Monthly Archives: October 2011

Thursday Things

1. Today’s post is in the form of a list in honor of the long list of things I need to accomplish today. I keep a master list written in my computer of all the things I need to do. Sometimes I assign certain items to certain days. Sometimes I write down things I’ve already completed just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing them off my list. I keep the list in an attempt to avoid waking myself from a dead sleep in the middle of the night because my brain (which apparently doesn’t stop) remembered something I’d forgotten. Usually having the list helps me keep all my deadlines in check, but for some reason, at 1 a.m. this morning I sat straight up in bed, heart racing, because of something my brain remembered that I hadn’t. I finally was able to get back to sleep (plus two hours later), but because I’m over 40, when I woke up (again) this morning to actually start my day, I could not for the life of me remember what it was I was that had cranked up my adrenaline in the hours between late and early.   Which is also why today’s post is in the form of a list. I’m too tired to write proper paragraphs.

2. One of the items on today’s list is to figure out what I’m going to wear to the Cub Scout Halloween party tonight. Last year I went as The Carpool Queen. I didn’t actually dress like my friend Sus, The Carpool Queen. Instead, I wore sleep pants, a t-shirt, and my fuzzy pink bathrobe. I stuck a few Velcro curlers in my hear, smeared my mascara (even more than it already was) under my eyes, and carried a coffee mug and my keys. My kids made me a construction paper crown that said “Carpool Queen.” I went to the party excited to see what all the other parents were wearing. Boy, was I surprised to see that they weren’t wearing costumes. Good times.

But this time, many of the parents have assured me that they will indeed play along this year. So I’m looking for a costume. Here are the contenders:

One of these “Last-Minute  Costume Ideas” from Real Simple (I kind of like Fork in the Road and Pumpkin Pi)

A Bag of Jelly Beans

I wanted to be a Cereal Killer, but my mom thought that might be a little too much for a kids’ party

Or in honor of the showing of  It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown tonight, I could go as a Charlie Brown Ghost

What do you think? Any other brilliant ideas that I could throw together with stuff I already have around the house? I guess I could go as  a pirate or Encyclopedia Brown or Jack from Magic Treehouse since we have the “costumes” for that.

3. Unrelated to anything we’ve been talking about but just something I wanted to share, I’ve been trying to mix up my reading selections with some of the books I probably should have read by now but just never have. I decided to read some of the quintessential Southern writers. I decided to start with William Faulkner so I’ve been reading The Sound and the Fury. This book played a role in gaining William Faulkner the Nobel Prize in Literature. It is ranked sixth on Modern Library’s 100 Best English-Language Novels of the 20th Century.

I don’t get it. A few chapters in I Wikipedia-ed it just to figure out what in the world I was reading. I’m still not convinced that’s what this book is about. It’s kind of like in ninth grade when were reading The Great Gatsby. I loved the book and thought it was a great story, but when our teacher kept trying to get us to explain the significance of the green light and The Eye, I felt like such a dummy for not noticing in the first place.

Or take Bon Iver, for instance. No, seriously, you can have him. I’ve seen a lot of the hipsters reference him in their Tweets: “Contemplating the universe while listening to Bon Iver. Peace.” I’ve seen him show up in people’s Spotify notifications on Facebook. He’s supposed to be one of the hot new artists. But to me, and this is just one girl’s opinion, all of his sounds sing like he’s singing them in a key that’s one too high for him. I think I would like him better if he wasn’t trying to be more tenor-like than he is.

Sigh. I guess when you count Charlie Brown as one of your great life love’s you can’t expect to be one of the hipsters.

Am I alone here? Anything the kids are loving these days that you just don’t get?

Okay. I’m off to conquer my list. Hope you conquer yours today…and that it doesn’t fight back.

Don’t forget to check your local listings for tonight’s showing of It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on ABC!

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Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered….Especially Bewildered

Today is the first in our weekly series of tips and ideas to help us not feel “whacked’ this holiday season.  Raise your hand if you’re surprised I remember I even said we were going to do this on Wednesdays. I’ll admit it, my hand is raised!

I thought we’d kick off the series with a discussion about Halloween tricks, treats, and traditions.

First, just a word about family traditions. If you don’t have any, get some. They don’t have to be elaborate, but they are the memories our children will talk about for the rest of our lives and may continue in their own families. For example, I’ve carried on two of my family’s Halloween traditions: corn chowder and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!   Every year my mom would make corn chowder for Halloween. Soup, stew, or chili is a good choice for Halloween because you can keep it warm on the stove. Everyone can have a small bowl before trick-or-treating and warm up with a little more (if it happens to be cold where you are) after the Halloween festivities. I haven’t put our corn chowder recipe online yet, but I do have some other favorite soup/stew/chili recipes to share and I have a few on my Pinterest Looks Good Enough to Eat board that I haven’t tried yet.

This link has my recipe for Ashley’s Tortilla Soup, Mom’s Beef Stew, Hoppin’ John Stew,  and Sus’s Black Bean & Pork Chili.

 

My favorite chicken & dumpling recipe (from Southern Living)

 

My new favorite chili recipe: Rocky Top Chili

Back in the old days, we had to watch Linus and the gang whenever the network felt like showing it to us, but now in the day of the DVR, you can tape the show and watch it as a family whenever it’s convenient for you! Pop a bag of popcorn,  make some Whimzie Crack, or if you’re really in the Halloween spirit, roast the pumpkin seeds from your jack-o-lantern. I’m linking you to a basic recipe, but you can jazz it up with any seasonings you like to make it sweet or savory.

A new Halloween tradition we added a few years ago is our candy corn and peanuts mix. You’ve tried this, right? If you haven’t, maybe you shouldn’t, because I’m warning you, once you start eating it, it’s very hard to stop.

Pinterest can be a black hole that sucks all the time out of your afternoon, but it can also be a great place to find and store ideas for new Halloween traditions. I like one having one central location to put my ideas. Here’s a link to my Fall Pinterest board. Now, will I try all of those ideas? Absolutely not. But I will try a few. I really want to try the toilet paper roll pumpkins this weekend. Our neighbors have a four-year-old son. This looks like a super easy, no sew, no glue craft we can all do together. Remember, the goal is not to create the perfect holidays that all the moms in the neighborhood will envy. The goal is to create moments with the people you love that will become the memories you treasure.

Does your family have any Halloween traditions?

Here’s my challenge question for the week: How do you handle the leftover Halloween candy? Do you have rules on how much candy the kids are allowed to have after Halloween? How long do you keep the candy around? Do you allow everyone to keep their candy separate or does it go in one big communal pile? I’d love to hear some of your ideas!

Also, if you have any more ideas on how to make this time of year easier or more special, I’d love to hear them! Email me: snoodlings@live.com

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All is Grace

(From John’s website http://www.www.thebeautifuldue.wordpress.com)

I met Brennan Manning at the Christian Booksellers Association Convention in New Orleans during the summer of 2000. He signed a copy of The Ragamuffin Gospel for me. I guess I spent less than five minutes in his presence and he probably only spoke a handful of soft-spoken words, but something about him greatly affected me. I think it was his eyes. I just wrote, rewrote, and deleted at least a half dozen sentences trying to describe that experience, but I can’t get it right without sounding like some crazy Brennan Manning groupie, which I’m not.

In fact, the first time I read The Ragamuffin Gospel, I struggled with its message. I felt like it let Christians off the hook too easily and didn’t demand enough from them. It made grace seem “cheap.” We can talk more about that in a little while, but the point I’m trying to make is that I didn’t stand in line to have Brennan Manning sign my book because I was one of his biggest fans. But when I left, something about him made me wish I could just be in his presence for a little while longer. When I looked in his face, I saw love, humility, but also sadness. Something about that meeting really touched my heart in a way I don’t seem to be able to explain. I don’t know if you’ve ever had an experience like that with someone you’d never met, but the experience of meeting him has never left me.

Several months ago, Meredith told me that her husband John was writing a book with Brennan about Brennan’s life and I’ve been anxiously waiting for it ever since. Brennan is in his late 70s now. His health is failing and my guess is that this book with John will be his last. The book came out a few weeks ago. I was finally able to get a copy and I finished it yesterday…while I was supposed to be finishing my laundry.

It wrecked me.

Knowing that these could very well be Brennan’s last words certainly set the tone for a heart-breaking read, but the transparency and vulnerability of the book left me undone.

This past year has been the hardest year of my spiritual life. I have drawn sharp boundaries between my everyday life on the outside and my relationship with God. One world is full of sunshine and hope. The other is a dark place. I don’t want to discuss it with you here right now, but I say it to let you know that the Amy who read The Ragamuffin Gospel is in a very different place than the one who read All is Grace. From where I stand right now, I couldn’t even afford the “cheap grace” that was afforded the Ragamuffin in his book.

Which is why Brennan’s story in All is Grace brings me to my knees.

Brennan’s story isn’t pretty. His life has been a mess. According to the way the story’s supposed to go in Christian circles, he was supposed to fight alcoholism and win and live happily ever after with lots of speaking engagements and book deals. That’s not the way this story goes. Everybody loves the story of the sinner saved by grace who lives life as a New Creation and never goes back to the old ways ever again. Those are the people God loves and uses to change the world for His glory.

Right?

But what about those who know Him and still fall short of His glory? It doesn’t make sense. How could those  of us who have known God’s grace and favor ever choose another way over His? What do you do with those of us who were on the path to do big things for God only to find ourselves sitting on the side of the wrong road questioning the whole process?  Because I’ve been there. I am there.

This book didn’t tie all loose ends up neatly at the end. I finished it with more questions than answers. But what I took away is a reminder that God doesn’t love me because I’m good enough to love. He loves me even when I don’t love Him back. He doesn’t always choose his straight A students to make His glory known to the world. He often chooses the remedial students who’ve been held back and keep having to repeat grades.

This book doesn’t glorify or make light of sin or bad choices. Brennan Manning’s life is a daily reminder of the consequences of his alcoholism. His disease has cost him so much.

I used to think that to endorse an author I had to completely agree with everything he or she wrote. I don’t think that anymore because I even disagree with myself a lot these days. I just wanted to tell you that this book touched my heart and spoke love into a dark place that hasn’t felt much of anything in awhile.

Here’s who John said was the intended audience for his book. I certainly fit the criteria. Maybe you do, too:

All is Grace was written in a certain frame of mind – that of a ragamuffin. 
Therefore,
this book is by the one who thought he’d be farther along by now, but he’s not.
It is by the inmate who promised the parole board he’d be good, but he wasn’t.
It is by the dim-eyed who showed the path to others, but kept losing his way.
It is by the wet-brained who believed if a little wine is good for the stomach, 
then a lot is great.
It is by the liar, tramp, and thief; otherwise known as the priest, speaker, and author.
It is by the disciple whose cheese slid off his cracker so many times 
he said ‘to hell with cheese-n-crackers.’
It is by the young at heart but old of bone who is led these 
days in a way he’d rather not go.
But,
this book is also for the gentle ones who’ve lived among wolves.
It is for those who’ve broken free of collar
to romp in fields of love and marriage and divorce.
It is for those who mourn, who’ve been mourning most of their lives,
yet they hang on to shall be comforted.
It is for those who’ve dreamed of entertaining angels, 
but found instead a few friends of great price.
It is for the younger and elder prodigals who’ve come to their senses
again, and again, and again, and again.
It is for those whose strain at pious piffle
because they’ve been swallowed by Mercy itself.
This book is for myself and those who have been around 
the block enough times that we dare to whisper
the ragamuffin’s rumor –  
all is grace.
 
(I copied this straight from John’s website. He’s a poet with a way with words who always makes me think. Sometimes he makes me cringe. Sometimes he makes me mad. Sometimes he makes me laugh. Sometimes he breaks my heart. He always makes me think.)
 
Thank you, John. And thank you, Brennan.  Peace of Christ to you.
 

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Things I Learned at FamCamp This Weekend

1. I like to camp!

You heard it here first, I not only survived, I had a great time! It had been way too long since I’d spent a chunk of uninterrupted time outside playing. Out in the woods, the air was sweeter and the stars were so much brighter. The daytime weather could not possibly have been more beautiful.  I loved watching my kids be kids. I liked being unplugged from my regular routine and plugged into my family.

2. I actually prefer cold weather for camp sleeping.

Even though our area broke a weather record for lowest temp on that date (Congratulations.), 38 degrees didn’t seem as cold as I thought it would. I actually sleep better when it’s cold, much to my husband’s chagrin. He doesn’t always enjoy my desire to have the overhead fan in our bedroom set to what he calls “propeller speed,” but I like to snuggle in warm blankets with only my face exposed to the cold. So the temperature didn’t bother me. No, my sleep challenges resulted in lesson 3:

3. Next time I’m bringing an air mattress or at least a better sleeping pad. Those paper towel-thick I rented from Outdoor Rec didn’t do a whole lot for me. I’m a side sleeper and after only a few minutes I’d lose all feeling on whatever side I was sleeping which required me to turn to the other side. Which is harder to do in a flannel sleeping liner inside a sleeping bag than I thought it would be. But I managed.

4. I’m also bringing toilet paper. Enough said about that lesson.

5. Everything tastes better outside and I’m pretty sure the calories don’t count. All that outside living made us hungry and food has never tasted better. And as I’m sure you’d all agree, nothing beats a campfire s’mores. Or several campfire s’mores.

6. Even though you know the stories your Pack Master told around the campfire about the Euchee Maniac and the purple gorilla and the Indian ancestors who pull kids through the floor of their tents aren’t true, it’s hard not think about those stories on your way to the bathroom by yourself with only a dim flashlight to light your way.

I never have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, but I had to get up Saturday night. I didn’t wake anyone to tell them I was going, so as I walked to the bathroom which was a little walk from our tent, I realized no one in the world knew where I was.

But I made it back to my tent safe and sound.

7. I love my bathtub and bed more than I ever have because of FamCamp. I don’t know when I’ve ever been so glad to be clean and so happy to snuggle in my own warm bed.

I have a few pictures from our phones but today is a teacher work day at my kids’ school (Woo to the hoo!) and I don’t want to miss out on spending this extra day with them, so this unedited post of lessons learned will have to suffice for today.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend at least half as much as I enjoyed mine and I hope you have a great Monday!

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Oh, They’re Characters All Right

Today is “Dress Like a Book Character Day” at my kids’ school. It’s written on the Spirit Week instructions I attached to my refrigerator. It’s typed on the homework assignment sheets in my second graders’ binders that I look at every single day. My fifth grader even brought home a two-page letter about it. I wrote it on my calendar in large capital letters. It’s been one of the morning announcements that my kids have heard every morning this week at school. So how none of us remembered that today is “Dress Like a Book Character Day” at my kids’ school until fifteen minutes before bedtime is still one of the great mysteries of life. Or at least one of the great mysteries of this week.

Actually, I probably wouldn’t have thought about it until this morning on the way to school if my sitter hadn’t cancelled about an hour before an event I was supposed to attend. I was sitting at the dinner table with my calendar planning my To Do list for today when I remembered and the craziness began. I hate to think how much more frenzied this morning would have been had we not remembered until today. Because this morning we reached my mind and body’s top capacity for frenzied-ness.

I think a better name for Book Character Day at our house is “Call to Mind Any Random Book Character You Can Who Might Look Like Whatever Costume We Can Throw Together Using Stuff Out of the Dress-Up Box and Other Random Stuff We Have Around the House.” But I guess that’s a little wordy. You would think we’d know to be better prepared. We had Book Character Night at my kids’ old school. But I always seem to be throwing something together and trying to make stuff fit. (Remember our shark character from a couple of years ago?)

My daughter’s outfit was the easiest. After only a couple of false starts we remembered that she was Dorothy for Halloween last year and luckily for us, Dorothy was in a book before she was in the movies, so, thanks to L. Frank Baum and ruby red slippers that we bought a little too big last year so thankfully they still fit, we were set.

We had the makings of a pirate costume so I asked my oldest what books he’d read that had pirates as characters. Luckily, he’s read Treasure Island so he’s going to school dressed like Black Dog. He wanted to be Long John Silver but we didn’t have time to rig up pants that made him look like he only had one leg. He tweaked his costume until way past his bedtime. Once we had the basic pirate look going, I was done. He, however, was looking for handkerchiefs to to stuff in the ends of his sleeves to look like frilly cuffs and a drawstring bag for his doubloons. Time constraints and stress squelch my inner Martha Stewart  tendencies but they apparently enhance his.

The quest for a costume for my youngest son was a little more challenging. He’s not a big fan of dressing up in costumes in the first place, so I was surprised at his enthusiastic brainstorming as we rummaged through our dress-up box. The boys don’t use the box much anymore so it’s become mostly a repository for my daughter’s dresses and costume jewelry so our options were limited. After we’d pulled out the too small Halloween costumes and ruled out the possibility of him going as Scarlett O’Hara (“Who’s he?”), our choices were between Tom Sawyer and Jack from the Magic Treehouse series (who could also double as Encyclopedia Brown, if so desired). My youngest son loves the Magic Treehouse series so he opted to dress like Jack, the protagonist of the series.

My oldest son had dressed as Jack for his first Book Character experience and I know that once upon a time I made the perfect Jack glasses. But that was three or four moves ago and no one has any idea where those glasses are right now. If I were a betting girl, I’d say chances are pretty good I’ll find them when I’m looking for something else next week. My son found his daddy’s  prescription reading glasses which would have been perfect except his dad actually uses those glasses. I have a collection of Dollar Tree readers (Which, for the record, I don’t actually need yet. I just like to be prepared which is so not in line with the theme of the rest of this post.) so I punched the lenses out a pair of tortoiseshell glasses and figured we were all set. Except, my son informed me, those were girl glasses and he didn’t want to look girly. Again for the record, they didn’t look girly, but he remained unconvinced. He found his dad’s spare pair of prescription, not-from-the-Dollar-Tree reading glasses and suggested since Daddy had two, we could punch the lenses out of those. I tried to explain that older people need backups of things and sometimes they even need backups of their backups and that those glasses cost way more than $1 and how they weren’t ours to destroy and we couldn’t ask Daddy right that minute because he was at the function Mama was supposed to be attending and…he could not have cared less. I told him I’d ask Dad about the glasses when he got home but to count on the tortoiseshell Dollar Tree readers to be our probable option.

He woke up first this morning and immediately wanted to know what Daddy had said. I told him, as we expected, we needed to go with the Dollar Tree readers. At which point he decided he wasn’t going to dress up. In fact, he wasn’t going to school at all. His dad suggested he felt left out because his older brother and younger sister had more elaborate outfits. I wasn’t sure the eye patch from the pirate-themed restaurant, my old jean jacket, his dad’s combat boots, his tri-cornered hat from Patriots’ Day, some chopped up pants from the dress-up box, and his Webelos’ kerchief could fall into the “elaborate” category, but I again offered up the Tom Sawyer offering. He tried it on, called it dumb, and went to sulk in his room.

By this time, I was running out of patience and time. I really needed to be able to scratch this off my list so I could attack my Camp Trip To Do list with great passion and zeal. Or at least get it done, too. Dad stepped in and we tag teamed the youngest boy and twenty tense minutes later he decided to go with his original Jack (or Encyclopedia Brown) plan.

It was a fun morning.

Their father, who has known me long enough to know when my last nerve is frayed, offered to take the literarily-dressed children to school and I jumped on the offer firmly with both feet and stuck the landing. I did, however, risk tardiness to pull them out of the truck to get a picture of them in their book regalia, because dadgumit, I wanted a pictorial memory of this day. Right this moment, the memory’s still very almost too fresh, but I just have a feeling it will be a funnier memory sometime down the road.  And since this story demonstrates how my memory isn’t really my best friend these days, I may be down the road a little sooner than I expected. So you go ahead and laugh at this picture now and I’ll catch up by next Wednesday or so.

Hopefully, barring any unforeseen bear attacks or death-by-frostbite over the weekend, I’ll be back next week. Happy Weekend!

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I’m Just Here for the S’mores

I’ve been gathering our camping supplies.

I don’t get camping. I get spending time outside in the beautiful world that God created. I understand why people enjoy hiking and being in nature. But I don’t get sleeping on the cold, hard ground when I have a soft, comfortable bed with fluffy pillows in my house that has a thermostat to keep the temperature set to “cozy” twenty-four hours a day.

So guess who’s going camping this weekend?

Not RV camping with beds and mini-kitchens. I’m talking old school camping. With tents. No kitchens. A community bathroom that’s a good hike away from our campsite. For two nights in a row I will sleep in a sleeping bag in a tent on the hard-packed earth. With a bunch of Cub Scouts. And temperatures in the 40s.

I love being a girl, but I’m no diva. I’m not afraid of dirt. I love to try new things. I’m excited about the daytime activities we have planned and I’m looking forward to s’mores and sing-a-longs around the campfire. But no one has been able to sufficiently explain to me what we will gain from sleeping outside. Why can’t we get there early and stay late? What will we gain from lying in the dark in the cold listening to each other snore?

I went to South Africa the summer before my senior year of college. We had planned to spend a few days at a feeding station in the middle of nowhere where there was no electricity or running water. Ultimately, we had to cancel that part of our trip because rebel fighting had moved to close to the border near where we were to be, and I was crushed. I had really been looking forward to the whole experience. I didn’t mind roughing it for a purpose.

But someone please explain to me what we are accomplishing by sleeping in the dirt when we have beds at home?!

I am excited about cooking over an open fire. (Yes, this might be an appropriate place to wonder why I struggle with sleeping outside because I have a bed yet I’m eager to cook outside when I have a stove. Don’t confuse me with logic.) I’ve been looking for good campfire recipes on the Internet. I’ve been re-reading some of Jana’s posts about cooking at camp. She’s a friend of my friend Meredith and apparently her family is into the whole camping thing. I’m going to drive over to Bass Pro Shop to see if I can find one of the pie irons that she uses in a lot of recipes. And a heated sleeping bag. And a temperature-controlled tent. Or a blow-up cabin.

Honestly, I’m looking forward to sharing this camping experience with my family, I really am. I’m sure laughs will be had and memories will be made. And sleep will be lost. And new blog fodder will probably be created. It’s a win-win for everyone.

So, friends, are any of you avid campers? Any tips for this novice? Recipes we could try? Ideas on how you get all the food out there and keep it from giving us all botulism? Any and all advice is welcome here.

I’m off to look for that blow-up cabin. Wish me luck!

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Wacky Wednesday

from http://www.amazon.com

It’s Spirit Week at my kids’ school aka Stretch Mom’s Stylist Skills Way Too Early in the Morning Week. Today is Wacky Wednesday. It takes longer to put together an outfit that looks like absolutely no thought went into planning it than one might think. I’m not sure why wearing mismatched socks, inside out and backwards clothes, and crazy hairstyles inspires school spirit, but it was deemed appropriate for today on the Spirit Week instruction sheet the kids brought home last Friday and we try to be team players around here.

Speaking of team players, on the way to school my son anxiously exclaimed, “Oh, no!!” and accompanied his outburst with a quick palm thrust to his head. This usually is his sign for “I forgot something” so I started looking around the car to see what we’d left at home. Band is on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I knew we didn’t need his trombone. He had his backpack and I’d seen him frantically stuff his papers into it on the way out the door (never mind that our family way is to have our backpacks ready to go the night before). I’d signed all permission slips pending for the week so I asked him, “What is it?” to which he responded, “Never mind.” This is usually his sign for “I’ve forgotten to tell you something that I don’t want to mention now because you’re probably going to be irritated and gripe at me.” Eventually after a couple of minutes of coaxing, he informed me that he’d forgotten about basketball the day before.

I did, in fact, find this news irritating and preceded to gripe because I filled out the paperwork for him to play basketball at his school the first week of school. I added my name to the email list of parents who wanted to be informed when basketball began. I had discussed with my son the importance of writing announcements and assignments in his school-required planner because “now you’re a fifth grader and people are going to expect you to begin taking responsibility for your information.” But somehow we’ve missed the start of basketball.

When we arrived at the school, I accompanied the kids to the main office (Did I mention we were late today? Our first tardy of the year, so it’s appropriate that it happened on Wacky Wednesday, I guess.) to check them in to school and I asked the secretaries if they had any more information about the start of basketball. They did not. They made a few phone calls and although we didn’t get all of the information, we found out practices/clinic/try-outs/whatever-is-going-on-with-the-basketball-in-the-gym started Monday afternoon. Sigh.

I took a big, cleansing breath, hugged my son to my side, and assured him that all was well. I sent him off to begin his school day secure in his mother’s love and confident in his ability to do better next time.

No, I didn’t. I left in a huff. I don’t think I even told him goodbye.

At least I hadn’t blown it with my two youngest kids. Except that I did. We decided to spike my youngest son’s hair which he thought was a great idea,right up until after I’d smeared hair wax all through his hair to make it stand on end. At which point he decided he didn’t want to have spiked hair. It’s hard to undo hair gel without washing hair which we didn’t have time to do. So I fussed and he whined and the mood for my morning with him was set. I gnawed on my daughter’s goodwill by reminding her she was the one who always made us late and grilling her on why she hadn’t planned her outfit the night before like I’ve told her over and over and over to do. So as they were walking down the hall to their classrooms, tardy slips clutched in their little hands, they weren’t whistling “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

Neither was I as I stomped to my minivan and drove back home with my fists and jaw clenched.

Crud. I blew that one.

It’s hard teaching little people how to become responsible adults. It’s hard knowing when to step in and rescue and when to let them flounder on their own. It’s hard knowing that I haven’t heeded my own advice to “just breathe.”  It’s hard not to become overwhelmed with deadlines and responsibilities and obligations. It’s hard to remember what’s most important during weeks when every day feels like Wacky Wednesday.

We are entering the busy season. Life keeps speeding up with more and more things added to our To Do lists and it won’t slow down until after the holidays. I don’t want to look back in January and realize that I missed my favorite time of year because I was too wrapped up in all the “stuff.”

So let’s make a pact. We might not be able to keep the Wednesdays from being Wacky, but we don’t have to be whacked by them! Let’s share our wisdom with one another and talk about what we do to make sure that the main thing stays the main thing in our lives. Do you have any tidbits to help manage the scheduling craziness that happens this time of year? Any time-saving recipes? Decorating ideas to make our holiday nests cozy? Seen any good holiday ideas on Pinterest lately that we might have missed? Good gift ideas to keep us from spending too much money this holiday season? Any family traditions we might want to adopt? If you can put aside my earlier mistakes of the day, I have a few ideas to share. If you have any ideas, send them to me at snoodlings@live.com.  I’ll start posting our tips and ideas on Wednesdays.

In the meantime…

Happy Wacky Wednesday!

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