1. I have really great legs. Yeah, I work out a lot and do hundreds of kicks in Taekwondo ever week but I have my mother’s legs. Mary and Lex got them too. We have great definition and generally don’t get cellulite, fat thighs or big hips, even when we put on ten or twenty pounds. (Sadly though, our butts are kind of flat). Because of my mom, we don’t store fat in our thighs. And we have nicely shaped calves and ankles, no “cankles” for us or chubby knees. Our fat goes to other places and that’s wonderful because It’s really hard to exercise your ankles and hips. Our legs are a genetic gift from God and my mom and I am thankful.
2. God blessed me by making me a McDaniel. And three of my children are absolutely McDaniels too. We’re still waiting to see if Sandor develops the gift of friendly bull shit. Being a McDaniel means we can snuggle into any group of people from senators and presidents to garbage men and rednecks. We can happily visit with just about anybody, we like almost everybody. It’s very difficult to make us feel out of place, because we know how gifted and wonderful we are. Oh, and we have an absurd amount of confidence so we assume people will love us, because we are McDaniels. Generally, McDaniel’s are also magnificent story tellers. Some people say we are natural liars, but we like to think of ourselves as gregarious raconteurs. We like to put a positive spin on things.
This is where I should mention my husband, Alex. I’m blessed with a man who puts up with us even though he often times doesn’t understand. he rolls his eyes a lot and wonders what we will say next.
3. We laugh all the time. This is also part of the McDaniel blood line. We howl and giggle and hee-haw with laughter even when things are really really bad. We laugh when we are miserable and broken hearted because God blessed us with the ability to see something funny in almost every situation, from cat poop on the new carpet to family funerals. Thank you Jesus. Again I have also been blessed with a husband who doesn’t always understand why the hell we are laughing but he doesn’t tell us to shut up.
4. God has blessed me with the most wonderful and naturally happy children on the planet. They all like and take care of each other. They are all playful and respectful, smart and really really fun to be around.
At least ounce a week (I’m not making this part up no matter what I said in the previous paragraph) someone asks me how I raised such wonderful and smart kids. (so far I haven’t had to write a single check for college) I just say “thank you they actually came delivered that way”. And it’s the truth.
We have plenty of flaws. We tend to be a little vain, with terrible handwriting and none of the kids are over the top athletes. Hard work is required for their on field successes. But for the most top I am blessed beyond words.
I have a theory why God has given me four such extraordinary children. He has a good plan. But I’ll save that story for another day and just be thankful for what I have right now.
Tags: Blessed, Blessings, children, God, great legs, kids, McDaniel, taekwondo
My ego often times rides on morning success. If the forty five minutes before the bus arrives goes well, I’m convinced everyone will have a bright and shiny day and I get to drive to work feeling like a successful mother. If the morning is ugly, filled with tension or tears, I end up clutching the wheel, convinced everyone will have a terrible, awful, no good, day really bad day
Mornings are like see-saws made out of Legos. Too much pressure and the whole damn thing falls apart. When Mary was little she hated socks and having her hair brushed so mornings were really treacherous.
Now it’s Lexie, Sandor and me in the morning. Lexie keeps herself on track. She’s sleepy but focused in the morning. She has a high school routine and it’s important not to derail her train. Left alone she is excellent as long as there is hot water and cereal. I just have to say the right things when she asks about belts, shoes, shirts and hair. Crimped or straight? Pony tail or crazy insane curls? Cowboy boots or Pumas?
I try not to give her jobs in the morning, instead I make a list and leave it on the kitchen table. At the end of the list there are lots of xxxooo because I love her so much, especially when she unloads the dish washer.
At nine, Sandor is an entirely different creature. He’s a sloth like animal who doesn’t like to eat first thing in the morning. He doesn’t want to do anything except hug for the first hour.
In the morning, Sandor sees his clothes but I have to remind him to put them on. He sits in front of his bowl of cereal but I have to remind him to eat. He finds his shoes but I have to insist he puts them on.
One tactic I use on Sandor to wake his fuzzy brain up is silly, but works. I set up goofy games on the kitchen table or leave a puzzle out with only two missing pieces.
This morning I sat on the edge of his bed. “There’s a secret message on the kitchen table for you.”
“What is it?” He opens his eyes.
“Not telling, you have to check it out yourself.”
“Who left it?”
“I don’t know.”
He staggers out and laughs when he sees my stupid message made with Scrabble letters. It says, ”Yo Gangsa Face”. I leaveextra letters out so he can add to the note. He’s a nine year old boy so, of course, he adds the word “butt”. The word “butt” makes everything funnier.
Mornings can be tricky but I have skills and sometimes manage to avoid the land mines.
*What’s your secret in the mroning? Comment or e-mail me. I love that. firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: breakfast, children, kids, mornings, routine, sleepy
My son had a friend over to spend the night. I heard him say, “Come on, let’s play ninjas,” then “come on, let’s build a fort,” then “Come on. Let’s watch Adventure Time.” The next time I heard Sandor say “come on,” I said, “Son, let Sam pick.”
Sam was obviously surprised by his new found power, “Can we play with your legos or ride the 4-wheeler.”
“Sure,” Sandor said then the two boys disappeared into his room. I realized I haven’t been enforcing and reinforcing the all important “Guest Rule”.
WHEN YOU HAVE COMPANY OVER THEY GET TO GO FIRST AND THEY GET TO PICK (MOST OF THE TIME).
After the boys played with the legos for a while i called them into the kitchen. “Ok, Sam, what do you want for lunch, sandwich or mack and cheese.”
Sam, who is tiny and beautiful gave me a gorgeous grin. the kid has perfect teeth. “Mack and cheese! Man, I like this rule of your mom’s”
Generally my biggest rule is the one about computer games and television. The guys only get those for thirty minutes at a time but I think the guest rule might be even more important because it teaches old school civility. I worry that good manners have nearly become extinct.
An Indian friend of mine recently told he he worries about his daughters becoming too Americanized. When I asked him what he meant he said he had found most American teens to be rude and inconsiderate when they came to his house and he said they were extremely disrespectful to their own parents.
While I don’t think the problem around here is as dire as he described, it reminded me the importantce of teaching my own kids to be repectful and polite. If I don’t, nobody else will.
Thank you very much.
Tags: bad kids, children, civility, good manners, manners
My last blog was about men putting their hand in their pants and now I’m going to write about handshakes. Yeah, I realize that’s a little odd and I think I’ve written about this before but I’m feeling passionate and it’s really really important.
This weekend I met two perfectly good kids with really sorry handshakes. They were pathetic and weak and the kids didn’t have a clue what to say or how to make eye contact. The seemed hopelessly squirrely. I felt sorry for them because it was obvious no adult had ever taken the time to teach them how to shake hands.
Parents, it’s nearly criminal if you don’t teach your children, especially your boys, how to shake hands like a man and say, “nice to meet you”. If you don’t teach them, who will? You should start teaching your kids how to shake hands as soon as they can walk so when they are six it’s not a big deal. When they are toddlers shake hands with them around the house, at dinner shake hands at the table and say “Nice to meet you, will you pass the chicken, please?” AND YOU HAVE TO MAKE EYE CONTACT.
If you don’t teach your kids how to do this, people will think they are slimy little punks, like Draco Malifoy. Seriously, that’s what we are thinking. I know it’s wrong but if a 13 year old kid has a pansy handshake I assume he’s also the kid who picks on little girls and spits in front of Grandmas.
If you love your child give them an advantage in life and teach them how to shake hands.
And now, will somebody please help me off my soapbox?
Tags: children, draco, parenting, shake hands
Every day I ask my husband, Alex, how is day was. He says, “you have no idea”. Yeah yeah, I roll my eyes. Alex is the executive chef at a giant throughbred race track so, on a race day he may feed 15,000 people and walk 10 miles. Yes, he works hard, and he works long hours 50-60 a week, but I’m about ready to throw down. Because I don’t think he could handle my mornings for a week. So this blog is for every mom who gets it done.
This morning I tok a shower then woke Sandor up, who was grumpy. We found pants but he thought there was something wet in the pocket so I told him to find another pair. When I came back he was staring at his hand, which was stuck inside Mr. Potato Head (I didnt’ ask why). He wasn’t happy.
“Please get your hand out of Mr. Potato Head” I said then I found more pants, put them on top of his head and told him to come eat breakfast.
Lex tried to cheer him up while they ate cereal and grapes but he wasn’t speaking. I sang something stupid but that didnt’ work so I turned on the radio. Right off the bat there was a song by Buck Cherry. Yikes “Yeah, you’re a crazy b*&#$ but you _________so good I’m on top of it,” what was that doing on my normally tame morning radio show? I moved like a “mom tsunami” across the kitchen to hit the stop button my baby toe hit the leg of the chair. Oh, my Lord, I started cursing worse than the song.
That cheered Sandor up. He started laughing so hard he spewed cereal milk on the clean laundry.
They went to the bathroom to brush their teeth and I stared making lunches. But the bread was moldy so they both got a sip lock full of sliced steak and a pop tart. That’s a decent lunch, right?
After feeding the dog, finding Sandor’s lost shoe and wiping butterscotch pudding out of his back pack I sent him off to find the lost library book.
Lexie needed ten dollars for something, then she needed my tennis shoes for PE, my camera and the necklace I got for Christmas…then she was ready for school but Sandor was crying. If we didnt’ find his library book he’d miss recess.
So Lexie and I went on red alert to find the lost book, which was next to the bathtub because he’d asked me to read to him while he was soaking. (Hey, he’s been sick, so yes, I’ve been babying the boy)
They both made it out the door and caught the bus and that was the first 30 minutes of my morning.
You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth or the reality of my mornings. Alex may be able to feed the masses and roll out 5,000 pounds of corned beef sandwiches but I don’t think he could get the kids on the bus by 7:14.
Tags: breakfast, children, kids, mornings