Posts Tagged ‘Children’


I don’t know when Sam went from calling me “Mom” to “Mooothher” complete with the eye roll.  Find myself often saying these days….”Your face is going to freeze that way…” 

Real Mothers don’t eat Quiche; they don’t have time to make it.
Real Mothers really do have eyes in the back of their heads. 
Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils are probably in the sandbox, the front yard, the back yard or the pool. 
Real Mothers often have sticky floors, dented pots and pans (from drumming) filthy ovens and happy kids.
Dirty ovens make the best chocolate chip cookies. 
Real Mothers know that dried play dough doesn’t come out of carpets.
(Really, it doesn’t.) 
Real Mothers don’t want to know what the vacuum just sucked up.
(That’s why vacuum manufacturers designed the crevice tool.) 
Real Mothers sometimes ask ‘Why me?’ and get their answer when a little voice says, “Because I love you.”
Real Mothers know that a child’s growth is not measured
by height, years, mustache or grade level…
It is marked by the progression from Mama to Mommy to Mom to Mother…


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Hubby and I were sitting in the family room surrounded by packing boxes. 
We decided to take a break and Hubby was channel flipping…a favorite male past time it seems. 

There was a movie with a familiar black-haired man. 

Hubby:  Where have I seen that guy before? 
ES:  Well, he is a famous actor/singer from Broadway, movies and television.  His name is Mandy Patinkin. 
Hubby:  What have I seen him in? 
ES:  He plays in Criminal Minds…
Hubby:  No, I haven’t seen him in that. 
ES:  He was in the Princess Bride…”My name is…you killed my father…prepare to die…” 
Hubby:  No, we saw that a loooong time ago…it was something else…
ES:  Then…you may be remembering him as ‘Huxley’ in the movie Elmo In Grouchland
Hubby:  That’s it!  I knew I remembered him from somewhere!

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How many people clean out their medicine cabinet/storage/cardboard box of medicines regularly? 
I do.  Twice a year, usually at the fall and spring time changes.  Keep those snide anti “Martha Stewart” comments to yourselves.  This really is important. 

How many times have you been “sick as a dog” only to find that the flu/cold medicine or worse yet, that the Pepto Bismol has separated into two murky looking halves in one bottle?  Ever wonder why the prescription medication you took did not work and you find yourself sicker than when you took it?  Check your expiration dates.

It is a lovely, late summer day here behind the Orange Curtain.  Our heat wave seems to be ending, finally.  My youngest son and I are comtemplating a trip to the movies to see “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”  As he passed by me this morning, I reached over to rub his still, soft back with my hand. 
Hot.  Mom-Radar on Red Alert. 
I headed for our medicine cabinet – the linen closet in the bedroom hallway.  Armed with the digital thermometer and the Motrin, I returned to Sam.  His temperature is 102.2; he gets a dose of Motrin.

I consider Motrin to be the big guns…what I use first, when the fever is over 100 degrees.  When Sam was little and when my first three sons were under 8, I could tell you within a degree what their temperature was by feeling their upper back (between the shoulder blades) with my hand.  I don’t know if that is a marketable talent or not.  It may fall under “Mother of the Year” headings.  I remember the years when the boys would spike a high fever and I would be on watch 24/7, giving them what I affectionately called the Motrin/Tylenol cocktail.  (You can’t order that in your local pub.) 

I spent the next 30 minutes on the phone with the pediatrician’s office and Urgent Care.  They advised that if his temperature did not drop two degrees within 30-45 minutes I should bring him in immediately.  Otherwise, he should be seen in the office on Monday.  Urgent Care told me their office was filled with kids with flu like symptoms and I think I am asking for more trouble if I take him there.

While I waited to take his temperature again, my mother called.  This event, her phone call, can often have many options…ranging from pleasant to downright exhausting.  You never know who you are going to get, and she wasn’t born in June.  (My apologies to my Gemini readers.) 
I know that when I tell my mother that Sam has a fever, she will be calling ever 45 minutes to an hour.  You would think that he was my first born and only a few months old.  While we are talking she tells me about a recall of Tylenol, she heard about on the news  She has a great disdain for computers, but advises me to check to find out what product was recalled. 

I click on Google and enter the key word Tylenol.  Up pops the first item regarding a product recall.  It’s not dated three years ago.  Crud. 
I run down the list of products and here’s the Tylenol suspension liquid.  (Sam hates to swallow pills.)  I find my reading glasses and dial the number for the company.  The lot numbers of the products recalled are not listed on the site.  Could there be too many to list?  Could they want to know how many offending bottles of the product are out there? 

The customer service representative determined that the almost empty bottle of Tylenol I am holding is one that was recalled.  The other bottle, that I keep in my brief case, (should I get an emergency call from Sam’s school that he is sick and has a fever) is one of the unaffected products judging by the code.  The rep gets the necessary information to send me a coupon for a free bottle.  She also tells me that a doctor on staff with Johnson & Johnson will call me within 24 hours.  That’s very nice I tell her, but really not necessary. 
Ps – We love your baby shampoo. 

Another bit of information that she gave me was the following website with instructions for what to do with those bottles of pills and cough syrups, etc that have expired. 

Sam’s fever has dropped 2 degrees and he thinks this video looks like fun.  We’re going to go and clean out the medicine cabinet now.  He can’t wait to crush the expired pills.  I’ve got an industrial size bottle of Tylenol PM…it’s large enough to medicate a small city… It expired last December. 


If you click on the link, you can watch a video, or just read the following directions. 


A few small steps can make an important difference in safeguarding lives and protecting the environment.
Follow your medication prescriber’s instructions and use all medications as instructed. If you do not use all of your prescribed or over-the-counter medication, you can take a few small steps to make a huge impact in safeguarding lives and protecting the environment by disposing of unused medicines properly:

  1. DO NOT FLUSH unused medications and DO NOT POUR them down a sink or drain. *
    • Pour medication into a ziploc plastic bag.  If medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), crush it and add water to dissolve it.
    • Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) to the plastic bag.
    • Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash. 
    • Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.
  2. Be Proactive and Dispose of Unused Medication In Household Trash. When discarding unused medications, ensure you protect children and pets from potentially negative effects:
  3. Check for Approved State and Local Collection Programs. Another option is to check for approved state and local collection alternatives such as community based household hazardous waste collection programs. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy or other location for disposal.
  4. Consult your pharmacist with any questions.


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About 13 months ago I started blogging. 
I now have 100 posts.  Woo Hoo!  Throw some confetti and cut the cake. 

When my boys were in elementary school the 100th day of school was a BIG deal. 
Their assignment was to count out 100 pennies, 100 fishy crackers, 100 crayons…you get the idea, and bring their 100 items to school. 
It was a big celebration.  Sometimes they even made hats.  One of the boys’ teachers was hung up on hats. 

Frankly, I’ve always suspected that the day was actually a bribe for the teachers….”Hey staff, Look!  You’ve only got 80 days left!  You can hang on a little longer with the Stuart boys, can’t you?  Their mom always brings in those good brownies about this time of the year…you can do it!” 

Really, my boys are charming. 
The first three…that I am not allowed to blog about…have turned into remarkable young men. 
We are very proud. 

This last one is coming along…I know the jury is still out…but I have high hopes and sore knees from spending a great deal of time in prayer over this one.  The last one….he throws off the class curve…I sometimes thought they just hung on to him for the boost in their STAR ratings…if there is such a thing. 

100 posts. 
It is a big deal. 
I’m happy to say that the content has gone in other directions and didn’t stay focused on Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
It’s just that “once you are onto it” as Planetjan says…you want to share what you know. 
We want to debunk the mysterious persona that the N tried to create.  Seriously, he’s full of hot air.

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Years ago we traveled like we were hippies from the 60’s….a VW vanagon….wherever the road took us….wherever the wind blew…with no hotel reservations.  We weren’t total rebels…we got maps from AAA. 
We had kids.  
It’s hard to be “free as a bird” with one in diapers, one barely potty trained and one who loved to flush toilets. 
But, we were thrilled to have had our “wings clipped.” 

We’re not in our 20’s anymore; as Sam would be quick to tell you.  We’re old.
It’s not that fun to sleep in the car anymore….we did that recently when we arrived at a camp site too late in the evening to set up our tent. 
We groaned, creaked and cracked for hours the next morning.  Where’s the Motrin? 
We like our comforts…bed…pillows…hot coffee.  We have a 12 yr old, who is very fond of electricity and sleeping in a bed…usually ours. Regardless of our now deep seated desire for creature comforts, I wasn’t worried about not having hotel reservations for our upcoming trip adventure. 

With just one son at home, we decided it was time once again to undertake that time honored tradition of a family vacation by car. 
This time it wasn’t a “V- DUB” it was a rented KIA.  We had casually mapped out our route.  The Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Mono Lake & Yosemite National Park.  I wasn’t worried about making reservations. 

“Who goes to the Grand Canyon in July?” I asked.
“It’s not like we’re going to Zion National Park on Mother’s Day….”  (Now there’s a story I must share sometime.) 
“There are plenty of hotels around Yosemite!  It’s not like we’re going to be camping there. 
They keep saying on the news that everyone is having a ‘Staycation’ this year.  It’ll be fine…..” 

Yes, I have your family booked for our last available room Mrs. Stuart. 

As we were packing the car, Sam repeatedly asked me, “Where are we staying our first night, mom?”  Lying through my teeth I said, “Outside the Grand Canyon.”  Sam really wasn’t satisfied with that answer, he wanted the hotel name and confirmation number.  But he was so excited that he barely slept the night before and we left at 4 AM the following morning.  Outside Corona CA, after pancakes and Dramamine, Sam was out.

We left CA and entered AZ.  Sam slept through gas stops, potty stops and a drive-thru visit to DQ. 
At a scenic overlook when I got out of the car, I remembered one of our favorite sayings from the road…”But it’s a DRY heat…” 
I found two lovely Navajo women there, selling turquoise jewelery.  Decades ago at a similar stop, I bought a necklace with a three inch chunk of the stone.  I didn’t find anything nearly as large this time. 

All the way to Williams, Arizona, the Great Spirit in the Sky treated us to one His magnificent lightening storms. 
In fact, we were followed all 6 days by fantastic displays of God’s pyrotechnics.  Seems there was a storm just circling around AZ, UT, NV and Northern CA. 

After we had been driving for sometime through AZ, I thought I’d better find us a room for the night.   The Arizona AAA Tour Book was a great resource.  The first hotel I called wanted $250.00 for the night.  Hubby wanted to know if that room came with someone to scrub your back in the shower and then tuck you in for the night.  I told the girl at the reservations desk that I would call her back. 

As I continued to peruse through the hotel listings, there was a particularly loud clap of thunder.  With the possibility of sleeping in the car becoming a reality, I quickly called one of my next choices….The Red Feather Lodge, just about 2 miles outside the south entrance to the park.  I had to practically stand on my head in the KIA (not an easy task to be sure) to get cell reception.  I finally reached reservations for the hotel by holding my head just so, while we barrelled along at 70 MPH. 
“When would you be visiting us?” the girl asked.  “Tonight,” I said. 
She put me on hold so that I would not hear her laughing.  After what seemed like an eternity she came back on the line and requested my credit card number.  It seems the Stuart family had gotten THE last room at the Red Feather Lodge.  www.redfeatherlodge.com

Sam was jarred awake by a deep rumble of thunder.  He was so excited by the light show and preceded to refresh our education regarding weather, storms, lightening and thunder.  There were fantastic jagged bolts of lightening every 5-10 seconds in the clouds in front of us.  I tried in vain to photograph one of them;  I finally quit and just enjoyed the show.

When we reached Williams, Arizona, Sam spotted a Pizza Hut.  The Hut in Arizona is nothing like CA.  They had a salad bar, you could pick individual orders of pasta, and the kids working there were very sweet.  Sorry, if I’m stepping on toes.  After our meal we headed for our hotel.  The hotel was very nice and the staff accommodating.  We got our luggage in the room and then headed for into the park for Sam &  Hubby’s first glimpse of the Grand Canyon…live and in person. 
It seemed like it was the first time I had seen it too.  The ten minutes when I was a tween with Teddy and Grandma, was a long time ago. 
(See Clustr Maps:  Connect the Dots!  Part I)


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Years ago I read an article called “Taking the High Road with Three under 3.”  I remember thinking those parents had to be crazy!  Our first 3 were 5 and under, but still,  Hubby and I were just never that adventurous; traveling with my kids always made me think of some complex military operation….without the benefit of a logistic command post.
With just one child at home now, we decided that it was time to undertake that time honored tradition of a family vacation by car. 
Having completed a whirl wind tour of 4 states – 3 national parks, one state park and a cave in 6 days, I feel somewhat qualified to share my advice on some of those must haves for a smooth trip.

If you are going to undertake a vacation by car, then I would first suggest a stop at AAA.  The membership fee is well worth it.  We have been members for over 25 years. I have never encountered anything but polite, informative representatives.  They had me on my way with Tour books, maps and my personal favorite…the Trip-Tik in a matter of 30 minutes.  On my way to my car, I began to wax nostalgic thinking back to the days when my family drove cross country and I was the navigator.  The difference for Sam will be that we actually pull over and stop at the points of interest. 

A little advice on renting a car:   
Two weeks ago we went to reserve a small to mid size SUV to take National Park hopping.  When you reserve your car, make sure that your rep is on the SAME page as you are. 
When we returned to pick up our rental car, she had us down to be picking up the vehicle on Thursday evening, not Wednesday evening, and had nothing suitable for us.  Hubby was reserved enough not to choke the living daylights out of her.  We drove to a competitor in the rental car business and when we mentioned where we had just been, the young man said, “Oh, the B word.  We get a lot of business from them.” 
We personally will never speak the “B word” again, because the customer service rep at the “E word” found us a KIA Rondo and we were on our way home to load up in a matter of 20 minutes.  What a great car with wonderful gas mileage.  70 MPH, through the desert at 110 degrees with the air conditioning on full blast and neither the temperature nor the gas gauge even wiggled. 

Once we were home with the car we started packing.  The Rondo has this great luggage area in back where you can store water underneath, and did we ever.  By the end of the trip we had gone through a case from Costco. 
We have a list of things that we think no one should do without on a road trip. I’ve made up a blank of it and we keep a copy to check off as we go along. 
Car equipment emergency stuff – that is more of a “boy” thing and luckily it came with the car. 
Blankets – Those lightweight acyclic throws are great. 
Windex/Paper Towels – our rental car arrived with a ‘delightful aroma’ of cigarette smoke.  After cleaning all the windows, the smell all but vanished. 
Tissues & daily medications
Travel coffee mugs
–  Yeah, it’s nice to get one from the National Park, but at $18.00 a mug, it adds up. 
Grocery sacks, Green shopping bags – are great for souvenirs, to hold snacks and are great to use to bring in the last load of stuff you don’t want to leave in your car overnight at a hotel. 
Pillows – this goes without saying.  We are all creatures of habit at my house.
Water – Did I mention water?  Pack several bottles in the ice chest along with ICE & maybe some orange juice, yogurt, fruit and snack cheeses.  Our Rubbermaid cooler has a neat plastic mesh tray to hold small things like these.  (FYI – Small packages of M & M’s are sealed in paper wrappers.  When introduced to the melted water in the ice chest, they liquefy.  This produces hostile travelers.)  Be sure to tuck a pillow next to the cooler to keep the sun at bay.  You’ll be surprised at how long the ice will last. 
Snacks– peanut butter, crackers, cereals.  Whatever are the things you can’t do without, we even had tea bags and coffee.  The insulated bags that Costco sells worked great for all the snacks.  Be sure to bring paper napkins and a few pieces of plastic ware., or just use those a fore  mentioned paper towels.  
(FYI – It is possible to spread peanut butter with a spoon going  70 MPH through the desert, just watch those curves.)
Diaper wipes– Get a travel size package of Huggies wipes ($2.59) to keep in the glove compartment.  You can use them to wipe the sunscreen off your hands after having to re-apply for the third time….the Rondo did not have tinted windows.  Wipes will also get the melted M & M’s off the upholstery of the back seat of the rental car when you stop for the night in Utah…can’t imagine how that happened. 
Speaking of sunscreen – I will have a post devoted to our favorite brands of sun protection. 
Reflective dashboard shade – okay, you cannot take a trip without one of these.  While you’re at it, bring along a few of those binder paper clips.  This kept me from frying in the desert sun.  Mental note…get a car with tinted windows for next time. 
Entertainment for the back seat– Sam was set with a portable DVD player, movies, his Nintendo DS, CD’s, travel games & math puzzles. 
We listened to every Harry Potter movie that has been released on DVD.   Speaking of the back seat, if your kids are prone to motion sickness bring the Dramamine.  Sam was so excited that he woke us up at 2:45 am when it was time to leave.  Tiredness combined with the medicine produced a very quiet backseat. 
Technology– Don’t forget the digital cameras, memory cards, music CD’s, cell phones, car chargers, camera chargers, video camera….

Did Ansel Adams travel like this?

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Thankfully I have had lots of energy this summer to keep up with the kids.  
I  have answered many questions, some of which took me by surprise. 

I have learned that when my brother’s children ask a question they want an answer……whether or not I am the person who should answer their question.  Somehow I was able to put off my own children’s questions…not these two. 
We have had many interesting conversations this month. 

We have talked about the word homo.
I’ve explained it means the same as gay & that some old grandmas born in the late 1800’s may have actually had Gay as a first or middle name; back then it only meant happy.  I explained that homo can also be in reference to dairy products, homogenized…with the full fat content. 
When I accidentally mentioned “heterosexual”…that added a whole new set of questions. 

I have explained that you cannot get AIDS from licking a tree…”Who on earth told you that?” I asked.   
We need to include them in our little back yard evening discussions.  Besides, why would you want to lick a tree anyway?   Isn’t this carrying “tree hugging” a bit far?  I mean I know that my brother is raising you in the Pacific Northwest, but seriously. 

I have explained multiple times, that sex has different meanings.  Whether you are filing out an application or if you are married and you would like to have a baby. 
(Although, I think it is illegal to ask a person’s sex on job applications these days.) 
We have talked about what sex means…to a degree. 
Don’t be shocked, but I have not told them that sex is for fun….for extracurricular activities. 
We’ve just gone with the basic procreating option…because that’s All. They. Wanted. To. Know.  Right now.

I have not had to explain about why a 4 hour erection is a bad thing.  I am very fast with the remote. 
My husband thinks a man deserves a medal for such an accomplishment.  Hubby may just get the priviledge of explaining those commercials; and he recently learned the “fancy term” for that 4 hour badge of honor from watching an episode of True Blood Season One.  Who says you can’t learn stuff from watching cable? 

I just hope we’re set on definitions for now.

At our second viewing of Harry Potter 6 (as we are calling it) I explained again, why Hermione was crying while sitting on the staircase with Harry after seeing Ron snogging with Lavender Brown. 
I’ve explained “Snogging” …I hope there’s not more to it than I think. 
Sure hope it only means kissing….someone in Britain get back to me on that if you would please.

Anyway, my niece needed more clarification.  (I felt like I was explaining the latest episode of a soap opera.)
I said,  “Hermione is crying, because she has realized that she loves Ron but here he is with another girl.  Hermione is the girl that Ron should be kissing.  Ron, is totally clueless about Hermione’s feelings.  Meanwhile, Harry has realized that he has very strong feelings for Ginny, but is afraid to do anything about it.  Harry doesn’t know what Ron would do to him (Harry) if he saw Ginny and Harry kissing. 

My niece looked at me and said, “I think Ron needs to join us for our evening conversations.”

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