Name Calling for Adults

It’s official, or officially being recognized again by yours truly: instead of progression, we’ve entered regression.

A few years back, I blogged about how “language” and its acceptance into the dictionaries, had taken us back to ancient Egypt and the time of hieroglyphs. Now I present: name calling for adults.

If any of you took debate way back in the day, you might recall a few simple rules, one of which was: never directly attack your opponent with name calling. Responding with, “You’re a butthead!” when they argue for or against the use of chlorofluorocarbons, is both ineffective and juvenile. Your opponent may very well be a giant butthead, but by pointing this out instead of how CFCs destroy the ozone, you lost the debate due to lack of evidence AND you succeeded in also becoming a giant butthead.

Name calling, in my opinion, is more like something you do when you’ve run out of things to say.  It is designed to be offensive and perhaps silencing, all while masking your inability to continue the argument intelligently in your favor.

This whole “She’s a Karen,” or “He’s a boomer, Chad, anti-science, racist, transphobic, religious zealot, fill in the blank,” is driving me nuts. Everyone now seems to have a label in order to explain to the world why they are or should be disliked. It’s not only obnoxious to see someone express their views and be called a name, it is ridiculously juvenile! What has been proved by ridiculing another person in this way? Other than regressing into a complete child? Start talking infuriating logic to a kid and they’ll likely get so frustrated that they finally yell out, “Oh yeah? Well you’re a fart face!!” This is the madness sweeping among otherwise intelligent adults.

Respectful debating has been replaced with insult hurling. Intellectual sentence structure has been reduced to name calling.

We all need to take a step back and follow the advice we give our children, because at this rate, they are more like adults than those raising them. At least they can make the claim of not knowing better!


Celebrate What’s Right

A priest monk who lives in a Greek Orthodox Monastery tucked away in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, sent me a YouTube link last night. We had talked several times, and he knew my heart was heavily burdened. There were no words with the link, but there was no need. The message was in the title of the video and the video itself: “Celebrate What’s Right with the World!”

I encourage everyone to save this video and watch it often. Especially now when the world may seem hopeless and confusion about what’s really going on is high.

In my own celebration of what’s right and beautiful, I share the following recent pictures:

Hikes among the flowers
Comic book making
Sweet smelling flowers

Homeschooling During Stay-at-Home Orders

If you have followed me for awhile, you know that I homeschooled my kiddos for 8, wonderful years. Sadly, due to life changes, homeschooling came to an end 3 years ago. Ironically, many parents around the country are now lamenting the opposite: forced to educate their children at home who would otherwise be in a public or private school setting. Teachers, parents and kiddos suddenly found themselves forced into a situation of continuing with educating while forced to stay at home. The teachers have done an amazing job setting up online assignments and being available for virtual tutorials and class discussions. Students and parents, for the most part, have tried to take advantage of the time together and navigate through learning at home. However, I have also read many reports of frustrated parents and children saying it was simply too much to take on. This is valid: the situation we find ourselves in is not truly homeschooling.

Homeschooling is the result of a choice. That choice allows for flexibility because the parent chooses the subjects and publishers of each, arranges for play dates, co-ops, field trips, daily “classroom” schedules, e.t.c. The parents of public and private school children now forced to educate their children at home are not privileged to the same. There are no play dates, co-ops, homeschool groups and choice in lessons and curriculum. They are trying to understand what the teachers would be presenting themselves, and in turn, relay that to their frustrated children, already used to a classroom setting.

Let me explain it this way: Mom and Dad plan a weekend away. They hire a babysitter, or relative, and write out a list for the care of their children while they’re away. Chores, rules, permitted TV/screen time, dietary needs and/or restrictions, bedtimes, e.t.c. It’s just a weekend with someone else’s kids following someone else’s rules for those kids, while getting paid on top of that. There might be little hiccups and frustrations from staying in their house; Mom and Dad might get a phone call or two asking questions or needing backup, but for the most part, things run smoothly and there’s an end in sight.

Our current situation is so much different and the “end” or outcome is unclear. Throw in job loss, little or no social interaction, stiffness and fear when leaving the house for necessary items, and trying to carry on months of school for potentially several children at a time during a global crisis. I truly applaud everyone doing their best with their families during this period. There’s no clear idea of how grades and attendance will be determined, and would-be graduates face serious uncertainty of how their high school to college transition will play out.

As a former homeschooler of my 7 kiddos, I found myself also in a unique position of educating again at home, but using a public school platform. I was grateful to the availability of teachers to help understand the online program and expectations. I also gently assured my kids that they are not failing!

Social Studies project with my 4th grader
Business as usual for my 6th grader who was the only kiddo still homeschooling previously

Sunday School Lessons

Our church has two homilies (sermons) every Sunday – one for us adults and a short one for the kiddos just before communion. It’s a nice setup for those of us parents who tend to leave after church instead of lingering afterwards for Sunday school to let out. I’m not always a deserter, but sometimes (translation: most of the time) I’m too tired and not feeling the obligatory socializing that comes with the aforementioned waiting. Like I said, this mini sermon checks all the boxes.

With every children’s sermon, the priest gives an assignment to be discussed the following Sunday. Last week’s assignment was simple enough: Do something nice for someone you don’t know. Leave it to the small and innocent to have the best ideas of what this assignment entails.

The priest called on the first eager hand:

“There was a kid at school that was too full, so I ate his lunch for him.”

Second eagar hand: “I was riding my bike and there was someone walking down the street and I didn’t run over him!”

Well done, kids. Well done 👏🏼

Keeping up with the Jones’ Part 16,492

Once upon a time, I was a new and idealistic mother of a beautiful boy. His nursery was perfect. He had a little toy box with stimulating and developmental items, a shelf with nursery rhymes and Baby Einstein books and a section of Spanish books for children (I was going to teach him other languages, obviously). And playing in the background at all times was a soothing baby massage CD. I doted on him; took him to my grandparents’ retirement home twice a week so all the residents could love on him also. I practiced attachment parenting and never raised my voice.

I was the perfect mom and I was sure everyone else agreed.

That sweet boy will be 18 in a month. He is followed by 6 siblings, down to the almost 4 year old baby of the family. And unfortunately, with each baby, I became a little less perfect.

Now I do not like perfect moms at all. They make us well-meaning and imperfect mothers look terrible. And our kids notice.

My 11 year old daughter has a friend down the street. She goes to the girl’s house every day and together they ride bikes. Then they play at her house and her mom invites them on hikes and dinner picnics by the lake. The girl does not come here because, as I’ve hypothesized, there’s a lot of us; we’re loud, and we don’t have picnics. Or maybe because when she first met me, I had a margarita in hand and she was scandalized. Or maybe because after the name introduction, there was a measuring contest of “whose hubby has the more impressive business title.”

Either way, annoying.

For my daughter’s birthday party, we invited her friends to the movies. But these parents couldn’t be satisfied to drop their child in exchange for two hours of freedom. Nooo…. they brought their other daughter and then stocked up on candy and popcorn from the concession stand and passed it around.

It gave me fiendish pleasure to see that she had popcorn stuck to her butt later. I’m terrible, I know.

For Valentine’s Day, the kids had to bring cards and then something to hold their cards in from other classmates. The night before the Valentine’s party, I ran to Walgreen’s and scooped up what cards were leftover. The kids then addressed them and stuffed them into their paper bags, crudely decorated with scribbled pink and purple hearts. The perfect parents? Well, a few weeks before, I had heard that my daughter’s friend’s mother had begun helping her children make card boxes. She had found some old, wooden treasure boxes and together they sanded, painted and decorated. Their cards were not made of paper and bought at Walgreen’s, but rather, handcrafted from material that folded like a book and fastened with Velcro. Each classmate’s name was then embroidered beautifully onto the inside “page” of material.

My daughter just got back from a field trip from… wait for it… Disneyland. Three days in California and Disneyland. I don’t know about you, but we went to museums when I was in school. Last night, while reheating leftovers, I asked her about the trip. She went on and on about how much fun she had.

“Was (enter kid’s mom’s name) there?” I interrupted.

“Yes, she was a chaperone. And she bought me tacos!”

Ugh. I grumbled and put another dish in the microwave.

“Of course she did!” I said, obviously annoyed that I was bested again.

“Well…” she began boldly, “you could’ve been a chaperone, too!”

Seriously, am I the only one who finds this annoying? All these perfect Pinterest mommies making the rest of us look worse than mediocre with their tireless devotion to their children? Where’s the justice?!

Lego the Legos

There’s no nice way to say this, so I’ll just go for it: I hate Legos.

I do not discriminate. I hate superhero collections, Lord of the Rings collections, fairies and dragons and princesses and Lego characters pretending to be um, Lego characters. Point being, if it’s a Lego, cute kitty or cutthroat pirate, I hate it.

I used to think Legos were a great alternative for our children’s couch potato generation. It gets them away from the screen and forces, at the very least, the following of directions. It doesn’t push them outside and on their bikes, but at least they’re not zombies in front of mindless YouTube videos by Jesse and Mike.

But that’s where the good things end.

One Lego set that your kid wants will run you, if you’re lucky, $49 before tax. But that’s not the cool set they want, which is actually between $75 – $150. Yes, there are little $10 and $20 “sets” available, but those are just starters for toddlers who are just beginning their Lego addiction.

When you buy Johnny his supersized Lego set he HAD to have for Christmas/Easter/Memorial Day/birthday/just because, there is about a one minute moment of bliss. They admire the box and what they will create, and you feel a sense of pride for once again getting them the best Lego set ever (since last month’s release). They get to work creating their fire-breathing dragon, castle and drawbridge, and position their damsel in distress…

That’s it.

30 minutes later and it’s done. The stocking and Easter basket lasts longer. And now guess what? You need a place to put it! But when the dresser and night stand and every other level surface in the house is covered with Lego creations, Where do you put them all? And if you think you can throw away the box after said creation is complete, guess again. You can’t. They need it. Like I need the tossed away wrapping paper with several year’s worth of scribbled names.

With all the kids I have, I figure I’ll need multiple spare bedrooms for their completed sets and accompanying boxes… if I’m to continue down this dreaded path.

And despite a kid’s attempt (read: my attempt) to keep Legos organized or intact, these tiny pieces of madness end up EVERY. WHERE. In my pillow cases, the washing machine, the dog’s mouth, under beds, and in every nook and cranny in the house and car… I must confess that I have recently quit saving the pieces “rescued” by my broom and now daydream about the day they’re all swept away…

No Filter

I think that’s a popular Instagram hashtag – #nofilter … #Iwokeuplikethis. But that’s usually in reference to an amazing picture that claims to be unedited, even when it really is.

But I’m off track and this is not about a good picture…

Last week I was due for my annual microblading touch-up because #eyebrowsarelife, y’all. That means, my drop dead gorgeous microblading friend is going to be thisclose to my face for two hours, concentrating on said brows. Then she’ll post the before and after as always and put it on her Instagram feed.

So in preparation for my appointment, I woke up with a nice, big zit right next to one of my eyebrows. I don’t think I’ve had a single breakout in over a year since a farmer’s market chocolate binge. But there it was. No reason at all except to laugh at me.

I ambulated from the bathroom into the kitchen to make breakfast, grumbling to myself about how unfair life is. After breakfast, I sat with the 7 year old on the couch waiting for his bus to come. Out from bed and down the hallway came my delightful, chatterbox 3 year old. She perched herself in front of me and rambled to her little audience for a few minutes before stopping in mid- toddler speak.

“What is THAT?!” she asked, pointing to my unfortunate and unsightly overnight growth. Thank God for 3 year olds to direct your attention to what you obviously didn’t notice!

I texted my friend/drop dead gorgeous microblading artist and told her what happened. I mean, she was going to notice anyway.

Fortunately, she does have a filter app on her phone…


My autistic 7 year old has been surprising all of us lately with his perfect handwriting and the spelling and reading of really big words – especially for a kiddo his age who just became fully potty-trained two weeks ago.  Here’s a sample:


Sorry about the quality, but you can see his perfect, tiny letters.  I don’t know adults who can write that well!

His favorite game is to write words on paper after paper, then ask, “What does (fill in the blank) start with?”  He already knows, but if you know about autism, you probably also know that a lot of questions are ones to which they already know the answer.  It’s a form of mimicking a behavior that is safe, if that makes sense?  Anyway, the “game” evolves into, “how do you spell (fill in the blank).”

The funny thing is, this game does not usually work in reverse.  Meaning, if I go up to him and ask him to spell a word, more often than not, he will tell me no.  Or, he won’t answer the question, but will instead throw one back of his own.

Last week during dinner, his nearly 17 year old stepsister asked, “Isaac, how do you spell Isaac?”

Isaac, “Um…. no.”

Stepsister, “Isaac, how do you spell Isaac?”

Isaac, “No.”

Stepsister, “Isaac, how do you spell Isaac?”

Isaac, “How do you spell no?”

Of course, we were roaring with laughter.  And he was not even trying to be funny, making these games of his that much more entertaining.



Discreet and Repeat

As a mom of 7 kids, I’ve pretty much heard everything. Sweet, anger inducing, cute, witty and then the “why isn’t it acceptable to cover his/her mouth in public” comments.

Hubby took me and the littlest two to Chipotle for lunch today, which I always appreciate (desperate housewife, ya’ll). We stood in the line patiently, right behind a police officer. My 3 year old, also named “honey badger.” For the explanation on that one, please refer to this video. But I get easily off track…

So Honey Badger sees the officer standing THISCLOSE to us and says as loudly as possible and with much excitement, “A GUN!!! He has a gun! Look! A gun!!!” She was not alarmed or frightened. In fact, I was surprised she didn’t try to grab it and stuff it in her tiny purse. I just smiled and apologized.

Hubby chimed in, “She’s not very discreet!” The cop just nodded and chocked it up to her age. Hubby then turned to me and asked if I was getting the tofu. I told him I wasn’t and asked if he was. “No, man! I have to go back to work and no one wants to smell that!” Yes, loud enough for everyone to hear.

Add that to whatever number in the thousands of reasons Mommy needs her wine.

The Mom Playlist

Don’t get scared off just yet – I’m not going to link you to the Wee Sing tracks or 99 songs for your kids on a roadtrip. Been there, and it was torture (no offense mom, you were cute singing along with us).

But who am I really kidding? I traded in my cool card when I got a minivan.

Anyway, I still pretend. I love listening to rock, pop music and really anything with a beat, unless it’s country. My 14 year old is an old soul, and regularly requests Alice in Chains, 80’s music and wait, what?

The original Total Recall theme song? That’s not what I had in mind to jam to (is that still what the kids call it these days – jamming?) on the way to Sephora to pick out my birthday gift…

Okay. It’s only 3 minutes and 38 seconds and it’s not totally bad (a pun!). But then there’s a request for the Blade Runner theme song. Again, the original with Harrison Ford. The kid is old school.

And while I suffered through the music, I suddenly felt nostalgic, even though I never watched those movies until I was an adult (my parents cared about ratings). So guess what’s on right now?