Pardon Me While I Snort

Last night was just plain fun. When you can say that about a meeting, then you know you are doing something worthwhile. Part of what makes it so special is that I work with amazing, inspiring people. (Suck up, I know). So we gather for our monthly church staff meeting. We study and pray. We share and plan. And we laugh. (I think a snort or two snuck in there) And my devious laugh even makes an appearance. You know the one-it can easily be turned into a witch’s cackle. My stomach still aches from all the laughing. New exercise regimen, perhaps? I vote yes–I’m sick of situps. Seriously, I love my pastoral posse for the ways they love and support me. And crack me up!

My resident jokester (aka Jared) and I have this game we play where we try to make each other laugh so hard that we snort. Well, you can imagine how quickly we become a chorus of pigs in our attempts to out-snort one another. It’s silly but it’s one of the moments I will replay when he’s all grown up. When those moments are happening, I tell myself, “Cherish this…they are only little once.” It’s the reason why I left practicing law to become a SAHM. So what if I’m reduced to a snorting pig?

So, when was the last time you LOL’d? Get your laughter on-even if it makes ya snort!

Sitting Down for a Family Meeting

Well, the family meeting didn’t happen on Saturday like I thought (too many activities+playtime with friends=2 tuckered kids). But I did sneak it in today while baiting everyone with cookies and milk. Of course, my daughter asks, “Are we always going to start family meetings with cookies and milk?” Bribery with food-she sees right through me.

So, after saying a prayer together, our first “order of business” is to draw names and saying something nice about that person. So far, so good. Then we start talking about the upcoming week, some ways they can help out around the house (besides their chores), and then we get to the Family Meeting rules. (Granted, we should have probably started with the rules, but oh bother). Anyway, we think of a few good ones, like be nice, listen, respect each other. Then Jared chimes in that we should sit during meetings. Where is he when he says this? Standing up. After his 4th trip from the table. I nearly laugh out loud. My “ants in his pants” kid says sit down. Classic.

Then we brainstorm some ideas for family activities: the zoo, apple farm, game night…then Jared adds we should climb up “the big hill.” This HILL is a wooded area near our neighborhood that we like to hike in the fall. A vertical wall of dirt and leaves and trees. The last time we attempted the HILL, Jared barely made it out on his own, all the while begging for someone to carry him. (We did not.) So I can just see us now on our future “Family Activity.” Jared complaining about his legs hurting, asking for a piggy back ride. Cali, our golden retriever, climbing with her “Disney” leg–the one that received our travel funds when she needed a $ 3,000 surgery this summer. (Incidentally, she is much better AND we still will have our December vacation, so all is good). Taylor prancing and stomping like a horse, doing her best equine impression. I swear, the girl thinks she IS a horse. So just imagine this motley crew as we ascend up the side of Mount Wecandoit in the next few weeks. Well, better yet, say a prayer for us. We might need it.

OK, so with the family meeting adjourned, my husband begins ribbing me about when we get the minutes (smartass). A success? Yes, I’d say so. No fights. Kind words spoken. Laughter. Yummy food. Sharing. And afterwards, a nice, long family walk. Suggested by–you guessed it–the kid who can’t sit still!

Hey, Friday, how you doin’?

It’s been a long week, but things are looking up here at the Boswell hacienda (OK that’s all the Spanish I will do for now-geez, I hope I spelled it right!) Life is good, to be sure. Taylor’s interim report card was awesome, Jared is kicking it (literally) in soccer, and we have settled into our school groove. So it’s only fitting that tomorrow, we will have our first ever Family Meeting. Call it a Parent-Kid Summit or a Meeting of the Minds. Whatever the label, I hope will become a weekly thing for us. (I borrowed this idea from a Family Fun article and then did a Google search on the subject. Yes, I know-I’m Type A. Whatever).

My reason for doing this? Because it is so easy it is to let things slide during the week to get homework done, get to activities, etc. So now we will have an established time to talk about everything that gets pushed aside. Suggestions on how to run a family meeting include: 1) beginning with compliments (should be easy enough); 2) open the floor for any issues (whether it be about the toilet seat being left up or the kids’ constant requests for a new pet); 3) deciding on activities for Family Day; and 4) close with a fun activity (Mad Libs, Pictionary, scavenger hunt). I figured if I blogged about it, it would make me even more accountable about the meeting. Stay tuned-I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

Family Drama

Without getting into too much detail or burdening you with TMI (too much information), I will share something sad. Not to be a downer, but because it really hits me hard. And where else do we feel it most but when it affects our kids. Sunday night, the kids called their grandpa to wish him Happy Birthday. But it’s a grandpa they hardly know now because of a misunderstanding and a failure to communicate that has been exacerbated over time. What should have been no big deal became one overnight, and both sides got firmly entrenched in their respective bunkers. And never came out.  

The call couldn’t have been more than 4 minutes, with neither grandpa nor the kids knowing what to say. And then we are left with the fallout…you guessed it, Taylor asks why doesn’t her grandad want to see her. (Even sadder, Jared doesn’t seem to even remember him.) I don’t have any profound answer but fumble through a response as best I can. There really is no good answer-no reason why he shouldn’t want to be a part of her life! 

I had an ulterior motive in calling; my feeble attempt to open the door so that maybe the lines of communication will start to flow both ways. But my biggest fear is that nothing will come from our call. The phone will remain silent. Because the silence is deafening-and it sends a chilling message to my kids.

I write this for several reasons. Selfishly, I need to get it out. It’s toxic to hold this in. I hope that maybe someone reading this will have insight that I lack, something to say that will soften the blow. But it hurts. It’s raw and it sucks and it’s even more complicated because it’s family.

To avoid ending on such a negative note (because that is soooo not my nature), please let this be a cautionary tale and cherish your loved ones. Tell them how much  they mean to you every chance you get. Even if for example your mom gets the kids ginormous ice cream cones for snack today like my mom did, I am so thankful that she is a part of my kids’ lives. It is a gift. One I wish my kiddos had with their other grandpa. Or might have someday. I’m trying to find the silver lining….

You know you’re getting old when…

…you are so out of touch with fashion that you don’t get the whole meat dress/purse thing. Apparently, I am not alone. PETA also hated it! Sorry, Gaga.

…you are carded at the grocery store and optimistically think it’s because the wine you are buying. Actually, the clerk just needed it because you used a debit card. Bummer!

…it is no longer an option to change your hair color, but a strategic maneuver to hide your gray. I’m not even 40 yet. Argh!

 …you tell your kids about The Little Rascals (because your son looked like Alfalfa) and how the show was in black and white. And the kids look at you like you just grew a second head. (And don’t even dare mention record players or you’re in a 30 minute conversation).

…you co-teach youth in Sunday School and try to create relevant, exciting discussion–on music, no less–and well, they confirm that you did, in fact, grow a second head. (Until you bribe them with candy. Then they speak.)   

Any of those sound familiar? What are some other classic examples you can think of?

Here I Go Again! (Disney Moms Panel Application Time)

On Monday, September 13th at 9AM, Disney will be accepting applications from Moms and Dads (and anyone else who just loves all things Disney) for the Disney Moms Panel 2011. Pardon me while I do my Snoopy dance! Being the Type A geek that I am, I marked that morning as busy on my calendar ’cause I know I will be working on my application then! You might ask: what does a panelist do exactly? They share their Disney knowledge by answering questions and offering advice about planning Disney World vacations through a dedicated website: Given the diversity of the panel, it is no wonder that they are able to field ANY question thrown at them. Even questions about if hermit crabs are permitted and if pack and plays can fit in bathrooms! Both no, if you were wondering.

One of the benefits of going through this application process is that I get all nostalgic about our Disney adventures and the fabulous memories we’ve made. Like when two year old Taylor met her first character–Goofy–and was scared to death! I mean petrified! I quickly learned to position myself between her and the characters. Incidentally, if I could pass along one bit of advice: perhaps you shouldn’t have your child’s’ first character experience with the tallest one around!

Meanwhile, our resident daredevil Jared has no phobias when it comes to characters, especially of the princess kind. I will never forget how proud he looked covered in princess kisses. His favorite? Sleeping Beauty! (Geez, what is it with boys and blondes?) My blonde haired girl Taylor has a love affair with the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Perhaps I passed that gene on to her, the one that loves pampering and spa treatments. Regardless of the source, my daughter has champagne taste (her favorite food is sushi, hello), so the BBB really meets all our needs. She gets the royal treatment and I get a front row seat to witness her total transformation. Priceless!

One of my most surprising Disney memories was receiving Dream Fastpasses during the Year of a Million Dreams Promotion while exiting Goofy’s Barnstormer. It felt incredible! The rest of the day, we were walking on air. If the powers that be at Disney were indeed keeping a tally of how many dreams were granted that year, then four people were definitely added to the count that day!

I could go on…but you get the picture. Disney means alot to me. So I am super psyched about applying for the Moms Panel. Send me some pixie dust because they will take as many as 20,000 applications! This will be my third time applying, and you know what they say…

And while you’re at it, please post a comment and answer this question: what was your favorite Disney memory? Or for those of you who have never visited the House of Mouse (shudder), what would be a dream come true for you?

Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Right now, I am so proud of my nine year old, who has also joined the blogging community tonight. Her blog,, has its very first post, based on a devotional she wrote for school. The name “chat in the clouds” was inspired by a chat we had laying under her bed canopy.(hence, the cloud) and we could talk about anything there. She even illustrated the message. Naturally, I am bursting with pride at my budding writer (she says she wants to be an author someday). I say she’s one already. Nothing else I could say here can come close to what she wrote, so please, check it out!

Putting the Labor in Labor Day

While many of you have fun Labor Day weekend plans like the lake or the Clemson game (which I say is not fun just to irritate my Clemson friends-GO COCKS), we have absolutely nothing planned for this weekend. Except for a birthday party, church, and hanging out with friends, you could say the next three days are a blank slate. And I like it that way. We are so overprogrammed, overstressed, running in ten different directions during the week that it’s nice to slow down. Heck, it’s what we’re supposed to do–hello, can anyone say Sabbath time?

But with this open calendar staring me in the face, I can only see what’s right in front of me-you guessed it, my messy house that is crying out to be cleaned. So I’ll be cleaning toilets and sweeping floors-with my little helpers, mind you. (They will be so thrilled to hear that bit of good news today!) But I actually am glad to just be hanging close to home because this past week was a whirlwind. Clay and I even got to getaway for a night (on a school night)-and it was downright decadent to go shopping without the kids…go to dinner without being interrupted….and have adult conversation! But let me tell you, it did a world of good for our kids. They were SUPER appreciative when we came home. Taylor said one day felt like one month (my little drama queen).

So while you’re busy cramming it all in this weekend, feeling like you must get so much done, take your foot off the accelerator a bit. Yes, I’m talking to you, fellow Type A’s of the world. Or the new label I now have is “People-Task” from the PeopleMap personality test I took a few months back (pretty accurate). The issue for Task oriented people is that we don’t know how to CHILL. So let’s be more like our fellow free spirits and just slow the heck down! I promise I’ll do it, too–right after I finish cleaning the house.

Hello World 18 months later!

For those of you who don’t know me, most of my life-my passion-centers around family and music. You’ll hear much more about my kiddos, about my decision to leave lawyering behind in the wake of September 11 and become a full time mommy to my then 3 month old daughter (who is now 9). But I want to get beyond the labels that we put on what we do and talk about who we are. What am I about? And why would you want to read what I have to say? Hard questions to answer right out of the gate, right? Basically, I’m a thirtysomething who loves writing and music. Lately, the focus has been on music. Listening to it, making it, teaching kids at church about it. It moves me in ways that I cannot describe adequately here. So in my initial attempts to “name” my blog, I thought something musically oriented for sure. But I want my blog to reflect me in a nutshell. For those that know me well to say, yes, that is spot on. And for those that don’t know me, well, something that would make you interested in what I have to say.

A dear friend gave me some wise advice recently (albeit not about the blog but about my legal career): Poop or get off the pot. I needed to hear it. I’ll admit, I have been struggling lately here with identity, with my “purpose” if you will (apologies to Rick Warren). I am waiting to hear something that will catapult me in the right direction. You know, speak Lord in the stillness. But as a Type A, just as in the countless scrapbooking pages that remain left undone upstairs, I am falling into the TRAP. I can’t start now because it seems too daunting, too much to do at once, the finished product will not be up to snuff so why start at all? The common pitfalls that squelch creativity: fear and doubt. Well, doubt had taken up official residence here at my house and kept nagging at me. What if no one wants to hear what I have to say? Well, I’ve decided to heed my friend’s advice and, well, um, enough of the potty training metaphor. I’m simply going to put myself out there, so world, here I am and if you don’t like it, too bad.

So, before naming my blog (other than the narcissistic title it now bears), I thought I would ask for your thoughts. The blog will be about the triumphs and frustrations of a full-time mom (not going to say SAHM because let’s face it, we seldom are!). The cacophony of noise, chaos, energy, laughter, and tears that surrounds all kindred spirit moms (and dads). I’m hoping that divine intervention will strike, but for now, I am content to just leave it as my name. After all, it took us a whole year to officially name our golden retriever on her AKC papers. No, we didn’t have a no name dog for a year. We immediately knew she was Cali. But the fancy smancy name didn’t come until much later, and it broke a few rules in the process. So instead of choosing the normal triple word name, we went with one word: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. (And it even fit on the certificate!) We liked it because a) it had Cali in it; b) it’s from a Disney movie; and c) inspiration just hit us with it. I’m hoping the same goes for naming this blog-except for the waiting a whole year part.

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