Line Drive


When Bradley got home from baseball practice the other night he was pretty pumped up. Brad said, “Hey, Bradley! Tell your Mom what you did to the coach.”

Bradley’s smile got even bigger. “When I hit the ball, I hit it really really hard! It almost hit the coach!” he said.

“Yea,” Brad said. “He hit it really hard. A line drive right at the coach’s head,” he chuckled.

Bradley really can hit this year. At his first practice he cracked them one after the other into the outfield. You could tell the coach looked surprised. Other parents in the stand said, “Man, that kid can really hit the ball,” or “He’s a little hitter.” Needless to say, this was a very proud parent moment for the both of us. I looked over at Brad leaning against the chain link fence, he had a proud Dad smile plastered on his face.

It doesn’t surprise me, though. Last summer Bradley spent most of his days in the backyard with a whiffle ball and a plastic blue bat. He stood on the sidewalk and would crack ball after ball into the backyard. Murphy, our dog, would bring the ball back every single time and drop it at his feet. He’s a good doggie outfielder.

Can’t wait to see Bradley’s first baseball game of the season this Saturday!


Peanut Butter Jelly Time

My kids would live on peanut butter and jelly if I would let them. I swear, they would eat it every single day if they could.

The other day I was making one for Bradley’s lunch. He tells me, “Mom, I want the jelly on the bottom.”

“Okay,” I said, not thinking much of it.

When I gave it to him he opened it up to check. “Mom! The jelly is not on the bottom!”

Really? It doesn’t matter. It’s all smooshed and mixed together anyway (I didn’t say this to him, though). But whatever. I flipped the sandwich over. That fixed the problem and he was happy.

Way to easy!



Oh, the crazy things kids say…

Oh, the crazy things kids say…

We were watching “Fear Factor” this evening and Bradley was ready for bed in his pajamas, which I guess consisted of shorts and no shirt tonight. He comes up to me with an embarrassed grin and asks, “Mom, what are these called?” pointing to his nipple.

Where the hell did this come from all of a sudden?!  

Maybe because there was a swimming part on “Fear Factor” with guys and big muscles. That’s what I’m guessing anyway.

I am so unprepared but I answer anyway. “It is called a nipple.”

He giggles and covers his mouth like he is going to tell me a secret and asks, “What are they for?”

I’m alarmed. Caught off guard. I’m not really sure what to say. I am very unprepared. And I also just want to laugh my ass off, but I don’t.

So I tell him, “They don’t do anything.” At least his don’t anyway, I think to myself and just keep the laughter in my head.

“Do they help you get muscles?” he asks with a large smile, like he knows the truth and I am not telling him or something. “They make muscles, don’t they, Mom?”

Oh. I just can’t help but laugh a little.

“No. But if you exercise, eat healthy foods, and drink your milk you get muscles there.”

Oh! The things kids say…

What kind of crazy questions have your kids asked that caught you off guard? And how did you answer? I bet there are some funny stories.


My Sledding Experience: I Don’t Bounce Like I Used To

They say that as you get older you get wiser. I learned a lot today when we went sledding. I don’t know if I am any wiser, but I did learn that I don’t bounce like I used to.

When I was younger I had no fear. I would start at the top of the tallest hill, take a running leap and belly flop on the sled and go flying down the hill face first. We would weave in and out of trees. We even had double ramps and we always got plenty of air. And going back up the hill to do it again…no problem. And if we crashed, it wasn’t bad. We just shook it off and was ready to do it again.

But something happens to our bodies when we get older, at least mine anyway. When I crash, it hurts. I don’t know if it is because of age and I’m not as flexible as I used to be. Maybe it’s because I’m not as physically fit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lazy. I chase after four kids all the time. That is plenty of physical activity to keep me fit and trim. But when I crash now, it really does hurt. I go limping back up the hill, if I make it at all, trying not to think about how it looked to everybody else. And also knowing I’m going to be feeling this all week long. Dang, I’m just not as young as I used to be.  

Maybe it is also because we’re more cautious now that we are older. We take into consideration all of the variables that could happen before we go sledding down that hill or doing some other stupid daring trick. I mean, I don’t have time to have a broken leg or arm. I have too many other people to take care of to be down like that.

But most of the time, I do it anyway. I’m just not quite as a daredevil as I used to be. This time there were no trees to steer between.

It all began when I was at the bottom of the hill watching the kids sled down. I was cheering for them and making sure they didn’t go too far and hit any obstacles. It looked like so much fun and eventually I was at the top of the hill sending the kids down to Brad. The extra sled was laying there, tempting me. Childhood sledding memories flew in like snowflakes and the reasoning part of my brain was frost-bitten and not working at that moment, I guess. I’m going down, I decided.

Now, I am smart enough that I didn’t start at the top of the hill. I started half way down. I don’t think it would have mattered where I started, crashing is always hard. I flew down the snowy hill and felt the rush of adrenaline. The next thing I knew, my face was in the snow and my hat flew off. I don’t know if I did a backwards somersault or just flopped over like a beached whale. Whatever it looked like I know it wasn’t graceful. But it did hurt. I just don’t bounce like I used to.

You know, I have always wanted to be the mom who participates in activities with their kids. I want to sled down the hill with them. I would probably even have a lapse of forgetfulness and try that ramp at the skatepark. But I try to remember to take it easy. There are some things I just can’t do like I used to. I can still play baseball, though!  

I took it easy the rest of the day with our winter play. I was cautious. I didn’t do any more sledding. Instead I flung my kids down the hill as fast as I could so I could relive those childhood memories somehow. Hearing their giggles and laughter, seeing their rosy cheeks, and watching them crash was more than enough enjoyment for me.

We had a great time. We even made a baby snowman.

Do you still go sledding with your kids? Or do you cheer from the sidelines? I would love to hear your sledding adventures.


Who is Your Valentine?

I was putting Bradley to bed and crashed on his top bunk next to him. “I love you so much,” I told him.

“Mom,” he says, “My favorite holiday is Valentine’s Day,” he said out of the blue.

“It is?” I asked. “Who is going to be your Valentine this year?”

“Ummmm…” he said, looking into the air for the answer with a sly grin.

“Who do you love lots and lots?” I asked, smiling and waiting for the obvious answer.

“Ummmm…” he grinned, knowing what he is supposed to say.

“Who do you love to the moon and back? Who loves you all the way to the stars?” I went on, “Who makes your breakfast? Who washes your clothes? Who gives you lots of kisses?” I asked, kissing his forehead.

He didn’t answer. He just sat there with a Cheshire grin.

“Ok. I will give you a hint,” I said. “Her name starts with an ‘M’ and ends with an ‘M’.” 

“MOM!” he shouts.

That’s my boy, even though I had to work for that one. Little stinker.

I gave him hugs and kisses. “Good night. I love you.”


Checkers Maniac

New Year’s Eve.

Strobe lights and sweaty bodies dancing.

Empty beer bottles and smashed cigarettes.

A blaring band and crowded bar.

Nope…this wasn’t my New Year’s Eve, not this year any way. Actually, I haven’t had one like that in a long time…and probably wont for quite a while. It’s okay. I don’t really miss it. I have so much fun hanging out with the kids and watching the ball drop on tv and banging on pots and pans at midnight and waking up the neighbors.

One of my favorite parts of waiting for the new year is playing games. This year I taught Bradley how to play Checkers. He is addicted. He is a Checker’s maniac now. That’s all he wants to do. And if he can’t find anyone to play with him, he plays against himself.

He got a Lightening McQueen Checkers game this year. We lined up all the black and white pieces and put Lightening McQueen stickers on them to get started.

I briefly explained the rules.

“Okay. The first game I will help you so you get the hang of it,” I told him.

He got the hang of the game quickly. The second game he kicked my ass… and I was kind of trying.  

I have found my Checkers match.

“Okay, kid,” I said, taunting and teasing him. “I think you have the hang of this game. You kicked my butt! No breaks for you this time,” I told him.

I bragged to everyone how quick he caught on and how I have such a smart kid. It was amazing to see his six-year-old little brain planning strategies and ways to trap my guys.

“Mom, I don’t think. I just KNOW where to move them,” he said.

And yes, my six-year-old son kicked my butt AGAIN in Checkers. And I was really trying. I had no kings, wasn’t even close, and the little stinker double jumped me!

“It’s on!” I said. “Let’s play again.”

Of course he was up to it. He was in his glory.

This game I caught him. I surrounded him with kings. He knew any which way he moved I had him.

He laid his tired head on the table. It was only ten o’clock, but that is late for him. I kind of started feeling sorry for him, glossy blue eyes and big lashes pushing back tired and defeated tears.

But I couldn’t let him win every game. Isn’t that the point of playing games with your kids? It should be a learning experience.  You can’t always win them all and you have to be a good sport and play your best.

The board was set up in my favor, my kings awaiting his next move. He reluctantly moved his piece. I quietly jumped it. “Good game, hunny,” I told him.

He was obviously not happy.

He won the next and last game, I made sure of it without being too obvious. Building up confidence is good also.


Conversation in the Car

New Year’s Eve

In the car on the way home from my parent’s house:

“Mom. Mom!” Bradley yelled from the backseat.

“What?” I called back.

“Can you turn the music down, please?”

“Why?! I love this song! It’s mommy’s jam,” I said, singing along.

“Please, Mom. I’m trying to watch a movie in my head,” Bradley said.

I was surprised by this response. I don’t know where this kid comes up with this stuff. So I asked the obvious questions, “What movie are you watching?”

“A vampire movie,” he said.

Hmmm…wouldn’t have guessed that one.

A couple of minutes later:

“Mom, I can’t wait to be a Dad,” Bradley said. He says this all the time. I’m pretty sure it’s because he idolizes his dad. He’s six, of course he does. He always wants to be just like his dad.

So I played along. “What would you do if you were a dad?” I ask.

He thinks for a minute.

“Mom, I would do the dishes.”

I can’t help but laugh, his dad hardly ever helps me with the dishes. So I am thrilled with this response. He is such a good kid. “That would make me so happy,” I tell him.

“I would wash the walls and make them shiny and sparkly,” he continues.

“That sounds good,” I say.

His list goes on…

I would play video games and watch tv.

I would work at John Deere, where my dad works.

I would take my kid, Collin’s age (2), to Sunny Side Day Care (that’s cute, the daycare from Toy Story 3). And I would let him sleep where ever he wants to. I would even let him sleep on the floor.”

“Wow. You’re gonna be busy,” I say. “But be a kid and have fun,” I tell him. “I’ll let you play games on the computer when you get home.”

“Okay. But, Mom. I also wish I could be Santa Claus.”


Bubbling Zombie Brains and First Steps

I read Bradley the list of Dr. Dreadfuls experiments he could make, “Bubbling brains, zombie barf, skin, or a zombie bug mixture. Which one do you want to make?”

He picked the bubbling brains.

He measured, poured, mixed, and stirred the crazy concoction. It started to fuzz and fizzle over the edges. 

“It’s ready to eat,” I told him and passed out the spoons.

“Ewww…It’s sour!”

Bradley was a little worried at first. “No, it’s not real brains. It’s just candy.”

Collin loved it.

It’s been a crazy busy day. Up early because Collin wakes up too early. Work. Visiting with family. Chasing babies. Dinner. Dishes. Laundry. It’s been a very busy day.

Now, late at night, I feel like my brain is starting to fuzz and fizzle over just like Bradley’s experiment. I’m tired. I really wanted to do his Zombie lab another night, but he has been looking forward to it since he first opened it up Christmas morning. So we had to at least do one experiment. It was fun.


Terri, who watches the babies during the day, called me at work.

“Elsie walked! She just took off like she has always been walking. She walked from the living room to the dining room.”

I was so excited all day. I couldn’t wait to get home to see her walk.

I bragged all day about her walking at work…and also mentioned, “Watch, when I get home, she wont do it.”

And she didn’t. It wasn’t until right before bed that she started walking. She just took off. It was so cute. (And soon I will catch her on video.)

I hope she starts walking more. She will be able to keep up with Mallie and Collin. And I have really been worried about her knees. She walks on her knees almost all of the time. She’s fast on her knees, but we have all hardwood floors. Her poor little knees are like elephant knees, all calloused and red. You know that’s got to hurt. Every night I put Aquaphor on her raw little knees.

So hopefully, she will start walking on her feet more often.

Keeping my fingers crossed. (I know she will do it eventually, I have never seen a two or three year old walking only on his or her knees. She does things when she wants.)


Oh, Christmas Tree…Oh, Christmas Tree!

The first weekend in December:  I hauled up the Christmas tree box from the basement. I didn’t even get it set down on the floor and the boys were trying to tear into it like it was a present on Christmas day. “You have to wait. This is just the Christmas tree. Mommy is going to set it up. THEN you can help put the ornaments on,” I said. This seemed to appease the little Christmas beasts.

I pulled out the pieces. The top, middle and bottom. Gotta love these new trees that practically come put together, lights and all. No more sorting branches by faded color stickers at the end of each branch. No more waiting for Dad to put the lights on the tree.

 Oh, the childhood memories I have of pacing while waiting for the tree to be ready. Trying to wait patiently as my Dad made piles of similar sized branches. Getting anxious and digging through the boxes of ornaments to decide which ones to hang first.

“Dad, are you almost done?” and “Dad, can we hang the ornaments yet?” and “Dad…Dad…Dad…” We probably pestered him the whole time, but he kept working away, meticulously straightening branches and hanging lights. Now, I am the same way about straightening each branch, making sure the lights are strung around evenly. Thanks, Dad, for passing on this obsessive behavior about how the tree should look.

When I was pulling the tree out a sparkly green ball bounced across the hardwood floor. I recognized it immediately. It was one of Grandma Jean’s ornaments from last year.

I miss her. She would be so happy we are putting up her tree. I can hear her now, “Isn’t that a nice tree? Look how each branch is so perfect and how all the lights sparkle. It is a beautiful tree. Uncle Steve picked that tree out special for me (every year he would come and help her set up the tree and even come back and take it down. What a good son. I hope one of my kids will do that for me when I am old),” I can hear her now, as I sit here thinking about her. I can see her in her beige leather recliner int he big living room, crocheting away on a multicolored afghan, watching tv, and admiring her tree.


If she were here now, I know she would want to see all of our trees. She would ask, “What do the babies think of the tree?” and she would remind me (even though I know) to “make sure you keep the ornaments away from the babies. They could swallow one of those hooks. You have to keep them safe. Get down on the floor and make sure a hook didn’t fall off that you didn’t see. You have to be real careful. Run your hands along the floor.”  And even though I know this, I would reply, “Okay, Grandma,” and I would probably tell her about how I have the tree set up on a card table in the living room so none of the little ones can reach it. And she would say, “I know, hunny. You take such good care of those babies,” and she would tell me how proud she is of me. Man, I love her and miss her. 

It was a trial and error with the trees this year. I put up two. A small one and a regular sized one. I put up the little tree first just to see what the kids think of it…and I was also making sure they weren’t going to try to climb it. I set it up on a small table in the corner. I put the ottoman in front of the table and a small chest ont the other side. The twins couldn’t reach it, but it was still a bad idea. Collin just used the items as step stools to get right up to the tree.

See what happens when my back is turned?!

Needless to say, it was moved. I also used a taller table for the large tree so there were no stepping stools. One of these days when the kids are older and I am able to put the tree on the floor, like normal people do, they are going to be confused. I can hear them already, “Why is the tree ont the floor, Mom?”

I located the plugs on each different part of the tree and had that thing standing upright and lit in five minutes. Hallelujah!

I put Grandma’s sparkly green ornament right by a white light so it sparkles and glitters all the time.

I love Christmas. I love all of the memories, even ones as simple as a small ornament.


Mom, I Wanna Be 64

As we were sitting around the table eating an after school snack, Bradley says, “Mom, I wanna be 64.”

“64!” I replied, sounding amazed.

“Yea. You wanna know why?”

“Why?” I asked, now intrigued.

“When I’m 64 I will be tall.”


Later that evening.

“Mom, I wanna be 88. You wanna know why?”

“88! That’s a lot! Why do you want to be 88?” I asked.

“Because then I will be old.”

“But when you are 88, I will be really old. I probably wont even be around.”

“Where will you be?” Bradley asked very innocently. “Will you be in the Navy?”