Attached at the technological hip

When my alarm went off this morning, I groaned, rolled over and reached under my pillow to give it a good shake to shut it up. My alarm clock is on my smartphone, you see, and when you shake the phone, the alarm is silenced into five more minutes of precious snooze time. After a couple more snoozes and shakes, I finally sat up on the side of the bed and fished the phone out from under the pillow so I could find out how well I’d slept. That’s when it hit me – just how attached I’ve become to a piece of technology that didn’t even exist seven years ago. I’m sleeping with it, for Pete’s sake! We all [...]

The cure for writer’s block

“That’s it,” I said to no one. “I’m getting nowhere.” I shut the lid of my laptop in disgust and walked away. As I paced around the room, I glanced out the window and decided a walk might help jumpstart the words that wouldn’t come – not even for a deadline. I rummaged around in the garage until I found Charlie’s dog leash. As I bent to hook it to his collar, he looked up at me with those scaredy-dog eyes, suspicious of a trip to the vet’s office. “Come on, Charlie. Let’s go walk!” I said cheerfully, but he was still reluctant. Once we were striding down the sidewalk, we both felt better. Today was one of those rare [...]

Mom considers a household shutdown

All this talk of government shut-down has got me thinking. Can a mom declare a household shut-down? And if so, what would that look like? More importantly, can it be avoided? To be honest, I’m not sure there’s much hope of reaching a peaceful agreement around here. We’re hopelessly deadlocked on the issue of whether or not socks should be turned right-side out before they’re tossed carelessly into the laundry hamper. I’m firmly in the “yes, definitely” camp, and the kids are stubbornly entrenched in the “what’s the big deal about socks?” category. There’s also a dispute about the frequency and methodology of hand-washing – something you might call “Oh-mama-care.” No matter how many times I tell the kids how [...]

What to be when you grow up

There’s an ongoing conversation in our house about what we’re going to be when we grow up. Our three kids regularly revisit and revise their career plans – wondering aloud what the best or the coolest job might be. We’ve told them many times that there’s no need to figure it out yet since they’re only in 6th, 4th and 1st grades. But I understand why they think about it as much as they do. They’re at the age when their life possibilities are as vast as their imaginations. The boy’s collective career plans include things like historian, professor, investment banker, novelist, computer programmer, video game inventor and drummer. And our youngest, 6-year-old Kate, feels certain she can be a [...]

My not-so-deadly household sins

A friend recently passed along an online article by author Meagan Francis, who wrote a great book called “The Happiest Mom.” I love how this writer lets us peek behind the curtain of her real life. We moms tend to compare ourselves to each other, and some women use those comparisons to beat themselves up and drive themselves nuts in a futile quest to be a “super mom” (as if such a thing even existed.) Meagan’s article is titled “11 (Totally Not) Shameful Ways to Slack Off Around the House,” so I will happily join the movement with seven of my own not-so-deadly household sins. 1. I only sweep up what the dogs won’t eat. Yes, I have a broom [...]

Organizer, heal thyself!

Last weekend I only had one little chore on my “to do” list. It said, “Clean a cabinet.” I’ve been systematically working my way through each room of the house doing a general “purge” – out with the old, outgrown or broken stuff and in with the new – and the home office was the only room left to tackle. The home office has a wall of built-in cabinets that are wonderful for storage, except when they’re so full of stuff that you can’t store anything in them. So I decided to clean out one cabinet every couple of days so that the whole room would be organized in a week or so. Easy peasy, right? But then I opened [...]

A Letter to Miley Cyrus

Dear Miley Cyrus, Oh, honey. I’m not even sure what to say. Like the millions of people who’ve seen the video of your performance at the Music Video Awards show, I’m still a little stunned. At first, I chalked it up to another celebrity behaving badly. Happens all the time, right? But then I saw a news interview with a so-called “media and image expert,” and he said something that made this mama’s blood boil. When asked about your nearly naked, pelvic-grinding, tongue-thrusting, foam finger-riding performance, he said that, while you may not have won an actual Music Video Award, the huge reaction to your exhibition means that you “won the night.” Why? Because we’re all talking about it. I’m [...]

The end of summer break

For the past few weeks, I’ve been ping-ponging between two internal monologues. The first one goes like this: “Oh, I love the summer and how the kids and I are free from strict schedules, homework, filling lunchboxes, school programs and ballgames. Summer is awesome.” And then the second version goes more like this: “If these kids don’t go back to school soon, I’m going to lose my freaking mind.” I’ll be honest and tell you that last week, I found myself chanting the second one in my head more than the first. So even though I’ll miss the lazy days of summer, I’m also happy to drop off the kids for adventures in elementary and middle school. After school drop-off [...]

The Stuttgart Girls Hit Chicago

Alaina, Christy, Jennifer and I grew up together in a small southern Arkansas town. We survived puberty and junior high school together. We cruised around in cars together singing the lyrics to every song on the Chicago 17 cassette tape. We put each other back together again after bad breakups. We dreamed, made plans and eventually stood side by side and tossed our graduation caps into the air during the spring of 1991. But after high school and college, we scattered to different cities and, despite the sporadic phone calls, texts and Facebook updates that kept us loosely connected, we all knew that one of the things our grown-up lives were missing most was time with each other. So during [...]

The Drinking Bird still has it

There’s a bird in our house. And even though he has no wings and can’t fly, we can’t take our eyes off him. He is a “drinking bird,” or what some people call a “dippy bird.” Made of two small glass bulbs connected by a glass tube, the bird is designed to tip over and dip his spongy, felt-covered beak into a cup of water. Once he has a drink, he rights himself once again and continues to rock back and forth until his next drink a minute or two later. Birds like this one have been drinking for nearly a century now, originating back in the early 1900’s. As soon as I spotted the bird in a toy store, [...]