Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The many adventures of Ramona and Batman…Volume 2

The phone rang early this morning.  I glanced at the caller ID, but did not recognize the number. "Hello?"  I answered. 

A tiny voice on the other end of the phone started talking panicked, "I'm sooooo hungry!" 

Confused and still groggy from the morning, I blinked, frantically racking my brain, "What?" 

The voice continued, suddenly becoming familiar, "Mom!  I'm sooooo hungry!  I'm starving!" 

I half-laughed. April Fool's was yesterday. Still confused, not knowing how to respond, I dumbly asked, "Brady?  Is that you?"

Frustrated, he tried again, "Yes, mom!  I'm sooooo hungry!  Can I pleeeeeese pleeeeeese pleeeeeese get some breakfast?" 

Realization finally dawned.  
Just then his teacher picked up the phone, "Hello.  Brady was watching the other kids eat breakfast and seemed very hungry. I asked him if he had eaten this morning, and he said he just ate a banana, so I told him to go and get something from the cafeteria. He was pretty adamant that he could not unless he had money in his hand.  I assured him that you could just send in money tomorrow, but he said that his Mommy said he had to have money in his hand to buy breakfast...." 

I laughed, "Yes....I tried to get him to eat more than a banana this morning....

...And…the reason he will not go and get anything without money in his hand is because….”

Back in August at the beginning of the school year, I wrote this....

The many adventures of Ramona and Batman…Volume 2

My niece, Cassidy, and Brady are the best of friends.

Cassidy is the oldest, by 3 whole months.  I call her Ramona.  Because she is just simply that.  Red rain boots and all. 

Brady is Batman.  Black cape and cowboy boots.  Ready to save the world.

The two of them together brighten my day. 

Well, most of the time.

They both just started Kindergarten.  

My sister-in-law, April, called me last week, “Brooke, I cannot make Cassidy understand that you have to actually pay for breakfast and lunch and ice-cream at school. She is convinced that they will just give it to you for being good.”

I laughed. 

She sighed, “Every day, Brooke. Every day.  She argues with me every day that the food in her new school is free.”

Today, I received another phone call.  It was April.  Half annoyed.  Half amused.

“Have you set up Brady’s meal pay account, yet?”

I responded, “No, he has only eaten lunch one time.   I just gave him lunch money. ”

She mused, ‘Well, you may want to look into that soon.  I set up Cassidy’s account today, and as soon as I logged in, I was shocked. Negative $13.  It showed she has eaten breakfast for 13 out of 15 days of school!  She has a negative $13 balance!  How does that even happen!?”

I laughed, “She did what?”

April continued in disbelief, “Yeah!  She’s been getting off the bus, and getting herself breakfast every morning.  So when she told me that they will just give her breakfast, she was right. They have been!”

I asked, “Has she been eating at home too?”

 April laughed, “Yes. She‘s been eating pancakes at home before school too. You may want to make sure Brady has not been following her in there.”

I sighed, “I sure hope not…”

 Batman arrived home.   I helped him untie his shoes, and I asked, “Hey Buddy, has Cassidy been eating breakfast in the morning at school?”

He looked like a deer in headlights, “How did you know that?”

The blood left my face, “Brady?  Have you been eating breakfast with Cassidy?”

He stood there frozen; not answering.

I asked again, “Brady.  Have you been eating breakfast at school?”

He nodded, “But, Mom, Cassidy said they will just give it to you when you get off the bus. She said you don't need any money. They do, mom!  They give it to you!”

Before the difficult task of explaining how it actually works, I asked curious, “What have you been eating?”

He smiled, “They have sausages, and biscuits, and pancakes and all kinds of good things to eat at school.  It’s soooooo yummy, Mom!”

According to Ramona, they are called “Breakfast hamburgers.”

Miss Ramona is the size of an average 3rd grader.  She is not much smaller than my 4th grader.   My best guess is that Miss Independent just walked off the bus, went straight into the breakfast line and got herself a breakfast. Why would they need to stop a '3rd grader' that clearly knows what she’s doing?  Especially when she is obviously showing her “little kindergarten brother” the ropes…

Ramona and Batman…Strike again… 


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kara and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Morning ...

“Mom, my best friend, Erik, has orange hair.  Can you paint my hair orange too?”  As we began preschool last year, we heard all about Brady’s new friend, Erik, every day.   They were inseparable, so I had to meet this orange-haired kid to make sure he wasn’t trouble or anything. I have an orange-haired brother after all…and well, he was most definitely trouble when he was little.      

So off to school I went on a mission in search of one little orange-haired boy.  I entered the classroom, and was immediately met by a friendly face…his, mom, Kara.  Apparently she had the same idea.  Erik had been talking all year about this kid, Brady, that wore batman shirts and cowboy boots to school every day.  I mean seriously, who wears batman shirts and cowboy boots every day?  She needed to make sure that Bat-Brady was not trouble either.  Kids that wear capes and boots could be trouble too, you just never know.  

 I am so thankful that Brady and Erik became friends, because through that, I have made a great new friend this past year in Kara. 

When it was time to look at kindergarten, we both decided to enroll them into a bilingual school. They both were accepted into the school, and not only that, but they ended up in the same class…

Two best buddies, inseparable again. 

All I know is Kara…you CANNOT move. Just thought I would plug that in there.  J

They are from Las Vegas…

I promised her I would make a respectable southerner out of her before she moves, which of course, I cannot allow.  My first order of business is teaching her how to make chicken-n-dumplin’s...and biscuits…and gravy… 

Enough about food, I’m getting hungry…

Back to the story…

She called me last week after a rough morning needing to vent, “Brooke, you are not going to believe my morning.  You just cannot make this stuff up.” 

Her 3 year old has asthma.  He had been up multiple nights needing breathing treatments, so she had had zero sleep for the past few days.  After a few days of having a sick child snoring next to her, sweet little legs kicking her all night, she was a walking zombie by that morning in desperate need of coffee.  Can I get an amen?

Still groggy from the night before, she rushed through the kitchen trying to get Erik ready for the bus…

Just as he was finishing up his breakfast, she noticed his orange hair sticking up in all directions. She ran to the bathroom to grab the water bottle, but it was not there.  She looked up at the clock. The bus would be at the stop soon. Frantically she searched her brain trying to remember where she put the water bottle.  She hurried through the house and saw it sitting by the door next to the shoe shelf. She quickly grabbed it, and began spraying Erik’s hair in an attempt to get it to lay down.

I personally vote to put gel in it, and let it stick up all over the place like I do with my boys sometimes. It works. It’s an angle.  My boys think it’s cool. And with the orange hair, I mean seriously, he’d be rockin’ it.  Now, other adults may think he’s a trouble-maker, but hey!  Just add some cowboy boots, and you’re golden.       

She thought to herself, “Wow, his hair sure does smell good.  Nice and minty. What on earth did I wash it with last night?”

Just as she placed the bottle on the counter to comb his hair did it all become crystal clear. She had been cleaning the mirror yesterday, and sat the bottle down to check on the kids.  Not the water bottle, but the window cleaner. She gasped!  She rushed Erik up the stairs for a quick shower, thankful she at least uses all natural cleaner, but still.  She scrubbed him down, and got him ready for school.


She made him a new piece of toast.

Again…just in case some landed on his last piece. Oh, and after she washed out his mouth for safe measure.   I’m having flashbacks of Ralphie and The Christmas Story right now. Poor Erik. Good thing it wasn’t Lifebuoy.    

They flew out the door for the bus.  Just in time.   They finally made it to the bus stop, when Erik looked at her panicked, “Mom, I have to poop!” 

I’m thinking that minty cleaner really did the trick.  Yikes!    

And unlike me, she actually took him home and allowed him to poop. 

So they missed the bus.

They piled into the car to go to school. 

But, of course…

The car was out of gas.  

She rolled into the gas station on fumes, and…

Naturally, she was attacked by a bee.  Yes, that was my friend in the gas station madly swatting the swarm of bees.  And yes, I believe that maybe, just maybe, I’ve done that once or twice…or maybe I did that today because my hair was attacking me. But y’all in my mind it was a giant spider. 

By this point in the story, I was being a great and understanding friend and listener…the extreme laughter she heard coming through the phone…that was just her imagination.  I mean, there just are not words. How on earth? 

So by then, she was over it.  She just needed some Chick-fil-A.  I told you I was going to make a true Southerner out of her.  I’m slowly, but surely brainwashing her.  Now ladies, if you are not from the South and have no clue of the power of a Chick-fil-A biscuit, you just need to bring your cute little self  down here one day and get one. Not on a Sunday though. Like any other good southern business with good southern values they are not open on Sundays…

In the drive through, she was annoyed.  Had had it. Was over it. And just needed lots of very strong coffee and a biscuit. The car in front of her had the nerve and audacity to not know that she was having a bad morning and refused to pull forward.  She had left a gap the size of the Grand Canyon in front of her, so Kara could not pull her car out of the exit, blocking the cars behind her. Frustrated she yelled, “ Ugghhh!  Can you just pull up!”   Thankfully, no one heard her, except maybe the fly sitting on the seat next to her.   

A few minutes later, she had ordered and had pulled up to pay for her mind-saving breakfast. She asked the server, “Can I add a lemonade to my order?” 

The server smiled, “The car in front of you just paid for your meal.  She said that she hopes you have a blessed day.”

Kara crumpled in the seat in disbelief. Humbled.  The same car that she was just frustrated with? She looked up, “Yes, Lord, you have my attention. I am so sorry.”

She drove home in silence thinking about her morning.  God knew each and every moment happening that morning, saw Kara, and put his loving arms around her, even in the most undeserving of moments. 

 Though her story had me laughing my head off, when she got to end, it reminded me of something so important…

God loves us. It’s as simple as that. He sent his one and only Son to die for us. For you and for me. 

For me.  In all of my undeserving moments…. He died for me. To save me. Because he loves me.  Wow.   In our good moments and in our not so good moments. He created us, He knows us, and He desires that we come to Him…He wants to walk with us in a daily friendship, in a daily relationship…Forever…

Simply because He loves us.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son for whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. –John 3:16


Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Groggily I focused my attention on the gourmet specialty in front of me. Cereal and milk.  Petey wagged his tail standing at attention waiting for a tasty morsel to fall to the ground.  I worked quickly, and moved to pack lunches knowing the quiet would soon come to an end.      

My boys bounded down the stairs full of energy.    

Brady looked at Petey and then back up at me, “Mom, I wish I could be a dog like Petey.”

Just as I was about to respond, Coach came around the corner smirking, “Why? So you can lick your butt?” 

I looked back at him in complete horror and disgust, “What in the world are you thinking!  I try all day to get them to stop using potty talk!  That’s disgusting!” 

He smiled mischievously, “Yeah, I know, but it’s funny. Just laugh.”  He added playfully, “You know you want to laugh. Come on. Laugh.  You know it’s funny!” 

Brady and Griffin couldn’t contain themselves, “Da-ad!”  They exclaimed and burst into uncontrolled laughter. 

Trying to regain control of my unruly gang of pirates, I asked again, “Brady why do you want to be a dog?  And you may not say what Dad just said.”

He laughed, “Well, I wasn’t going to say that. I was going to say because Petey is soooo soooo soft, and if I was so soft like Petey, then I could snuggle with you better.”

Thanks Coach, thanks.  How many children do I have exactly?   


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

School is here again...

August is here again…

Gone are the lazy days of summer…trips to the pool with friends…hanging out at the lake with family…

School is back in session and with that brings a whole new season…

New routines…

New carpools….

New schools…

New teachers…

New friends to make…





Growth…  Each year I am amazed at how far they have grown from the last.  Last year’s trials and struggles that I so painstakingly fretted over, I realize have helped to mold and shape my children into the men and women they are becoming. Each new experience, each new trial, each of those things I worry over, God uses to shape them. It’s my job as a parent to guide them in the right direction through those times. 

So be encouraged moms as your sweet Kindergartners enter school for the first time, or your tweens are entering that tough road between childhood and the teenage years; they may stumble, they may bump against the world in ways we may not like, but use those moments to teach…to encourage…to mold them into the great men and women God has called them to be.

Be there to gently guide them…to remind them…to love them…

You are mom, and you matter more than you know…


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Super Mom Defeated Again...

My five-year-old came stumbling down the stairs looking a bit worn, “Mom, I have bad coughs. I don’t think I can go to school today.”  He mustered up a fake cough and gave me some pretty pitiful puppy dog eyes.   

I turned off the treadmill and looked up at Coach who said, “He was coughing this morning when I woke him up, and he looks pitiful.” 

Carefully, I looked back at his big brown eyes. “Buddy what’s wrong?” I asked.  I had just been upstairs to make his breakfast and fix his hair, and my nursing instincts told me he was fine… just a little morning-time allergies kicking in at most.        

Tears formed in the corners of his eyes. He remained silent trying to hold them back.

I held his little arms, and asked, “Do you want to stay home with Mommy?”

The flood gates opened, “Yeeeessss!  I don’t want to go to school. It’s sooooo loooong!!!!!  And I am getting sooooo sick. I just want to snuggle with you!” 

I hugged him tight,  “I know you do buddy, but you have to go to school.”

He cried harder, “But mom, why is school soooo loooong?  And I’m siiiiick. I have some coughs.”

I pulled him back and looked in his eyes, “I know you have a little cough, but Mommy is a nurse and this kind of cough is not the kind you miss school for. You need to go.”

He hung his head defeated.  The bus would be coming soon. 

I smiled, “Hmmmm. I know what will make you feel better. How about a cup of hot chocolate?”

His face lit up like a Christmas tree. He beamed from ear to ear, “OOOO!  I love hot chocolate!  That will work! That will make my coughs feel better!”

Coach looked at me concerned,  “The bus will be here in 10 minutes.”

I quickly shifted into “mom-mode” and flew up the steps, my running shoes taking me 2 steps at a time, “You help him with his shoes and backpack, and I will get some hot water going in the microwave. It will be fine.”

I quickly stirred in just enough hot water to melt the chocolate and then filled the cup the rest of the way with cold water.  Perfect drinking temperature.   I sat a cup in front of both boys, “Drink fast, the bus will be here very soon!”

They guzzled the entire cup down happily and ran out the door to catch the bus. 

I turned to watch them get on the bus, one proud super-mom…one more problem solved…one more crisis averted…

Suddenly his little face scrunched up in pain, and I am pretty sure he turned green.  He looked panicked.  The bus pulled to a stop and he shouted back at me, “Mo-om!  I need to go poop really bad and I can’t hold it.” 

His older brother grabbed him by the book bag and pulled him on the bus, so I simply stammered, “Well, buddy, you’re gonna have to.”

And the big yellow bus rolled away.

Out of sight. 

Leaving me standing there…

No longer super mom…

But realizing I forgot one very important thing. Hot Chocolate Always ALWAYS makes him poop.  ALWAYS. 

Great thinking. 

So there I stood stressing.  He has to make a bus transfer.  I sure am hoping that he doesn’t miss his next bus sitting on the potty, because his brilliant mother told him to hold it…. and then there’s a cute blonde-haired brown-eyed kindergartner running around the wrong school today…lost…all because his mommy gave him hot chocolate. 

Oh. The joys of motherhood.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Petey, Go Potty!

I closed my eyes and sighed, trying to reason with the dog, “Petey, Please just go outside.”

He shifted back on his haunches staring up at me with big brown eyes.

Again I spoke as if talking to a human, ‘Petey, Just go outside. I will let you back in, I promise.”

He blinked and looked away. 

I rolled my eyes thinking of his trainer who told me how important it was to teach him the command, “Go potty.”  I remember at the time thinking, ‘How ridiculous.  I’m not telling my dog to go potty.  That’s stupid.’ And yet, here I stand way too early in the morning pleading with the gigantic beast to do just that.  

“Fine!” I stomped closer to the door and grabbed the knob, “I will go out in the rain with you, you stubborn animal!”

I marched out the door only to discover Charlotte’s evil cousin had built her web right at about the same level as my face. I jumped back swatting furiously at the ginormous spider that I just knew was crawling through my hair looking for a spot to hatch its eggs.  Running across the room hitting my head in all directions, Petey sat looking at me…motionless…showing no remorse. 

Clearing the cobwebs from my face, I turned to look at the largest web I had ever seen. I again panicked. If that was the largest web, then where exactly was the spider and how big was it?  I ran to the mirror checking my head again. No monster.  I grabbed a shovel preparing to do battle with the beast. 

Again, no spider in sight. 

Relieved, I turned back to my dog, “Petey, I know it’s raining, but you have not been out, please just go outside.  Please?” 

He sat back stubbornly refusing to go outside.  I looked at the 2-ton-horse wearily debating whether or not to try dragging him out the door.     

Instead I turned, shoulders slumped and headed out in the rain. I called with all of the cheerfulness I could muster at that point, “Come on Petey!  Come on Boy!” 

He blinked at me clearly bored. 

 I slammed the door and stomped up the stairs. To my surprise, Petey took off running tail wagging excited. I laughed, “You are not going up there.  Are you crazy?  You haven’t been out since yesterday.  I don’t know what you are thinking.” 

He bulldozed his way past me knocking me off balance.  He wagged his tail looking down at me lying on the ground as if to say….’I’m not the crazy one here. You can go outside and stand in the rain with the spiders all day long, but I’m going upstairs where the normal people go…’


Sunday, August 18, 2013

"Spanish School"

Brady started Kindergarten last week. How time flies.  I re-read a few of my blogs, and cannot believe how much he has grown…brought tears to my eyes… 

We have chosen a bilingual school for him.   He is dually immersed in English and Spanish every day, and will become fluent in Spanish by the time he’s finished with Elementary school. He is also learning Chinese, and will add other languages once he enters the Middle School level.

To give him the foundation he needs in Kindergarten, 85% of his day, they speak to him solely in Spanish. 

He came home his first day of "Spanish School" as he calls it and said, “Hey mom, my teacher is really good at Spanish.  She talked all day in Spanish!” 

I asked, “Did you understand anything she said?”

Cheerfully he responded, “Nope.  Just when I went to English class.  I could only understand that teacher.”

Knowing this would be the case, curiously I added, “How did you know what you were supposed to do all day?”

He smiled and made big gestures with his tiny little 5 year old hands, “It was easy.  I just followed her body.”

We received an email from his teacher later in the day…

Brady had a great first day. When I told them it was time to go to English class, he raised his hand and said, “Great! You know? I am VERY good at English!”


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jimmie Johnson...

My five-year-old walked into our room on Mother’s Day, rubbing his eyes, hair sticking out in all directions, half-awake.  He sleepily looked up at me. I smiled awaiting my sweet mother’s day hug.  He frowned and looked around the room until his eyes landed on his Dad.  Satisfied, he voiced the only thing on his little mind that morning, “Dad, Did Jimmie Johnson win the race last night?” 

We both laughed as his Dad turned on the end of the race to satisfy his race-hungry mind.  A few weeks before, he woke up to discover that Jimmie Johnson had wrecked. His Dad was at work when he found out this news, “Mom, now show me how he wrecked.  Who got in to him?  Did someone push him into the wall?  What happened to him, mom?  What happened?”  He had his hot-wheels in hand ready for me to reenact the crash.  I was at a loss, and Brady was not too happy with my lack of details of the race carnage.   I have since brushed up a bit on my racing knowledge…much to his delight…

Today, Brady and I greeted Griffin at the door after school and settled in for a snack.  He looked over at me excitedly, “Mom, wouldn’t it be AWESOME if I could go and live with Jimmie Johnson?  Wouldn’t that be so cool!!!”  I smiled back at him, “Well, buddy, that would be cool, but I sure would miss you!”  He smiled, “Well, mom, you could come and live with Jimmie Johnson too!”  Griffin grimaced, “Um Brady, that would mean that mom would have to marry Jimmie Johnson, and mom is already married to Dad, Du-uh! She can’t live with him!”  Brady frowned thinking about this new predicament.  I looked back at him, “Yeah, buddy, what about Dad?”  His brow furrowed, “Well, Petey could come and live with me.”  I held back laughter, “I suppose, but what about Dad?”  He again furrowed his brow, clearly distraught, “Hmmm. I will just have to think about it, mom.” 

Speechless I sat staring back at him as he talked about everything he would pack, and how he and Petey would sleep in the same room. The boy was all ready to go…and then… finally, after “packing” me, and his “best-dog Petey,” and his monkey, and his DS, and his Wii, and his pet frog… he looked back at Griffin, and said, “Griffin, I’m going to take Dad too.”

So Coach, after giving it much thought, you made the cut…Brady is taking you along too…after he packs the frog…

Guess Brady just figured if he has to share, then you will just have to learn to share too…



Friday, March 22, 2013

You are beautiful...

I rounded the corner of the carpool line, mind wandering in a million different places…

I finally made my way up to the front.  My turn had arrived.

Brady climbed in the front seat and grinned from ear to ear as he saw my face.

I returned the smile, my heart melting at the sight of his sweet face lighting up, wondering what made him so happy today.

He threw his arms around my neck before I could ask, and sweetly sang, “Mommy, you sure do look beautiful today.”

I hugged him back a little harder clearly surprised and laughed, “Well, thank you buddy.”

He shyly looked at me with his big brown eyes and played with my necklace as we pulled over to the ‘buckle up spot.’

I asked, “What did you do today, buddy?”

He shrugged, “The same things Mommy. I had a good day.”

He buckled himself into his seat, and we headed home to read a bedtime story and get tucked in for naptime.

I smiled still thinking about his sweet unexpected compliment.  The way he hugged me and meant it genuinely all the way from the tips of his little toes.

Yes, I know he’s only 4….and I know he’s my boy…but still.

The power of little words said with an honest and genuine heart…Oh how they can brighten someone’s day…

No, I’ m not the most beautiful woman in the world…nor could I grace the cover of any magazine…

I fact, first thing in the morning, I could scare off a few people that’s for sure.

But today, my sweet boy made me feel like royalty…

Sitting in the carpool line in my jeans and shirt after running errands all morning with a 2 year old…exhaustion clearly all over my face…

Just a tiny little compliment…

Someone’s happy face…

The power in that…to change my world…

And I think…who needs their day brightened today…who in my life is saddened and I do not even know…who could use a little smile and be told how beautiful they are…

Because God created each one of us…We are all His beautiful creation…created and formed in His likeness…in His image…

So ladies, Smile…whether you realize it or not, you sure are beautiful…


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Embracing Motherhood...

A friend sent a wonderful email about motherhood to me last week. It came at a time when I needed it most…a God breathed message straight to my heart… I thought I would share these words with you. I hope this blesses some of you too…