, immediately filled her voice with relief that it was me, not her, in this predicament), and she promised me that she would tell her husband that he was in charge of everything else that went on at the meeting (whatever that was) if my husband ended up being late.

Thirty minutes later, the gym was filled with 1,000 screaming, crazy Tiger Cubs.  Okay, it was really only 7 or 8, but it seemed like 1,000.  And Dads.  There were 7 or 8 Dads, and me.  Feeling just a bit overwhelmed, and trying not to run out of there as quickly as I could to the Ladies Room, and then my husband walked in.  He took off his coat, and having stopped to change into his Scout Shirt, took charge.

My husband is a formidable man when you first see him.  He’s 6’10” tall, and about 240 pounds.  When you’re 6, I’m sure that’s even more formidable.  Instead of whistling to get their attention, or yelling “Hey!”, I watched in amazement as he quietly held up his right hand in the “peace” sign.  Almost instantly, that crowd of 1,000 crazy, loud boys stopped, ran over to where he was, stopped all noise, and copied his sign.  It was a miracle!

The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance, the Cub Scout Motto, and Law.  The boys worked on several things in their books with my husband, and then it was my turn.

After the Dads (most of them begrudgingly) had the boys wash their hands (I’m not only a Mom, I’m a nurse…so I’m REALLY a stickler for hand washing), I explained the craft.  I let the boys make two each; one to eat now (Sugar high, anyone?  Not one of my brighter moments), and one to bring home to show Mom.  They could eat the second one when Mom said they could.

And then in happened.  As those boys frosted and pieced their wobbly turkeys together, I got hooked.  I drank the Kool-Aid as we Scouters call it.  Heck, I had a damned IV of the stuff.  There was no way I couldn’t do this again.

Boy Scouts is the single best activity outside of Church you can get your sons involved in, I believe.  Boy Scouts is NOT about father-son bonding, it’s about family bonding.  Our best family memories have been around Scouting.  Camping, hiking, biking, fishing, you name it.  I firmly believe that I would not have the relationship I have today with my boys if I had not become a Scouter.

As a woman, and the mother of two boys, it is very important to me to show the boys that women can do anything men can do (sometimes even better).  Through Scouting, I have showed them that women can lead successfully, and have men listen to them, respect them, follow them, and treat them as equals.  What greater gift could I give them as their mother?

Life With Boys--An Introduction

I never wanted boys.  At least, not for my firstborn.  Boys TERRIFIED me.  I grew up in a house of two girls.  How do you potty train a boy?  How do you play with one?  I was a tomboy, but is that enough to know how to play with a boy?  Boys are crazy!  Boys are wild!  Boys are messy, dirty, smelly, and chaotic…and wonderful.

I have two boys (well, three if you count the one I married).  They are the lights of my life, and I can’t imagine what I would have done with girls.  Now, GIRLS terrify me.  I was a teenage girl, and I know what they’re like.  Catty, moody, unpredictable, and naughty.  They will DATE my boys, unless I keep my boys locked in the house until they’re 54.  However, that’s a little Mommy Dearest for me, so I guess I’ll have to let them out there.  At least I’m here to guide them, or warn them, I’m not sure which.

I am so glad God knows what He’s doing and gave me boys, I don’t think I would have survived girls.  Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy my friends’ girls.  Doing hair, make-up, going shopping, out to eat, sending them home.  I mean, I really am the only girl here, unless you count the rabbit.  She’s a girl.  But the dogs are even boys (well, they were once, but we got that taken care of).  Sometimes, the testosterone levels are stifling.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’m a one-of-a-kind at my house.  The buck stops with me, I manage all the schedules, and I am the chauffeur, chef, and gatekeeper.  I am MOM.