Valentine’s Day is for Lovers

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to offer up the dating advice of my six-year-old. You are welcome.


This may not be widely known, but there are four steps to falling in love.

Step 1:

thumb_Step 1_1024

First pick someone you like.

Step 2:

thumb_Step 2_1024

Next talk to them.

Step 3:

thumb_Step 3_1024

Then get in touch with them.

Step 4:

thumb_Step 4_1024

Last you got yourself a boyfriend.

Kate’s four-step process is simple to follow, although it may bring to mind a few questions. Like, why does the girl in this instructional have such a giant rack? (I don’t know. Kate likes boobs?) What are they talking about in each step? (Imaginary friends/animals. Naturally.) In step three, how are they getting in touch? (Texting with their iWatches. Again, naturally.) So what are you waiting for? With Kate’s four easy steps to falling in love and getting yourself a boyfriend, you won’t be spending this Valentine’s Day alone.




Dear Sir;

Please accept this letter as notice of my resignation, effective immediately. While I have enjoyed this position at times, I have come to the conclusion that your children are completely, and without a doubt, un-parentable.

The many, many books I have read skimmed have prepared me with classic and time-tested approaches to address nearly ALL the challenges of raising children. YOUR children, however, are a troublesome case.

Today I took a privilege away from the children. And while all the books assured me that this would set them on the path to righteousness and correct their wayward behavior, it was hardly the response. Instead of coloring and playing demurely during my evening meeting, the children revolted. Instead of focusing on the goal of good behavior to win back their iPads and screen time, they prepared an assault on my meeting in a direct tactical response to the consequence I had sanctioned.

Doors were opened and slammed. Crayons and markers were thrown. Shouting, running and LOUD WHISPERING — SUCH LOUD WHISPERING were executed with lethal precision. Tantrums were thrown. Friends were pulled onto the battlefield and used as emotional hostages. Chairs were dragged, loudly, through a quiet auditorium in front of an audience of other, more successful parenting figures.

Sir. To put it in the most direct and honest way I can: Tonight was a shit show.

And so, it is with a heavy heart that I must admit that I am unable to parent the children any longer. Tonight they won. In an epic and unforgettable way. They won.

I will never forget my time with the children. Mainly because of the gray hair and drinking problem I have acquired during my time with them. But still. They look sweet when they are sleeping and I will miss that. Sometimes.

If you need me, please look no further than the closest adult-only resort. I’m taking a break from children (all children) for the foreseeable future.

Kind regards,



Outed by dinosaurs

toy_story_3_rex_poster-p2282518722292700628phc_500A few days ago I was driving around with Beckett, only half listening to his chatter. Which you can’t judge me for, because he is a talker and talks about EVERYTHING and so help me, if I listened to every single word he spoke, I would have to be committed. He once sang a song he made up about poop for 33 straight minutes. THIRTY THREE MINUTES. I mean. YOU GUYS. Of course I don’t pay attention to everything out of his mouth. It’s for my own mental protection.

So I wasn’t completely sure what we were talking about when he started asking me questions but normally I can just fly by the seat of my pants when that happens. Because let me be honest, we aren’t talking about politics or the economy here. We are typically covering such riveting topics as how a bird goes to the bathroom when flying and why clouds are sometimes different colors and if an animal would be able to break in the window of his bedroom and eat him.

But flying by the seat of my pants didn’t work out so well for me this time. Our conversation in the car when like this:

Beckett: MOM. I asked you a question. I asked what you know about Dinosaur layers.

Me: Layers? Like, layers on a cake?

Beckett: What?

Me: Honey, I don’t know anything about dinosaur layers. Are you sure that is the word you want to use? Do you know what layers are? They are like if you are stacking things, you get layers. Are you maybe talking about when you dig for dinosaurs, there are different layers of the Earth?


Me: Okay, so like, stacking dinosaurs on top of each other? Like that? You want to stack dinosaurs?

Beckett (now shrieking): MOM!! NO!!! Layers are not STACKING. I am not talking about STACKING DINOSAURS. I am talking about the secret hideouts that dinosaurs live in! DINOSAUR LAYERS!!!

Me (totally dumbfounded): Oh.


Me: OHHH. YOU MEAN LAIRS NOT LAYERS. Lairs. Dinosaur Lairs. ‘Cause, see, I was just thinking you were talking about layers.

Beckett (sigh. Like, BIG sigh): MOM.

Me: Wow, sorry. I get it now buddy. Lairs. Secret Hideouts. Got it.

Beckett: So? What do you know about dinosaur lairs?

Me: Not a thing.

Beckett (mumbles under his breath): You don’t know ANYTHING Mom.

Well crap. Y’all, he just figured me out.

Good parenting

Man y’all. Parenting is hard. And I was having one of those days. You know, the days where you question if you are doing right by your kids. If your best is enough. And you fret and worry and spend hours with an aching heart because you just want to know that you are raising your kids right, that they are happy and healthy and going to grow up to be awesome, productive adults and not jerk faces.

And then your kid’s Daisy troop leader sends you a picture she took at the last meeting and you are all…

Parenting. Nailed it.


This is Kate using oranges to give herself boobies. Clearly she is pleased with herself. Thanks to Tracy Lyle for the photo. And for confirming that I’m killing it in the parenting department.

Conversations with a lunatic

Beckett CamelBeckett: What are the green things in this bread?

Me: Zucchini. Its zucchini bread.

Beckett: I want banana bread.

Me: We don’t have any banana bread.



Beckett: I want banana bread.

Me: We don’t have any banana bread. We only have zucchini bread.

Beckett: I don’t like zucchini bread.

Me: You liked it when you ate it this morning for breakfast.

Beckett: That was banana bread.

Me: Nope.

Beckett: YES!

Me: Guess again.

Beckett (now in near hysterics): YES IT WAS AND I WANT BANANA BREAD!!!

(I take the plate of offending zucchini bread, walk into the kitchen. Walk back to the table with exact same slice of zucchini bread)

Me: Here is your banana bread.

Beckett (Takes a giant bite): YUM! Told you Mommy (proceeds to finish slice of zucchini bread)

Me (muttering to myself and shaking my head as I walk away): It is NOT banana bread you lunatic.

A reminder

I’m pretty sure God does some kind of sorcery on parents that makes us forget the worst parts of having kiddos so that we are dumb enough to do it again. And for some, again and again and again. He is a tricky one, that God. Making us focus on all the LOVE and the JOY and the FULFILLMENT and the blah, blah, blah WHY HAVEN’T I HAD A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP IN FIVE YEARS AGAIN!?!?!?! Oh, yeah. I have kids.

Most recently I am being reminded that three-year olds are total jerk faces. And I’m allowed to say that, because I love my jerk face beyond all reason, but sweet mother when I tell Beckett not to jump off the back of the couch and he proceeds to do JUST THAT while maintaining eye contact to ensure I do not miss one second of his defiance I want to wrap him in a red gift bow and leave him on some other family’s porch. MERRY FREAKING CHRISTMAS NEIGHBORS.

There is just something magical about the age of three. Like, black magic. Seriously, half the time it is like they are the babies you know and love, snuggling and kissing you and the next minute their heads are spinning in circles and they are screaming so incoherently you think a priest might be in order. In a mere five seconds, a three-year old can go from pure happiness to utter despair, usually for reasons beyond a sane person’s understanding, like because the word “blue” sounds weird or you didn’t tap your nose three times before you asked them to wash their hands.

And God help the sibling of a three-year old. Because those poor kids are up against an unreasonable enemy. I mean, Beckett loves his sister. Like, LOOOOOOVES his sister. But he is three. So instead of being kind or just playing nicely with the one he loves, he torments her. His snuggles are aggressive. He makes annoying noises or, his new favorite, interrupts her repeatedly when she is talking. If he gets her squealing, either out of pain or irritation, he lights up like a Christmas tree. I don’t think there is anything more important in his whole, three-year-old world than getting a reaction from his sister. Nothing. Except maybe snacks.

The good news is that I’ve had a three-year old before. So while my memory of how terrible it was when she was three is foggy thanks to divine intervention, I very distinctly remember how lovely she was when she STOPPED being three.

Eight months people. Eight. More. Months.


A craft for the totally un-crafty: Personalized Mickey and Minnie Magnets

For anyone who has been following this blog for awhile, you know that crafts are not my thing. As in, the one and only time I did an entire craft from beginning to end, I posted about it. I checked the archives. It was October of 2010. FOUR YEARS AGO PEOPLE. Check it out, “A craft for the totally un-crafty: blackboard pumpkins.” Compelling stuff. Last fall I got all motivated and started a wreath. This is it’s current state:


Twelve months have passed and I haven’t been able to work up enough give a darn to go to the store, by burlap and FINISH THE DAMN WREATH. You know what is hanging on my front door? NOTHING. That wreath would sure look nice. Maybe next year.

But this month? This is a month to go down in the annals of Edelbrock family history. Because I have started and completed a craft (pausing for dramatic effect and possibly some applause).

Next month our family is going on our first Disney Cruise. And while I am very excited, I made the mistake of joining a Facebook page that thrives on people posting about their personalized T-shirts, gifts, door hangers (called “Fish Extenders” for you fancy, in the know Disney Cruisers), and other things that I basically need a graphic design degree and 40 free hours to create. So we are skipping all that nonsense and taking the “no fuss cruise” approach. Except for door magnets. I can kind of get behind the idea of decorating our stateroom door so that when the kids (or, um, a slightly tipsy Mom or Dad. Don’t judge. It’s vacation.) are trying to find the right door in an aisle of 600 identical doors we don’t end up beating on a strangers door shouting, “LET ME IN. THE KEY IS NOT WORKING!!” So to Etsy I went. Oh Etsy. That magical place of craft items I should be able to do myself, but TIME and ENERGY and BLAH BLAH. After surfing the site for Disney Door Magnets, I came up with two conclusions:

1. Ben would kill me if I spent $30 on a paper magnet that would get a one time use (BUT HONEY, IT’S PERSONALIZED!)

2. I could totally make magnets myself. For a lot cheaper.

So here is my SECOND craft tutorial for the totally un-crafty: personalized Mickey and Minnie Magnets. YOU ARE WELCOME.

Step One: Get a grandiose idea that suddenly you are Martha Stewart and not, well, YOU. Go to the craft store. Buy a bunch of supplies. For this craft you will need: scissors, thin magnets with adhesive on the back, black foam sheets, bright colored foam sheets and foam letters. Check out. Realize you have spent nearly as much as you would have buying magnets on Etsy. Shrug and shred receipt so the evidence is hidden. You are committed now. Stop by the liquor store on the way home. You will need more wine.

Step Two: Google Mickey Mouse head outline, Minnie bow outline and bow-tie outline. Size the images to whatever size you want your magnets to be and print. Pat yourself on the back for getting so far. Open bottle of wine and pour a glass. Take a break, maybe make a cheese plate. You got this.

Step Three: Cut out your shapes, then trace them onto the foam. This may be self explanatory, but I’ve had two glasses of wine and if you have too, I’m going to make it easy. The MICKEY head shape goes on the black. The BOW TIE or BOW goes on brightly colored foam. You are welcome. Cheers!

Step Four: Start to cut out the foam shapes. Realize the scissors you grabbed from the junk drawer are actually, well, junk. Weigh the pros/cons of just using junky scissors or hauling yourself upstairs to the guest room where your “craft” stuff is (i.e. the unused sewing machine and all the stuff you have purchased… years ago… and just never gotten around to using) and getting out the good scissors. Mull this existential question over with some dark chocolate and the rest of the wine. Decide that a nap is in order.

Step Five: That nap was a good idea. Pat yourself on the back, get your good scissors and get to work cutting. Cut out all your shapes. Get really excited when you realize the foam you are using has adhesive on the back because you forgot to get glue and if this craft wasn’t finished soon it was going to end up with the wreath in the “good idea, lack of execution” pile in your closet. Stick bows and bow ties on the Mickey heads. Text your husband a picture to tell him you are kind of a big deal. Don’t expect a reply. You won’t get one so imagine him rolling his eyes, because this is likely what is happening when he reads your text.

Step Six: Dump the bucket of foam letters on your work surface. Dig through and try to find the letters for everyone’s names. Realize this is tedious and you need more wine. Thank goodness you thought ahead and picked more up. Plan to very carefully place all letters on your magnets. Realize that you don’t have the patience for this and just start slapping them on. Get slightly annoyed the names don’t look straight and then decide to pretend you did this on purpose. It’s art. It’s artsy. If anyone complains about their names, decide you will knee them in the groin.

Step Seven: Step back, look at your work and feel like a badass. Drink some more wine to celebrate. Text your Mom because you know she will respond. If you have a good mom (I do) she will tell you they are cute. You will then text them to your husband because now you are actually finished and HE HAS TO RESPOND. He won’t. Later he will claim he was in a meeting. But you know he was probably thinking about how his name wasn’t spaced correctly.

Step Eight: Kick back and feel accomplished. Then realize you haven’t stuck the magnets on the back, so they technically aren’t magnets and you technically aren’t done. Curse a few times. Pick good ones. Like the F-bomb. Use that one. Then get up and stick magnets on the back. It will literally take you two minutes. You will feel sheepish for overreacting, but it did feel kind of good to curse like a sailor.

Step Nine: Decide to write a blog post about your craft. Because if a tree falls in the woods, someone needs to read about it.


In my skin

I was cleaning out my blog drafts, a little housekeeping this morning, when I came across this post from last fall. It was written sometime in October, shortly after Dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. It was an important read for me today. A reminder that there is still so much good in our lives. And while I miss Dad terribly and feel the loss of him so strongly during this season, I can still find contentment in our blessed life. And that is where my hope comes from.


October 2013Life is not perfect. You only have to read my Facebook or check past blog posts to know that there is a lot of pain and struggle and worry right now. Which makes what I’m about to say seem so wild and crazy to me.

I am content.

We had a speaker at my Moms group the other day. She was there to talk about raising children who are not entitled, but something she said at the beginning of her talk really resonated with me on a totally different level. “Teach your children to value contentment above happiness. Happiness is situational, but contentment is unchanging.” She elaborated, sharing that although you could wake up completely happy, your feelings could change immediately. Say, after your son smears peanut butter all over the dog. See? No matter what your station in life, your personal fulfillment or your strength of faith, there is a pretty good chance you are NO LONGER HAPPY. But, you can still be CONTENT.

Hm. That gave me pause. I am certain I am not happy at this time in my life. But am I content?

I was walking out of the gym this week when the answer came to me. I had just had a great workout, one that makes you feel strong, and capable and invincible. It was cool, the kind of weather that promised fall leaves and fires and warm blankets, and snuggling. And I was walking to my car and it hit me like it was a direct message from heaven. And I remember thinking, “I am content. I hope that years from now I can remember this season in our lives and remember this feeling of contentment. Right here, right now.”

But can I? Can I be content even when my father is fighting for his life? When cancer has crept like a thief in the night to wreck and ravage one of the people I hold most dear?

The answer, surprisingly, is YES.

The answer is yes. And I don’t think is dishonors my father to say that. Am I happy. Oh my, NO. No, my heart hurts and my soul cries out for God to hear our prayers. But I am content. And I would think that should comfort my father more than anything else could. Because I know he loves me. He wants the best for me. And I am finally at a place in my life where I can say, Yes, father. I am okay. I am content. I am at peace.


The goose

Yesterday, when I picked Kate up from school, a group of kids were playing Duck, Duck, Goose outside. Kate ran over and jumped in the circle, as did a few other children. She sat perfectly still. Legs crossed. Small smile on her face. I wasn’t close enough to tell, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if she was holding her breath. I could read it all over her. Her eagerness. Everything about her said, “Pick me, pick me!” 

Several rounds passed and the children who started the game picked the kids they knew and were friends with to be the “GOOSE.” I saw Kate’s smile fading but she continued to sit perfectly still. Not really making eye contact with anyone. Just waiting. HOPING.

A few rounds after that, I saw some of the kids in the circle getting impatient. One raised his hand, “PICK ME!!” and of course, that time he was picked. A few other children who hadn’t had turns did the same. And they got their turns. But Kate continued to sit perfectly still. Only her face had changed. It had no joy. She was the only kid who had not been picked.

My heart ached for her. I wanted to scream, “SOMEONE JUST PICK HER!” I wanted to march over there and tell the other kids to give everyone a turn. I wanted HER to be brave and tell someone to “PICK ME” like the other children who weren’t being chosen. But she just sat there silently. And so did I.

Parents were ready to leave, and the game disbanded. But Kate didn’t move a muscle. There was no one left in the circle. And yet she just sat there. It was like she couldn’t believe she hadn’t gotten a turn. That surely, if she just stuck it out a little more, she would be given a chance. I finally walked over and crouched down next to her.

“It’s time to go home Katie.”


“Kate, are you okay? Are your feelings hurt?”

“Yes. No one picked me. Why wouldn’t anyone pick me?”

“Well, honey, a lot of times people will pick their friends, so the same people get picked all the time. But you don’t have to be afraid to ask for something that you want. If you want a turn, you raise your hand and say that. You just say, “PICK ME!” and maybe it will happen.”


“I’m sorry your feelings were hurt Kate. I love you.”

“I love you too Mommy. Let’s go.”

I still have that image in my mind. The one of her sitting. No one left in the circle. No joy on her face. She has probably forgotten it by now. To be honest, she probably forgot the sting of not being chosen about five minutes after we left the playground. But it has stuck in my mind.

It is stuck because it is a reminder of what is to come. Of hurt feelings and bruised egos and tears and sadness. Those things that we, as parents, pray our children won’t have to suffer, but really are simply a part of growing up.

I wanted to say something during the game. I wanted to intervene for Kate. Save her that tiny bit of pain. But I just watched. And waited. Because I’m not going to be there on the playground with her all the time. I’m not going to be able to make kids pick her, or play with her or be nice to her. I’m going to have to give her the tools to stand up for herself. To ask for what she wants. To treat others the way she wants to be treated. To be fair, and loving, and compassionate.

I knew parenting was hard. But I didn’t really realize how much it was going to hurt, too.


Say Cheese

This morning while getting ready for school, Kate put on some sticker earrings. So of course B wanted some. I obliged him, because its not like his preschool friends are at the developmental stage where they openly mock other kids. I mean, Beckett eats his own boogers sometimes and he still has friends in his class, so I’m pretty sure a little bling isn’t going to ruin his rep just yet.

Sadly, when I picked him up I had to have THIS conversation…

Teacher: Did you put earrings on Beckett this morning?

Me: Uh, well, his sister did (slight bending of the truth to avoid judgement from particularly judgy preschool teacher).

Teacher: Oh, Okay, because he told me that his mommy put them on him.

Me (mental headslap): Oh, haha, the things these kids say…

(awkward silence)

Teacher: Well, so, ANYWAY… today was picture day.

Me: OH.

Teacher: Yeah. And, well, we tried to take them off, but he wouldn’t let us.

Me: OH.

Teacher: So, yeah, he is wearing those earrings in his picture.

Me: Oh.

Teacher: Yeah. Haha, even the photographer was all, IS THAT BOY WEARING EARRINGS?? And I was all, HE WON’T LET ME TAKE THEM OFF! Haha. So. Um. See you next Monday! BYYYYEEEEEEE.

(Teacher waves and walks off)

Me (to Beck): …. Thanks a lot buddy.

Beckett: (big grin)

Me: *SIGH* I have to call your daddy. I don’t think he is going to like this one.