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It just screams, “Summer Fun”, doesn’t it?

Posted by Sandra on July 28, 2009


Little Wet Feet

Little Wet Feet




(And then I have to show off my cutie posing for the camera):

I could melt in her eyes!

I could melt in her eyes!


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It’s all in a name…

Posted by Sandra on July 21, 2009

What happened to Geriatric Mama?

Well.  A lot.

This was an old screenname from an old time, and I always found it amusing and unique.  But it’s time to move on.  I can’t yet change the actual root name of my blog, but that will come someday.

Last night, I was laying in bed with my 1 year old and she slowly rolled over, put her arm around my neck as tight as she could, snuggled her head into my cheek, and fell asleep twirling my hair.  I was listening to the muffled sounds of the rest of the house –  Autumn and Justus playing in his room, Brett’s video games in his space, Daddy downstairs catching up on his NFL shows – and realized I’m really not the person I was a few years ago.

I cried as I said my nightly prayers, thanking God for this little person clutching to my neck and sharing my heartbeat, her breath warm on my face.  I thanked God for the three other little miracles going about their business in the rest of the house.  I know I’m blessed to have Gary in my life, to take care of us and love us all.  We’re healthy, we’re happy, we’re a family. 

I decided “Geriatric Mama” was no longer appropriate.  I feel younger than I did a decade ago.  Althought I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown tenfold.  I feel rejuvinated, fresh, full of life because of the life in my home.  Vintage, like a fine wine, is a much better term! 🙂

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

“The Gun is in the Ice Cream”

Posted by Sandra on July 17, 2009

Those are words I just never thought I’d have to say today.  Or ever.


Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Crooked pictures, my Thursday Rant

Posted by Sandra on July 16, 2009

Oh how I can’t wait for this fad to pass.  I swear, every time I see a photog’s website or a blog and they have their pictures on a slant, I cringe.  Next to “selective coloring” (where everything is black & white except one thing, like a flower, or a hat), this is the most disturbing and distracting trend in personal photography I’ve seen.

Please make it stop.  It doesn’t look good.  I don’t know who told you it looks good.  If you’re a professional, you should know better.  A novice, you’re copying a hopefully very short-lived annoying trend.  It’s not fashion photography.  It’s horrible.  Straighten up the pictures, keep them all in color or all in black and white and make the gazillions of people who want to bang their heads against the wall when they see slanted red-rose black & white pictures happy again.


And that, folks, is my Thursday rant.

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Family Sunday Drive…

Posted by Sandra on July 13, 2009

We had planned on heading up to Berlin, Ohio, and the surrounding Amish communities over the weekend, but it rained miserably on Saturday – so instead, we headed up on Sunday, in absolutely beautiful weather.  The downfall?  Everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – is closed in Amish country on Sundays!  I managed to get a couple of good images, but for the two hour drive up and the two hour drive back, it was not the amount I had planned.  That being said, we finished the day at a small park with water play, and the three children (and Daddy!) had a great time splashing and getting wet.  The day could be summed up as quite wonderful, even though we didn’t get to shop for Amish handcrafted items or eat at a wonderful restaurant…  We’re planning a trip back up when the season changes this fall – should make for gorgeous pics!

Just wanted to show a few…







Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Safety of Home Birth

Posted by Sandra on July 9, 2009

Hat tip to Kimberly Spencer, CPM, for this information!

I can honestly say I have only two regrets in my experiences as a mother.  I regret weaning (from breastfeeding) any of my children before the age of at least two years old; and I regret ever wasting the gas to drive to a worthless hospital to have my babies.  Granted, I managed to have intervention-free natural childbirths, but it’s simply not the same.  And paying someone $5,000 for the use of a room and a set of sheets for a whopping four hours is ridiculous.

If God were, by some glorious wonderful miracle, grant me baby #5 (which hubby says won’t happen, and I’m having a very hard time dealing with that!), there is no way, no how I will leave the safety of my home.  I will have an unassisted homebirth or there may be a slight chance of having a midwife here.  I really really regret not experiencing a lovely, calm, beautiful birth safe and sound in my own environment with my family beside me.


Image courtesy of “Journey to a Birth” – click picture to view blog.

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Breakfast Pizza!

Posted by Sandra on July 7, 2009

We love BFD (Breakfast For Dinner) in our house, and one of our favs is Breakfast Pizza.

I gather and cook up meats like bacon and sausage, vegetables like onions and peppers, and cheeses like American and Cheddar. 

Scramble some eggs…


Fry up some flour tortillas in just a touch of olive oil…


Then add whatever you like!  We make them one at a time so that each person can decide what they want to put on top… we add the toppings while the tortilla is still browning in the skillet so the cheese melts:


YUMMY and SO fast… Enjoy!

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Urban Vibes

Posted by Sandra on July 1, 2009


I was blessed this past weekend with the opportunity to photograph a wonderful African Drum band, “Urban Vibes“, out of Indianapolis, Indiana.  If you’re near there, I strongly suggest you look them up and see them live.  It’s uplifting, it’s poetic, it’s beautiful.  I was able to capture some lovely images of their beautiful faces and instruments, and with their permission I’m reproducing them here for your enjoyment.  I hope you get a chance to hear them, it is always a joy when I get to watch them.


If you’re interested in their contact information, please let me know and I’d be glad to forward your request.

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Who says…

Posted by Sandra on June 26, 2009

housecleaning ala June Cleaver is dead??? 

Just because I'm mopping doesn't mean I can't wear my heels and pearls...

Just because I'm mopping doesn't mean I can't wear my heels and pearls...

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Another “Must Read” Blog by Lenore…

Posted by Sandra on June 25, 2009

CNN or C.A.N. — Child Abduction Network?

Posted on June 25, 2009 by lskenazy

One reason Americans are so extremely terrified about child abductions is that whenever we turn on the TV or computer, there’s another one. As if these horrific crimes are happening 24/7, when actually the media is only too happy to fly across the country — or world — to set up camp wherever a cute, white girl has disappeared. Tight news budgets get thrown out the window  for a story like this. But because that story then shows up on our screen at home,  it feels like it’s happening right around the corner. All the time.

What happens when there is NOT a new story like this for the media to feast upon? Instead of traveling to another state, or country, they’ll travel back in time. The show 20/20 just did an hour-long look at the Etan Patz kidnapping from 30 years ago. And here’s CNN’s Nancy Grace page , from a few days ago: “Third Grader Stepped Off School Bus, Disappeared.”

Start reading it: ” With the weekend arriving and a long day finally over, 8-year-old Cherrie Mahan stepped off her yellow school bus on a chilly Friday around 4 p.m….”

Oh, by the way, CNN finally adds at the end of paragraph three: This was in 1985.

I’m not saying that it doesn’t make sense to sometimes revisit a cold case in hopes of solving it. I do hope someone solves this one. But it begins to  look suspiciously self-serving when networks desperate for viewers keep coming up with the exact same kind of story, served up any which way they can. How about the cold case of an African-American teenager gone missing? Or a schitzophrenic adult? Or someone who isn’t winsome, white and under five feet tall?

A newly Free-Range mom dropped me a little note this morning trying to help all of us (herself included)  put our fears in perspective: The chance of a child being kidnapped and murdered? 1 in 1.5 million. The chance of a child ending up at some point with some form of depression? 1 in 4.

(emphasis mine! – Sandra)

It is extremely depressing, disheartening, lose-your-faith-in-humity-izing, to keep being presented with the most vile crimes on earth as if that’s what life  is all about. As if that’s just what you can expect if you’re bringing up a kid these days.

So what’s the alternative?

One of the chapters in my book is called, “Turn Off the News.” At the end it has some suggestions for how to get started  going Free-Range, including, “Get up and go out. Spend that hour you were going to watch ‘Law and Order’ on a walk with the kids instead. Look around at all the unspeakable crimes not being committed. This is called the Real World. (Not to be confused with MTV’s version, which is a crime all  its own.)”

When we depend on the media to shape our world view, we’re going to get a world view that looks a whole lot like the view from a harried, ratings-obsessed assignment desk: If it bleeds, it leads. If it’s sad, we’re glad! If it’s an abduction, ramp up production! 

Which they sure do.

But if a network thinks its job is to terrify us, maybe it’s time to turn the tables and terrify them: Let them watch their viewers mysteriously disappear, never to be seen again.

Someday, they may even do a cold case special on us. – Lenore

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I’m a convert…

Posted by Sandra on June 24, 2009

To Alton Brown’s tomato sauce.  His recipe is on his site, I play around with recipes to make them my own.  But you simply must try this!

Take 8 or 10 tomatos, any kind, and cut them in half.  Use your pinky to scoop out some of the seeds and goop, place on a cookie sheet like cups.  Dice up an onion or two, and some garlic, and sprinkle on top.  Add some salt and pepper and some basil, then drizzle liberally with olive oil.

Bake at 325 for an hour, then turn up the heat to 400 for about 30 minutes.  Remove and let cool a little bit, then puree in the food processor or blender.

Best base EVAH for pasta sauce, salsa, chili, or anything you use a tomato sauce for.  Smoky, rich, dark, flavorful. 

I decided to start making it in batches and freezing, to use as a base for my meals.  LOVELY!

roasted tomato sauce

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I love dispelling myths…

Posted by Sandra on June 16, 2009

The Fried Food Myth

I remember watching this episode of Alton Brown on the Food Network and forgot about it – but recently I was frying up some ravioli and remembered it, so I thought I would find it out there in Internet-land and share it with my friends!

Fried food really does get a bad rap.  We may begin frying a few more things here, because frankly, you just can’t get the same taste and texture from a baked french fry… or fish stick… or mmm… I have a great Bloomin’ Onion recipe.

In case you missed it… in an entire two to three person portion of fish sticks and french fries – deep fried PROPERLY – only about 1.5 teaspoons of oil that got absorbed by the foods.  Mmm… I smell some homemade french fries in our future!


The MSG Myth

Even my own step father thinks he gets ill from MSG.  I still read today, on message boards and blogs, that people avoid it.  The Food Detectives did a show about this too – long after I already know there was no evidence of any harm from this monosodium glutamate.  One guy plus a headache in 1968 started this myth.  Ironically, the people that think they get headaches or nausea after eating foods with MSG don’t get the same effects from eating, say, a STEAK – which has it naturally.   MSG is nothing but an amino acid with a little sodium.  That’s it.  No secrets, no chemical creations, no big agenda to poison you, nothing.  And guess what?  It’s natural.

(Part 1):

(Part 2):

(I get a kick out of all the people that, upon believing they ate it, “felt the effects of” the MSG, even though they didn’t get any!)

I’ve always cooked with it – it really brings out the flavors of meats and other foods wonderfully.  You can pick up a shaker full at your local grocery store in the spice aisle – my cupboard would be empty without it.  And studies have CLEARLY SHOWN it does not cause headaches or other ill effects.  Period.  Isn’t that great news?

MSG Causes Headaches (aka Chinese Restaurant Syndrome): “Jeffery Steingarten, food editor of the Vogue in New York, debunked this myth pretty comprehensively. Given the widespread use of MSG in China, he asked why weren’t there a billion Chinese people with headaches? He then went around relentlessly researching the theory in his characteristically thorough way, and came to the conclusion that MSG, taken in normal quantities, was perfectly safe.” (I know many people who swear they get headaches after eating MSG, so I’m reluctant to accept this as an urban legend. But some quick research reveals that a controlled study at Harvard University also concluded that MSG in food doesn’t cause headaches.)

These are just two of the hundreds (maybe thousands!) of documents debunking MSG.  And I’ll bet, if you really think about it, WHY do you think MSG is bad?  Probably because someone told you it was.  You’ve never seen “proof”.  You’ve just “heard it was”. 

You must be aware that MSG, a compound of sodium and glutamic acid, an amino acid, is also found in many natural foods, including peas, tomatoes, mushrooms, and cheese. In fact, every time you eat a food containing protein you are certain to ingest glutamate, according to the Tufts University Diet & Nutritional Letter, Vol. 9, No. 12.

Now, I don’t want regaled with everyone’s personal stories of getting a headache after eating at Dim Yong Song’s restaurant.  You probably ate a spice or drank a cocktail… but really, if your mind is going to create a pain, there’s not much that anyone can do to dispel it.  Just don’t come to my house to eat dinner… I probably added MSG to the meal!

What you eat and what you feed your family is always a very personal choice.  Just like I don’t buy into the whole organic “hype” (the tomatos I buy at half the price, rinsed off in my sink, are just as good!), I also know some things get so exaggerated in the media and among internet chat rooms; so my family chooses to LIVE, enjoy good foods while still eating healthy, and have a great time doing it!

Ciao!  (and CHOW!)

Posted in **My Family Life** | 2 Comments »

Does the sound bother them?

Posted by Sandra on June 15, 2009

The helicopter parents, that is.  Do they wear earplugs or does the WHOOSH WHOOSH WHOOSH of the blades not disturb them?

Do their children not have to wear sunscreen because of the shadow of their mothers?

My kids have no idea how lucky they are.  I think I will remind them tonight when they come home – oh, from wherever they are playing at, which is – um, dunno.  But they’re safe, and they’ll be home in one piece later.

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Grammar Vent #2

Posted by Sandra on June 6, 2009

Well, it’s really more of a punctuation vent.  Almost as annoying as my Grammar Vent #1 pertaining to the use of “I” (She went to the store with Bill and I – *shivers * – it’s Bill and ME!)…

Apostrophe “s”.

It is not: How many pencil’s do I need?  The three cat’s were standing at the door.  I’m an idiot five time’s over because I make plural words possessive.


Just what does the pencil own in the above sentence?  The word “do”?  No.  NO.  The pencils own nothing.  If you said “the pencil’s color was blue”, then you can apostrophe until you’re, well, blue.  But not when it’s PLURAL!!!

Augh.  Okay, I feel better now.  At least in speech I can’t hear people add apostrophe’s every time word’s are just plural’s. 😉

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17 months…

Posted by Sandra on June 3, 2009


I forgot to post this on the 1st… but we’re still going strong!

Let’s see… I haven’t talked about Ayla’s achievements this year, now that I think about it.  Some of Ayla’s milestones over the past few months… she can now get up on the trampoline by herself!  She can get on the counter to get snacks like her big sister, too.  She has almost mastered her tricycle – she needs just a little more encouragement to keep her feet on the pedals.    She can scale the ladder to her slide, navigate the stairs almost the whole way, standing up; she of course has mastered the spoon and fork and eats anything and everything like a champ.  She is “behind” Autumn in talking, but “ahead” of where Autumn was in regards to her physical abilities.  No worries, it all will balance out in the end!

Autumn’s now writing all of her numbers and letters beautifully, writing her name easily and quite legibly, without help.  She will start Kindergarten in the fall of 2010, and I think she’ll be right on track with her skills.  She’s going to do great, I just know it.

Justus’ new medication dose has changed his life.  He is now a social butterfly!  He’s rarely here anymore, the phone rings until all hours of the night, and he has a girlfriend, Sarah!  Compared to last year, when he only had one friend (who is a carbon copy of him!), this is a welcome change.  I think he may be busier than Brett is!  Now he’s hounding me for a cell phone, which, depending on how often he’s gone, he may just get.  He sometimes leaves in the morning and I won’t see him for 5 or 6 hours or more, as he visits and travels the neighborhood and the neighborhood next to us.  I’m so happy for him, so proud of him, and so thrilled that he’s making so many good friends.  This will make the transition to the new 6th grade school so much easier – and there will be more new friends there to make too!

Brett finished the year on the honor roll – he was on it for every grading period.  I couldn’t be more proud.  He’s enrolled in some college prep courses next year to prepare him for medical school.  He still thinks he wants to be a GP – I hope he keeps that dream alive.  He has been hesitant to study for his temporary license though – I think he’s more nervous than he originally let on.  I’m glad – he SHOULD be nervous, taking control of a 4,000 piece of metal!  The insurance to add him is nominal, I told him I’d meet him halfway on that and he would have to pay for his own gas.  He’s cool with it.  He’ll be driving my van until he saves enough money to go in on a car.  I think he’ll do fine.

And that’s a brief summary of the kids.  All healthy, all happy, all doing well.  Have a great day!

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Growing up too fast…

Posted by Sandra on June 2, 2009

Autumn got her “big girl bike” last week, and after only an hour on it, she was a pro.  And we can’t get her off of it!

She could’ve gotten it last summer, but she was so attached to her Dora Bike (okay, it’s a regular tricycle that she put Dora stickers allllllllll over) that she didn’t want a big bike… but we had an opportunity to get a great hand-me-down from a friend and convinced her that she’d love it.  And we were right.  We “girlied” it up with a Princess basket and tassles and a pink bell, and Autumn is going to hunt for Princess stickers to put on it.  She’s growing up too fast!


Showing her little sister how it works:

And really, what’s more fun than chasing your friends through the neighbor’s sprinkler??




And Ayla was enjoying the “rain” too… but she stopped to take a break:


Ah, isn’t summertime grand?

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Guest Blogger – 2

Posted by Sandra on May 29, 2009

I found this heartwrenching and heartwarming at the same time.  I love those seven words, they hold more meaning than any words I’ve read in a very long time.

“My whole heart is in that incubator”

The Motherwear Breastfeeding blog recently featured a fantastic guest post by a woman whose son was born 3 months early and weighed less than 3 pounds. She writes about how breastfeeding was her and her son’s lifeline. Here is an excerpt from her post, My whole heart is in that incubator:

I was 37 years old. I thought I knew what love was. I thought I knew. But I have never loved anyone, anything, so fiercely, so terribly, so wonderfully, so achingly, as I did my little son, my only child, struggling in that incubator….

I loved and still love that boy with all I have. Because I couldn’t hold him much, and felt terrible guilt for not being able to ‘hold him in’ for the entire 9 months he deserved, I was determined to breastfeed. I pumped every 3 hours for weeks on end. That pump and the milk that came out of me was my lifeline. It was somehow the way I was going to make it up to him for giving him such a lousy start in this world. So when I read stuff like “The Case against Breastfeeding” I get so angry. I believe that my breastmilk, and the good care we got at BC Children’s, saved my child’s life. It saved my life. If there is anything in this crazy, crazy world that is really is a gift from God it is the babies we can create and the milk that comes from our bodies.

If anything is pure and natural, and real and true, it’s breastmilk. It made me feel like a mother when my baby was all alone inside a machine when he should have been inside me.

Anyone who dismisses breastfeeding so casually, or by their attitude or indifference creates an environment that doesn’t hold up and encourage and cheerlead a new mom into a successful breastfeeding relationship, has lost touch with something. They’ve lost touch with a sense of what it means to be a mother, what feeding a baby is all about, what it means to nurture, how significant that breastfeeding can be to both mother and child.

Posted by Rixa at Thursday, May 28, 2009  
Thank you, Rixa, for sharing this story; and thank you to the original author for sharing her heart.

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Return of the Separate MMR Vax!!!!

Posted by Sandra on May 26, 2009

Hallelujah and thank God!

Read about it here on Dr. Sears’ Site!

All of our letters and prayers were answered.  Thanks to all the concerned parents and physicians that rallied to have these shots available again!!

Our alternative vax schedule is here.  When Merck decided not to make the separate MMR shots, we decided to wait until Ayla is four to get her the big one – she will be almost four when these vaxes are reintroduced, and that’s okay with me.

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

I think my tongue bled,

Posted by Sandra on May 26, 2009

I was biting it so hard this past weekend.


Okay, you were very warned.

So a gentleman came by to purchase some baby items we had for sale.  He had a new 7 week old baby at home, a precious little girl.  His first.   New parents are just the cutest things, aren’t they??

As this very nice gentleman started regaling us with the stories of his wife’s pregnancy, childbirth, and the baby’s first few weeks of life, as well as his observations of other parents and their children now that he is a daddy, I glanced over and watched my husband prepare… waiting for me to start correcting and educating this poor unsuspecting man.  I found it funny – my hubby knows me all too well.  And I behaved and didn’t say a word.  Rather proud of myself, and if I could, I would pat my own back.

The point of this story is that I am increasingly shocked at the poor information out there.  This man said his wife was a doctor.  Now, he didn’t say what KIND of doctor, and I didn’t ask.  So she could’ve been a veterinarian for all I know.  But he began by saying that when her water broke, she knew, as a doctor and based on her doctor’s instructions, they must Immediately Rush, Without Hesitation, Without Finishing Packing The Bag, To The Hospital… because it’s absolutely urgent that she lay down in bed right that second and start being monitored.  Just because her water broke.

I hate this myth.  But I hate it more because this is coming from a doctor.  This was her first baby, she probably could’ve labored at home for hours and hours and hours before she went to the hospital and started letting doctors interfere with nature.

But I forget – she IS a doctor, so she is going to believe 100% of everything her doctors tell her, no questions asked.

And I didn’t utter a word.  I’m still beaming with pride that I didn’t let a rant go right then and there.  Of course, I didn’t have his money in my hands yet, I wasn’t about to blow a $100.00 sale because I wanted to scream that his wife and her lousy doctors were WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!

I didn’t even rant at the woman who called me and asked if I had a child leash for sale.  Well, lady, I have some for my dogs, because dogs belong on leashes… but that’s another blog altogether, isn’t it???

But then he made a comment about driving through a neighborhood and seeing children playing in their front yards alone.  ALONE??? GASP!!  THE HORROR, I was thinking!  He just couldn’t understand how any responsible parent could possibly let their children play outside without being within 32 inches of them At All Times!  I mean, if it happens on CSI Every Single Week, it must happen in your suburban neighborhood every single week too!!!

People really need to quit living in the land of make believe when it comes to their children and their safety.  I asked my husband how many scaremongering news stories we’ve heard in the past year or so about a child abduction that wasn’t committed by a mom or dad or their Uncle Bob.  We could only think of one off the top of our heads (and I’m not interested in being corrected – there hasn’t been hundreds or even dozens or even tens) and one we weren’t sure of the result of.  And the one we could think of was actually the child’s teacher or someone she knew, so still not a real stranger abduction.  But since two or three happen Every Night in prime time, people really get the lines blurred between reality and complete fiction.

I was even getting well-meaning but very ill-informed advice in another blog post about letting my children eat raw cookie and cake dough.  The chance of my kids killing themselves in a bathtub is about 60 times higher than dying from raw eggs.  More people die from venomous spider bites than eating cookie dough.  Licking the beaters is a rite of childhood, in my opinion.  Since walking across the floor and falling to their death has about a 1 in 6,000 risk, I’m not going to fret a 1 in 50,000,000 risk.  Yes, 50 million.  You’ve not even looked into the stats, or really researched the odds, have you?  Even without looking it up, I knew the odds were pathetically low and I was always a-okay with my choice.

But the naysayers are shaking their heads and shrugging “no no no – kids get killed daily by strangers and men in vans take girls from the schools weekly and it’s a bad dangerous terrible world out there”.  They look at their neighborhood map online with the sexual predators – so many then-18 year olds having sex with their 17 year old girlfriends and being on the list forever, to name a few things that totally discredit that list, IMO.  And of course, if it’s an old man, he’s waiting on his front porch with a bowl of candy, waiting to lure your children into the bowels of his vinyl siding home to do God-Knows-What to.  NO HE’S NOT!  It’s NOT a bad world!  You’re doing a horrible disservice to your kids sheltering them so.  They won’t know how to prepare for the world, because you won’t be there hovering over them.

You have to let them go.  You have to let them have their childhoods.  It’s not fair to them or you, it’s not beneficial, and it’s sad when I hear about a friend of my 11 year old son that doesn’t know how to navigate the neighborhood on his bike – he should’ve been riding in that neighborhood for years by now!  I’m so glad our kids are so safe in today’s world.

I warned you it was a rant.  I feel much better now!

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

How can you get upset…

Posted by Sandra on May 20, 2009

So Autumn was doing something (I don’t even remember now – dragging dog food from the bowls to feed the dogs, right after I swept?  I dunno) that I asked her not to do, please.  She did it again a few minutes later.

So I asked her, rhetorically, in my familiar slightly-gritted-teeth style that lets her know I mean business, “HOW many times am I going to have to ask you to stop??

To which she replied, after giving it quite a bit of thought, “Two?”

Okay, you’re forgiven.

Posted in **My Family Life** | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »