Monday, February 27, 2017

Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be A-Holes

Apologies in advance to Waylon and Willie

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be a-holes
Don't let 'em talk smack and act like they're cool
It makes 'em look insecure - so much like a tool
Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be a-holes
'Cause people won't forget that and they'll grow up to be
A-holes to someone they love

Uh oh! The mama bear has been poked again. 

You know that saying, "Boys will be Boys"? Yeah. Well, Boys will be A-holes too. And girls. But I'm here to address the boys. But girl moms can come along for the ride too.

I'd like to break it down for all of you who turn a deaf ear when someone says your child can be an a-hole. I know that may be hard to hear, but we all need to. I live in a house with 3 mostly sweet boys and a husband, who all have the potential to act like an a-hole. Your child is no different. If they are capable of treating you or their siblings like a jerk, then why wouldn't they treat "friends" that way? 

I am sure you are not new to the concept of people fighting their own insecurities - their lack of athletic talent, their chubby mid-section, their need to feel accepted/perfect, their less-than desirable home life, their overall awkwardness, etc. - by targeting and belittling others. I know! I know. It is very hard to believe that your child acts differently when you are not around. I get it. But they absolutely do, because you'd probably tear them to shreds if you heard and saw the way they treat others so they can feel super cool and impress their peers. 

I also know you're going to want to justify your son's behavior by saying the other child probably provoked it,  because our first reaction is to protect our children and see them as a victim. But would you believe that the other child may just be smaller, quieter, may not conform to the popular dress code, or maybe he's just a nice kid and other kids view him as uncool or even better...a target? It happens. 

I am certainly not an expert in this field, or any field for that matter. But I grew up in a house full of boys and am now raising a house full. I definitely know what it looks like for boys to be boys...

  • Friendly fighting - boxing, body slamming, cage fighting on trampolines, whacking each other with sticks and swords, scrappy driveway basketball games, etc.
  • Friendly rivalry on the court, course, or field - when both parties are equally enjoying it and both walk away feeling good about themselves
  • Real live peeing contests 
  • Ganging up on younger sisters - maybe even tying her up and leaving her until someone noticed she was missing
  • Blaming other siblings for their own wrong doing
  • Back talking parents to prove a point
But for boys to be a-holes is completely different. Boys are not a-holes by nature. They are capable of being nice and kind to others. They become a-holes to cover up hurt and self-doubt. It usually shows up in the form of...
  • Becoming physically aggressive - pushing, hitting, kicking, or threatening to fight the target
  • Spreading rumors and making false hurtful comments about the target - such as:
    • "He sucks at {insert sport}."
    • "He must be gay because he can't get a girl."
    • "He is only on the team because the coach felt sorry for him." 
    • "He wears cheap off-brand clothes."
  • Ganging up and making them feel helpless/backed into a corner
  • Framing and blaming - destroying property or breaking rules and blaming the target
  • Talking crap - Constant degrading, heckling, and belittling where no one of authority can hear. Not to be confused with friendly rivalry.  Usually about:
    • clothes
    • sports ability
    • girls
    • academic performance
    • physical appearance
  • One-upping and incessant bragging - which sadly, they usually learn from their parents
All of the above is nothing but insecurity and self-doubt. We have encountered all this as parents of three boys. On the rare occasion that we are on the offending side, my boys know there are absolutely going to be consequences for their actions. Those consequences involve humbling themselves and being held accountable. Unfortunately, we have been on the receiving end of a lot of this in recent years. And while I would love to address each negative behavior above with my personal examples and explanations, I'll spare you this time. But I will say, when brought to the parents' attention, the child had minimal consequences, no humbling and accountability was involved, and we were made to look like the bad guys. When did we decide it was OK for our a-hole children not to own their words and actions?

I have consulted professionals of all kinds to get their opinion of how to best handle these situations. I have only walked away more confused - let the school handle it, go straight to the parent, take the highroad, etc. There is no perfect solution! So I wanted to share this with you, in hopes that you will start a dialogue with your potential a-hole son. Several years ago, I saved this to a Pinterest board when our neighbor was dealing with some mean girl drama. Her mom and I sat down with our kids and had them insert names to each of these characteristics. I have also put a copy on my refrigerator to remind my boys of what a friend looks like. I hope that you will do the same. It comes from a children's book called Confessions of a Former Bully. We have never read it, but it gets great reviews and I just love this excerpt! 

Really people! No one likes an a-hole! Young a-holes grow up to be big a-holes. In their path of destruction they not only hurt others, they hurt themselves. Your son is 150% capable of doing EVERYTHING on the right side of this chart. So don't act surprised when your phone rings and you learn that he was acting like an a-hole. Ask him if he has ever treated someone this way. Give him a chance to own it! Ask him if he's ever been treated this way. You just may learn something new and help him through any harbored negativity.

He is also 150% capable of doing EVERYTHING on the left side of the chart. Ask him to give you examples of a time when he was a good friend. Yes! I mean your middle and high schoolers especially! It's not a babyish conversation. It's something we have an obligation to do. It also reminds our children of our expectations and the Golden Rule.

If you've made it this far and you're saying "Stop your whining! It's just a will be kids...boys will be boys", then you're just the person who needs to read this, because obviously you've been fortunate enough to not be on the receiving end of this. So thank you for sticking around. Hopefully, you took away a nugget.

Alright, I will now step down from my soapbox. But please! I'm begging you... Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be A-holes! Start the conversation now. It's never too late.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Oh hey {just a} Friday!

Oh it was just a Friday!

There was this from the teenager...

He ate 5 frozen waffles for breakfast.

He doesn't know front from the back.

He's somewhere in that group of kids boarding a bus for a Wyldlife trip to Carolina Point and didn't even say goodbye.

And this from the other two...

The annual Boosterthon Fun Run to benefit Satchel Ford PTO. There's loud music, people running all over the place, bartenders serving water shots, and principals eating worms. My friend Margaret and I called it an elementary frat party. All because they raised $30K. Good stuff!

And these are the shots you get on your phone when it's too bright to see what you're taking a picture of.

Well maybe that one was ok.

I don't really know what's happening here. All I know is he needs a haircut.

Or what's happening here.

Good attempt at a cute pic!

Hey there buddy! This ain't no walkathon.

Mad skillzzz.

Aaaaaannnnndddd he's out.

Have a great weekend!



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Funny Memory...Just in Time

Today I'm thanking Facebook for a funny memory...just in time!

My heart has been a little heavy the last few days, as I realized that we are only a few days away from the six-month mark since we lost Robin. She was my neighbor and closest friend, and I still cannot believe that it has been six months since I have seen her.

Our days were packed with hilarious, nowhere phone conversations that were frequently cut short because someone more important was beeping in...and she wasn't afraid to tell you that. Our days were also filled with great dysfunction! Whether it was the cops showing up for false alarms, Carson's third-world illnesses, or the Baker boys having to get stitches while Robin was babysitting, there was always dysfunction!

Just in the nick of time, this morning Facebook reminded me of one of the funniest events of my entire life. I have NEVER laughed so hard and for so long...after the fact, that is. I have always wanted to tell this story on this blog but I'm afraid it won't translate well if it's transcribed. I've also wondered if I should video the story. But without an audience, I'm afraid it will lose the luster. So I'm going to do the best I can... grab a glass of wine and have a seat!

Wonder-twin powers activate!

And finally the most bizarre poster advocating hand washing I've ever seen...on the wall in a hospital bathroom!!!

Thanks for hanging and I hope you got a good chuckle!



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Beauty and the Barre

Hey friends!

I just wanted to let y'all in on 2 of my favorite things that are making my life a little sweeter {and healthier} and share with you a couple of opportunities to learn more about both...

About 4 years ago I was introduced to Barre3 online. It's an affordable, online exercise program that combines yoga, pilates, and ballet and is a fabulous total body workout. I quickly became obsessed, as it was the greatest workout I'd ever done! Then, about a year and a half later my JLC buddy Lauren opened a studio in Columbia. I joined shortly after and never looked back! I feel more energized and have noticed a crazy change in my strength and endurance and as a bonus I've lost some LBS and inches!

The super awesome thing about Barre3 is they focus on all aspects of a healthy lifestyle - fitness, nutrition, and a mind-body connection. I have made some great friends and truly enjoy going! If you're in my area and ever want to try a class...I'd love to have you as my guest.

Well, this evening (2/21) at 8pm EST Barre3's founder Sadie Lincoln is holding a webinar on getting healthy from the inside out. It's amazing how our gut-health controls the rest of our health. The info is below...I can't wait to tune in and I hope you will too!

Click here to join the discussion!

Next up...

Y'all know I'm a woman on a mission to educate others on the alarming facts and lack of regulations regarding the personal care product industry. Beautycounter is changing the "face" of the industry and we want to teach you more about it!

For 2 and a half years, Beautycounter has been far more than a source for high-performing personal care products for my family and me. It has been a financially rewarding platform for me to share my passion. I LOVE THIS JOB!

My good buddy and mentor Jen is holding an informative Facebook LIVE session Wednesday night (2/22) at 8pm EST. I hope you will join me! It's gonna be full of AWESOME information that you'll want to share with others!

Meet Beautycounter Wednesday, February 22 at 8pm EST!
Click here to learn more! 

If you love something...share it! 

Here's to hoping my passions will rub off on you a little. 😉


Friday, February 17, 2017

Oh Hey Friday! | 4 on Friday and a Flashback

{24 Valentine's Days}

You know what's cool about my Valentine? He doesn't give a rip about Valentine's Day and neither do I. I mean, we like to acknowledge the occasion and exchange a small memento - card...candy, because it's just fun to celebrate something...right? But we are definitely not the go-all-outers or anything.

We used to be! But then we both realized that we get a heck of a lot more mileage out of the random acts of affection than commercially pressured holidays. Shan knows I love him more than air and that I'll always look at him with heart eyes 😍 . And he especially knows that anytime he agrees to wear a costume... Well, we all know how I am about costumes and nothing says love like a grown man in a Jon-Jon. So the love is there!

And although he's a man of few words and I sometimes wonder if he's alive, he will occasionally surprise me. This year he actually did! He got me 2 dozen baby pink roses to commemorate our 24th Valentine's Day together! 💘  LOVE!

I made him some of my world-famous Chocolate Covered Strawberries!

And here I am taking it all the way back to 1993...our very first Valentine's Day together! Maybe there was a ghost in the room or maybe I was contemplating going goth? Either way, I can't figure that look very white.

And of course the Valentine Chicken made a pit-stop to see the boys! The frosted sugar cookies from Silver Spoon...OH MY WORD. And those boys love an iTunes gift card! (If you've been coming here a while, you know we have the ridiculously made-up tradition of the Valentine's Chicken all because of my Kindergarten teacher and then my mom and I who have kept it going for 37 years. Out of control.)


No body likes boundaries, but everyone needs them! Friends, parents, grandparents, and especially the kids. Our Sunday School class has been reading this...

and it's really good. I suggest you grab a copy or ask your church to add this to the upcoming studies. Or better yet, come join us anytime! We'll be covering the book over the next 6 weeks. Any's got me really looking forward to class each week because it is so relevant right now. 


Has the blog even met Arnold???? I don't think so!
OMGeeeeeee! So last April we went to an annual event called The Golf Ball. It's an auctiony event where the goal is to get you to drink more-spend more. Well, 4 cocktails, 1 - $25 raffle ticket, and a 5 gallon drum that said "puppy" on it later...we came home with a dog. 

Here we are just a normal dogless couple and then here we are getting our world rocked! Of all the tickets in that bucket who the heck would have thought we'd actually win.
I mean we had been wanting a dog. Me, more like another dachshund and Shan had really been wanting a lab, but not a lab first. We screwed that up that night. We came home with a 6 week old yellow lab who was appropriately named Arnold Palmer. He has since then become a social media sensation donning the hashtag #BadArnold.

So really long story short - follow his hashtag on Facebook and Instagram - so you can see why he got that hashtag!

Any who, he had to be sent away to "camp". He was in St. Matthews, SC at Beaver Creek Kennels...where bad dogs go to die. Not really, know what I mean. We got him back and he's been home almost 2 weeks and he's SO much better. He'll always be #BadArnold, but he's more like #BetterArnold now. Look at my shweet boy! Who's sleepy?

{French Pressin'}

We are fancy, y'all! In one of my scary convos with Shan about the havoc that the K-cups are wreaking on the environment and our bodies with all their chemicals, I convinced him to go French Press. I don't think he's ever going back to traditional coffee making or K-cups. All those parts inside your coffee maker get corroded with funk and they are all made of plastic. So don't be like...oh well we still use a coffee maker...because it's all gross.  

It's amazing how much different the coffee tastes. I'm not even a coffee person, but I notice a huge difference. It doesn't have a plastic after taste! It's amazing. And it makes mornings feel super fancy!

Go get one!

{Flashback Friday} 

I really don't have a 5th thing to mention and since I have taken such a huge hiatus I feel like my blog has missed a lot of our lives! So I'm gonna throw in a flashback...

My flashback this week is to last summer when wise guy Sam thought it'd be funny to change my name in my phone and wouldn't tell me how to change it back! 😂  Every time I'd ask Siri something she'd say "Sure Huge Anus! I'll..." We still laugh so hard that we cry! I finally figured it out and have a regular name. But sometimes I secretly wish Siri would still call me Huge Anus because it was hysterical. Especially in public!

Happy Friday!

"Huge Anus"

Monday, February 13, 2017

Weekend Wrap

Wow! After my post last Friday, I had no idea I would evoke such emotion. Your FB comments, texts, private messages and conversations in passing warmed my heart. It's so good to know I'm not alone in these feelings. I also did NOT intend to make so many of you sad or fearful of the teen years. It's all good. Just a HUGE learning experience!

But the flip side of all that is that it breathed some life into this empty space of mine. It used to get some pretty good foot traffic on this blog and it was nice to have visitors again...

Thanks for inspiring me to come back!

I used to enjoy recapping our weekends. I want my boys to be able to come back and read what life was like back-in-the-day. It's usually simple with no frills, but it's ours.

I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd Grade Poetry Cafe. We watched and waited as 7000 - no lie - 2nd graders read their masterpieces. Some were endearing and touted love and praise for mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters so sweetly! Some, it was hard to tell who plagiarized who, as they sounded extremely similar to their classmates. Then there was the child who read his perfectly written poem - chock full of metaphors and personification - about his alien-like clothing. I'm sure that mother's heart was melting! ;-)

And Friday night was so eventful that I can't even remember what we did. All I remember is that there was pizza and brownies involved. Good enough.

What a GORGEOUS day! Winter has decided to only tease us this year in South Cackalacky and Mother Nature has been more than generous with the spring-like temps. So I decided while the crazies were wrapping up their basketball season that I'd do some spring cleaning. My new obsession...Method squirt + mop! With its delightful almond scent, my boys were very disappointed to discover that I actually hadn't made Biscottis, it was just the floor cleaner. Sorry, guys. BUZZ KILL!

Somehow, we ended up being childless Saturday night. The boys all went hither, thither and yon, sleeping over with friends. And Shannon and I were all.alone! We went all and heavy! With a spic-n-span house, we spent the evening eating takeout sushi, getting caught up to the season finale of The Affair and doing this...

Folding six loads of laundry! Because that's hot when it comes out of the dryer, and heavy when it fills the basket...right?

Sunday was a good Sunday. My friends and I have recently discussed the ridonkulous hustle and bustle that occurs on Sundays. Practices, games, school, there, and everywhere! When did it become like that? I like it Lionel Ritchie-style. After church, we went to lunch and leisurely enjoyed the rest of the beautiful afternoon. Shan and the boys made some progress on the tree house (Yay!), I went to barre3, got us all organized for the week, then Shan made us some amazing filets on the grill. I forewarned everyone in my house that it was Grammy night and that I would be out of commission at 8pm.

As far as the 2017 Grammys are concerned, I have 2 words (actually, names)...


And Beyonce´??????????

Adele cleaned house...again. It was just like a flashback from 5 years ago. And "Bouncey" was channeling the Virgin Mary or something. I'm not really sure what was happening there. Did you know she's having twins? I think she's the first person to ever have twins. #notreallyafan

Any who, it was just another wild weekend in the life of this family in The Acres.

See y'all soon!

Friday, February 10, 2017

It ain't that simple anymore!

Blogging these days ain't that simple. I used to blog about play dates, brightly colored thematic birthday parties, t-ball, the perfect DIY project, and the latest virus that was sweeping through our house. Of course we still have all of that stuff going on...and more! But life is happening so fast I can barely keep up.

When I started blogging 11-ish years ago, life was slower - simpler. Well, life ain't that simple anymore. And parenting definitely ain't that simple anymore. And it's all happening in a whirlwind. Is it bad to say that I feel like I am building them all up, just to let them all go? I am struggling and trying to hang on to every day I have with them in my home.

It seems like yesterday that a bright pink little baby boy was placed on my chest, as we welcomed him to the world. That little baby grew into a silly toddler who loved to take naps on the sofa with his momma. He then grew into an adolescent who had a fiery passion for guitar and a great sense of humor, who also loved to be his momma's copilot on errands. Now he's a handsome, solid, teenager who still loves his guitar, but also loves golf and friends and spending time doing his "own thing". And I hear "not right now, mom" a lot more than I'd like these days.

He still loves his momma. I know he does. But some days - lots of days - he makes me wonder. And lots of nights I pray myself to sleep, hoping he always will and wondering if I've done enough to make him the man he needs to be. I lie awake wishing I could go wake him up and get him to talk to me.

As I finish tucking in his youngest brother, I am secretly wishing it was his bedtime too, not only because I would like to spend some time with my husband, but often because I wish I could snuggle with him and have him ask me to read him a story. He has no idea how bad I want to. All that went by faster than I ever imagined and it was so special.

Instead, now he wants to play his video games or text-chat with his friends for a little while longer. It seems exerting independence is more prevalent at 14 than when he was 2. There are so many battles! I have to choose them wisely. The hair battle. The condemnable bedroom battle. The clothes-on-the-floor battle. The homework battle. The friend-choice battle. Pretty soon it will be the car keys battle. So for right now, I will rejoice in the simplicity of the bedtime battle.

All of's kind of like living with a stranger. A stranger who needs tighter boundaries. A stranger who doesn't like to share his heart a whole lot. A stranger who's trying to figure it all out. Little does he is his momma.

I am trying to figure out what he likes to talk about. I'm trying to figure out when to be quiet {which we all know I'd rather be shot than be quiet}. I'm trying to figure out when to tighten the reigns and when to let them loose. A few weeks ago we registered him for HIGH SCHOOL. And even with a guidance counselor sitting there advising us, I was trying to figure out what the best classes would be for my son. After all, I know him better than anyone else. He assured me that he's "got this". And he may for this, but I know that he still needs me, even when he thinks he doesn't.

I also know that in the next couple of years my heart is going to take a backseat to the heart of every other girl that crosses his path. I know that it will be that way until he knows his heart needs me again. And as tough as it is to swallow, I will wait, just like I did on his first day of school. And what a LONG wait that was.

Parenting a teenager is a constant second guess. I truly wish it was as simple as picking out a theme and invitations for his fourth birthday party. I wish I could rewind a lot of days and do things over again. Do them better. But grace is all I have right now. Amazing grace! Because we are both growing up together...learning as we go. And just ain't that simple.

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