Saturday, March 31, 2012


"Mama. What are you doing in your bed sleeping? You should be out there working."

No rest for the weary in this house. My morning routine is pretty much set. I get up an hour before the kids, brew some decaf, fire up the computer, and begin to write. I write for a good half an hour before I remember my now lukewarm cup of decaf is still waiting for me on the Keurig. It's OK. It keeps me from burning my mouth. 

There are those mornings, though, that I let myself sleep in until the kids get up. It's funny how I will hear their little shuffles down the hall heading straight for the rocking chair where I usually am sitting and typing. When I am not there, it totally confuses them. So, where do they think to look for me next? The kitchen of course. Tuck actually turned on the light in the kitchen the other morning, like he would find me in there sitting in the dark. Well, maybe that's not too far-fetched, but anyways.

When I'm not in there, they go back to the rocking chair. They may have just missed me coming out of the the kitchen. You never know. When they finally stop wandering around, they end up in our room, by my side of the bed, staring in my face, poking me in the eye, and whispering to me, 

"Why are you sleeping?" 

Oh you know, just for the heck of it. I hear all the cool kids are doing it. There are benefits to sleeping. It's not just a myth. There's actual research out there. I've seen it, read it. One day, maybe, JUST MAYBE, I'll get to experience it. There are also benefits to waking up early. When they come out with their sleepy eyes and warm cheeks, I am the first one who gets to kiss and snuggle them. 

Plus, this is a much better view than my computer...
or the inside of my eyelids. 


This post is in response to Trifecta's Trifextra weekend challenge:
"Write a horror story in 33 words, without the words blood, scream, died, death, knife, gun, or kill. Good luck."


The pool. Dear God! She ran. A broken lock. A jammed door. Both barriers in her nightmare. She saw him flailing, gasping for breath. The water became eerily calm. She was too late. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Me: "Holy cow! You are totally kicking my booty in this superhero memory game."
Mags: "I know." *giggling*
Me: "How do you remember where everything is?" 
Mags: "Because my brain has a lot more energy than yours."

This is true. Her brain, her body, and her mouth. They all have a lot more energy than mine. I stare at my kids in awe. I don't know how many times I've heard someone say, "If we could just bottle that up." I know, but honestly would we really want to? 

I can just picture this infomercial with Hulk Hogan promoting it: 

"Introducing the new drink of the future. We've contained children's energy and bottled it up in a drink! Introducing, 'Insanity'! You can choose from three levels of 'Insanity' depending on how much spunk you need. 

You stayed up late watching the finale of your favorite TV show? No problem! Try our 'happy-go-lucky' formula. This contains energy from children ages six through eight.You will feel bright-eyed and busy tailed the whole day through. 

What about when you got home a little later than expected from girls night out? Try our 'excited about everything' formula that has energy from children ages four through five. You'll build tents, bake cookies, and play dress-up like a pro. AND you'll still get the laundry and dishes done! It's that good! 

What's that? You've been up ALL night with the baby and you have to get the kids ready for school and daycare in the morning? On top of that you have an important meeting for work that begins at 9:00AM on the dot? Look no further! You need our 'insane in the membrane' formula. You'll get those kids out of bed, partially dressed, fed, and on time to school while still impressing your boss with a dynamic presentation your over-stimulated brain formulated last minute on the ride to work. That's because this formula is bottled from the coveted energy of toddlers ages two through three. It's the best out there! 

If you order right now, I'll send you a free sample. That's right, I said FREE! One is all it takes to make your day a success. It's not important HOW we get the energy, what matters is that we get it TO YOU! Don't you deserve to have a little spring in your step? Don't waste another second with those baggy circles under your eyes. Call now! 
What'cha gonna do, brother, when 'Insanity' runs wild on you?" 

My heart racing, palms sweating, and mind scattered in 10,000 different directions. I am not equipped for that magnitude of energy. I'm pretty sure that I would get every closet cleaned out and organized in this house, but I'd also end up having a coronary in the process. I think I'll leave it to the professionals, also known as the kids. I'm sure it's part of the magic that makes childhood so special.  

Plus, I'm not sure I could pull off THIS look:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Trifecta Writing Challenge: The 4C's

This post is in response to Trifecta's Weekday Challenge. They ask you to use the third definition of the given word to write a story that is between 33-333 words in length.
This week's word is cheap.

cheap adj \ˈchēp\

1   a : purchasable below the going price or the real value

     b : charging or obtainable at a low price <a good cheaphotel> <cheap tickets>
     c : depreciated in value (as by currency inflation) <cheapdollars>
2   : gained or done with little effort <a cheap victory> <talk ischeap>

The 4C's

“I’m sorry, I just want to make sure I understand. There is a lot to take in. Can we go over it one more time?”  The man exhaled as he wiped the tiny beads of sweat from his brow.

The sales woman stared at him from behind the glass counter in disbelief. She had gone over the information two times already. The man seemed to be listening, nodding at the appropriate times. Exasperated, she took in a deep breath and began her speech again. Thoughts of her commission recaptured her patience, making her feel a bit cheap.

“You want to look for carat, color, clarity, cut. Once you decide on the carat, or size of the diamond, we can focus on the other qualities. For example, you could choose this 1.2 carat diamond you’ve been admiring for an hour now. If  you look here, it says it’s a “D” scale for color, an ‘IF’ or internal flaw for clarity, and rates ‘very good’ for cut. I know the price is over your budget, but consider the fact that your future wife will be wearing this on her finger the rest of her life.“

The man’s head swirled as he quietly reminded himself,  “Now’s not the time to pinch pennies.”

He firmly nodded in agreement as the sales woman sighed in relief.

“Perfect. She’s going to love it. Now, let’s move on to settings. We have platinum, yellow gold, white gold, and silver. Were you thinking of having any diamonds or birthstones in the band?”

The sales woman paused for an answer but only found the blank stare of the man she had spent the last hour with. She stopped herself and lightly placed her hand on his, that now had a white knuckle grasp on edge of the counter.

“The 4C’s are the hardest part” she promised.

His grip released slightly at this reassurance. As she pulled out the tray of traditional yellow gold bands, she prepared to repeat herself at least three more times.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


"Listen to me! Listen to me! Listen to me! Are you listening to me?"

"Yes, Mags. We hear you!" Every once in a while I see the 'Green Monstah' pop out of Mags. Saturday was one of those days. Chris was being all scholarly presenting to a group of educators, so the kids and I were on our own.

I pulled out the cornstarch, food coloring, and mixed in some water for a little Oobleck fun. It was a solid hour of them just playing in it, mixing it, and spilling it all over the floor. It was fantastic. Then there was a half-hour bath to let them soak the food coloring off of their hands. We chatted, they laughed, and of course, splashed. Life was good.

We decided to play on the floor making a puzzle. This was the moment Mags decided she had to be RIGHT next to me. I'm talking in-the-womb close. Tuck came over and sat on my other side. Then she began her process. An arm was laid  across my leg, just enough to reach over towards Tuck. Before long she was laying across my lap, ever so slightly pushing Tuck so he had to move over. At first he was patient. It seemed innocent enough. An accidental bump of her hand. After five or six of these 'bumps', Tuck snapped. 

"Enough Mags, I wanna sit next to Mama, too."  

Then I heard her say it. Quietly. Under her breath. 

"My Mama".

The screaming match began in the blink of an eye. 

"She's not just yours, Mags! She's my Mama, too!" 

It was like he was defending his title of first born. The 'I've known her longer' sort of thing. I was waiting for the claws to come out. Mags was not going to back down (no surprise there). She started throwing things out like, 

"You're too close. Mama doesn't like it when people get too close to her." 

What? In WalMart, yes. Not at home...with my KIDS. I quickly corrected the situation.

"Both of you are welcome to hug me or snuggle with me anytime. I have two legs and two for each of you." 

That settled them down. I reminded them both that in TWO months, Tuck was going to be home for summer vacation every single day (I'm so excited!). I had a feeling at that moment that it might be a bit rough for Mags getting acclimated to this. As much as she loves having him home, she has loved having me all to herself. Plus, she's four. So, you know, the world revolves around her and all that jazz. It was quiet after that. In typical boy fashion, Tuck had moved on from the incident. In typical diva fashion, I knew Mags was pondering and stewing.  

"But you don't love him more than me, right? You love us the same?" 

I reassured her that I only loved Tuck a little more than her. It was his blonde hair. I preferred it over the brunette. What? NO! Just making sure you're paying attention. After I reassured her for REAL that there was equal admiration and love flying around for them, she chilled out. We jumped on the couch and I turned on a show for us to watch...and they snuggled in. 

Of course, it might be a tight squeeze when the they're
18 and 16, but I'll make it work. 

Monday, March 26, 2012


An exchange between the parents: 

Me: "Thanks so much for going to the store and taking the kids with you, Chris."
Chris: "No problem."
Me: "Soooo, you followed the list I gave you exactly, right?"
Chris: "Yep. To the letter."
Me: "Weird. I just don't remember putting three swords and matching shields on there."
Chris: "It was definitely on the list. Right under the yogurt." 

This is the twelfth installment of "Picture This"
You can read all about why I started this by clicking on the link.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


This post is in response to the Trifecta Trifextra Weekend Challenge.

I'd like to take a moment to send out a special thanks to my husband, Chris, for keeping me on my toes at all times. He gave me the idea to use this real life April Fool's Day experience for the last part of the challenge. I appreciate your help with this prompt, dear husband. April Fool's is coming up and I can already see his gears turning. 

For the prompt this week, Trifecta gave us the first 33 words of a story. I put them in bold below. Then, we were asked to complete the prompt with "33 of your own words". Here's what we came up with:

The Prank

“There’s nothing cute about it,” he said. The register of his voice indicated decision more so than discussion.

She disagreed heartily and privately, staring past his head and out the window behind him.

“It’s April Fool's” she chuckled

“I have a meeting to go to and my tongue is green!”

“Nothing a toothbrush can’t fix.”

“I should have never let you make my coffee.” He sighed.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Mags: "I see the perfect bathing suit for you! Look, it has Ariel on it AND Flounder!"

So, I was obviously on drugs the other day. Stupid Target putting their bathing suits out so early. I actually saw one I liked so I  picked it up, foolishly, and put it in the cart. Mags got all excited.

"Let's try this on."

How much harm could that do? It would be a little entertainment for her while visiting the dressing room. Mags loves the mirrors in there. She admires her beauty, flinging her hair back with one hand. It's priceless. However, like I said before, I must have been on drugs. I decided to grab some khaki shorts for good measure to try on since I would be in there anyways. In we went. I quickly tried on the top. Then put the bottom on.

"How does this look, Mags?"

On. Drugs. Why was I asking a FOUR YEAR OLD how I looked? The girl that holds nothing back? And so it began:

Mags: "Wow, Mama, that top is too short. I can see your belly button." 
Me: "Well, it's a Tankini, Honey. It doesn't go all the way down like a shirt."
Mags: "Well, I think you need to find a longer one. I don't like seeing your belly button. It freaks me out."
Me: " about the color? Do you like the color of the bathing suit?"
Mags: "Not really. It's too bright."
Me: "Hmmm...what color bathing suit do you like?" 
Mags: "I like a black one. Oh no! What is that?"
Me: "What?" *now frantically looking for a bug crawling on me.*
Mags: "That! On your leg" *drilling her finger forcefully into the spot on my leg*
Me: "It's just a freckle. I've had it since I was born."
Mags: "That's a long time cause you're old."
Me: "Hey! I'm not THAT old! Moving on. What about the bottom part?"
Mags: "It's not very pretty. It just...sits there."
Me: "It's a bathing suit bottom, Mags. That's how it is supposed to be."
Mags: "Well, I think you should find some bathing suit shorts. In black, too."
Me: "OK, well, thanks for your help."

I promptly took off the suit of shame, hung it back up, and got on my phone to locate the nearest scuba diving shop in our area.

I mean, really, how can I compete with this? 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Trifecta Writing Challenge: The Wrestling Match (abridged version)

This post is in response to the weekly Trifecta Writing Challenge
Write a 33-333 word piece that uses the third definition from the given word.

This week's word is:
clean (adjective)
1: free from dirt or pollution
2: unadulterated, pure
3 a : free from moral corruption or sinister connections of any kind <a candidate with a clean record>

Authors note:
This story is an abridged version from the one my husband and I wrote for our original children's story podcast, Night Light Stories. I have been working on my editing process and thought this was a perfect story to practice this skill. So, I edited the story today with an alternate ending for this challenge. To experience the complete version with the original, "slightly more comical" ending, click here.

The Wrestling Match

“Let’s get ready to rumble!”

The spectators take their seats. They’re all abuzz trading memories of last night’s match. The nightly wrestling competition is always entertaining; a highlight of the evening.

From the end of the hallway, the wily veteran emerges.  A large, hulk of a man, quietly lumbers toward the ring.  His face is full of experience. The second wrestler, the rookie is full of spunk. Giggles of glorious glee erupt from her.  The wrestlers steady themselves and look into each other’s eyes.

“Let’s keep this match clean!” yells one of the spectators.


The veteran dives forward, but the rookie is as quick as lightning. Unfazed, the veteran swipes for his opponent.  For a moment fingers fumble with material, but a squirm and a wiggle allow the more agile rookie to find freedom.  Determined, the ox of man rolls forward and wraps his big arms around the rookie’s torso. She twitches and twirls, straining to break free. He grabs her arm and succeeds at sending one hand, fingers spread like a spiderweb, through the sleeve. Encouraged by his small victory the veteran goes for the other arm, but before he can grab it, the rookie decides to try a little trick she’s been working on between matches.  She flops down, letting her body fall limp. The new ‘dead weight’ move has its desired effect of confusing the veteran. She tries to make a run for it but he pounces, pushing her second arm into the sleeve.

The veteran wastes no time and grabs one leg just above the knee and forces it into the footie.  The rookie shakes her leg violently, but it’s hopeless. The second leg is shoved into place.  Reaching down, the veteran desperately grabs the zipper and pulls.  It shoots up like a rocket and victory is his.

The spectators cheer wildly.  Exhausted and panting, the rookie is finally dressed for bed. Admitting defeat, she hugs the veteran tightly and he squeezes her back. 

“Night-night, Daddy.”   

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Mags: "Don't just sit there! HUG HIM!"

My poor Tuck. It is so hard on him when my parents, Meme and Papa, have to drive or fly home. The kids have the same reactions every time. Tuck cries hard and Mags is his rock. She rubs his back, hugs him, and tries to distract him. I don't hide from either of them that I am sad, too. 

So, yesterday was the day. Meme and Papa were flying home. The night before, Tuck was NOT happy with me that he had to go to school. I explained to him that he would just be sitting in the car for close to four hours and that half of that time Meme and Papa would not be in the car. Tuck cried and told me that he was disappointed in me. Enter my dad. After a good heart to heart with his Papa, Tuck settled down and understood why he had to go to school. 

The morning came fast. I got up to write but got distracted by a fantastic story that my blogging friend, ODNT, had written (if you are a Hunger Games fan or heck, even if you haven't read it yet, it is well worth the trip over to her blog). I digress.

After a few moments of early morning 'me time', I heard the familiar shuffle of feet down the hall. I set my computer down and knew what he was going to do. My sleepy-eyed boy, who is now 3/4 my size, crawled into my lap like a little kitten. He curled himself as tight as he could into a ball. The silence was comfortable and warm. He just needed a little reassurance. Then he let it out, "I don't like when they leave." I promptly flooded his mind with all the fun adventures he had with them over the past five days and reminded him to think about those when he felt sad. 

My mom and dad were up early to get packed. We went about our usual morning routine of eating breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and driving to the bus stop. My dad came with Tuck and I for the drive. I was nervous. I thought for sure we were going to have a 'sit-in' at the bus stop. Tuck has done it before. He just sat and refused to move. Not this time. This time, he hugged my dad, hugged me, and then joined his friend in the bus line. He waved once and then never looked back. The relief was immense. I couldn't believe how easy it was. I was so proud of him!

Next stop: the airport. Mags was my back seat driver. We dropped Meme and Papa off. As we pulled away, waving to my parents, Mags started to cry. Very hard. I realized that she had no one to be a rock for. She wasn't distracted. Tuck wasn't there. So, I pulled over further up the 'departures' drop-off area and parked. I jumped out of the car and into the back seat to be HER rock. She needed it and I needed it. Of course, the 'you are sitting in this drop-off section too long' police wasted not time beeping at me and I was forced to move along. 

After some sobbing and hand holding, we turned up our radio loud and jammed to her favorite kid's music. It saved the day...or the moment at least. It wasn't long after we got home that we had to pick up Tuck. He skipped off the bus to the car. The second he opened the door and looked at me, I knew. He had held it together all day...and now that was over. The tears began to flow. Mags and I quickly jumped into action. She shouted orders and I followed them. Hugs were given, fruit snacks were eaten, and music was played on the radio. 

Then, of course, more hugs were given.

Along with the reminder that we only have to wait 
18 more days until we "Trot, Trot to Boston" for a visit! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Show 'em Tuck...

"Well, Mama, I squeezed it like this over and over and over on Mags' head. I really made her laugh. Then I did it on my head. See? I have a stripe like a skunk."

This is the eleventh installment of "Picture This"
You can read all about why I started this by clicking on the link.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Mags: "Mama, can I have some Cheez-Its."
Me: "No, Mags, dinner is almost ready."
Mags: "I'll just go ask Papa then."

I know this routine. It's adorable and I find it humorous. She'll approach my dad and ask for Cheez-Its. I'll hear him ask her, "What did Mama say?"  When she tells him the mean lady said "NO!", my dad will back me up. "Mama's right, it is almost time for dinner."  Then, when I go to the bathroom, he'll quickly go to the cabinet, take out a handful of Cheez-Its, and put them in his shirt pocket. Secret squirrel-like. My grandparents did the same thing. That's what they are there for. As my dad says, "You gotta let them win sometimes." It's true and a good reminder. 

I get so stuck in the day to day routine of running here, running there, answering this, answering that, cleaning this, cleaning that, running back here...that I sometimes forget to stop and take a second to laugh. When I watch my kids with my parents it revitalizes my "fun-ness". When they're here, not only do I get a chance to go to the bathroom by myself or be more than the mandatory 20 feet away from Mags, but I get to take a step back and watch my kids interact with other people. I really see their sweet, dynamic personalities shine through. 

The BELLY LAUGHING that rings through the house is contagious. I usually don't know what the four of them are laughing about, but it doesn't matter. A guffaw is a guffaw in my book. 

All I know is I'm secretly munching on some Cheez-Its...
cause the parents have to win sometimes, too! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Mags: "Good thing your mom is here, Mama. She can help you clean up the mess the leprechauns made."

Every year on the eve of St. Patty's Day, a "leprechaun" busts into our house and makes a huge mess. GINORMOUS.  As much as I appreciate my husband's  the leprechaun's enthusiasm for this holiday, guess who ends up on cleaning duty? That's right. 
This girl...RIGHT HERE!

This year, though, the husband leprechaun got smart. He lined the hallway with Rolo candies. This made the shock of the eyesore he the little creature made a little bit less offensive. The kids were also more than willing to help clean up. They didn't seem overwhelmed by the disaster area that was our hallway, bathroom, kitchen, living room, and dining room. I said he was ENTHUSIASTIC, did I not? 

Anyways, there was no freaking out like they've done in the past. I guarantee it was all that incredibly useful "mess" training I've been doing over the years. Finally, it's paid off! 

Once we began cleaning, it was like the scene straight out of 'Mary Poppins'. You know, the one where everything is flying back into cupboards, cabinets, and closets effortlessly. Of course, I sing more like the grumpy old maid in the movie than Julie Andrews, but still, they appreciate the effort I put forth. Before we knew it, everything was spit spot back in its proper spot. Until next year that is...oh, and April Fool's Day. Seriously, though...

I really think the leprechauns should come with a 
complimentary cleaning service! 

Friday, March 16, 2012


This post is in response to this weekend's Trifecta Trifextra challenge. 
Write a story entitled 'Lost' in exactly 33 words. The word 'lost' can only appear in the title, not your 33 words. 


She forced her eyes open. Heavy. With every blink the pain intensified. Agony. Her brain was foggy. Confusion. A kind face, a gentle voice. “The surgery is over. You did just fine.” Relief. 


Overheard from the kids while playing:
Mags: "I want to play with that one!! (waaaaaaaaah)"
Tuck: "Fine, Mags, you don't have to blow it out of "poop"portion"

Poop is a trigger word in our house. What does it trigger? Fits of UNCONTROLLABLE laughter. The hearty kind where they don't make any noise and turn purple type of laughter. The kids know that it is not a word they should be shouting out loud in public. They also know that we don't add 'head' or 'pants' to the end of that word and then aim it at someone.

Somehow, though, they always find a way to fit it into conversation without warranting me getting upset about it. They are getting good at it, too. So, I started to keep track of all their clever little usages this week.

They use the word poop:

To describe how they are feeling: "I am feeling like poo."
I can see that. Sometimes there is just no other way to describe how gross they feel. Especially if they are coughing and have snot running out of their noses...or if I haven't showered in three days (just an example of course).

To describe how something looks: "This chocolate chip looks like a little turd."
Agreed. I have to give the kids kudos when they can describe something accurately. It never ceases to amaze me, though, that after giving such a visual, they had no problem popping that food right into their mouth.

To describe something they need to do, very loudly, for everyone around us to hear: "I have to poop...NOW!" 
This usually happens in the grocery store or WalMart (shiver) when we are in the aisle the furthest distance from the disgusting restrooms.

To describe the smell of the restroom in the grocery store or WalMart: "This bathroom smells like poop."
It sure does. Sometimes, if you catch it after they clean it, it smells like bleached poop. So pleasant. There is not enough Glade air freshener on the shelves to rid that stench in either of those stores.

To describe an action they are seeing: "Look, the dog is going poop."
This one stretches my rule a bit and I always just take their word for it. I am sure as we are whizzing by houses in the car, they didn't just see a dog taking a bathroom break. What it always ends up coming down to is that they were just dying to use the word.

To describe a wrong doing of their sibling: "Maaaaama! Tuck said POOP!"
Oh, kids. Come on! They know they are both going to get in trouble. One of them for saying poop and one of them for tattling about the other saying poop. It's a bad idea all around. I wish they would figure out that they can just sit in their rooms and have a grand ole' time saying POOP as much as they want without me hearing. Get it out of their systems. For goodness sake, don't tattle about it!

So, what have we learned?
  • Always have a good reason to use the word poop.
  • Always cover up the fact you just want to say the word with one of these reasons.
  • Don't use the restrooms in the grocery store or WalMart near my house.
  • Don't tattle.
  • Kids have no problem eating things that are described as looking like poop.
  • Poop is funny. Period. The end.
Oh! And the chocolate chip totally looked like a little turd. See?

One more thing! Since I am a teacher, I needed to share with you some other synonyms for poop to add to your vocabulary (or scrub from your mind). You're welcome. 

cow pies, cowplop, crap, droppings, dung, excrement, feces,fertilizer, guano, manure, meadow muffin, nightsoil, ordure, poop

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I explained to Mags why we had to put the ant outside on the deck that we found in the house.

Mags:  "Well, when I have my own house, I am going to let ants into my house. Of course, I will control their minds, but they will love my house." 


I thought it was only fair to warn the ants.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Final Dress Fitting

This post is in response to the Trifecta Weekday Challenge. Check out the third definition of trail (below), and respond, using the word exactly as it appears, in no less than 33 and no more than 333 words.

trail verb \ˈtrāl\

1     a:  to hang down so as to drag along or sweep the ground 
       b:  to extend over a surface in a loose or straggling manner <a vine that trails over the ground> 
       c:  to grow to such length as to droop over toward the ground

2     a:  to walk or proceed draggingly, heavily, or wearily : plod, trudge
       b:  to lag behind : do poorly in relation to others 

3:     to move, flow, or extend slowly in thin streams <smoke trailing from chimneys>

The Final Dress Fitting 

The train of silk was like an extension of steel chain behind the young woman.  It was heavier than she expected and held her back a bit. The thought of how symbolic this was crossed her mind. She didn’t think before she acted. There was no time.  All she ever heard was, “You are meant to be”.  She didn’t know anything else but this.

The seamstress eyed her up with a mouthful of pins as the soon-to-be bride awkwardly shuffled toward her. Obviously annoyed, the woman motioned for her to lift the dragging fabric off of the floor. The young woman obeyed immediately, as was her nature, and lifted it just above her calves. The cold trail of air crawled up her legs causing goose bumps and a strong shiver. The seamstress reached forth, dragged her the last two steps, and began pulling and pinching the fabric with haste. Each pin was pushed into the dress like a nail in a coffin.

“Don’t slouch. Stand up. Shoulders back.”

The young woman despised this ‘master of the pins’. She was a captive stuck in this situation feeling like she had no true options. In reality, all she had to do was say the words,

“I made a mistake. I can’t marry you.” 

She quickly dismissed  the thought away. Those words would slice him open for all the world to see. She would be the one who hurt him and she couldn’t live with that. No more than she could live with what she was about to do.

As the seamstress attacked the bodice, the young woman felt it constrict around her. The more she wriggled, the more tenacious the dress became. She tried to fight through it, to stay still, to ‘go with the flow’. Her efforts were futile. She could not stand it anymore. Suddenly, she heard herself scream,

“I can’t breathe! It doesn’t feel right. Please, I want to take it back.”

At that moment, she knew what she had to do.


Mags: "Mama. I have a secret for you."
Me: "Really? What is it?"
Mags: "I can't tell you. It's a secret."
Me: *sigh*

Mags is loving this whole 'secret' thing. She leans into my ear and whispers random things like, "I hid Tuck's Lego car" or "Why are you wearing that purple shirt today?"  As I folded the laundry last tonight, I couldn't help but think (for the second time this week). That's got to be a record. Anyways, moving on. 

We learn to never keep secrets from our parents as children. At least I did. Chris and I have always told our kids that they can tell us anything, no matter what someone has said to them. We are there to listen, to help, and to keep them safe. It's no wonder Mags spills the beans about every single present Chris buys me for my birthday or Mother's Day...or our Anniversary that is coming up on April 3rd (your'e welcome Chris). What is 8 years? Rocks? Whatever it is, Chris, don't tell Mags. 

As adults, we are asked to KEEP secrets. How many times have I heard or said, "Please don't say anything, but..." Too many to count. I take it seriously, too. I store those secrets I am told by my friends and family way back in my vault. Sometimes I am touched that they trust me enough to share something private with me. Sometimes...well, I'm still touched, but I just tuck what they say a little further back. 

There are those times, though, that I know a fun secret that we are going to surprise someone with and I have to wait to share it. Chris will tell you that I cannot keep a surprise hidden to save my life. It's true. I've almost let the cat out of the bag about 65 times now. I only have to wait until Thursday. Still, I've known for a while this event is going to happen and I am getting tired of waiting. 

What is it you ask? Can I trust YOU to keep a secret? Yes. I'm looking right at YOU! I will feel less like spilling it if I do tell someone. If I tell you, maybe it will get me through the next few days. OK! Here goes. 

Wait. many of you are saying "I bet Mel's pregnant!" Raise your hands. Fess up, come on! You guys are so silly. If any of my friends or family are reading this and have that running through your head, let me remind you of the Great Hysterectomy of 2010. So, no. I'm not pregnant.

"I bet they are getting a dog!" Again, let me remind you of the Great Allergic To Everything Under the Sun of 2011. Wow. I am no fun. No belly rubbing? No cooing? No cuddly, little puppies? What could be so exciting?

MEME AND PAPA ARE COMING! MEME AND PAPA ARE COMING! You are saying to yourself, "Don't your parents visit every six weeks or so?" Yes, they do, but this time it's a surprise! They are flying in this week to visit and we are not telling the kids. I am looking forward to a mom and dad fix and the kids are going to FLIP OUT when they see them. Since Mags is Little Miss Spillsthebeans, I'll let her figure it out when we drive to get them at the airport later this week. As for Tuck, he will get off the school bus to see his Papa waiting for him. 

Wait! There's more! My parents and I planned a little bit something extra. Meme and Papa are going to give the kids pretend 'airplane tickets' that we made. When they read them, they will find out that we are going to Meme and Papa's for Spring Break. On top of that, we are going on an airplane! Two VERY exciting things rolled into one trip. SCORE!  IS IT THURSDAY YET? IS IT APRIL YET? 

Phew! Thanks for letting me get that out. I needed to tell someone besides Chris. He's having his own issues keeping it quiet. So, remember, we have to keep it secret...keep it safe...until Thursday. I'm trusting you, Frodo Baggins.

Mum's the word!

Or as Mags says it, 'Mom's the world'.
(I like her expression better)

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Tuck: "Mama, look at us. We are underwater explorers."

Mags: "Yeah, Mama! We're underwear explorers!"

This is the tenth installment of "Picture This"
You can read all about why I started this by clicking on the link.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


If you have been reading along on the blog this week, you know that I spent half of it discussing, researching, and writing about bullying. I wrote THIS POST on Thursday, which coincidentally was the day the following events occurred. 

I went to pick up Tuck, our six year old boy, at the bus stop on Thursday. He got off the bus just like any other day. He began skipping towards me, then broke into a full out run. Once he reached me, he almost knocked me over with his hug. Yes. Typical day. 

There was a flurry of doors opening and closing, jackets and hats being flung, and seat belts being clicked. I greeted him with the usual, "Tell me something funny that happened today."  He went on about how at lunch, 'his friend' tried to stuff  a whole bagful of fruit snacks in his mouth at once. I replied with, "Does this 'friend' you speak of have the same name as you?" He raised one eyebrow and knew I was onto him. The rest of the car ride, we reviewed the universal sign for choking and why we shouldn't shove an entire bag of fruit snacks in our mouth. No doubt. Typical day.

We reached the garage and I turned to hand Tuck his backpack that somehow had ended up in my possession. That's when I noticed it. A bump above his eye. It took me a few seconds to decipher if it was just shadows hitting his face or something else. When he looked at me straight on, there was a definite large bump above his eye. His hat was on when I first saw him, so I hadn't noticed it. I gasped and said, "Tuck! How did you get that bump above your eye?" He was out of the car at this point, so I jumped out and met him on his side. He was crying by the time I got to him. Not your typical day.

I wrapped my arms around him and inquired, "What happened? Are you OK?" Then, my stomach dropped when he said, "The boy on the bus hurt me." I bent down to him. My mind was racing. "Who hurt you?" He gave me the name. I've been an educator for thirteen years. I have dealt with these situations too many times to count. This time was different. This was MY kid. New set of rules. New set of emotions. Yep. Our typical day was definitely over.

He sat there with me in the garage and sobbed. I asked him some questions to get the main idea of what we were dealing with. On the outside I was steady, on the inside my stomach was in knots. I kept my eyes on his eyes and reminded him how he could tell us anything. I got out of him that the boy, who is in his class, pushed Tuck's head against the window of the bus, then held him down in the seat for a few minutes. My insides were burning!

After getting those details from him he started crying again. "This was all my fault."

This statement caught me off guard. "Really? How?" 

Then he followed it up with words I never expected to hear, "I can't tell you. You'll be mad." 

I hugged him and assured him we would not be mad. We wanted to help him and figure out what happened. This did not sway him. He would not tell me anything else.

I decided it was time to bring in the big gun. We went upstairs and Tuck literally fell into Chris' arms. I explained the few details Tuck had told me about why there was a now larger bump above his eye. We got some ice for it and sat together. 

He told Chris the same thing he told me. "I started it. I said something to him. I don't want to tell you, you're gonna be mad."

We began guessing at all the horrible first grade-ish things he could have said to the boy to make him retaliate like that. We tried to think of everything. 

"Did you call him dumb? Did you call him a poop pants? Did you say something about his Mama?" (that was Chris' question) 

Tuck shook his head at both of us, almost insulted that we thought he would have said things like that to someone else. Finally, after much coaxing and convincing that we would not be mad, he would not be sent to his room, and we wanted to help him; he told us. 

"I said, 'Let's wrestle.'." 

Chris and I both were a bit confused. "You asked him to wrestle? In the seat on the bus?" 

"Yes." he whispered.

Then all the details poured out of him. After Tuck made his little suggestion of wrestling, this other little boy wasted no time. From what we gathered, it was not malicious. The boy didn't say anything mean to Tuck and thought they were having fun. Tuck didn't tell him to stop. He let him 'wrestle' him on the seat. It was obvious to both Chris and I that Tuck's definition of wrestle and this boy's definition of wrestle were completely different. Tuck's is gentle tumbling around with his dad. This boy has two older brothers. His definition might be more like the WWE.  Tuck looked right at me. He knew.

"Dude, why would you wrestle on the bus? That is dangerous. You need to sit in your seat. End of story."

He shook his head. "I know. I'm sorry." 

We finished up the conversation by making sure he hadn't hurt the other boy. He said he never touched him. What the heck? How was he planning on wrestling then? I digress. 

I told him we should just relax and he crawled into my lap. I wasted no time soaking in his need to be comforted and we sat in silence.

Finally after a bit of time, he looked up at me and said, "Maybe I should have said, 'Let's THUMB wrestle.'" 

Needless to say, this was a good learning experience for all of us. 

Have you had a similar experience? How did you deal with it? 
Feel free to share with me in the comments section.