“Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!”

The banter between handsome hubby and I is at an all time high!  The infamous race (referenced below) is scheduled for this Saturday.  Our boys tried to parlay with Goss Bucks but we all know that would not be appropriate.  Perhaps growing up in a family where their parents have planned a “street race” makes them think that it might be acceptable for prepubescent boys to wager their wages.  I will post the results of the race next week!

Until then, stop on over to Happy Wives Club and check out my guest blog post about the “4 Ways to Find the Sweet Spot in Your Marriage.”

(The Infamous Race Post)

There it was, hanging out there in all it’s brazen glory.  The gauntlet had been thrown.  Before I knew it, I’d (figuratively)  taken off my glove, turned and faced my husband and slapped him right across the face as he drove his chosen route to our beach date with another family.

As often happens, right in the middle of an otherwise very pleasant conversation, I suddenly blurted out, “why are you driving this way to the freeway?  You know, the other way is much faster.” (Unfiltered and overly dramatic tends to be my preferred communication style)

Continuing our l-o-n-g-e-r than necessary drive to the beach with the line perfectly fitted with the appropriate bait, handsome hubby gobbled it hook, line and sinker.  He shot back, “what are you talking about?!?”  “I have timed both routes and I know that this way is definitely faster!”

The previously rockin’ van loaded with our three excited boisterous boys was suddenly silenced after I  shouted these words, “OH YEAH,  LET’S RACE!”   Two seconds later, after a collective gasp, the silence was pierced by escalating chants of RACE, RACE, RACE, RACE spurring us on from the bench in the way back (that’s what we mini vanners call our third row).

It was on! The entire van erupted in animated discussion about the ground rules for the race.  The swagmobile, a 2006 Honda Odyssey (178,000 miles and counting), which sports an impressive 360 degree scratch made by middle son Caleb wielding a magnet, would be driven by yours truly.  The 2013 Honda Accord Sport – which in my eyes is no match for my Odyssey, would be driven by handsome hubby.  Everyone knows it’s not the year, make, nor model of the automobile, it’s the skill, intellect and fashion sense of the driver that wins the race!  Lastly, and most importantly, each driver would have at least one son in the car to insure he/she did not surpass the speed limit.

As is often the case,  I’ve had a few days to actually think about what we modeled in front of our children during our slow 3.5 mile drive to the beach.  These were my assessments, 1) Mom questions dad’s decision-making ability 2) Dad infers mom speaks off the cuff with no actual proof to back her claims.  3) Mom and Dad will go to great lengths to prove they are right.

Who wants to send those messages to their children?!  None of those would garner me a medal from Focus on the Family, so I decided I would back down.  I would pull out of the race and tell my children that I would not race their dad and that his way was the right way for him and my way was best for me.  Handsome hubby and I decided to meet for lunch (Costco Hotdogs) and I shared my plan.  I told him that I was going to pull out of the race and maturely tell the kids why.

My amazing and now even more handsome in my eyes hubby adamantly declared, “Oh, we’re going to race alright!  Are you kidding me?  You can’t back out – we’re racing!  It’s still on!

As I write this post, my eyes are beginning to water and I am thinking SEE, THAT’S WHY I LOVE THAT MAN and he, me.  We are so perfectly suited for one of another.  In the eyes of the “polite patrol”, or even some individual’s reading this post, we may be a disaster.  I mean, who would be that competitive or behave that way in front of their children.  But for us, these types of days are billows that fan the flame of our love for one another and our bonds as a family.

The race is scheduled for Saturday morning (pre-soccer game festivities).  What handsome  hubby doesn’t know is that I’ve been training this week while driving the kids to school.  If you run into him please keep it to yourself.  Everyone needs a little edge when they compete!

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.”                                                                                                                                  ~ I Corinthians 9:24

(I know this is not the Biblical intent of this verse but I just couldn’t help myself!)

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“I Take Advantage of My Resources”: Lesson Learned From A Sixth Grade Shark”

Noah (self-proclaimed “Mr. Wonderful”, ala the television show “Shark Tank”):  IF ANYONE IN THIS FAMILY IS LAZY, IT’S ME!” 

Me:  “Why do you call yourself lazy?”

Noah:  “Well, I guess I’m not l a z y.   I just take advantage of my resources!”

Me:  “What resources?”

Noah:  “Caleb & Micah of course!”. 

This is not necessarily something that any parent wants to hear being proudly announced by their twelve-year-old son.  But as usual, upon further reflection, I realized hey, I could learn a thing or two from this kid.  Particularly since, the dialogue above began just after Caleb (my Breakfast Zombie), had just blurted out “MOM, YOU’RE LAZY!”

Can you believe it? Called out by a ten-year old who can’t drive himself to nor from school, pay the tuition for said school, cook his own dinner, remember to bathe – nor do homework without my help.  

As he defended my honor, Noah proceeded to school me on resourcefulness. He continued, “I just say, hey Caleb, go to my room and get my back pack and he does it.  Then I say Micah, clean up the rec. room and I’ll let you play a game on my phone later.  He’s happy to do it.  That’s what younger brothers are for.  See mom, I take advantage of my resources!”  Younger brother’s now nodding in unison: “yup, that’s right!”

Noah, once proposed we sell his youngest brother Micah to bring in more income for the family.  He is also the same kid who lead a sibling revolt and demanded an adjusted valuation of Goss Bucks.  Noah is quite a resourceful young man.  He is currently planning an odd job business and asked his lazy mom to help him create business cards, on which he would like to see the phrase “No job is too small or TOO BIG.  Mr. Wonderful has decided to give Caleb a minority share in his company.  Guess which partner will be performing the TOO BIG jobs for their minority stake?

I’ve decided to take a page from Noah’s playbook.  I’ve realized that God has blessed me with these wonderful sons for many reasons.  Besides being the most loving, creative, hilarious, sincere, courteous and outstanding son’s any mother could ask for, they are valuable resources of which I should take full advantage!

Until next time…Fly high and dazzle ’em!

~The Ringmaster

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“Let’s Move!, but not so quickly”: Crazy School Bans & Lapses of Common Sense

A friend recently forwarded an article to me that really left me baffled.  The headline read, “School District Bans Running At Recess.”  My first thought was, this must be an urban legend.  So, I did what any responsible journalist, blogger, mom-with-a-mac would do; I researched and found that the ban on running at recess was just the tip of the iceberg!

Our First Lady, Michelle Obama, will have to change the name of her “Let’s Move!” initiative to “Let’s Move!, but not so quickly”.  Recently, a Collection of postage stamps commissioned by the White House to encourage kids to play sports and lead active lifestyles was recalled.  The stamps, “deemed unsafe by federal officials included illustrations of kids skateboarding without kneepads, doing a cannonball dive into a swimming pool, and doing a handstand without wearing a helmet…” according to a recent ABC News Post

I shared this story with the 3 Bros. in my Flying Circus (my sons) and they laughed hysterically.  One of them said, “who ever heard of wearing a helmet to do a handstand.”  Apparently White House Officials have!

It seems to me that there is something quite sinister going on here.  I believe this movement to bubble wrap our children and protect them from life’s bumps and bruises goes far beyond attempts to keep them safe.  I believe that there is a breed of people that excel in Politics and Educational Administration, who skipped prepuberty all together.  These freaks of nature were toddlers and then suddenly teens with nary a hop, skip or jump between developmental phases.  Perhaps they’ve forgotten how fun it was to climb a tree, turn cartwheels, jump rope and play a game that was not initiated or supervised by an adult, even if a scraped knee or competitive loss may have ensued!

My handsome hubbie is the chair of a local track and field event for children.  The name of the event includes the words Youth Races.  A parent asked why we gave children ribbons for placing 1st-3rd in their events.  He felt that this was not fair to the children who were less athletically inclined.  I wanted to remind him that the definition of the word “races” infers competition between runners.

I did however, point out that all of the children were given participation ribbons.  I told him that in our opinion, the Youth Races helped teach children valuable life lessons that should not be avoided because they may be uncomfortable at first. All of the children were winners for participating but not all could win the race.  It is important for children to learn to gracefully celebrate the achievements of others even when the results of the efforts of others surpass their own.  (It’s a lesson my son rehearses each year as the aforementioned dad’s son takes the coveted spot in the district spelling bee – EVERY year!)

Lest you think the madness stops with running at recess, cannon ball dives and handstands without helmets.  Here is a partial list of activities and traditions that have been banned by a school near you.

  1. New York Department of Education banned the words dinosaur, poverty, birthdays, divorce, Halloween and dancing, which “might elicit ‘unpleasant emotions’ in students.”
  2. BFFs now BANd.  That’s right, in an attempt to “save others’ feelings”, best friends are not allowed in some schools in the UK.
  3. Hand holding at school banned in Tennessee
  4. Red Ink banned because of it’s “confrontational” nature at schools in Australia and the UK.
  5. Because of its “aggressive” nature, dodge ball has been banned in schools in New Hampshire.  Adult dodge ball leagues conversely continue to grow by leaps and bounds (no pun intended).
  6. A school in New York has banned all non-motorized modes of transportation to and from school.  Again the Let’s Move generation is being asked not to move.
  7. Traditional sports balls banned in a Long Island Middle School.  Kids are given nerf balls to play with instead.
  8. Tag, touch football, and even soccer banned in schools across North America.
  9. Superheros no longer welcome in preschools.

Allowing our kids to have an active childhood, both physically and creatively does not come without its share of risks.  The 3 Bros in my flying circus have all been taken to the emergency room at a local hospital (one more than once) with various fractures and dislocations.  That being said, they also know what it is like to survey their pretend kingdom for hours in an ancient tree.  They’ve swam in streams and pretended to be Pioneer-Survivor-Warriors with fifteen other boys in our neighborhood.  They have childhood stories that will inspire their children to play and dream.

There is a Bible verse that I believe sums up a parenting perspective that may be lost on our generation of parents.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7).

I’d love to hear some of your favorite childhood memories involving play.  Please share in the comments below!

Until next time…Fly high and dazzle ’em!

~The Ringmaster

If you have not yet subscribed to the 3 Bros Flying Circus we’d love to reserve a special seat for you!  Just click the upper right hand corner of the post. 

The Cougar Roars!

Truth be told, I was tired.  Very tired! I hate to admit that I was tired because I am old.  Really old!  Becoming an Amazonian warrior princess at 50 has been no small feat.  Against all odds, I am fighting the good fight against cellulite, catastrophic gastronomic disasters, a withering brain, hot flashes, dry eyes and gravity.  The decision to declare war on aging was not made lightly.   Now that I have troops on the ground,  I am committed to fight until the day I die! As committed as I am now, you need to know I did not start out that way.

My initial plan was to sit back, relax and let nature run her course.  I should have known that marrying a man six years younger than I would complicate my decision to become a new type of model.  The African-American, plus-sized senior girl is definitely under represented in the Metamucil and Cialis ads.  It was a perfectly logical plan which was quite desirable as well. I could eat whatever I fancied, let my hair go grey and make some money for the family.  Sweet!

When handsome hubby met me, I was a smoking-hot, 35-year-old, six-foot one half-inch – head turner.  People would come up to me and ask “hey, are you a model?”  I’d smile sweetly and answer “oh no – not anymore, that ship sailed long ago.”  My astonished admirer would then say, “wow, no way, you could totally be a model today.”  “You should get back into it.  Why did you quit?”

About a year and a half ago, a stranger stopped me in Trader Joe’s and said “Excuse me ma’am, you’re very tall.  Did you model when you were younger?”  Ok, that did it!  When did grown folks start calling me ma’am? When did people begin to agree that my ship had not only sailed, it was docked at another port?

This was the moment I remembered who I am.  A strong-willed, cougar with some resources!  I declared war on aging and began collecting and using heavy artillery.

  1. BB and CC creams:  Who says my youthful glow and dewy days are behind me?
  2. Semi Permanent Hair Color With Grey Coverage Capabilities:  Or as we half centenarians like to say “shade enhancing highlights.”
  3. Beachbody DVDs:  This is serious boot camp, or should I say booty camp, except that it never ends 4-6 days a week, every week, 25-60 minutes per day for as many years as my body will allow.
  4. ReStore Eye Drops:  I won’t even mention what other areas of my body are much drier than they used to be.
  5. Ice Water and Our Freezer:  Drink a glass of ice water with my head in the freezer to combat hot flashes.
  6. Spanx:  Need I say more

Since embarking upon this regimen with military precision, I have won some major battles.  I’ve lost over twenty-five pounds, reversed gravity in some very important areas, have fabulous highlights, and only jiggle when my seven-year old smacks my butt (to watch it jiggle – ugh!). Our sons even say that mom now looks younger than dad. 🙂

Micah (the butt jiggler) recently proclaimed, “mom has guns!”  The other day at Trader Joe’s a man did a double take as I walked by!  (full disclosure, it could have been because I was wearing three-inch heels which made me almost 6’4″).  Handsome hubby is a happy hubby!  I’m healthy, and I have the stamina to play beach volleyball, hike and go bike riding with my family.   I know that one day, old age will win the war, but sharing life with my active young family makes fighting these daily battles worthwhile!  By the grace of God and with an arsenal of age defying weapons this Cougar will be roaring for decades to come.

Until next time…Fly high and dazzle ’em!

~The Ringmaster

If you have not yet subscribed to the 3 Bros Flying Circus we’d love to reserve a special seat for you!  Just click the upper right hand corner of the post. 

The Confession

It was Christmas Eve and all was right with my world.  The 3 bros flying circus was experiencing a rare moment of tranquility and brotherly love.  It was like a scene from the 50’s Christmas classic, White Christmas, except there was no snow (we live in Southern California).  Our weathered minivan was transformed into a Cathedral as six of the most important people in my life (including me) were singing Christmas carols in three-part harmony.  My mother, my three boys, handsome hubby and I sounded like angels (and surprisingly behaved like them too) as we joyfully transitioned from one carol to the next.

Influenced by the Christmas Eve message we had heard in church, followed by our annual trek to view some over-the-top Christmas lights and decorations, we were giddy with Christmas cheer.  With the last notes “sle-ep in heaaaa-venly peace” still lingering in the air, Caleb (breakfast zombie) asked – with tears in his eyes- “Does Santa really know who is naughty and who is nice?”  My handsome husband replied, “Yes Caleb, he does.”  Caleb, now sobbing, blurted out, “I have something to confess!”

My heart stopped.  The formerly festive van now seemed to be moving in slow motion.  What could my eight year old son possibly have to confess that would be troubling his soul so profoundly?  I wasn’t sure if I could handle hearing his confession.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to hear his confession.  I definitely wasn’t sure I wanted his confession to occur out loud in front of his entire family, including his granny.

We sat silently as he continued.  “You know how every night you ask me to brush my teeth?”  Handsome hubby and I replied slowly in unison, “Yes.”  Caleb continued sobbing even more “Well, I don’t do it.  I just go into the bathroom and turn on the water and stare in the mirror.  I don’t brush my teeth at night when you tell me to, but I say I do!!! Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo!!!!”

Granny, handsome hubby, and I, now relieved of our anxiety, had to fight back tears of joy and laughter.  Fully recovered,  handsome hubby, who is a pastor who weekly proclaims forgiveness to repentant sinners said, “Caleb, thank you for that confession.  We forgive you son. God forgives you and, yes, Santa forgives you too.”

With all hearts cleared and Caleb now relieved of his burden we continued our drive home in cozy silence.  As we drove off into the starry night I reflected upon the power of confession, forgiveness and our acceptance of the amazing gift that we would celebrate the following morning.  The Christ child of whom we sang about in our van was the very same one who provides us with the ability to sleep in heavenly peace, knowing that whatever we do, we can be forgiven, accepted, and loved.