Don’t Worry Be Happy


The life of a grown up is not nearly as romantic and fun as I dreamed it would be when I was younger. I didn’t understand the responsibility that came with being an adult. I didn’t know that endless laundry, a constantly messy house, bills, fatigue, arguing children, and everything else that happens day in and day out would be such a drag.

I tend to get bogged down in it all from time to time.

I’m annoyed with my dirty house. It was clean two hours ago.

I’m annoyed with the laundry. It’s never done.

I’m annoyed with the bills. They never stop showing up.

I’m annoyed with the responsibility. It’s unending.

I’m annoyed with the arguing. Why are you fighting about an invisible piece of pie?!

On and on the list goes until I feel like the Grinch, my heart two sizes too small, and my patience stretched thin.

On Saturday we were preparing to host a dinner, and as I cleaned the house again, I felt an actual scowl forming. Blah, blah, blah. Grumble, grumble, grumble. As I set the table, Tia and Landon came racing through the kitchen squealing and laughing hysterically at who knows what.

“Slow down,” I called after them. They didn’t hear the sound of my advice over all their joy and laughter. The nerve. 

A few minutes later, they came racing through again, high pitched squeals and delighted laughter cutting into my grumbly heart. “Guys!” I called, a bit exasperated. “Slow down, please. You’re going to get hurt.”

“We can’t help it, Mom!” Landon called. “WE’RE JUST SO HAPPY!”

And off they ran, still laughing, still squealing, still slicing through my grown up bam humbugity. And just like that, my heart swelled, and I remembered that life is fun if you let it be fun.

Thank God for kids to remind me.

Happy Monday, friends. I pray that it’s JUST SO HAPPY!

Ghosts of Christmases Past

I took my kids to see Santa yesterday. This is probably our last year with everyone believing, so I wanted to mark it well. As we walked away from the jolly man in red, I asked Landon how the encounter went.

“He smelled like beef and cheese,” he responded. “He sits on a throne of lies.”

And then I fell over laughing. Every family has a “funny one,” right?

And for those of you who are thoroughly confused as to why that’s so funny, I leave you with this clip from the movie ELF, and I order that you go watch the movie in it’s entirety today. Do not go another day without having seen the entire film.


Christmas 2004 – A traumatized Sloan


Sloan and Tia in 2009 with “Dyed Moroz,” the Russian Santa.

Christmas '08 033

Christmas 2008 – A traumatized Landon


Christmas 2013 – the last when they all believe. *sob*

Merry Christmas, everyone. Here’s to one more year of magic and laughter…

Crazy is as Crazy does so don’t miss the Crazy, Yo!

Daddy has been out of town for a week. Five solid days of crazy without the buffer of a male voice to TAME SAID CRAZY!

I’ve done fairly well, but last night I hit a wall. Tired, I was. Exhausted. I wanted the small children in my midst to go to bed. To sleep. Because honestly I was starting to feel a bit like this:


So we made it home from soccer practice, had the obligatory ice cream snack, then I asked the small children to stop screaming (why with all the screaming?!) and go get ready for bed. Instead, this happened:



Now my first reaction was to get angry because HELLO?! Did you not hear the words that came from my mouth? I said get ready for bed, not put on cheesy music and have an air guitar jam session.

But then I took a breath and simmered down a minute to actually watch them, and a strange thing happened.

I laughed. I laughed because these small children are freaks in the best sense of the word. They’re so weird and I do really love their weirdness.


It became quickly apparent that however ready I was for bed, they were not ready to the same degree. So we put on our shoes, grabbed the dog, and took her on a walk. In the dark. In the rain.

They ran around the block yelling and somersaulting through every. single. yard. (Sorry neighbors.) And we all laughed, which felt good because this solo parenting thing can be a drag.

We made it home and through the bedtime routine quickly and when the house was finally, mercifully quiet I whispered a prayer of thanks before falling into bed. I’m glad I didn’t miss that moment last night.

That crazy moment, with my little freaks.

Happy Friday, friends. May your weekend be filled with just enough crazy to keep you laughing. *wink wink*

The Post About Hair

We tumble out of the car after church and rush into the house, a bundle of nerves and excitement.

“I’m scared,” she says, her eyes a little bigger than usual. “What if I mess up?”

“Go put on your leotard and your warm ups and we’ll talk about it,” I answer.

Ten minutes later she sits at the table and I begin brushing her long, kind of thin, white-blonde, mousy hair. Bless her precious little heart, she is the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen, but she definitely drew the short stick when it came to hair.

As she talks through the nerves she feels about competing in her very first gymnastics meet, I deal with my own nerves. Naturally, I was a little nervous for her, but my bigger issue came in the form of what on earth should I do with that hair?

See, I read the team manual. I know the rules. That hair has to be up and back and off the face and it cannot come loose under penalty of death. Or loss of a few tenths of a point. Whatever.

The point is, getting the hair right for a gymnastics competition is of the utmost importance.

And we all know who gets judged on the hair – she’s seven, folks. I’m on the hot seat for hair that refuses to stayed tied tight.

IMG_1788“Let’s put your hair up in a bun,” I suggest, and she immediately balks. I forgot to mention – she hates having her hair done. It ranks right up there with getting a shot. She does it because I say she has to, but she’s not happy about it.

I pull her hair back as tight as possible when it’s spun of pure silk and tried to secure it in a ponytail holder.

“You’re hurting me!” she wails. She grabs at the bottom of her head and yanks a chunk of hair out of my fingers.

“It’s supposed to be tight,” I say through gritted teeth.

“Well I don’t want it in a bun!” she cries. “My hair doesn’t work like that. I have small buns!”

I snicker as I tried to regroup the hair on top of her head because the twelve year old in me cannot hold back.

“Well what about braids? Your coach said braids are a great way to keep your hair out of your face.” I set to work weaving her hair into tight braids down the back of her head as she whines and groans about how much I’m hurting her and it doesn’t have to be that tight and sweet mercy if this child ever decides to become a dancer, she’s going to have to employ her own hair dresser because I will not survive such shenanigans!

I tie the braids, but they hang funny over her shoulders. It’s a bit Pippi Longstocking, and while I find it mildly adorable, I can envision her lying on a counselor’s couch one day lamenting the fact that she could have been an Olympian if only her mother had been able to come up with an acceptable gymnastic’s meet hairstyle.

I fold the braids under and secure them with ribbons and enough hair spray to chip out a small hole in the ozone layer, then tell her to do a couple of back walker overs and make sure it will work.

“It hurts! It hurts so bad! Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow! Why is it so tight! It hurts.hurts.hurts.hurts.hurts!!!”

It’s at this point I begin humming Jesus Take the Wheel while wondering what she would look like with a shaved head. (She’d look precious. I’m sure of it…)

She waffles back to the kitchen table, clutching her head as though I had woven thorns into her braids and we set back to work. The only issue is I’ve put so much hair spray into it, that it’s not going anywhere. So I twist, pull, tug, and pray until I have it tucked it in a way that allows her full movement of her head. She hops off the table and rolls her neck around.

tia meet

“Fell better?” I ask. She nods and runs to the bathroom.

She looks in the mirror, side to side, then looks at me.

“I look weird,” she says.

I drop my head, shrug my shoulders and wave her outside where I spray glitter into her hair because glitter covers a multitude of sins. 

And we’re on our way.

She ended up tying for third in her meet. It’s probably easy enough to attribute her success to her hard work and dedication, but after the fiasco we went through to get her there, I’m going to take full credit for her success.

Gold medal for Mom.

The Greatest Version of The Star Spangled Banner You’ll Ever Hear


Prince Charming.

It’s all in there, folks.

You’ve never heard The Star Spangled Banner sung quite like this.




Wordless Wednesday: Out of the Mouths of Babes

No words from me today. I’ll let the kids do the talking. I’d love for you to come back tomorrow when I talk about why I think Short Term Mission trips are a GOOD idea. Short term missions have gotten a lot of flak lately, but there are good things happening all over the world as a result of short term mission groups.

But first…today. The kids have shared their thoughts on what they learned and what stood out to them on our trip last week. Prepare yourselves for a little bit of heart melting.

Cinco de I’m Tired…

I distinctly remember leaving the hospital with Sloan and as the nurse wheeled me out, she patted me gently on the shoulder and said, “Good luck, honey and enjoy it. Motherhood is a thrill, but exhausting. You won’t sleep well again for the next 20 years.”

She then packed me into the car and waved with a bright smile as Lee and I pulled out of the parking lot, our eyes saucer-wide. I looked back at the sleeping baby in the back seat and thought, “Whatever. All those books I read said he should be on a sleep schedule within 8 weeks. Two months and we’ll be sleeping all night again.”

No, it’s fine. You can laugh. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

I have been at this motherhood thing for almost a decade now and I can say with certainty I haven’t gone a single month in the last 118 months where I have been permitted to sleep well every night. People…I am exhausted. E-X-HAUSTED!

I mean, it’s awesome. Don’t get me wrong. If we’re being honest, you should know that I was never a great sleeper to begin with. There are stories that my parents like to tell of me not sleeping at all when I was a baby. Oddly enough, they tell these stories with a tiny bit of glee whenever I mention the kids keeping me up all night….

Between bed wetting, nightmares, random fevers, falling out of bed, the dog barking at phantom shadows, the power tripping which sets off the alarm (C’MON!!!!) and down the list it goes, I am exhausted. Right now, I don’t want a month of uninterrupted sleep – I just want one week. Just a week!

Heck – I’d settle for a Saturday morning where I got to sleep until 8:00.

Or…you know what? I’ll just take another cup of coffee. It’s the best I can do for, well at least for the next 15 years, right?

While I sip my Cup ‘O Joe, you can enjoy these pictures. They make the sleepless nights totally mostly worth it. (You’ll notice Landon is missing from all these shots. He is the one with the fever who woke me up at 4:30. Tia is the one who fell out of bed. I’m going to need two more cups of coffee.)


Join me at The MOB Society



That’s what I served my oldest and his motley crue of buddies at his 9th birthday party. Crickets. C-R-I-C-K-E-T-S! Now before I move forward with this story, I must tell you I have a history with crickets. It’s not happy, my cricket story.

It involves a college-age me in 1999 when the plague of crickets descended upon Waco, Texas where I was a student at Baylor University. Literally, crickets fell from the sky like rain. The horror of it all still leaves me nauseous.

And in the midst of that time, I got engaged to the man who would soon become my husband. A regular date during our courtship involved him accompanying me to Barnes and Noble for late night study sessions and this is where the cricket story really takes off.

Friends, as we sat in the hushed bookstore one evening, a cricket FREAKING CRAWLED UP MY PANTS! Do you know what happens when you realize a cricket is in your pants?!

You freak out right there in front of God and everybody.


Once I dug the little Peeping Tom Cricket out, I sat down flushed and embarassed as my future husband laughed hysterically.

“A cricket…was in. my. pants!” I hissed.

Lee wiped his eyes, leaned forward and raised his eyebrows. “Oh yeah?” he grinned. “Lucky cricket…”


So you see my conundrum with crickets. I’m not a fan of the wily little buggers. And yet my boy wanted them for his birthday…as a snack. He wanted to eat crickets because he wanted a Bizarre Foods birthday party.

We watch Andrew Zimmern regularly around these parts. My boys ooh and aah and think he’s the coolest person in the whole wide world. My daughter and I wrinkle our noses and gag.

But, I’m a boy mom and boy moms find a way to make their boy’s dreams come true and my boy wanted to eat bugs so I tracked down edible crickets, larvae and scorpion lollipops and became the coolest mom on the block.

I’m over at The MOB Society today sharing a post about the day that my son, thankfully, did not poison us all. Join me over there to read the rest!

And Happy Weekend to you all!

The Thrill of Annihilation

These three children, all of whom were born of the same two parents (as if that wasn’t obvious enough – they were clearly cut from the same mold), could not be more different from one another.

One of the unique privileges of motherhood is the ability to know another human being with a depth that is nothing short of miraculous. I remember distinctly the first time I held Sloan and looked at his face and thought, “There you are.” His face was so familier to me, I felt I had known him my entire life. It’s as though he was buried inside my soul for a lifetime and we were finally reunited.

And now, as they grow older, I am so intimately connected to them, it almost leaves me breathless. I mean, sometimes they surprise me with their ability to love one thing one day and hate it the next (socks are my nemesis), but the innate fabric of their beings are familiar and I know exactly what they struggle with and how they will succeed.

When it comes to competition, they are all very much their own individuals. Competition is woven into the fabric of our family. My husband was a collegiate basketball player – sports and competition make him feel as if the world is still spinning rightly on it’s axis.

If there were a child that I could pinpoint being most like his daddy in personality, it would be my bubbly thirdborn. He lives for sports and is ready at any moment of the day to play a game of baseball or basketball or football or anything that allows him to hold a ball in his hands.

He does not like to lose. Oh my, how he hates to lose. The thrill of the victory is what keeps him moving each day. Defeat is not readily accepted and tears are shed often. Even an innocent game of UNO can leave him desperate if victory does not come after the first round. The last time he and I played, he refused to put down his card, because he knew I was going to win.

He has yet to acknowledge my win because technically we never finished the game, therefore technically he did not lose.

The firstborn is a lot like me when it comes to sports. He doesn’t like to lose, but he doesn’t necessarily care about winning either. He’s there for the social aspect of it all. He is not overly competitive and aggression is not in his makeup. He just wants to play and talk and have a good time.

I love that about him.

And then there’s the girl. She, like her younger brother, is hyper competitive but for different reasons. While Landon loves to win for the thrill of the victory, Tia likes to win for the thrill of annihilation. She doesn’t just want to win – she wants to destroy her competition.

Case in point:

Last week, she and I were doing some ab work. She has this freaky love for all things fitness, which keeps me in decent shape, so I’m not complaining. Lee came in and watched us working and challenged Tia to a tuck up competition. Tuck ups are when you lay on your back and crunch up, pulling your knees to your shoulders.

They’re hard.

Tia did 40 tuck ups, then sat on the couch and looked at her dad. “Beat that,” she said with a grin. So he did. He did 50 tuck ups. This did not settle well with the girl who refuses to lose.

She slid to the floor and started again. “You only have to do 51 to beat Dad,” I told her but she did not acknowledge my presense, her face intensely focused on the wall in front of her. She hit 50, then 60, then 70 and she began shaking and sweating. Her arms trembled and pain washed over her face.

“You won, Tia,” Lee and I laughed. “You can stop.”

But she didn’t. She kept going to 80 then 90 then 100 and finally 101. She collapsed on the floor and laid there panting and shaking. Lee leaned over her and grinned. “So I guess you beat me, huh?” he said.

“Dad,” she gasped. “I wanted…to…crush you.”

We can only hope that this attitude will one day keep the boys at bay a little bit. Here’s to hoping she intimidates them just enough that they’ll know how hard they’d have to work to keep up…and maybe they’ll stay away.

We can dream, right?

Are there unique traits that you see in your children that leave you shaking your head in wonder?

Things that make you go “Hmmmm….”

There are certain phenomena occuring within my home that I don’t understand. Maybe you can help me figure it out.

I mean…seriously.



I just don’t get it.


I would also like to share my two favorite quotes of the weekend:

Tia and Landon coming to me at 8:30 in the morning with big doe eyes: “Mom, we are weally, weally hungry. Can we have a snack?”

Me: “No, guys. We just ate breakfast.”

Landon: “But we are so hungry!” Collapses on the floor in tears.

Tia: “We need another breakfast.”

Me: “No. Guys, we only eat one breakfast. We’re not Hobbits.”

Lee dissolves in laughter.


Yesterday morning before church as I attempted to cover the bags under my eyes with makeup:

Me: “It’s really not fair that God designed men’s bodies to lose weight when stressed, but when women get stressed we get fatter AND we get zits.

Lee: “Yeah, that really stinks for you guys. You really shouldn’t have eaten that apple in the garden.”


So, tell me friends, what are some things that make you go “Hmmm…?” I need to laugh, so feel free to share the funny with me.