Archive for the ‘just life’ Category

Outnumbered and… Bruised

So it’s starting to happen.  The three littlest people in this house are turning into “real boys.”  I’ve been slowly realizing that the tides, they are a-turning. Oh, I knew technically that I was outnumbered.  We have three girls and four boys in this house.  And although I could count our newest furry family member on “Team Girl,” it has no bearing on the topic on which I’m about to share way too much information:  the potty.

I grew up in a household where the girls outnumbered the boys 4 – 1.  Because of this lovely majority, the toilet seat was never an issue.  In my current family; however, I discovered an ugly truth in a painful way.  Boys would rather pee standing up…with the toilet seat up…and leave it that way…for the mama to sit down upon, realize it at the last moment, and flail to keep the tush from hitting the water, banging the left elbow against the door molding in an effort to right herself before the inevitable splash.

It wasn’t pretty.

Neither is my bruised elbow.  (I am being a little dramatic here.  The elbow only hurt for a few minutes, but it makes for some good drama, right?!)

But as my indignant mom-self rushed forth to find the errant seat-leaver-upper and chastise him in a way only a former high school teacher could, I paused.  Which was better?  Would I be any less irritated to sit upon a seat that has been, er… sprinkled??  Should my boys be granted the “majority rule” and be allowed to leave up the seat?  Should I train them to sit or even kneel at the toilet so as to spare the delicate feminine backsides of this house?  Why aren’t outhouses popular anymore?  And why does my elbow hurt?

It’s such a dilemma.  Only several months ago I was cleaning up “Lake Colt” on a weekly basis as he learned to listen to his body signals and go “before it was too late,”  not to mention his lack of aim.  Should I really be testing these waters so soon?  Should I just be grateful that more is landing in rather than out?  But then perhaps my expectations are too low.

My youngest child is officially potty-trained.  I should be basking in the glow of weekly diaper-savings and cute new undies, not deliberating my next move in the potty wars.  Ugh.  Will it never end?

The decision I have made will not be based upon majority rules or backside behaviors, but upon proper manners.  I have spent many a moment (mostly) patiently modeling and reminding my children about good manners.  I am pleased to say that they are generally more polite than the average bear.  This, too will become another page in that folder.  I will have to frame it carefully so as not to entice the boys into creating mischievous traps into which their sisters may plunge.  The outhouse may become a threat for the cold winter months, if necessary.  And I can clearly see bathroom duty shifting to the male sex as they get a little older.

Ok, now I feel better.  Like any good teacher or coach, it feels good to have a game plan ~ a winning strategy.  I just hope there aren’t too many more injuries endured during the battle. (At least to me ~ the girls are on their own.)

Posted on July 19th, 2013 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

Summer 2013, Part 1

So here are a few gems gleaned from our summer so far:

1.  If you have lots of children around and offer popsicles which they eat while venturing in and out of both the house and the pool, raccoons will hang from your front door handle licking the sweet residue.

2.  If you get a new puppy, she will choose the most appropriate place in which to poop while she is potty-training:  in the poop-lovers’ bedroom (aka the boys’ room).

3.  If your children are sleep-deprived from late night firefly capturing and early morning sun-beckoning, they will describe dreams of helmets made of diamonds and gold and crystals so heavy, giants must be relied upon to remove them.

4.  A child’s toots in mom & dad’s bed at night are not funny when they are really diarrhea.

5.  Your 4 year old’s incessant questioning will not cease when he/she turn 5.

6.  The question “What are we going to do today?” will be asked by both the 5 year old and the 12 year old each day…many times…and will mostly result in whining.

7.  Freezing a few flavors of Kool-Aid in ice cube trays, and adding them to a glass of Sprite (or generic substitute) will create comments such as, “You’re the best ever, Mom!”  and “Wow, Mom, you rock.”

8.  If your 3 year old develops an imaginary friend named “Island,” just roll with it.  He will play the games and see the movies with his “friend” that you can’t fit into your summer plans.  Plus, Island lets him win every time.

9.  Your cobwebs, left untreated, may develop cobwebs.

10.  Ceiling fans still become incredibly dusty even when in constant use.  Defies all reason.  Well, all of this mom’s reason ~ of which there is not much left.  Here’s to half of the summer come and gone.  And surviving the remainder of it!


Posted on July 17th, 2013 by LilBS  |  3 Comments »

If you give a mom a busy schedule…

If you give a mom five busy kids and a packed schedule, she will learn to rely on her car.

If she has an especially busy week coming up, the car’s steering will start acting suspicious.

She will not tell anyone, and pray fervently that it miraculously resolves itself.  And it will… for a week.

She will cleverly devise a plan to switch cars with her brother-in-law so he can take the car to his “people.”

The car will prove too mysterious to be figured out in one day.

She will take the car to a local mechanic.

The car will prove too mysterious to be figured out for less than $1000.

She will appeal to higher powers and her loving mom&dad will loan her their car.

She will delight in the sunroof and forget to close it, showering the inside of the pristine car with locust blossoms.

She will tell her children phrases like:  “We don’t eat in Grandma’s car.”

and:  “We don’t put our feet on Grandma’s car seats.”

and:  “No, you can’t stick your head out of Grandma’s sunroof.”

She will present the repair quote to her husband who will call his friend who “knows a guy.”

She and her husband will move the car from one mechanic to the other, and on the way home her husband’s car will stop working at a gas station.

They will walk home.

On the busiest day of the mom’s week, they will drive the grandma’s car to the preschool picnic.

The husband will then go to the first grade “Author’s Tea” at the local elementary school.

When the husband picks her up, he will be driving her car instead of Grandma’s.

She will learn that Grandma’s car got a flat tire on the way back to the picnic, close to the second mechanic where his friend “knows a guy.”

They will arrange a new tire with “the guy.”

Her husband will unsuccessfully attempt to jump his car’s now-dead battery with her car while she plays “bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish” in the backseat of her car with her doughnut-sugar-high children.

Her husband’s car will be towed to “the guy.”

Her car proves less mysterious to “the guy” who can fix it for half the price, yet the part is backordered and won’t be available for 2.5 weeks.

Her car is able to be driven in the meantime, but will be considered an upper arm workout every time she touches the steering wheel.

The mom will cry a little.

But then she will watch her boys playing in the sunny rain.

And she will know that somewhere, someone is seeing a rainbow.

And somewhere deep inside she knows that this, too, shall pass.

And she feels thankful for her family and friends…

And her very busy schedule.

(And the promise of a margarita.)



Posted on May 23rd, 2013 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

My mom is

My mom is blue:




peaceful skies.

My mom is brown:

  teddy bears

  wood table

  ground beef

  solid firm earth.

My mom is red:

 bright gifted shirts


nightshift-rimmed eyes

lifeblood, essence, core.

My mom is green:

 green beans


 honeysuckle along the fence

 abundant consistant spring.

My mom is black:

college graduate

jelly beans

“chocolate” yeast rolls

smooth black obsidian; my rock.

My mom is sacrifice and song.

My mom is strength and service.

My mom is celebration and soul.

My mom is.




Posted on May 7th, 2013 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

From the parent of a 12 year old:

Thanks, Coach, for teaching my daughter that your opinion of her ability does not define her worth.

Thanks, Coach, for teaching my daughter that cheering for her teammates is more important than wallowing in self-pity, and that friendship is bigger than playing time or points scored.

Thanks, Coach, for teaching my daughter that believing winning is the most important thing does not always yield… a win.

Thanks, Coach, for teaching my daughter that one does not have to agree with authority in order to respect it.

Thanks, Coach, for teaching my daughter to work extra hard in practice because that is where the most important “playing time” really happens.

Thanks, Coach, for being the “bad guy” so that my daughter will actually listen to me about courage and grace and strength.

Thanks, Coach, for reminding me about all these things, too.


Posted on April 28th, 2013 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

Random thoughts on a Friday

Random Thoughts on a Friday


1.  People post recipes on Pinterest that say things like, “my husband raved about this for days.”  Based upon some of those recipes, they must have previously served that husband poop.

2.  Slushies should never be served in styrofoam cups with straws.

3.  One 3 year old boy I know refuses to wear undies because they interfere with his ability to, um… explore.

4.  One 40-something year old boy I know has the same issue.

5.  Even if you have a trampoline in the backyard and an inflatable bounce house in the basement, children will still prefer to jump on the couch.

6.  My 5 year old son has a better understanding of the DVR than I do.

7.  Sometimes the thing that should be the easiest (like revealing oneself to friends) feels like the hardest thing to do but results in the lightest of moods.

8.  Some days the hardest thing about marriage is getting the flat tire changed.

9.  “Message me” and “Massage me” are two very similar but VERY different phrases.

10.  In joining an online book club reading a book about parenting boys, moms will introduce themselves by saying things like, “I just want to understand and enjoy this adventure of life with my boys!”  For the true translation, please refer back to #3 and 4.



Posted on April 26th, 2013 by LilBS  |  1 Comment »

The Mechanics of Re-Entry


I have had a taste of freedom.  It’s not Braveheart’s ride in on a stallion, face painted in warring blue, ready to fight for my country “FREEDOM!”  It’s more like little ol’ me, weaving in and out of parking spaces in my mom-mobile, remnants of doughnut on the corner of my mouth, ready to politely request my grande non-fat vanilla latte to go.

This taste of freedom comes from our evening sports schedule.  It’s only happened a handful of times, but my husband will opt (He actually chooses this!) to stay home with all three boys and I get to take the girls to their volleyball and soccer practices.

…and just sit.

…maybe watch.

…possibly read.

…drink some coffee.

…have adult conversation.  (Meaning conversation with grown-ups, not an inappropriate exchange…ahem.)

It’s really lovely.  But freedom comes with a price, doesn’t it, Braveheart?

As I walked in the door to my abode last night following one of these serene evenings of freedom, I was bombarded by three boys with chocolate on their faces (one without pants), clothing strewn all over the floor, the husband sitting in his chair with laptop and the television volume set to “stun,” abandoned television on upstairs announcing Spongebob’s Best Day Ever, and nearby a newly purchased box of fruit roll-ups completely emptied with foil and wax wrappers scattered haphazardly all over my bedroom floor.

Re-entry is brutal.

My limited knowledge of space travel comes mostly from the adult discourse I overheard  and glimpses of nightly news I was forced to sit through while awaiting The Cosby Show as I was growing up in the 80’s.  One thing I have gleaned from this less-than-extensive education is that re-entry is one of the most dangerous and difficult parts of space flight.  I can relate.


According to the article on this site,, the fundamental problem in re-entry is that the spacecraft has to be going at a precise amount of speed ~ fast enough to enter the upper atmosphere and brace for atmospheric resistance, yet quickly drop enough speed to be able to encounter gravity and make a safe landing.  There are four different methods of doing this.

The first is “powered deceleration.”  While my re-entry is a little different from the space shuttle (just a bit) in that I am going from a slower rate of speed to a much faster one, it still needs to be planned and precise.  The shuttle will fire a rocket backwards to send energy in the opposite direction and slow itself down.  I have found that a perfectly timed Starbucks can have the same effect for me.  I need that caffeine to hit the bloodstream at the categorical moment of re-entry to provide energy for the blast about to transpire, yet dissipate from my system so as to allow sleep to occur before midnight.  It’s very delicate.

The second is an “energy exchange.”  For the space shuttle, this means converting kinetic energy into potential energy and storing it in some device.  For me, I need to somehow gather the potential energy gained from my peaceful evening and channel it into the kinetic energy necessary to enter a house in which 4 boys have been busily demolishing, destroying, thrashing, walloping, whooping, hollering, and so on and so forth.  I find that listening to my tween daughters discuss boy/girl drama in addition to hearing Bruno Mars’ songs played incessantly on the radio prepares me in such a way that I’m ready to leap from the car and tackle whatever damage the boys may have inflicted.


The third is “mass shedding.”  Not used since the Apollo program, mass shedding is in layman’s terms dumping what is not necessary in order to provide a lighter, safer landing.  My mass shedding means the laptop is sleeved, the bookmark has been placed, and the coffee cup is empty.  In other words, my electronic devices have been turned off, and my seat back and tray table have been placed in their upright and locked positions.  Upon entering the house, my arms are empty and available for leaping children, falling beverages, and whatever wiping, collecting, and/or scrubbing will be necessary.

The fourth and final method is “energy dissipation.”  This is very similar to the energy exchange except that kinetic energy is progressively converted to another form such as heat as the descent occurs.  For me this step is called “reaching the speed limit.”  I drive very slowly on the beginning of our way home.  You know that annoying person that waits until the road is absolutely empty to turn out of the sports center parking lot?  Me.  You know that creep going five miles below the speed limit at 8:30 pm?  Me.  Back off; I’m preparing for re-entry.  As I get closer to home, my speed picks up until by the time I’m on my street I am cruising at the posted speed limit.

I remember watching one of the space shuttle landings.  When the vehicle actually hit the ground, there was a flurry of activity.  Sirens flashing, people in uniform running about, ambulances and fire trucks and police vehicles…but no astronauts.  They are not usually seen until much, much later at a press conference ~ pretty anticlimactic for me as a spectator.  But upon my re-entry I become all those personnel.  Pj’s are thrown on, “wet” clothes from the bathroom floor tossed in the laundry, beloved lost toys found, blankies rescued from underneath the bed, toothbrushes loaded, homework signed, drinks poured, trash collected, televisions turned off or reset to a volume less than “my-ears-are-bleeding,” kisses given, books read, backs scratched, feet rubbed, babies carried up and tucked in…

And then I sit down to my press conference to discuss the evening with my husband.  And I wonder…is the moment of freedom worth it?  Though certainly a gift, freedom is not for the weak.  It is not something given easily or taken lightly.  But it does help to right my center a bit.  Despite the fact that re-entry is arduous and trying, the me that remains after the storm is a little more Becky and a little less stressed-out-mama ~ a little more woman and a little less housemaid.  So I practice Eucharisteo – giving thanks for all things – and say that I am thankful for the freedom and the re-entry.  I am thankful for the relaxation and the rumpus.


I am thankful for the peace…and the mess.


Posted on April 25th, 2013 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

40 Years of Dirt

I was in my garden this morning.  (I wish I could begin every blog post this way!)  I was digging out a trench of sorts, in which to put a border around my huge flowerbed that I call “Kate’s Garden.”  As I was alternately digging, putting in edging bricks, and refilling around them with dirt, I was noticing how nice the soil is in my garden.

40 Years of Dirt

40 Years of Dirt

     Now, I wish I could claim credit for what is mostly amazing dirt.  But I can’t, not really.  Oh I’m sure I’ve helped it along a wee bit with my planting, weeding, and general tending, but the truth is it was this way when I inherited it.
     I have heard many stories about what our property was used for long before we bought and built our house upon it.  One story is that several small houses sat on it.  Another story is that the neighbors used the property to house and ride horses, and share a community garden.  When we found the lot, it was a wooded forest.
     The soil in my garden is a lovely conglomeration of clay, topsoil, rocks, and sand.  This may not sound ideal, but I it makes for great gardening.  The rocks and sand keep the clay from becoming too clumpy and unmanageable, and there is just enough topsoil to keep the worms happy and, well… productive.
40 Years of Dirt

40 Years of Dirt

     While I could wax poetic for quite a few paragraphs about “those who came before me,” I had a different train of thought today.  And so many of my “garden thoughts” come back to this same core truth:  this garden parallels my life.
     Today, I am the dirt.
     My dirt just turned 40 years old.  And I’m feeling pretty good about that.  I AM this conglomeration of rocks, sand, clay, topsoil, and even worm poop.
40 Years of Dirt

40 Years of Dirt

     I have rocks in my dirt.  Sometimes these look like hardships, pain, suffering.  I have lots of little ones and a few really, really heavy ones.  The little ones ~while no fun to hit upon when digging and often annoying when planting ~often keep the clay from getting too unwieldy, the sand from sinking.  Fights with friends, pain from sibling rivalry, breakups, failures…they all have kept me from becoming a stagnant mass of clay.  They forced me to change, to become better, to learn from mistakes.
     I can’t move the heavy rocks.  They become important landscape features in my life.  My garden changed forever when Kate died.  That rock will not be moved, but it provides different scenery, an entirely different perspective in the garden. Life grows differently around it, but it still finds a way to look beautiful.
40 Years of Dirt

40 Years of Dirt

     The sand is my ever-changing whims.  New things I try:  baking, blogging, reading, sewing, and on and on…   These things also prevent me from becoming immobile clay.  I often have a “frog in the pot” mentality.  Like a frog in a pot of warm water, I am comfortable and so I never move.  But that frog will cling so tightly to that comforting water that even when it is turned up to boiling, will never move and eventually dies there.  Trying new things, even small attempts keeps me from staying in the pot.
     The clay is not a bad part of my dirt.  Actually, I think it’s the anchor, the core, the soul.   It’s my faith.  It’s my values.  These get tested and shaken, sometimes broken up in pieces or resettled, but CONSTANT.
40 Years of Dirt

40 Years of Dirt

     The topsoil – ah, I am blessed with the BEST topsoil.  These are my family and friends who enrich my dirt.  They are what has come before; they have helped create this rich soil of my life; they have broken up the stuck clay and anchored the sand; they continue to feed and nourish and tend to this garden.
    I feel overwhelmed with the 40 years I’ve been blessed to experience.  The garden is an ever-changing, sometimes surprising, and for me sacred space.  This is how I view those who have shaped me, have come before me, have tended me.  They are sacred.  They have provided me not a warm pot in which to find comfort, but solid fertile ground upon which I stand and dream, in which I dare to blossom.
40 Years of Dirt

40 Years of Dirt

     Thank you.

Posted on April 9th, 2013 by LilBS  |  2 Comments »

The music to our meal

Some people listen to music as they are preparing dinner.  Some people have conversations.  This is what I have:


Ian:     “Knock Knock.”

Colt:    “Who’s there?”

Ian:     “Poop”

Colt:     “Poop who?”

Ian:     “Poop-deck!”

Colt and Ian:     “hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!”




Colt:     “Knock knock.”

Ian:      ” Who’s there?”

Colt:     “Mario.”

Ian:     “Mario who?”

Colt:     “Mario poops!”

Colt and Ian:     “hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!”




Ian:     “Knock knock.”

Colt:    “Who’s there?”

Ian:     “Spinning.”

Colt:    “Spinning who?”

Ian:     “Spinning poo-poo!!”

Colt and Ian:     “hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!”


Good thing they’re cute.


The music to our meal

The music to our meal




Posted on January 8th, 2013 by LilBS  |  2 Comments »

Happy 2013 To All Moms! (and Dads)

Happy 2013 to all moms!

Happy 2013 to all moms!


These are some of the mom-things that came out of my mouth this past year:

“Feet are for kicking soccer balls and running, not slamming into your brother’s face.”

“It is better to be kind than to be right.”


“Are you kidding me?!”

“Because I’m a girl, and girls don’t have donkeys.”

“Who forgot to flush the potty?!”

“Did you wash your hands?  Do it again with soap this time.”

“Popcorn for breakfast?  Sure.”

“Oh, so I guess the family ghost put that big gouge in the wall!”

“Get your hands out of your pants.”

“Because it’s mommy’s turn to play Angry Birds.”

“Yep.  You’re my favorite.  Don’t tell the others.”

“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?  Spongebob Squarepants!”


“Well get used to it; life is not fair.”

“If you cry one more time while you’re playing Mario Bros, we are turning it off.”

“Go read a freaking book or something!”

“Mom is not available.”


Oh wait…I said all those things this morning.

Here is to another year of fabulously quotable moments!!  Bring it on, 2013!


Happy 2013 to all moms!

Happy 2013 to all moms!


Posted on January 1st, 2013 by LilBS  |  No Comments »