How to Scare the Crap Out of Your Teenager:

Step One: Ask teenage daughter if she will watch her sister while you are at work the next day.

Step Two: Confirm with younger child that they want their sister to supervise them the following day.

Step Three: Have your spouse catch your teenager still awake and talking on the phone at 5:30 a.m.

Step Four: Decide with spouse that you will take younger child to daycare instead of leaving them home with sleep deprived teenager.

Step Five: Get ready for work, get younger child up (explain why, she can not sleep in today) and dropped off at daycare.

Step Six: Call teenager around 12:45 p.m. to see if the packages you had been expecting have been delivered and (while she is hauling the large heavy packages off the front porch) inquire about how her sister is doing.

Step Seven: Try not to laugh while teenager, having not seen said child will/might/could respond with “I don’t know, she is not up yet” to which you respond “Okay, well thanks for bringing my packages in, I will see you later this afternoon”, say farewell, and hang up.

Step Eight: Wait – Precisely one hour and four minutes

Step Nine: Answer your ringing cell phone to the cries of your panicked teenager who can not find the sibling they have been looking all over for during the past fifteen minutes and bask in the glory of what is either a lesson learned or a great prank on your smart aleck teenager…

Step Ten: …either way, prepare for retaliation.

The Talk

I learned about sex and reproduction from my mom. It was the summer between 4th and 5th grades. I remember it vividly. I remember her drawing a picture and showing where a baby’s head is in the womb during each trimester of pregnancy. I remember going back to school in the fall and being very grateful that my mom gave me that talk because all the kids were talking about sex…and now I understood what they were talking about.

So, when Breanna was between 4th and 5th grades, I gave her “the talk”. Luckily I had an anatomy book handy that had drawings and explained reproduction scientifically. Breanna learns well by reading on her own sometimes, so after our DEEP discussion – and it was – I left the book with her and told her she could read it if she liked and to come to me with any questions. She did. She had lots. She still comes to me with questions. I like that. I have this agreement with her that she can ask me ANY question and I will answer it (however, there are some that I have to answer that I am not ready to discuss that with her yet but I will in time). She continues to ask questions. I feel pretty lucky to have the relationship that I do with my 15 year old daughter. She tells me more than I expect. I am certain there are things she does leave out, and she is allowed that. I understand that I don’t get to know EVERYTHING. I simply appreciate what I get.

Paige, is a very different child than Breanna was and is. This is the summer between 4th and 5th grade for her. I knew it was time to have “the talk” because she had asked some questions before and she had made some comments that let me know that she knows a lot already and that I need to fill in the blanks with correct information before someone else fills them in with bad information. I had not set a date but she moved me forward; one day at the library she was choosing books and in between choosing a book about furry animals and another one about childhood games I stroll up alongside her as she is putting another book back on the shelf. She seemed embarrassed so I took a peak at what it was and I pulled it out. The title was “Lets Talk About S-E-X”. I flipped through it and looked at her (still blushing) little face and said, “Ya know, I have been meaning to talk to you about this. If you want to check this book out we can read it together.”

So, we’ve had this book for a couple of weeks and I asked her if she had read any of it and she said “some, it is like a really smart kid explaining it instead of an embarrassed adult” which I thought was a good thing. So I asked her yesterday if she had read anymore and she said she had not but asked if we could read it together later that day. I said we could. My thoughts were:

Am I ready to let my little girl go?
Will she become different when she knows?
Will she feel shame or embarrassment?
Will I explain it in a way she will understand?
What will she do with this knowledge?

Then today I was thinking about Adam and Eve. (Eve was brought up in my discussion with Paige, something about why does it hurt to give birth – it ended with Paige shaking her head and saying “darn you Eve”) I realized that if my children had learned about sex and reproduction when I was less than prepared to give them that knowledge…I would have been pretty upset. Imagine all the things that Adam and Eve learned when they ate of that fruit. They learned EVERYTHING before they were meant to. EVERYTHING. They took from God what he would have willing given them in time with proper teaching. They were not ready to receive that knowledge and became ashamed. How sad for God. He knew that their relationship would forever be changed.

So yesterday afternoon Paige and I snuggle together and I begin reading her a book that goes into great detail (with drawings and everything) about boys and their sexual organs, and girls and their sexual organs, and reproduction, and menstruation, and childbirth, and sexual intercourse – the good and the bad, masturbation (wasn’t expecting that one!), STDs, birth control…ALL OF IT. The book was sprinkled with questions and she would read aloud the question while I would read aloud the answer. More than once she would ask a question as I was flipping a page and on the next page was that same question…it was funny. There came times – many of them – when I had to refer to my handy dandy anatomy book to further show her some things. There were times when I had to explain that though the book was correct that our family values were somewhat different and there were some decisions that she needed to make way in advance before she was faced with certain situations.

Our discussion and reading were interrupted by dinner and then continued directly after and went until her bedtime. She was great. She shared some things with me that surprised me, at first and then I was thankful for it because it meant SHE IS NOT ASHAMED OR EMBARASSED. That was when I felt good about our discussion. We ended with the “Puberty Puzzle” they had in the back of the book – more a quiz/review and she was able to answer all of the questions. It was a great way to end. I feel comfortable with her having this knowledge and I believe that if she has questions she will come to me.

Sometimes I feel like I over inform my children.
More often I find that particular fear has no real basis.
There are things they need to know, the question for us as parents is really “WHEN do they need to know them?”
Knowledge changes people. Good or bad, it changes people – sometimes a little, sometimes more.
As a parent you have to be willing to be the catalyst for that change and accept the person that comes out on the other side of it

Not quite up to snuff

Today I find myself less than pleased.

With myself.

I have certain standards to live by. I don’t have a written list, but I keep it in my head. I have really let myself get away with alot lately but I will only share a couple of them with you today.

So, pray for me. I am struggling with this and it is bothering me.

Avoid Laziness. It has always been a battle for me. If given the opportunity to not have to do something I have been tempted by this. I spent yesterday afternoon doing NOTHING. I went home. Set my stuff down, and flopped on my bed and watched bits of Dr. Phil and Oprah in between cat naps. I did not do any housework, I did not play with Paige, I did not even budge when Dave came home. I did not cook dinner. I DID NOTHING! Now I have twice as much housework to do and I missed some quality time with my daughter and just as bad…my husband.

Take Care of Yourself. This is another tough one for me…possibly because of the previous one. However, I have always at least tried. I find that lately…I am not even trying. I am not trying to lose the extra weight that I have always had trouble with. I am not watching what I eat AT ALL. Not even walking regularly to combat the unhealthy foods I have been eating. I need to take care of myself so that I can make that goal of living to be 120! Not to mention I have to take care of ME if I want to be able to take care of and be there for my friends and family.

So, since I put that out there…I suddenly feel like the world is going to watch what I am eating and doing…maybe that’s a good thing.

Not a trip to Italy, or a Jeep Wrangler..

But it was great. My friends from work took me to lunch for my birthday. I am not sure but I think the highlight was when Laura W. sang Happy Birthday to me…in the style of Marilyn Monroe to President JFK. She also had great fun harassing our waiter…but since he said it would take 15 minutes for him to separate the check…he deserved it.

Lots of fun conversation. A learning moment when we were discussing why I don’t like rap music, a song by Nazareth came up as well as one by the J. Geils Band (Mark W. compared “Centerfold” to “I’m in love with a stripper”) not to mention the song “Night Moves” by Bob Seger. Hmmm, yep I am hypocrite. Okay, so I guess I like my sexual inuendo and bad grammar tied up in a package with screaming guitars and less bass.

Then there was the fun coincidence that I was telling Guinn that I aspire to scrapbook and sure enough the team had pitched in and purchased a scrapbooking kit for me with a weddings theme to use as my portfolio for the weddings that I do. How very perceptive my friends are. However, there was the jar of green olives attached to the birthday card…not a big fan, but I understood totally since the card was from “olive us” so kudos to the creative genius behind that one. (Shelley of course)

Then there was the moment when we all realized that Kathy G. knows WAY too much information about the phone services. I love riding with Kathy to these things, she has such great stories to tell…especially about her kids. It is sort of like having a crystal ball to look at what I have coming a few years down the road. I anxiously await the day that one of my children call me from a few hundred or more miles away because they can’t find their car keys. Oh and Jeff Guy… thank you.

Theresa reminded us all of exactly how interesting people truly are. Especially the ones that she seems to attract/encounter. Apparantly someone attempted to drive the caffeine demons out of a laptop by laying hands on it. (short version…she spilled a cup of tea on her laptop and someone tried laying hands on it to fix it…see Theresa for the full story – it is much more fun coming from her) However, a truly amazing moment was that once she was able to tell the Dell support people what happened they had a DHL guy with a box at her door within the next hour and the next day the laptop was returned repaired! WOW! Amazing story right there. Snaps to Dell or the DHL guy…not sure who to give props to.

We really missed our friends Julie, Susan and (the mother of my child) Sherry but all in all…it was a great and fun lunch…and the food was okay too.

Then as I was driving home I realized that I had forgotten to open my card from Ed V….I can not express exactly how sweet it is so: (I hope you can read it)

Thanks everyone for thinking of me, and for celebrating with me. (Next year…I vote we ALL go to Italy for the Italian cuisine so that we can truly compare Papa Vinos to that which is authentic.)

What do I want/want to do for my birthday?

I turned 35 a few days ago. In the grand scheme of things…not a big deal, but I do give thanks to God for giving me this long and pray that he will give me at least that many more years…actually I am trying to go for a grand total of 120. However, to other people it apparently is a big deal and I would like to say a few words about that.

When asked what I or my spouse do for each others birthdays and my answer is, “We really don’t make a big deal about it” people get this perplexed look on their faces. Something akin to a dog that is confused…you know the one, ears perked up and head cocked to one side.

So let me clarify a couple of things:

#1 When I DO things, I have yet to figure out how to DO them in a small way. I OVER DO even the simplest party. Heck, I created a specialty drink for Paige’s tenth birthday and created my own chair covers so that they would match the table decorations.

#2 When it comes to Dave’s birthday – it is barely 2 weeks after Christmas…which means crappy weather and we are usually strapped for cash (so refer to #1) and tired. I love him to pieces and if I am going to “do something” for Dave it is going to have to be a grand affair that TRULY represents that. That is not to say that we don’t do the little things, like saying “Happy Birthday” or letting that person decide what to have for dinner or whatever. We try to make the best out of what we can.

#3 My birthday is on a National Holiday. Once I realized that my parents were fibbing (darn history lessons) when they told me the fireworks were for me…nothing ever really was the same. My birthday parties as a kid (few as they were) flopped because my friends always had things to do with their family on that day and it was not the same in my head if my party was not ON my birthday. To this day, even some of my best friends tend to forget it is my birthday because they have their own things going on for the holiday. Then there was the fact that my sister’s birthday was 6 days prior to mine, so quite often our birthday parties were celebrated as one. There were a couple times that it was shared 3 ways because my Aunt’s birthday falls in between mine and my sisters… I guess I just grew up not expecting to have a big deal be made about ME for my birthday. So, I just have a hard time getting excited about it. Quite frankly, it is my Mom and Dad who should be celebrated that day for giving me life. More so my Mom for suffering through labor and delivery! YAY MOM! So, it should rightfully be “Happy BIRTHING day!”

#4 I do not like being the center of attention (contrary to popular belief). Actually when I think about it, I don’t mind it, but I don’t want to be consulted on how to do it. I would rather people just DO something without consulting me. Don’t ask me what I want…I usually have no clue. I have more fun seeing what people think that I would like. That is what I find fun, seeing what other people think I like. When it comes to what do I want to “do”… again, I do not want to be consulted. I am so flexible that if someone says…hey we are going skinny dipping/shark diving for your birthday I would be game if I could at least have one condition of wearing a big T-shirt. I feel weird telling other people what to do for me. I find it more fun and more sincere if they just do something. I think that I appreciate the effort and planning involved just as much, if not more than the end result.

So to my family, and my friends, and my co-workers who wished me well while thinking I am weird…Thank You. Really, Thank you for caring about me enough to celebrate my birth. So, Next year, when this day rolls around here is what I want…so don’t ask…A Jeep Wrangler (I don’t know why, I have always wanted one) and/or a trip to Italy. If I can’t have that…surprise me.

Pearls of Wisdom

Fourteen Things That It Took Me Over 50 Years To Learn—by Dave Barry

  1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
  2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be “meetings.”
  3. There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.” (for fishermen and golfers)
  4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
  5. You should not confuse your career with your life. (Note to self!)
  6. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. (sometimes I still have trouble with this one)
  7. Never lick a steak knife.
  8. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.
  9. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.
  10. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she’s pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
  11. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.
  12. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.
  13. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.) (self analysis…am I mean to wait staff?)
  14. Your friends love you anyway.
  15. Thought for the day: Never be afraid to try something new.

Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.

An example of true dedication to ones work

According to

Convicted forger A. Schiller was serving his time in SingSing prison in the late 1800s when guards found him dead in his cell. On his body they found seven regular straight pins whose heads measured the typical 47/1000ths of an inch or1.17 millimeters in diameter. Under 500 magnification it was found that the tiny etchings seen on the heads of the pinswere the words to The Lord’s Prayer, which is 65 words and254 letters long. Of the seven pins, six were silver and onewas gold – the gold pin’s prayer was flawless and a true masterpiece. Schiller had spent the last 25 years of his life creating the pins, using a tool too small to be seen by the naked eye. It is estimated that it took 1,863 sepatate carving strokes to make it. Schiller went blind because of hisartwork.