Category Archives: Woman2Woman

I’ll Take the Chick But Can I Keep the Rib?

"Adam's Rib" image from "The Brick Testament" website.

I have the privilege and the challenge of teaching Sunday School class to three and four year-old little boys. While I love talking with them about the Bible, my challenge is helping them grasp high-level concepts in ways their little brains can process and remember.

Our lessons this month all focus on the story of Creation. We had lots of fun last Sunday learning about God creating Adam to watch over the land, animals and sea. We learned that God realized Adam needed a companion who was more like him. I had the boys act out the story, first by pretending to mold Adam out of dirt. Then, I asked them to lie down on the carpet as if they were sleeping. I revealed that God put Adam in a deep sleep so he could take one of Adam’s ribs, which he used to create Eve. As they “woke up” I asked the question, “And what do you think Adam said to God about his new companion?” After just a brief pause, my son definitively exclaimed, “Give me back my rib!”

When I recovered from my fits of laughter, I started thinking about Adam’s lost rib. DID he want it back, or did he realize what he’d given up was insignificant compared to what he received in return? Or maybe he didn’t even know anything was amiss. Inquiring minds want to know, I say! Continue reading I’ll Take the Chick But Can I Keep the Rib?

Helping Young People Understand the Myths, Risks and Realities of Relationships

As director of the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, I sometimes fancy myself a caped crusader saving families one marriage at a time. In reality, I’m no superhero with all the answers. In fact, when I look back at my approach to relationships during the first 2/3 of my life, I laugh about how me ending up as a relationship “expert” is a bit like the kid who continually got C’s in high school math class ending up a college Algebra professor. While a C isn’t bad, the grade clearly leaves room for improvement. Somehow I managed to figure it all out, however, and I am thankful for the luxury of making a living by talking about marriage and relationships all day. I manage the numerous moving parts of a highly complex statewide initiative providing services and supports to couples and individuals, in various life stages and circumstances, in an effort to positively impact outcomes for children. I am proud to know many, many heroes out in the field who dedicate their time to imparting research-based and practical information to those who are struggling to make their relationships work and who often have little hope for the future.

In my opinion, one of the most interesting aspects of the array of services we offer is our work with young people, both high school and college students, who are formulating their ideas about relationships. I love this work for two reasons: 1) I can vividly remember my own struggles with relationships and wish I’d had the tools to better evaluate my choices and emotions, and 2) I believe in the efficacy of intervening early and hopefully helping young people avoid some potentially devastating mistakes.

The benefits of educating young people are balanced by an equal number of challenges. At age 34 (I know, I know, I don’t look a day older than 33), I can remember what I went through at age 16, 18, and 20, but I certainly don’t have the same mindset as I did at those points in my life. Educators must keep in mind research which says the frontal lobe, the part of the brain responsible for reasoning and problem-solving, doesn’t fully develop until well into the 20’s. Our experiences, and the fact that we can look back on what we learned from those experiences, influences our judgments about what young people should and shouldn’t do. However, young people don’t yet have that perspective to aid them in making decisions. This makes connecting with them on issues such as relationships, drinking, drug use, etc., a daunting task.   Continue reading Helping Young People Understand the Myths, Risks and Realities of Relationships

Shaking the Saddlebags: My Trainers Are Dating!

For six months while I worked on out Tuesdays with Brennan I would watch the gym for Molly.  I wanted to introduce them.

Likewise, for six months while I worked out on Thursdays with Molly, I would watch the gym for Brennan.  I wanted to introduce them.

By May of this year, I had almost given up…and then it happened.  Continue reading Shaking the Saddlebags: My Trainers Are Dating!

The Great Bikini Debate

I know plenty of women who hyperventilate at the mere thought of a bikini. I’ve always worn one and never thought much about it. However, on a recent trip to a family resort, I thought I was going to have a panic attack at the very sight of an itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, yellow polka dot bikini.

Okay, so it wasn’t yellow but the rest is accurate.

My anxiety had nothing to do with my own body image, but that I saw this particular bikini on the body of a little girl not much older than my second grader. And then I saw another, and another. In fact, there were miniscule pieces of fabric covering pre-teen bodies everywhere I looked. The experience made me look at my own little girl with more fear than I’ve felt before in my life; I seriously thought I might assume the fetal position and start clawing my skin while murmuring over and over again “I’m not ready!”

Before I go any further, let me acknowledge that this is a controversial subject and I make no claims or judgments about the decisions of others or the intentions of any little girl wearing a bikini. I actually witnessed a fairly nasty Facebook debate on the topic which ended with name calling and husbands defending the integrity and parenting skills of their wives. As a passive observer, I could sympathize with both sides but the reality is that it won’t be too long before I’m going to have to manage expectations about what is appropriate for swimwear, in addition to a host of other choices.

My daughter, Bailey, is a seven year-old LITTLE girl, yet there are so many images and messages encouraging her to grow up way too quickly. From the kiddie lingerie (gross) and high-heeled shoes you now see in your local stores to the fashion-focused, halter top-wearing Bratz dolls, it’s very hard to keep them doing and wearing age-appropriate things. In my opinion, how we dress is a reflection of both how we feel about ourselves and what we want others to think about us. And, I hate to think about some of the thoughts that may have been directed toward those girls I saw on vacation. Continue reading The Great Bikini Debate

To Fix, or Not to Fix: That is the Question

In the spirit of full disclosure, you should know this post isn’t a philosophical look at change theories. I do not ponder whether humans can correct the character flaws of other humans.

Nope, this post is about my hair. Specifically, this post is about my ongoing negotiations about whether or not to actually fix my troublesome hair in the morning or to embrace my go-to ponytail persona. Ahhhh, finally a topic into which I can sink my journalistic teeth!

I do not consider myself a shallow person, but this post serves as a confession that my hair has guided a good portion of my decisions since about the fifth grade when I started caring about how I look. Since that time, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my dark locks. On the love side, I was blessed with a thick head of hair that is conducive to many different styles. On the hate side, I have a thick head of hair that is neither straight nor curly and any bit of humidity leaves me looking like a Chia pet who stuck her hand (paw?) in a light socket.

I remember accompanying my mother to her hair appointment and the stylist commenting with pity about the fact that I have enough hair for 2 people. She followed her comment with, “But at least you don’t have enough hair for 3 people like your mom does!” From that point on, I started to compare my poufy hair to the unfair prevalence of sleek and straight hair that existed all around me. While mine wasn’t made for the long, stick-straight style I desperately wanted, I occasionally fooled my hair into thinking this was possible (through a good hour of blow-drying and the application of dozens of products). The result was me spending the evening walking with a stiff neck so as not to mess up a single strand. Regardless of the fact I probably looked like a whiplash victim in need of a neck brace, I was pretty proud of my system. However, I’d inevitably come home to find that, even though I left the house looking like this… Continue reading To Fix, or Not to Fix: That is the Question

I Love You More Than The Sun Loves The Sky

A friend and co-worker recently lost her mother to cancer.  The day of her mother’s death, my friend posted to her Facebook page, “I love you more than the sun loves the sky.” 

I’m sure I’ve heard this before, but I started thinking about moms and daughters.  In seconds, I attached quite a bit of imagery and emotion to the phrase, knowing what it’s like to be the center of my mom’s universe but also having the experience of being a mom and devoting myself wholeheartedly and without regret to my kids’ needs.

While I’m not the most skilled poet and it’s been many years since I’ve attempted to write in this genre, I felt compelled to pen some thoughts on the theme. 

Hug your mommas, dear friends.

I Love You More Than The Sun Loves The Sky

The sun is often credited for the brilliance of the sky.

Mesmerized by a dance of whimsy, we watch her daily rise and fall.

Even the sky delights in the sun’s performance,

Smiling as she holds court in majestic rooms of gold.

 

Mankind claps an ovation of praise, a tribute to all things beautiful. Continue reading I Love You More Than The Sun Loves The Sky

You Can’t Handle the Tooth!

Every parent knows the drill.  Kid loses tooth (usually in a dramatic 3-part episode building up to a bloody, dangling tooth hanging on by a thread before the parent steps in to put the tooth out of its misery).  Kid quickly trades tears for excitement over an anticipated visit from the Tooth Fairy.  Parent helps kid write a special note to Her Highness O’ Teeth and they place the tooth and note under kid’s pillow.  The next morning, kid rejoices at his/her newfound riches, ditches the tooth, and lives happily ever after.

Having a six-year-old means we’re in the thick of the tooth-losing stage.  We’ve effortlessly moved through the above steps seven times thus far.  But tooth #8 proved to be a bit problematic.  In short, Bailey lost her tooth and then actually LOST her tooth, so there was no evidence to leave for the Tooth Fairy. Continue reading You Can’t Handle the Tooth!

Rylee’s Last Batch of School Cookies: The Art of Embedding an Essential Memory

“We’re like bookends,” I thought. “Michael’s musings over how sweetly tender a small moment like blow-drying a baby’s hair can be; my musings over my bowl of peanut butter cookie dough at 7:30 a.m.”

The bowl of peanut butter cookie dough was the “last batch of school cookies” I would be making my youngest. I was baking them yesterday, as she got dressed for her last official day of instruction at the Academy of Hair Design. And, I was working very hard on trying to force-feed my memory embedding system with some sort of signal that would capture this moment and freeze it, or perhaps bronze it, for posterity.

I reached down to grab my heavy duty, several-ply stainless steel half baking sheet that I love so much. I hesitated, and instead opted for a small, flimsy baking sheet I knew had come with a toaster oven from a marriage gift twenty-five years ago. I wanted to make sure that the equipment I was using honored the entire nineteen and one-half years of my daughter’s existence. Continue reading Rylee’s Last Batch of School Cookies: The Art of Embedding an Essential Memory

The Best-Laid Plans of (Mickey) Mice and Men

My previous post focused on the concept of vacation and the way we preserve family history through our memory of special vacation moments.  As I looked forward to our first family vacation, I described my excitement about the memories I was on the verge of making and reflected on stand-out vacations from my childhood.

We’re back from Disneyland and, in spite of my meticulous preparations, our family vacation didn’t quite go as planned.  On the positive side, friends and co-workers have asked the standard question of “Did you have a good vacation?” and my unequivocal answer each time is “Yes!”  I watched my kids delight in their first airplane ride.  My heart swelled as their little eyes registered awe of the phenomenon that is Disneyland.  I beamed as they gleefully met Mickey, Minnie, Peter Pan, Snow White and numerous princesses.  We explored Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica as only tourists from Oklahoma can do.  Knowing that I sometimes forget to take good pictures, I kept the camera ever-ready and took 150 pictures during the first 3 days of our trip.  Yep, I was proud of myself for diligently capturing these precious memories so that our family can share and revisit a special time in our lives.

But that’s only part of the story.  On day #3 while at the beach, something happened that I didn’t anticipate.  As we strolled obliviously along the picturesque beach and blissfully reflected on our vacation thus far, someone stole our camera.  In a split second, we said goodbye to the tangible connection to our vacation memories.   While I am an emotional person by nature, our misfortune evoked heavy-hearted tears from a place deep in my gut that only kicks into gear during rare moments of extreme helplessness and frustration. Continue reading The Best-Laid Plans of (Mickey) Mice and Men

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

The Cox family is on the countdown to our first official family vacation.  In the six years we’ve had children we’ve been on numerous trips to visit family and friends, but this trip is different.  Webster’s defines vacation as “a period of suspension of work, study, or other mandatory activity, usually used for rest or recreation.”  I personally equate vacation with traveling to a destination we’ve never been to pursue new adventures and spend quality time with my immediate family.   So, guess what, we’re going to Disneyland!  I’m not sure it will meet the criteria of being restful, but there is sure to be a good deal of quality time and recreation.

The anticipation and excitement of our upcoming adventure got me thinking about my childhood family vacations.  Like many working class families, I don’t think we took a vacation every year but a few travels stand out in my memory.  It is when I think about the funny, stressful or otherwise memorable experiences we shared through the years that I truly appreciate the unmatched bond of family.

There’s the time we took an RV and horse trailer across the country to Cheyenne, WY to watch my dad compete in a rodeo.  If you had any doubt about my “Red Dirt” roots, they can be put to rest, as I grew up turning calves out of the chute as my dad practiced his roping skills.  We traveled to many rodeos throughout my childhood, but the Wyoming trip carries special memories.  We parked the RV amidst many others and spent what seemed like weeks, although I’m sure it was just a few days, living in a temporary community of rodeo families.  Someone set up a dummy calf (bale of hay with a fake head on it) for the kids to practice their roping, and my daddy was so proud of my skills that he bought me my very own rope…..a huge deal to my six year old self.

We borrowed some cowboy’s Cadillac (funny in and of itself, right?!) to drive into town to go swimming at an indoor pool where I experienced my first truly embarrassing moment when I chickened out on the high dive and forced a bunch of kids to climb back down the ladder so I wouldn’t have to take the plunge. And, I think this trip was the beginning of our family tradition of spending hours on the road coming up with new verses to the ever popular “Diarrhea” song.  Once that got old, we could always count on dad to blast his favorite Platters album and sing at the top of his lungs.  Yes, I know all the words to “The Great Pretender” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.”  In later years, I started singing the harmony just to change it up a bit.

In stark contrast, my parents took all six of us to Hawaii the summer before my junior year in high school.  This was long after my dad had abandoned the rodeo circuit due to the requirement that he enter senior rodeo and his subsequent refusal to recognize himself as a senior.  He decided golf was a wonderful substitute and began wearing shorts and tennis shoes, instead of boots and jeans, for the first time in his life.  The best place he could imagine to wear said clothing was Hawaii.

My parents had been to Hawaii several times and, knowing that our family wouldn’t all be together for too much longer given my age (I’m the oldest), they bit the bullet and used my college money (not bitter) to take us on a magnificent trip.  The great thing about this trip is that we have so many collective memories and continue to bond over them even now.  When Jason and I were dating, we’d always joke that every trip to my parent’s house would inevitably include at least one sentence that began with, “Remember in Hawaii when…?”

We still make this joke and have refined it to assert that the only certainties in life are death, taxes and repeated conversations about Hawaii.  We’ll talk about going parasailing, snorkeling and the undersea Nautilus tour.  We’ll laugh about eating at the super fancy restaurant where my brother Cooper looked at the menu full of things we couldn’t pronounce and subsequently ordered a cheeseburger (blank stare from the not-so-amused waiter).  This moment was followed by my brother Conner spitting out whatever fancy thing he ordered and my mom trying to discreetly clean the chewed lump off the floor before anyone noticed.  News alert: they noticed.  My dad will reminisce about driving to the top of the volcano on a one-lane road with no guard rails to prevent us from plummeting to our death, and that I was so convinced we were going to die that I curled up in the floorboard of the back seat and alternated between crying and praying.  We’ll sing a chorus of “Tiny Bubbles” at the top of our lungs like some gregarious drunk guy did at the luau we attended.  We’ll talk about the horrible one-way roads in Honolulu and how we were lost for hours in the middle of the night upon our initial arrival to the city.  And we’ll all agree that the Pizza Hut delivery we ate on the floor of our hotel room after we finally made it was hands down the best we’d ever had.

Memories are made each and every day, but I’m ready to make some that are just ours to talk about for years to come.  With a first-time airplane ride and a trip to Disneyland in our near future, I’m pretty confident I can accomplish this goal.  And, even if we don’t have anything spectacular happen to us while we’re there, I’m eager to eat some pizza that, regardless of its quality and taste, will be the new “best I’ve ever had.”

[kendy]

Editor’s note: Visit HERE for Kendy’s post over how their family vacation held a surprise they certainly didn’t expect.

I Hope My DIDs Exceed My DIDN’Ts

On the heels of Mother’s Day, I have been reflecting on my journey as a mother.  Before I had children I thought I knew what sort of mother I would be. There was no question that I’d do everything exactly right, using both book knowledge and God-given intuition to raise perfect little angels.

Then I gave birth.

Most of us who’ve traveled down the motherhood road would agree that it’s the hardest job there is.  The confident and easy decisions are few compared to the mountain of “I’m not sure” moments which leave you questioning both your abilities and the likelihood your offspring might end up on an episode of “Intervention” talking about where the dysfunction began.

I haven’t been a perfect mom, this I know for certain.  But, I’ve been me and that means my kids get a little bad with hopefully a lot of good.  I will not bore you with ALL my thoughts on the subject, but I wanted to share a few points about how hopefully the bad isn’t so bad and the good is really great.

On one hand….

I did not avoid soft cheeses and diet coke when you were in my tummy.  I had faith that my vices wouldn’t lead to the growth of a third hand…..and I sure am glad I was right.

I did not boil the binky every time you dropped it.  It would have been your lucky day if I even ran it under the faucet or wiped it off with my own shirt.

I did not nurse you for one year, but barely made it a couple of months.  I will admit I’ve never felt more like a failure than the day I called it quits.  In other news, you did not care one way or another.

I did not choose to forgo a career to stay at home with you full time.  I struggle with this daily, but I’m also proud of my accomplishments at work AND at home. Continue reading I Hope My DIDs Exceed My DIDN’Ts

The Righteous Nest

With the experience of Easter 2011 fresh in my mind, I decided it was fitting to share a story about my daughter’s ability to inspire those around her with her insight into God’s word.  I originally documented this story back in 2009, so she would have been 4 years old.  Enjoy!
Bailey has always had big thoughts and a big attitude.  These attributes serve her well in many situations, and contribute to her downfall in an equal number of others.  On the positive side, her big thoughts also apply to things of a spiritual nature.  From an early age, she was always asking questions, and regularly offered simple yet poignant interpretations of favorite Bible stories.  In fact, we loved to engage her in deep conversation about any and all things as, if nothing else, her theories provided a new perspective on “old” ideas.
Out of the blue one day, she came to her grandmother (my MIL Jeanne) and asked, “What is a righteous nest?” While questions were not uncommon, even ones that required a good deal of head scratching before a response could be summoned, this particular question seemed quite odd.

“What do you mean, a righteous nest? Where did you hear it?”

Bailey, as she was known to do, sighed with exasperation.

“It’s in that song. The one where God has a righteous nest.” Continue reading The Righteous Nest

Best Friends and Bullies Make Strange Bedfellows

“Bullying” has always been a buzzword to me, not entirely unlike “life skills” or “at risk.”  The similarity lies in the fact that I know the definitions of these words and I even use them occasionally, but they seem more like fodder for grant proposals or annual reports than concepts which exist in real life….or at least in MY life.

However, this year I’ve learned more than I want to know about real life bullying.  I can say in earnest that my quick education on the subject has been different and more painful than I expected because it involves my child.  I never thought I’d use the words “my 6 year old” and “bully” in the same sentence, but the reality is that these very sentences have consumed much of our recent dinner conversation as we’ve attempted to help our daughter solve some very real problems.

My child has a bully.  An interesting and complicating factor is that her bully is also her best friend.

As background, like many kids her age, Bailey tends to form friendships of convenience. She has played with her current BFF more than others in her classroom because they have a similar after-school situation.  This is not to say that the girls don’t have a good deal in common or share mutual affection, but being readily accessible is just as important to little developing minds.

At first, I was pleased to see Bailey buddied up with another strong personality.  The moment I discovered my child’s stubborn nature during the toddler years I developed a fear that she would choose friends based on ease of ability to control or manipulate.  I certainly don’t want my child to be the dictator in the room and have been relieved that this hasn’t been the case with most of her friendships thus far.  She and this little girl seemed to be a good match and played together well initially despite some run-of-the-mill little girl arguments.

Then, we started hearing stories about the friend’s antics at school. Continue reading Best Friends and Bullies Make Strange Bedfellows

Yep, That Really Happened!

Those closest to me know that I could probably be the poster child for all “Type A” personalities. I am innately driven and responsible.  I also take myself a little too seriously at times. I occasionally try to be funny, with mixed results. You get the picture.

However, not everything that happens TO me is of a serious nature.  In fact, I’ve had numerous OMG! and giggle-worthy experiences in my lifetime which I think are worthy of sharing with loyal RDC readers.

Before I jump right in, let me just say that time and perspective are very powerful.  Not only were these experiences NOT funny at the time, at least one of them was downright scary.  But, today I grant permission to laugh at my misfortune!  Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite stories.

The Time I Fought a Homeless Guy

Many moons ago, I traveled with a co-worker to Minneapolis for a conference.   Unfamiliar with the area but with some free time on our hands, we asked our concierge about the best way to get to the Mall of America and were directed to use the bus system.  I had never been on a city bus nor had I witnessed what goes on in big-city downtown areas, so I was excited for some new experiences.  Boy was I in for a new experience!

As we waited in frigid temperature, I noticed a group of individuals clustered down the block.  One man, dressed in very old and dirty clothing, looked to be “preaching” to the others while the rest were waving their arms in the air.  I heard broken phrases but otherwise paid little attention to their behavior.  A moment later, as I was telling my friend that I could no longer feel my fingers, I heard heavy footsteps coming in my direction.  I quickly realized someone was addressing me.  I turned around to face the man, who asked me for a cigarette.  I responded casually that I did not smoke and he immediately retreated.  With my encounter over, I began to make a funny comment about the odds of ME being confronted by the Minneapolis homeless.  Pretty soon, however, I heard footsteps again only this time they were moving much more quickly. Prepared to reiterate the fact that I did not possess a cigarette, I turned to see him running at full speed with his eyes locked on me.  I can only describe the next few moments as the strangest of my life – and, yes, everything happened in slow motion. Continue reading Yep, That Really Happened!

Out of the Comfort Zone and Into the Target Zone

“…maybe I’ll take over for Jennifer Hudson!” ~ Kendy Cox

A year ago, the thought of joining Weight Watchers© was laughable to me.  My ignorant opinion was that Weight Watchers© and similar programs are for obese people who don’t know how to work hard in the gym and simply need someone to pry the Oreos out of their hands while they work through their deep dark emotional eating issues.

I most definitely did not need THAT.  However, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the state of my physique.  I looked in the mirror and saw a mother of two who was destined to spend her life on an ongoing quest to get back into the beautiful, pre-baby clothes that longingly called my name every time I chose my outfit from the two-sizes-bigger section of my closet.  I’ve never been technically overweight, but the bottom line for me was that I wasn’t where I used to be and felt most comfortable.  Yes, I was younger then.  No, I hadn’t birthed two children then.  None of those facts made me feel any better, however.

I was frustrated…frustrated that I was doing what I’ve always done (eating what I thought was relatively healthy meals and going to the gym) and that simply wasn’t cutting it.  I told myself that I just needed to prioritize going to the gym more frequently, jog faster and work out for longer periods of time.  I felt like I was living out that old adage about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Fast forward to today. Continue reading Out of the Comfort Zone and Into the Target Zone

Silent Sunday Afternoon Edition: 3/6/11 ~ Jessica Wolloscheck, Senior Portfolio

Jessica’s words about this series: This album was put together my senior year of college while studying photography.  The inspiration was derived from a box of old family photographs I found. The end result was a series of self-portraits in which I wanted to bring to life the Valium, drug, and alcohol abuse of women during the 60’s and 70’s.

Editor’s note: Next month is Alcohol Awareness Month.  We’re publishing this series now in order to provide a short moment of time to think about whether or not you, your loved ones or someone you know could take advantage of the multiple free screenings or help and resources that will be available beginning April 1st.  Thanks, Red Dirt Kelly

Continue reading Silent Sunday Afternoon Edition: 3/6/11 ~ Jessica Wolloscheck, Senior Portfolio

Motherhood and Creativity With a Side of Jeff Foxworthy

A recent Parenting Magazine article explored moms’ self perceptions in a number of categories.  On the topic of creativity, a majority of moms said they wouldn’t describe themselves as particularly innovative or creative.  Excuse me?  In my opinion, creativity is a pre-requisite for motherhood.  Heck the act of becoming a mother is fundamentally indicative of our ability to create, and great minds would argue that life is art and art is life.

This brings me to Jeff Foxworthy.  What connection could creativity possibly have to comedian Jeff Foxworth?  When I began thinking of all the ways moms are creative even when they don’t necessarily see themselves in that light, my thoughts inexplicably came together in the form of Foxworthy’s infamous “You might be a redneck” jokes.  These one-liners of 90’s fame hit home with a large segment of the population because the reality is that we all know deep down that we’re a little bit country but don’t really want to wave that freak flag in public.  Foxworthy did his best to “out” everyone for their redneck tendencies.  Similarly, I think most women are extremely creative but just need someone to give them the one-liners they need to recognize it!

I aim to please, folks.

Ahem.

If you’ve ever put together a last-minute Halloween costume using only a few discarded paper towel rolls, some sweat bands you found in your husband’s 80’s memorabilia box labeled “don’t touch this,” the fishnet pantyhose you bought but have been too afraid to wear, and some pipe cleaners…you just might be a creative mom.

If you’ve ever dragged yourself out of bed 20 minutes early to carve your finicky eater’s lunch sandwich into the shape of Mickey Mouse  and cut up vegetables into “trees” and “swords” instead of plain old broccoli and carrots in an attempt to get him to actually put food in his mouth… you just might be a creative mom.

If you’ve ever drug out every blanket from the hall closet and used hair clips and trash bag ties to build a massive fort in order to entertain your child on a rainy Saturday afternoon… you just might be a creative mom.

If you’ve ever pulled off a delicious dinner in under 30 minutes with no advance planning and with only ground turkey, frozen vegetables and chicken broth because you haven’t been to the grocery store in over a week….you just might be a creative mom.

If you’ve ever “MacGyvered” a broken shoe with a stapler and some gum or fashioned a bib out of a panty liner, a bobby pin and a hair elastic, you just might be a REALLY creative mom! Continue reading Motherhood and Creativity With a Side of Jeff Foxworthy

Shaking the Saddlebags #3: I Don’t Know Myself Anymore

This is Brennan. He's my Tuesday trainer. Brennan - Tuesdays, Molly - Thursdays. Someday - just me...all on my own.

See Fantastic Fear Trifecta for previous ‘Saddlebags’ entry.

***

Last week, the wind was whipping around our campus buildings at full force, temperatures were somewhere in the lower-frigid quadrant and I was walking in my medium-high heels to The Little Bakery.  From my office to this cozy little establishment is the equivalent of about two city blocks in distance.  I hadn’t taken four steps outside when I thought, “Forget this, I’m running.”  I ran on my toes all the way to the cafe, kicking in my “running-type breathing” about halfway there.

I walked in, checked out the healthy meals in the cooler, didn’t like what I saw and walked over to the second display to view the salads.  Then I got lost in thought: I had just chosen to run.  In heels, no less. Whaaattt?? I’m sorry, who am I?  And, when have I ever CHOSEN to run in – oh, say – the last year?

Then I remembered I CHOSE to walk up the stairs that day.  The choice wasn’t even conscious.  I just remember thinking, “I want to stretch my legs.”  That’s it.  Then I thought back to my workout on Tuesday.  It was brutal…I had gotten there a little late due to an advising session with one of my students and I didn’t really warm up.  We spent most of the time lifting weights, and at the end of the session, Brennan said, “Okay. That’s it – you’re done.”

So what did I say back to him? Continue reading Shaking the Saddlebags #3: I Don’t Know Myself Anymore

The Road to Uncool is Paved With Good Parenting

Australian drama, "Mortified," starring Marny Kennedy as Taylor Fry, an 11-year-old constantly embarrassed by her unpredictable family...a good example of the "Uncool Parenting Road" metaphor.

I could fill many pages with the profound truths of the parenting experience.  The second I held my newborn daughter in my arms on August 23, 2004, I felt both empowered and daunted by the task at hand.  Most of us would agree that we are not adequately prepared for the role of PARENT and we sometimes question our decisions along the way.  The first lesson the new parent learns is that few issues are of the clear-cut, black or white variety and raising a child is not as easy as expected.  However, children are precious gifts from God and we pour into them our love, time, resources and occasionally a little wisdom.  In turn, they love us unconditionally and embrace us as both Superman and Mother Teresa.

And then they turn on us.  Regardless of the relationship we have with our children, at some point they will become utterly and wholly embarrassed by us and we will begin a dreaded free-fall from our esteemed perch.  We will be relegated to a category of “uncool” which will encompass our words, appearance, music choices, wardrobe, the way we walk, the way we breathe….you get the picture.

When I was a teenager, my mother’s crimes against humanity involved her use of odd or slightly “off” words for common items or acts.  For example, instead of “throw up” she would use the not-so-easy-on-the-ears term “urp.”  There was nothing that made me red in the face more than hearing this word roll off her tongue in all its onomatopoeia glory.  As I write this, I’m struck by the question of why my mother would ever need to refer to the act of regurgitation in front of others outside our family but c’est la vie.

I also remember the devastation of seeing her in a bright yellow blazer which taunted me with its humiliating, well, yellowness.  I remember getting reprimanded by my father for criticizing my mother’s clothing choices (although I secretly think he hated that blazer as much as I did).  I, however, thought I was advancing her fashion aptitude by picking her apart each morning.

Of course, I blame my temporary rudeness on a not-yet-developed frontal lobe.  I wouldn’t change a thing about my childhood and have long since pardoned my mom and dad for offenses that existed largely in my own insecure head.  Now that the shoe is on the other foot, I can only imagine the ridicule I will face in the years to come.  And, trust me, I already feel like I live with a 15 year old so I’ve given up hope that we will be spared tumultuous teenage years.

In fact, Bailey is developing a critical eye which seems to be largely focused on me.  About a year ago, Bailey told me she didn’t like one of my outfits as it made me look too much like a boy.  While I scoffed at the idea of a 6 year old telling me what not to wear, I’ll admit I’ve never worn it since. Continue reading The Road to Uncool is Paved With Good Parenting

I Am Wife, Mother, Working Girl….and Monster Slayer?

The Monster Fighter!

My three year old son is in a “fighting monsters” stage. He has several toy swords and we’ve spent many a dreary Saturday creeping through the house on a hunt for big, mean monsters hiding in various nooks and crannies.

Sometimes our nemesis is black, scaly and breathes fire. Other times our target is an alien from outer space that has come to kidnap us. Regardless of the monster’s characteristics and the outcome of our hunt, I inevitably end up reminding him at bedtime that monsters are only imaginary and can’t hurt us.

But is that really true?

Nolan claims to be the resident monster slayer, but little does he know that his momma has faced some very real monsters through the years. In fact, my experience slaying monsters is vast and I am always on the lookout for one to show up in an attempt to throw my perfectly balanced life off kilter.

The monsters I face are freakishly intelligent, know how to weaken my defenses and attack me where and when I’m most vulnerable. They are cunning and show no mercy. And they all have the same eyes…..piercing and green. Very green.

If you aren’t exactly following my Shakespearean references, I’m talking about envy. Continue reading I Am Wife, Mother, Working Girl….and Monster Slayer?