Sunday, June 19, 2016

Let's Hit the Road {and not Each Other}

When David and I are toodling across the country by our lonesome one day I'm going to pull out this post and reflect on what road trips used to be like.

Because 1/2 our earthly belongings must accompany us to Alabama each Summer, we've started traveling in David's truck. The cab is actually quite roomy. I'm not sure it's "Let's pick out our largest stuffed animal to ride along" roomy, but that's just what Tate did. So don't be surprised if his beloved cow, Kringle, makes an appearance in a few vacation photos.
Each year I get a little bit smarter about preparing for the actual car ride itself. For instance, so I wouldn't arrive at our destination with a body temperature of -7, I incorporated sweat pants into my travel attire. Therefore, when we finally reach the beloved family farm, I'll emerge from the car and greet family members I haven't seen in a year (or more) in sweatpants. Not to mention the humidity level in sweet home Alabama is 112%. 

While the kids are occupied by books, electronic devices, and trying to sneak into the snack bag without getting caught, David and I have ample time to discuss our hopes and dreams with one another. Which sounds good in theory, only David refuses to carry on a conversation on road trips. I looked over a few minutes into our journey and he was already in his own little world immersed in his audio book. 
Drue learned a valuable lesson for future travel: If you have the longest legs amongst your siblings, it's best not to lash out in anger and scratch your brother as the car is getting loaded. You will be banished to the dreaded middle seat as punishment for the first half of the trip. 

David sweetly relinquished the front seat to Reese when it was my turn to drive. No doubt afraid I'd try to strike up a conversation. Reese's first order of business was attempting to kill a small winged creature. Her most expensive possession, her iPhone, was her weapon of choice and she proceeded to slam it down on the dash. I calmly suggested she find a different weapon, saying, "Are you crazy?!" Next, she grabbed David's hiking shoe and slammed it into the window. It was his turn to question her sanity, adding, "You're going to break the glass!" 

We soon came upon a small town and the speed limit dropped to 50 mph. To avoid incessant teasing by my passengers if I were to get pulled over, I slowed down accordingly. "I can run faster than this," Reese declared. Normally I would just dismiss this type of comment as random teenage snarkiness, but because I longed for conversation, I entered into a lengthy debate with her about how that was entirely impossible. I even went so far as to throw in a math lesson telling her to divide her fastest mile time into 60. You're welcome, teacher friends. 

Like David, Tate isn't a huge conversationalist on extended car rides. In fact, he's often so quiet I'll turn around abruptly and scan the backseat for him after stops. He could pretty much be the perfect traveler, if it weren't for the fact that when he gets restless he randomly lets out the highest pitched shrieks I've ever heard. I am certain this will be the cause of our demise one day if I'm at the wheel. "Tate!" I shrieked right back, "Stop. Doing. That. I almost careened right through that guard rail." 

At least we got our timing right this trip. David and I share the driving and he almost always ends up driving the windy two lane stretch through Arkansas. He sets the cruise control and I have the grip of death on the door handle while I bargain with the Lord that if he gets us through the next few hours unscathed, I'll do this, that, and the other for Him. 

The stars aligned and that particular stretch fell during my time to drive. As I was sliently thanking the Lord, I heard, "I'm hungry. When are we stopping?" Stopping? We go through about 15 towns with populations of 306. There will be no stopping until we reach Jonesboro. There's nothing to stop at. And just like that, I'm the one getting blamed for the lack of fast food places across the entire state. "Mom won't stop for us to eat. We're starving!" 

Don't even get me started on picking a place everyone will agree on. A restaurant could have been Drue's absolute favorite yesterday, but if Reese is the one to suggest stopping there, Drue instantly can no longer stand it and won't even think about eating there.

After I made it clear I would only be stopping at one place, Reese said, "That's fine. Let's just go through the drive thru."

"Ohhhhh nooooo. Nope. Not happening. I refuse." Ordering for those three in a drive thru definitely makes the list of "Things I Don't Enjoy", right underneath "pull all my toenails out one by one." If they would just order simple things like a #1 or a #3 I'd be fine. But they each want to customize minor details of their order and it usually ends up sounding something along the lines of:
"Hi, I'd like a cheeseburger on a sesame seed bun, with just one sesame seed. And can you cut the corners off the cheese so it fits just so on the patty? And I'll take a Sprite, no, wait, do you have Cherry Coke? Ok, well would you mind running next door to the store and bringing one back to put on ice? Oh. Well I'll just take a Dr. Pepper, no just make that a Sprite then."

Nope. I pulled into the parking lot of Wendy's and kicked everyone out to go order their own bag of crazy. 

I count it a successful road trip when we finally arrive and are all still on speaking terms with one another. Even if we're not on speaking terms, we'll put on our happy faces and pretend we are as we hop out of the car. I love the familiar crunch of the gravel road under our tires, that first smell of pine as we roll down our windows, and the hugs waiting for us at the end of the road.

I've already made a mental note for our next trip: Discuss with David beforehand what shirt he's wearing so we don't inadvertently wind up as this couple again.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dodging the Dice

A few weeks ago the Lowe's Creative Ideas magazine came in the mail. I briefly scanned its contents and decided I couldn't live another moment without a yard Yahtzee set.

So I texted the Mister. 
Bless him. After 18 years of marriage he knew my "help me make this" meant he would do all the measuring, cutting, etc and I would just put the dots on. 

In between business travel, kids' activities, and larger scale home improvement projects, by golly he had my dice made in no time flat. He used wood scraps we already had so this project cost $0. I also think the scrap wood gives them a vintage feel, like perhaps these same dice were used by the Ingalls' children on the open prairie.  
David left last evening for Indy. I'm sure it was just a coincidence he suggested we all go outside and play Yahtzee...perhaps to take our minds off missing him already. I'm choosing to believe it wasn't because he was wanting to be as far away as possible when we played for the first time. 

So, David, because I'm sure you felt sad about missing out on the fun, here's a little recap:

Tate grabbed all the snacks he could carry. He never has to work up an appetite, his appetite is perpetually there. We grabbed the score sheets and bug spray, dumped our socks out of the sock bucket and headed out to the backyard. As the girls and I began applying bug spray, Tate seized his opportunity to dig into the snacks first and wound up coughing and spitting for the first few rounds after some spray wafted his way.  
Of course Tate wore his fleece jammie the middle of Kansas. 

We quickly discovered a helpful tip for future games--roll the dice on a flat surface to avoid squabbles about which number they actually landed on. There was more than one debate on this subject when the dice landed crazy on the grass. 

Reese became our chief photographer and didn't sugar coat the reason why, "Mom, you stink at taking pictures. Here, let me do it."

She captured what I'm pretty sure is the most hideous picture of me ever documented...mid-victory dance rubbing it in that I was the first one to roll a Yahtzee.

If Drue can get someone else to do her work for her, she certainly will. She enjoyed rolling the dice, but would read off her numbers each time and say, "So...what should I go for?". After the 2nd or 3rd time we all yelled back, "We're not telling you! You have to think for yourself!"
I envisioned them gently tossing the dice onto the freshly mowed lawn. Instead, they decided to throw them straight up in the air then dodge the 5 large blocks hurtling back down toward their heads. There were quite a few near misses. I'm just relieved I didn't end up in the E.R. trying to explain how one of my children suffered a scalp laceration playing Yahtzee.
Moving along to the round when the entire bucket flew out of Drue's hands and shattered on the ground....
We politely declined her offer to go grab the bucket we use to pick up dog poop and ended up rolling the dice out of the three intact sides for the rest of the evening.

At one point, Reese began screaming and frantically trying to get away from whatever had landed on her. Gauging by the speed at which she leapt from her chair, I was sure a 4 foot long garden snake had fallen from the tree above. Turns out the fear-invoking creature was a lightning bug. Perhaps this teen needs to get outside more often.  

By the last few rounds, we had no sunlight left and were playing by the light of our phones. The same phones I'd been desperately trying to ban for a good portion of the game. 

"Reese, get off your phone." 
"Ok, but can we listen to music?" 
"I guess. Turn it down."
"Reese, get off your phone.
"But I'm just 'liking' this song on Pandora."
"Reese, get off your phone."
"But I'm learning how to do a waterfall braid."
"Oh, in that case...GET OFF YOUR PHONE!"

There were a lot of laughs, a lot of cheese puffs consumed, and enough family togetherness that they all scattered and headed off to bed when we came inside without me telling them to. 

We can't wait for you to come home, dear, and enjoy our newest Summer activity every single night! Oh, and you'll be glad to know that was the last issue of the Lowes magazine they'll be printing. So it may be awhile before I come up with another project for you.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Summer Better Shape Up

Our second full weekday of Summer break is coming to a close and I want a refund. I was promised stress free nights turning into lazy, carefree mornings and so far I've had neither.

Tate was so done with school last Thursday he couldn't even make it into the house with his backpack.

Drue, on the other hand, headed straight up to her room to read when she got home. There are a slew of books on her Summer reading list so I don't expect to see her again {other than mealtimes} until mid June. I have set a reminder on my phone not to forget her when we leave for vacation. She's already finished 3 of the books since Thursday. Reese and I get to help her celebrate by watching the movies with her. 

Me settling in on the couch to watch anything past sunset is a joke. I slept through most of the first movie and drifted in and out last night during the second one. Meanwhile, David and Tate headed up to our room to watch TV and fell asleep. 

So KC {who was adopted and returned AGAIN last week!} and I just crashed in the basement. Around 1am I heard little footsteps and the doggie gate on the stairs creak open. 

All sorts of scenarios started spinning on which little family member it was. I'd already narrowed it down to a kid, because when anyone over 100 pounds walks around upstairs, it sounds as though they'll crash through the basement ceiling into your lap at any moment.

Maybe one of the girls was scared, had a deep question they'd been pondering, or were going to tell me they might throw up. Or perhaps I'd be lucky and they'd just be heading to the kitchen for a drink. 

Nope. The footsteps continued down the stairs, the second doggie gate creaked open, and the entire basement was illuminated. Tate appeared at the end of the sofa bed and sweetly asked, "Do you need anything?"

Squinting my eyes from the light, I said, "No buddy, I'm good. Thanks. Wait, are you even awake?"

"Yep," he sleepily replied as he crawled into bed beside me. 

I slipped out between him and KC, hit the lights, then carefully felt my way back into bed. 

I would have had no problem drifting back to dreamland if the ear piercing alarm from our smoke detector hadn't started going off next. You know you're tired when you hear that and just decide to lay there for a minute and sniff the air for smoke. It stopped after a few seconds. As a parent, that's not just something you can easily fall back to sleep after. Too many "what ifs" to keep you awake. 

After the second time the alarm went off, David came downstairs to fiddle with the one in the basement. I mumbled something about Tate coming down earlier and he said, "What? I thought he was sleeping upstairs with me?" By this time Tate was awake again so David asked him how he got downstairs. Tate just rubbed his eyes and said, "I have no idea." 

Great. So not only can he maneuver three sets of stairs and 2 dog gates in his sleep, David had no clue any of it was even happening. Neither situation makes me feel safe. At least Tate remembers his manners in his sleep. 

The alarm went off once or twice more. I decided this fell under my blanket excuse, "I birthed the kids, David can deal with this..." and never left the bed. 

As the sun peeped through the window, I pulled the covers over my head calculating how many more minutes of sleep I could get without coming up for air.


Dang. It. This was the day the air conditioning company was coming to do a routine check of our system. Their window of time was 8am-12pm. Any other day you know they'd be pulling up at 11:50 but because of my sleepless night and extra frumpy appearance, they'd surely be arriving at 8:01. 

I slithered out of bed to throw on a hat and shut the bedroom doors of all my sleeping offspring. As I entered my room, the smell of 1000 roadkill corpses mixed with dog food burned my nares. The largest pile of dog throw up I've ever enountered greeted me. Of course George's aim was impeccable...right snack dab in the middle of the pile of clean laundry David had shoved off the bed onto the floor the night before. 

Seriously, Summer? Pulling out the big guns right off the bat? Couldn't just let me ease into you and establish a new relaxed routine? 

You're just jealous because Fall has always had my heart. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

KC's Story

I hate this day. And I love this day. 

The day I wake up next to you for the last time.

The day I go through the motions of letting you out, feeding you breakfast, and scratching all your favorite spots as an unmistakable lump forms in my throat.

The day I bathe you, brush you, and load you into the car for one more drive together (where you'll try and hog my air vent). A drive I'll be returning from without you.

And the absolute worst part of the entire day, handing your leash over to someone else, kissing your head, and walking out the door.

Today I stayed until most of the paperwork was complete. But I knew I just couldn't watch you get into his car. So after a few last kisses, I slipped out, leaving you sitting on the bench next to your new dad.

I know in my head it's wonderful you're off to your forever home, but it's my heart that needs a little more convincing, and where a piece of you will always remain.

You were scared, filthy, and starving when I picked you and your puppies up from the shelter eight months ago. Despite being neglected on a farm, you dug a hole next to a barn to place your puppies in for protection. A hole the shelter workers searched over 13 acres to find, after trapping you on the side of the highway and discovering you were a nursing mother.

You let me know right away you didn't trust me and I was not to mess with the 6 little bundles who had accompanied you. This made it challenging once you started weaning them and I had to get into the pen to feed them, change their papers, scrub the floor, and sneak them out for baths every so often. And when you knocked their pen over in the middle of the night I had to chase 24 little feet around the garage trying to scoop each puppy up without you charging me each time I got close to one. I collapsed back into bed thinking, "I am not cut out for this!"

When the puppies went to live with their new families you weren't sure what to make of the situation. After you finally stopped looking for them, you took up residence in the bottom shelf of an empty bookcase in our garage. I bought a warm, soft dog bed for you and placed it next to the bookcase. It sat there untouched for days, until one morning I found you sitting in it, looking unsure if that was ok.

David got a collar on you.

And then a leash.

But you had no idea why the leash was connected to you and why we were holding the other end. So we took it slow. Putting the leash on a few times per day without tugging on it, so you could see there was nothing to be afraid of.

This went on for weeks. Some of the coldest days of the winter, I worried even more about you and spent extra time trying to coax you inside. But you just wouldn't budge.

I remember the day I'd had enough. I muzzled you, scooped you up, marched you inside and gently placed you in the tub.  As the water turned brown and your white fur began to peek out through the suds, I wished I'd been brave enough to try this earlier. This was the day I think you finally realized I would never do anything to hurt you.

I think this was also the first time you'd ever been in someone's home. Every sound made you jump and you'd immediately look to me to gauge my reaction on whether or not it was something you should be afraid of. The heat kicking on, the dishwasher humming, toilets flushing, faucets coming on and off, cabinet doors closing. You found a few hiding spots to escape from everything. When the kids finally scrambled out the door in the mornings and it was just you and me, you'd come out of hiding, tail wagging, and follow me around for the rest of the day. Until you'd hear the front doorknob turning in the afternoon. And you'd retreat to one of your comfort zones.

Because you'd lived outside for so long, and nighttime is the best time for hunting, this was when you wanted to be outside. Those were some long weeks! Stumbling down the stairs with you at 2 am into the cool night air.

Your schedule eventually flipped and you learned to settle in for the night next to me in bed. I woke up one morning surprised to find you all stretched out sleeping soundly. Before, I'd only ever seen you sleep curled up defensively in a ball.
You learned to love our walks. Unless they took us by the playground at recess, in which case I'd have to pick you up and quickly carry you past because the sound of all those kids made you nervous. You also learned to love our car rides. Hopping in and out like you'd been doing this your whole life. You didn't care that we were just heading to pick up one of the kids from practice.
I'll be vacuuming up your hair from now until next week. I'll go about my housework now without my little sidekick and you'll no longer be laying just on the other side of the dog gate waiting for me to finish folding laundry. 
You figured out how to be someone's pet. 

And I figured out how to love you with all your quirks and odd behaviors.

Eight months was a long time.

Yet it wasn't quite long enough.

I hate this day. And I love this day.

The day you get to go home.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Kids' Eye View of the Candidates

I don't want to spark a debate.

Or judge anyone for their beliefs.

But I do want to remember this conversation forever. And since it's hard for me to remember what I made for supper two nights ago, I've learned to write down info I don't want to forget.

Like some of you, this is the first Presidential election where I'm left scratching my head thinking, "What in the world?!" 

I'm thankful it's in God I trust, and not a person holding an office.

As with previous elections, the kids are full of questions. Some are amusing, some are thought-provoking, and some are just plain hard to answer. 

We do our best. But I'm always quick to say, "Now just because your friend's parents are voting for so-and-so..." (because that information is readily shared on the playground, believe me) "...doesn't mean we tell them they're wrong or they shouldn't vote for them or anything like that." 

I wish I'd been writing down the kids' questions all along. Because their viewpoint is so simple, so innocent, and just so plain refreshing. 

Today it was pouring rain, so I walked up to the school, umbrellas in hand, to catch Drue and Tate as they came out the doors. The election was a hot topic of discussion as we sloshed our way home.

"People say if *Crump (*name has been changed to protect the candidate's identity) gets elected, they're moving," Tate declared, "And I think we should too."

"Oh? Where would me move to?" I inquired.

He thought for a second and said, "California."

As Drue choked on her laughter, I kindly pointed out the flaw in his reasoning. 

"Oh," he paused, "So I guess he'd rule over Rhode Island too, huh?" 

Canada, Mexico, and Italy were all offered as alternatives by the both of them. 

It then quickly turned into a game of "Would you rather have ______ as President or ________?"

We made it home and I assumed all political discussions would be tabled while they busied themselves consuming the contents of the pantry.

Apparently, Tate's wheels were still turning.  He was in first grade when the last election took place.  And I remember him point blank asking me who I was voting for and, more specifically, why.  Knowing there was no way I could explain the issue in terms a 6 year old would be able to understand, I finally settled on, "Well, because he believes that all babies in their Mommie's tummies should be able to live their lives." That night, as he said the blessing, he added, "And please help all babies be able to live their little lives."

Today, that same issue resurfaced in our conversation. Tate was trying to figure out why a certain candidate would not be getting my vote.

"Well," I took a deep breath, "Because he believes it's ok for a Mommy to kill her baby that's still inside her."

Tate's eyebrows wrinkled in confusion as he blurted out, "Like any Mom would ever do that!"

My heart melted.

He wasn't finished.  "And his wife is ok with that?" he asked in disbelief.

Did I ever plan to discuss this particular issue with my children? Of course not.

Am I going to go into specific reasons with him why a woman might choose to not let her baby be born? Again, no. He still doesn't fully comprehend how babies get there in the first place.

But I do want my kids to feel like they can ask me anything, especially when it comes to our beliefs. And to him, if a woman has a baby in her tummy, she's a Mommy. He knows the first baby in my tummy went straight to Heaven. One I never rocked to sleep, bandaged a knee for, or snuggled with on the couch, but whom I'm a Mommy to all the same.      

As quickly as it had begun, our discussion ended. My little 9 year old headed off to do little 9 year old things.  I have to say, I was quite thankful for the Wii at that specific moment so he could just be a kid and put aside contemplating grown up issues.

And I was left to ponder what the state of our country will be when he's old enough to vote, just another 9 short years away.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Like Father, Like Son

He's watching you.

The other day when you made those little fruit concoctions with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream, he was watching. And he tried his best to recreate them for me when he brought me breakfast in bed this morning.

Every Saturday morning when you go out and get me a half-caf white chocolate mocha from Starbucks, he's watching. So today, as I made my cheap imitation weekday drink {cappuccino mix & water}, he said he wanted to learn to make it for me. As I began telling him what I do, he quickly ran and grabbed a piece of paper and a pen so he wouldn't miss any steps. It now hangs on the fridge for reference.

He's learning all the little ways you say "I love you" and letting me know he loves me too. 

He's watching you. 

And someday we'll watch him show his wife and children just how much they mean to him.  

Because he learned it from his dad.  

And he couldn't have a better teacher. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Help, Someone's Calling, and I Can't Pick Up

I may, perhaps, be ready to entertain the idea, that there's a slight possibility, I might have a problem.

No, David, not that problem.

Nope, not that one either.

Oh alright already, so I have quite a few shortcomings.

This one's really more of a Mom addiction. Some Moms binge watch shows on Netflix. Some immerse themselves in love stories, forsaking the laundry or other chores. (I may have been guilty of this during the Twilight series). And still others take a spa day or visit a nail salon on a regular basis.

Mine is a slightly different escape from reality.

Quite a few Christmases ago, the kids got a Wii. I was quick to add Super Mario Bros to "their" game collection.  Except if they were playing it, I also had to be playing it. And if there was a level I was particularly stuck on, I kicked them off altogether so I could concentrate better.

Sadly, somewhere along the line, the Wii went kaput. And we got an Xbox.

I do not care for the Xbox.

I can't play any of the games, other than the Kinect games where your whole body controls your body on the screen. That stuff right there is brilliant.

Tate thought it was pretty cool that I had played Wii with him, so he assumed I'd also want to play Xbox.

We quickly discovered that's just not possible. I don't get it. I will never get it. 3D games where you are left to wander at your leisure but are still expected to complete certain tasks drive me bonkers.

Minecraft? Forget it.

Infinity? Not happening.

He even picked out a Disney game thinking that'd be more up my alley. Nope. I don't understand how to manipulate the controller to move around. I was always going the wrong way or running into walls. And I spent most of my time just trying to get myself turned back around in the right direction.

He would help me the best he could, "Over here, Mom. Get that star."

"What? What star? Where is it?"

"There, by the bridge. Nope, the other way. I see you. And you need to turn around."

"How are you seeing me?! I can't see you. And where's the blasted star?!"

"You can't see me because you're facing the wall."

I finally just gave up altogether. I let him down gently and explained that I just didn't get 3D games and they frustrated me too much. I can only play games that go from left to right.

He took it pretty well. "I guess 'cuz that's what you played when you were little, so that's what you're used to." Then he brightened up, "I'm going to invent a 2D game you can play Mom, and then me and you can play together."

And just like that, David became his chief gaming buddy. In fact, I think they rather enjoy retreating to their little man cave now and then.

I may have mentioned a time or 12 that I missed our Wii. And I missed Mario. So for Christmas this year, David got a Wii for the kids to give me. Thus the rekindling of my addiction.

David still prefers Xbox, which works out fine because our Wii games can only accommodate 4 players at the most. What happens in the game, stays in the game. The kids and I hoot and holler at one other and carry on if we accidentally get knocked into the lava or someone steals our power. But as soon as we shut the console off, we're back to being a civil little group of relatives for the most part.

Tate's skills have improved exceedingly. I now consider him an equal teammate. And at times, better than me. He'll sometimes sneak in when the girls are distracted elsewhere and say, "Mom, let's just me and you play so we can beat it." It didn't take us long to beat my Mario game over break.  But there's a bonus level that can only be played if you've collected all the large coins in the other levels.  So we went back and started working on those. All too soon, Christmas break was over and I had to send my little gaming buddy back to school.

That's when the first sign arose that I may have a problem. I pondered for a split second leaving the following voicemail for his school, "Good Morning, I realize it's the first day back after break, but Tate is running a little late today. See, there's this level we've been working on for awhile now, and, well, I just really need him here to help me beat it. As soon as we do, I'll run him right up.  If not today, then for sure tomorrow. Oh, and please send any missed work home with Drue. She's not very good at Mario so she should be there on time."

We've taking a hiatus from Mario Bros and have rediscovered Mario Kart. Which I guess is considered 3D, but because you're driving on a set track and not just free to venture wherever you please, I can do it. I was a little rusty at first. And the kids kept flying past me. Which is odd, considering I'm the only one of the four of us who actually knows how to drive. But I'm improving, and have no problem whatsoever leaving them in my dust and tossing a red turtle shell their way to knock them off the course entirely.

I'm beginning to realize my affection for Mario Kart has slowly taken root and is beginning to affect other areas of my life. A few weeks ago David was on his way home from Denver. I had already gotten his text saying he'd landed in KC so was a bit surprised when the Superman theme song resonated from my cell phone (his assigned ring). The kids and I were playing Mario Kart and I had raced myself into 2nd place. 2nd place! We still had about a lap and half to go and the others were coming up quickly behind me. So I kept going.

"Mom," Reese said as she sped through the course, "Daddy's calling you."

"I know. I'll call him back," I replied.

"What if it's important?" she asked, growing a little concerned.

"Well, then I'll find that out after I cross the finish line," I continued as I dodged some banana peels.

Turns out, he had stopped at the store and just wanted to know if he needed to pick up anything. Of course, he proceeded to ask what we were up to because Reese hadn't picked up her phone either. I vaguely answered that the kids and I were spending some quality time together. "You guys are playing Mario aren't you?" he deduced.

Fast forward about a week. Drue had a meeting after school so she was going to be a little later than usual. David was taking some conference calls from home, answering work emails, etc. I normally  keep the front door unlocked in the afternoons when I'm home because the kids each trickle in at different times. I don't know if he thought Drue had already come home or what, but he locked the front door. Tate and I were racing through a course when the doorbell rang.

"What in the world? Who's at the door?" I hollered. "It's freezing outside!"

"I don't know. It could be Drue," Tate offered, never looking away from the TV screen.

She rang again, shimmied the doorknob, then started knocking. George was going c-r-a-z-y and David was on a call in the basement.

So I yelled, "Pause it! Pause it!" and raced to the door. I hope I greeted her with a warm hug and a "How was your day?" but who can really remember that far back?

I do remember when I returned to the couch, Tate hadn't paused the game in a timely enough manner and I was now in last place with no hope of catching up. I reviewed our no locked door policy in-depth with David later that evening.

Not all my behaviors have a negative impact, however, when it comes to my Mom addiction. Yes, I may have missed a phone call (or three) and let my daughter stand outside a bit longer than necessary, but there are also positives. Knowing that the kids will be getting home by a certain time each day, I'm motivated to get my errands and housework done even earlier so I'll be available should they want to take a spin around the ol' racetrack. I use my crock pot a lot, especially on nights they have practices, so each person can dish out their grub when they get home or before they leave.  But it also comes in handy on the rare nights they don't have practices. I can prepare the meal during the day and plop it in early so I won't have to be watching pots boil and peeling potatoes during prime gaming hours after school.

Never fear, homework is being completed, actual books are getting read, sports activities are continuing. But I do look forward to little breaks from time to time as we retreat into Mario World. Oh, and if you're planning on calling me, kindly do so before 4pm.

Site Meter