Code Word “Selfie”: The Ringmaster, Santa and the Great Deception

I want to let you in on a secret, but you’ll have to promise not to share this blog post with my 8 year-old-son.  I’m feeling rather guilty this morning because I did one of the most manipulative things I have done in my 50 years of life and I did it to my little Micah.

I am ashamed to say that I stooped as low as a 6′ 1/2″ Amazonian Princess can stoop and I did it during the season of “peace and goodwill toward men”!  But then again, the little bugger wanted to put us and Santa thru a “trust test”, and this Ringmaster does not play that.

You either trust us or you don’t!

We were having a tough time gaining access to Micah’s Christmas list this year.  He actually refused to share it with us.  Inspired by one of his favorite television shows, Mythbusters, I believe he planned to stamp “busted” across Santa’s face and ours.

Had he asked us if Santa is real, as his brothers did in previous years when they were about his age, we would have simply told him the truth and moved on.  But, Micah is very smart and very stubborn and this sort of “experiment” is right up his ally.  Even if he had to wake up and find random gifts left by “Santa” under the tree.

I too have a favorite show and was inspired by the small box that far too often invades our lives.  I’ve been watching a lot of old episodes of Alias on Netflix, and I have learned that there are many ways to make a person talk!

I hatched a diabolical plan of my own and enlisted the help of a new friend.  I called in the big guns!   That’s right, big pappa – Santa himself!  Well not the real Santa, but it just so happens that our copier technician looks a lot like Santa.

(Yup, I’m not just a mom with a Mac, The Ringmaster and a Pastor’s Wife, I work 30+ hours outside of my home doing some super top secret stuff that you don’t want to know about because you would “disappear” if  you did.) 🙂

I snapped a “selfie” with Anthony (pronounced Antny) and initiated Operation North Pole.  After dinner, I had everyone come and take a seat in our family room.  I announced that I had a top secret meeting with a very important person at my office today.

I said, “oh wait, I took a picture of the VIP, would you like to see it.”  I pulled out my phone and showed them the “selfie” of me and “Santa”.  I continued, “Santa is very concerned because he has not yet received a Christmas letter from Micah and it is getting really close to his deadline.”

Operation North Pole

Operation North Pole

Micah’s eyes, now as large as Frisbees met mine as he asked for a piece of paper and a pen. It worked!  Just like all of those episodes of Alias.  He coughed up the information.

Mission accomplished!

The only thing that would have made this a bit more satisfying is if I had printed out the picture of Santa and me, placed it in a manila folder, slid it across the table, asked Micah to open it and watched him sweat.  But I think I’ll save that tactic for teenaged Micah.

Until next time…Fly high and dazzle ’em!

~The Ringmaster

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We Must Apologize in Advance To Our New Neighbors

We're Not This Bad!

We’re Not This Bad!

We have lived in our home for six years and we have had six sets of next door neighbors (yes, that’s six sets of people who moved in and out of the home to the right of us within six years). While we were between neighbors number five and six, handsome hubby and I chatted about how lame unfriendly our last neighbors were.  In the middle of our snarkfest, we had an epiphany.  The common denominator of this complicated moving equation is, well – us.  They always move in because we live in a great neighborhood, they probably move out because we are the 3 Bros Flying Circus.

Have you ever been to a circus?  Do you remember the smells, the freak shows and daredevil stunts?  Alright –  freeze the sights, sounds and smells and you’ve got a “smell-o-vision” version of our home. My three boys and the rest of their wolf pack transformed a boycave (for which we paid darn good money) into a stinky, nerf artillery strewn animal cave.  And yes, they opt to leave the garage door up so that everyone who chooses not to look away, has a ringside view of the mess!

While driving up to my house a couple of days ago I was accosted by two boys running towards my minivan in the middle of our street along with three boys and one awesome girl standing on the sidewalk in front of my drive way.  Apparently they had been staking out the joint for quite a while waiting for my three sons to arrive.  Right after I shared the tragic news that my boys were not with me and would not be coming home for another hour, two boys, previously unseen by me performed a tandem death drop out of the tree in my front yard.

There is usually a trail of scooters, helmets, homemade tomahawks, swords, daggers, basketballs, lacrosse poles, footballs, bikes, skate boards and one pogo stick that begins at our front door and meanders down both sides of the street. They remain there until we call the boys in for the day.  Our backyard trampoline with the basketball hoop positioned perfectly for slam dunking inspires high flying preteen machismo antics (which of course, is witnessed by whomever lives next door as the top half of the youngsters bodies appear over the fence that divides our property.)  Each dunk is followed by the emphatic  “DUDE THAT’S SICK!” and “Ohhhhh, WHAT  NOW!

Thinking of the mayhem that would inevitably ensue, handsome hubby decided to be proactive and go over to introduce himself to our newest neighbors.  He humbly led with, “I just want to apologize in advance for the noise and the nerf bullets, tomahawks and frisbees you are going to find in your front yard and for the overall level of noise that emanates from our household.”  Imagine his surprise when when our new neighbor replied, “oh no, THIS IS AWESOME!  We have three boys and this is exactly what we’ve been looking for!

One person’s nightmare on Elm Street is another person’s Dream Street! (get it Dream Street is the American boy band formed in 1999).  Ok, I am very corny but what do you expect from a nightmare neighbor.

I would love to hear some of your nightmare neighbor stories in the comments below (especially if you are “that neighbor”…

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. 

Christmas Confession – All Hearts Clear

This week I have the honor of being the guest blogger on the wonderful website Grace For Moms.  The site is decked out for Advent and Christmas with beautiful visuals, my guest post (Christmas Confession) and a wonderful interview with actress, mom and wife Candace Cameron Bure.

As we celebrate Advent and prepare for the coming of the Christ of Christmas, I pray that your family will enjoy many special moments filled with peace and joy!  Grab a cup of spiced cider and savor this moment as you read (Christmas Confession).

I’d love to hear about some of your favorite Advent memories.

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. 

Four Candles, Black Men, and Basketball in Heaven

“words are like nets – we hope they’ll cover what we mean, but we know they can’t possibly hold that much joy, grief, or wonder.”  – Jodi Picoult

There are words and phrases that seem to grab hold of our consciousness, entertain us, disturb us, tickle our fancy or just plain confound us.  Sometimes, the mere mention of a few otherwise neutral words can summon memories that have lived dormant in our psyche for decades.  This past week I was profoundly affected by certain words and phrases.  I realize that context combines with definition to trigger some very surprising physiological responses.   For instance the words…

“Black Men” ~  (written by Adelle, my husband’s effervescent 9-year-old cousin, as a phrase to be used during our family game of charades). 

I can’t tell you how much mental juggling took place in my mind after reading the submission Adelle proudly handed me, (the only African-American in the room).  Her aunt and I looked at the words “Black Men” and glanced at one another and carefully asked, “what is this?  Is it a book, a movie, a song?”  The budding charades pro enthusiastically replied, “it’s a movie my dad and I watched.”  “Oh…Hmmm..ok” we replied.     While I envisioned the minefield that the opposing team would have to navigate to act this one out, one of the women on our team whispered, “‘Men In Black’, is it the movie ‘Men In Black?!'”  The little one nodded, with a twinkle in her eyes, “yes that’s it!”  I laughed until I cried and then laughed some more….

“When I get to heaven, I’m going to play basketball all day!” ~ (mused my 10-year-old son)

I heard these words and immediately began to tear up without understanding why.  I knew the thought of my little guy loving something so much that he would want to do it all day in heaven was probably not enough to make this “tough momma” cry.  As Caleb continued to talk about his love for basketball, a picture began to form.  The words basketball and heaven brought back memories of my father who had passed away when Caleb was three.  My father played professional basketball and was a basketball coach after his playing career ended.  My mind jumped to Caleb, playing basketball in heaven with my dad – an image that warmed my soul.

“Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving, tonight we celebrate Chanukah” (spoken by Uncle Ilan Levi – surrounded by ten surprisingly attentive children)

This past week was a very rare convergence of two special holidays and one big event.  Thanksgiving and Chanukah overlapped and I had the pleasure of being in the company of my husband’s family for the extended weekend. Our assemblage of twenty-two swarmed the Thanksgiving buffet, played charades and wobbled to our perspective villas where we succumbed to food comas.  The next night, the third night of Chanukah, was kicked off by a kid initiated dance party.  (That’s what happens when you add Protestants and Agnostics to the mix).  It took a while to get the kids settled down for the lighting of the menorah, but we managed. The blessing was recited and the third candle was lit.  Uncle Ilan told the children about the miracle of the oil and the perpetual light.  My children had never celebrated Chanukah and we were all honored to be included in the celebration.  The image of Uncle Ilan and Aunt Barbie surrounded by ten young children listening to him share the story of Chanukah by the glow of candle light is one that will not be forgotten.

“Today we light the HOPE Candle” ~ (spoken by my Handsome Hubby who is Pastor of our church)

I have celebrated Advent for most of my life.  I have to admit until just recently, Advent was sort of the “previews” before the “big blockbuster”, Christmas.  This past Sunday, when my husband declared, “today we will light the Hope Candle”, something within me stirred.  When we light the Hope Candle we acknowledge that we can hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises made to us. Our hope comes from God.  Our hope is in God.  As little Selah, Caleb and Jo-Jo Jensen stood with their mom and dad to light the candle it dawned on me that families can actually light a “candle of hope” any time and any place.

May you wield your words wisely.  Remember they can be an elixir that has the power to inspire, strengthen, and comfort.  They are the raw ingredients used to create masterful memories.  May your words be harbingers of hope.

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. 

Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.   ~ Proverbs 18:21   The Message Version