Sunday, December 6, 2015

People of Wal-Mart

Friday night I had to find a tree.

The last few years we've had a real one. We didn't feel like doing that this year so we went to get the fake one out - only to remember we threw it away. Yikes.

I took the girls to Big Lots (nothing good) then to Wal-Mart. I thought I wanted a pencil tree and do like the idea of them, but I'm just too traditional. 

We went with a 7.5 foot prelit with white lights. Last weekend I bought a new white fur tree skirt and was super excited to see the whole thing come together. 

Waiting in the check-out line Madeline turns to me "mom there's the girl who was throwing candy at us at the movies. Don't look DON'T LOOK" (because I was definitely looking). 

"Where is she? I don't see that her mom? Oooooh I'm gonna talk to her mom."

I planned the whole thing out. I was going to ask her if that was her daughter...then ask the daughter if she was at the Peanuts movie a couple weeks ago. Then tell them both I thought I recognized her because she wouldn't STOP. Throwing. Candy. At me and my family!!!! Bam! shots fired, now your mom knows you're a little shit and I succeed at a total b*&@" move. Ahhh victory is almost mine!!!

Madeline asks me not to say anything, then tells me I can - if she can go to the car. So, of course I give her the keys. THIS IS GOING DOWN FOR REAL. (later I learn she really, really wanted me to say something). Bah - speak up with the truth Madeline - but I think she knows deep down speaking out was not the right thing. 

We weren't in the same checkout line, but side by side, so this was going to be perfect. I will just naturally stroll up like its small talk and this will all just flow off my tongue. 

Then I get there. And I hear the mom tell the cashier "I've always wanted to do this for a baby shower, buy all the little toiletries and accessories" as she puts a little container of baby powder on the belt. I look at the girl, at the mom - man I didn't think I would be nervous! This is my moment!...then I look down and see the little boy in the cart. Not the little kid area at the front of the cart, but the big part. Sitting on his coat smiling at his sister, looking around happy. He had Downs Syndrome - and in that moment when I saw him, the girl saw me and she went white. We locked eyes and she could tell - I was about the say something and she was scared. 

I don't know anything about her life. But I knew that I didn't want to get her in trouble anymore. I didn't want the mom, who probably already knows her daughter is a little shit, to have her moment of happiness for buying a gift ruined. And I didn't want to add any more stress for that mama. 

So I smiled at the girl. She knew what she did and that was enough. She recognized me from the movie, I'm the only white girl with dreads on the east side - and she knows Madeline. Part of the reason Madeline recognized her is because she's in her grade at school. I didn't know that, I thought M just recognized her from the movie (and I was very impressed at her memory).

Anxiously I get to the car. M is waiting so I quickly told her I didn't say anything. That it wasn't the right thing to do so I decided not to do it. I told her about the little brother. Madeline says she knows and that the girl had also been really mean to her at her summer camp a couple years ago but when she would get in trouble the girl would start crying about her brother with Downs Syndrome. 

Seems like that little girl has figured out how to make people feel sorry for her. 

I still feel like I did the right thing. It was never about the girl, it was about the mom. I don't know her exact struggles, but I know being a mom is hard. And exhausting and completely rewarding but sometimes it just sucks. And there are days you don't want someone in the checkout line to ruin your little bit of happiness. Especially when it would be a stranger telling you what a little shit your kid is. Because you already know that, and you have to love them anyway. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Fleeing home

My daughter and I got into an argument last night at Wal-Mart. It was more than a little white trash, and I'm embarrassed to say it started because I passed gas. That's right, I tooted at Wal-Mart. No one in our family ever really holds it in, so I didn't think it was any big deal and I did make sure no strangers were around that I could possibly offend. Yes, that's correct - I am justifying my Wal-Mart fart to you. You're welcome.

My daughter was walking behind me, but she was further back than she'd admit as we weaved our way through the boys' clothing section looking for Amelia a new basketball outfit.

"I'm moving out." Was the immediate response she snarked at me.

The hate and the disrespect in her voice made me want to explode. I quickly barked that she wasn't allowed to talk to me like that and to go wait for me at the front of the store. "Now, GO!" Not the best choice of words considering what she said, it was almost like I was encouraging her to want to leave by sending her away.

Madeline has this way of rolling her eyes with her whole body and it doesn't actually involved rolling her eyes. It's this nonchalant, I don't care, shoulder shrug that sometimes make me want to pull out her and my hair. No emotion, just sluggishness.

I'm not proud of my reaction, but it was a real, raw moment that I haven't been able to escape.

Fleeing home. 

I remember being her age and not being able to wait to leave home. It's not something most 12-year-olds think about but I did. And now she is.

I would daydream about leaving, and the day I turned 18 and a bunch of other dumb shit stuff. But I reasons - good, good reasons! My parents had a terrible divorce. I lived with my dad and grandparents and had no privacy because my bedroom was in the dining room. I couldn't have friends over. My mom didn't call. My dad wouldn't let me go to sleepovers but he would go out drinking so I had to stay home with my grandparents. I HAD REASONS DAMMIT!!!

What have I done to this child? What are her reasons I am missing?

The comment (that I later learned she thought was a joke...terrible joke really) shook me to the core and revealed so many layers to me that I could not hardly breathe.

I talked to her in the parking lot while the little girls waited in the car. I apologized for my reaction, told her why it upset me and how when I was 12 I couldn't stand my parents and I didn't want to be that to her. She said that she was joking "daddy and I joke about it".

"Oh". My insecurities are making me miss the joke I guess.

It would only make sense that today my devotional would be titled Fleeing Home. As if God doesn't know our exact struggle at every second, sometimes he reminds us that he knows and he cares and he's there. Even when he seems silent like I have been feeling he is lately.

"For centuries, despite God’s forbearance and prophetic intervention, His people chose stubbornness rather than surrender, rebellion rather than obedience. Because they refused to listen to God, they were cast far from the promise of home. Sin never reaps the benefits we think it will. Our greatest good—our happiness (and home)—is found in God and keeping His commands."

I don't want to be stubborn. I don't want to be rebellious and I definitely do not want to refuse to listen to God. But I do it every day without even realizing it. Before I get out of bed, when I complain instead of being grateful. When I am impatient and not kind. 

And I definitely do not want the consequences of my actions to cause my daughter to want to flee home. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Papaw Janet

A few years ago my dad moved to Northwest Indiana. It's about 2.5 hours away, so we never go there and he doesn't get down here as much as he'd like. Plus, he's a workaholic and works about 110 hours a week. Not exaggerating.

Every once in a while he'll surprise us by coming down for 12-14 hours. To see us, the girls and my grandma. My grandma that Claire refers to as "Papaw Janet". She also thinks my dad and Papaw Janet are married. 

Seeing her unable to figure out the who and how of people makes me realize how fast life is going. So fast that it's taking my breath away and even writing this brings on waves of anxiety about the things of today that I'll never remember again. The missed opportunities of love that I passed on. 

But tonight we did get to spend some time with my dad. He enjoyed the girls, bought us dinner and when we stopped for gas he had to buy it, because that's how he takes care of us no matter how old we get, the financial situation we're in or the lack of need that's how he knows to take care of us. 

Monday, October 12, 2015


I've been ready to go to bed since 8:30. I'll stay up as long as she's wanting to talk. About the little things, the silly things, the things that won't always be. Because someday when I wake up she'll be gone and I'm already sad about about. But oh so happy for evenings like this. She's not my favorite, she's my first. First to make me a mom, call me mommy, hug my neck, drive me crazy, back-talk, disobey and show me things in her that are just like me. So tonight we'll stay up. Tomorrow I'll be tired. And if my will be worth it. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015


There was something I really wanted to remember today but now I can' I figured it's better to get down what I do remember :)

We ran into some old friends at the Creek. 

Lunch at home, leftover soup. Nick, Madeline and Amelia played Monopoly. Claire was being crazy Claire. We had a pretty lazy afternoon - Claire and I played dolls and stacked blocks about a hundred times. 

We decided to head to the orchard at about 4, I thought Madeline could use a slushie bc of her throat but she wanted to stay home and get some peace and quiet - super rare around here. So we went to the orchard then Southeastway Park so Claire could play and Amelia could ride her rip stick. She figured out how to get started on her own! It was pretty amazing. Then she practiced some parkour but wouldn't let us record it - she was flipping and on top of the playground equipment and summersaults in the mulch, all that also amazing. 

Soup again for dinner bc I'm lame, and also remembering we did not have soup for lunch. 

Claire took a bath with lots of ice cubes and giggles. 

Nick's dad came over and brought ice cream. Claire cried bc she wanted a Popsicle after her ice cream...that when I realized how tired she was. 

And Walking Dead premiere! The End, goodnight!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I want to be

I've been stressed lately. Caught up in the things of the world. I took some time today to refocus, get the junk out of my head and to look at what I want to be, just to get some perspective of what is true and what is being influenced. 

I want to be:

A better mom 
A better wife 
A better person
A better Jesus-follower 

Sounds easy enough right? But these are the things that matter. The order I put them in is off, but I'm going to leave it as it originally was and correct it below. 

A better Jesus-follower 
A better wife 
A better mom

A better person

I seperated person because if I do the ones above becoming a better person will happen. Following Jesus is always first. The two greatest commandments are to love no other Gods and to love your neighbor. Getting these things back in line will restore order not only for me but as how God wants them. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

A few things

The summer has been crazy so far. Crazy in a good way. The kids are really busy or the kids are really bored.

They spent a couple weeks at day camp at Ellenberger Park. They didn't like at first, which made me feel bad. But then I remembered they're kids and they don't have to like everything. Everything doesn't have to be good and fun and comfortable. 

Yes, it's hot. Yes, you'll be outside a lot. Yes, kids are going to ask you for your snack money and it will be awkward. Yes, you'll learn the hard way not to feel bad for people and give them all your snack money. Yes, sometimes being the nice kid can be a bad thing. It can make you an easy target. 

But what they have learned at camp is how to stick up for each other. And for me. Amelia was teased for a few different things. And I teared up a little when she told me the way Madeline stood up for her and held her hand and took her to the camp counselor and wiped her tears and hugged her and stayed by her side. Shit I'm crying again. 

And I saw the excitement to see how I would react when one of the kids at camp was making fun of my hair. And I saw their confusion when I told them people can't make "you white people" comments to my kids or they will suffer the wrath of the crazy mother. 

And I've seen them grow up a little, grow closer together and grow away from me a little. And that's ok because they need to do that. 

Also, Peter Pan. They learned some acting and performed Peter Pan. Which, ironically is about never growing up. The opposite of what is happening right now in real life. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Clean little teeth

Claire had her first dentist appointment today.

She got to watch her sisters and daddy go first.

She got to brush and play with the big fake teeth. She got to see all the instruments before they used them on her. 

And most importantly she got to be told no cavities!

Oh and as thought the new toothbrush and stickers were pretty cool too. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Took my kid to work

Earlier this week, in the morning while we were getting ready (well I was, she was eating a cereal bar in my bed and watching cartoons) Claire says to me "mom, do you have to go to work today or can we stay together?"

So many feelings.

Most days I wish I could stay with all three of them but I can't. I have to just enjoy every single second that I DO have with them, instead of be sad about the ones I don't.

Today I did actually get to take Madeline to work with me. "Bring your kid to work day" 2015. 

They look thrilled don't they! But cut them some slack, it's summer break and they are at work lol.

She didn't actually spend the day with me. There were activities planned for the kids all day by our Happiness team. 

But I did get to have lunch with her.

And she came back to work with me for a while at the end of the day. 

She wants to be a NICU nurse, probably not she learned much today to help that - but I'm glad she got the experience.


We spent a lot of time outside today.

We slept in...but I wanted to make sure we could enjoy all the sunshine.

Madeline and I ran to Wal-Mart to get a new umberella for the outside table. We ended up coming home with a little pol too. It was a huge hit. 

The girls added water to their sidewalk chalk to make an amazing paint-like concoction. I didn't get a photo though. 

After a full day of playing I had the great idea to go to a movie...we all wanted to see Jurassic World so we decided to try it with Claire. A friend warned me against but it worked out great! She loves dinosaurs and fell asleep before it got crazy. 

Exhausting and wonderful day, thankful for my family. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Seeing Jesus

I remember seeing this wood block word sculpture thing as a kid. 

Granted it didn't have the statue behind it to give the "puzzle" away.  But I remember not being able to tell what it said. 

I don't know why I couldn't see it...the angle, my height, my brain function. Is this memory from before I could read?

Now I can't unsee it.

Just like I learned to see Jesus in this wood block, I'm learning to see him everywhere. 

Problem at work? Kids driving you crazy? Doubting myself?

A raise at work? Kids being so angelic it's scaring you? Seeing God's faithfulness in an answer to a prayer?

There's Jesus in all of it. Whether it's good or bad and we see it then or not. He. Is. In. It. 

Psalm 46:10 says "Be still, and know that I am God." and in Exodus 14:14 "The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Seems easy enough, but something I tell myself over and over each day. "Be still". He is in it. Worrying or trying to make things happen, for you or others, can often get in way of his plan. This doesn't mean sit back and get complacent. But being still helps us sit back and reflect on what is really going on in the bigger picture.

We're all looking for Jesus. Whether we want to admit or not. Whether we know we're looking for him or not. What are you seeking that could really be Jesus? 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Growing up

Today Amelia had her end of year field trip and Claire had a "moving up" program at school. 

The morning started off hectic...Amelia left her sack lunch in the car and I couldn't make it back to school before they left, so I ended up taking it to the field trip place, Survive Alive. When I got there, they didn't open for 45 minutes. Ugh, thought I was going to get to work much later then I wanted BUT found a nice employee who said he'd make sure he got her lunch. 

They went to the park and played. Nick met them there and took lots of pics for me. 

Thankful they had nice weather to be at the park, they had a great time! 

5:30 dinner at daycare, then 6:30 program.

Claire was the loudest of course! Tried to post a video but it won't work, so just trust me she was yelling :) 

And also took a deep, deep bow at the end. Loudest and proudest that is for sure!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Lunch date

I went to have lunch with Amelia at school today. We took this "us-ie" in the car this morning. It's hard to believe she's almost done with 2nd grade.

Every morning when we turn into the school "unbuckle get your bag on! Hug ya momma" it's a little jingle we've created and even Claire sings along. 

I picked up her favorite - Jimmy John's slim 5, BBQ chips and diet coke. That girl and her diet coke are after my own heart. 

Me, Amelia, Sophia and Merika. 

Other friends...can't remember all the names sheesh! The middle one is Evalyn. 

Amelia and her drumming buddy Nathan. They do beats together, as Amelia would proudly tell you.

She had her last Spanish class with her favorite teacher, SeƱorita Elliott. Amelia had her for three years and loved her dearly.

She's a special kid. And I'm not just saying that because she's mine. She's so determined and strong and just, a beaming ball of energy and excitement. I love her enthusiasm for life. 

And I love that she's not "too cool" to let her mom kiss her at school (yet) or be embarrassed of my dumb jokes (yet) or hold my hand in the hallway (yet). 

And I love how excited she was to see me today. I am so thankful to be her mom. 

After Taco Tuesday, playing outside, the pet store for meal worms for the turtles and getting ready for tomorrow the day just seems to slip away. 

Then, just before bed - I was putting some laundry away in my room and she was playing a game on her iPad when out of the blue..."I'm glad you're my mom"

Me too kid, me too. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Because I love you

"Push me mommy" she says as we head down the driveway on her bike. "Pedal, Claire, you can do it!"

"No I can't, push me mommy"

"Claire I won't do it for you but I'll help you"

One of the hardest parts of being a parent is letting my kids do it on their own. I know they need to so they can learn, but I want to take care of them and do it for them. I mean it's usually just easier too!

But that's not love. That's not building their confidence and character and self-esteem. 

I won't do it for you, but I will always help you. 

Because I love you. Because I know you can do it. Because I believe in you more than you'll ever know and I want to help you have that same belief in yourself. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How to drive

I learned to drive in the country. In an old dodge ram pick-up truck. My grandpa, an old Pentecostal from the hills of Kentucky, was strict and set in his ways...except for when it came to his grandkids. He let me and my cousins make countless trips up and down 300 East. From field to farm, from farm to town, we always got behind the wheel for a portion of the trip.

It wasn't just the fact that he let us do the things that we wanted. It was that he trusted us. His generation was exponentially different than mine. And at the time I thought it was extremely old-fashion. But now that I'm older I realize he had a strength, a work-ethic, a conviction to be a good person that is almost unheard of these days.

He drove a school bus, I remember one snow day school was canceled so me and my cousins were at the farm. Me, grandpa and Tyler wanted to run to the stop. So he let me drive - on country roads, in the snow storm. I think I was 14, may have been 15 but the trip didn't end well. We slid off the road, I hit the gas instead of the brakes and we hit a tree on the side of the road and we were all dying laughing and I can still hear him say "you messed up" though the laughter. Not a condemning way but a forgiving way. And I still here that voice, when I'm being too hard on myself it's a good reminder that I messed up, not just them but now and everyday. But it's ok to laugh through it.

Button-up Amelia

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry - I swallowed it - I'm sorry"

We had no idea what she was talking about. She swallowed a button. I can't remember where the button came from or how it happened. But she was so upset and remorseful. And she thinks I dug through her poop.