children, family, gratitude, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

It’s Write in the Genes

82SSW8CAJEIDU9CAFIGB68CA34USVPCAKFQ3XJCA545AKNCA5C2DJ4CAH9UTODCABW1M93CA45DJ67CAWF0EKWCAQ9CDW0CA6BNTUPCABL982DCACTHT22CA7G2FADCAA23NBCCAJE6CRKCABK50VNCA4X11CYWhen Full Speed started kindergarten within the first two weeks his teacher pulled me aside.  She was sincerely concerned about his fine motor skills and wondered if his vision was impacting his abilities to print (it wasn’t, his handwriting was just that bad).  Naturally I responded in the only way I knew how.  I teared up, went home and called everyone I knew to whine and complain about this horrible injustice.  Yeah, my denial phase about Full Speed’s printing was pretty short-lived.  Once I got over myself, I set my overachiever self on a mission to make him the best 5-year-old printer in America.  Let’s just say, I had mixed results and it tested my relationship with him in not the best of ways.  Ultimately, what I realized is would I rather have a super awesome kid like Full Speed, or a regular kid that is a super awesome printer?  Hands down, I would choose Full Speed every single time.

Full Speed is now an energetic third grader.  His handwriting is still questionable at best, but he lives with such joy and enthusiasm, I don’t really mind.  For instance, he had his first brush with standardized state testing and handled it like a rock star.  He was calm, cool and confident.  Thank goodness he didn’t inherit my anxiety genes (but I can print like nobody’s business!).  To help prepare the class for the Big Test, his teacher requested parents send in encouraging handwritten notes.  I assigned day two of the test to Mad Dog.  He wrote a great little note about how Full Speed was growing into a fine young man and that he was an excellent big brother.  While Full Speed’s teacher appreciated Mad Dog’s note, she had an interesting take on it.  She told Full Speed she now understood where he inherited his handwriting skills.  According to what she read from the note, Full Speed was not an excellent big brother, but rather a big bother.

Interestingly enough, if you ask T.Puzzle he confirms this.





children, family, gratitude, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Good Deal

ry=400-9I was attempting to access an app on Full Speed’s electronic device. In theory, I understood what needed to be done. All I had to do was go to the App Store and find it under the already purchased category. As I tried to execute the theory, I came to a standstill. As I gazed at the glowing face of the iPad, I was frozen with indecision. Where was the app I wanted? Why couldn’t I find the purchased section? Where had my dignity gone? Full Speed, who could see that dear old Mom was struggling, hopped up, came to my aid and in about two seconds flat, found exactly what I needed. He did it in a way that you would patiently help a toddler. This was rather humbling at 8am in the morning.

“Full Speed, are you going to take care of me when I’m old?”

T.Puzzle who didn’t miss a beat chimed in, “Yeah, probably not, Mom.”

Full Speed had a different approach. “Sure, Mom. I’ll take care of you as long as you take care of my dogs.”

Deal. Obviously this technologically challenged Mom can’t afford to be choosy.

children, family, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Reality Check

photo-17Mad Dog and I have returned from our annual kid-free cruise.  We were blessed with good weather, great company and outstanding service and food.  It felt good to get away, but I missed my boys.  We were away from them for four nights.  When we picked them up from school, it was clear that they were happy to see us.  I even got a genuine hug from Full Speed.  If any of you have a third grader like him that willingly gives you a public hug on school grounds, you know how special it is.

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law had volunteered to watch them for us while we were away.  It worked out well because they live right down the street and my nephew goes to the boys’ school.  When I picked up their bags and asked how it went, I was a little taken aback at what I heard.  Apparently, they didn’t really seem to miss me, they didn’t hardly speak my name and they had a great time while we were gone.  Can you imagine?  How is this possible?  You mean their life doesn’t stop if I’m not in it?

Well, I’m going to do the only rational thing I can do for next year’s cruise.  I’m going to have to take them with me.

children, family, gratitude, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Parenting 101

The brainwashing for Steelers fandom starts early with Full Speed
Full Speed's on board, or is he?
Full Speed’s on board, or is he?
Little T.Puzzle mulls over being a Steelers fan...
Little T.Puzzle mulls over being a Steelers fan…
It's obvious he's having some serious second thoughts...
It’s obvious he’s having some serious second thoughts…

“I don’t understand why the boys are excited to watch every NFL team in the play-offs but I can’t ever get them to watch a Steelers game from start to finish,” lamented Mad Dog.

This was my matter-of-fact response, “That’s because you WANT them to watch the Steelers.  Haven’t you learned?  If you tell any boy (Mad Dog included) in this household you WANT them to do something, they will find every excuse not to do it.  If you want the boys to do something, it has to appear to be their own idea.   Otherwise?  You don’t stand a chance.”

There’s a fine line between parenting effectively and downright psychological warfare.  I say, if it gets your kids to eat their vegetables, it’s legit.

children, family, gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, life in pictures, motherhood, parenting

A Year in Review (Happy New Year!)

I am typing this with a sports-related pinkie sprain.  While I have learned some great lessons this year, apparently I still am slow on the realization that my husband is a competitive beast.  Even playing an innocent family game of touch football in the backyard brings out his win-at-all-costs attitude.  I blame him entirely for the injury, but I blame myself for even playing in the first place.


In 2013 I think the biggest change I have noticed, especially with Full Speed, is the strange phenomena of actually being helpful without being asked.  I am rendered speechless when one or both of my boys volunteers to hold a door, carry a bag, let a dog out, etc. and in turn, make my life a little bit easier.  I didn’t think it was possible.  That’s not to say they are perfect or that it happens all the time, it’s just a tiny, little gleaming light at the end of the tunnel for those parents up to their neck in diapers, bottles and constant demands.  May this help us all set the stage for even more positive changes and growth in the coming New Year.


Another major positive change was being reunited with our dog.  T.Puzzle continues to respond well healthwise to both dogs we have now, and seems to have completely outgrown his allergy to them.  Honestly, we never outgrew our love for her and we never will.


Mad Dog and I celebrated our ten-year wedding anniversary.  I can say without doubt, these past ten years have been the best of my life.  It’s not that life somehow got magically easier once we got married, in fact, we’ve faced some pretty major life events.  It has more to do with having someone in your corner that appreciates you for all the right reasons and sticks by you even when you are anything but your best.  My goal for my family is to create a home that is filled with love and acceptance.  With Mad Dog by my side, this goal is automatic.


Familes, people, circumstances and life are never perfect.  The real lesson is to somehow find the love when all else seems dark.  There are always reasons to be thankful.  Sometimes it takes creativity to glean gratitude from your life.  Just make sure you surround yourself with awesome people and then finding the gratitude will be easier than you think.

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