Things I’ve Never Done

I’m 34 years old.

And I’ve never:

1. Wrestled an alligator.

2. Been to Australia.

3. Ate a bag of cotton candy I didn’t like (or ran from it).

4. Taught anyone how to Dougie, nor do I know how. (I will have to put this close to the top of the “to do” list, even though I’m a year or two late to be cool.)

5. Made homemade gravy, unless opening a jar really does count.

6. Rode an antelope.

7. Successfully changed a tire, but I tried once.

8. Jumped off a waterfall.

9. Walked a tight rope.

10. Met a clown I didn’t like.

11. Waltzed or learned to salsa.

12. Had triplets, but I’ve had twins.

13. Been snow skiing.

14. Met Tom Hanks.

15. Made Chinese food.

16. Peirced my nose.

17. Stood on my head while saying the alphabet backwards.

18. Left the United States.

19. Owned a pair of Crocks.

20. Won the lottery.

21. Climbed Mt. Everest.

22. Been on a talk show.

Now it’s your turn.

Mama’s Losin’ It


Writer’s Workshop: My Flower Bouquet

Mama’s Losin’ ItThis weeks writing prompt: What types of flowers would be in a bouquet that best describes you?

Of course I had to write for this prompt. I am surrounded by buckets of flowers every day. I have been for the last fifteen plus years, off and on. Miller’s Florist is like my second home. I started working there when I was in high school. I grew up there. I raised my first two babies there. I was lucky to be able to bring them to work with me.

But as I think of this prompt, it is hard. What flowers would best describe a bouquet about me?  

I design floral arrangements everyday. I could do it in my sleep. The flowers don’t always talk to me. They are my tools, part of the business. When you are around them everyday, you forget to notice each one’s uniqueness and individuality.

So at work while I was thinking of this prompt, I started to pay more attention. The buds and blooms softly call my attention; soft and silvery lamonium, each million star of babies breath, weedy and wild solidago, daisies, carnations, lilies, roses, and that last hydrangea that is begging me to use it for a nice and expensive bouquet. Rose petals fold around each other like a perfect piece of artwork.

They wait in the cooler, some of their heads tangled together, some of them standing in bunches, waiting to be grabbed, cut, and sent out.

A white larkspur leans in the green bucket, waiting to be included in a tall vase. Long viney buds fly away in crazy green spirals from its base. Maybe I can be a larkspur. I have lots of little ones surrounding me all of the time.  I’m not tall, but I’m skinny again (finally! three babies in two years takes a while to lose that weight). 

I asked Connie, What flowers do you think represent you? If you were a bouquet, what would be in it?”

“I love heather. That is one of my favorites,” she said. “I like lilies, too. They open up like arms for a hug. They are versatile. You can put them in an everyday arrangement or you can dress them up.”

“That is it,” we both said at the same time.

“Definitely you. You can fit in anywhere,” I laughed.

Hmmmm….what flowers are in my bouquet?

I am everything.

I am the droopy headed asters when I’m tired, but always with a sunny middle and smile.

I am big thick sunflowers standing in the sun. I have a strong and sturdy base.

I am zinnias that grow wild in my garden. I tend to go every which way in a flurry of color and excitement.

I am delicate violets who thrive in the light. I like lots of attention, but can be left alone on the window sill and thrive, just like these fuzzy leaved plants.

I am a venus fly trap who captures and makes its own food. I can make a meal (edible, but not delicious) out of just about anything.

I am versatile. I am unique. I am a wildflower bouquet with a little bit of this, and a lot of that, and put in some of this… a little bit of everything. You just have to look real close. You never know what you may find.


Where I’m From – Writer’s Workshop


I am from friendship bracelets knotted and twisted from embroidery floss, jelly shoes and riding a ten speed when it was cool, from Nintendo, Mtv, and dial-up Internet .

I am from the hot summer days with freshly cut grass that sticks to the bottom of bare feet.

I am from stinky marigolds growing around the front porch steps, the streets lined with trees and painted mailboxes. 

I am from boating on the muddy Mississippi and boring parents who were home every night, from Linda and Jean and Lorraine.

I am from the dinner at the table every night at 5  and eat your vegetables.

From do your homework right when you get home from school and do your chores before you go out and play.

I am from sleeping in on Sundays and slumber parties, popcorn and movies, and of course, staying up late.

I’m from the heart of Illinois, Land of Lincoln, hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, corn on the cob and cantaloupe.

From the nights watching Grandma Linda get ready for Bingo and her fancy perfume, the searching for four-leaf clovers for luck, “Here, Grandma! I just found one for you!” From picking tomatoes and chasing lightning bugs on Grandma Jean’s farm, hot sticky days splashing in an old washbucket.

I am from a box of Polaroids and faded pictures on my parent’s back porch. Some scattered here, others scattered there, old pictures in frames sitting against the attic wall. The old ones tucked safely away, the new ones hanging on the living room wall, smiling grandkids around a Christmas tree.

Thanks Mom and Dad. I love where I’m from.
Mama’s Losin’ It

This post was from the amazing Mama Kat, I just love her site (link on the button above). I had so much fun doing this exercise. If you want to give it a try you can find the template here…and don’t forget to share your link!

Grandma Jean’s Story

“Grandma Jean’s Story”

It was a perfect day at the beach. A light salty breeze blew the rim of my Grandma’s big sun hat, threatening to blow it out to sea. She pulled it down harder on her head with both hands and tied the pink ribbon under her chin with a tight loopy bow. I love the way her hands look, paper-thin with old freckles blotching the tops of them. She had delicate hands, artist’s hands, that would never harm you. She would often pat my back or rub my arms, telling me how much she loves me and how good I am. She was so soft and kind.

Her fingers were unique. I remember studying them when I was little. The very tips of two of her fingers on her right hand were slightly gone, giving them a claw like appearance. The nails curled around her skin and grew close, protecting an old injury. They were still pretty hands. They were hers.

She lost them while driving a bus. It broke down when she opened the hood, I think a belt cut them off. I wish I would have listened to that story more closely. She’s not here to tell it anymore. Even though she wasn’t one to go on about an old story; she just lived and loved all her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids with all her heart.

Grandma Jean, North Carolina

“Hunny, we need to get you a big hat like this. You should always wear a hat out in the sun to protect your face. You have such beautiful skin.”

“Okay, Grandma,” I said, pacifying her. At that time I would never be caught dead wearing a thing like that; silk hot pink flowers tucked around the ribbon. I was 23.

It’s 6 am and I’m not sure why I’m up so early. I have never seen the sunrise over the ocean before, at least not that I could remember. Still, it’s so early but I dragged my butt out of bed to go with grandma.

She always found the best treasures on the beach early in the morning. Large conch shells, small colorful shells that looked like gems in the sand, and perfect driftwood that was smooth and worn from the crashing waves. We once dragged half a tree across the beach and through many states just to get it home for her.

It’s been years and the driftwood is still around, propped up against pots of geraniums and petunias on the back porch. Unfortunately grandma is not here, but she left us with perfect memories.

We would spend several weeks on the North Carolina beach. The whole family packed into a beach house. One of my favorite memories is Grandma insisting that she was just going to sit in the sand and let the waves swish over her feet. “Okay, Grandma. We’re going to go swim and play around in the sand.”

A while later we noticed Grandma waving her big ol’ bonnet above her head as if she was trying to flag down a plane. “Kids! Help! Come here!”  High tide was coming in and the waves were almost to her waist. We ran and helped her up before she was washed out to sea. That is the thing I loved about her. She may not have the best mobility, but she enjoyed herself and lived in the moment. I love her for that.

Even the memories that embarrassed me at age 8 are treasures now. My grandma always took my sister, cousin, and me to the grocery store. It was not uncommon for us to be several aisles over with grandma yelling for us, “Amanda, where are you guys at? Do you want chicken for supper?” What were we supposed to do, yell back over the aisles? Instead, we rushed back over so she wouldn’t get to aisle ten and be yelling across the whole store. I think it’s hilarious now. It’s just grandma.

I need to go buy myself a big hat with a floppy brim. I would not be embarassed to wear it now. She taught me so much. I miss her.


This post is part of Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writing Workshop. You can read her immensely entertaining blog by clicking here.

Thanks for stopping by!

This Can’t Be Happening

This post is part of “Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writing Workshop.”  Awesome blog! You should stop over to check it out. She just cracks me up.

As I was thinking about the writing prompt and doing dishes, I was relieved; I mean, I have no major mom fail moments. Oh, sure…there are the little things, like letting your kids paint with watered down food coloring and dying themselves blue and orange.  It eventually washed out. Or there was that other time… Ok. So I have plenty of mom fail moments. This parenting business is hard, especially with three kids under the age of two. Thank goodness I have a 5-year-old also, he brings sanity into the mix; “MOM, don’t turn the light off on me. I can only see in the dark when my eyes are glowing!”

Then the memories started floating to the surface and popping like the bubbles of the dishwater, fast and furious. The memory that stands out the most, and I would call my largest mom fail moment… AND that I feel really bad about… is when I locked Collin in the bedroom. Not on purpose though!

I was exhausted, pregnant with twins, and trying to get ready for work with Collin under my feet, who must have been 9 or 10 months old, something like that. He was barely walking, but he could crawl fast. I had him on the floor by the full length door mirror. He was kissing it and making it all slobbery. I was trying to do something with my hair and darn it, I forgot the hairspray. So I took the two steps in the hallway to reach in the bathroom to grab the hairspray, and shut the bedroom door behind me because Collin was hot on my trail…and the doorknob fell off in my hand. I stood there dumbfounded for a second, feeling the weight of the old knob in my hand. Seriously!?! What the hell?!

A screaming wail from behind the door shook me out of my bewilderment. I tried to put the doorknob back on. No luck. I wiggled and jiggled it and tried to will it with my mind to go back on. No luck.

I tried to reach in and grab the old metal piece that the doorknob should be connected to and tried to turn it. No luck.

Baby still crying on the other side of the door. I’m a frantic pregnant mom trying to keep my cool, even though a million pictures from my demented mind kept racing through my head.

My bedroom is sooo not babyproofed! Did I turn the curling iron off? Please don’t be hot. He could find a bobby pin and stick it into the outlet. He could find the pen by my bedside and poke his eye out. He could get tangled in the blankets and suffocate. He could find a penny and choke on it. He could climb onto the dresser and push on the screen and fall out the window.

Adrenaline flowing, mind racing, I tromped (I wish I could have run, but I was ginormously pregnant already) down to the kitchen to get a butter knife. Bradley was zoned out in front of the tv in his SpongeBob underwear. I tried not to alarm him, no luck. “Mom, what are you doing?”

“Oh, nothing hunny. Collin just got locked in my bedroom. Mommy has to try to get him out. Watch your cartoons.”

“Hey, Mom! I know! Maybe Special Agent Oso (courtesy of the Disney Channel) can fly up to the room and go through the window and unlock the door.”

How sweet and helpful. “Great idea! You watch for him and mommy will be right back down in a minute.”

Baby still crying behind the door. I talked to him as I tried to unlock the door with the butter knife, “It’s okay, sweetie. Mommy is right here. Hey! Can you open the door? Open the door!” He can’t even reach the doorknob, but it was worth a try. I was getting nowhere, except for bending the knife all up.

“Hold on just a second, hunny,” I said. I can take the hinges off,  I’ve seen that done before. But the hinges were on the inside. Crap!

I go to call somebody. CRAP! My cell phone is locked in the room with him. How can it get any worse? I instantly picture my neighbors’ houses, who would be home? We just moved in, so I don’t even know any of them. I decided on the old people across the street, since old people are usually awake at 7 am.

I held my pregnant belly and trotted as fast as I could across the street barefoot. Please answer the door. I didn’t have a clue on what to say, but it just came out. “I locked my cell phone in the bedroom with the baby and I need to call 911.” He let me in.

The 911 operator kept asking me, “HOW did this happen?” Like I deliberately locked him in. A very young cop, probably just turned 21, came to the door. He kept asking, “And HOW did this happen?”

By this time Collin was screaming uncontrollably behind the door. Bradley was excited, a cop at our house to help us, how cool. “Mom! He has a gun,” Bradley whispered.

“I might have to break down the door,” the cop said. “I’m just worried I will hurt him.”

“I don’t care what you have to do. I just want my baby out of there!”

It seemed like hours; baby screaming behind the door, babies doing somersaults in my belly from all the excitement. I wished I could drink.

Finally he hit the place where the doorknob should be with a screwdriver and hammer and the knob popped. I hoped it didn’t clunk the baby on the head.

It was all quiet except for the gasping baby in my arms with  big crocodile tears covering his face, along with a lot of snot. Tears were streaming down my face, too. “I’m so sorry. It’s okay,” I said softly to him and rocked him back and forth.

I felt terrible.


***Note: I made sure I explained to Bradley’s daycare teachers what happened. I’m sure his version was much more entertaining though. I can just hear it, “My mom locked my baby brother in the bedroom and the cops came…***