A lesson in punctuation.

Ya’ll, I just can’t hold it in anymore.

It seems our society has forgotten the difference between a period ( . ) and a question mark ( ? ).

A period ENDS a STATEMENT.

A question mark ASKS for something.

In the past few weeks, I have experienced people having an issue differentiating between these two punctuation marks. Some have been online, but all too many have been live and in person.  Today, when a young homeschooler posted a funny meme meant to put a chuckle in someone’s day, her post was followed with a ton of  comments very rudely offering suggestions on how to fix the situation being jested about in the post.

NO.

She didn’t ask for advice. She wasn’t seeking help or solutions. How do I know? Because there was NO QUESTION MARK. The meme merely made a statement, a comical statement about one of the many trials of motherhood. She wasn’t requesting help to resolve whatever behavior led to the meme. In fact, IT WASN’T EVEN A MEME ABOUT HER. It was some graphic she pulled off a meme site because…. IT WAS FUNNY.  Any mother would have had a good chuckle and scrolled away.

I have posted funny anecdotes on my personal Facebook page (or had conversations personally with others), in which I shared a trying day. When I do this, I am NEVER looking for suggestions on how to NOT have a trying day. IF I feel I could use some advice I will ask for it, using…. dun…dun….dun… a QUESTION. Most times, I am throwing up the mom gang sign and saying “Hey, other mom friends, other wife friends, other sister friends, other humans-who-have-to-deal-with-people friends… guess what, sometimes people suck, I feel ya, high five… we got this… let’s laugh.” PERIOD. END OF STATEMENT.

So please help me understand why it seems everyone wants to jump in and fix what they perceive to be wrong, when no one is asking for help/advice?  (<–see there is a question, feel free to leave a comment and answer THIS question)

I can promise you, you do not have the whole story in that meme or post or 5 minute conversation. There was more to it. I also promise that whatever the situation was….

I handled it. I just didn’t feel the need to bore you with that part of the story.

Oh, and while we are on that bunny trail…. I am done justifying HOW I handled it. I did it my way and that’s that. (<–please note the specific use of a period here.)

People…. PEOPLE…  why can’t we just support each other? Hug, high five, throw up the Mockingjay sign and show some sympathy, some empathy, some compassion and IF YOU CAN’T….

take that little finger of yours and scroll on by.

 

I still act like a child.

We reset our priorities. We made a plan. We made less selfish choices.
It was amazing. Things were good. Kids were happy. We were happy.
Then there was that one day, that one day when I was tired, tired of not getting my way.
It was just a moment. A frustrated moment. I had done all my chores, made all the plans, fixed all the meals. I had paid the pills and fed the chickens. I had listened to stories and read stories, and broke up fights. I had entertained unexpected company because…well… the kids were excited to play with their cousins. I fielded phone calls and messages, fixed problems, boosted spirits, and comforted the broken-hearted. I played referee between an emotional teenager and … the rest of the world.
It was 9:30pm, and I finally had a chance to sit in my recliner and do something I WANTED TO DO. I’ve been working on knitting the same scarf since last fall. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift. Then a January birthday gift. Now, I’m sure my friend is just hoping she’ll get it one day. The stitch isn’t hard, but it requires paying attention.
Thirteen stitches in a child crawls up beside me.
“I haven’t had any Mommy/Bubby time in forever!”
I put the knitting down, hug him, and remind him that we had cuddle time earlier and that now it was bedtime. I tuck him back in, and say prayers again, and sing the song again.
As I walk across the kitchen, headed for my chair, the other teenager flings her foot into my face to show me that her toenail is hurting again….”it has been hurting me for DAYS Mom!”
You couldn’t have told me that DAYS ago, kid?
I was on stitch 13, right?
Knitting
Okay, let’s go find the clippers and hooky filey thingy and some antibiotic ointment and the band-aids.
10 minutes later, I’m headed back for my chair.
My Mr. turns off the tv and says it’s time for bed.
Um… no. It is not. I stomp over like a child about to have a tantrum and with all the force of The Hulk I press the ON button on the tv remote as if force would make it turn on faster. I throw the remote on the couch and plop down in my seat.
“What’s wrong with you?” he dared to ask.
Oh boy. My rant began. Everyone heard it. My childish, angry rant, went from “Why is it I never get to do anything I want” to “I’m sorry, I love being wife and mommy, I just wanted a few minutes to do something I wanted to do.”
Somewhere in there, I yanked my knitting off the table without paying attention, probably flinging it around for visual effect, and dropped two stitches.
Was it the last two I did, or the two I was about to do?
My Mr. eased onto the couch beside me. Found my favorite show on Amazon Prime and pushed play.
“Okay honey, we can knit.”
 
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Check out the new “Basically Clean Club“!

Just try

I always wanted to try.
I couldn’t stay after school.
It wasn’t a class that led to a profitable career.
I should have started in high school, so it’s too late now.
I should have done it in college, so it’s really too late now.
My daughter always wanted to try.
She’s a homeschooler, not many options around.
*keeps looking*
I’ll give it one last try, in this new town, maybe someone will let her try here.
In a blink, we both tried. Clueless, and terrified, we tried. Way beyond our comfort zone, we tried.
Man, let me just say, it’s everything I always wanted it to be.


 
*images from 246 The Main, community theater in Brookneal, VA. Hunchback of Notre Dame and Catch Me If You Can.

A shirtless boy

beginningWe gathered our hammocks, books, collection jars, paints, cameras, and snacks. This beautiful Sunday afternoon was going to be spent relaxing down by the creek, deep in the woods. The men folk had already begun cleaning up the path. Papa and Grandma were now able to ride the golf cart down to meet us with bottles of water, a rescue of sorts when we all realized we had packed everything but drinks.
The creek area was still very raw. Fallen limbs and saplings cluttering up our space. Clean up for around the creek was in the plans, just not today.We cleared what we needed to in order to hang out in the trees. David and I stretched out in our respective cocoons, listening to the children play.
 
The eldest sat upstream, where the dog had yet to stir up the water, and painted. The next oldest went downstream, where the water was a bit deeper and chased frogs and salamanders.


 
The youngest daughter stood in the shallow, muddy bits, digger her bare toes into the muck, thrilled that the 72 degrees meant she could leave her shoes on the bank. Little man kept watch for wild creatures. He walked logs and chased frogs. He made regular trips back to Momma’s hammock to make sure I was okay.

It was almost hot outside. Way too hot to be February. The sun was so delightfully warm that I had shed one of my layers of shirts, allowing my bare arms to soak in the suns rays. The brightness of my book pages almost making it difficult to read.
I was snuggled so deep into my hammock, deep into my book that I didn’t notice the small but thick cloud that was creeping ever so slowing between us and the sun. The small breeze, that had been a pleasant sensation in contrast to the sunshine’s warmth, quickly turned into a biting chill that left me longing for a sweater. I pulled my recently removed shirt up over my chest and arms, and made jokes with David about how quickly the weather had turned. As David was assuring me that it was a small cloud and my warmth would return quickly, a small t-shirt appeared over the edge of my hammock.
“Here Momma, to keep you warm.”
I peeked over the edge to see my sweet boy standing there, shirtless.

Snuggle Girl

6 A.M.

I’m not really a morning person. I’m also not a “talk to people when I first wake up” person. Since we have children, I have to tell my “not a morning person” self to get over it and get up early in order to have some quiet before the day gets started. Two things put a monkey wrench in this plan: Children who wake up too early and Children I can’t risk waking up too early.
Despite my amazing ninja skills, developed over 15 years of motherhood, there are mornings where someone senses a disruption in the force. They venture out to find me hiding in the dark, with coffee and my Bible app. They commandeer my lap and start making early morning requests for food, drink, and blankets.
Kid, if you were cold you should have stayed in bed. 
So much for getting a quiet start. Too often I end up wearing some, if not all, of my coffee; and instead of getting a jump on my chores, I get to scroll Facebook while someone goes back to sleep – on me. Now, I know these days shall pass, and I really do try to enjoy these cuddle moments.  It requires a lot of mental focus for me to remember to cherish the disruption and that kind of mental effort at 6 A.M. pretty much guarantees I’ll be useless until after lunch.
OR
We have mornings like this morning. It’s 6 A.M. and I awoke all on my own without an alarm. Moon is still up, making it ridiculously dark in our house. If I make coffee, the dog outside will hear it perk and bark, which could wake the kids. If I turn on any lights, the dog will see that someone is awake, bark, and probably wake the kids. If I start the washing machine, which is beautifully quiet when it’s running, the clicking sound of the door locking could wake the kids.  I could hide in bed and watch a little Mom-TV (Hello This is Us) since my Roku remote has a headphone jack; but since I cleaned my bedroom last week, I haven’t been able to find my headphones anywhere.
So here I sit, with my water from last night, writing up a to-do list by the light of my phone screen, waiting for the sun to rise so I can tip toe around and tidy up without alerting any of the other living, sleeping, beings in our family.
Today, I will remember the days I had to leave for work at 4:30 A.M.
Today, I will reminisce about  all nighters with nursing babies.
Today, I will push away the thought that one day, I’ll wake up at 6 A.M. with no reason to tip-toe around, because they won’t be sleeping under my roof anymore.
Until then, I’d really like to find my headphones.
-Just Lisa

homemade oreos

Sneaky teens…I mean, adults.

homemade oreos
Boy, I thought my days of being sneaky ended when I grew up, moved out, and started living on my own. (Not that I was all that sneaky as a teenager)
If I had known I needed amazing ninja skills as an adult, I would have practiced sneaking around more as a kid.
I’ve never had to sneak around so much in my life!
I sneak off to the closet to eat chocolate, so the kids don’t ask for any.
I say I’m taking a bath when what I’m really doing is hiding in the bathroom to watch Hulu and have a glass of wine.
I stay up late so I can tip toe into the kitchen for a late night snack.
I have to hide things in the van, the closet, the nightstand, the barn – just so I can get gifts on sale and keep them hidden until Christmas or birthdays.
Do you sneak around more as an adult/parent? Or did you do all your sneaking as a kid?

Day one… How do you do this with little ones again?

First I’ll apologize for the bad photos…. apparently little fingers smudged up my camera on my phone.
Monday was our first day of school. Since I’m not the “take them out everyday” kind of homeschooler (I’m more of the “yes you can study in your pj’s” type) I decided to buy everyone new pajamas for bedtime Sunday night! Nothing says ‘7:30 am comes hard and fast, you better go to sleep NOW’ like new pajamas and forced family photo sessions.

 
Why yes, Doodlebug is holding Lil Man by his ears. She’s keeping his head on straight. Or something like that.
 
God made sure I was up by 6:30, so I made sure to read my #b90days selection while having coffee.  They didn’t fight over breakfast. They didn’t argue about getting dressed, brushing their teeth or brushing their hair. Maybe because Daddy was upstairs in bed (sick) and they knew he was listening.
I gently requested that he refrain from watching tv until we were done, and he gently requested his PSP so he would watch videos under the covers.
We survived. That’s about all I can say about that. Trying to read a story about Leif Ericson while Lil Man flings markers and Bubbagirl begs for cartoons or screams because Lil Man is on her napmat was challenging.
The biggest thrill was finally getting to lay down on the nap mats I made them. Not that anyone actually napped.


 
Tomorrow’s another day right?
P.S. aside from putting the little ones in the closet for a couple hours, anyone have any tips on keeping them busy?

I can almost hear the school bell

Next Monday we begin our new school year here at the Crazy House Baldwin Academy Baldwin School of Misfits… um home. This summer, Mr. Daddy Principal Man helped me squooosh all four kids into one room, move all my sewing stuff downstairs and turn our third bedroom into an official school room!

The kids are so very excited! I’m almost done getting everything ready for Monday, just a few more things to print out and get in their folders!
Next, I’ll write up what our curriculum is going to be this year….other than fun, fun and fun!
Where do you school?
and…uh.. does your school have a name?