Walmart store switcheroo

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3 I just got home from a trip to the Walmart Supercenter, where a kid had just thrown up on the cereal aisle, and that’s not the worst thing that happened. As a mother of three, I’ve seen my share of pukey kids. I gave that fellow mother a look that said, “I feel your pain, sister.” Then I hightailed it to the next aisle. But there was something even more unsettling than the bodily fluids on the floor of Aisle 5. They’ve rearranged my Walmart! I’ve been shopping at this store for nearly a decade. I know this place better than I know some of my own cousins. But now they’ve [...]

Laundry rules: Tumble and hang — or else

I walked into the laundry room and stopped short – as if someone had slapped my face upon entry. “Who did this?” I glared at the white laundry basket stuffed full of clothes sitting in front of the dryer. I turned and bellowed the angry question downstairs, so the guilty party could hear it. “WHO.DID.THIS?” By my location and the tone of my voice, Tom and the kids could tell exactly what “this” I was yelling about. In our house, there are only a few rules I’m strict about. Number 1: Don’t open the door to strangers. Number 2: Don’t call your brother or sister a bad name. And Number 3: Don’t ever take shirts out of the dryer and [...]

When North and South get married with accents…

When Tom and I started dating 20 years ago, I had to prepare my parents for meeting him. “Tom is great, but he talks funny,” I said. When Tom took me home to meet his folks, he had to do the same thing, saying “You’ll love her, but try not to make fun of her accent.” We were both right. Tom was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota, although his parents moved to Minneapolis later in life. But Tom wanted me to see the town where he grew up so we visited Duluth one year during a July weekend, when the weather forecaster said it was going to be a real “heat wave.” (The temp never rose above 78 degrees. [...]

When trick-or-treaters become trick-or-teenagers

A baby’s first Halloween is kind of a big deal, if you ask his or her mama. I can’t remember lots of things – my iTunes password, my kid’s current shoe size, and I occasionally forget my exact age and have to subtract my birth year from the current year just to figure it out. But even though it has been a decade or more since it happened, I can tell you what costumes my three kids wore for their first Halloween. In 2002, my firstborn was a baby frog. I have an adorable picture of him being kissed on the cheek by my co-worker’s baby, who was a baby bumblebee that year. Our middle child wore a little Superman [...]

What parents need to know about mass shootings

In the days after the Las Vegas shooting – the deadliest mass shooting in American history – I read an article that details expert advice on what regular people should do if we find ourselves in a situation with an active shooter. After reading it, I hovered my finger over the “share” button as I debated about whether or not to send it to my two oldest kids, ages 15 and 13. These were not the lessons I ever planned on sharing with them. But I also want to do all I can to equip them for an imperfect and sometimes violent world, so I hit the send button. Because of the article’s length and level of detail, I didn’t [...]

Shredded: Life with a 5-month-old Corgi

I have a new paper shredder in my home office. It’s quite effective and works at lightning speed. The only drawback is that I have to feed it twice a day, take it out in the backyard so it can poop, and give it a bath when it gets smelly. The shredder also chooses for himself which things to shred and doesn’t wait for authorization from his supervisor – which makes me wonder who’s the real boss around here, me or him. My furry little paper shredder, Cooper the Corgi, is nearly five months old now which means he has moved out of the newborn puppy stage and into the toddler stage. And in case it’s been a while since [...]

What I’ve learned about how to finish

In last week’s column, I admitted to avoiding a book on my nightstand – a book I was afraid to start reading for fear of not finishing it. What would be so bad about not finishing a book, you ask? The name of the book is “Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done,” by Jon Acuff. You see the irony now, right? But despite my fears of flaking out, I started reading. I’ll walk you through what I’ve learned. Chapter 1: I dove into the first chapter with my trusty highlighter poised to capture what I assumed would be reasons why I need to try harder. But I learned that not finishing things has less to do with trying hard [...]

The book I really want to finish

There’s a book on my nightstand right now, waiting for me, highlighter at the ready. I was so excited when I first heard about the book that I pre-ordered it months before it even hit bookshelves. Now it’s been here for almost a week, bathed in that wonderful “new book smell,” but I find myself avoiding it for the worst reasons. The name of the book is Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done, by New York Times-bestselling author Jon Acuff. I’ve been following this author’s blog and books for years now, so I know it’s going to be good. The quality of his writing is possibly outmatched only by the experience of seeing him bring his work to life [...]

When technology gets pushy…

Last week, while shopping at a department store, I visited the ladies room. It was one of those rare times when the restroom was totally silent and empty, except for me. As I was tucking in my shirt and refastening my belt, I nearly jumped out of my jeans when I heard what sounded like a bomb go off behind me. I spun around, my hands shooting up instinctively to shield my face from whatever attack was surely coming. I peered through my fingers and realized that the “bomb” was simply the automatic flushing toilet – which, for the record, sounded more like a plane taking off than a toilet flushing. I fled the stall and headed for the safety [...]

The Hulk needs sleep

Remember the television show called “The Incredible Hulk”? It was on TV from 1978 to 1982, and my parents watched it faithfully on Friday nights. My mom usually had a basket of laundry she’d be folding on the sofa while she watched, and I’d hide my eyes behind that basket when the scary music came on because that meant someone had really ticked off Dr. David Banner, a mild-mannered physician and scientist, and he was about to turn into a raging green hulk of a monster with ripped denim shorts and neon green eyes. I was only about 9 during the last year the Hulk was on television, and I usually had to go to bed as soon as it [...]