Sunday Share Week 20: The Mother’s Day Edition

It takes a village to raise a child.

I had my share of mother’s growing up. My own mother who made sacrifices to make sure I got to play sports – baseball, soccer, and in high school, wrestling. Then there we all my friend’s mothers who often times allowed me over for sleepovers and would feed me and make sure my mom knew where I was. Then there were my two mother-in-laws who took me into their family as if I was one of their own.

Then there is DW, the mother of my children. Not only does she keep our kids in line, but she’s taken over keeping me in line, too. Kind of like the passing of the torch.

It takes a village.

KS Beth
Moms and circuses…

Erika Kind
100 years…

A Momma’s View
An unpaid, full-time job…

Ah Dad
Scoring brownie points…

Sheila Moss
Trying to say thanks…

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T is for Birthday… 

This A to Z Challenge is in the 7th inning stretch. Not much more to play, now. 

One year is one trip around the sun. That’s 584 million miles.

 is for three. Plus 60. Today is the day my dad turns 63. That’s 36,792,000,000 miles. That’s more miles than Gangnum Style has views. Sometime ago, Bang was assigning nicknames to family members. None of them stuck except for one. Dad’s. Bang called him Pop Pop grumpy frog. Dad is Pop Pop to his grandkids, just like his dad before him and will be after him. We still don’t know how Bang came up with Grumpy Frog, but it still makes us laugh. 

I called Buck and let him know that it’s Pop Pop Grumpy Frog’s birthday and that he really wants a win for his birthday. Apparently he forgot. The O’s are currently losing 3-1. 

Nevermind. They just tied it up at 3.

So, anyway, I get my patience from my Dad. I remember him teaching me to drive a stick shift in his little, blue Nissan pick up truck at the ballfield before it was a ballfield. We were bunny hopping all over the field like Peter Cottontail. When I decided to join the wrestling team in high school, dad would go to the attic with me so I could practice with him on whatever old carpet was up there. In 4th grade I got to go duck hunting with him and a friend of his. I sat in the duck blind reading most of the time. 

Of our favorite stories to tell, though, involves a sucker punch to the chest. Dad was famous for scaring us. Usually, it would happen in the car while he was driving. There would be long lull and silence. Suddenly, Dad would yell smack our chest and scare the shit out of whoever was riding shotgun. Well, one day, I was about 10, I think – Crash’s age. Our house had a long hallway and the rooms were off to each side. I hid in the bathroom and when Dad came down the hall I jumped out, punched him the chest as best as a scrawny 10 year old could. The grunt that came out of him! 

Of course, I’m the dad I am because of the Dad he was and still is. 

*I’m sorry to interrupt this post, but the Orioles just took the lead 5-0 with a two run homerun by Adam Jones. I now return you to your regularly scheduled post*

And now to watch him with his grandkids it reminds me of when he would play with my brother and I. Have a styrofoam pumpkin and some plastic soda bottles? Lets make it bowling. Except the kid will call it knock a boom. Shoot some hoops. Play some catch, some racquetball, horseshoes, or whatever else you want to play. He was always up for it. 

Thanks Dad! And Happy Birthday!

N is for… #AtoZChallenge

We are officially half way through this challenge. If my stats stay consistent I’ll have 1,838 views by the end of it. Lets go for two grand!

 could be New Growth. 

 These little guys showed up over the weekend. Broccoli, Romaine, Cucumber, and Peppers. Carrots will be planted directly in the garden. It may not be warm outside yet, but these little guys are a promise that it will be. New growth from the boys, too. Each of them is growing like a bad weed. Crash is nearly in my size shirts and he’s only 2 sizes behind me in shoes. He’ll be 10 this summer and he’s already wearing size 8 shoes! Bang is a 50 pound wrecking ball. According to the door frame marks he’s taller than his brother was at the same age.

 will instead be for never. This word has been stuck in my head all day. There are never ending bills, laundry, arguments with kids who don’t want to clean, and work weeks that drag on longer than the 100 Years War. Never is, by context, a negative word. I’ve never been to Australia. I never won the lottery. I never appeared on “Freshly Pressed”. However, after pondering most of the day I realized that never is not always negatie. Hence, I opted for the more positive side of never.

Never ending growing up of our children. Like I said earlier, Crash is damn near wearing my T-shirts and shoes. Once upon a time he was an 8 pound 9 ounce jelly roll. I remember washing all his newborn clothes beore he was even born. I was joyous hanging all those tiny clothes on the clothesline in the Virginia summer sun to dry. Now he’s a saucy, snuggly, 4th grader. To see Bang already taller than his big brother was at his age is amazing. I keep reminding Crash to be nice to his brother because one day his younger, little brother will only be his younger brother. Sometimes we wish they would be 

Never ending grocery bills. While Crash eats better than Bang, they both have a healthy appetite. They can eat and eat and eat and I’m fearing when they turn teens and decide they need 8 billion calories a day. But it’s not the amounts they eat so much as that we’re able to feed them. We certainly aren’t making millions, but we are making enough to feed a family of four healthily and for that I’m thankful. 

Never ceasing to amaze. Crash and I are the 7th book of Harry Potter. Until last week it has been me reading to him. Last week he wanted to read to me. Give’r buddy. And he gave’r. He read the chapter in which Dumbledor died. Being a teacher parent, I asked him about what he read just to make sure he understood it. He did. Even the big words like accomodating and excruciating. Bang is following in his footsteps. He, too, is reading above grade level. He sounds out big words and can use context clues and pictures to help him figure out the words. He’s also a little math whiz. He compares number to 100 using < and >. He adds and subtracts numbers to 20. He’s even picking up Crash’s multiplication cards and trying to memorize some of them. He caught on that multiplication is repetitive addition, too. They never cease to amaze me.

Never feeling excluded. Love flows freely here. All though it’s harder to see through the frustrations of parenting, it’s always present. We get frustrated because we’re trying to raise self-sufficient human beings and when it seems all your hard work is fruitless, it’s frustrating. But we do it because we love them and want them to be the best they can. When they’re not living up to their best we get them back on track. It’s a two way street, though. When they tell you at the most random time they love you, when they ask you to be with them simply because they want to be with you, when they imitate you because they want to be just like you, you know that love is present. 

So never mind the struggle and the strife, we are all fighting our own battles the best we can. Never mind those who judge and the naysayers, it’s their opinion and none of your business. Never mind what everyone else is doing, just do the best you can and the rest will fall into place.

M is for… #atozchallenge

 is for the real super heros, the boss of the house, the ever loving mothers. Known as Mommy, Mom, Mum, Ma, and Mooooooooooooom! they are the wise ones, the protectors, the sacrificers. They take on a job with no pay, no vacation time, on call 24/7 and they do it willingly. This post is about them

I’ve got so many Moms in my life that I’m convinced it has taken that many to keep me alive this long. My own mom kept me alive until I went off to university. She raised me right and was able to impart just enough sense and know how so I could fend for myself. My friends’ moms took care of me, too. Watching out for me, calling my mom when I made it to their house, etc… Now I have the mother of my own children, her mom and her stepmom looking after me, too. Am I lucky? I’m 40 and still kickin’. I’d say I’m lucky.

Moms, you make sacrifies we dad’s only dream of making. You give up your time, your money, your energy, your space, even your body and your junk food to make sure your kids have everything they need or want. Working all day, or staying home all day with kids, then having the energy to cook supper and go through the three billion step bedtime routine is a super power not even Ironman can compete with. 

Female = Fe (iron) + Male (man) = Ironman

This post is for the moms who can laugh through tough times. Perhaps the kids broke another window. Perhaps the kids managed to somehow get blueberry yogurt on the wall, the ceiling, the floor, the fridge and 2 wall hangings. Perhaps they’re just tired and restless and stuck on an airplane. Either way, you always do what you have to do and move on. Then look back and laugh at how stressful it seemed to be.

This post is for the moms who are too strong to break. Or perhaps just too strong to break in front of their children. Through financial burdens, busy schedules, no time for yourself, and the worst of the worst, you keep it together, you stay strong. Or perhaps you break down and your children see that it’s okay to break down and talk about the troubles. 

This post is for you moms who support each other. There isn’t much greater in parenthood than parents who help each other. Whether they watch your kid after school or bring over a bottle of wine after the kids are in bed, the support is inspiring. 

But mostly, this post is for you moms who give up your nights and weekends for sports, for dance, for band, for travel, for family… You go to parent/teacher night. You know your kids favorite food make sure it’s well stocked. You play Barbie, you play trucks, you play. 

We dad’s are forever in awe of how you do it. You get it all done and it amazes us. 

Cheers, Moms!

J is for…

If you’re a parent you need a serious sense of humor. If you can’t laugh when your toddler decides too pee off the front porch because he’s too lazy to walk up a flight of steps to the bathroom, you won’t survive parenthood. If you can’t entertain the thought when one of your kids tells you that when he turns 5 he’s going to turn into a puppy so he can poop in the yard (different kid than the one who peed off the front porch) parenthood is going to be long and brutal. 

 is jokes. I bring you ten five jokes to tickle your funny bone.

1.“Every night before I get my one hour of sleep, I have the same thought: ‘Well, that’s a wrap on another day of acting like I know what I’m doing.’ I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not. Most of the time, I feel entirely unqualified to be a parent. I call these times being awake.” ~Jim Gaffigan

2. For weeks a six-year-old lad kept telling his first-grade teacher about the baby brother or sister that was expected at his house. One day, the mother allowed the boy to feel the movements of the unborn child. The six-year old was obviously impressed, but made no comment. Furthermore, he stopped telling his teacher about the impending event. The teacher finally sat the boy on her lap and said, “Tommy, whatever has become of that baby brother or sister you were expecting at home?”

Tommy burst into tears and confessed, “I think Mommy ate it!”

3. 

4. A child asked his father, “How were people born?” So his father said, “Adam and Eve made babies, then their babies became adults and made babies, and so on.” The child then went to his mother, asked her the same question and she told him, “We were monkeys then we evolved to become like we are now.” The child ran back to his father and said, “You lied to me!” His father replied, “No, your mom was talking about her side of the family.”

5. Little Susie, a six-year-old, complained, “Mother, I’ve got a stomach ache.” “That’s because your stomach is empty,” the mother replied. “You would feel better if you had something in it.” That afternoon, her father came complaining that he had a severe headache all day. Susie perked up, “That’s because it’s empty,” she said. “You’d feel better if you had something in it.”

H is for…

His for home. It’s that place in which you live. The walls, the windows, and the roof that keep you safe. It’s where you come to rest after a long day of work. Where you wake on Saturday mornings when anything is possible. Perhaps yours is overrun with kids or pets or both. What we’ve come to learn in wisened years is that it’s not how big your house is, but the family that’s in it. 

Our home is where we feel safest. It’s our harbor, our hangar, our underground garage. We can let our hair down (if we happen to have some). We can wander around in our pajamas, or our underwear, or our birthday suit. It’s where we lay our head and sleep easy. 

It’s also the place that gets wrecked, especially if you have kids. Laundry, dishes, dust, and endless amounts of dirt. When the kids start running the walls get scratched and dinged. Fingerprints cover every surface and there are noseprints on the windows. Clothes cover the floor in their haste to come off our weary bodies. Or just because our kids are too lazy to walk another 4 inches to put them in the hamper. Nevermind the mess. It just means life is being lived. It’s a home that is lived in, not a museum.

Our home is where we can let loose the chains of inhibition. We can truly dance as if no one is watching. Even if the kids are giggling relentlessly. We sing our hearts out like we’re on Broadway or the Grand Ol Opry or in the shower. We are free to laugh until our faces hurt, fully belly laughs, until we’re out of breath and tears rolls from ours eyes. I’ve written before about how our kids are angels in school. We’re sometimes not sure the kid’s teacher is talking about the right kid. When they’re at home, they are safe, they are loved, unconditionally. They are free to let tempers fly, test the boundaries of attitude and behavior, and free to be their whole and total self.

Sometimes it’s not as simple as where you live. A couple years ago, when I was last at my parents, I wrote about having two homes. I feel blessed in being able to call two places home. There is here where I live with DW and Crash and Bang. There is also where I grew up 1,100 miles south of here. In this instance, home isn’t a house or a building, it’s the place we grew up. It’s the place where we have loved ones, fond memories, and we can always return to.

Whether you keep your home hospital clean or dorm room dirty, or just tidy enough to pass as clean, it is your space. It’s the smuges on the walls, spills on the floor, dishes in the sink, and the laughs in the living room that turn a simple house into a home. Hang your hat, hang your heart, sing loud, dance proud, and let your home be lived in.

~ Maya Angelou

D is for…

I’m killing this challenge. We’re up to the letter D and I haven’t missed a single letter.. I’m determined to see this through.

Determination is also when your 9 year old won’t give up the electronics to get ready for school and will tell you “one second” 1500 times, he’s determined to lose said electronics for a week. Also, when I take said electronics away I’m determined to get him to get ready for school without being supervised every step of the way.

D
is for Dad. The best damn job any decent man can demand to be. That’s what this blog space is ultimately about, isn’t it? Or at least I try. Though it probably comes across more as a stay home mom blog. My hope is that my perspective and my humor inject just enough Dad to make it not a mom blog.

We are a unique breed. As I’ve been discovering over the past 5 years, since Bang was born, we’re becoming more and more proliferate. I’m continuously meeting dads who have stepped up to the parenting role and are either taking charge in their family or taking co-charge with mom. Dads change diapers, even if it makes them gag. Dads cook the meals, not just mac and cheese, either. Dads read and tuck the kids in at bedtime. Dads create new ways to say, “I love you.” Ugga Mugga. Blah blah blah. Yep.

There are still men who are strangers to their kids. Men who have no part in their kids’ lives. Men who in no way support their kids or their kids mother. They are simply fathers. Like the old adage says, “Any man can be a father, but it takes a special someone to be a Dad.” This post isn’t about them. They don’t deserve that kind of recognition. They don’t deserve the string of 1’s and 0’s it takes for the computer spell DAD.

This post is for the deserving dads. It’s for the ones who know their kids, who take part in the parenting process, who don’t shy away from cooking, cleaning, laundry, baths, diapers, teaching, and sleepless nights. Just kidding… we men don’t have sleepless nights, just nights we’re woken slightly. This post is for the dad who steps up to the duties of playing Barbie, My Little Pony, and tea parties. This post is for the dad who has the patience to teach his heathens to shoot hoops, throws a baseball, kick the soccer ball, or race ostriches. This is for the game board dad who begins to doubt his own existence after playing 57 straight games of Uno, begs to be put out of his misery after 14 straight hours of monopoly, and refuses to let his kids win at Battleship. Even once.

Here’s to all you dads who accept their challenge and not only be The Dad but wear that cape proudly and confidently. Here’s to all you dads who raised boys to be SuperDads, too. Here’s to all the Moms who love us Dads, even when we sometimes make you as crazy as the kids do. So whether you crack open a cold one, spice up your Coke with some whisky, or share a glass of wine with the love of your life, I raise my glass to you.

Cheers, Dad.

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C is for…

C

is for cousins. Crash and Bang have 6. I have 9 (I think). We don’t know how many DW has. Her dad was one of 17 and her mom was one of 11. That makes 26 aunts and uncles. This gives her 40+ cousins! Since they are spread out all over Canada she’s still meeting some for the first time.

There’s something special about cousins. Perhaps it’s that we don’t live together like siblings do. Perhaps it’s that we all come from the same, often times dysfunctional, families (there is fun in dysfunctional). We can relate. (HAHA, get it? Cousins relate?) Whenever I think of the times we got together with my aunts and uncles and cousins I think of my brother and cousin. Growing up, they fought worse than siblings. Or at least that’s how I remember it. One of them got wacked between the eyes with a golf club by the other. Unintentionally, of course. But still… Today none of that rivalry exists and they are friends.

Crash and Bang adore their cousins. Four of them live a few hours away while two live in South Korea. Bang and his teacher just sent a Flat Stanley to them to tour around and get some photo ops with them. They only just met in person two years ago when we made our trip down to Maryland for the first time since Bang was born. We’re hoping to make down this summer since we didn’t go last. They had great fun meeting and playing. We get to see the four who live nearby three or four times a year. They have a great time playing. They have even started writing to each other. It started as way to trade Pokemon cards. It has evolved into trading hockey cards, creating word puzzles for each other to solve, and good old fashioned update letters. They quickly learned that it’s exciting to get mail.

Cousins share the same forest in the family trees. Some of our family branches are the same, some are different. All of our branches and leaves and even our roots entangle and overlap, yet we remain our own tree. It’s a different kind of bond than we have with adults or siblings. We come from the same family, but different. We are roughly the same age and because of these two factors, we perceive our extended family through the same lens.

Who better to understand the craziness and eccentricities of our family than a cousin?

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B is for Brother

B

 

is for brother. I have one. DW has two. Crash has one. So does Bang. As all parents know brothers, siblings for that matter, can be as different as night and day. As different as fried chicken and waffles. As different as a ladybug and lion. Yet, despite all the differences, there are always some similarities.

There is as much space between my brother and I as there is between Crash and Bang. Growing up he was always more stubborn. He had the bigger temper. But he was the nicer one. Mom likes to tell the story of when my brother and I would share a bag of M&M’s. The bag would be split evenly in half. I would then help him eat his half before eating my own. He worked at golf club during a summer in high school and after I would get off work he would get me in so we could play a round. He helped me get home for my grandmother’s funeral a couple years ago.

But that’s what brothers do. I would do the same for him if I could.

As kids, we spend more time with our siblings than we do with anyone else. We spend more time with siblings than alone. Naturally, when kids spend this much time with someone there is going to be conflict. The old sibling rivalry. However, this rivalry has been proven to be a good thing. Not in the eyes of parents who sometimes have to step in help resolve the conflict, of course. However, it’s been shown that those who can learn to solve conflicts with a sibling are better prepared to solve conflicts outside the home, both as kids and later as adults.

I’m sitting here trying to remember what my brother and I did when we were Crash or Bang’s age. I used to fly by myself to Florida to visit grandparents. When I was 9 and my brother 6, we made that solo trip together. On that same trip we went to Disney World. I don’t remember going, but I have seen photos.

fivalWe made my brother’s Fival the Mouse moon other cars during long road trips. When we were older we played basketball in the driveway. We played homerun derby with a wiffle ball. We went for bike rides to the park or just around the block. We played more baseball than you can swing a bat at. We kayaked from our grandmother’s to our parents which required camping for a night. We played competitive beach volleyball one summer. We also played on a mens modified pitch softball team. He was catcher, I was center field. We threw more a few out at home plate. 

It makes me wonder what my two will remember of their childhood together…

Today, we literally live on opposite sides of the world. He is in South Korea with his family and I’m in Nova Scotia with mine. Despite being 6,665 miles apart, we still have common roots, family and the same place we both still call home. Maryland. We back the birds – the Orioles baseball all the way. Steamed crabs and Old Bay seasoning. Corny jokes – especially Star Wars jokes. 

Q: What’s the internal temperature of a tauntaun?
A: Luke warm

B

is also for Birthday because 37 years ago today I got a baby little younger brother. Happy birthday bro!

 

 

42

A city girl from Pennsylvania.

A farm boy from Maryland. 

They met in college at the boy’s birthday party. The rest, as they say, is history.

The girl’s mother asked the boy, “Why do you want to marry my daughter?”
“Why not?” the boy responds.

I laughed when I heard this story. I used to think it was smartass remark. But thinking on it, perhaps he had no reasons why not to marry her. Perhaps, he knew all the reason why. 

But knowing him, it was probably as much a smartass response as it was romantic.

Through the years they’ve had their ups. They’ve had their downs. Perhaps even a few side ways. They’ve lived in at least four different states. Twice as many houses. They brought two strikingly handsome, brilliantly intellegent, incredibly strong yet gentle, loving boys into the world. They couldn’t have done that if they weren’t all that themselves. 

It takes something special to make it 42 years. A great sense of humor, for instance. Like when your husband sneaks up on you while you’re blow drying your hair in the bathroom and bangs on a pot with a wooden spoon. If you don’t laugh, you might kill him. It also takes wisdom. Like knowing you can only get away with said scare only once. It takes great patience. Whether one of you is working vast amounts of overtime or it’s time to move house again or finances are a struggle or your kid just broke another window, patience will see you through. Supporting each other when the going gets tough and laughing together when going gets easy will help any marriage survive the test of time. 

I try to follow their example in both marriage and parenting. Patience. Humor. Love. With a little luck we’ll last 42 years, too.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!