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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

WTF - Raising Children

Raising children has taught me some invaluable lessons about life:

Life is like babies, there's always some type of shit to deal with - thrown at you, to clean up, or to just deal with it.

Never make promises you cannot keep, kids brains are like steel traps to a promise. You'll hear, "Remember when you promised you'd save me the last Oreo 6 years ago and ate it? I remember that Mom, I remember it well."

White clothing is the unicorn of the universe, everyone's heard of it but no one, I repeat, no one has ever seen one.

There is never enough food in the cupboard, even 15 minutes after you go grocery shopping, there is "nothing to eat."

Always stay positive, you are "positive" you are losing your mind, you are "positive" you're going to kill whoever left tubes of Chapstick in the dryer, you are "positive"

You are not alone. I am not talking about what feels like an alien invasion when a child stands next to your bed at 3am just staring at you. I'm saying even after they let you go to the bathroom alone, they still stand outside the door saying, "Mom, I need to ask you a question."

If you worry that no one out there has it as crazy as you do, just go to Chick Fil A on a Saturday and lunchtime and try dining right next to the play place. You will feel completely normal after.

There's not more fun than embarrassing a teenager.

Battle tactical learning is a must, because we all start off trying to be a referee between our children but it ends up degenerating into guerrilla warfare by the end.

I have learned things from my children, that I actually have patience and that "no swearing" promise I made to them a year ago, well, that's never gonna happen.

Some of the best teachable moments are when everything goes wrong, and we all enjoy watching Dad totally lose it.

You will never be ready to a parent, and you'll spend the rest of your life second guessing everything you do, so do it anyway.

Karma is watching that person that give you so much advice when your baby was born totally freaking out exactly the same way you did when their child comes along.

Each new adventure for your child is equal parts letting go and running screaming after them.

Parenting is one part paying attention, one part not exactly listening, one part paying the price for not listening, one part freaking out.

Take every emotion you've ever felt to the extreme, if you can handle that you can become a parent.

If you meet new parents and all they talk about is how special their child is and what amazing things they will do, remember you were that same person when your child was born.

That first time you go to the grocery store alone will feel both sad and magical, there's time to shop!

If you ever want to know what unconditional love feels like?

Have a child.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WTF - School Days, Here we go again

How did you first day of school go?

As usual, I started off with the best of intentions.  "This year I'm going to make the transition easier for the kids, we're going to bed early a week before school, I'm making healthy lunches, AND I'm getting up early making sure they have a great breakfast before they go."

Day One - I think I snoozed the alarm 326 times screwing my get up early making them a healthy breakfast starting their day right.

I opened the teenagers room and the billow of fire coming from the dragon covered in blankets made me rethink the cheerful, "Good morning! It's time to get up!"

The other child, fresh in a cast and sling provided enough entertainment keeping me busy.
Can you help me get my pants on.  My underwear is bunched up. You pulled them down too far my crack is showing.
Can you put on my socks and shoes. My socks are bunched up. The socks rolled under my toes when you put my shoes on.
Can you find the tongue in my shoe, it's pushing on my toes. Why are you groaning?
I think I need a belt with these pants. The belt it too tight.
My shoes don't feel right.
I can't open the milk.
I got milk on my shirt, can you button up the other one?
I can't open the toothpaste.

Luckily I did make the healthy lunches, so score one for me. But I forgot the snacks and fruit so they are splitting 4 Cheezits and 8 grapes.

Running late to school, the teenager snoozes on the window of the car while the other child needs pillows adjusted, seatbelt put on, too tight, too loose, move that part that's pushing on his arm.

I wonder for 1.6 seconds if I should walk cast child into his teacher, introducing myself. Then I figure she'll see the cast when he walks it, it pretty much speaks for itself.

On the ride home, I marvel and the silence in the car, missing them a little bit as the milk someone put on the floorboard spills over on the first turn up 194.

Empty house, so many things to do, I now have time to get them done.  Time to get started!

I sit down with a cup of coffee scrolling through Facebook getting depressed at all the animals needing rescue flooding my feed. The all the cool Moms putting up their First Day of School pictures!

Shit.  I forgot the first day of school picture.

Oh well, I can always take one tomorrow and pretend its the first day because every day for the 180 days will feel like the first day of school.

Is that a lunch box in the back seat?

Monday, August 22, 2016

WTF - The Skunk Update

My little dog, Shawnee has a Napoleonita complex (she's a girl and Napoleon is a boy) meaning, she will chase anything.

She chased a bear rustling through out neighbor's garbage, all of us running after her screaming, "Come back!  Don't get eaten!!"

She chased deer, chased raccoons and squirrels away from my feeders, even ALMOST caught a Possum! (Boy do those animals hiss)

It's the skunks that get me though, because they will let her chase them so far before they've had enough.

First skunk episode:  My boys were fighting in the car on the way home from biking, I got pissed off and dropped them a half mile from the house saying, "Ya'll are walking, I'm going back to the mountain. Oh, and take the dog with you, she'll listen to your complaining."

Of course they look at me surprised, "You're not taking us all the way home? It's cold outside."

"Just go through the woods there, I can see the house from here," I say pulling away enjoying the quiet of my car.

Not even five minutes later, my phone rings.

"Oh God! Mom! Shawnee bit a skunk and got sprayed! Oh God, she's running over to us, Oh God! Shawnee get away! Mom! Help us! Shawnee go away! Oh god, my eyes are burning!"

I finally get home and they've tossed the poor dog in the garage. I swear there was a black cloud over the residence as I pull into the driveway.

Out came the Dawn, the Hydrogen Peroxide and baking soda.  (Side note: 1/2 quart hydrogen peroxide, 1/8 cup of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon blue Dawn dishwashing soap, some say you don't need the baking soda but with that smell I'm not taking chances.)

Second time:

6am, getting children ready for school. Kitchen window open, music playing, nice breeze coming through, dog out doing her business.

I pause. Shit.

I smell skunk.

The dog runs through the back door, past me, spreading her black cloud through the house until I catch her and toss her into the garage. We can't be late for school. 

Take kids to school and on my way back I get a call from the teenager, "Mom! I smell like skunk! Everyone is saying something in school!  Come get me!"  Poor 14 year old showing up as a freshman at high school smelling like skunk.

"But we live in the country, I'm sure you're not the first," I say thinking, man now I have to drive all the way back to Boone.


The younger son never called, he told me later he just announced, "My dog got sprayed by a skunk" as he walked into his classroom. Good Boy.

Later, eyes burning, nose stinging I'm back with the Dawn, Hydrogen Peroxide and baking soda.

Third Time:

5am, putting lunches together, light breeze coming through the windows.

Shit.  I smell skunk.  This time I am smart, I open the garage door, throw her in there, take the kids to school then come back and pull out the Dawn, Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda.

Third time's the charm, right?


Last night, sitting enjoying a movie with the family, sipping a glass of wine.

I stop.

Shit. Is that skunk I smell?

Shawnee comes running through the open door, the hubby and kids screaming, "Get her! Get her!"

Why is this my job?

Back to the tub, even though she hates the bath, she looks at me, sighs, climbing in the tub of her own volition.

I got tired of mixing together my own concoction. This time I bought the dog store stuff. It works like a charm.

So if you want to buy stock in something, think Nature's Remedy Skunk Odor Remover. For 11.95 a bottle, it's worth the money.

This is a safe investment as I have a little dog that loves chasing skunks.  Wonder what would happen if she caught one? No, I'm not going there.

Have you had any fun dancing with skunks lately?

Friday, August 19, 2016

WTF - Is the AC on Or Am I Happy To See You?

Tired of all these dog days of summer?

Tired of sweating?  The trickle down your back into the back of your pants?

Missing the dead of winter, hand warmers, frostbite and hypothermia?

I have the solution!

Go see a movie!

Want your date night involving perky boobies with frosty nipples?

Go see a movie!

This is perfect place to try out that parka before winter, those new gloves you bought on sale, better yet go see a three hour movie wearing your winter gear before winter and see what needs to be replaced!

Best first date?  Go see a movie!

She'll be freezing her ass off and have to huddle close to you for warmth. It's either that or risk becoming a hypothermia victim in that meat locker!

Want to get your legs ready for ski season?

Put on your winter gear and start a new career in mall walking. You won't sweat! The AC inside the mall is set to Arctic Blast June, July and especially August.

This is where Jack Frost likes to shop! In his underwear!

So while we all wait for the temperature outside to FINALLY drop below the temperature inside the mall or movie theater start this petition with me!

If you're setting the AC that low, let's add a snowblower to the inside of the theater so we can all take laps skiing through the Previews!

What do you think? Do you keep an extra blanket in the car just for movies?  Or just take hand warmers with you?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

WTF - Again?

I've been quiet for a while because two weekends ago Max broke his arm in a mountain bike race and to put it lightly things have gotten a little hectic.

 The accident happened at the end of a race, Max's back tire hit a pole and he went into what we call a "death Wobble" going over the handlebars of the bike, breaking his humerus.

I was halfway down the course when I got a text, "Max fell, going over to ski patrol." I'm thinking, OK that doesn't sound too bad.  Then the next text, "Can you walk down a little faster?" Now I'm running down falling twice in the mud before finding him.

Leave it to my child, sitting in ski patrol, in pain, arm in a sling first thing he says after seeing me is, "Did they record my finish time?"

We're sitting and talking, I look at Max saying, "Why is it always you?"  Of course, to make me feel better, my other son says, "No, it's not always Max. Remember I sliced a chunk of my hand off in the meat slicer. Oh, and remember when I went to the hospital with a possible concussion? See, it isn't always Max."

Boy I feel a lot better.  I think.

The break requires sedation to set so off we go to Watauga Medical Center. Upon awakening, my child gently reminds me that we need to find something to be grateful for, right?


"I'll be out of the cast before snow season." He says with a smile, lying back in the hospital bed.

OK son, let's find things to be grateful for:

I am grateful I didn't end up getting arrested when it took 5 hours in the Emergency Room getting the arm X-rayed.  Oh especially when the doctor finally came in, cut his shirt off, looked at me saying, "Oh!  It's broken!"  No shit, Sherlock!

I'm getting a lot more exercise getting up and getting things for him.

It curtailed all of his crazy summer plans, but really? Did the Lord need to take me seriously when I said, "I need a break?"

He's resting a good week before school.  Thank goodness no missed days, I hope.

He's actually reading.

We get to spend time together, he can't get away from me now.

All the attention from the kids at school when he goes back, of course he mentioned the girls.

The OLYMPICS!  We are watching that instead of back to back episodes of CHOWDER!

He's not in a cast, he's in a brace and a sling, so there's no freaking out about getting things wet.

Having boys makes you tough.

He broke his left arm, YAY!  He can still write!

His shoulder didn't go in the accident, he'd be out a full year if that happened.

So see? It isn't that bad. 6 weeks in the brace and sling, keep us in your thoughts, Lord knows we need it.

Oh and the last thing I'm grateful for?

He got the good pain medication prescription, but only needs Motrin so far.

I'm saving those pills for later.

How did Dad help pass the time? You are welcome!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

WTF - Why Things Go Wrong

Why things go wrong, the Mom edition.

Because you have kids. Nothing will go the way you planned because there two little human beings deciding the universe doesn't play the way they do.

Because you don't have time. Sure everything sounds like a fantastic idea when you think of it at 330 in the morning. Trying to implement that idea in 15 minutes when it takes a minimum hour means moving to Plan B.

Because life has a short attention span. Every tried explaining how to pose for a picture to a child? Then you understand what I mean as you chase them with the camera taking bursts of pictures hoping for one good one.

Because you didn't think it through - sure we should take time thinking the plan completely through but seriously, who has the time for that? It is more fun halfway through saying, "Well that didn't go as planned" and moving on to plan B.

Because God has a sense of humor. Imagine knowing everything all the time, how boring! Why not stir things up a little for some fun. I totally get it, I do the same thing to friends and neighbors.

I read Things Successful People Do When Things Go Wrong and thought I would share these insights from a WTF point of view. You can read the story

Or you can read my take.

Everything is flexible, adjust and move on. Like, "Shit, painting the inside of the toilet to cover scratches from the hanger used to unclog it didn't work, or maybe a child came in, peed and flushed it before the paint dried. Another coat or flushing the paint down the toilet and trying again will work."

Be realistic. If you know your boys are each inviting 2 friends over for their birthday party, have the appropriate number bottles of wine available.

Failure is simply a learning process. "Yes I now realize that Silly String and teenage boys does not go well together. And I also realize following it with a "gentle" water balloon fight probably was pushing it. Should I still bring out the wiffle ball and bats? Well, that's what wine is for."

Every failure means another step toward success. Look at everyone and say, "Oh did I screw that up again?" Or simply say, "oh" and walk away figuring you are stepping toward success if everyone survived and you didn't call the police.

There's always someone willing to tell you what to do, ask for advice. "Hello Tammy? Right now I have 7 kids in the basement killing each other. I need your advice. White or Red?"

Be strong and persistent. "I don't care what fit you pitch, you're not getting the new Wifi password until your room is clean.

They know no lesson is wasted. "I learned a valuable lesson mixing children, a trampoline and a close by roof.  Of course they explained it is not time wasted because it was very fun."

Know when to take a break and walk away for a bit. This is good for when things go wrong, it gives you a new perspective, it also keeps you from strangling children.

They never blame. Better yet if someone goes wrong and a child is smiling, you better bet they have someone else to blame.

Never wait for the right moment. Life goes by too fast, drink that wine before you invite the kids over, drink that wine BEFORE you go on that tubing trip. Better yet, why wait, drink it anyway.

What do you do when things go wrong?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

WTF - Go Tubing they said, it will be fun!

That moment when you wake up during the summer thinking, "Oh crap!  School is just around the corner! Have I made enough memories?????"

Enter tubing, a High Country tradition, a usual bucket list item every summer.

Last summer I took the kids tubing on the New River.  Highlights?
A 3 hour tour, honestly 3 hours!
Dragging the bottom so much I was afraid of pulling a tadpole out of my bathing suit bottoms.
80 degree heat, full sun
Drifting constantly to the trees with snakes hanging out of them
Forgetting bug spray

So why did I go again? The "childbirth theory"

Explanation please.

After your first child, you vow, "Oh my God, I'm never doing that again" forget about it and before you know it you're back in the hospital with the 2nd saying, "Oh my God, I remember NOW!"

So I tucked away the New River memories and set myself up again taking 7 kids and 2 adults with me!

First, I went over to Toe River Lodge because I heard they have a BREWERY and their tours are a more manageable hour and a half.  Usually I can survive anything with children lasting an hour and a half,

Oh, and you can take beer with you.  Taking 7 kids tubing meant yes, I needed the beer AND I think I could survive for an hour and half.

We started at the lodge, sampled beers picking which one we'd take with us in our cute little "howler" a 2 beer plastic growler, piled into a van and drove up the river to our put in spot.

Was this trip like child birth, NO! It was awesome.

The kids all ran down jumping in their tubes, having water fights and generally acting crazy. After ten minutes though since I have a slight weight advantage over them, they drifted just out of earshot on the river. The other couple I was with beached themselves on the first bend getting stuck as I moved out of earshot of them.

I was blessed with quiet drinking beer floating in circles down the Toe River looking up at the sky!

A few things to remember if you are heading to Blind Squirrel Brewery for a beer and a tube:

Plan your trip after a few days of rain, or check the river level, planning ahead for less butt dragging.

If this is a date, give your lady some slack, there is no way looking graceful getting in and out of a tube. (Imagine splaying your legs wide as you throw your butt up falling out the side into the water, wait a minute, that could be someone's perfect date)

Tie your beer to your string tightly adding several knots, I spent five minutes looking like Michael Phelps chasing my howler, but I got it!

Your tube will always gravitate to the sunny rock with the snake. Just send your "please don't bite me" energy as you frantically paddle the other way.

You have to get out of your tube to move it, unless you have gorilla arms, they will not touch the water on either side of you.

The rocks are slippery, hold onto your tube if you stand up, and again give your lady some slack as she falls all over the place trying to get out from the rock garden she got stuck in.

Empty your pockets, empty your pockets. My poor friend over turned getting in losing his knife in the process. Another friend on the New overturned and lost his car keys!

Don't worry about the "what just touched my leg" moments, and don't mind the girlish scream coming from the dude beside you, at least it touched his leg,

Finally seeing that tiny head come out of the water then disappear as you put in your tube simply say, "That was a turtle, that was a turtle, that was a turtle," over and over again until you believe it.

Think about the Toe River Lodge and Blind Squirrel Brewery for your tubing trip down the Toe River, fill your "howler" with great craft brew or apple cider, send everyone ahead and relax on your ride.

The best part, the tubing ride finishes right in front of the Lodge complete with a Restaurant, just in time for lunch. I mean who wants to pick tadpoles out of their sandwich when you can sit on the deck enjoy fresh made local farm food and more craft beer and cider watching everyone else fall in and out of their tubes. I received an "8" from restaurant goers as I got out of my tube!

Next on the agenda: Ziplining with Blind Squirrel.  Think they have a way you can take your howler over there?

For more information or to book your trip here's their website:


Thursday, August 4, 2016

WTF - Dishwasher Etiquette

Two constants my kitchen:

Loading a dishwasher is considered a work of art and,

I'd rather rearrange the dishwasher for 30 minutes before hand washing that one cup.

The first time I put the kids in charge of the dishwasher started with a "Put your cereal bowl and spoon in the dishwasher."

The bowl was on the top rack of the dishwasher facing the wrong way, the spoon inside of it.


So I posted a letter on the refrigerator in our kitchen:

"Dear Children,
The dishwasher is the silver appliance next to the sink under the counter.
It is not your beautiful, wonderful, feeling quite young mother.

Then I decided explaining my dishwasher loading strategy:

Me: "Kids, think of loading the dishwasher like a piece of art. Remember all the Lego are you created? Fitting everything in the dishwasher is a lot like Legos, the goal is getting everything in the kitchen into the dishwasher in one load."

Son after 15 minutes of loading the dishwasher, "This isn't as fun as Legos."

Me behind them rearranging the dishwasher.

Some advice when loading the dishwasher:

A good pre rinse ensures your dishes will come out clean, especially fried egg  yolk.

Enter the dog.

My dog is a Pavlov study, she appears drooling at the creaking sound opening the dishwasher.

When loading remember:

The plastic containers - top rack or you'll get amazing pieces of warped art. It is a constant that containers go in with lids, come out without them. Plastic container lids go into the same place as extra socks out of the dryer.

If you drink out of it, it goes on the top rack. Martini glasses, wine glasses, champagne glasses, but I digress.

Plates always go on the bottom rack, they have a special place keeping them separated for their cleaning pleasure.

Here's where the hubby and I argue, if I have pots or large bowls I put them on the top rack so they don't restrict the water getting from the bottom to the top of the dishwasher. My hubby does it the other way, and both are guilty of rearranging the dishwasher behind the other.

Save yourself time arranging and separating silverware before you wash them.

Turning it on, try to forget this thought, "It takes the dishwasher long washing the dishes than it would take you washing it by hand."

Two things can ruin my morning:

Stepping in dog pee and,

A full dishwasher of clean dishes and I'm the first one finding it.

Which is why the night before when someone said "The dishwasher is loaded" I thought they were talking about me, not the actual dishwasher.

But wait, isn't that me?

Monday, August 1, 2016

WTF - Frost and Laundry

I always think of the Frost poem when I do laundry:

And there are piles to go before I sleep.
Piles to go before I sleep.

Laundry has taught me many things:

Imaginary friends are real, seriously, because the amount of clothes I'm cleaning there are more than 4 people living in this household.

Clean clothes left on the floor long enough become dirty clothes, the dog has to cover up that laundry detergent smell somehow.

Children think wearing something once constitutes it as dirty, that is, until they start doing their own laundry.

Why buy a child a dresser when all the laundry stays on his bed until dirty.

There is a "5 second" rule to laundry, if you open the washer and the smell doesn't bring you to your knees, it's perfectly fine transferring the three day old laundry to the dryer.

When telling a child to do laundry you must include things like, "put detergent in" and "turn on the washing machine.

I seriously think a Mom came up with the concept of nudist colonies, a quick look at my body I'm fine with doing laundry as I continue folding.

The dryer is a magical Ground Hog place, you keep turning it on, forgetting the laundry, turning it on again, forgetting it again, turning it on again.

There is nothing sexier than watching a man fold laundry.

One of these days I'd love to say, "Dear Laundry, you're not attractive, I'm not doing you.  Love Kelly."

What has laundry taught you?