Unintended blashphemy

1 Sep

“Dear God in heaven!”

I’m not sure what’s wrong with me but I keep saying something that I think is blasphemous.  Well actually, I do know what’s wrong with me.  I’ve been doing something really stupid all summer long and each time I do it, I react with “Dear God in heaven!”

For some idiotic reason, I keep smelling random clothes found on the floor to determine if they’re clean or not. Guess what, they never are!!!  And let me tell you something about summer, very bad things brew in the summertime and permeate quite generously from the fibers of a teenager’s clothing.   In this instance, it comes down to basic math:

Marching Band + Cross Country + Soccer² = Toxic Wash

I debated on whether to include “Summer Job” in the formula, but my eldest works at a BBQ restaurant and the smell of smoked beef is quite a nice turn compared to everything else — those clothes don’t cause me to blaspheme my Lord. Also, the aroma of BBQ smoke is generous enough to infiltrate a 10 foot radius, so I know whether it’s clean or not before I’ve entered the room.  No need to lift and sniff those clothes.    Although, they do require the use of one of those Oxy-based detergents to get 95% of the smell out.

To be fair, I should add my husband’s contribution of “Team Manager” to the formula ’cause it happens with his T-shirts too.  I mean really, after 20+ years of marriage, I totally should know better.

I had actually improved my acts of stupidity during the summer and clearly recall making a pact to myself that if it’s on the floor, I’d just deem it dirty and NOT smell it first.  But today, I was thrown off because my dog likes to snag socks and brings them to the gameroom — clean or dirty. The pair today we’re all folded up, just like a clean set newly washed.  So what do I do?  Smell them…. “Dear God in heaven!”  They weren’t clean.

I really just need to stand firm to my rule.  No more lift and sniff!!  Maybe if I stop blaspheming Him, I’ll start remembering to just wash instead of wonder.

Deut 5:11  No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.  (The Message)

Parenting Tip: Axe spray deodorant isn’t enough.  Once the essence of your beast really develops, an antiperspirant with deodorant is required.

Not making the grade: A summer school anecdote

22 Jul

Background:  This summer our youngest beast took his first high school class just to get it out of the way and free up an elective during the school year.

Mom: “How did you do on your health test this week?”

Beast: “I got a 74.”

Mom: “A 74, that isn’t very good at all for a class that is supposed to be an easy A. This is your first high school class babe.  Grades really count starting now.  You can’t start high school with a C in a basic class!”

Beast: “No mom, it’s fine.  The teacher said that most kids got a C since this was a really hard test.”

Dad:  “We don’t care what most kids got.  Did you even study for the test?”

Beast, rolling his eyes and taking on the know-it-all tone:  “No dad!  You don’t study for an open book test.”

No.  No you don’t.

If this is any indication of his high school readiness… it’s going to be a long four years.  Pray for us, please.

Feelin’ Loved Lately

6 Feb

Trivia Crack helps me feel loved

Trivia Crack helps me feel loved

Let me preface this by saying if you’re one of those families with teenagers who still hug and kiss you, tell you everything about their day, and openly admit to wanting to spend time with you – the following list probably won’t make sense to you.

What I’m about to share is a simple list of moments, realizations and events that make me think I may still possibly have a special place in the hearts of my beasts. So here goes…  And keep in mind, the following are not regular occurrences, hence the reason they make me feel special.

Things my beasts do that make me feel loved:

  1. Respond to my text
  2. Put a napkin over their food so it doesn’t splatter all over the microwave
  3. Bring in the trashcan or recycle bin without being asked
  4. Takes out the trashcan or recycle bin without being asked
  5. Puts the toilet seat down (OK, this is rare to basically never, but a girl can dream)
  6. Shares a story from their day that is unsolicited
  7. Shares a story from their day that is solicited
  8. Responds to a question with more than a grunt
  9. Likes a pic I post on Instagram that doesn’t have his dog or self in it
  10. Invites me to load Trivia Crack so we can play against each other
  11. Opens a door for me (any door, anytime, any place – even if accidentally)
  12. Clears his place at dinner table without being asked (actually this is one thing they do well)
  13. Watches a TV show or movie with me (even if it’s about zombies, it’s still time together)
  14. Asks for help with anything

Wow.  It feels good just to type this. If you’re tempted to feel sorry for me or find me pathetic — don’t!!  Remember about 18 months ago I outsourced my emotional fulfillment and need to nurture by getting two puppies.  So if I’m having an off day, waiting for a response to my texts while scrubbing out the microwave next to an overflowing trashcan, chances are I’ve got two baby puppies at my feet waiting for me to make them feel loved too.

Leviticus 26:11-12 — I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you.  I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.

Parenting Tip:  It may not be a picture-perfect relationship. We just have to be present and available when they’re looking for us.

La La Land

18 Aug

You Are Here

You Are Here

In case you’re not familiar, the urban dictionary describes La La Land this way:

You know when you see someone and think, “wow, they’re in their own world.” Well that world is la la land.

Well, I’ve seen first-hand that La La Land does exist.  Here are a few signs that confirmed my 13-year-old beast is currently living there:

  • Finding dairy products in the pantry.
  • Finding used hair product in the pantry.
  • Finding empty used sports bottle in fridge after asking him to put it in dishwasher.
  • After informing him it was in fridge, watching him put said sports bottle in cabinet and then realize it’s not the dishwasher after I inform him it’s not the dishwasher.
  • Instead of taking kitchen trash to outdoor trashcan, he carries it to mailbox then realizes where he is and turns around to take it to backyard where we store the trashcans.
  • Watching him bring the vacuum out the front door and up the driveway before realizing it’s not the closet.

These are just a few, very recent examples.  As hormone levels and surges begin to elevate, I think La La Land will continue to have one very loyal resident.

Parenting Tip:  Use that old chalk board or white board to write out a to-do list instead of ‘nagging’ them verbally.  They get a sense of control by picking which things they do first and marking them off as they do them, and parents can see what’s been done without having to ask.

[Proverbs 17:24 A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.]

Virtual Communication

6 Aug

A real conversation earlier this week with my younger beast.

Baby Beast:  “Oh Mom, by the way, I’m almost out of minutes on my phone.”

Me:  “Okay, remind me later this week if I don’t look into it tomorrow.”

Baby Beast:  “But, I need to figure out with Andrew and Jack what time to meet tomorrow.”

Me:  “What does that have to do with your phone? You’re going to see them tonight.”

Baby Beast:  “I was going to text them and see what time they could meet, but I’m almost out of minutes.”

Me:  “Can’t you just ask them in a few minutes when you see them at practice?”

Baby Beast:  “I’ll try to – it’s just easier to text them.”

I’ve seen it grow and fester more and more as my beasts have entered adolescence, and specifically as they’ve expanded their existence into the electronic realm.  The need for face-to-face communication is no longer a need for today’s generation — it’s actually seen as a nuisance.

When my eldest was putting off his driver’s ed classes, I was perplexed at how a teenage boy wouldn’t rush to get his license.  Then I realized, he communicates with his friends easily enough without having to leave home.  Virtual communication is their every day.  What’s the rush to watch a bunch of boring videos about how to drive, when he can FaceTime, tweet, text, converse on Reddit or talk to friends real-time while playing a Steam video game with them?

No reason to change out of your PJs or abandon a refrigerator full of free food just to get out of the house when you friends are with you virtually all the time.  Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Ask.fm and who knows what else is new that I haven’t yet heard of.  With all these tools at their disposal, they know what their friends are up to virtually all the time!

I find myself asking my beasts every so often to make a point to be present when they’re at home.   It’s simply a request to engage verbally with each other, acknowledge the other people who are present when they walk through a room, and make sure to come up for air (a.k.a. get your face out of the screen.)


Signature 2Perhaps this is one reason why our school district has Speech as a required course for graduation.  Now, if they could maybe do just a little more to reinforce the need to know cursive.  I know a lot of signatures have become electronic, but for now these still require the real thing: endorsing checks, signing contracts, applications, driver’s license.   I mean seriously, is this how their signatures will look forever?

Parenting Tip:  Give kids every opportunity to practice real-life communication: order their own meals, check in for appointments, reorder prescriptions, etc.  It prepares both of you to believe your beast really can survive without you.

[Deut. 32:10b-11  He threw his arms around him, lavished attention on him,
        guarding him as the apple of his eye.
    He was like an eagle hovering over its nest,
        overshadowing its young,
    Then spreading its wings, lifting them into the air,
        teaching them to fly.]

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